April 7, 2008

Lotsa photos today

Before I begin, let me just say: if anyone knows how to keep Blogger from putting each new pic you upload at the BEGINNING of the post, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TELL ME. I am going gray trying to arrange these pictures in the order I want to talk about them in. There has GOT to be a better way.

Deep breath. Deeeeep breath. Okay. Good to go.

First piccie. Check it out, my week's yarn production!

Except for that green darling in the middle, they're all up in the Etsy store. May I draw your attention for a moment to the blue-green-purple skein second from the left? I developed a new technique for painting roving, which gives the absolute maximum barber-pole effect you can get in an unplied yarn. Well, the maximum you'd want, anyway. It really is yummy. A ton of fun to spin, too. While I was spinning it (and wriggling in my chair, and giggling to myself at intervals), I said to Rah, "If this sells, I'm getting paid to breathe!"

That's sort of our shorthand for the old 'do what you love and the money will follow' thing. When I was a kid, I totally believed it. Then I was rendered cynical by a series of wage-slave bullshit jobs, and for a while I believed you can't get paid to do something unless no one would ever do it for fun. Unless you're something impossible like, you know, a published author. Then I became a published author, and for a while I was afraid getting paid takes the fun out of whatever you love. But now, at last, I'm starting to think maybe, just maybe, if you keep at it and grab the little sprinkles of luck that flit by, you can get a bit of money from doing something you really enjoy. Something that's not a strain or a stretch, something that feels natural and normal to do, doesn't require you to warp your spirit to fit someone else's expectation. It is as if, in fact, you are getting paid to breathe...

Anyway, digression ends. Back to the point. Which is that this tight, balanced merino single, which I call Moss:

... looks a whole hell of a lot like the real moss that's greening up in the yard right now...

... and is not going in the store, because I love it too much to part with it. I mean, sure, if I had ten arms and a separate brain just for knitting, I would keep all the yarn I spin. The reason I'm selling it at all is because I can't knit it all. Or in the case of other stuff I make, because I felt like making it but didn't have a recipient in mind. (And of course the reason for selling rather than giving-away is so I can afford to keep doing it; I'd go broke reeeeal fast if I didn't sell the occasional pair of armsocks.) But this particular yarn is so yummy, so sweet, so springish, so utterly mossy, that I can't bear to part with it. I think my mom is getting a pair of socks for her birthday. Don't tell her. :D

While we're on the topic of spring, what's this look like to you?

It looks to me like tulips! Or maybe daffodils? Too big for crocus or scilla. I don't know what it is; Robbie and Griff (the house's previous owners) planted it. I can't wait to find out! Oh man, I wish I'd thought to dig up some of the blue scilla from our old house's yard and bring it. I love that stuff. Oh well, I'll just have to order some in the fall and hide it about the place to surprise me next spring.

But along with the delights of green green moss and mysterious spruts, spring brings another kind of surprise. Well, it probably shouldn't be a surprise, but somehow I never see these things coming. The bucket in which dog poops were collected over the winter, along with the snow they were frozen to, combined with a full day of rain to produce...


I do not know what we're going to do with that. I hope the rest of the crew has some kind of clue, because I'm at a loss. A queasy, queasy loss.

Right, change subject. Here's the yarn nest on my desk:

That thing-made-of-Noro-Kureyon in the back there is a rather stiff and scratchy sock. It's beautiful, but it isn't Nice. I think I'll frog it and use the yarn to weave with. Socks should be merino. The green ball is Berocco Jasper, which is some really lovely stuff; I heartily commend it to you.

I have long been under the impression that intarsia knitting is Very Hard. Only the other day did I finally realize that I gathered that impression from old knitting books, which tended to assume their readership was elderly, timid, and not very smart. So I said to myself, "Just fucking do it, Jesse. The worst you can do is waste some yarn." And Luka recently gave me a cool idea concerning arm warmers with blue stars like Franky's tattoos...

Nope. Not hard. Not perfect on the first try, of course, but 'difficult' is not a word I'd use to describe the technique. I think if I were new to knitting, intarsia would be kind of a big step. But once you know where your stitches are, the only tricky part is controlling your yarn gobs so they don't all end up tied together. Also, in the books, they don't tell you you can carry your main-color yarn across the back for small areas. The bottom and top points of the star, I only had two yarn balls to deal with, because I carried the white across the back of the blue. I wound up a gob of white for one side while doing the middle part, since that was kind of far to carry it, but if I were confident enough about my stranded colorwork skills to know I wouldn't make puckers, I could've carried it behind that part as well, catching it up every three stitches or so.

Conclusion: if you have ideas you've been afraid to start on because they'd require intarsia, fear not. Just make sure you've got some time to concentrate the first time you try it, and you'll pick it up right quick. Those old books just liked to scare you into a state of general timidity for their own nefarious reasons.

Hm, now that I think of it... what other techniques have I let them scare me away from?


slob said...

Mmmmm.... moss is *pretty*. Do you think you could show us how you hand-paint yarn? I've seen the tutorials on kool-aid dyeing, is it something like that? (If this takes time/effort you could be using to do other, funner things, don't let me pressure you.)

Oh! I has questions: do you think you'd put up some yarn for sale at Studio Whipping Boy? And have you heard of Ravelry? Because that site is a really good resource for patterns, tips, etc.

(I'm loving this blog, btw.)

Jesse said...

I'm planning to do some dye tutorials, yeah. Possibly next time I have a dye day, if things aren't too hectic.

I'm on the waiting list for Ravelry, so that should happen soon. And I have yarn for sale on Etsy; there's a link on the sidebar of the blog. I try to keep the yarny stuff separate from the comics stuff, accounting-wise.

witty-zuchini said...

That plant looks kind of like a trout lily to me, but It's hard to be sure from the picture. (http://www.wildaboutgardening.org/en/features/section5/trout_lily/trout_lily.htm)

Looking at your yarn makes me realize that I *really* need to learn to dye my own... So pretty...

Jesse said...

That would be pretty cool, I've never seen one of those in person. Since it's in the front garden bed rather than the woods out back, though, I think tulips are more statistically likely. ;p