Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dragon and a half and more Friday Finds

Now that I'm finally catching on to how the lace pattern works, the Dragon Breath socks are sailing along. This was supposed to be a Malabrigo Knit-along with some of the group, but some people are having trouble getting started and while I've slowed progress down deliberately -- well, I'd like to get these socks done! Especially now that I've "got it" with the pattern. I don't want to lose "it!"

I'm lovin' this Malabrigo sock yarn. Very soft, and the smoky teal/bronze colorway so suits this pattern.

Now, for yarny news from the cyberworld, here are a handful of interesting finds:
  • Bogus yarn a threat to the U.S. textile industry? When South American textile mills stopped buying yarn from a U.S. company because they could get "U.S." yarns cheaper from a different company, alarm bells went off. Turns out the cheap "U.S." company is a phoney front for yarn spinning mills in China and Pakistan. Foul!
  • Ever thought of knitting a wedding dress? I can't say I had, but the results are gorgeous!
  • Petite Purls has its summer patterns up. Lots of cute knits for the young 'uns.
  • Have you seen the 3-50 project for keeping locally-owned businesses alive and well? Yet another good excuse to go shopping at your local yarn store!
  • Here's an interesting research article on blogger ethics. Some unspoken rules seem to permeate the blogosphere.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday Finds (a day late -- so sue me)

It's been a bit weird -- two funerals in one weekend, just a wee bit taxing.

A few interesting finds over the last week or so:

That should keep y'all busy for a little while.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

KIP-ing and Clap-ing

If you'll pardon the somewhat wooden expression that generally comes when you're trying to aim a camera at your own face and smile, here ya go. The Clapotis scarf is finally done!

I made substantial progress on Saturday, that being World Wide Knit in Public Day. I haven't a picture of the group setting up at the Saturday Market in town, since I came to help set up and knit a tiny bit before I had to dash off to Commencement. But I did have my scarf in a small bag to work on. After the speeches were over and the graduates lined up, I whipped out the Clapotis and stitched away. Alas, I didn't have my camera with me so I have no photographic evidence of me sitting in full academic regalia, knitting. Before you think I was being bad, I wasn't the only one in the faculty who brought something to do. Our division chair was grading final exams.

And here's a close-up of the finished, blocked scarf:

In the blocking process, I learned that you really do have to be careful about washing silk in case the dyes weren't properly fixed (as is often the case) and run like the dickens. The dyes did run, but not to the extent that the whole thing was stained. A little gentle soap cleaned out any hand oils, and a little vinegar in the rinse water restored the silky sheen. Blot dry in a towel, pin flat, and voila -- Clapotis!

For a two-skeins-of-Alchemy-Synchronicity scarf-sized version, I did only two full repeats of rows 1-12 in the increase section (and the half-repeat called for), did 14 repeats of the rows in the body section, and two full repeats (and the half-repeat) of the decrease rows. Just in case, I ran a lifeline just before the last repeat and didn't run any of the ladders down from that point on until I finished.

This is all I had left of the Alchemy when I was done:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Knitting at 30,000 feet

So, we ordered the tickets and the DH and I are off to Indiana later in July to see his mother. Now begins the worry, fret, and research about knitting on the plane. What can I take on? What is verboten? What does it say I can take on the plane on the TSA website but might actually be confiscated at the airport because the gods only know une dame d'un certain age with knitting implements fits every profile of a terrorist, right? Besides making sure that I only have 4 oz of liquid or less, all tidy in a ziplock baggie (because only terrorists carry large amounts of shampoo and neglect to put it in a ziplock baggie, I guess), can I take my knitting without having it taken away from me? If it came to turning around and driving back home or handing over a half-finished Malabrigo sock, which would I choose? Um... how much time do I have to think that over?

According to TSA:

Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage. However, there is a possibility that the needles can be perceived as a possible weapon by one of our Security Officers. Our Security Officers have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow said item to pass through security. We recommend the following when bringing knitting needles on an airplane:

  • Circular knitting needles are recommended to be less than 31 inches in total length
  • We recommend that the needles be made of bamboo or plastic (Not Metal)
  • Scissors must have blunt points
  • In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security it is recommended that you carry a self addressed envelope so that you can mail your tools back to yourself as opposed to surrendering them at the security check point.

I actually did get metal straight needles through security when we flew out two years ago, though they raised eyebrows considerably when they showed up on X-ray. I don't think I'll try that again. I'll stick with circulars, which I have carried on a plane before, not only because they're less scary when they show up on X-ray, but because a small project on circulars can fit in a pocket. I always pull them out enough that the inspectors can see them when I put everything in those gray trays at Security.

I guess I should take the self-addressed mailer, too, which means I'll have to weigh my knitting and pre-stamp the envelope because I don't recall seeing post offices in any airports I've been in. I don't recall any mail drops, either, so I don't know what it is you're supposed to do with your pre-addressed package if it comes to that.

As if that wasn't enough to fret about, how about those new TSA scanners that do an electronic strip search? Great... if they have to pull you aside, you get a choice of the scanner or a TSA employee patting you down. Electronic strip-search or a real-life groping.

Yeah, I want my booty out there for everyone to see:

Here's an idea, airline officials. Why don't you just go the whole way? Check all baggage, issue sedatives and jammies, and stack all of your passengers in bunks to sleep away the entire flight. No worries then about crazed passengers, and just think of all the money you'd save on free drinks!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rejoice! The new Knitty is up!

Knitty's summer issue is up! Check out the new patterns. The Mermaid socks are especially nice. Entomology just might be enough to make me consider knitting a shawl. And Trilobite is perhaps the best science geek beanie I've seen in a long time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Slooowww progress...

It's been nuts around here. The term is coming to an end, so there's grading to finish. So far I've been spared the usual end-of-term drama -- no one coming in to my office to beg for (or simply demand) a higher grade. On top of that, I have a summer class starting in two weeks that I need to prepare for. I'd been putting off preparations because so few students had signed up that I wasn't sure if it was going to run or not. Now it IS going to run and I have to RUN to get ready for it! It's Biology for Elementary Teachers, so it'll be fun (how many college courses have YOU had where you get to color, cut, paste, make pictures, and listen to stories and get credit for it?), but it does take a heap of planning to pull it off, make it academic, make it make sense, and give the students something they can really use.

Knitting time has been at a real premium. I've made time for Saturday knitting with the local Ravelry group, and knitting at least a few minutes most evenings to wind down and get ready for bed.

The Clapotis is coming along, though I frogged the first start because at the width I was making it, I'd run out of yarn before it was longer than a neckwarmer. A very wide neckwarmer wasn't what I had in mind. It's now scarf-width and I think it will be just long enough, which is a good thing, because I checked to see if there was any more of the Alchemy Synchronicity in the "03c- Lovely Good" colorway and found out it's discontinued. I must use what I have.
The Dragon Breath sock in Malabrigo sock yarn has reached a turning point, which is to say, the heel has been turned. I've slowed down on that deliberately since some folks in our group who wanted to do the Malabrigo knit-along haven't had the chance to start yet.

And even Twist and Shout gets a few rows now and then. I'll be through with the back soon, and then get to tackle the complicated fronts.

Odin says, "I'm glad you're home. I miss you when you're gone. Are you going to feed me soon? Purr, purr, purr..."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday, interrupted

No Friday Finds today. We just learned that the mother of a family we know in the neighborhood, whose son is one of my son's buddies, passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly. She leaves behind a husband, grown son, and two school-age daughters. Must see what we can do for them.

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