Saturday, August 30, 2008

Knitting and My Amazon Store

There's science fiction info at the end of this post, for you SF fans, skip to the end.

The yarn arrived yesterday, and here's what it looks like:

It's Moda Dea  Sassy Stripes and the color is Swish. You can see how it's working up into a scarf.

I thought it would make a good accent with the sweater, and I think it looks beautiful with it. I want to make mitts and a hat, too. I was hoping to make mitts and a scarf, but I may have enough for a hat, too.

I originally swatched this in stockinet stitch and ribs as well as garter stitch. The stockinet looks so neat and orderly, so precise. It looks like a beautifully knit fair isle pattern. But the garter stitch looks so much more random and disorderly that I like it much better for this. You'll get to see how it looks in ribs when I do the mitts and hat.

Oh, and I tried a new cast-on for this to get a bumpy, almost picot effect. This is also a good cast-on for places where you want an edge that stretches as well as being decorative.

Figure out how many stitches you need to cast on. Double that number, and add a stitch (or, if you are going to knit in the round, it should be an even number). Cast on the doubled number with a long tail cast-on. On the next row, K1 *Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO, K1* across. You'll wind up with something that looks like the edge of a picot hem, but there won't be a hem involved.

Now I have to figure out how to make a matching bind off.

I had a comment from a reader yesterday about yarn available (but not available) through my Amazon store. Here's what she (and you) need to know about that.

Things in the yarn section come and go quickly. Very quickly sometimes. Within the last two days, that yarn was available in my store. Now it's not. Tomorrow it may be available again. Or not available at all. Anywhere.

I leave certain things in my store, even though it says "Not available in this store" or even "currently unavailable" because even though I won't get a commission for it, it's something that CAN be bought, and I want you to be able to find certain difficult-to-find items and get them.

For example, there are a lot of the ball winders available with red trim. If I put one of those in my store and someone buys it, I'll get a commission. But, there are exposed gears on the underside, and the winder will eat your yarn. I had one, and it ate a lot of my yarn, although, at the time, it was the only ball winder available anywhere, and I loved it because it was the only one, and ball winders are awesome.

I don't want you to buy something like that, even if I get a commission for it. The ones with the blue trim are still available (new or used) even though if you click on it you get a page that says "currently unavailable." These have enclosed gears and will not chew up your yarn. 

By the way, everyone that used to carry them  is slowly selling out of them, and I suspect that they're no longer being made, so if you want one, grab it now. You may not get another chance.

So, if you want to wait a few days on the chance that I'll get a commission, fine. But in a few days, the yarn you're looking for may not be available at all. Anywhere.

If you want it, go buy it. Now!

And don't feel guilty, just tell others about my store.

One thing that people on Ravelry have been searching for is an item that Lily Chin talks about in her book, Knit and Crochet with Beads. She calls it an American Beadle, and uses it to place beads while knitting. 

I found an item that seems to fit her verbal description, and looks just like the item pictured in her book. This item is available in my store (although it went away for a day), and may be the answer for all those people who are going crazy looking for it. It's called a "Kantan Couture Bead Embroidery Tool" and it has a replacement hook so you don't have to replace the whole tool in case of accidents.

I have some various sized latch hook tools that I use all the time when knitting, and I love them. This looks like it may be a good size for fingering yarn for you sock knitters. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't really endorse it, but it looks like it would work well.

There are lots of unusual tools in the Fiberarts Needles and Tools section of the store.

For instance, there are some things (like socks and skeins of yarn) that I prefer to hand wash. I'd rather hand wash them even if I had a washer and dryer and didn't have to go out to do laundry. But I sure miss that spin dry at the end of the cycle. So, a salad spinner is the perfect answer. Don't leave it in your kitchen, though. I wouldn't want to use it to spin salad after I'd spun my socks dry in it.

For dyers, there are two scales, and a pH meter. The meter is inexpensive and far more long-lasting than pH paper. And it works even after you've added the dye. Paper doesn't.

And I use a rather unorthodox tool for dying and felting. Certain kinds of potato mashers are perfect for this. If you look at them in profile, they have a hook shape, so you can fish your skein out of a simmering pot safely. You can also provide needed agitation for wet felting with it. If you plan to provide really vigorous agitation for felting, try to find the kind with a rubber grip. It will help keep it from sliding if it gets wet, and provide a bit of cushioning for your hand while felting. I love mine. 

So, for the most part, items in my store are either things I've used and love, or things I've heard other artists praising. Recently, I tried to find some silk yarn to make rune bags from and had a hard time finding it. So, that's up in my store, even though I won't get a commission on it.

Now, on to the science fiction portion of the post.

Chuck is back in reruns on NBC at 8 pm, and will be available on DVD on the 16th of September. Adam Baldwin is wonderful in this!

Tomorrow, there  will be a Primeval marathon on BBC in America. They will be showing all the episodes that have been aired so far in order, in case you missed some.

Tomorrow, for all you fans of bad science fiction and fantasy, the SciFi Channel with be once again torturing us with Grendel. This is one of the all-time worst movies ever made. You have to understand that this is derived from an ancient Icelandic saga, which is so good it's practically eternal. To give you an idea about the quality of the movie, though, you should understand that they equipped Grendel with what some viewers have called "scud missiles." I've had numerous reports from others about how they fell off their sofas and nearly choked on their popcorn because of how unbelievably bad this movie is.

There's also a movie scheduled for tomorrow on SciFi that I haven't seen before. It has two of my favorite actors, Corin Nemec and Musetta Vander. It's called Mansquito, and according to the description in the digital TV guide, it has a lot of latitude to be a truly bad movie. I'm going to watch it to see Corin Nemec (who we wanted to get when I was still involved in Fade Out, and who starred for a while in Stargate SG-1), and Musetta Vander, who also appeared in a couple of episodes of SG-1, and Secret Agent, but whom I remember chiefly for her role in Oblivion, a campy movie that is a gem.

And for those fantasy fans, there will be a movie on Hallmark tomorrow that I would classify as PG--good to watch with the kids, but won't send you into a diabetic coma: The Good Witch.

As always, check your local listings. Times may vary.

And have a great Labor Day weekend!

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