Friday, June 30, 2006

KSK bag - the materials

Finally - some pictures! I figured out how to recharge my digital camera without its recharger.

My KSK pal uses canvas book bags to carry around her projects, so I thought it'd be fun to make one using canvas dyed with Sun Paint. Then I decided I would line the bag and include lots of knitter-friendly pockets.

Here are (most) of the materials:

Today I cut out the fabric and did me some sun painting, using Pebeo Setacolor Soleil. (If you go to their website, click on Product Catalog to find the Soleil paint. Here in the U.S. you can find the paint at Michael's Crafts, and I'm sure other places, too.) It's a photosensitive pigment. You paint the fabric inside the house, place masks (objects to block the sun) wherever you like, take the fabric to a sunny spot in your yard and then wait for it to dry. As it dries, anything covered with a mask will fade dramatically, sometimes back to white. If the edges of your mask curl up, or you place a 3D object (like a flower, or leaf, or stick) on the fabric, the image will end up looking somewhat 3D because of the way light bends around the object as it dries.

Here is the fabric while we painted it (I got help from Sophia):

Here it is with its masks, out in the sun:

And here it is, unmasked.

Note: the white strip doesn't exist in reality. I needed to block out the blog name of my KSK pal, in case she sees this.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The KSK Swap Questionnaire -- my answers

What are your favorite colors? I love bright colors -- red, purple, cobalt blue, yellow, fuchsia. Anything that screams "Look at me! Look at me!" I detest olive green and rusty maroon because I have some color vision deficiencies that make those colors look particularly putrid to me.

Are you a new sock knitter? How long have you been knitting socks?
I've been knitting socks for about a year now. I think I've completed something like 10 or 11 pair, with 4 or 5 lonely, unmatched socks lying near my bedside. I've been knitting for 20 years, though, ever since I took a year off college and worked in England and Ireland for a year. I'm not afraid of anything that has to do with two sticks and a ball of yarn.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
I like multicolored yarn, both self-striping and handpainted, but solid definitely has its place, particularly if the stitch pattern is interesting. What I really like is a stitch pattern that enhances handpainted yarn, rather than obscuring one or the other. Hard to find, though. Jaywalker and Broadripple seem to fit the bill, and I've done both. I'm constantly on a search for chevron-like stitch patterns, and slip stitch patterns that work well for those yarns. I did a mosaic pattern for my daughter with black (my eyes! my eyes!) as the main color and Regia Clown as the peeking-through color. Really cool.

What fibers do you prefer in sock yarn?
I prefer wool, but I have knit a couple pair of wool/cotton that turned out nice. I made Pomatomus out of Koigu merino for a friend that were fabulous. (That's another pattern that works well with handpainted yarn.) I use acrylic only for babies, and acrylic/superwash wool for afghans. I have some cotton Fixation that I like, but haven't knit up yet.

Where do you usually knit socks?
I knit socks everywhere, because they're the perfect take-along project. I knit 1/2 a sock at my daughter's Field Day, I knit at school meetings, in waiting rooms, in bed, on the couch, on the patio. Anywhere and everywhere.

How do you usually carry/store small projects?
I usually don't bother with my knitting bag when I'm knitting socks. I usually put the whole thing in a gallon-size zipper bag (the kind with the sliding zipper, rather than the blue-and-yellow-make green type) and carry that around with me. The little bag for this kit swap seems like a great idea.

What are your favorite sock knitting patterns?
I loved Pomatomus because it's such a beautiful stitch pattern, but the downside was I really had to pay attention to the pattern (nothing mindless with that one), but my favorite stitch patterns tend to not use many purl stitches (another reason to love Jaywalker and Broadripple). When I knit in the round, I knit Continental, which is great, except that I use Norwegian purl for purl stitches which is fine for ribbing, but if I have to do too much of it, my wrists get sore (there's a lot of needle manipulation to compensate for keeping the yarn in back for both knit and purl stitches). When I did Pomatomus, I couldn't knit for too long, or too many days in a row, or I paid for it. My method of knitting on straights is to anchor hte needle at the junction of my hip and thigh, which works fine for knitting and purling (I'm very fast), but doesn't work so well with short, double-pointed needles.

What are your favorite sock knitting techniques?
I really love the heel flap, turning the heel and picking up for the gusset. Not fond of the short-heel at all. Takes all the fun out of getting to the heel, because it seems tedious and endless. Plus, I have a high arch, which means the short heel has to be wider, making the tedious, endlessness more tedious and endless. I also love Lucy Neatby's toe chimney method for grafting toes. Takes all the aggravation out of grafting.

What new techniques would you like to try?
Hmm. I don't know. I've learned so many since I've started knitting socks: Twisted German cast on, Norwegian purl, SSK (instead of slip, knit, PSSO). I'm looking for a compelling reason to try toe-up socks, because I haven't found one yet. If there's a *reason* to do toe-up, I'd do it, but since I'm not afraid of math, calculating gauge, etc., I haven't come up with one. Plus, I don't use two circs. I'd be interested in trying some different heels, I guess. I found the modified Strong heel interesting, but not compelling, because I don't mind picking up stitches along the heel flap, but I'm interested in what the advantages of other types of heels might be. I'm always interested in a technique to help eliminate or reduce the size of the hole at the instep/gusset join. I'm doing well on the left side, I think, but haven't quite conquered the right side.

Do you prefer circulars or dpns for sock knitting?
DPNs. Five of them.

What are some of your favorite yarns?
I like Regia and Opal, Koigu, Lana Grossa. Anything with a nice, tight twist. I found a yarn shop with an entire wall of solid Norwegian wool yarn (with a touch of nylon) in every color imaginable and swooned. I bought some for socks, but found the twist is a bit loose, so the yarn splits.

What yarn do you totally covet?
I've been coveting Socks That Rock, because the colors are amazing (Fire on the Mountain makes me drool), but I worry about the pooling. I think I like the hanks of STR more than the finished objects. I'm intrigued by their Fair Isle socks done in two colorways, but I'm intimidated about "matching" or pairing colorways, especially online.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
I can't think of one. If I find a pattern I like, I do it. The trick is finding the pattern!

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?
I love Inox DPNs. I like coated, metal needles that don't have anything done to them to add friction (like the Susan Bates needles, which come 4 to a set, so are not to my liking any way). I like my needles to allow the yarn to move smoothly, not hold on to it.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
I would be Koigu handpainted or Socks that Rock in a hank that doesn't pool.

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack?
Dark chocolate--the breakfast of champions.

What’s your favorite animal?
Cats, although they don't tend to worship me the way my dog does.

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages?
Katie is a 14-year-old male cat (I was told he was female when I got him as a kitten). Cotton is a 6- or 7-year-old Shih Tzu we adopted from the Humane Society.

If you were a color what color would you be?

Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s)..
Oddly enough, my favorite shirts are t-shirts. I'm in an online writers' workshop called Jenny's Cherry Writers and we are called the Cherries. There's also an email list (loosely considered a "fan" list for Jenny Crusie) who are also Cherries, and I moderate the Writing Craft section of Jenny's online forum. There's a national writers' conference every summer and those of us who attend have a "Cherry get-together." Jenny always has t-shirts made with some number of cherries on the front of the shirt, and then some sort of "slogan" on the back. The two shirts I have are my favorites. One says, "Keep the Cherries. Lose the Pits." and the other says "Got Snark?"

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature?
I love rainbows, because they appear so infrequently here in the midwest. The year I lived in New Zealand, I saw rainbows (including some amazing double rainbows) almost every day. New Zealand itself was inspiring. The endless panoramic views, the ocean, the mountains, all the lush, green landscape, the weird plants and creatures that exist only there. And the sheep! Think of all the yarn you could have if you owned just one of those flocks...

Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read.
"If you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning." It's attributed to various people.

Do you have a wishlist?
I wish I had even more sock yarn than I have (which is more than I can handle as it is) and more time to knit it. Plus more sets of US 2 Inox DPNs, so I could have more socks in partial states at one time. Right now I have to rotate through completed socks.

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's Sock Kittin' time

I signed up for the Knit Sock Kit Swap and already I have ideas for my project bag. I think I'll use muslin and some cool Sun Paint and create something really cool, because summer is for at least one Sun Paint project. Last year it was the kids' pajama bottoms and the napkins for the Alley Cafe they opened for one night only. This year, it'll be a Sock Kit Project Bag.

I need to find the camera battery recharger....