ironymaiden: (yarncore)
spinning, dammit. i have some other things i'm itching to make, i'm just trying to be a grownup and finish out this bobbin before i pull out some more exciting fiber.

there's nothing wrong with this stuff, it's a nice merino dyed by Socks That Rock, there's just 8oz of it and i'm trying to make fingering and it goes on forever and ever. one ply down, second ply done sometime soon if i can choke it out, and then the third ply can wait - the inlaws got me another Akerworks bobbin for Christmas.

it's fractal spin, which was interesting to set up and will be interesting to ply. but at the single stage, boooooring.

ironymaiden: (rich zoe)

i am enjoying the heck out of these podcasts:
More Perfect: stories from the history of the US Supreme Court. this is from the people who do Radiolab.
Code Switch: talk about race, mostly in the US, from a group of PoC working at NPR. stay woke.
Invisibilia: this one is roughly themed around invisible influences that shape our behavior. the one that hooked me was about how learning to express feelings helped an offshore oil rig reduce their accident rate.

i drafted a new knitting project bag pattern and made a prototype. it's pretty rad. now i feel more confident about making one with [ profile] mimerki's fabric.

i eyeballed pictures of a handknit sock and have reproduced the effect without reading a pattern.

Pokemon GO. it deserves its own post, but suffice it to say that i enjoyed the downtown bus slowdown immensely this morning, since i was earning XP.

C will be home for our annual camping trip in less than ten days.
ironymaiden: (bunnies)
Yesterday was a a good day. Morning: Knitfit. Afternoon: Dog & a nice second lunch. Evening: silly movie and snuggles.

I bombed through the marketplace at 8:30 and got everything on my list, plus one little treat for [ profile] mimerki. I even got to nerd out over SIFF with Ilga and Mike from Edgewood Gardens.

my class was on on ergonomics for knitters. Great stuff. Alas, the big takeaway is that knitting requires us to do some bad things. The best way i can help is to not harm myself while using the computer. (And sit well. I need a better chair.)

C picked me up outside and I snarfed down a bag of Dick's as we drove to Kent. this rescue partners with a kennel there. The lady at the kennel was great.* We got to take the dog for a walk, play a bit, and do a greet with another dog. Everything went well. She's energetic but gentle, not fearful, and interested in people. She's beautiful. Smaller than our ideal**, for sure. But not too small. she feels like a plush toy. (If Molly was a Gund, this one is more of a Steiff.) Her dog-dog socialization is actually pretty great. We said yes and we're prepping the house. It isn't real until we get possession, but it's the closest we've been. I floated through the rest of the afternoon.

we had some extra time left on the car, so we went to Chinook's and got second lunch (first for C) and hot drinks and watched the rain fall on the fishing fleet.

later we collapsed on the couch and watched Jupiter Ascending. there was so much cool shit there packed into too little time with no character development and unbalanced exposition. Imagine if the entirety of The Matrix was smooshed into the first 40 minutes of a 2 hour film containing all of the content from the trilogy - but without shortening any action sequences. it could have been a really fun space opera book.

As it was? My inner 10 year old thinks the flying werewolf space boyfriend is cool, but she would have stopped cleaning toilets.

*being backstage at the kennel made me sad. shelters in Western Washington are either cheerful and shiny or kind of clinical. this was scruffier, older. kind of the difference between a community center and in-home daycare.

** she's from Korea - rejected by a meat rancher because her carcass would be too small. she looks like an oversized Shiba Inu.
ironymaiden: (chinstrap)
yesterday was one of the sweet fine days days on the edge of autumn - bright, warm, glorious. (okay, it could have been cooler. but it also didn't require sunglasses, so I'll take it.)

i got out of bed like it was a workday, and met up with [ profile] mimerki, [ profile] e_bourne, and knitta D to visit a fiber mill on Whidbey Island.

we got to ride in Adrian, and we practically drove right onto the ferry. we found a great spot for breakfast in Langley, with quirky decor and a thing for apples.

then we toured the mill, which is small but mighty. the equipment came from Oklahoma and Indiana; we are beneficiaries of the decline of the US textile industry. I came home with pin-drafted roving made from Washington wool, alpaca, and angora. its all so pretty and soft. We were amused that there are tufts of fiber all over the place, including the gravel driveway. they foisted apples on us from their trees, and gave us bottles of water, and there was much fiber nerdery.

after that, we hit Whidbey Island Distillery. the tour was very cool, with a bit of serendipity- we were there at the same time as the Metropolitan club. fun facts: their spirits are distilled from local wine and they get the wine in trade (half the distillate goes back to the wineries to make fortified wines) the still itself is computer controlled and the distiller can adjust it remotely from his phone.

then we tooled around Langley some more, where we saw these awesome sheep and goat portraits, and got ice cream. Then we had another lovely ferry ride. It was a truly superior day.
ironymaiden: (socket)
fell into a research hole after the game last night (Sounders won, it only rained during halftime, i had an excellent meat pie and an artisanal ding dong cake) trying to learn more about distaffs. a distaff is a thing that holds a supply of fiber while a spinner is working. it started with me reading about flax and led to this pretty cool educational video from British Pathé.*

how fibres are spun

*it is so much easier to type accents on a virtual keyboard
ironymaiden: (rich zoe)
sometime this summer, a classical trumpeter moved into my building (or the one across the street). Their tone is excellent, so hearing them practice is quite pleasant, especially since it bears the sense-memory of waiting for the symphony or opera to begin.

i've been on the balcony with my spinning, enjoying the fine day and listening to an audiobook of The Letter of Marque. plus the aforementioned trumpet. and the occasional dog singing along.

it's more pleasant than you might think.
ironymaiden: (socket)
i got a big bag of Polypay roving at Fiber Fusion last year. i'm just now getting around to playing with it. it's quite springy and easy to draft. so far i like spinning it way better than the Romney raised in King County. (i really wanted to like the Romney. it's black! but the yarn i've made so far with it is just kind of hairy, and it doesn't seem to matter what technique i use. maybe i need to be more skilled, maybe this bag of fiber is just kind of sucky.) i'd like to source more wool from the Northwest, but it's taking a bit of work.

anyway, the Polypay was all undyed, so i tried test-dyeing a few ounces last night. it's interesting stuff. i left it soak in water for a good half-hour and it seemed pretty resistant to saturation. i am impatient, so i dyed it anyway (Wilton's paste food coloring, white vinegar) and did a steam set on the stove per Ilga's method. it was too hot to handle last night, so i'll do a rinse and look at results before bed tonight. i'll be curious to see if the dye struck properly. the fiber was cheap so no harm if the color didn't stick this time or i felted it.


the answer is that the color struck fast and the fiber took every bit of dye. zero color in the rinse water, and it's really intense. what it didn't do was run together as much as I expected. no pics at this point - it was dark when I put it outside on the drying rack. anyway, bright true colors, no evidence of felting, more undyed fiber visible than I intended. looks like it will be fully dry tomorrow.
ironymaiden: (rich zoe)
this has a been a tough week. I'm okay, good people are not.

  • Seafair is on. in Ballard, that means Seafood fest. i bought ginger-infused honey from a taciturn old white guy who was wearing a sweater with a hole in it and could barely interact enough to take my money. There's the combo dim sum/elephant ear stand. I had a locally made birch beer. I had a pickled herring sandwich. I nearly collapsed from ecstasy taking my first bite of deep fried bacon cinnamon roll. I finished it while watching awesome little girls do a skateboard slalom competition.

  • apparently, once a year i facilitate [ profile] mimerki's purchase of awesome shoes. If this is my superpower, i accept it.

  • Google sheep view

  • touchstones. I was looking through my yarn stash to pick out a worsted weight for a project, and i had stories to tell for every scrap and skein. Gifts, souvenirs, milestones in learning to knit and spin. So many good memories and good people.

  • Planet Earth is on Netflix. So amazing.

OMG i go camping soon!

Edited to add: the issue of Hawkeye told from the dog's POV. It's not a gimmick, it's the best way they could reveal information to the reader through the eyes of a character. I've reread it a few times because there's so much going on. Seriously a masterful use of the medium.
ironymaiden: (rich zoe)
Tablet! my little netbook is dead, so I have acquired a tablet with matching stylus. great compromise for me- basically a giant version of my phone, but with fancy bells and whales. I'm handwriting this!

I read Uprooted, and it was great. I had picked up a promo at comiccon, and enjoyed it, but I was skeptical because Naomi Novik does not have a great track record as far as I'm concerned, kind of a dis-recommendation: "Remember those stupid faux-Aubreyad books with the cruddy world-building and the chatty dragons?" Please ignore. If you have loved Robin McKinley or that one Orson Scott Card fairytale book (Enchanted, worth getting from a Library) you should read this thing. [ profile] frabjouslinz loved it, she was right. It's not just about a woman and her mentor, it's also about best friends and the way women compete (and no love triangle).

Make a plan and follow it through. With the tablet, I was able to chart out a knitting idea and then swatch the chart. It changed my thinking about the pattern. But I did it without having to knit the entire thing and rip it out, or take copious notes. I made the notes first. Way easier, and I learned lots about the notes app on my tablet.

I am drinking a Not Your Father's Root Beer. Om nom nom.
ironymaiden: (knitting)
i haven't knit anything that requires referring to a pattern for several months now. apparently what the body wants is to repeat ribbing (or flat brioche) ad infinitum.

um, okay.

the unfortunate side effect is that i have two unfinished projects for C that are quietly guilting me - a pair of cabled mitts to replace the ones he's worn out (and they were a workhorse wool, they just got daily hard use for several years) and the second of a pair of socks with a 12-row repeat pattern. neither of them are hard. in fact, i have the sock pattern memorized and the cables are pretty easy to read. however, that seems to be a step too far for me right now.

currently cranking out socks with the strong heel (which is basically the Fleegle heel upside-down). i started these at Norwescon.

i like the fit, they're of course for the current pair i'm trying a different placement for the increases. pics if i like the results.
ironymaiden: (don't walk/i love you)
i am head-over-heels in love with mynoise.

it seems that the older i get, the more sensitive i am to sound - more jumpy in response to sudden changes, more on-edge in response to high-pitched sounds, less tolerant of loud venues. the noise generators knock out the various ambient noises of my open office much more effectively than music and noise-cancelling headphones. in addition to the usual water and fire noises, there are drones and soundscapes, including cat purring and starship activity. i'm more focused and more relaxed. so happy. on the Chromecast they're a great alternative to tv-as-background-noise, and they seem to help C sleep. i sent the dude some money. totally totally worth it.

caught Tosca at Seattle Opera this week. definitely up to the standard i've come to expect from them: great performances, flawless stagecraft.* i liked the show itself - it's structured in such a way that there are no hit arias you can break out of context. lots of places where the music tells the actors exactly where their beats are - to, say, place that candlestick at any other moment would be impossible.

C's contracting agency had their "holiday" party at Teatro Zinzanni. i had to nudge C into going, but i was sure he would be impressed by the show, and they did not disappoint. (when my taciturn man won't stop clapping, you've won the everything.) i was especially delighted with Duo Rose. usually aerialists are rail thin (with muscles like a basket of snakes), but Samuel is built like a tank. i realized how rare it is to see a really muscular man who hasn't been going through some kind of cutting routine, but it's not like he could do the crazy shit he does if he was starved or dehydrated. <3

really, everyone in and out of the show was awesome. one of the members of the group was pulled into audience participation, and christened "Boobs McGee". she had a great time, and it was a running joke at the after party. C overheard the HR guy checking in to tell her that if it stopped being fun to check in with him and he would shut it down. correct.

yesterday i saw a girl in a hijab and ankle-length skirt skateboarding.

Patxi's pizza is really good. get the deep-dish if you want to have a leisurely chat (it takes 45 minutes to make) or the thin crust if you want to eat right away. they're of the bland sauce school, but the toppings make up for it. balsamic onions.

balsamic onions.

i am wearing socks that i knit myself, made out of yarn that i spun myself from fiber i got from [ profile] mimerki as a gift, using a technique from a book [ profile] shadawyn recommended, blocked on custom blockers that knitta K made for me. they are pretty and i feel accomplished and loved when i wear them.

*Seattle Opera is a safe zone where there will never be a flat purse, an inappropriately wrinkled costume, or a botched light cue. the only distraction is how GOOD they are.
ironymaiden: (knitting)
oh, i am exhausted today. but in a good way.

this weekend was the Nordic Knitting Conference, happening about 10 short blocks from my house. Klamath K (who i met through [ profile] shadawyn's fiber weekends) came up to take a class and enjoy some city time. her C went off and had boy time while she crashed at my place. it was seriously a good time. my class schedule ran in a way that meant she had to entertain herself a bit more than i wanted, but she seemed well-pleased with the experience, so i won't complain. like, "honey, can we move to Ballard?" pleased.

classes were had, there was social time at Card Kingdom, a Portage Bay breakfast, lockage, late-running salmon in the fish ladder, her successful solo trip up to see Deco Japan, some of Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf, and a few episodes of Call the Midwife. plus great discussions of D&D 5e vs Pathfinder, and the role of the coach in professional sports.

the conference itself was nice. i took one class and followed my plan of spending marketplace money on raw material for gifts.

the class was a step up for me. the instructor, Judith MacKenzie, is worshipped as a god. (kind of like people used to talk about Elizabeth Zimmermann.) this was my first beyond basics spinning class, where it was assumed that i knew my wheel well and had a solid vocabulary and skillset. at first i was a bit frustrated that it wasn't quite as described in the program book, that she was a bit of a disorganized magpie, and that hand cards were on the materials list and we never used them.* but i'm definitely going to be using the techniques i learned to make holiday gifts, she was very generous with high-quality supplies, and she was a fount of tips, tricks, and factoids. i think i've got her seamless join down, and practice will shore up my semi-woolen method. it was amusing to me that as i started telling C about the class i was kind of lukewarm about the experience, but then i just kept going on and on about how cool this was and that was and things that i learned. so i'll be unpacking the class for a long time, and would pay to work with her again.

i sat beside a pair of women who had flown up from California for the weekend. they were talking casually about the other fiber events they had traveled to this year, their collections of wheels and spindles, having an upstairs e-spinner and a downstairs e-spinner, ordering custom-made spindles, and shutting back and forth between the house and the boat. (for context, they were talking about thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment and travel. they also seemed to not have jobs.) both knitting/spinning and quilting occupy this strange space where they are the hobbies of the frugal and of the leisure class. i know that working artists need the leisure class hobbyists to survive. i thought about the fiber i bought in the marketplace and realized that the vendor was also leisure class - she appears to be independently wealthy, and is selling at least part of her wares at cost. i love her work, and her pricing, but is she screwing things up for people who actually need the money?**

*i borrowed a pair, which required a bit of effort on the part of their owner. i'll make some rolags before i return them, and enjoy the social opportunity it offers. darn glad i didn't buy them for the class.
**this is similar to the unpaid or even pay-to-play intern model that is nearly required in professional theater. everyone who participates reinforces the barriers to people without those resources.
ironymaiden: (tardis)
quote from a friend who is re-entering the dating pool:
every woman in Seattle is either on Machu Picchu, rock climbing, or coming out of a TARDIS. and they all knit. i guess i need to watch Doctor Who.*

* * *

on a somewhat related note, C and i recently watched Mike Magee's Day Off, which is incredibly well-done and the best thing since The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. it amuses me to no end that my sportsball fandom is the one i can't fully share with my RL friends or coworkers.

* * *

our July camping trip this year included emergency relocation due to the creek rising and creating a brand new waterfall through our usual campsite. fortunately this happened during the day, and with the help of the rest of the party we managed to go from "i think this might flood" to full relocation and reset of three tents in about 20 minutes, all before any damage was done.

no, there was damage: we typically stock a weir in the creek with drinks (glacier runoff makes a great cooler) and the canned beverages were carried away. pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and a normal water level for comparison.

and pirate E's parents managed to escape their truck before it exploded.

ultimately a good time was had by all, and i have taught another person that properly prepared beets don't taste like dirt.

* * *
the flowerboxes are thriving.

* * *
work is very busy for me. work is slow for C, so he's on a new clients/new contracts campaign. on one hand, it's excellent to see all the cool things he's done lined up on his resume, on the other hand resumes are hard and horrible and i feel like writing/editing professionals have an extra burden when it comes to polishing the damn things. *shudder*

* * *
i finally finished spinning some fiber i bought at Madrona, and knit it into a hat that was just the thing for camping. (i seriously considered taking my wheel, because busting it out by the campfire would have been badass, but we agreed that puffy fiber and the occasional bit of flying ash and leaf litter and bugs really don't mix.) camping did allow me to finish the stupid socks that are too narrow for my feet, so those are heading [ profile] varina8's way soon. (i did try them on at regular intervals and everything seemed fine. but after i turned the heel i realized that they were not going to be for me. if i frogged them at that point i was going to be less happy than if i gave them to someone with different feet. i AM the boss of you, stupid skinny socks.)

*someone on OKCupid lost interest in him, based on his Doctor Who deficiency. I LOVE THIS TOWN. don't worry, he went home with DVDs.
ironymaiden: (knitting)
my inner teenager is always just under the surface.

i had two separate people warn me about fatigue and pain from knitting with tiny circular needles; you stay in the same position for a long time and it's easy to overdo. well, that wouldn't happen to me because i am a special snowflake.

of course i charged ahead and completely wrecked my hands. as in it hurt to pet the dog.

yes, i have sought treatment. basically i need to rest and listen to my body. if i'm still in pain at the two-week mark i have real trouble.

i've been not-knitting for a week, and it is driving me bonkers because it turns out everything i like to do (and my job) requires my hands.

these are the offending socks.
honey badger


i'm quite proud of them since i learned multiple new techniques in the process: sock blank dying, magic loop, toe-up construction, and two-at-a-time knitting. and to put my work down more often.
ironymaiden: (knitting)
on Friday i was toiling away on a lace scarf before game. Pirate B sat down on the futon beside me and watched me knit for a moment.

B: are you reading a bunch of numbers while you do that?
Me: yup.
B: you're a computer!

it's not a bad analogy. as noted in the link, knitting patterns really do look like source code. (or sometimes a punch card. i'll get to that in a bit.)

one of my frustrations as a nOOb knitter has been the amount of energy and focus it takes to read a pattern while i knit. in response, i've developed a habit of having a project that requires less focus to take with me, and a more complex thing that stays at home by the couch.

i was discussing the lace project with [ profile] scarlettina and noted that i felt like knitting from a pattern should be the same experience as playing the piano or singing; i read the music with my eyes while my body does the thing the music says to do. but somehow after more than 15 repeats of the 12-row knit pattern, i wasn't memorizing any phrases. i couldn't hum the tune without the music in front of me.

so i started to think more about the analogy. there are two ways to notate knitting patterns, written and charted. they both look like gobbeldygook without a key.

  • written patterns are easy to understand as a beginner. once you know the abbreviations you read each line and execute.

  • charts are often called "scary" (plus my very experienced mom hates them and will translate them into written directions for her convenience). charted patterns are a symbolic representation of the instructions.

the music analogy led to a revelation: musical notation shows me without using words what came before, what to do now, and what i'm going to do next. it goes in my eyes and out my hands without verbal processing.

frex, with a written pattern i was reading Twinkle Twinkle Little Star like this:
start from middle C, all notes are quarter notes unless they are called out as a half note.
Row 1: C2, G2, A2, Ghalf1, F2, E2, D2, Chalf1
Row 2: G2, F2, E2, Dhalf1, G2, F2, E2, Dhalf1
Row 3: C2, G2, A2, Ghalf1, F2, E2, D2, Chalf1

instead of this:

(here's the pattern i was working on, written and charted both...and the finished scarf.)

so for me, charts are music. once i wrapped my brain around scanning right to left, left to right, bottom to top* i found a noticable increase in speed. i also started to hum the tune, feeling the relationships of the stitches and anticipating the shape of the next phrase.

*sounds crazy, but if you're looking at a two-sided thing from one side and as you work it grows on the right and down this is what you have to do. i didn't immediately grasp that and had to tear out an evening's work as part of the learning process because i am totally into doing first, checking the instructions later. fortunately knitting forgives charging ahead, since all you lose is time.
ironymaiden: (yarncore)
now that it has been consistently warm outside, C has a new tuque. because i have a special talent for reaching for the luxury item, its fiber content is alpaca, silk, kid mohair, and lambswool. pretty colors! so soft! handwash only! may lose shape over time!


the designer has asked to use it as an example on the pattern page. (this is because i am the first person to finish the hat, since the pattern is relatively new. i did not magically make the best hat ever after last making one hat 20 years ago.)
ironymaiden: (yarncore)
C reads me a bit from The Hobbit every night while i knit. it seems to have become a new ritual (at least until we're out of Hobbitses). it's much clearer to me now why the Hobbit was so appealing to me as a child...Tolkien is telling a story with similar scope to LotR, but he doesn't bother to show all the interminable details.

i finally added pictures to my Ravelry account. i need to get out my tripod the next time i'm in one of these. i also need to find time to shoot in daylight. getting the colors true is difficult otherwise. (inner photography student is bitchy about variations in color temperature, but she is the enemy of done.)

noro silk garden
the current wip is two colors and i'm using this as the contrast. i cheated and wound it to the section i wanted. i'm about eight rows deep and getting to the green bits. i think it's going to work as planned...


ironymaiden: (Default)

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