Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm feeling much better now

The student center cafeteria changed its menu, and the burritos are significantly improved. They're not perfect, but they'll do. :)

This past Thursday was our last Spinning 2 class, and the topic was "students' choice". We all wanted to learn about spinning different kinds of fiber. Here we have the result. Left: (top) camel, (L:R) combed natural-colored cotton, hemp, and combed tussah silk top. Right: (bottom to top) bombyx silk cap, camel, tussah, cotton, and hemp.

My favorites were the tussah and camel; they were the softest by far, and also the easiest to spin... though as Maggie said, the camel might not have seemed so easy if we hadn't just been spinning cotton. (Cotton is impossible.) It was a great learning experience and I definitely want to buy more silk to spin.

I've been working away on the North Sea shawl and am halfway done with the center panel! I'll try to post a new picture soon. The KnitPicks Options needles are still fantastic and the stitches are flying along.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A rant

(This has nothing to do with knitting. I just need to get it off my chest.)

WHY ARE THERE NO DECENT BURRITOS IN THIS TOWN????!!!!!

I just had one for lunch and it had CHICKPEAS but NO CHEESE. That is SICK AND WRONG. And it was way too expensive, and had entire chili peppers inside it, so now my head is on fire. At least three of the other places I've tried would have been decent if it weren't for the revolting "cilantro-lime rice." What's wrong with plain old red rice? Everyone knows cilantro is gross and should be optional if it's served at all. Along the same lines, sometimes people just want tomatoes. Not pico de gallo. Especially when the pico is full of giant cilantro leaves and raw onions. So why not have tomatoes in the veggie burritos? Oh, and WTF is up with all the places around here that offer to "smother" your burrito in vile green chile? If I wanted something smothered I'd order the enchiladas. Sometimes I really miss California.

P.S.: The perfect veggie burrito is: warm flour tortillas, filled with pinto beans, red rice, grated cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and guacamole. That is all.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A good cause

My cousin is participating in a fundraiser for the Cascade AIDS Project, to benefit HIV prevention education, advocacy and support services for people living with HIV or AIDS in Oregon and Southwest Washington. She has a very modest fundraising goal and it would be lovely to surpass her expectations. If you'd like to help out, click on over.

Pink socks!

Yarn: Regia 4-f├Ądig Color, #5440, 75/25 wool/polyamide.
Pattern: toe-up, short-row heel and toe, garter-stitch cuff.
Verdict: Love the color but they're a bit tight around the ankle, right at the top of my foot. I've washed them and am waiting to see if they stretch a little; otherwise I'll have to rip back to the heel and do some increases. That might have to wait a little while, though; once I've finished a project it's sort of painful to immediately rip it back and fix it, and besides, my favorite sock-knitting needles are otherwise occupied with the Jaywalkers. The toe is very comfy, though, and they feel like they'll wear well.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

ROCK!

Amy rocks my socks!!!

Her husband was passing through our town on a road trip, and dropped off this gift. It's Socks That Rock in the "Fairgrounds" colorway. Thank you Amy! In a display of sock serendipity, I finished the Pink Socks last night during Project Runway, and started weaving in the ends on the bus this morning, so I'm ready for a new pair! And thanks to Cara, who has singlehandedly perpetuated this meme across the internet, I feel positively obliged to make - what else? - Jaywalkers.

The only problem with all of these pink socks is that they clash with my new shoes. Er, did I say that? Oops. My credit card slipped and fell on the internet. Fortunately I also have no shortage of black shoes, which will work nicely with pink and orange.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Don't pet the prairie dogs

Seen in my neighborhood:

Saturday, August 12, 2006

FO: Handspun wristwarmers!

I get cold easily. Last week in spinning class, I forgot to bring a long-sleeved shirt, and after three hours of spinning in an air-conditioned room, my wrists were cold and stiff. So I came home and turned the pink-green merino into the wristwarmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I shortened the pattern slightly, I think, but it was an excellent use of 62 yards of yarn. They're warm and cozy, but leave my fingers free for spinning or knitting (or typing). The pattern was a piece of cake, though the thumb opening in the pattern seemed very small so I knit an extra repeat before rejoining. This is my first-ever knitted object made with my own handspun yarn! What will I do next with this awesome new power?

Keep looking up!

In keeping with the title of the blog, I'd like to remind everyone that tonight is the peak of the Perseid meteor shower! If you can, go outside for a while and look out for meteors. If you can't make it tonight, there will probably still be some tomorrow night. Have fun!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New yarn

Kate has new yarn up at her store - check it out!

I have a small FO to post about but no pictures yet, so it'll have to wait. Our second spinning class was tonight; we learned about gear ratios and long-draw and double drafting, which is tricky but interesting. And we got lots of homework so I'll be busy with spinning this weekend.

On a random note, thanks to Emily, I am seriously coveting these shoes, just because they looked so good with her Hedera socks at S&B last night. I only have two other pairs of Danskos; it's not quite a full-on collection yet, right?...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Spinning Two!

Thursday night was my first Spinning II class. And it was great! I haven't been spinning as much lately because of travel, and trying to finish knitting projects, and so on, but now I feel very re-energized and am looking forward to lots of spinning and knitting over the weekend. Some things I learned:
  • Finer yarn: more twist, less tension in the brake band. Thicker yarn: less twist, more tension.

  • Dust your wheel every once in a while. It's probably not as vital as it is for my sewing machine, but it helps.

  • Wool combs are very pointy and scary-looking, but I vastly prefer them to hand-carding.

  • If you want a thicker yarn, only draft short lengths at a time. (This falls into the category of "ohhh, duh, that makes sense!")

  • Scotch tensioning is less efficient but more versatile than double-drive.

  • Instead of stopping frequently to test your singles for wraps-per-inch, just measure it once, take a sample of the measured stuff, and wrap it around a piece of cardstock. Keep that nearby while spinning and you can compare your singles to it every so often, instead of having to stop and re-measure, and you can write notes on the card and use it as a reference later. (This greatly appeals to my organizational impulses.)

There was more, but most of it was very hands-on learning and doesn't translate so well to blog-text. (How to properly tie a leader onto a bobbin, how to comb fleece, etc.) Our homework involves spinning 3 sizes of singles, and I'm a little concerned about my ability to spin <10 wpi singles. I mean, that's HUGE. This may take me a while.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The doctor is IN

Tonight I didn't go to knitting; I worked late, came home and did laundry. But I had some tricky knitting to do. As I said, the North Sea shawl is much longer... but there was a hole in it. A big, ugly, unintentional dropped stitch kind of hole. About 60 rows back. The bamboo DPN is at the exact location. Obviously there was no way I was going to frog that much of the shawl, so I took heart from Steph's post, took a deep breath, and laddered it down.

This is what it looked like when I started back up the ladder. There were a few problems at the beginning and I had to stop and have an Oreo or three. I used #1 DPNs for the repairs; for simple jobs, a crochet hook works better, but this required a lot of fussing and the DPNs were perfect. Have I mentioned that Shetland wool is a colossal pain to rip back?

Finally, after a couple hours of working on it, swearing, ripping it back again, and having another cookie, I fixed the first few stitches and after that it was smooth sailing. As you can see, I moved it to my desk, which has better light, and put it on top of a white notepad so I could see the stitches better. This helped a lot. There was a tiny bit of fudging the first row or two, but now it's done and it passes the test: I can't remember where the hole was and I can't find it. Hooray! I'm almost halfway through the pattern... let's hope there are no more crises. I'm trying hard not to think about the 96 stitches' worth of grafting that's waiting at the end.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Home again

I've been vacationing since last Tuesday afternoon and, after putting several hundred miles on the car and having lots of adventures, I'm back online! Of course, I haven't uploaded any pictures yet, and I have to do some actual work, and there's knitting guild tonight and SnB tomorrow and Spinning 2 on Thursday, and we won't even mention the laundry, so it may be a little while before I post the details. But I'm home. And the North Sea shawl is twice as long as it was when I left. :)