Tag Archives: brown

Driving away

I had a full day of good bad luck recently.

The brakes in my car went out while I was driving…

…out of the state car inspection garage.

(Moments later, I’d have been on the highway, instead, I coasted into an uphill parking spot just outside the garage – and still passed the inspection!)

I had many other errands planned that day, but had to wait for a tow truck instead.

But I’d brought some knitting along at the last moment, so I had something to do while waiting.

I’d just downgraded our automobile club membership from the longest towing allowance because we hadn’t used it in years and the yearly fee is much higher now than where we used to be.

But it was still enough towing to get me back to my town.

I didn’t wear a coat when I’d left the house that morning because it was sunny and I would be running in and out of places.

But when I started the long walk home from the garage, it dropped 15 degrees and started snowing.

But I had inexplicably put on walking shoes instead of my usual clogs that morning, so at least my feet were fine.

The garage called to say my entire brake line was rusted out and my car would be in the shop for days.

And N had just left town for a three-day weekend with his.

So I was stranded in the house, which is where I’d normally prefer to be most of the time, but I was unmoored and annoyed to not be able to do the stupid running around crap I’d planned do, so with my thoughts on autos, and mood bend on frustration, I ripped out the van sock and removed the offending skein to overdye it.

van redo-before

I only had violet and yellow food coloring gels and a smattering of stinky drink mix on hand.

I wanted the neon to go away, and I was still going to knit it with the other burgundy/cranberry/orange yarn, so as long as I could turn it into some form of purple or brown, or a favorite of mine, purpley-brown, or at least just all toned the hell down, all would be fine.

van redo-dyeing

I started off with just the violet, but it turned the yarn very dull and almost grey – acceptably muted, but surprisingly unpleasant (I usually like muddy, dull, muted colors). So I jabbed in some yellow and liked that it was heading to a brown. But then for entirely unknown reasons, I tossed in a packet of grape drink mix.

I decided that fake grape is the only drink mix stink I can somewhat, just barely, not quite really, tolerate.

But I got something acceptably purple-ish.

van redo-rinse

And rinsing the whole shebang was fun – the colors broke in the wash, so at first the rinse water was pink, then cyan, and then green when I remembered to pick up the camera.

There was still some color left in the pot so I tossed in some natural white (not quite cream) roving for shits and giggles.

van redo - sop color

And it cam out an intense orchid that I would hate to wear alone, but will be a nice occasional addition in a spin.

van sopped

The yarn came out mildly nasty on its own, and has a bit of that lifeless dullness that comes with food color dyeing…

van redye

and you can see the areas I jabbed in the yellow vs. the violet…

van redye det

 but it’s just what this pair of socks needed for me to take off with them again.

van new sock

(While I’m waiting to get my car out of the shop… and on the water treatment equipment repair guys, and my new tooth, and now possibly the washer repair person or new delivery, and the lumber delivery that we planned before everything else went to hell… this is becoming a helluva expensive month.)

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Things with wings…

No, this isn’t about sewing menstrual pads…

NH-dragonfly

I like autumn, but mourn the disappearance of my favorite winged summer things like crickets and cicadas and especially katydids and dragonflies and bats and butterflies and even the giant random things that show up on the window screens…

winged-fly

I’m still unpacking things from the basement boxes – I’m sure I’ll be continuing to do that into the new year…

And I found my old monarch butterfly Halloween costume.

winged-monarch

My mother made it out of out black felt and oil paint, and I wore it with a black leotard, black tights, and black ballet shoes (after I quit ballet classes the first time). And I had a black velvet headband with black pipe cleaner antennae bent into curlicues that would flop down and poke me in the eye.

It was my best costume (much better than my gladiator made of a pillowcase tunic and tinfoil over a plastic baseball helmet and cardboard shield) and I’m glad I kept it – the wings, that is, the rest is thankfully long gone.

But I’m conflicted about keeping another winged thing…

winged-front

It’s an Iceland sweater from Rowan 42.

I bought the magazine because of it, even though it scared me with all of its cables and lace – I knew it would be a large commitment for me. Then a friend whipped one up and told me that it was actually quite easy and she thought I’d like it for the coziness factor.

So feeling more confident about the whole thing, I cranked it out relatively fast for me over the first winter when N took a job out of state and I had plenty of time to concentrate and a large public library’s worth of nature program DVDs.

winged-wings

But when I finished, I didn’t love it on me…

Because of the goddamn wings.

But that’s the whole point of it right?

But they catch on or in door handles, hand rails, car doors, house doors, desk drawers; and dip themselves into soups, coffees, cereals, dish soap suds, the compost bowl; and drag themselves through eraser crumbs, dryer lint, almond butter on a slice of toast; and scatter my notes to self…

And if that weren’t irritating enough, it sits on me funny – lists downward from side to side, or hitches up into its own muffin top.

winged-buttons

I even had the perfect vintage buttons (and the perfect amount, which is entirely rare) in my stash to complete it…

The yarn I used, Lamb’s Pride Bulky, has drape, but it’s dense – I should have gone up a needle size or two or used something lighter, and I made the waist ribbing less bulky than the pattern, but those are the least of its faults…

But I’ve only worn it… twice?

So do I frog, or do I find someone in need of warmth who does not mind being a winged creature?

Or do I hang onto it as a testament that I once knitted a giant warm garment during a cold time?

I love the leaf pattern though – if I frog, I might just have enough yarn along with a few leftover skeins to make a nice throw blanket in the pattern…

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Trend cringe…

I don’t follow trends in fashion or home decor or electronics or cars or diets or, or, or…

And I don’t usually like what is trendy anyway.

I like certain colors and color combinations and sometimes they pop in and out of popularity, but never has the popularity merged with my need to buy.

I bought a huge wool rug for a song in 2007ish – normally I don’t go for stuff that looks like it came from stores like Ceramics Shed or Box and Bucket, but I like yellows and greys and greens and browns and of course wool, so I got it for our then large green and yellow dining room.  But now it fits best in our living room, with brown furniture and soon-to-be yellow* walls.  But we need curtains, and we need really wide curtains, so making them seemed like the likely option, so I ordered some fabric samples.

yellow grey ikat

Then I went to the obnoxious store named for the thing at which you shoot arrows for something dumb and little and unavailable in our little town, and there were so many yellow and grey and ikat-like patterned things everywhere…

I don’t like that – I usually go against the tide – my home decor and self-presentation usually make people who follow trends cringe and look at me pitifully, and that’s the way it should be – I don’t like them, I don’t want to be like them.  My car is from the ’90s and isn’t an SUV, shopping is not a hobby, I hate big-box-made-in-china-inflated-prices-for-low-quality-sh*t-especially-things-called-designer-but-just-generally-suck, and I know that in itself makes me a stereotype and stuffed in another big bag of the same folks, but at least it’s smaller one – a biodegradable, non-bleached, organic, waxed paper one perhaps?

In the end, I found cheap linen curtains that will have to do for the meantime, so I just ordered a little of the ikat fabric for some pillows.

*Oh holy hell, I can’t find a good pale mustardy yellow paint!!!  They either look to lemon, or too grey, or too orange (I like orange, but the dining room is likely to be an orange variant) or shite under artificial light, or shite under natural light…

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Oh camel, my camel…

I went to Morocco* in early 2001.

I froze my ass off, so I bought a huge sweater from a man who was knitting them on the street.

Camel-front

  He said it was made of camel hair, but it was also dirt, vegetable matter, shit, and even a dead tick.  And it had a strong pissy odor.

But it was warm.

I washed it well when I got home.

But then it was thoroughly and viciously attacked by moths in the great wool annihilation of 2002.  Obviously I had not washed it enough, for the little wriggly f*ckers ate it up like it was smothered in delicious shitsauce.

I washed it well again, and again, and sealed it up and froze it for months.

A year later, in 2003, while spending time in New Mexico, I found some Navajo Churro bulky yarn scraps that somewhat matched the colors.  Some of my fixes and mends were good and blended well, some not at all, as seen in the right half below.

Camel-back

I wore it around the house for a few years, but not often because it was a bit sheddy, and I’d still get poked and annoyed by residual vegetable matter.

When I moved a few years later, I was still dubious of its trustworthiness and I feared that it could still have moth eggs – I didn’t have any evidence of them, but instead I felt a ghost of an ominous presence.  Not wanting to potentially infest our new place, even with phantasmic creatures, I triple-bagged it, froze it again, and didn’t bother to deal with it for a few years.

However, after a month  living with a not-quite-working-right furnace, and wanting its warmth, I just dug it out during the Polar Vortex to wash it once thrice more and assess its condition.

Camel-detail

I still can’t get over the beautiful greys and browns.

But good god, it was still a dirty beast and a few more holes and seams opened up from the wash – but it also softened quite a bit.  I’ve got some tri-color Jacob fleece that I could spin to make a convincing mending yarn, but I may just keep up with my more motley repairs and call it full of character.

(And please let that be all that it’s full of.)

*An awesome trip, and I was quite lucky to get there before all hell broke loose here months later.  I’d share pics, but those were my pre-digital (better) days.  I went with my mother who was approached by a man with an offer to trade me for a camel.  I think she had to think about it for a minute – the camel was quite lovely and had blue eyes.

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More progressions than halts…

I finished spinning the dirty Romney “Rhinebeck blues” roving (and I did in fact originally photograph it with the wrong Shetland sweater that matches it and will be frogged if I need to stretch out yardage).  I’m not sure what I’m going to make with this yet although I know it will be something more along the lines of outerwear since I doubt I’d want to wear this next to my skin.  This will be stored indefinitely at the moment while I work on some other projects this summer.  And silly me, I forgot to count the yardage before I skeined it for the photo…

rhinebeck-finished

During our woods weekend last month, I got out the old long-suffering UFO cotton blanket and came up with a plan of how to finish it.  I ripped out a green stripe/strip that was nearly finished just because I’d have to make another and I didn’t want to.  Instead it will have a couple of narrow white stripes and then a border of green…  I think.  I may take it with me to another upcoming woods trip to hopefully finish or at least complete the body.

cotton blanket

And I just finished a short-sleeved sweater that has yet to be mentioned in public because it was another very long-suffering UFO and I was considering tossing the whole thing in the frog pond.

chocolate top detail

chocolate top full

It is the the Chiton Pullover by Melissa Wehrle, and yes it was on the cover of the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of Knitscene.  It was the first time I got a magazine (hit newsstands in 2010) and got some yarn and started right away.  I don’t know why I didn’t get the recommended yarn (which is quite lovely) but I think I wanted a cotton blend, and I know I wanted dark brown, and what I got was very inexpensive.  But it ended up that I really didn’t like this yarn – Elann’s Luna – it is slick and splitty, had lots of knots and broken parts, and of course is without the elasticity and sheepiness of wool, so I found I didn’t feel like working on it very often.  I also fear the weight of the cotton will pull it downwards – the pattern is already long-torso friendly which I love, but things could get too long.  I originally wanted it to wear in my former overly air-conditioned office, which I no longer have.  And I also didn’t really consider the practicality of somewhat thick, but short-sleeved sweaters – indoors your torso is cozy but your arms goose-bumpy and then you go outside and your arms are comfy and torso is sweaty…  not to mention the added impracticality of having to wash the damn thing nearly every time it’s worn due to the odoriferous nuances of summer armpits.  But it’s done and I’ll keep it around for the time being.

And the latest spinning technique I’ve attempted is Navajo or chain plying.  And I suck at it.  But I found a good use for the redwood roving as my f*ck-it-up-all-I-want-because-I-don’t-care  practice fiber.  And I’m glad I used it because I would’ve destroyed some great new hand-painted roving instead, but now I need to make an old-fashioned three-ply out of it which I was hoping to avoid.

N-ply

Yarn only Roebling could love.

And I also discovered I’ve been spinning left-handed.  I’m ambidextrous in many things except writing and continental knitting (you’ve noticed I don’t do a lot of stranded color work, eh?).  But it was a little surprising that when I switched to right-handed, I sucked, so southpaw spinning is the way for me.

My other publicly proclaimed UFOs from months before?  The sweater quilt is packed away to discourage summer moths, I’m still picking at the shirt quilt, and the rug and a couple of others I’ve yet to mention…?  Well, let’s not go there just now… but at least there are fewer than before, right?  Do I get a cookie?

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Sock, you suck

sock 007 - Copy

As I was finishing up the second in a pair of socks, I was thinking about how I would write them up on my ravelry page.  I was going to be brazen and claim that I was never afflicted with second sock syndrome –  in fact, the second usually flies off the needles.  This one flew alright, and I was so brazen that I didn’t try it on once…until just now.  What insult can you hurl at a sock?  It has no mother to wear combat boots, it’s sexless so it can’t go f*ck itself, it has no religion and thus hell isn’t a place it can go…  But I want to hurt this second sock, make it feel very low and very bad, but all I could do was rip it out.    Now the sock pictured above, in near perfect knitted glory, is its older twin (older by nearly three years)!  I was going to call this an UFO, but I figured I could whip it out in a week or so.  I knit socks only in the spaces of time that I wouldn’t knit otherwise – they are the perfect little project I can tuck inside a purse and work on while traveling and waiting.  I haven’t done much waiting lately, and these were started on metal needles, so I was afraid of the TSA and thus didn’t take them traveling much, so my sock knitting timetable nearly screeched to a halt on this pair.  So what happened in the meantime?  I think I forgot that my new aforementioned metal needles were a size smaller than my normal ones and that the first sock was an experiment to see if I could go down a size and still use my standard stitch counts.  Then I probably ripped out the first sock and started again with four or so more stitches (I still need to count) but by the foot section I could in fact go down to my regular stitch count on the smaller needles, so I forgot the business about the top.  At least that’s what I think happened.  I can’t look at the pile of kinky ripped yarn anymore, and that’s too bad, the first one fits soooo well, and I can’t wait to wear it…maybe I can sneak it on with one from another pair if my pants are long enough, or I am bold enough…maybe it need not ever have a twin (maybe that was its plan all along and it sabotaged its twin in knitero!)

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