Thursday, March 30, 2017

Feuding Fun

But You Are Blanche!

Recently, we've been watching the FX series Feud: Bette and Joan.

 

I've always been a huge fan of Jessica Lange and both she and Susan Sarandon do a great job of portraying these two iconic actresses during the filming of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

So, of course, we had to re-watch that wonderful film.  It was particularly interesting to get to watch Bette Davis' daughter as the next door neighbor daughter...I never knew that was Bette's daughter.

Since much of the Feud series and the movie it's about try and leverage controversy as publicity, it reminded me of when I first started my blog and how Marilyn (the curmudgeon) and I always thought it would be great if she and I started a fake on-line blog-feud.  We never did it, but I bet it would have garnered a lot of clicks to our respective blogs.

Current Knitting/Spinning

I couldn't bring myself to pick up the 362 stitches on the edge of the Easton Logo blanket, so I started a new Cross Stitch Scarf.



This one uses Zauberball and some other sock yarn.  It knit up incredibly fast, so I started another one using the rest of the Zauberball with some other fingering weight yarn.


Very different, but I'm liking it just as well as the last one.  I also increase the number of stitches to get a slightly longer scarf.

I also meant to note that the wool/mohair yarn I spun and showed photos of in last blog turned out to be 482 yard/ 6.3 ounces of yarn...with that grist (1,224 per pound), most would call it a sport weight yarn.  I decided to do a small swatch on US8 needles.






I love how lofty and fuzzy the fabric is and I like the color better as a fabric than on the ball.  One of my favorite yarns that I've ever spun.

Monday, March 27, 2017

For Me Groupon is NEVER a Good Idea!


There may be some who are Groupon masters and get fantastic deals from Groupon, but for me, it's almost always either more expensive, or way too difficult to get what I want based on the savings.

Bitchy Whining

Skip this part if you don't want to hear whining.

My latest adventure with Groupon and why it sucks for me.

First of all, it's not all Groupon's fault...I suck at Groupon.  I hate reading fine print (and there is LOTS of it).  I'm terrible at avoiding expiration dates.  I get sucked in easily by shiny advertisements.

Recently, I decided to order some personalized M&M's for the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat this coming May and I was overjoyed when Groupon sent me a notice that I could get $100 toward their purchase, with a $50 expense.  So overjoyed that I bought two of them.

With visions of M&M's dancing in my head, I eagerly designed my candy on the MyMMS web site.

For $100 in Groupon cost, I planned on buying two 5lb bags of custom M&M's and some other products that would bring my total to $200 worth of candy.

I first come to find out that I can only use one coupon per order.  Five pounds of custom M&M's are $139, so I decide to place two separate orders and apply both coupons.

But then I do my second stupid thing...I decide to think on it for a while.

The coupons expire because I forget about them...but at least I can get the face value for the coupons, so I proceed to order 10 pounds of M&M's.

My coupon code doesn't work, so I contact Groupon.  I am told that M&M doesn't accept expired coupons and that I'll have to get a refund instead.  She goes ahead and credits my Groupon account with $100 Groupon bucks.  Really?!?!

After an hour in Customer Support chat, I finally convinced the representative that Groupon Bucks is not a refund, but an exchange, and I got fully refunded for my Groupon purchase.

This is just one example of how I suck with Groupons...there are probably at least a dozen other pitfalls I've fallen into with them.

The stupid part is that I ended up purchasing 5lbs of custom M&M's using a coupon code of GRAD17 (that I got using google) and got 25% off my purchase. 

Current Spinning

I spent the weekend finishing up my latest spinning project.  I thought I had a lot of the teal fiber I was spinning, but realized I only had the one ball of roving.


So I decide to ply it together with the mohair from Mindy.







It had a slight barber-poling effect (which I don't mind at all), but when I washed the yarn, a lot of blue dye bled off, and overdyed the lighter parts of the yarn, so there's a much more uniform color.








Overall, I am very pleased with how the yarn turned out.  The color is a bit less yellow than some of the photos (the last closeup is the best color on my monitor) and there is a beautiful haze/halo around the yarn that will make a very nice knitted fabric.  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Beautiful Things


Have you ever walked through a large museum and found yourself so overwhelmed with masterpieces that your mind just becomes inured with seeing beauty?

Sensory Overload

I remember thinking a number of times as I went through the Louvre in Paris, "Oh look...another fucking masterpiece."

I learned that for me, it was easier to go to museums that were more manageable or focused.  I found two other museums on that same Paris trip were much more enjoyable (Musée d'Orsay and Musée Picasso).  I also found that the Frick in New York City was a much more enjoyable experience than MOMA.

All that being said, I'm hopeful my two latest acquisitions of beauty in one photo aren't overwhelming.


Dan from Gnomespun had some beautifully combed Dorset in a rich, rusty-ish red color that I loved and he also had a shocking green hank of sock yarn.  Here are closeups of each so you don't get too overwhelmed.


I can't wait to spin up the Dorset and I am also really looking forward to making something stunning with the sock yarn.

Current Crochet

I finished up a second scarf using the Crochet Broomstick Ripple stitch.



This one is done in a vibrant Christmas red (with sparkles...in fact it's Koigu's Sparkle yarn).  It will make a nice Christmas-y scarf...almost looks like a poinsettia, no??



After I block this scarf, it will be soft and beautifully drapey.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Learning Success!

As promised, since I was able to learn how to do the Crochet Broomstick Ripple Lace stitch based on a tip from a blog reader, I created an English language tutorial for the stitch and put it on YouTube.



Continued Fascination

I have honestly never gotten over the fascination of being able to create fabric with needles and yarn.  To this day, I continue to be enthralled by how I'm able to not only create fabric, but also create fabrics of different density, drape and laciness.

I don't think I'll ever not think that is an amazing thing.

The latest stitch, demonstrated in the tutorial was one of those stitches that I could almost have figured out if I put enough time and energy into it.  Fortunately, watching the Turkish (?) video gave me all I needed and also gave me some great tips on how to work broomstick lace in general.

I mention it in the video, but if anyone has any questions on the stitch pattern, try and put the question in YouTube comments, so that all questions and answers can be kept in one place.


Current Knitting/Crochet

I finished the first Broomstick Ripple Lace Scarf using the newfound technique.





I'm thinking I'll block this scarf a bit bigger, but I'm not sure how the percentage of nylon in the yarn will react to any blocking, so I'll start off very gently.

I also finally finished the bottom border of the Logo Blanket.


Finn insisted on helping with this photo shoot...he's so helpful for showing perspective/size of the blanket.

I plan on picking up the stitches for the top border soon, because if I don't do it soon, it will never get done.  I know my failings as a person and how to get around them.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Love Noro






Mostly, I love Noro because nobody does color like they do...rich, vibrant, deep, saturated, luxurious color.

Designing With Noro

I was reviewing the latest Noro design book - Knit Noro Accessories 2


I was realizing how difficult it can be to successfully work with vibrant, multi-colored yarns.  From the cover photo, which I found drab and uniteresting and then as I started paging through the projects in this new book, I was thinking that most of the designers had no idea what they were doing.  I was starting to think, there would only be a few hat designs worth making in the entire book.

But I continued to look and it's clear that Noro put all the good designs toward the end of the book!

Jacqueline van Dillen's Brickstich Scarf in Silk Garden creates a sumptuous scarf in beautiful colors:


Lisa Craig has a rich red and pink cowl also done in Silk Garden that I think is fantastic:


I was thrilled to see that Charles Voth had a gloriously interesting and beautiful scarf, called Tuck Stitch Scarf (I will definitely be making this) - also done in Silk Garden:


Two other great designs are an Art Deco Wrap by Cheryl Murray and a great Peruvian Chullo hat by Matthew Shrank.


Definitely a book I'm glad to have in my library!

Current Knitting

I'm actively working on two projects at the moment...trying to finish the Easton Logo blanket and also trying to test out a design using the Pinterest lace stitch I mentioned in the last blog entry.


Who would have believed adding 15" borders to a blanket would have taken so long?  I decided I wanted the finished blanket to be 70" x 90", so that it would be the suggested size for a single/twin bed.


And despite seemingly endless knitting, I'm not even finished with the first long border.

For the Broomstick Lace Ripple stitch, Bill Miner gave me the clue I needed to get me started when he wrote in comments:

Joe, just read your last post. I did a google search of Eyla Orgu Sedef and found a U-tube video showing this crochet stitch. Unfortunately, its in what I think is Turkish which I don't understand. The video is very clear and with your talents you may be able to figure it out.
 The following video shows in a  clear enough way how to do this stitch...



so I'm trying it on a larger scale with 340 stitches.


We'll see how it works out!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Please Like Me


This isn't a request...it's the name of an Australian television show called "Please Like Me", written by the person in the video above (he's also plays the main character.

Gay and Sexy and Funny

Everything you'd want in a television show as far as I'm concerned.

This is one of those shows that are excellent at carving out my sense of what is funny and clever and appealing...a perfect way of delineating whether others have the same taste as I do.

If you haven't seen this show (I think they have 3 seasons out), and you think you and I would have similar tastes, I would highly recommend this as the perfect binge-watching.

With the upcoming snow, I may go back and re-watch all of the episodes.

Current Crochet/Knitting

I've been trying to replicate an interesting looking stitch I found on Russian Pinterest.


The only clue I've found on how to do it, is a blurry little video in a some foreign language:

https://www.facebook.com/EylaOrguBySedef/videos/481263528674909/

Anyone care to help translate this?  If I figure it out, I'll be sure to create an English language video tutorial for it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Patience


Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm not a very patient person.  I get an idea in my head and I need to act on it immediately, even if that means having a less positive outcome.

Intolerance for Lack of Immediacy

Honestly, I just have little tolerance for waiting for things to unfold naturally.  In some ways, this isn't the best way to handle life...instead of waiting for a wound to heal naturally, picking and prodding it just seems so much more satisfying.

In other ways, immediacy forces results much more quickly.

Thaddeus is great when it comes to patiently waiting some things out.  He'll wait until our vitamins go on sale before ordering them...even when my mind is screaming..."What if we run out?!?!"  He'll calmly watch for the perfect planting vessel for his cannis to show up at the local flea market even as Spring approaches way too quickly for my tastes.

I, on the other hand, can't seem to wait it out.  I wanted display heads for my craft show and paid top dollar for them instead of trying to find something that would work for me.  I ended up buying these heads...


...and then these two beauties showed up at the flea market for less than half the price.


They show off my knitted items very well.

 
I even found a spot to store them that makes them easily accessible in case I want to use them for staging photos for the blog.


So, being impatient ended up having me own four mannequin heads for display even though I may have paid more than I would have otherwise.

Current Knitting

I've been focusing solely on finishing the knitting of the Easton Mountain logo blanket.


I've completed all six panels, joined them together, finished the side borders and now I'm working on the bottom border.  I also wove in most ends, but I still need to find an appropriate fabric to use as a backing for the blanket.  I'm thinking about getting some flannel fabric to back this with.

Anyone have any reasons not to use a flannel or fleece backing?

Friday, March 03, 2017

Duplicitous


Is there no end to what skills can be learned in the hobby of knitting?

Duplicate Stitch

In thirty years of knitting, you'd have thought that I have done everything there is to do in knitting, but as I was working on my current intarsia project (which needed to be fixed) I realized I had never actually done duplicate stitch before.

In the latest photo of the Easton Mountain logo blanket, you'll note that the slopes of the purple mountains don't line up in the two panels.






I have ripped out almost as much as I have actually knit on this project and I decided I would try fixing this gaffe with duplicate stitch. 


After a short period of stitching, I had successfully fixed the top section of the mountaintop.


Now I just have to fix the bottom half.

Trying out a new skill in knitting never seems to get less exciting for me.  If you'd like to try out some adventurous knitting skills using a Lucy Neatby Craftsy course, I'd highly recommend her Fearless Knitting course (which happens to demonstrate duplicate knitting very well).

Current Knitting

The duplicate stitching was prompted by the fact that I had finished the sixth panel for the logo.


Now I just have to graft it onto the rest of the blanket, knit a border and then line the blanket.  I'm grateful I have until May.