Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In which I do not go to the great lakes fiber festival

or make any progress on the FPS.

The FPS isn't a big issue - I did the color work on the last sleeve of my skye tweed sweater and got to maybe elbow length. Then in a fit of impulsiveness, cast on the strange yarn from Japan, and made a scarf over the weekend. It's nothing incredible, but the yarn isn't anything luxury level either. I think I did better justice to it than the garter stitch it was designed for, so I'm satisfied.

Great Lakes - well, I don't know what happened to that. I'd really been looking forward to it, and then, well, I didn't realize it was memorial day weekend for one. So the combination of having to go alone (some would have gone for company, but they are not 'yarn people' and I felt a little mean subjecting to so much) and not having anything that I needed *right now*, and honestly, the gas prices, and I just didn't. I regret a little - I could have picked up some unique lace or a starting spindle kit, but ah well, the weekend was good as it was.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

2.5 more patches of FPS last night

and that's all I have to say about that.

Well, almost, but I couldn't resist channeling forest gump for a moment there. I would have posted the pictures last night, but M absconded with my camera and cable to take pictures of one of the houses we saw. Once he told me where he'd hid them, there was no longer time (or light) for photography. I will try soon, but

note: The pictures I did post yesterday were from that one day when I did a bunch of my FOs. They really are rather lacking, both in subject (the front? the garment laid out flat so you can see the somewhat atypical construction method?) and in general quality. I attribute this to a combination of inexperience with the camera, and the fact that man, it was really dark that time of year! I intend to get better versions of them too.

But comments! I feel a little bad for not noticing them for so long, I gotten used to not having anything show up since it was so new, and sort of stopped checking.  to answer  5elementknitr's question, I've oogled Habu on websites, but never seen it in person, as it isn't carried locally. This stuff is no Habu, definetly more on the novelty than luxury end of the Japanese yarn spectrum, but as a gift, I feel obliged to do my best with it.

I don't think I ever mentioned why I was receiving Japanese yarn to begin with. It makes a lot more sense in context. I sent my friend in Japan my first handmade socks (STR medium, I did get pictures, and need to blog them) around the beginning of the year, and this was the (unexpected) return package.

and, of course, houses. Since I've got houses on the brain nowadays. This weekend we saw two more, one that was nice, but not what we were looking for, and one that just might be - except - it needs at least 20,000 worth of work. Refinished floors, new kitchen, and all new windows are the big(est) items.

It would be a great place for us at a great price with it done. but.
a) That's, um, a lot of work. How much do we really want to do all that work?
b) Other people may not think it's as nice as we do. It is an older house, with a lot of attributes that (while they don't bother us) aren't good for resale. Like smallish bathrooms and master bedroom. It's also on a 50mph road in sort of a commercial district. It backs up to a subdivision, and has a big yard so you don't really notice, but 'Industrial Parkway' just doesn't have that ring people are looking for, and the road is likely to get busier. So there's a real concern that even if we get a good price, we could still not be able to resell it.

So, we're thinking.

It also needs a heck of a home inspection. Do the outlets have suitable ground? (1960's construction, there isn't any on the plates, I've heard conflicting things) Do the well & septic work? does the plumbing leak? does the furnace work? How many things are made of asbestos? It's a bank repossession, so nobody knows.

Tough call.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

FO: White circle shrug

This is the second of three iterations of the circle shrug concept. I know, start in the middle why don't I? It is, however, the best looking of the three. I found the idea in the craftster forums, and created my own pattern for it. It's a very simple recipe, essentially a folded rectangle which you pick up stitches from the long edge of and knit around for a ruffle. In this case, the rectange is the 'english mesh' lace pattern from some washcloth pattern somewhere, and the ruffle is my own figuring (I'm sure someone else has devised and name it before, but I haven't seen it).
Stitch pattern (roughly):
r1: k2tog yo p
r2: k yo p2tog
It's essentially k1p1 ribs with yo's in between and is completely reversible, which was the desired attribute.
Due to the heavy drapey nature of the yarn, it doesn't need blocking beyond laying flat to dry, which is nice.

So, vital stats (I honestly remember all of these - wow)
yarn: gedifira 'big', a cotton acrylic blend 3 balls. I bought this for a tube top, then realized that was a bad idea, knit another top for which it was entirely too heavy, and finally it found a home here, for which it is very suitable, soft and drapey.
needles: size 8 bamboo circular. The plymouth one with the joins I don't like, which is why I remember it.
gauge: er, it's lace. One repeat of the english mesh is 2 inches across and 3 inches tall. One repeat of the lacy rib is 1.5 inches across.

close up:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

completely boring

It's unfortunate that starting this blog coincided so closely with knitting the most boring thing ever from an observational standpoint. I'm starting tier 14 on the FPS. I did finish my first ball of yarn this past weekend, and take a picture on the lamp, (for scale) which I suppose I will post, even though it is *not* exciting. I still maintain that it is not boring or unpleasant to knit (pattern keeps changing, distinct chunks of gratification and stopping points &c. &c.) but it is nothing to show to others progress-wise.

(M declared last night that my wad of unblocked lace 'looked pretty' I disagreed, and told him he had just lost a lot of veracity points on his future complements. He told me that I would have to stop complementing how his guitar practicing sounds)

14 tiers in, it's a little longer than my shoulders are wide un-stretched, so I declare it half-done. How many tiers does the pattern say again? I think that I am not getting gauge with this. (not that I tried, I just picked some needles that made an appropriately lacy swatch. Measurements schmeasurements)

So, for interesting content we will have to go outside the knitting arena:

-librivox sounds pretty cool. Am I strange for being most interested in reading Sophocles and Plato (euthyphro in particular)? But all those greek names would kill me I'm sure.

-Saw the first inside of a potential house the other day. Was unimpressed. People had bought it to flip, and done a terrible job of it. They put in nice new kitchen cabinets and poured a patio...but that was about it. No appliances. No new windows. No replacement of the asbestos siding. The floors are also very un-level (though they put new wood on top of it - but it is so not flat it will not last) they also painted all the walls taupe. But, ah, didn't sand them first, and there are brush strokes all over the place, and they didn't tape the ceiling well enough, since there's paint there too.
It isn't *bad* but they really didn't add any value other than the kitchen cabinets, and they are asking a price in line with it being completely fixed up and nice. Which is too bad, since according to the realtor (this may be realtor-ese, who knows), the price is just their costs, and it will probably be difficult/not worth it to convince them that it just isn't worth that, and they'll have to take a loss. Looks like it would have been a decent deal before they fixed it, but unfortunately we weren't looking then.
*le sigh* it had such a nice yard too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Strange yarn from Japan

I received a box from a friend of mine in Japan. Among other (mostly tasty) things there were these two skeins of yarn.

I would say they're around fingering weight, and very oddly made up. They're several different kinds of yarn wound into the same skein. Here are some more close up shots, since we know that's what everyone really wants.

I ripped right into skeining the first one before I thought about documenting the unique form it came in, so part of the one type of yarn is wound into a ball already.

Here you can see the three distinct types of yarn, the pale purple two-ply, rainbow-ish novelty, and a small amount of white feathery novelty. The purple and rainbow have about even amounts, (which is hard to tell now, since the purple's all wound up, but trust me) and there's only a very small amount of the white.

Finally, a close up of the purple, to see the composition. The plys are definitely distinct, and I'm guessing at fibers. Possibly wool and silk, possibly wool/acrylic and rayon. The only tag was a little stub that said 'home spun'. Not even anything in Japanese.

The dark was considerably less photogenic, but it looks like equal parts black/rainbow in the vein of this one's white/rainbow, and some natural colored slubby cotton. No third yarn in that one.
The two skeins were tied together too. So, I'm wondering, what to make with this? I get the impression it might be some sort of a kit, intended for use in a single project, but I can't think what. Anyone ever seen/heard of a presentation like this before?
If I don't get any feedback, I'm thinking a length-wise scarf, so I can use the parts up evenly. I'd like to do a lace pattern rather than just garter like my Kochoran scarf, but I need to figure out something simple enough not to fight too much, and that won't object to having it's beginning & ending dictated by when I run out of a yarn type.
Oh, yes, and the rest of the stuff from the box from Japan. Tasties.

(actually, there was a little more than this, including some slubby black wool, but it's been redistributed around my house more than I wanted to gather back up again)

Our herbs have finally sprouted. Well, most of them. And I'm not sure how well they'll make out starting just now, and not getting a heck of a lot of sun. But we have basil.

and oregano.

To give you a sense of scale as to just how tiny these things are, here are the full pots. Basil is on the left. The oregano seeds looked like dust.

The parsley is visible at a somewhat more reasonable scale.

We also have one thyme, a little mint, and a second pot of oregano. But honestly, they look about the same, and I'm already getting kinda heavy on the 'generic green sprouts' pics as it is, happy as they may make me in their wee-ness. No Lemon Verbena yet.