Friday, July 25, 2008

I Fail Hard at Tour de Fleece

Yeah. That's what I did there. I spun the Sedona merino all to singles, then navajo-plied about half of it (and immediately started playing with it to the exclusion of all else), and I spun one of my eight ounces of the Plum Possum. One. And that's it. So I fail hard at Tour de Fleece.

I did, however, order some Tagua nut slices, and some whole ones as well. Tagua is also called "vegetable ivory", because while when fresh it is edible and has the consistancy of jello, when it dries it is very, VERY similar to ivory. It has a grain to it, it cuts easily if you know how to cut things, and it's really, really pretty. So I got those in today, dug the dremel out of some boxes, and went to town.

I ended up making two tatting shuttles out of two of the four slices I had ordered. They're both teardrop shaped, though one has channels reaching towards the tip of the shuttle, and one has channels going straight out to the sides, and the one with the channels going up keeps catching on the ring thread, like every stitch, so I'm scrapping that plan and chalking it up to a learning experience. Since that one's "spare" now anyway, I doodled a little bit with some henna on it, so we'll see if that takes at all. If this is something that works out, I may start making them fairly regularly, and putting them on etsy. If there's even a market for this kind of thing. Do people still buy tatting shuttles, even? I know I hadn't hardly touched mine since I started knitting.

Anyways, that's all the news for now. The Sedona yarn is destined to become a few of Hansi Singh's patterns (octopus, squid, garden snail, maybe Nessie), and if all turns out well, I should grab a few pics of a hand-carved, hand-hennaed tatting shuttle!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Love Navajo Plying

It is so true. So, today I was on Ravelry, reading the forums, and someone linked to a YouTube video about how to do Navajo plying - which, if you're not familiar with it, is a way of making a 3-ply yarn out of ONE bobbin of singles at a time. I had always heard it described as "making a long crochet chain, and adding twist". Now, I ask you - if that's all you know of Navajo plying, doesn't it seem like doing just that - crocheting a chain, then going back and adding twist - should work? And yet it does not. I could not figure it out.

Well, as the video clearly shows, there's one bit of information missing in that sentance. What you do, is you make a long loop and grab the free end of the yarn, like you're going to do a crochet chain, only instead of tightening it down into a chain, you slowly allow twist to go into that loop-and-end piece that you're holding. Having a loop means you're working with three strands at a time, then when you reach the end of your loop, well, you just pull that free end through some, to make another big loop! I tell you, a lightbulb went off in my head when I saw it. Ihad to do it. As soon as I got home.

And so I did, with one of the 2oz bobbins I've spun up of the Sedona roving. It does mean that I'm working with mostly one color at a time, now, instead of plying them together than I had planned, but I don't care. It's beautiful. It's the most even, lovely yarn that I have created. It ended up a light fingering weight yarn, and reminds me of nothing so much as the base yarn for Lorna's Laces. It's still definately thicker in some spots more than others, but overall I'm very pleased. I think I'm'a make me some socks.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tour de Fleece!

Today was the first day of Tour de Fleece, and I for one find that exciting as all get-out. I've fired up the Babe, and spun maybe a half-ounce of merino hand-dyed in the Sedona colorway by Freckle Face Fibers (she's on etsy, check her out), and then in the mail today came the merino-bamboo roving I ordered from Fat Cat Knits (colorway Plum Possum, also on etsy - I loves me some etsy). I'm almost insanely excited about the Plum Possum. There's a half-pound of it, so I'm going to try and spin it up a little thicker than I normally do, and hopefully 3 or 4 ply will make a DK to worsted weight, because I saw this awesome sweater on Ravelry that I really want to make with it:



Words. They fail me. Her sweater is based off of the Cobblestone sweater from IK, but in my opinion is much nicer - from what I can tell, those wonky garter ridges down the sides are gone, the yoke ends at a much nicer place for people with boobs, and the use of color is just fabulous. So, of course, I'm going to shamelessly steal her idea :) This will be my first sweater since the Stupid Bobble Top (was that two years ago? holy crap!), and I think I've learned a thing or two since then. I'm hopeful

So, let's formalize this, shall we? My Tour de Fleece Goals:

1. Spin ALL of the Plum Possum roving (8 oz)
2. Finish spinning the Sedona roving (~2.3 oz?)
3. Finish spinning the Sandstone roving for the Irish Miss scarf (~1.7 oz?)

And since I'm a firm believer in extra credit, these goals would be nice to reach, but I won't be as sad if they have to happen later:

4. Ply and set the Sandstone yarn, same as the first two batches.
5. Ply the Sedona yarn, 3 ply
6. Ply the Plum Possom yarn, sample 3 ply and 4.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Et Tu, Obama?

So I saw on Bitch Ph.D today that Barack Obama doesn't think mental distress is a good reason for an abortion, and I have to say, I'm pissed. It's a slightly-documented fact around here that I vote my Uterus - basically, for whoever I feel is most likely to leave it the hell alone and protect the rights of others to have theirs left alone as well, so that the women attached to said uteri, knowing their individual lives as I never will or can, can make their own damn decisions about their own damn plumbing. Obama had a pretty good record so far of being pro-choice and protecting women's rights, and I really really liked him for that. So this? It makes me want to bang my head against a wall.

Interestingly enough, reproductive rights is something that Mr. Sweetie and I were talking about earlier today (happy July 4th, right?). He was pissed because of an interview he'd heard on overpopulation, and how the arguments being used were entirely too focused on how the poor/brown people/3rd world countries should stop having so many babies already! He was especially ticked at how people who ARE poor/brown/not from around here get so much crap whenever they do have children, as if just because the current mismanagement of resources is mismanaged, they are horrible people for becoming parents - specifically, he was mad at how it's not the people having kids that is the problem with world hunger et all, but the sharing of resources into the hands of the few. When folks start saying that poor people shouldn't have so many children, they should be saying, 'what can we do to alleviate poverty?' When folks start talking about how people in 3rd world countries should stop having babies, they're often afraid that these people, often giving US vast amounts of their labor and resources, might actually start using those resources for themselves, which of course Would Be A Bad Thing For America. And when folks say that brown people shouldn't be having babies, well, then they're being racist fucks and should shut the hell up for a whole horde of reasons.

So this got us talking about how the Right to Choose is the Right to CHOOSE FER CHRISSAKES, and how that does include the right to become a parent, if *you* think that *you* are able to bring up a child to *your own* standards. We talked about the single-child policies of China, the male hormonal birth control pill that is going through the FDA right now (he would be fine to take it, he says, but I would rather he not be in that first wave - new drugs often have bugs to work out that the smaller sample sizes just don't catch), we talked about surgical sterilization (we agreed that if one of us were to do it, it should be him, since it's less expensive, less invasive, and he's not the one terrified of surgery), and then we talked about things that are a little more difficult.

I have depression. This is something I choose to be open about, even though I'm able to hide it fairly well when I want to (for example, while at work yesterday, when I had a really bad episode that had me on the verge of tears for like 6 hours and only Mr. Sweetie and the Library Overlord knew what was going on), because I think that it's important that people be able to talk about these things. When it comes up in conversation, I fucking converse.

I have depression. Mr. Sweetie knows this, better than anyone other than me, and especially he's aware of how, were I to become pregnant, my depression could become a serious problem. I would *like* to raise children, one day. I am OK with adopting them, because there are tons of kids who need homes, and I would especially like to adopt twins (open adoption, get to know the mother, if she's young help her out as much as we can, always be upfront with the kids). If Mr. Sweetie and I concieved unintentionally, I would probably prefer to keep it, but I would want to start going to psych evals like right away please.

If I was pregnant, I would try to bear the kid to term. I would try really, really hard, to manage my depression, to overcome my insanely strong childbirth phobia, and to generally do right by the parasitic lump of cells filtering my blood for nourishment because I chose to turn to my husband rather than my vibrator at a given instance. I would try.

But you know what? I could still fail. I could succumb to depression, to my fears, to my mental discomfort, and it would be within my rights to take the bus to Planned Parenthood and un-have me one child. Mr. Sweetie acknowledges this, because he knows me, and he loves me. And because I know him, and I love him, I understand that were that to happen, it would be well within his rights to be hurt by this. It's no small thing, to be planning for a child, and then not. It's the kind of thing that can strain, or break, a marriage, and we both acknowledged that today, driving to Houston to go hang out with some friends. My mental discomfort with pregnancy could potentially end our relationship.

So it's no small thing, Mr. Obama. Not to the people involved.