Tag Archives: orange

Flaming balls of molten lava, ketchup, mustard, blood, candy corn, nasturtiums, atomic fire filled traffic cone roadkill smeared on asphalt in Mordor at sunset superhero sontag

I can’t say I’ve fallen in love with my latest (or any) handknit until it has proven itself wearable with a normal wrapping and unwrapping, pulling tighter or looser, not dipping itself into toilet waters, not catching in turnstiles, and fitting in or out of a coat test drive, but the current heatwave is preventing anything beyond kicking the tires.

I’m still ambivalent and slightly indifferent about it for several reasons, but it was a wild success in others, but first, a recap –

I bought the roving last September – I was (am I still?) on a kick to buy colors outside of my comfort zone – and by that I mostly mean colors that I don’t typically wear because they make me look like shit, but I don’t care how I look to a degree, so I can like and wear whatever color I want to dammit, but I do happen to prefer earthier tones in general…

The nasturtium decided to wait for cooler days… #organicgardening #flowers #nasturtium #autumn

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And it also reminded me of nasturtiums which I love (and I ran out of room to plant this year…).

I got two braids (8oz total) from Fuzzy Frog Fibers because they are very affordable, she does fun and interesting colors, and I like the Dorset wool – springy and strong soft and 4oz doesn’t cut it for me for anything other than a hat, and yes, I can combine them with other things but I’ve already got several combo spins waiting in the wings (including another braid of the same only in my comfort colors from the year before).

I started spinning it a month or so later – I waffled a minute about how to, but I’ve been struggling with making a not-too-overspun single and figured I needed more practice. The Dorset is very forgiving on that front too – didn’t break in the skinny sections and not too sticky to pull out a bit more at the last minute on a big clump.

I also waffled a minute on leaving it as is and spinning each braid separately to have double the stripes/color changes, or combining both for one big gradient – not necessary a skill to practice, but something I hadn’t done before – so I went with that. And the spinning was done by the end of the year.

I sat on it for a bit, thinking about what to make of it – it was going to be a neck thing or a body thing or a poncho-y thing… I felt it needed to be an empowering sort of thing to power through the terrible election and dark days, and almost made this sweater with the molten yarn on the back flappy cape thing, but my gauge was off, the thick and thin yarn isn’t hard enough wearing for clothes, and I haven’t finished something that needs to fit in years, and I wanted to finish it by year’s end.

So easy garter was the answer – and a top-down triangle shawl – a shape which I’m also ambivalent about but thought it was because I hadn’t made one big enough yet. And I cast-on for basically this shawl (I used size 7 needles and about 1.000 yards instead) just before a week’s vacation when rain was predicted – and my gauge was okay and the stitches felt good.

I fell for the few yards of pinky muddled grey and made note to try to recreate this with another spin and/or I’m pretty sure I unraveled a sweater with similar colors.

It's getting warmer… or bleeding? #handspun #knitting #shawl #red #fuzzyfrogfibers #sontag

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I knit more in that week than I likely had since the start of the year, or maybe before – no gardening, home improvement, office work, or major cleaning meant my wrist wasn’t in pain and could go for an hour or more knitting sessions.

And then I finished up at home – at a slower pace – and it was a good beach knitting project too – the wool wasn’t too sticky for sweaty seawater sunblock hands.

After washing and light blocking it still smells a bit of the beach (except the rotting sea-things) and didn’t change – I rarely wash garter things right off the needles, but this is headed for plastic summer storage so I wanted it to be as clean as possible.

So in the end I was able to tick a few boxes off: I acquired, spun, knit, and completed something within a year – something I want to become habit – less so on the acquisition end, but I’m almost always able to go to the state fiber fest and want to support the local and local-ish folks, even if it’s only $30 worth of fiber spread out over 3 booths; I finally made a decent (still needs work, but I didn’t have to run it through an unspin cycle at least) single; I figured out my current knitting speed is very roughly only around 700 yards a month; and I made a top-down triangle about twice as large as my last one.

And the jury is still out on the triangle until I can wear it a bit – I’m leaning towards it’s just not my thing (side to side triangles totally are) – but I’m always futzing with the less stretchy edge – tuck in under? fold it out? let it gape? and want more tail and less triangle – maybe this needed to be even bigger, or maybe I should have increased the tails more and the triangle less – I also could have eeked out 2 more rows of yarn, but didn’t want the stress, but there’s probably enough for a picot or other edging, but I don’t really like edging, unless it’s i-cord…?

I can wear it crossed in the front and tied in the back but I feel like I’m smuggling my own boobs, so I’ll most likely do the kerchief thing, or a half drape thing pinned somehow, or the traditional shawl across the shoulders thing…

Or the roll it up and pretend it’s a scarf thing.

We’ll see a few chillier months from now, and maybe N might be game to wear it instead?

But I am definitely in love with the mostly black top portion, and would like to spin and knit a mostly black thing soon, and locate the dirty pinky-grey yarn I think I have… But I have to finish or frog other things first.

 

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Filed under knitting, spinning

Minimal failure

Perhaps it was because Spring came and went, or for a bit we thought we might have to move again, or because we had to dog-proof the house, or my recent life changes inspired me to take greater control over things I could, but I’ve never felt the pull of minimalism as strongly as I do now.

I’m tired of not knowing where things are – if I use/enjoy something, it should be in a place, not buried in a poorly-labeled box, otherwise I shouldn’t have it… right? This is my mantra of sorts, and is working for me (sort of) now. I’ve blathered on about spending most of my life living in a cabinet of curiosities, so now I’m aiming to cull and contain my most prized pointless objects to an actual cabinet.

Once a year our town has a junk week wherein you put what you don’t want, or what was too big to throw away without paying extra, out on the curb. What follows is a mildly pleasant time of encountering previously un-met picking and promenading neighbors, and scavenging jalopies with faulty mufflers that clatter by at dusk and dawn but disappear the worst of the worst – busted motors from ceiling fans, a single broken shutter, planks from a floating floor that ReStore refused – and by the time the Goodwill truck comes followed by the bulky trash truck, there’s very little, or nothing, left for them to claim.

For the last couple of years I have avoided going on the junk walks – not that I didn’t want to meet more neighbors, I just didn’t want to haul something rusty and broken and utterly useless, but devastatingly beautiful home. I am not acquiring any new [old] things unless they serve a purpose, right? But we wanted to see if we could find anything for the garden and yard – old windows for cold frame beds, bricks/pavers/flat things for stepping stones, or all-weather tchotchkes for whimsy.

orange fabric unfurled

Instead I scored a massive bolt of blaze orange upholstery fabric and a couple of pieces of extra thick canvas.

Do I need them? Nope.

Can I use them? Of course.

Will I use them? Eh…..

orange fabric detail

I haven’t tested the orange fabric yet for content – I’d say it’s likely to be at least mostly cotton and feels nice in the hand. I could make a new cover for the old basement sofa with it, or complete hiking-during-hunting-season in a globally warmed climate ensemble for a family of four, or a helluva lot of tote bags.

(I justify many a cheap fabric purchase or acquisition in the name of tote bags…).

Or perhaps I should sell it.

But I’m thinking of dabbling with painted floorcloths for the canvas – the weight is perfect – perhaps it would make a good runner on our map stairs.

In my defense, when folded, the new fabric takes up less space than the items we discarded – including an extra old microwave oven I’ve been clinging to for purposes of craft or unrealistic thoughts of second workplace abodes…

But I have absolutely no room left for fabric and for now, it’s in the shed where fabric, except tarps and garden stuff, should never be.

But I’m making headway in other areas – a childhood’s worth of seaside souvenir shells have become landlocked in the garden (except for a few extra special ones), I disposed of a cubic foot of (some decade-old) tights, and 4-H trophies have been reduced to parts and donated to the art/craft supply place. The prize ribbons, however, are fiber after all, so I feel obligated to make something from them, but then what? I’d have another thing with memories and then extra making memories I’d want to keep but not store…

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Filed under collecting, gardening, home, recycling, sewing

I went on vacation and all I got was this [not lousy] hat…

newhampshire -bag

We finally had our summer vacation – a week in a shack on a pond in the White Mountains.

My knee is still mostly out of commission, so I planned accordingly and packed several knitting and sewing projects along with bathing suits and sun wear to occupy my time while N was on the peaks.

What I hadn’t really planned was it ended up being cold as [insert favorite anaolgy here].

The forecast called for cool nighttime temps, so at the last minute, I luckily (and brilliantly I might say) packed our down duvet and one of our down bags along with that trickster ball of handspun* I just finished in case I wanted to whip something up out of it.

newhampshire-hatball

I quickly determined to make a hat since I neglected to pack one, and needed to wear one immediately.

(I wound the skein into a ball on the way up which didn’t induce as much car-sickness as I thought it would).

newhampshire-hathalf

I also had a few basic patterns with me just in case, and I loosely based it on the Purl Beret, but with a much smaller/tighter brim.

I finished it on the second day after hours of otter watching.

newhampshire-otters

There were also many murderous birds – a greedy heron, harriers that picked off the sweet warblers in the marsh grasses, kingfishers bombing around the dock, and less successful eagles and ospreys.

newhampshire-hattop

We even saw a moose – I’ve been patiently waiting to spy one of those for some time now.

newhampshire-hatunderside

I’m a little embarrassed to show the hat in its very wonky unblocked state, but the cool misty weather made the colors pop.

And the yarn was cooperative this time, though it had the last laugh by leaving me with an orange nipple on the top.

The hat could have been a little larger, but I was afraid of running out of yarn and I figured it would stretch since it’s superwash.

newhampshire-orangenipple

And after a month of physical therapy, I can at least ride a bike again (though not really uphill).  So we enjoyed a few pretty awesome  and underutilized bike/recreational paths, as well as tooled around the pond in a canoe.

newhampshire-bikebar

I worked on another long-suffering knitting project that is nearly on its home stretch, though I wasted a few days when I messed it up and had to undo and redo, so I will say no more about it until it’s done.

newhampshire-biketrail

And I never got to the sewing project or casting on for a new pair of socks that I though were must-dos for the week…

We really needed another week…

*There’s still enough left for a few token stripes on a pair of socks, and that little 2ply skein remains untouched.

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Filed under hiking, knitting, spinning, travel

Fried that squash blossom

Good god, this was a long suffering spin.

PRS-zucchini&blossom

And I blathered on so much about it…

Last year, I was thrilled to buy the wool – Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino in “zucchini blossom.”

Pigeon zucchini

I started to spin it.

PRS zucchini

I fantasized about pairing it with other yarn from my stash to become some sturdy socks.

PRS-squashblossom

I realized I spun the first bobbin backwards, so I got irritated and put it away.

I started spinning it again during last year’s Tour de Fleece.

I cut my thumb.

TdF-Wipeout

I blamed the wool and put it away.

I got it out to finally finish for this year’s Tour de Fleece.

PRS-zucchini-TdF2014

I made a three-ply and thought all was fine.

PRS-zucchini-3ply

I ran out of one of my three plies.

PRS-zucchini-not3ply

I am now done.

PRS-zucchiniwashed

I have 258 yards of a heavy fingering/light sport wonky 3ply, and 114 yards of a light fingering/fingering wonky 2ply.

PRS-zucchinitangle

(And we won’t speak of this).

And I’ll shut up about now until I have a finished item from it…

if I ever have one at all…

(Incidentally, I did fry up those blossoms and it was a mushy miserable failure, as are most of my neglected zucchini plants which are lousy with stupid male blooms).

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Knot or not?

I’m adamant for leaving some original details in a home, but I’m having a terrible time deciding whether to keep our knotty pine paneling or paint over it.

knotty pine paneling

This is one of the few times I wished the previous owner painted over something so I could just throw up my arms and say oh well, stripping it would be a nightmare and involve chemicals, so I’ll just paint over it too.

And in theory, I could paint it knowing that it would be possible to restore it later by stripping it, but who would?

I could also preserve it by drywalling over it, but that would involve either renting a truck or having the drywall delivered, and that would cost more than a gallon of paint and primer (and I know, maybe two gallons of primer, the really heavy-duty kind).

knotty pine

I really hate early American decor, country style, rustic/primitive/PA Dutch stuff, and I’m not a fan of the cabin look unless I’m in a cabin.  Since we’re in a place with lots of trees and birds, it does often feel that we’re in a cabin, but then when we go to cabins it would feel like we didn’t leave home, and I want to feel like I’m in a cabin when I’m actually in a cabin, and when I’m home I like light open spaces.

We’ve also got some cheap 1970s fake wood paneling that I’m miserably attempting to fill in with spackle (more on that later) and have no regret “ruining,” but the pine is giving me pause…

knotty pine paneling & paint

It also begs for questionable colors in the pea soup and snot families…

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Filed under home, home decor

Come armageddon, for everyday is like swants day

The other day N mentioned he was culling some old sweaters and asked if I wanted any – of course I did (all of them).  And to my surprise, he had a swants-able one in the pile – a forgotten cosy but quite misshapen semi-felted/fulled thrift store find from a few years ago.

I immediately began to cut and sew.

swants-unworn-detail

I didn’t follow the official swants tutorial because I wanted to make some interesting shapes with the pattern, and the shoulder seams already conformed to my hips.

Swants-apocalypse

And then I impatiently set off for the beach, not quite accepting the fact that you can’t really shoot your own trousers while wearing them.

I love the beach in winter.  I love the emptiness and sometimes the ugliness.  I love that the surf washes away the ice and snow and sloggy sh*t that prevents you from walking normally and safely on an inland path or sidewalk.

And when I’m at a wintertime beach in a semi-urban area, I can never stop Morrissey’s Everyday is Like Sunday from playing in my head…

So while the day was chilly, but the sun warm, I filled up a thermos, packed up my ass pad and some knitting* and hit a favorite spot while it was at its most opposite of a smooth summery romping ground.

Swants-beach

One of those rusty pipes helped hold the camera, but all of my swants photos are shite.

But the swants aren’t – I love them!

Swants-pipe help

  Mine are more knickers though – swickers.

Swants-front

The color is truest here – they are cranberry and maroon.  The front has a somewhat provocative triangular point – though how sexy can sweater pants really be?

Swants-ass

And the back has a squared-off shape not unlike old-timey ass flaps on union suits.

I practically had the beach to myself, but the boardwalk was busy with those just waking up from cabin fever and those who have jolly thick-coated dogs (who must suffer through the hot summers).  But no one bothered me – there’s usually a small motley band of panhandlers and nutters who think being unwashed and under various chemical influences is appealing to a woman – but the swants proved an effective repellant!

Swants-cocksoxonrock

Perhaps my new cock socks** helped too…

Now I look like the nut-job.

Maybe on a colder day I’d wear these under my swirt

swants-unworn-front

Now I can’t get everyday is like swants day to the tune of the above out of my head…

swants-unworn-back

*Yeah, still a little too chilly for outdoor knitting – but it was a good place to take photos of it too – coming soon.

**Smartwool, a gift from N.  I told him I didn’t need anymore socks, he told me I needed these.  He was right.  In the few seconds Morrissey leaves my head, cock socks on the rocks repeated chant-like over and over comes in…

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Filed under hiking, recycling, sewing, thrifting, travel

Gradually getting kooler…

I’ve been wanting to start dying yarn for quite some time, but we currently lack the space, ventilation, and decommissioned cookware.  So I finally got around to dying with the stuff you can’t technically die from, but I certainly wouldn’t want to ingest, though millions do.

Kooldye

Yep, good old Kool-Aid – and I stand by my opinion that the stuff really is truly horrid, but I’ve been wanting to try gradient dying with this tutorial and it’s cheap and I thought readily available.*  A [not so] brief aside about my relationship to the beverage – the only positive thing I can associate with it is its endearing camp name of “bug juice.”  We always had bug juice at summer camp, though I don’t remember drinking it.  Why?  Because I barfed fruit punch flavored Hi-C** as a small child and have always carried the world’s worst aversion to the scent/smell/taste/whiff/hint of fruit punch (and bright red beverages to a lesser degree) into present day.  In fact, that is partly the reason that my only fear in life is anything to do with vomit – both my own and others’, and the pile on the sidewalk, or the remnants in the bowl in a public restroom, or boats, or amusement rides, or pregnant women, or drunks, or babies, or children, or hospitals and doctors offices, or even the offhand comment by someone that her/his stomach feels a little funny, can send me into a tailspin of fear and trembling.  The other reason is my second grade teacher had me clean another student’s puke off some wooden puzzles.  I was above average for my redneck school, so I was off quietly reading to myself – an Encyclopedia Brown book in fact – when the teacher was conducting a reading lesson to the rest of the class.  I was absorbed in my book, and didn’t notice what happened in the back and the subsequent sudden shuffle of students and a teary girl running out of the room.  Then my teacher sweetly asked if I could help her, and being a generally obedient child, I did.  Usually the teachers wanted to rub their excess hand lotion onto you (which seems mildly horrifying now), or help watering the plants, or straightening the [outdated] books.  No, I was presented with a stack of puzzles covered in chunky upchuck and told to take them to the restroom (or maybe she called it washroom) and clean them off.  I did.  I think I cried.  I think my mom raised holy hell at the school afterwards.  But all I remember is the spilled stomach contents and it haunts me to this day.

But back to the dye job.

kool-sweater

I started unraveling this thrift store sweater around the time we moved a year ago so I never finished it and have only recently found the box in which it was shoved.  I hate to unravel something hand-knit even from a big company that most likely exploited the labor (though I have no proof of that so don’t sue me) but this was a late 1980s, early 1990s monstrosity with gaping drop shoulders that reached the naval.  Maybe I killed something really important to fashion history – I killed it for its pelt.

kool-yarn

The wool is good – very sheepy.  It was knit with two strands held together to make for a bulky weight – unplied you’ve got twice the yardage at a still generous worsted weight.  I wanted at least 150 yards, so I wound off 100 thinking I’d go the worsted option and then have 200.

kool-dye

I bought several packets of the evil drink mix, though I was disappointed that there was no green or blue – what about lime or blue raspberry (even though there isn’t such a thing as a blue raspberry on this good green earth)?

What follows are notes to myself that I’m sharing so use the tutorial or check out the What a Kool Way to Dye group on Ravelry for technical details.

kool-little ball

First bath was two packets of lemonade, and one of watermelon.  The lemonade was basically useless as yellow, but it helped turn the pink slightly more coral.  My ball was pretty dense and I was sure the dye didn’t get very far so I wound off all of the first color.

kool-balls&pot

Then I left it out of the pot and stuck the bigger remaining ball in.  Second bath was a packet of tropical punch and one of orange.  This is where I nearly lost it, and unfortunately only later found out that cherry is basically the same color and I never had to endure the fruit punch in the first place.  I can’t even begin to describe the odor – artificial flavor and scent, wet wool, the sh*t that was stuck to the burner and burning, and the remnants of eau de thrift store. (The sweater had already been washed once but the yarn hadn’t had its second bath yet).  I couldn’t take it for very long, so before the liquid had gone clear, I rinsed and wound this around the little pink ball so the last undyed layer was on the top.

kool-mold

Then added one grape packet to the pot and sprinkled on another directly to the ball.  It looks like mold.  It smelled like hell.  But the grape covered up the worst of the fruit punch stink.

kool-soak

Then I soaked it a couple of times in cold water and vinegar.  I hoped that the vinegar would help with the stink, and it did to a degree, but I’m still picking up a whiff I’d rather not.

KOOL-SKEINED

I don’t know the color fastness of the final product, and it’s faded a bit after drying, but I don’t mind if it fades a bit more.  I suspected that the plies would felt and they did, so I’ll probably end up using this as 100 yards of bulky weight yarn.

And yeah, wear gloves.  I did except for the one time I really should have been (see top pic).

*The fancy grocery stores that we as food snobs frequent do not stock the stuff, so I had to visit a grocery on the other side of the tracks to find it.  But it is one that I will return to as I found lower prices on a few things I buy, and smaller sized things – though that is a crime – the smallest portion is always the most expensive in terms of the price per serving and the poor gets screwed with that, but for some things, I only want a little bit since I end up having to throw larger portions out.

**Never give a child with a stomach ache anything that contains food coloring.

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Filed under dyeing, recycling, thrifting