Thursday, January 29, 2009

PSAs

Here are the Public Service Announcements for Thursday, January 29.

Do Not Eat (serious): The list of FDA-recalled peanut products keeps getting longer and longer. Cannot believe Peanut Corp of America continued to ship products they knew might be contaminated with multiple strains of Salmonella. The latest cull from my pantry is breakfast and energy bars. The Lärabars I handed out at the 4th of July parade are on the list, too.

Recalled peanut product

Do Not Read (kidding): The Ravelry thread about a certain undead zombie sock designer keeps getting longer and longer. Can... not... look... away! At least I'm learning bunches about online fraud, forensic Google-fu, drinking, cussing, and random other life skills.

ETA1: The thread goes ever on, but find a reasonable summary here and here.

ETA2: Or just view this YouTube video (rated PG-13 for bad language).


Screen capture from YouTube

That is all. Oh, except for hooray for Lilly Ledbetter!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Love's Illusions

It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all.
                                                  -- Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now (1967)

The dayHot chocolate after Christmas my local CVS had Valentine's Day stuff out; the other day the clerks were yelling, "The Cadbury eggs are here!" Yeesh. Christmas may indeed be over, but Easter isn't until April 12 (or 19 for Eastern Orthodox) and, anyway, I'm holding out for marshmallow chicks. So I started a Love Me Knot sock by Alice Bell.

It's a fun knit – my first illusion knitting project. I swatched a whole bunch of combinations before settling on MC Vanilla Wildfoote and CC Poppy Claudia Hand Painted. So far as I can tell, color saturation is more important to the illusion effect than position on the color wheel. That is, saturated neighbors, such as red and orange, are effective combinations, but even complimentary soft pastels are not. The taboo against variegated yarn seems exaggerated, although there's no question vibrant op art colors work very well. The biggest surprise to me is the texture of illusion knitting is almost as delightful as the scintillating visual effect.

Love Me Knot sock in progress

More surprises: there's a rumor that a certain lamented sock designer isn't dead after all... Loopy Yarns in Chicago has been receiving nasty phone calls, because they hosted an inauguration party last weekend... the sock pattern for a cause that I was planning to knit for February Sockdown!, Pink Ribbons by Lisa Lloyd, apparently isn't cause-y enough. Sigh. I do try to look at both sides, but it would seem [breaks into song] I really don't know sooooocks... at all!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh Happy Day

Yesterday, Inauguration Day in the U.S., was like the Fourth of July in January roundabout Exit 151. Amid the snow and ice and remnants of winter holiday decorations, many houses were resplendent with flags and bunting. I put up a flag, but cheerfully concede this one takes the cake. (Notice the number of stars – I wonder how many joys and sorrows this flag has marked.)

Inauguration Day decorations

Reclaiming flag-waving from yahoos and scoundrels was only one of the many marvels of the day. The biggest marvel undoubtedly was the huge, excited, well-mannered crowd in Washington – DC police reported no incidents and no arrests among the eager witnesses to history. The best? I'm not sure – I loved the music, the sung and spoken word, the wise and witty benediction, but perhaps it was the inaugural address, with its triumph of reason and reasonableness, embrace of our patchwork heritage, lack of posturing and doublespeak, and explicit care for commonweal and commonwealth.

Grassroots Hat

All in all, it makes me happy to wear my Grassroots Hat, knit from worsted oddments. There's a clever allegory lurking in the grassroots somewhere, but I stand content with this exclamation: three cheers for President Barack Hussein Obama!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Toque, Yo!

Remember Toque, Yo!, a test knit for Rosemary Hill? It's the hat she's wearing in her Knitty profile photo (see Bijouterie, Muir, Ice Queen, and others), it has a story of its own, and the complete pattern is now available.

Toque, Yo!

The hat is an enjoyable project for experienced knitters; adventurous beginners will find it a readily accessible introduction to three techniques: mosaic colorwork in the round, knitting a casing, and jogless joins. The pattern offers two options – this is the original version with boning.

Many knitters will chose to emulate the designer and use strongly contrasting colors for a dynamic, op art look. I wanted to explore the interplay of a subdued color contrast with the ear-of-corn texture of the purl fabric. I love the nubbly result, even though the short version without boning actually fits my short stack cranium better. Either way, Toque, Yo! is a satisfying knit.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Observer Effect

It's Epiphany and the revelation of the day is apparently there has been a discontinuity in the spacetime of my blogoverse, undetected by me but observable by others (thanks, Kelli). Not only would that seem to confirm empirically the existence of the Black Hole of Crafting, but also to imply I've already tumbled in.

Astrophysics tells us that by the time we observe something, the event is already in the past, possibly by billions of years. Quantum mechanics tells us that the very act of observation changes things. Both philosophy and accounting wrestle with issues of recency and priority. Me, I just blame the manvest.

Manvest on New Year's Day

Here it is on New Year's Day looking innocent, posing with dodecahedrons because of that which is stated chronologically later yet is logically prior: it is NaKniSweMoDo Project 1. The pattern is Peter Easy and the yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, colorway 6287 Denim Mix.

Less than a week later, it has achieved the Vast Expanse o' Stockinette stage. Can anything stop the manvest? And, do I want to, even for (let us say) Distaff Day, tomorrow?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Event Horizon

The manvest is approaching the Vast Expanse o' Stockinette stage. (It's not nearly so purple-y in person.) There oughta be voice over by Leonard Nimoy proclaiming, "We are now entering the Black Hole of Crafting" or some such.

Manvest in progress

Not least because although DH seems to like his vest in progress, he's also made some new requests. Yaaaaaaaah!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

No Waffling

Happy New Year! Initially I was inclined to think that having committed to NaKniSweMoDo and Plurk Craft 365, I didn't need to make any fibery resolutions for 2009. That was before I lined up (and shot) the Socks of Shame, aka the official number of singleton socks as of 12/31/08.

Singleton socks
From left to right: Pink Beads, Stashbuster Spirals, Meadowlands x2, Scar, Fawkes, Piscean, Green Merino, Juta's Stocking

Ahem. Here's five fibery goals for 2009:

Reduce the official number of singleton socks. The count currently stands at 9. Come December, gentle readers with avenging fury tendencies may wish to remind me to post a year-end pictorial comparison. In the meantime, I shall post a running total, with up/down status on the sideboard.

Knit or crochet seven adult-sized sweaters. Unless severe dodecamania sets in, that seems a realistic goal for my NaKniSweMoDo. The symptoms to watch for: normal dodecamaniacs have pentagonal dodecahedral calendars, severe dodecamaniacs have rhombic ones (click if you dare).

Dodecahedrons

Make a couple blankies, not because there's a blankie shortage at casa Jersey Knitter, but because DH wants some and the stashes have gotten that big. Probably a sewing project, although I keep thinking Snow Flurries – knit, then fulled bouclé – would make a fabulous blanket.

Spindle sufficient yarn for a pair of socks. To give this one teeth I'll add this public vow: if the yarn is not finished – I mean spun, plied, and set – by my birthday, I shall give away a Sheep 2 Shoe kit. I'll have to think about what to do should I finish in time – besides knit a pair of socks, that is.

Reduce use of plastics, especially plastic bags. It should be relatively easy to sew up more fabric project bags – the real challenge is stash. Not only is most stored in plastic bins and bags, but also there's the monster box of plastic yarn to deal with. Some research may be needed, but there shall be no waffling!

Erm, well, maybe a little waffling?

Waffle

But only because I got a waffle iron for Christmas (thanks, Mom and Dad!).