Monday, February 22, 2010

All Kinds of Stuff!

My car wouldn't start this morning. Means I miss school and my smaller ones miss a day of school, too. I drive an old diesel car and it didn't get plugged in last night. When I went to start it, the battery was frozen so it used most of it's oomph in one try. I plugged it on and let it get warm but it still won't start. It's now on a battery charger.

I also told my arm to go jump off a cliff. I have too many fun yarns that need to be socks so I took more meds and started a sock I've been wanting to begin for 2 weeks. It's Sorta-Solid (tm) in Ocean Waves. I had dyed a 12 gram hank of turquoise, so I used that for the toes. I will also use it for heels and cuffs. Pretty, huh?

So far I think it looks pretty amazing. The yarn is so soft, the color so relaxing that I will actually knit this slowly (well my arm hurts so I will have to knit it slowly) to savor the soft.

Another thing I've been thinking of is going to nail school here in CO and getting my nail license again. I was licensed in Texas from 1987 to 1993 but due to carpel tunnel in the left wrist, I had to stop. I was working a lot, had a full book all the time. This was before the Vietnamese took over the nail industry. Believe me, white girls can do nails. I came in second in a state wide nail competition in TX is 1989, thank you very much! :) But I keep coming back to wanting to do that, I even bought a tanning salon with the intention of bringing in nails, but never did. Too many male clients said it would be too stinky to tan there and my salon was one of the few where guys felt comfortable tanning. Ended up closing when At The Beach tanning opened 20 salons around the Denver area in ONE DAY!!! They are in litigation now for lying to clients who cannot get out of contracts.

Hope you have a great Monday, Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Avatar, this is going to be long.

Spoiler Alert, I'm gonna tell the whole story.

I went to see Avatar tonight with the whole family. I haven't really heard that much about what the movie was about, a lot about what people thought about the movie. Moat I heard like the special effects but thought the story line was preachy. Okay, I'll go see it.

I loved the technology of the movie. This is MY kids Star Wars. Thirty years ago when SW came out, it was the new technology, the movie that would change the way movies were made. This is the new SW, with the new technology that will revolutionize the way movies are made. Way to go James Cameron!

Before I talk about the story line, let me tell you that I am very sensitive about some things. One big thing is that there are times I hate to be human. Humans are bad as a people. We think that since we are the top of the food chain on our planet, we can do what we please, when we please. We should have what we want the moment we want it. We are an instant gratification species. We do terrible things to our own planet, the animals on it and the other humans that we share it with. We don't think about what we are doing TO the planet, we just think about what we can get away with if we do it. We pollute our air, our water and our bodies with toxins and then complain that we have asthsma, must drink bottled water and spend too much on health care. Knowing how I feel will help you understand this review.

The story line in Avatar is two fold, first the US has found this planet which they have named Pandora. Apparently there is an amazing amount of a element called Unobtainium on Pandora. The indiginous people of the planet are 9 feet tall, blue with pointy ears. They are gentle and look like us (bipedal, two arms, etc) and are connected to their planet in a way humans are NOT connected to Earth. The People (who have a name I cannot spell) love their planet, speak to all the flora and fauna. Literally. they can 'jack in' to their planet and speak to it. they 'bond' with their animals an speak through their minds to their horses, the dragon-like things they fly, with the trees, that glow and have 'tentacles' that hold their thoughts and memories. When The People have to hunt, they apologize for killing the animal and thank it for it's sacrifice. They don't kill unless VERY necessary. They don't fight amongst themselves, though many generations ago there was a hero that that brought all the tribes together.

The main guy is Jake Sully, who is an Avatar Driver. He is put in stasis and his mind then goes into the avatar, which is a human made version of the indiginous people. Jake, as a human, is in a wheel chair, but in the avatar he has full use of his legs. His initial mission is to provide security when the scientists (Sigourney Weaver) go on the planet to take samples of the plants. He gets separated from the party and ends up meeting Neytiri. She is one of The People. She is going to kill him but gets a sign from nature that she should not but look out for him. She ends up saving him from some really nasty lion/dog/really big teeth animal in the forest. She gets another sign that he is important to them so she takes him home to meet the family. Neytiri is instructed to teach him the way of The People. The People live in Hometree. Huge tree. Like taller than WTC and wider that it too. Big enough to be the home of a few hundred people.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, the scientists and military are bashing heads on how to get to that unobtainium. Scientists want to teach the natives, get to know them and hope they will give up the land so the stuff can be mined. The military leader wants to bulldoze and kill. When Jake is pulled into the 'family' the military leader gets Jake to give reports on where, who and all that stuff to help the military in the future. Jake doesn't stay an avatar all the time, he does come back to his own body each night.

Jake learns about the planet. He learns about The People, he learns to hunt, to feel the planet and Ewya (the goddess, nature, the planet, each and every living thing on the planet). He falls in love with Neytiri (who didn't see that coming) and the way of life. Jake's new mission is to try to get The People to move away from Hometree before the military comes.

It doesn't work. The military comes. They take down Hometree. This is where I start sobbing during the movie. Literally sobbing in my 3D glasses. The teenagers behind me make fun of me. I don't care, it really hurt me to see it. After that it went downhill faster than Lindsey Vonn. Lots of fighting and dying. I just couldn't help thinking about how horrible humans are. I know it's a movie and not real, but I believe this is the way humans would be if we found a planet with something we wanted on it, that also had intelligent life. We would go there, try to teach them our language and our ways, give them our Gods, and then become hostile if they didn't do what we wanted/needed them to do. Just shoot to kill.

So when I was disturbed after the movie, still crying, my family was surprised and distressed that I reacted the way I did.

I know I'm too sensitive.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Little About Sock Knitting

I knit socks. Lots of socks. I don't usually knit anything else, unless there is a need for mittens, scarves or hats. I have had a sweater in progress for so long that I can't get the yarn anymore and I didn't get even half way through before realizing I didn't get enough yarn. I'll end up frogging it someday and doing something else with the yarn.

But I love to knit socks. I knit mostly for myself. I haven't found many others who understand/care about the time and effort that goes into a pair of rockin hand knit socks. I knit socks for my husband and occasionally my kids. I do have a pair of bike socks on the needles for my husband that I work on a few rounds each night as the elbow will allow.

I have a pattern for toes, heel and cuffs that I do with most every sock. I knit toe up, two at a time, on two circular needles. There are plenty of books on this now, though when I started doing it there was only one or two. For the toe I cast on between the two needles and increase as I need to. I do the heel that same way each time, too, the Strong Heel, named after Geraldine Crawford-Strong who is credited with inventing it. It was published in the 2003 Winter Knitter's Mag. I prefer this heel to all other because there is no picking up stitches with it.
On the heel needle I just do M1 at the second and second to last stitch until the number of stitches on that needle is double the original. So if I start with 26, I end when there are 52 and then I turn the heel. Simple and it looks like a regular gusset, but no heel flap. For the cuff I generally do a 2-3 inch 2X2 ribbing. I do different patterns on the top of the foot and leg.

I used to take pictures of all my socks but stopped doing so a few years ago.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best laid plans of mice and yarn dyers sometimes go astray!

I began dying a hank with long sections of violet and brilliant blue on opposite end of the loop. Between those was going to be a jacquard thing with black and red in one section, black and gold in the other. The sock was going to do two stripes of violet, two stripes of black/red, two stripes of blue, two stripes of black/gold. That was the plan. But plans change. The black spread so fast and long that it enveloped the red. I ended up over-dying the jacquard section with just black. I also left a section the same size as the black in the natural white color and added a section of the red. It's much nicer this way than the original design. I thought the colors looked like jazz music.
I ended up naming the hank Fender Jazzmaster,
after the guitar my husband plays.

I've been doing well selling on Etsy, but i need to get into a store or three. I keep telling myself I need to just make the calls and set up appointments to show my wares to the owners but i never get to it. I know exactly why, if I don't call then they can't say 'no'. I have ideas that make the risk to the owners zero but again, I don't make the calls. Next week.

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines! Slew of New. . .colors and solids.

Happy Valentines Day! Arm is giving me fits. Doc says a few more weeks, but if i keep using it like i do then the few weeks can stretch into months. But honestly, could you go for weeks without using your elbow?? Didn't think so.

I went home early Friday from work because the arm hurt and i didn't want to overdo things. So i went home and dyed 5 hanks. I need to be put in a coma for 4 weeks in order not to use my arm.

Here are some previews, top is called Cotton Candy. Next is Fruit Salad (yummy yummy, The Wiggles).

This is the Melon Sorta-Solid(tm) in salmon, peach, melon, and spots of pink and red. Knits up really pretty.

All on Etsy, go see! :)

Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Turquoise Sorta-Solid(tm), Ocean Waters

I'm going to make some of this in DK weight. i need sox this color. YOU need socks this color. Your mom and your sister and HER husband do too. Really, trust me, I wouldn't lie to you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Blue Bayou and Purple Haze

Just a quick peek today of the two Sorta-Solids I did yesterday. I have homework I need to get going on. So here you go!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Sort-Solids(tm) Dyed Today.Ask Me About My Yarn!

So, the two I have done so far have been pretty amazing. The green is fabulous and the pink wow! I did a purple and blue today. I think I will also do a yellow, a turquoise and a peach. I have the ability to recreate so they aren't One Of A Kind,
which is good since I can see these being used for more than just socks.

Joins. The wool/silk blend I've gotten from my undyed yarn supplier has many joins. I'm told that 3 is the maximum number of joins acceptable in a hank of yarn. I hope that true since I have several in the hanks. Anyone have comments on joins?

Here is the pink Sorta-Solid. You can see several colors of pink and peach that make up the 'solid' color. I think it's pretty amazing myself, but I am biased you see.

The green is very nice and I love green. I did this in fingering weight which is good because I don't knit in such a light weight. It's difficult to see the stitches with my bad eyes so I stick to sport and larger. I prefer DK actually but my supplier has only 100% Merino wool and I like the added nylon for socks. The blue and purple will be up tomorrow for your perusal. I am really proud of the blue, the purple is equally amazing. Gonna tune in and look?

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Colors and a new way of dyeing. . .

My hands are green. Emerald acid dye is very saturated. I don't wear gloves when I dye and today I did a lot of squeezing out the dye before dipping into another color, therefore green hands. But I got 6 hanks done today. I have to work tomorrow and I don't like dyeing when the house is full. Too many kids running around.

So I did a new thing today. I was asked if I was going to do just multi colors or will I do solid colors. I don't want to do solids. I like the multis. Well, after thinking about it, I decided to meet in the middle. I will do semi solids. Not just a color that doesn't quite penetrate all the yarn, I am actually using 5-6 colors to get the solid. I'm not going to share this method just yet. It's difficult and takes many steps but the end result is kinda freakin' amazing. I did a pink-ish and a green-ish today. Tomorrow they will be dry and able to be hanked, so I can show the end result. Beautiful.

I also did a couple other multi colors that turned out really quite perfect. I think I'm getting hang of this. :) This one is called Colorado Sunset.

I got an email from another 'indie dyer', that's what we are called, independent dyers, who told me I should consider no longer showing how I dye my yarn on my blog. He said that I was letting the secrets of hand painting yarn out' in the open where any schmuck could copy and paint their own'. He is afraid that if knitters/crocheters could dye their own, then we indie dyers wouldn't be needed anymore. While I am sure there are some knitters who would be happy to only knit what they dye, i'm not sure this is the way every knitting wants to go. It's messy, expensive to get started, and not everyone has an eye for color. Plus there are soo many books out there on how to dye yarn, I don't feel I am giving away any confidential secrets. Anyone can find info on how to dye your own yarn, fabric, batiking etc.

For those in the Mid-Atlantic region, I will be thinking about you and hoping the snow doesn't make life hard for you.

I will hopefully show the yarns dyed today to you all (what 15 people who read this) tomorrow.

Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Yarns Arrived today!

I'm going to dye a batch of Merino/Silk yarns in fingering weight for socks. It's not superwash, which I don't like since it takes a bit longer to heat set, but not too much more work, but it means the knitter/crocheter will need to remember that it has to be hand washed and dried flat.

BUT, I'm anxious to dive in.

I'm also trying to get the DH to let me stop working. I may propose again tonight the 'but I'm barely making anything there and can make more staying home dyeing yarn and it will give me more study time!' Doubt it will work, and I don't need more study time, I'm pretty smart and learn fast. Maybe I will promise to work on getting the office cleaned out so the two younger kids can get separate rooms. That might be a good bribe.

Off to skein the yarns!!

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I wanna quit my JOB!

I need a bigger separate studio. I need to be able to leave all my stuff out and not have to put it all away each day. So I am in search of cheap space. Wonder what I will find.

I also want to quit my job. I like my job, love all the people I work with, but right now with my arm not doing well, working for even 4.5 hours makes it hurt. If I am at home working, when my arm needs a break I can take a break. Not if someone else is paying me. They expect me to work, arm hurting or not, every moment I am being paid for. And I agree. If I'm getting paid, I want to work to deserve it. Last Saturday I hurt my neck because other body parts are trying to make up for the arm I can't use. My neck is still twingy if I move it wrong. So i am a bit afraid of going to work tomorrow.

Yesterday I was going to dye a bunch of new skeins, but ended up just mixing all my dyes. I want to get into some stores and need to be able to reproduce colorways. So the new dedication at imagesinthewind studios is to be able to make the same color way to day and again next week.

I did get one thing done/dyed, an over dye of a couple skeins of Patons Kroy in baby pink. I didn't really do anything special, just dyed half of it lilac. Now it stripes in pink and lilac.
What do you think?
Please comment. I just want to know that people read this. . . :)
Happy knitting and Crocheting!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Humongous Yarn Swift.

In a past post I showed my giant 5.5 foot swift in action in the horizontal position. It was working fine for me but would take up all the space in the room and I had to put my doggies outside to use it. My younger dog loved watching it and would try to stop it from spinning. I had an idea for making it vertical, but when I went to Home Depot, I didn't find what was in my mind to make the whole thing a windmill.

I went to Google for ideas. Google is a great kingdom of ideas and I found someone who had made the same basic swift, though much smaller and had figured out a good way to make the swift spin. I modified it a bit so I could use the parts I already had, but the basic idea is still the same. And it works great. I still have the way to make my giant loops for dyeing (7 feet tall) and can use less space. The whole thing breaks down into three flat pieces that can stand up against the wall til the next day when I need to use it again.

The whole thing is more than 8 feet tall but has a section in the arm that makes it 7 feet tall if I take it out. So I can use it sitting on the floor, or standing up depending on what I need to do. This picture shows the loop I made for the Lime in the Tangerine coloryway I did. After the skein was dry and ready to hank, I put it back on the swift and wound it onto my smaller swift for hanking. Wonderfully easy.

In other life notes, I got an A on the pop quiz in math yesterday. Anthropology was interesting and Political Science was AWESOME!! My arm feels good as long as I'm hopped up on advil. I'm getting tired of taking that much medication, but if I don't the arm hurts so I'm going to be tired of it for a while.

Punxsutawny Phil saw his shadow today, 6 more weeks of winter. We watch the movie Groundhog Day every year on this day with huge bowl of popcorn. Haven't missed a 'Day' since 2002. We bought it when it came out on DVD in Jan 2002, just days before Groundhog Day. We go through a lot of popcorn. . .

Well time to clean so I can dye!
Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

EDIT: okay so I got little dyeing done. Just one hank, an over dye of the pink Kroy 3 ply that I had. I tried to destash it but had no takers. Now it stripes in pink and lilac. Very pretty together.
What I ended up doing was to mix all my dyes into concentrates. I had 23 Ball canning mason jars that I decided to use to make concentrate liquids of all my dyes. I still have a number of colors that I don't use often that I didn't concentrate, not enough jars. But most of them are now in the mason jars. 16 ounces of vinegar water and .5 ounces of dye. That is a load of dye for that small a jar! So now instead of mixing every time I need to use it, I can just take a measured amount of the concentrate. This does two things for me, the biggest being I can measure how much dye I use. In the future I will be able to recreate color ways that people have liked. I've heard from a number of people when both Pesto and Beach Glass sold on Etsy and they wondered if I could make them again. Unfortunately I cannot. In order to get into a store, i will need to make 4-5 hanks of a single color way in a single dye lot to I need to know how much of a color I use in a color way.
The second thing it will do is allow me to mix colors faster. I won't have to do all the water boiling and stirring. I cleaned out a cupboard above my dryer to store the jars in so they are within reach and not cold in the garage.
So, I am hoping this makes things quicker and allows me to get into some LYS in my area. I just need 3-4 that order each month and the Etsy shop to be able to quit at JoAnn Fabrics. Which I like but I love this and it allows me to be creative.

So, I will post the lilac/pink when it's dry and hanked. Oh, and it took 3 table spoons of the lilac concentrate in the dye pot to dye the 50 grams of yarn I put in it. So I have a bit of an idea what it will take to dye 50 grams.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Put The Lime In The Tangerine

Yesterday I had time to do one dye job. I did a cool wide stripe again with Lime Green and Tangerine. Again, it was really difficult to get a decent picture and the pics don't capture the colors right. They go together perfectly.

No school or work tomorrow and not much homework so some good dye time!

Andrea Wulff of Tennessee! Congrats!

I may do another fun contest in the middle of February.

Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

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