I'm staying up all night to finish an art assignment I didn't start earlier because I was anxious about it.  (Entirely logical, I know.)  It's actually so much fun!  I spent 4 hours working out ideas, and only started the actual bit that gets handed in at 1am.  But - fun!

(On a related note: I have acquired caffeine pills.)


Know what's super irritating?

.... when the underarm bit on a knitted shirt felts with wear but nothing else does.  Bah.


Knitter's Fair 2012

I went to bed early tonight, since I have early classes all this term. Then I started reading Patricia C. Wrede's latest book and then I finished it and it was really good and exciting so now I am awake!  Oops.  Here is a picture:

Knitter's Fair haul 2012

It's what I got at the Knitter's Fair this year!

I was trying hard not to overspend (and I only overspent a liiiiiittle, so yay for that?), so I decided I wasn't allowed to get any commercial yarn.  Success!  None of this is stuff I can buy online (well, from major yarn sites, at least), and half of it is silk - I'm not sure why, but there was a bunch of nice cheap silk this year.  I also managed to not buy all blues - check out that wicked awesome roving on the left: it's 100% nylon but it's soo soft and has amazingly eye-bleed-y colours (from Studioloo, which was my favourite stall last year too, they have such weird awesome bright things).  Yeah!

Also, Amanda Palmer's Theatre Is Evil just came out today (AAAAAAAAAAAH!), so I obviously have to listen to it again before I try sleeping again.  Oh man oh man, it's really really excellent so you should go buy it if you haven't already.  I keep thinking a track is particularly good, but (spoiler alert) it turns out they all are.  Like gosh.


I've got something I'm dyeing to show you

What's better than puns?

That's right: NOTHING.

Taking pictures my of my handspun made me want to dye some fibre - it's so much more interesting to spin dyed fibre; I can only spun undyed fibre for so long before the lack of colour gets me down. Even fibre that's just been dyed a solid colour gets boring pretty quickly.  Picture time: (feel free to skip the words, they are about what colours I used, etc)


This one was originally solid magenta (the colour that's peeking through the purple).  I added some blue in patches, which spread to cover most of the fibre.  (I'm just working with food colouring, so I can't actually get this sort of purple usually, since I lack a magenta dye - the blue and yellow I have are actually reasonably close to process colours though, so I can get a good range at the other end of the colour wheel.)  I've already spun half of this - I'm working on spinning thicker singles evenly.  They are still pretty lumpy so far, but plying tends to help even things out.  Anyway, I called this colour "Ketamine," because it reminded me of the TRIP! logo for ketamine.


This fibre was initially white.  I dyed it a solid bright blue, then overdyed with orange.  I wanted to tone down the blue a bit; I've mostly done really saturated colours before, and I wanted to get subtler.  I also wanted to avoid any purple-y tones, so I used orange instead of red, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I'm calling this colour "GlowWorms."

Apple Decay

 This one was also originally undyed white top - I did a first layer of pure (very bright) red, then overdyed with small amounts of green and purple to tone things down a bit.  There's some really subtle variegation: this one is much more solid than the last two, and at first glance it looks solid.  I'm going to knit something lacy with it when it's spun!  This colour is called "Apple Decay."

Elf Poison

These were bits of undyed handspun.  I added green and orange into the same dyepot, which made the green a lot warmer (and evil-looking) and added the brown bits.  This is called "Elf Poison" because if elves had poison this is the colour it would be (or else it would be colourless, and it would turn poisoned people this colour - both are good options).

Flecked Clematis

 This one is commercial wool I bought from ebay (it came from China).  Originally, it was white with a grey ply; interestingly, the grey ply seems to have refused to take any dye, so I suspect the grey ply is actually acrylic and I was lied to about the fibre content.  I do actually like how it looks, so it all works out.  I used copious amounts of blue and purple (and maybe a bit of red?  I can't remember.) that were reasonably well mixed.  (Actually, I used waaaay too much dye, a lot of it got poured down the sink (it's ok, it's food colouring!) and a lot more got rinsed out of the yarn.)  I called this color "Flecked Clematis" because I was slightly less grumpy than when I was thinking of names for the last two.

(Sidenote: I like picking ickier names when I'm grumpy - I stashed all my roommate's yarn in ravelry for her, and it's full of names like "Bruised Ankles" and "Drowned Face."  She had to change some of the names apparently, because they were too upsetting.  I guess the point of this sidenote is that if you want slightly gross colourway names, ask me to think of things when I'm grumpy.)

Swamp by Night

This one is my favourite from this batching of dyeing!  I dumped some green in the pot, but I was getting tired by this point and I didn't really want to think about what else to add, so I just dumped a bunch of different colours in the pot without really paying attention.  Which, of course, made these awesome dark bits!  I have a lot more sympathy for certain yarn companies who don't have dyelots now - these were all dyed in the same pot, but each skein turned out quite differently.  They will still be irritating to knit with, but now I understaaaaaaand.  (And only have myself to get irritated at, which is much less satisfying.)  The only problem with these is that the base yarn is quite scratchy; I'm going to try soaking them in conditioner, but I tried that with a knit shirt earlier today, and apparently my conditioner is extremely smelly, so I want to get some less smelly stuff first.  Must find some nice base yarn(s)!  That aren't expensive!  Oh, and I called this one "Swamp by Night."

That's all the dyeing for today, but here is a picture of the sweater I finished recently:
Floopy sweater
I'm really happy with it except that I ran out of yarn, so the bottom border is shorter (which is fine) and I cast off a bit too tightly (which....is fine so far, but I might get frustrated and fix it later).

Pattern:  Ravelry : Designer's Site

PS - everything I dyed is some kind of wool.  None of the things are for sale, but they aren't necessarily not for sale, so feel free to ask if you like.


Here are some pictures of yarn I've spun

I'm trying to learn how to take nice pictures.  It's a work in progress, but here are some pictures of yarn I spun:

Handspun - foreign skies

Handspun - droplets

Handspun - floating

Handspun - mosstacular

Handspun - shells

Handspun - dust storm

Handspun - grapefruit sunrise

Handspun - sunrise

Handspun - undyed

Handspun - mackrel

Handspun - purple dragon


(The pictures are all new, but some of the yarn is not.)


So. Awake.

I've been trying to form good habits.  (I have a lot of bad habits (including using too many parentheses), so there's a lot of better ones I've been trying to get into.)  I have a great deal of trouble getting to sleep at anything except an ungodly hour (falling asleep between 6am and 6pm goes swimmingly - nothing else does).  I now have an alarm that tells me to get off the computer at midnight ( the "sleep" alarm plays this - the "make dinner" alarm plays "bananaphone").

So far, it's only sort of worked.  I do get off the computer at midnight (yay!) but then I stay awake finishing apocalypse stories, which leave me paranoid and unable to sleep.  (They generally feature lots of murderings and/or zomies/alt-zombies.  (Alt-zombies are exactly like regular zombies, except they aren't actually called zombies.))  Last night I knit half a sweater, only to find out today that I'd fucked up the first arm, and had to frog almost the entire thing.  I guess it's nice that I get to knit with the yarn more (it's nice yarn), but still.  Ag.  Tonight I'm writing this blog post, I guess.  Maybe I'll watch Harry Potter, THAT won't have any murderings!  Oh wait.

The really worrying thing is that I've only read three of the books I got out of the library yesterday; I still have ...er...a lot... to go, and most of them are science fiction.  Which is, statistically, the most apocalyptic genre. [citation needed]

I could read some Prachett or Heyer, but I've been reading a LOT of both recently (it's summer) so neither really appeals.  I wish my teenage girl science fiction had arrived from the internet by now.  Maybe if I order more books it will arrive faster!  That's clearly the best plan.



I made a thing. See:

All Around the City

It's ink, pen, more ink, and some embroidery.

I stole some style inspiration from brokenbees (go look! So good!) and the words are from this song (mostly because it's been stuck in my head the last few days).  


It just gets everywhere

It's the end of term: time to finish all the end-of-term assignments (plus a couple others that...never mind.  I have poor time-management skills when it comes to essays, apparently.)  A stressful time.  And whatnot.

Kids, this is what university is like: your eyes hurt when the sun comes up because you've been working on the computer all night, on a paper you put off for two weeks and now have to finish in one night.  It's 7am and you just realized you have no real thesis.
My floor, post essay

                               Here's my floor, post essay. ->
That nice, yellow-y glow?  
That's because the sun is coming up.

Or, you know, you manage your time better than I do.  That's probably the better option.

One of the ways I react to stress, it turns out, is to get out nice yarn and hold it.  Sometimes that will be enough, and other times I start thinking about the things I could make with it.  Sometimes I wind it into a ball, despite the fact that I already have six balls around (and under) my desk, waiting, patiently, to be used.  (Some of them are getting a bit dirty - but it's ok!  Those ones are crappy yarn.)  Some of these balls have half a gauge swatch attached, complete with needles.  Some of them even have multiple gauge swatches, with multiple sets of needles, all attached to the ball.  (Which makes some kind of sense, in my personal design process.)

Here is my desk, covered in yarn that accumulated without me thinking about it:

My desk, covered in yarn


Remember to not stab yourself

I've been embroidering a bit recently.  I'm not terribly wonderful at it (yet) but I feel like I'm making a bit of progress.

Embroidery floss and WIPs

I have learned a couple things about embroidering over acrylic paint or paper:
  1. Always use a thimble, goddamnit!  A painted canvas is stronger than the top couple layers of your skin.  Needles are pretty pointy at both ends.  Using a sharper needle is also a good idea.
  2. Also: puncture the canvas/paper from the front (even if your needle's in the back).  This one is less painful if you forget, but it does make things look nicer.
Pretty pictures are nice, so here are some other things I've embroidered:

On an unrelated note...
"On an unrelated note..."

All wrapped up
"All wrapped up"

You may have already won
"You may have already won"


Damn my sticky fingers

The worst thing about sex is having to get up and wash your hands before you can start knitting again.  Lame!

Slightly related: String Theory has BULKY YARN OMG!  My yarn diet is seriously being tested.  Ok self: when we've used up enough yarn, we can buy ourselves some gorgeous bulky stuff to make ourselves something awesome.  For our very strict definition of "enough."  Now get off the internet, we should have been asleep hours ago.

Slightly more related: get wet wipes.


Metric vs. Stupid

Can I just complain for a little?

It's about the metric system.  Well, not exactly, it about the lack of use of the metric system, particularly in knitting.

I am continually (CONTINUALLY) frustrated by patterns that list needle size by US size (or UK size, Canadian size, etc).  These numbers are ENTIRELY ARBITRARY!  Worse, they are incomplete (there's no US size for a 3.mm, 7mm or 7.5mm) and inconsistent (for some reason, at larger numbers, they start being labelled 15, 17, 19, 35, 50).  What is this nonsense?  These large sizes are not proportional to the metric sizes - maybe there was a system at one time, but I don't really care because if there was a system it was clearly a terrible one.  To be accurate about what needle you are using, you should always just use mm.  ALWAYS. 

It's not just needles, either!  When you're given a gauge, it's assumed that 10cm = 4".  This is accurate enough for thicker yarns (bulky, worsted, DK), but when you're working at gauges like 28st = 10cm/4", that quality is actually off by over a mm, meaning your gauge can be off by half a stitch or more.  I'm aware that most people just don't care that much, but damnit, if I'm making a gauge swatch, it needs to be accurate, otherwise what's the point?  Obviously, I'd rather if patterns used cm, but if that is too difficult then it would be nice if they at least specified which measurement they were using.  (Some people do this, it's true - yaay for them!)

The point is that everyone should just switch to the metric system already.  Hasn't it been long enough?  There are a million demonstrations of why the imperial system is broken and unwieldy, and I'm not going to go over that here - I think I can assume that anyone who's actually thought about it prefers metric for pretty much everything.

The only exception I had, personally, was for measuring household-size objects.  Cm are clearly too small, and m are clearly too big.  Luckily, because the metric system is great, there's something in between: the rarely used decimeter.  I don't know why this isn't an everyday unit of measurement, because it's great!  A decimeter (dm) is 10 cm.  I'm still adjusting to using it - I have a ruler that's a dm that I'm carrying around, so my eyes can get used to approximating it more easily.  When I guess at measurements, in the past I'd guess things like "a bit less than a foot" or "maybe a few inches" - I'm not talking about accurate estimations (that's what cm are for!) so this works out really well.  My waterbottle is "2 and a bit" dm, my mouse is "between 1 and 2" dm.

Clearly this is a good idea.  If you like to measure smallish things inaccurately with your eyes, you should Try This At Home.


Gettin' it done

In other news, I've been super good about my yarn diet so far this year!  I haven't bought ANY yarn since x-mas (except stuff for a commission, but that doesn't count because it's a commission and I don't have to pay for it).  I am slowly but determinedly working through my stash.  I know it's only been a month an a half, but damnit, that's enough time to be proud about!  But not enough time that I get to buy myself yarn as a reward.  (That's just my yarn-brain talking.)


Away we go

Do you ever get the feeling where your thoughts are kind of floaty and unfocused?  Your body wanders around, eating food, reading books, putting on sweaters, fucking around on the internet, picking up yarn, taking off sweaters, and you aren't really all that aware of what's happening?

Which one should I do first?

Yes, well.  This is an inconvenient time for a floaty head.  I need a brain that is paying attention in order to work on various school tasks that are due rather soon.  Knitting could possibly help - or I could just want to keep knitting.  Oh dear.


Go the fuck to sleep

Here is my current wish: I wish I could program myself to sleep on time.  Ideally, I'd set sleep/wake times - I'd get warnings at 30min and 10 min before sleep time, and I'd get 20 minutes leeway in the morning (though of course this could be reset if needed).  Sleep is entirely difficult.  (I'd rather not have to eat than not have to sleep, but that's only because I have alllllll the food issues.)



I got some!  From the garbage!  So now I actually have a real place to put my knitted shirts!  So much win.


Everyone always tells me I'm wonderful, and it's turning me into a bitch.

I need some constructive criticism, yo!  

I think the main problem is that I don't have many close friends who are better than (or equivalent to) me at the things I care about.  Clearly I need to be more social and actually talk to people.  (I'd really rather just hang out in my room and make stuff.)

I can crit myself (though I'm not sure how constructive it is), but it's got less impact when it comes from my own brain - plus it's easier to forget.  Self: go socialize with interesting people and stop being a jerk!

On another note, I finished a couple nice knitted things (plus some embroidered stuff from last term!) that I need to take nice pictures of, but I keep sleeping till 2pm (notice how it's 3am right now?) and miss the good light.  I guess I could go outside, but it's COLD.  And I don't have a backyard.

Do any embroiders have a good recommendation for a stitch guide?  I want to get better at this!  I'm thinking something along the lines of this site, but in book form.

Also, related to books, The Principles of Knitting is being re-released.  Now, full disclosure, I don't actually know much (anything) about this book, but the title makes me really excited for it!  I hope I get a co-op job so I can buy it without having to wait until it comes out in paperback.  (If it ever does.  Damn you, Loop-d-Loop, and your delicious hardcover patterns!)


Too much stuff

I'm running out of space for my knitted things.  I also have too much yarn.  So, my goal is to clear out one box (milk crate) of yarn, so I can keep sweaters and things there instead.  This is going to be very difficult.  The yarn is reeeeally stuffed in there tight.  Plus, I reeeeally like buying yarn. 

Since it looks like I'll have to move again soon (I hate my landlady/co-op) cutting down on the yarn is probably a good plan.  I would really like to not have to move.  I've lived at my current place for two and a half years, and I've acquired a lot of stuff.  Ok, going to stop writing as this is making me stressed.  Going to go to other work now.  Sigh.


A Question for skilled draw-ers (drawers?)

Here is the skill I would like to develop:

Drawing: (left hand = picture one) (right hand = picture two)

How often should I switch for optimal skill development? I am willing to spend time practicing. 

My instinct says switch every time. y/n?

I've been (mirroring lines and circles, looking at the paper) and (drawing circles with both hands, not looking).

Do I find it more difficult to draw a line than a circle?  Which is preferable?  Should I draw lines first?  Perpendicular to each other?  Lines and circles?  Circles and lines?  (Circle Circle) (Line Line) ?

I am enjoying having this thought and excited to work on this skill.  I would appreciate input if you feel that you: (have a constructive response) or (don't understand and want explanation)