Getting Naked For Cancer

November 6, 2006

Catchy subject line, isn’t it?

Back in January, a friend of mine had an idea to help a friend of hers who had recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Sex sells, we all know this, so why not sell the idea of it to raise money for something important — like helping to pay for cancer meds. And so she came up with Lime Suckers — a group of volunteers some whom were getting naked and some of whom were wrangling photos and text and websites and all of whom were in it to help someone beat cancer.

I wrangled text and people who deal with text. I’m also an alternate model so you might wind up seeing me on a Lime Sucker product sometime. It’s not fiber-related, but it some things are more important than even yarn.

This totally freaks me out. But it also speaks to the depth of dedication involved with this project. You don’t know Heather. But chances are good you know someone whose life was affected by cancer.  I didn’t know Heather before this project. But I do know that helping, even in this small way, is a good thing. It’s a tangible thing that donations to cancer research (while those are fantastic) can’t accomplish.

You can pre-order a calendar here.

There’s something for everyone in this calendar. All shapes, all sizes, all real bodies.  It’s tasteful and fun. And naked.  And all proceeds go directly into Heather’s account so that she can concentrate on beating this disease without being beaten by financial collapse.

And if you’d pimp this in your own blogs, that would be pretty awesome as well.  Just please leave a comment so we can keep track of where we’re showing up!

Busy busy busy

November 2, 2006

So much has been going on…. And I don’t know even where to begin talking about it! Perhaps a list.

1. My boyfriend just moved in with me.

2. Handdyed, handstenciled tights and socks.

3. A pirate ship built at work for the department party.

4. Stalled out on my Sock Wars socks but have not yet been killed.

5. Trying to adjust to an apartment full of boxes and two angry cats.

Yeah, that’s about right. There’s more stuff that’s been going on but since I’m still in the thick of most of it…. And to top it all off, I feel like sewing but there’s no room to set up my sewing machine at the moment. And I can’t find my camera in the mess and chaos of boxes and bags and STUFF.

Socktoberfest!

October 5, 2006

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I made my first pair of socks almost two years ago.  Up until that point, I thought they seemed like very fiddly things to make and I wasn’t having any of it. But I found a Learn to Knit Socks book at the craft store one day and jumped right into the process. I was immediately hooked.

It’s a REALLY great book for learning the basics and I highly recommend it if you are easily intimidated by the prospect of turning a heel.

What was your first pair? How have they “held up” over time?

My first pair was the basic sock from the Learn to Knit Socks book. I made it from the DMC Crochet Cotton, in a lovely greenish color. It was also my first time knitting with cotton. I made them on size 3 metal DPNs. They’ve held up really well. I still wear them. I still love them.

Of course, the first pair I ATTEMPTED…. That’s a different story. A friend and I decided we both wanted to give it a shot, so I bought some DPNs and we used a pattern her mother had written down for us. I knitted on that sock while waiting in line to see Revenge of the Sith. It was my Darth Sock. It was also acrylic, and maybe standing in line and looking at people’s costumes and answering Star Wars trivia questions are not the best activities to do at the same time as trying to learn to knit in the round and turn a heel.

What would you have done differently?

I think my first socks were a pretty ideal first sock experience!

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I’ve worked my Sock Wars socks in a DK-weight merino that I got from someone on Etsy on then dyed myself. It’s…. It’s like butter.  So, yeah.

And the Lisa Souza Sock! and Sock! Merino.

And the superwash merino from Over the Rainbow Yarns on ebay. I love that stuff.
Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

The fabric that results from crochet is a little too knotty-feeling on the bottoms of my feet. Knit is a little smoother. And I am all the about the DPNs, baby. Metal DPNs so the yarn slides all over the place. I knit tightly, so I need that.How many pairs have you made?

You know, I have no idea. 12+, I think.

Bad Idea

September 27, 2006

So, rushing through a whole sock, even if it was in the delicious Lime and Violet colorway from Lisa Souza, even if it WAS knit on 2s, the other weekend was not a good idea. It was an especially bad idea to do that right before Sock Wars. It was an even more especially bad idea to do that right before Sock Wars and to still be swatching like mad for a very cool blanket idea I have.

My left elbow HURTS.

Also, if you like the Lime and Violet podcast and/or the Lime and Violet colorway in the Lisa Souza sock yarn that I have posted about in the recent past…. Join our knitalong!

L&VKAL

It really is going to totally rock. There’s no specific project, just the yarn as a common thread. Pun, totally intended. And there are prizes. Oh, yes, prizes.

More details as soon as my left elbow stops hurting!

This is how I feel about my Sock Wars Socks.

September 26, 2006

Lisa Souza Sock! Yarn

September 15, 2006

So, I listen to this great podcast, Lime & Violet. It’s a lot of fun and I like the people involved. So when they announced that they had partnered with Lisa Souza to produce a Lime & Violet colorway, I ordered it. They split the proceeds, which means I wind up supporting not just a small fiber business owner but the people who produce something (the podcast) which I greatly enjoy.

Lisa Souza has AWESOME customer service. I totally have to put that out there. I’ve bought a lot of yarn online and this was by far the best experience. Lots of personal communication and I came away with the feeling that if there was any problem she would do her personal best to fix it.

I had my skein of the Lime & Violet colorway delivered to my work address and it arrived yesterday. There was definitely muted (I am in a cubicle) squeeing.

I played with it throughout the day. When I got home, I handwound it into a ball, which took FOREVER because 450 yards (for $14) is a lot. *grin*

Then, I started knitting. Good times.

The wrapper suggests needles sized 1-2. I had 0s handy, so I swatched with those, just to see. Keep in mind, I’m something of a tight knitter with sock yarn, so your results might vary. The fabric that resulted from the 0s was VERY dense and a little stiff. The yarn is soft but not so soft as to overcome too-tightly-knitted fabric.

I ripped that out. Swatched with 1s. Much better. Good stitch definition and a pleasing fabric that was dense without being stiff.

So, I cast on for a pair of socks.

I have fat legs, so I cast on 80 stitches. I did the Latvian Twist edging and then started to work some ribbing.

That is when my problems began.

This is GREAT yarn, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think it’s a good yarn for socks on small needles with large stitch counts. Not for me anyway. The yarn is NOT striping. The color repeats are way too short for that, unless you’re working on 1s or 0s over a very small number of stitches.

What happens is that the two different sets of colors split and you get half a sock in lime and violet and the other half of the sock just in the party in the middle. *grin*

This picture sort of shows what I’m talking about:

It’s not pleasing.

I wound up ripping all of that back and starting over. Fewer stiches, same needles. Same result.

I fussed around for a while and found that 64 stitches on size 2s will give me the size I need.

The fabric is a little loose, so I would not recommend size 2s for anyone who knits in a loose or relaxed fashion. I THINK I’m going to be okay, but I’m still a little worried. But the randomness of the colorway is really showing off nicely.

This is 64 stitches on size 2s:

So. Much. Better.

Overall, this is not the softest superwash with which I have ever knit (the Sock! Merino is probably softer). But the colors and the stitch definition are awesome. And it held up to repeated swatching and frogging REALLY well, so I have high hopes for how these socks are going to wear. I will definitely buy more yarn from Lisa Souza.

Everyday Creativity

September 11, 2006

In response to one of my recent posts, Melissa joked about being surprised EVERYONE didn’t knit every day. You know, she’s right — it IS like OCD.

I’ve been thinking about that ever since.  WHY don’t I knit every day?

It’s not a lack of projects. It’s not that I don’t love yarn. It’s not even a lack of time, as a general rule.

For me, it’s that there are too many OTHER fabulous and creative things to do. I can’t pick just one.

I knit. I spin. I dye. I crochet. I sew. I make hairsticks. And belts. And purses. And boxes. I do papercraft. I write. I edit. I alter. I deconstruct. I make collage assemblages. I make books. I make wings. I make dolls and tiaras and, sometimes, excuses.

*grin*

And I do this every night.

See, I don’t watch television. I haven’t had cable since 1995, when I moved out of my grandparents’ house and went away to college.  It’s not like I’ve been completely unexposed to television since then but it isn’t a part of my normal evening’s activities.

That… frees up a lot of time.

Seriously, I know a lot of people do STUFF while they watch television, but if it isn’t something I’ve seen a hundred times before, I tend to pay more attention to what is on tv than what is in my hands.

So, I come home, I turn on music or a movie I’ve watched 100+ times (The Lord of the Rings extended editions are a perennial favorite), and start making things. I make things almost every night.

Lately, I’ve been sewing a lot. It’s hard to get satisfactory pictures of the things that I’m sewing because I don’t have a tripod and my cat just isn’t a good photographer. Everything is shot from floor level and there’s almost always a whisker or two in frame.

Anyway. If I was just a knitter or just a sewer or just a paper arts person, I’d be better, I’m sure, at that one thing and a LOT more productive. But each process, for me, informs all the others.

Crochet and knitting really bounce off of each other in my head. They are so similar in so many ways, but really different in very fundamental ways. Ooooh, I’m so deep! They are the same but different! *snort* What I really mean is that I use them for different things — knitting produces wonderful drapey fabric but it doesn’t have the same BODY, to me, as crochet. Crochet is perfect for freeform three dimensional objects. I play with both crafts and use them depending on the needs of my project.

Color theory from painting and collage assembly comes to play when I am spinning and plying and dyeing. Texture moves from sewing to papercraft.  Detail work travels from bookbinding to altering clothing.

So, I don’t knit every day. But I create. And I think that’s important. Like, really important. When I’m not making SOMETHING, I start to feel stale. Working on a project opens a window and lets in the fresh air.

Sometimes I do wish I could watch Project Runway, though. *grin*

Stenciled Goodness

September 9, 2006

Yesterday, after I read about Grumperina‘s wonderful results with freezer paper stencils, I smacked myself on the forehead for forgetting that they exist. Then I started searching google images for inspiration.

Somewhere in the midst of my search, it occurred to me that I don’t own an iron. Rather than stop on the way home and buy one, I decided to use contact paper. I know some people have a problem with the paint bleeding when they use contact paper stencils, but I’ve not had that problem. I think it’s because I place the stencil, rub it firmly onto the fabric, and then blast it with hot air from the hair dryer. Seems to help keep those edges a bit more secure.

I found several images that really appealed to me and I printed them out. Then, once I was at home, I didn’t really like them anymore. I broke out the sharpie markers and some scrap cardboard for doodling and then started freehanding my own versions of the images I had liked.

For the record? It’s a bad idea to use a razor knife shortly after taking yet another dose of cold medicine. I’m a little knicked up at this point. Still, I think the results might be worth a little band aid or two.

Given my love of tentacles, I knew I needed something with a jellyfish on it. There will definitely be more things emblazoned with octopods and cuttlefish and squid, but I wanted to start with the humble, oft-forgotten jellyfish.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself! Of course, I couldn’t really imagine ONLY making shirts for myself. Shirts for a couple of my friends are in the works. One of them is already done.

Do you have that sort of best friend with whom you are ridonkulously silly? JT and I make chicken noises at each other. We’ve done it for years. I… I have no idea how or when it started. Maybe with her comment that chickens are very efficient (after all, we use nearly every bit of them).

I may need to make another chicken shirt for myself.

And one with a sheep. And an alpaca. And a skein of yarn with some knitting needles….

The Urge

September 6, 2006

Do you ever go more than a few days without knitting (if you don’t, you might not have any idea what I’m talking about here)? You’re doing other projects and you get distracted by sewing or beading or whatnot. You work late and come home too tired to focus your eyes. You spend a holiday weekend with someone you don’t get to see very often and you both run around doing a hundred differen things that do not involve sitting down and working on ANYTHING.

And all of a sudden it’s been two weeks since you picked up the knitting needles.

Now there aren’t enough knitting podcasts or knitting blogs in the world to satisfy you. Lime & Violet only broadcast once a week and you’ve listened to the new episode already. Grumperina is on vacation.

This is when I turn to ebay. I search for sock yarns and drool over the yarn that I cannot afford to buy right now. I do a search just for Lorna’s Laces and try to decide if I really want to give the yarn a try, even though the colors don’t really thrill me. I’ve heard so much about this yarn, you know.

And, really, all I want is to head home and pick up some knitting. My fingers are itching for it now.

Knitting really IS like crack!

Birthday Fundage

September 1, 2006

I have $50 in birthday money (I turn 29 tomorrow) and it’s burning a hole in my pocket like whoa!

Now the question is, what do I buy? Yarn? I DO still need yarn for the Simple Knitted Bodice. Fabric? I HAVE been making a lot of clothes lately. Clothes? I AM in love with bandlu.com.

Decisions, decisions!

Any recommendations?


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