April 6, 2008

I like rainbows, yes I do.

I've had a digital camera for a while now, knocking about somewhere in one of the zillion boxes we moved here from St. Paul. I had a vague recollection that it came with a thick stack of manuals and some dubious software, so I wasn't all that inclined to look for it. Having an Etsy store, however, requires me to take pictures. A lotta lotta pictures. Not quite a shitload yet, but I can see the future necessity looming.

Making Seebs and Luka take my yarn pictures for me was getting pretty damn frustrating, too. It involved me hovering and making wild hand gestures while gurgling, "No, more like... kinda almost but could you... no, back how it was... other way, other way! Don't turn it over, wait, turn it this way, blargle augh!" And then comes the part where all I can do is moan and make grabby hands, at which point they would inevitably mistake me for a zombie and kill me with a cricket bat. Clearly, the situation was not ideal.

It took me several days to steel myself for a marathon of manual-reading and software-wrestling. When I felt ready for the challenge, I asked Rah where the camera was. She always knows these things -- she's the only one in the house who doesn't have crippling ADD -- and this time was no exception. She dug it out for me in five minutes flat. I opened up the box, took out a stack of manuals half an inch thick, and tried to focus my chakras in the hope of achieving some kind of Shadow Clone Attack, cuz one of me would clearly not be enough.

Seebs walked in and saw my distress. He made this face :3 and told me in a hushed tone, "Wanna know a secret? You don't actually need to do anything fancy. Just put some batteries in and start taking pictures. Then plug it into your computer, and the Mac will automatically load up iPhoto and ask if you want to grab the pictures."

o_O You're fucking kidding me.
:3 Nope, it Just Works.
o_O And here I thought... well, the stack of manuals is... well, fucking look at it!
:3 Ain't Macs great?

He's my hero yet again. I just wish he'd mentioned that when I first got the camera. I was too depressed to deal with all the crap I thought I'd have to do, so I let it get packed away. I could've taken pictures of... um...


And the point of all that preamble is: I've been thinking for a while about starting a fiber blog to document my adventures in string, but you can't really have one of those without pickachers. Now I gots the pickachers. They're not very good yet. Issokay, I'll get better. That's what I do. I suck and then I get better. I even got better at sucking, once upon a time... yeah, anyway, photos.

It's a little confusing to me how Blogger puts the pic at the beginning of the post and you have to grab it and drag it down, but I suspect I'll find a different way to do it at some point. Anyway, that right there is the beginning of a pair of my Energy Spectrum arm warmers. Here's a pair I already sold:

(Those aren't my hands, by the way. They're Rah's.)

I start with about 25 grams of white Merino roving. I hand-paint it in a rainbow using Wilton's icing dyes; I'm still working on my method, I'll post about that when I've got it down. When the dyeing and rinsing and drying is all done, I then divide the strip of roving in half lengthwise, as evenly as I can. I weigh the halves. Usually one is heavier than the other by maybe a gram. Starting with the heavier one, I spin a slightly overtwisted single, making sure to keep the colors in order. I spin the lighter one on the same bobbin, attached to the end of the heavier one.

Then I knit the armsocks right off the bobbin. I start at the hand end (the purple end on the pair I sold, the red end on the ones I'm just starting) so that I can just keep going and make it as long as it wants to be; I can judge whether I've got enough left for four rows of ribbing and a bindoff with some accuracy, though I do usually end up with a yard or two left over. The point of starting with the lighter (and thus shorter) rainbow (which is accessible first, being the second one spun) is that, subsequently, when knitting the second armsock, I can stop when it's as long as the first one.

And the point of knitting an overspun single off the bobbin is that you get a really keen vertical stitch definition, and the fabric has a bit of extra sproing to it. Here's a closeup, you can kinda see what I'm talking about:

Thus ends my tale of armwarmer. For now.

Oh, wait, no it doesn't. I forgot to mention that --

Haha, holy shit, Hermes the Stupidcat is waging a one-man war against a sinister black sock, and I think the sock is winning. I completely forgot what I was gonna say. Never mind.


Anonymous said...

Those are some badass armwarmers. I kind of want a pair :)

Jesse said...

Thanks! I'll post when the new pair is up. ^_^