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Friday, May 31, 2013

Sit Long and Prosper

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."

Uh-uh, wait, stop...wrong movie. {sigh}
Sorry - do-over.

"Space... the final frontier..."

Yep, that's more like it.

September 1991
What is "Sit Long and Prosper" you ask?
It was a truly nifty event planned and well-executed by the {then} newest/largest movie theater in town.

It was the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek in 1991.
{Yeah, I know, I'm dating myself.)
Front emblem on commemorative T-shirt
The movie theater planned a day-long event where they would show alllllll FIVE {yes, back then there were only 5} of the Star Trek movies, provide us with lunch (pizza!), and we got a commemorative shirt.
Back of commemorative T-shirt
It was a truly stellar day {please pardon the pun}.
I attended the event with The Little Brother {a much more serious Trekkie than I}.
{OK - how cool is it that the blogger spell-check knows/approves of "Trekkie"?!?}
{Knitterly comment for this post - I hadn't yet learned to knit back in 1991. Ah, all that time I could have been knitting.}

We had a grand day watching:

(ST VI, "The Undiscovered Country" came out later in 1991.)

During one of the breaks between the movies, or perhaps at our pizza-lunch break we were entertained by the following scenario: 

One extremely tall gent (6'6"-ish) had attended the event in FULL Klingon regalia. His height only served to enhance the well-crafted Klingon uniform.  He literally stood out and added to our Trekkie atmosphere.

Now his youngling son (2-ish?) was adorably blond, wearing standard kid-overalls and was astoundingly well behaved considering our extended stay in the theater.

But during one of our breaks, the youngling sprinted up the aisle from the front of the theater, laughing as he made his escape.

The tall Klingon took just a few long steps and, with one hand, he lifted his son by the back, crossed-straps of his overalls and carted the grinning child back to their seats. The capture, perfectly executed with a {mock} somber Klingon face, seemed to be an easy, well-practiced maneuver that the child and this audience member greatly enjoyed.

May 2013 
Our last Color and Composition class was scheduled for conferences with our instructor. I spent the non-conference time working on my Drawing class homework.

I was chatting with some of my classmates as I worked on my Drawing final project and the topic was the newest Star Trek movie that was opening soon. A young gent with whom I'd had several Serenity/SciFi conversations commented that he was planning to attend a special screening of the two newest Star Trek movies being shown back-to-back:

I told him I'd been able to attend the "Sit Long and Prosper" event from...well, a long time ago.
He excitedly told me he had been there too!
Considering his young blue-eyed blondness, I asked : "Did your father go dressed as a Klingon?"

Yep. T'was he - the chortling youngling escapee. All grown up and taking art classes.

I told him the story of his escape and nonchalant capture in '91. We were grinning a lot.
I told him to tell his Dad that they had enhanced my SL&P experience - and that his Dad is entirely cool.

I'm still grinning.
I have stated before that I think Tucson only has 2 degrees of separation instead of 6.
This ranks in my top 5 Tucson-happenstance experiences.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Treasure - of the Knitterly Persuasion

I have recently been gifted with some knitterly treasure - books and yarn. {Gleeful happy-dance!}

Last week I visited a few of our local Bookman's to see if they'd like to take some of my old books and videos for trade credit. Whilst they reviewed the items I'd brought for trade, I .... uh.... well, instead of sitting down to knit, I looked around a bit. I found 3 books that I couldn't resist so my trade credit was reduced some before I left the store.

Confessions of a Knitting Heretic by Annie Modesitt.
Excellent title and filled with all sorts of intriguing bits of history, techniques (knitting with wire!), projects and essays. I also think it will be a good read.
And it's autographed - although technically not to me.

Knitting on Top of the World by Nicky Epstein.
I couldn't resist this book.
Ms. Epstein includes this book in the "High Fashion" section of her website. I would agree. The pieces in this book are such as I would expect to see on a catwalk - clever, Avant-garde, colorful, and a little mind-bending.
{This "hat" is also a baby sweater}
{This tam inspired a capelet.}
Some patterns appealed to me as-is {bet you're not surprised}:
Why yes - another bag!
There be dragons!!
Another reality of this book would be that my body type would not show off most of these fashions to their best advantage.
But this is so very Clever!!
However, this book did set my mind a'roaming and I kept thinking of alternative approaches to these patterns. Such as the Tam Capelet pictured above...I love the tam across the back but I'd tone down the front - possibly incorporating the front of this cardigan:
I love the cables but I'm not as tickled with the sleeves. 
This strikes me as an excellent base for a cardigan.
More reality...I haven't knit many sweaters. Ok...I've knit 1...and there was that shell knit under supervision in a class. However, I do have 3 others on the needles...?
I do suspect I'm over-reaching my abilities, but it feels like a good stretch. ;-)

Knitting Color - Design Inspiration from Around the World by Brandon Mably
Yep, it's allll about the color. Ok, and some of the shapes. And the color theory, inspiration, and travel stories. {happy sigh}
I'd like to do this in
Black, Grey & Purple.


I inherited a lovely box of elderly Angora. Soooooo soft.
{Sometimes you Don't just inherit Acrylic when you're the only knitter a person knows!}

And apparently it is also somewhat tasty to the critters that left behind sluffed shells and separated strands. {sigh}

There's not a lot of it but I was wondering if I could use it in a Fair Isle Yoke. We'll see. It's currently relegated to the Freezer and it might spend sometime out in the sun in a black trash bag in a day or two.

Oh - I got some excellent advice from Donna Druchunas via Twitter! I'd asked her if this yarn was worth using after it had been munched upon and that I was considering trying to use it in a fair isle yoke.
She suggested, after I'm sure it's clean, to re-wind the yarn to make sure it's "not all broken into pieces".
Further she suggested "Bohus" with this link. That is exactly the yoke style I'd been thinking of but Bohus is a new term/technique for me. Thank you!

The last Tucson Handweavers and Spinner's Guild meeting of the year includes a stash sale. I did succumb to these two purchases {LOVE the colors!!}:
A cone of Chenille
Blue is my weakness.
I dropped off/donated more yarn than I purchased so that eases some of the guilt...
Um, but then I was also able to adopt some other yarn from a donated stash at another Guild meeting so I think I actually enhanced more than I de-stashed.
A cone of cotton and a cone of pretty blue stuff
(we suspect it's acrylic). Possible weaving option?

Left - You are correct, I didn't read the label and thought it was all cotton. {"Duh"... it's Red Heart.}
Right - The primary colors called to me. We shall see what becomes of the primary colors!


Lastly - I was shocked no one had picked up this wee package. So either this isn't what I think it is or the natural stuff was hidden by the bushels of acrylic.
I'm inclined to think it's treasure.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Hue are Your Socks?

Early in the Color and Composition class, we were assigned dates upon which we would do a 5 minute, show-n-tell presentation on Color in our Lives.

Of course I wanted to do something on knitting but it took me a few days to narrow down the topic to: Sock Yarn!
That quickly became a bit too much to cover in 5 minutes so I narrowed it down to my sock yarn experience from my own hand knit socks...with a few bonus sock yarn skeins thrown in for interest.

I created an outline and then wrote the presentation, trying to consider the timing, Color & Comp. vocabulary, what I wanted to impart, the socks/yarn to include, cues for showing during the telling, and especially considering what would keep the interest of my (mostly) young, non-knitting audience. I practiced and timed myself and organized the socks/yarn so they would be where I wanted them to be when I needed to pull them out.

And I think it went well. Particularly well when you consider how much I enjoy public speaking. {shudder}

I gave the presentation, speaking very quickly (as I do when I'm nervous - but I did remember to breathe enough that I wasn't gasping for air), pulling out socks and yarn to illustrate my points, although in my nervous haste, I'm pretty sure I skipped over a section in the middle.

There was some polite applause and my classmates asked questions about my colorful socks and knitting.

One young gent asked about the cost of hand-knit socks.
I couldn't help but to think of the Knitting Time Calculator and explained that the average pair of socks is made up of 20-30 thousand stitches and even at minimum wage, a pair of socks would run $250.00 to $300.00.
Moreover, I noted he was a very tall young gent and I was betting his feet were proportionately large so his hand knit socks would have to be larger/more expensive. ;-)

Please find below a less nervous but link-blessed version of my presentation:

What Hue are your socks?

Black? Brown? Blue? Athletic White?
Are they lacy, stripe-y, or covered in Flying Pigs?

Some of my socks resemble the above.
More and more of my socks are now created because the color or fiber truly delights me.

My first pair of hand-knit socks were from a variegated superwash wool from Cherry Tree Hill. Those socks are...in the Laundry right now, but here is a small name-tag sock I knit from the same yarn.
{Show tiny blue sock}
At least with this tiny sock, the deep blues and purples that originally drew me to this yarn have not faded from wear and washing.

FYI - a superwash wool is a wool that has been treated so it can be machine washed and dried. The treatment will eventually wash/wear out and the wool fibers will begin to full and cling to each other, shrinking down to a felted fabric - or - a kitty toy.

The yarns being created now-a-days are varied, interesting, fascinating and fun. I tend to stick with wool-based sock yarns. Sock yarn will generally contain nylon along with the wool to improve length-of-wear. Wool has great spring and memory, returning to it's original knitted shape with little coercion.

And - wool takes dye very well.
The dying of yarn is mostly a mystery to me. I am aware that it can be hand-dyed, hand-painted, vat or kettle-dyed, immersed, or machine dyed. Some fibers are dyed and then blended together.
Most of the colorways I'll be showing you are machine-dyed.

{Show Kaffe Sock}
This is a Regia colorway designed by Kaffe Fassett - an artist known for his colorful quilts, needlepoint, painting, ceramics, and yes, yarn.
The "who" that put these colors together was not what made me pick up this yarn. It was the colors - the rich, deep Blue and Green on the unusual Milk Chocolate brown base that pulled me in.

I do tend to be a sucker for color.
I am particularly fond of blues. Especially when it shades into purple.
But the socks that I've knit - for myself and others, cross a wide range of colors and levels of intensity. And many times the fun of the yarn or the knitting - is in the "how" or "why" of the dye or the clever results.

{Show Lenore Sock}
This in-progress sock is being knit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Yarn in the Raven Clan "Corbie" Colorway. This is a hand-dyed yarn. This dyer created the Raven Clan series as (in her words) a "homage to Raven and study in shaded black". This particular colorway, is "Indigo and evergreen suffused in black". It strongly reminded me of the iridescent colors of a shiny black Raven feather. I continued the "Raven" theme by coupling it with a pattern, "Lenore", inspired by the lady in the Edgar Alan Poe poem.
Interestingly enough, the saturated black overdye on this yarn seems to stay pretty well. But when I knit with it, my fingers tend to turn a bit blue.

{Show Carol's sock swatch}
This swatch hints at a possible fair-isle or a checkerboard pattern in the yarn. The sock had similar hints that a pattern was possible, but it was vague.

These next colorway patterns are not vague. They are deliberate, fascinating, and sometimes computer-generated.
{Show grey stripey skein}
This Patons yarn lays out in a fun repeating pattern of color and grey stripes.

{Show Navy/Blue stripey sock}
This Regia yarn was dyed to create a particular pattern of thick and thin stripes.

{Show Entrelac sock}
This Steinbach Wolle was dyed so that it would produce specific stripes of grey, black, and blue. The designer of this sock pattern used the woven-looking Enrelac knit stitch to convert the stripes of this yarn into diamonds.

{Show Little Brother's green sock/skein}
I call this these "Frog" socks, because the colors remind me of frogs. But the Garnstudio yarn was planned and dyed to emulate an intricate fair-isle pattern that would be challenging (and much more bulky) to knit with all the separate colors.

{Show blue sock from sock blank}
The color on this sock is fading a bit. It does represent my favorite blues and purples but what was the most fun about knitting with this hand-dyed Conjoined Creations Yarn was this:

{Show blue sock blank leftovers}
To knit these socks, I had to unravel a sock blank - originally dyed with circles, splotches and stripes of vivid color.  It was great fun and very interesting to see how the colors on the dyed blank unraveled and played out into the knitted sock.

Some yarns are dyed so the color changes are long and gradual, like this Crystal Palace Mini Mochi yarn.
{Show first rainbow sock}
{You are correct. The original presentation was Not
assisted by Ginger cats.}
I felt a bit smug whilst knitting the 2nd sock. I thought I was going to have matching socks - as staged by the manufacturer in how they wound the balls of yarn.
{Show second rainbow sock}
However, there appears to have been a break in the yarn and a truly professional splicing job that I didn't even notice until I realized the color I was expecting next (green) hadn't turned up and the color flow on the second sock was now reversing.

Some of my sock yarn is plain by comparison to the bright shades of the ones I've already shown you - but they all have their charms.
{Show speckled blue skein}
This Regia yarn is a speckled Tweed - containing tufts of other colors spun into the base yarn.

{Show plain black skein}
And this basic black yarn is intended as a pair of socks for my husband. He might wear athletic shoes in colors that make me pause - but he prefers his socks to be a bit more subdued.

In writing this and considering my class notes, I realized -

  1. With the exception of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Raven Clan colorway, I have not previously considered the Value - how much black, white or grey - is in a yarn. 
  2. I have previously lumped in the Intensity of a colorway, how bright or dull it appears, as part of the color. 
  3. And most obviously - I find certain hues irresistible. 
Thank you.

{Oh - and then I showed them the hand knit socks I had on my feet that very day!}

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Coiling and Finger Crochet

When we last visited my Mixed Media Class project attempts, I was having some "core issues". {grin}
{And Gryphon was helping...}
When I started on my large Coiling project, I had a grand scheme to coil a pitcher and create a flow of beads pouring from the pitcher like water.
I had the beads, wire, fiber, and coiling core all planned.

Yep, nice concept.
However, time limits and reality interceded and I quickly revised my grandiose plan. I coiled a nicely shaped bowl with a subtle edging effect that could be turned in on time.
I am rather pleased with this project and would definitely like to revisit coiling and wrapping for another, larger project. {perhaps with some beads involved...} ;-)

Our next Mixed Media was Finger Crochet!
I smugly thought "I'm all over this - I already know how to crochet!" and then I promptly discovered that without a hook and actual yarn, I am inept at crochet.

We were using sisal and, well, our fingers.
One of my table-mates is an avid crocheter and she quickly, quietly and competently accomplished the finger crochet in-class assignments from our instructor. I did not see a hint of "smug" but she could have easily supported any smug-ness with her proficient finger crochet.

I did eventually wrap my brain around crocheting via fingers to make the 3 shapes assigned by the teacher:
See - a Circle, Rectangle, & Triangle.
{No? S'ok - use your imagination. }
We then turned the 3 shapes into...something else. I made a ship with a sail out of mine, but I don't have pictures of that creation. ;-)

And then we were asked to draw a simple design on brown paper, attach it with tape to our Work Board (several thicknesses of cardboard bound with duct tape), and use T-pins and finger crochet to make that simple design.

After floundering so badly when trying to make a simple finger-crochet rectangle I rather foolishly drew a Cat head and set to crocheting.
And....it went pretty well.
Based on the shape and the curly aspect of the crochet, I decided I had actually crocheted a Lamb or Sheep:

And then we learned the Large-scale Finger Crochet assignment would be....a Group Project.

The already-handy-at-finger-crochet table-mate mentioned above, myself and two others formed one of the groups.  We were charged with creating a large-scale Finger Crochet Art Installation that would go out in the common area of our end of the campus for a week.
To be continued! 

But wait....we started this post with help from Gryphon so here's what Gryphon was up to at about the same time I was attempting finger crochet:
Gryphon thought the roses the DH had gifted to me for Valentines were lovely delicious.