Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Good Weekend

Sometimes in the search for any weekend, you can come across a truly good one.

Of course, it is hard to beat Rose-Hulman homecoming. There was much fire, reconnecting, and food to be had.

Obviously life is still crazy, because it is taking days to write a single blog post. It is also days to feel motivated enough to go grocery shopping, for non essential, but nice things.

Hey, still knitting though.

I finished the Morpho Butterfly socks. For some reason it was a slog to get the toe finished. It took all Sunday evening knitting sporadically.

I got lazy on the last sock. There are a couple of errors where the pattern starts on the left side of the right foot. Since this is my blog, I can make self depreciating comments about it : )

These socks are seriously awesome. I am so glad I finally found the right project for the blue yarn. It was giving me a bit of trouble in my normal patterns, and now that I paired it with a work horse tough yarn, it seems like this pair will last for a long time. I think the next colorwork pair will be Water for Elephants, which is another Rose Hiver design. When? Who knows?

Since then I have been on sleeve island for the Bohus. I finished the cuff of the first sleeve last night.

I may need to have my emergency back up plan. If I run short on the blue MC, I will do the entire cuff in the black. For now it is tipped. It is super duper easy. Knit one row in pattern with the tipping color, then bind off. I started the next sleeve. I had 64 g left in the first skein this morning. I am not sure if that will take me to the end of the sleeve or not. The last time I measured it was 80 g. I did just buy 2 skeins of the blue. My even more extreme emergency back up plan is to add more colorwork to the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater. I don't think it will come to that.
This brings me to the future. I have 2 things which are coming next. Monkey Socks, as a thank you for the Bohus yarn, and the Evenstar Shawl, because I bought it on sale this summer. In the longer range planning department, I do want to re-knit the cardigan I ripped out. I made the color prettier, there is no excuse for letting it languish much longer. I also agreed to knit my grandma a shawl. We have not finished negotiating over the yarn. I need to take photos of the options. 

There have also been some stashquisitions recently. I got yarn for 4 pairs of socks, on clearance for 26 dollars. And a friend gave me 3 skeins of dk weight merino singles, because she can't stand loosely spun wool. Actually this is the same friend who told me about the ridiculous sale. The photos will have to wait. There might be other yarn too. I might even find the stash elephant to join in on the fun.

In other news, it is nearly time to hand out the awesome prizes for the 2+Color KAL. I am posting them here because I don't know of an easier way to host photos.

Spin Monkeys
Everything Old
Tangerine Designs
Desert Vista Dyeworks

This weekend will also be wonderful. Rock Climbing! On real rocks!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mas or Menos

On one hand life has been busy and exhausting.

On the other, my blog content generation rate doesn't change much, regardless of how busy I am.

When I am busy I just have less time to write a blog, though if what I am working on is anti-creative, blogging can help a lot.

Actually in backlash for all of the studying I did for PhD qualifying exams, I have been having some very fruitful writing sessions. I won't lie, every night before I fall asleep I think about what the shape of the next part I need to write will be like. If I am driving long distances by myself then I do the same thing. I think about where the story is at, and what is going to happen next, or what needs to happen to keep the plot moving. The trouble is I don't often open the document up and start writing things.

Fairly early on there is a big revelation, and striking the right balance of emotion has been very challenging. Honestly outright denial might be an interesting path. What I really like about this story is that it has supernatural elements, without it being a cute little mystery. It seems like mystery is how authors have a plot while getting to play in the sandbox. There is evil, and the protagonist needs to use their powers to discover and defeat them. I figure there has to be another path. The question I ask instead is, how do you come to terms with new found supernatural powers. It is so much fun building the world, the myths, and getting into the heads of my characters. Since I am approaching it from the perspective of an outsider, I can answer a lot of questions explicitly.

Part of the challenge and trouble is striking a true note, when you sound false, it corrupts everything after it. It has been a very iterative process moving forward. I have a very clear idea of what everything looks like, but getting what is in my head on paper is challenging. I might need to re-read wizards first rule, since there is some gorgeous imagery, that doesn't really get in the way of the plot.

I have been knitting away on my sock and sleeve. The sock as my on the go project, and the sleeve as my at home one. Since the colorwork is done, aside from some tipping on the cast off edges, the bohus will very likely become my carry around project.

Two other grad students and I met to teach some other grad students how to knit. However we showed up and the new people did not. So we just had a knit night instead. No biggie. I am wondering if we just need to have a field trip to buy supplies and whatnot.

On the fractal front I have run into a crazy bug. When I render, the invisible transforms are not staying invisible. Honestly I have never run into the error before. On my screen the invisible stays invisible, it is just when I go to make a high quality JPEG.

The middle should have a neat, 4 fold symmetry, not random crud. It is only happening on my 64 bit apo, not my 32 bit. I did a quick test, and it looks like I will have the fractal I wanted. But sheesh, what a strange bug.

The other fractal I made was a classic spiral. The structure comes naturally from the original params. It is hard to get away from spirals when you have a little linear.

 That's all for now. Take care guys!

Molly : )

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Still crazypants

Life is still crazy. It will be crazy for sure until Monday, when the stress should drop exponentially. I hate it when you know exactly when life will be much better. I suppose that at the very least the stress will be the normal sort.

Not that I haven't been knitting or fractaling or other such nonsense. I am always doing that in the background.

 The secret knitter sense twinged, and I had to rip out the sleeve. I cast on 24 stitches, and it was way too much ease. I have no clue, but I must have skinny arms because I am swimming in sleeves that are knit written to the pattern. I did not take a picture. So switching needles and casting on 12 stitches seemed to work. I am also decreasing every 7 stitches instead of 6.

 I don't know why bloggers use the disembodied head look. It is sorta creepy.

Not going to lie, this sweater is starting resemble a giant sock. I was using the 2's and it wasn't right. It turns out that my colorwork gauge and non-colorwork gauge are the same, so I am knitting with the 1.5's. I got a decent chunk watching the joy and smiles podcast. Honestly I like ramblely podcasts, they are a distraction from boring knitting. I have 4 inches of sleeve, so there is maybe 16 more to go? I trying it on frequently, so I will know when it is done.

My on the go project is the butterfly socks. I am pretty close to the heel flap.

I keep forgetting to update the photos on my ravelry page. It was much easier to rejigger the pattern for the right sock. It helps that the butterfly is the first step.It took a little thought to get used to reading the pattern for the opposite direction stripes. Now I have it down cold.

The only mod I did was 1 less row of right side blue in the cuff. Th blue is thick yarn, so it seems like it is more vertical than the first sock.

I don't know when I will be done with these socks.They are taking longer than the 2 weeks a pair which I know I am capable of. Perhaps the hidden variable is that I am only knitting on the socks on the go, and the sweater only at home.

It has been a little strange because I have not been having any thoughts of future projects. I wrote a thank you note to my grandma and offered to knit her something, and she would like a shawl. She said she wanted one like what I knit for my bridesmaids. However I have a similar pattern by the same designer, so I will do that one instead. This is the from the same issue of interweave knits as one of my knitting partners in crime (yea weekly knitting groups!) got published in for the first time. I will make the little dress she designed, as soon as I have an adorable little girl to knit it for. I suspect it will be for a niece before a daughter. I strongly suspect my sister will be having kids before me.

The apo challenge this week was to make a flame where you could not change the position and size of the transforms, or add any. This still leaves a lot to change, in terms of gradient, color, variations, weight. I made a couple.

I am rendering one more. I got stuck on the technica style of flames. It is a combination of disk and julian. It works really well for the structure given in the flame. Frankly it is easier to show.

The 4 transforms all have their origins in the middle, but they are rotated. The flame on the screen is the one that is rendering. There is still at least 6 hours left on that one. I definitely prefer rendering on my work computer. At most it takes 6 hours to render something.

That's all for now, take care guys!

Molly : )

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Update

Stress knitting is the name of the game. I have been in this place before.

See that top sock, near the toe, where the spiral stops. That was where I was 2 years ago in terms of stress.

I am absolutely buzzing with nervous energy, and this has resulted in me trying to take it out on something. Well, that something in my Bohus.

I was trying to figure out if the yoke was big enough yet.after the short row shaping. According to the pattern, it is nearly there. According to me, I am a bit sceeved by the idea of having 14 in circumference sleeves. (Maybe silly since my arm is ~13" there) My gauge is a wee bit tight, like half a stitch per inch, but I did not wash the swatches, so frankly it is going to grow.

In other news, I received my swap package for the Wollmeise for All Seasons 4th Annual Summer Swap.

My partner, hates blue, so I was the best possible home for the Stella Polaris. Squeee! That is a cold dead hands skein. It is a night time shot, so you can't see the subtle variations in color. She also left me little messages in other languages, which I tried to translate in google translate. I got the gist of the phases. It was really wonderful of her, since I was not her swap partner. My partner apparently was too busy. Normally it isn't a one to one exchange, but I sent her some coral yarn, the silberdistal, a pattern of her choice, and coffee from a local roaster. Many people traded multi skeins, of which I have none remaining.

I finished a sock!

 What a perfect fit! I am so glad I ripped back, because it is awesome!

I have not started the next one. I just did a quick sanity check, Sock is 53.5g, the 2 remaining skeins are more than 60g a piece, so I am good to go for another sock, or 2. Yea!

On the fractal front, I made 3 this week.

I looked at the other entries, and this last one was the most different. Apparently several people went with spirals, and since mine weren't super awesome, just interesting, the mostly polar one won.

That is all for now, wish me luck tomorrow!

Molly : )

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Swatch Mania!

This weekend involved much swatching. Basically all of my crazy ideas for color combos for the Bohus fell flat on their face when it came to implementation.

I present exhibit A, my original plan.

The short answer is that the red-orange-yellow multi, was pretty muddy. You could not get a good contrast Which made the second section look like one big blob.

Secondly the red and purple clashed.

Thirdly it looked like a box of crayons puked on my sweater, which was never the intent.

The main trouble I had with this swatch was the realization that my stranded knitting skills were not very good. After knitting most of a stranded sock, this issue has been  solved. Walking before running is sometimes helpful.

This led to swatch #2. The orange-red-yellow multi was thrown out, the red was thrown out and replaced with pink. The blue purple was replaced with a red purple.

Borrowing a trick from my fractal experience I switched the MC to black. And I incorporated the blue into one of the larger color blocks.

Basically black is 'not' a color. It contrasts with everything, and makes a color 'appear' as it's true color. White can serve the same purpose, but for whatever reason it is less effective.

I really loved the strong 3 color contrast going on with the yellow, green and pink. I did not like how the blue center motif turned out.

This is the same swatch, but desaturated. This is a good way to assess the spread of values in your swatch.

A strong contrast happens in both color (ie blue+orange) and in value (blackness vs. whiteness) Obviously the black is contrasting with everything.

The yellow is actually a darker value than the pink, blue and parts of the green. There is no contrast between the yellow and orange, they probably shouldn't be next to each other.

The silver in the center motif is the only color close to white. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It is calling way too much attention to itself. I don't have light colors, only vivid ones, so the silver needs to go.

Following those thoughts, I decided to make blue the MC again, and switch it with black. I knew that the blue-pink-green-yellow was another valid color combo, what I failed to account for was the poor contrast between the blue and the green.

I switched the accent colors too. I liked the switch, the orange is green's compliment, and the magenta is yellow's compliment.

The black is too stark, it is too concentrated in places and it isn't counterbalancing the other colors like it did when it was the MC.

Disappointingly this swatch was worse than the last. I concluded that blue was unsuited to be the MC.

This led to the last full swatch. Black was the MC again, blue was made into the boarder color, and teal was used for the central motif. I also switching out one of the accent colors for a darker shade.

The gist I got from this one was that I liked having a contrast at the border between the yoke and the blue, and I missed having the blue incorporated into the yoke as a whole.

The biggest change was that I swatched the full pattern, not just the color blocks. It was interesting to see how the purls smeared and extended colors. Most notably the central motif looks very different in pattern than in color. The accents cover much more of the area.

This gave me an idea, so I quick swatched the blue, with the new accent colors, and I knew I finally had my combo. With yellow as a strong contrast instead of silver, the blue central motif worked much better. So I junked the teal, and started to actually knit on my sweater.


Obviously I have a long way to go still. Sorry about the blurry picture, this was the best of the bunch, and it is worth showing how freaking small the yoke is. I did the third round of increases, so there are about 25 more rows before the next round of increases.

I am glad I am finally moving again on this sweater. I wasted no time casting on, I was honestly surprised how complicated it was to actually get a good swatch.

MC body: Hortensie
Central motif: Hortensie
MC yoke: Scwartz
Border: Merlot
Points up: Elfe
Points down: Küken
X's: Magnolie
Least accent: Clementine
Most accent: Mon Cheri
One block accent: Küken

Or at least those are my closest guesses for colors. Not all of them were labeled.

In other knitting news, I got a lot done on my socks.

I demonstrated non-baggy flaps. I learned that flaps should be the distance from the ankle bone to the floor, which is 2 3/4 of an inch for me. This flap is 3 inches long, since I was trying to apply the square rule of thumb, and realizing that was crazypants.

As always, the neat, stranded sock inside out shot.

And, on the car ride to and from Chicago, I managed to finish the gusset decreases, and double the butterfly count.

On the fractal front, I made one this week.

The goal was to make an alien vase. I don't think I will win, I made a rotational with a star center and applied a final transform to make the shape vase-like, nothing fancy. This week the challenge is to use polar, linear and lazysusan. Honestly I have no clue how to make lazysusan really shine.

The department of stashquisitions would like to present, a brand new, dyed by request, skein of Candy Skein (from the same woman who runs WIP Wednesdays) Apparently my stash elephant is still MIA, or rather in a packed box, somewhere in the house.

I won it as a prize for finishing my ravellenics socks. In no surprise I requested blue. Maybe these will become Cookie A socks. I really love the color, and the base should make great socks.

Please check out the other cool people who are doing for WIP Wednesday!

That's all for now, take care guys!

Molly : )