Thursday, September 27, 2007

Big Day Off!

Yesterday I took the day off for no particular reason except I didn't feel like working anymore, and it was lovely. I did lots of creative things! Some of them involving knitting. but it says "craft" right in the subtitle so I will have no qualms about posting non-knitting content.

I made prints!
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The apples are linoleum prints, and the pears are some kind of rubbery block printing material. The linoleum is a lot harder to cut, but I can get nicer detail with it, and the edges don't break off the way the rubbery stuff does. I haven't made prints in years. I really need to get new cutting tools, because apparently last time I used them I put them away wet, and now some of them are a little rusty and I suspect all of them are duller than they should be.

I love making prints. They are awesome. I think I might start a series of prints of microorganisms. Geeky crafty fun!

I also kept working on a dress I've been sewing up for a while. I already had the front, and yesterday I did the back and started work on the facing, which was confusing and made me stop because I was so confused. But I have an actual dress than can be put on now, albeit a dress that needs to be pinned at the shoulders.

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This is basically a trial dress in inexpensive fabric to make sure that I can handle the pattern and that it looks OK on me. This pattern takes a lot of fabric, and I didn't want to practice on something nice. The pattern is "Vintage Vogue" V2903 -- I got it at one of those lovely JoAnn sales where all the patterns are $2-$4. It makes me look a bit broader than I would like, but partly that's just because I although I would like to look like a 1950's dress pattern illustration, my body dimensions, underwear choices, and posture are non-cooperative.

Knitting-wise, I finished the Hanami stole. It still needs to be blocked, though:

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I tried to start blocking it last night, but it was too much work after a long day of craftiness. The middle is a lot skinnier than the ends, and I'm not sure the best way to overcome that. Also it is going to be smaller than it was supposed to be, even blocked (checked gauge at the beginning, where it was wider than it is in the stockinette section in the middle -- I probably should have only gone down one needle size rather than two. But it will still be cool I think. I wish I had blocking wires -- I think I'm going to get some soon.

I made a couple of little changes to this pattern -- I left off the beads, and I deliberately messed up the final part of the pattern. The number of "petals" gradually increases until the end of the shawl, when there are 32 rows of yarnover, k2tog (or psso), which looked too even for me after the messier bits above (you can see it in the last picture on this page. So I just stuck in random knit stitches whenever I felt like it. I think it worked out nicely. When I started my abortive attempt at blocking last night, I noticed that I had dropped a few stitches -- it was not easy to tell as I knit since the alpaca has a moderately self-grippy quality -- so I had to go in and fix those.

If I had this to knit over again, I would go up a needle size for the middle portion. Or something. The stockinette portion is just a lot narrower than the yarnover-heavy portions, at least the way I knit.

And a couple of quick updates:

I finished the Blackberry Mittens, although I don't seem to have any photos of them handy.

Also, many thanks to Naomi and Robbyn, I think I have salvaged the green dyed yarn -- I will avoid green in the future I think, but as long as I wash this stuff with gentle soaps and detergents I think it will be usable. I'm definitely keeping it for my own use, though, since I worry it might just be waiting to screw things up the next time it gets in the water.

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