28 November 2009

Collared or Prudence Part 2

Although in the knitting early days my fingers/brain seemed intent on not learning the rhythm of the pattern, the Brilla Prudence lace collar knit up quickly once it really hit the front of the knitting queue.

I cast on on the 10th of October and finished on the 22nd of November.

I'm quite clear that October was more tinking, frogging and taking the back seat to Carol's colour splash shawl project.

Prudence ended up taking 31 lace points to get what I think is a reasonable length to fit 'round neck/shoulders.

I added a small short row tab with a single YO/2tog button hole to accommodate the faux pearl button closure.

The photos don't quite do justice to how lovely the Brilla worked up. The sheen of the rayon almost makes it look beaded.

While it has some heft to it (it took 75g to complete), the overall impression is substantial but not heavy and feminine but not delicate. For my purposes and my vision, it fits/works on all levels and the 31 points are something of an inside serendipitous joke.

I'm more than a bit curious to see how this and other collar patterns would work up using hand paints and way bigger needles and yes, I am thinking chill chaser more than garment collar but garment collar would also be interesting to explore.

This construction
would also be interesting for a skirt or an off shoulder frill/flounce treatment.

It has just a few more public appearances to make here in San Diego before it ships off to its new home/owner.

I'm wishing I had another full hank of white Brilla so I could crank out another collar before the end of the year.

26 November 2009

Just a bit of bloom

I'm not much for the holiday itself but I'm pretty good at being thankful or at least I try.

Today's posting is one of those life's simple pleasures to be thankful for in this case, a sunny day, Southern California and a rose in bloom in November.

A couple weeks ago, I spent the day getting my neighbour comfortable with his first digital camera.

Our route took us through Balboa Park and, of course, included the rose and cactus gardens on Park Boulevard where I took this shot to show the value of the macro feature.

The goal on the day was to get him comfortable using some of the basic features like zoom and macro to get some shots in the camera and uploaded to his computer.

Not every feature, not every option, not information overload, not terribly technical, just getting feet wet and shooting.

It was a taming technology session and it reaffirmed to me that even though I may be much more technically inclined than a student, I can still listen and communicate at an appropriate level. He's been complimenting and singing the praises of my teaching ever since -- warm fuzzies abound.

I like the praise but I am even more thankful for the underlying skill that makes that praise possible.

25 November 2009

Organising or index cards & envelopes

In either a tweet or a FB status update, I noted that one of the problems with creating databases is changing sort strategies.

It isn't a big deal when the sort is purely theoretical and/or bits and bytes but if you change the sort strategy of tangible items things are more complicated.

Actually, it is only more complicated if you're the one who actually has to find the items, see if the sort still makes sense or just find shelf space.

Several years ago I embarked on a stash sorting exercise that pretty much divided yarn by fibre content and colour.

I didn't go into great detail defining what was in each bin and although I tried to get as many like things with like things I wasn't too concerned when not every hank of yarn X found its way into the bin containing the other hanks of yarn X.

Over time yarn came and went from the bins. Some bins became sparsely populated, others saw little change and still others saw overcrowding and wait lists. More bins were added to the original collection but that only delayed, and in some cases exacerbated the underlying problem.

The pure amount of yarn I had grew and my handle on the inventory was much too LIFO with the first in stuff becoming the lost, forgotten or can't find. My FILO was First In LOst and my FIFO was First In FOrgotten and that just wasn't working for me.

The studio still has a certain amount of constant chaos and the "go back bins" will always be with me as I find that I didn't catch all hanks of X when I put the other hanks away or as I pull a hank or two of X for a project and then need/want to put it back with the rest of its kind but don't feel inspired to move other bins around to put a single hank away.

Add the active and not so active WIPs, things blocking, swatches "seasoning" and things waiting to be photographed. . . I'm just trying to not let it get too out of hand before restoring some order.

Originally in this year's October re-org, I was excited about repurposing some diskette labels to better document the contents of each yarn bin.

For some bins containing lots of hanks of a just a few sorts of yarns this idea had great promise but as I got into bins where there were more types of yarns with fewer hanks each and/or finer gauge stuff, that scheme was not working.

Enter old school index cards, a little new school Ravelry and alcohol.

Up first, old school index cards. One of the big failings I saw in my previous stash sorting scheme was that sometimes, especially as yarn got used up, it made more sense to combine the contents of bins with a little less attention to fibre content, colour etc. but labeling and relabeling as things changed was a pain and not enough of a priority to keep current.

So I started thinking old school and physical cards for physical items. The idea is a simple one with each bin having an envelope and each envelope containing an index card for each type of yarn contained in the bin.

That way, if I decide to shuffle yarn from bin to bin, I can shuffle the cards too. In addition, even if I can't see all the yarns in the bin, I can pull the cards and see detailed info (yarn name, mfg, weight, yardage per hank, # hanks, dye lot & colour) on the contents.

The original frugal plan was for me to make the envelopes and use old business cards but it wasn't quite coming together. Enter Warwick's. I was just wandering through on the outside chance that I'd hit the shop when a friend was working and when she wasn't I wandered into the stationery section for inspiration.

Half 3 x 5 inch index cards and gift insert envelopes are the perfect old school answer. A 3 x 5 card is too big/wasteful for the info I need and a business card too small. The gift insert envelope will hold the half 3 x 5 cards nicely. For day to day functioning, I leave the cards sticking out but in the event of a move, the envelopes can be closed to keep the cards secure.

Each bin has another old school marker or two. The lids of bins I own are clear, blue and green so each bin has a C, B or G yard sale sticker and then a number. There's no hidden coding in the lid cover, the number or the colour of the index cards this information is purely for navigation and physical retrieval.

On the database side of the house, I relied to some degree on the kindness (and compulsiveness) of others and went with the Ravelry new school option.

When I joined Ravelry, I had little or no interest in doing an inventory of my stash using their tools. I didn't see the value but once I started doing the reshuffle this year, it all came into focus.

Because of the work of others, the Ravelry database, contains essential information about a lot of commercially available (and previously available) yarn. This means that if a yarn is in the Ravelry database, I can tap into that information to create my own database of my yarn inventory.

With my yarn inventoried, I can more readily figure out if I have enough of a particular yarn to knit a specific project. A good example of this was when I was trying to decide what I was going to use to knit my version of Santorini.

Classic Elite Sand was in the database so all I needed to do was list how many skeins in what colour/dye lot and automagically, the 22 skeins showed me that I had 1694 yards -- more than enough.

The stash database includes a field for location so all my inventoried yarn is coded with the bin labels. This makes reuniting orphaned skeins & hanks much easier.

I can also download the table/spreadsheet of my inventoried yarn and sort/manipulate it to meet my needs in ways that are not yet coded into Ravelry.

And the alcohol? A long time ago, I discovered the value of using the divided boxes that wine and liquor comes for storing stemware and other fragile items. They work just as well and are a much cheaper option than buying storage boxes.

Those same boxes are also great for storing yarn that come not in hanks or skeins but wrapped around a rigid cardboard tube -- think Rowan Linen Drape, Lang Opal, DMC Cebelia, etc.

I haven't gone inventory mad on those quite like I have with the bins but eventually the plan is to have each box have a key with what yarn is contained in each section. For now, it is easy enough to know what yarn's where just by glance.

24 November 2009

No a half octagon is not a square or more on Carol's Splash of Colour

I finished knitting my version of Colonnade on the 11th and did a first pass on the blocking shortly after.

Even before it was off the needles, I did some checking into my notes on polygons and confirmed that the curving my fellow guild member saw in the final product was not her issue but the nature of the design.

It uses the increase ratio for a swirl rather than a geometric octagon and that's going to create a skew/swirl even though we're talking about a flat knit half octagon rather than a centre out knit in the round.

The swirl/curve does not become obvious until fairly far along in the knitting and it can be blocked into straight line submission but the swirl is the natural result.

That swirl actually gives a nice little "flounce" at the centre increase line. The swirl/flounce is less apparent at the next set of flanking segments and presents most strongly at the "fronts."

More than a few knitters and designers figure that you can just string a series of knitted triangles created with the same increase ratio together and produce a nice neat shape that lies flat and conforms. It doesn't work that way because math (in this case geometry) really does matter.

I've been toying with this for ages and whether it is decreases, increases, short row pie wedges or any other construction method it all comes back to the math and internal angles.

The first shows the centre back flounce and skew/swirl. The second shows the curl and swirl/curve of the front/sides.

While I may do another block of this before sending it off to Montana, I'm fairly happy with the end product. All in all, the centre back drop is about 17 or 18 inches making it just the Victorian chill chaser I'd in mind.

The picot point cast off produces a bit of ruffling that gives a nice feminine touch. I am still pawing through the bead stash to see if I've cached anything that would suit my vision of a few beads that can also function as buttons for an optional closure.

Having knit this, I will, without a doubt, get back to my own notes on ideas for half octagons and half hexs to bring those ideas to life. I was way too crazy tempted to tear back and do some of the "ooh that would be an interesting design twist" ideas that came to me while I was knitting to not pursue them.

When I decided to do this project, I thought I would pair the Curious Creek with some Louet Merino I'd purchased for a project for another friend. That other friend may still get a Louet Merino gift because, although the colour was dead on, the gauge was way off.

That gauge issue set off a stash and shops search for more Curious Creek and a compatible coordinating yarn that would suit both my eye and the colour comfort level of the intended recipient.

Curious Creek is Kristine Brooks and they are San Diego local (and seriously local to me) and when none of the local stockists had any of the yarn on hand, I broke down and phoned her to see if she had any leads on sources.

Her insight was that Woolgirl had exactly the stuff I was after in stock and since I couldn't find it locally and Kristine was headed out of town I placed the order and was impressed with the result. The final photo shows the lovely packaging and attention to detail a knitter can expect when ordering from this retailer -- kudos.

22 November 2009

Set in stone, er, um concrete

If you know me at all you may have noticed that I tend to notice things that other people gloss over. This can be considered amusing, charming or annoying -- whatever your perspective it is one of my quirks.

I have a particular fondness for odd signs along the way and sidewalk stamps gone wrong.

Today's posting then is about long wrong stamped in concrete "where am I again" mistakes set in concrete.

There's a small/short street called Blaine that runs from Cleveland to Centre (or Center depending on who you ask) but on one particular corner, Blaine has its own identity crisis as shown by these unedited images.

21 November 2009

Diagonal ribbing and 44 sweater update

Careful readers and folks on Ravelry will know that my pal Stacy (aka Artmama) got a wild hair to do a service project called 44 sweaters in honour of the 44th Prez of the United States of America.

For the not politically aware that's the current one (Barak Obama).

Anyhow, I was one of Stacy's fellow knitters and crocheters who helped her reach her goal of 44 sweaters for kids all donated to the
Vista Hill Foundation.

I contributed three of the 44 sweaters.

The first one was adapted pattern from Tater's Cotton Cardigan knit, in my case, from Comfort left over from the still-in-process Fish Afghan/Blanket documented here back in March/April.

In that particular case the adapting pretty much means I used her cast on and increase ratio/shaping/sizing and changed pretty much everything else. If you look closely it is the bright yellow cardigan on the long line of sweaters in the backdrop of some of the images on Stacy's blog and also on the Vista Hill Foundation's press release photos about this project.

The second one, the quick knit baby sweater, was adapted from
Baby Yeti from Berroco to fit the amount of yarn I had (read short row garter stitch shawl collar) from a "what was I thinking?" yarn exchange at the Whistlestop some years back.

I was either showing or delivering one of the sweaters to Stacy at Knit @ Nite when we got to talking about how few sweaters there were for bigger kids and/or boys when I decided to start a third sweater for that under served demographic.

The diagonal sweater is the result. It is shown here and Stacy's blog (check the link) shows it in action on its beautiful recipient.

The yarn is a beautiful soft acrylic in a lovely taupe brown.

I bought the yarn more than a decade ago at Cold Spring Mill in Yorkshire and I still have plenty on hand.

This one fully my own design -- basic gansey featuring a diagonal rib with rolled neck and rolled cuffs.

Knit from bottom to top with also bottom up sleeves joined to body at the armholes before raglan shaping up to the rolled neck.

The sizing is generous with about a 32" chest. These projects have really brought home the charm of designing for children's sizing and no, I still haven't sized the sweater up for adults but it is on the long and winding to do list.

Labels: , ,

18 November 2009

Scooting right along

Today's posting is yet another one of those stuff seen around the hood shots.

One of the now you see it now you don't shops that have been part of the business turn over here in Hillcrest is a Vespa shop.

Even though the shop's gone the scooter remains popular hereabouts.

No, these two are not twins, or if they are they are fraternal rather than identical.

Vintage, retro and a change of pace from my usual car shots.

In terms of photo composition, I could live without the ashtray at the top of the stairs and I would have liked more of the landscaping to show but that would have required me to wait for some parked cars to move or be edited out.

14 November 2009

Fabric finds -- nursery numbers

This started as a posting about older embroidery projects but drifted. Sometimes things work that way.

Okay, so things work that way more often than not -- bite me. The bite me is an homage to pal Karen the linguist. She and Stephanie will get/enjoy the reference.

Long ago and far away I found these in a thrift store. I loved the whimsy of the fabric with its Beatrix Potter vibe.

I could never quite figure out if these were supposed to be place mats or ill considered (read no opening) pillow covers or what but I liked the fabric/vibe and the price was right.

I may have had a project in mind or I may have had a friend in mind when I bought them but eventually they were lost in the stash/clutter maelstrom.

Fast forward, the undefined project never appeared and while the fabric still appeals, I'm not the believes in fairies woo-woo widow who decorates in this genre (and probably never will be) that would decorate a home with this stuff.

I'm thinking that, unless I cut them up for sachets or some small gift giving sewing project that suddenly hits the front of my queue, they need to go live elsewhere.

In my world, known friends I know get first dibs and/or first refusal.

My front of the queue known friend in this case is Stephanie who just happens to have a penchant for sewing and a perfect for Beatrix Potter vibe kidling or two.

Unlikely to manage a hand off before the end of the year but they can be bundled up and find a temporary home in the pending delivery basket.

05 November 2009

Sometimes good gauge is bad scale

You know the theory that says only skinny gals look good in stuff knit from/in bulky yarn?

Doesn't always work that way.

I finally got 'round to clicking over to the Fall Knitty and fell for the clever combo of solid to hand-dye of Stephen West's Colonnade.

Ultimately, after much back story (not included here), I ended up working my version (different # of stitches et cetera) up on 3.75mm needles, Rowan Merino/Silk blend and some gorgeous Curious Creek mohair/wool blend.

I was happily working away on it at Knit @ Nite and delighted to be able to show Suzanne of Knitting In La Jolla (seasonally able to come and just be another knitter) how very well my 11th hour colour substitution was working out. I did not share it in the 'round table show & share.

Enter a fellow guild member, a lovely woman, prolific knitter, and a tad petite. She knit Colonnade in Manos.

She got moose lace. In addition, the styling shown in Knitty, was not working on her small frame.

She also saw some issues with the way the "fronts" which is to say that they curve.

Not being shy sorts, I, and other Knit @ Nite people, had ideas and suggestions.

My sense was that it would work on her better as a shawl/caplet and that she was right about the scale being over powering. So much for the bulky is only for little people.

The curving had me a bit concerned for my own project but the task at hand was to make fellow guild member figure out a way to be happy with her work product.

Images here are from progress on my version as of the 1st.

02 November 2009

Creative storage or October's organising overflow I

My blocking solution over the years has been the use of fibreglass foam insulation panels. I have four of them.

Even though they are the best solution for some one with limited floor/wall space, they present their own storage problems.

Years ago when I reworked the studio closets with shelves to hold yarn and fabric, I had this great idea that I would just slide the panels horizontally into the closets.

Well, not quite. Even with the closet doors wide open, the opening is two inches (read two doors) too narrow to accommodate that storage solution.

Doors off? Well, without getting into the whole painted over the hinges issue (why do people paint hardware???), I'm using the open doors to support a room width shelf that I really need and probably couldn't otherwise find stud support for -- aaarggghhh.

Cut the panels? Not a pretty or very precise choice at least not for me. The beauty of the panels is that the do have a defined size and can be butted against each other to form the size needed for different projects.

Three of the four panels are still in a transient existence but one has found an interesting over the door storage solution.

I recycled a USPS priority mail shipping box with box cutters and duct tape (as needed) to form four corner units.

I punched holes into those corners and threaded twine through them. Hung the whole bit from the gap between a thumb tack and the top of the door.

This particular door is the one I see from my computer "control centre" so it often houses things to photograph, working/thinking projects, go back items and more. I like to think of it as my "need to deal with" panel.

No, it isn't pretty but it works and takes wasted space and makes it work.

The box I used might accommodate a 2nd blank panel piggybacked but right now all of my other panels have projects pinned out on them.