Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I know I don't need to tell you guys this...

...but not knitting is hard. (Oh, yeah. I'm not knitting for a few weeks to let my poor wrists heal. They're all carpal-tunnelly and I don't want to make it worse. Those of you who have the misfortune to follow me on Twitter know this, probably.)

Sure, I've got other distractions...

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(yes, that's a giant mountain of scraggly pompoms, and no, I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with them. Wanna make something of it?)


But when something like this:

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shows up at your door, all begging you to start the second Malabrigo book and test out a bunch of fancy new yarns that you've never seen or touched before (including several "bonus skeins" that you didn't know were coming, one of mysterious content named simply "Mmm", and another which might not actually get released ever, but which is awesome, because how couldn't it be?)


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... it gets hard, man.

(If you want to see 'em all, they're in my Ravelry stash, or Flickr, here.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fun with Fractals!

So! Yes! My roving from Cosy's Falkland fiber club! Nice stuff, let me tell you. I thought I'd take this opportunity to try fractal spinning, and compare it to my usual method (rip into random strips, spin at will, ply from center-pull ball. I'm frugal like that.)

If you're not familiar with fractal spinning, the basic premise is this:

You split your roving in half. One half, you spin up as it is, from one end to the other. Second half, you tear into a bunch of strips, and spin up one after the other. In theory this gives you one single with long color areas, and one with short, and they line up nicely and are pretty or maybe stripe in a nice way, or something like that. I've read a lot about it, but people can't seem to give me a definitive "why you should do this" or a good comparison of methods. So I will find out myself.

(Also, fractals have something to do with upper level math. Can't help you there.)

Since I wanted to compare my two methods, I started by splitting the whole thing in half and braiding one half. This is my "normal, center-pull willy nilly" roving.

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I set that braid aside, and split the second chunk of roving again. Braided half of that. (You don't actually have to do all this braiding, it just keeps things neat.)

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I set this second, smaller braid aside too. Then I split the remaining roving into as many strips as I could without making it too thin to draft, and rolled them loosely into a ball (I tried to start from the same end each time so they'd be spun up in the same order.)

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So you've got Big Braid, Small Braid, and Haggard Ball.

I spun up the big braid as I usually would, tearing it into a few strips, starting from whichever end I felt like, and then putting it on the ball winder and plying from the center pull ball. Then I spun one bobbin of the small braid, drafting straight from the braid and not tearing into strips (which is sorta hard for me, I should work on that.) Then, another bobbin working from the haggard ball of strips. I wish I could say I did the small braid and the ball from the same end, colorwise, but I'm not sure if I did. I plied those two together.

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Willynillycenterpull's on the left, fractal is on the right. So far, they look the same. The feather was there to remind me which was which, but also it sorta looks nice with it, so I left it :-)

Then, I futzed around with my macro filters for a while.

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(yarn is pretty.)

Eventually I knocked it off and whipped up a quick hat. For best comparison-ing, I tried to stick with a steady stitch count (70, on 7mm, if anyone's wondering) as long as I could and did fast-ish decreases (10 of 'em around.)

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Hmm. Fractal seemed to stripe a little less, maybe? It's not a super noticeable difference. In the picture it looks like the center pull was much darker but I think that's just the pooling and the side of the hat I took the picture of (go figure.)

Conclusion: It doesn't really matter!! At least not in this case. Maybe I'll try it thinner sometime. Or combine the two, and do a center-pull ply, but split the roving in a fractal-ish fashion. I do like the whole not-wasting-yarn thing.

But hey, I'm diggin' this hat.

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Also, pompoms. Very into pompoms right now.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Goodies!!

In the mail today:
- More rad macro filters (birthday present from my parents) which I used to take pictures of...

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- My first CosySpins Falkland Fiber Club installment!!! (a birthday present from Travis's parents! Thanks guys!) Super pretty. Cosy tossed in an old Tiffany's box because I was babbling on twitter about how pretty that shade of blue is, haha. Don't know what I'll do with it yet, but it sure is a pretty shade of blue.

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I haven't done any spinning in a while, I'm excited. I think I'm going to try a bit of a fractal spinning experiment. Will report back.

And I will leave you with this moment of zen:

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That's a dacquoise that Travis got from a Japanese bakery in New York. Or, as they say it in Japan, a "Duckwards." Hehehehe, duckwards.

(Oh, also, in case you wanted to know how awesome my betrothed is: this awesome. As in, that's my birthday present he's got there. Yeah. It's pretty sweet. And timely, too, since my laptop is about to buy the farm...again.)

In case you were wondering...

...what yarn looks like very close up.

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Why yes, I did get some new camera goodies for my birthday (which hasn't quite happened yet), why do you ask?

Also, buttons:

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Maybe I ought to buy a lotto ticket

I can't freakin' BELIEVE it!

First, I found out yesterday that I had won the Malabrigo Junkies Malabrigo March design contest on Ravelry. Which is insane and a huge honor, because there were SO many amazing projects and Wabbit Season seems so simple by comparison.

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Any of you who are in that group and voted for me- thank you! I think I get a free skein of Mal, and a super cute Kirsten Kapur pattern. Mmmboy. (That gal can do no wrong, I tell you.)

Anyway, then, this morning, I found out that I WON THE WEDDING DIY CONTEST AT RUFFLED! I literally yelled "WOOOOO!" and started jumping on the couch when I saw that post in Google Reader. I am absolutely flabbergasted. I owe so much to you guys, my lovely knitting comrades!

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I know there were a lot of knitter votes- so many comments mentioned a love of yarn ;-) As someone who has perpetually floated around the not-quite-popular-but-I-guess-I-know-a-few-people zone for most of my life, this outpouring of support has absolutely taken my breath away. It is amazing. You are all amazing. Group hug, right now. C'mon, get in close, we're all pals here. Ooh, your hair smells nice. What type of shampoo do you use? Really? Interesting.

My god. 500 smackeroos. What should I do with it?? Gee whiz. "Seattle yarn crawl" sounds fun. Or maybe I should take it to Vegas, it's been a lucky week, after all...

Oh, and since I'm talking weddings again anyway... my engagement photos are up here! Some of 'em anyway. I can't wait to see the rest. Nicole is a fabulous photographer and it was a lot of fun hanging out with her (she's a good friend of one of my good friends/exes/officiant so we'd met before) and we are so excited to have her covering the wedding! Do you like our Schlitz ad? (I managed to buy the original on ebay the other day- I'm going to frame them together. Heheh.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yarn + Wedding + DIY contest

So...I'm a finalist in a wedding craft contest right here:

http://ruffledblog.com/2010/04/diy-contest-time-to-vote/

And as the prizes are really quite fabulous and would keep me rolling in raw crafty materials for the next year... I am going to be a vote monger and gently suggest that you guys go have a look-see at the entries and consider voting for #11. There's yarn involved!! (If you like another one better, though, there ain't no shame in voting for them instead :-) There are a lot of super great entries.)

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Thank you wonderful friends! This was my first experience making a tutorial and it was kinda fun, I think I might do more. Anything you'd like to see?

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