Friday, October 27, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Spaceman Spiff's Sidearm

My latest finished project....the raygun. Being a total dork for all vintage sci-fi pulp, I decided that no rocketeer could be without his trusty sidearm. In fact, no fantastic voyage is without a little 'species unknown' drama requiring some serious pulp armory. Or at least, that's what my kids keep telling me. And so I became 'Mom, the make-believe weapons designer'. I suppose I'd lump that torch under this job title as well. Truth be told though, I wanted to do the raygun just for me.

I knew in my head how I wanted it to look, but I didn't know how I was going to construct it. I thought I might start with the same basic pattern that I made for the body of the rocket. But that idea was tossed out when I realized that I couldn't do the intarsia panels along the sides if I worked it in odd numbered panels. Goodness knows, we all need to learn intarsia on the fly, right? So I frogged it...a, a few times. In fact, I threw the whole charted pattern out; the very one that I diligently tried to put together. It just wasn't working for me.

Instead, the project became one big experiment. Surprise, surpise. I ended up stitching the body as one continuous piece that folded at muzzle and was seamed up the sides, adding the various other parts one idea at a time. I'm not sharing with you all, how rushed and poorly constructed the back looks, currently. I attempted the technique of knitting a small, tight round on two circular needles vs. using the tried-and-true method with a set of double-point needles. Needless to say, it looks awful and mental note to self: find a mentor. I did the whole thing in kitchen cotton this go 'round, because 1) the colors are easily accessible (and cheap!) and 2) it's just another prototype, meant to learn from. And lesson number one, I have decided that, indeed, this is a prime project for felting.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, though. Just like the rocket, it needs some more precise shaping and little extra care given to seaming. And while normally, I'd rely on my husband's astute eye for what just looks "wrong", this time I happily took the advice of my 8 yr. old son to guide me through the details. I must say, it tickled me to watch him get more and more excited about whichever new element we made a joint decision on. Sure enough, it had star appeal with all the kids once it was finished. Too bad I can't convince any of them to dress up as Buck Rogers for Halloween...maybe I'll convince the hubby. Hmmm.....

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Still Catching Up

I got a chance to spend some really quality time with my very ill kids this a self-quarintined kinda way. But for the loads and loads of soiled laundry that piled up on an hourly basis in the first 24 hrs. and the heavy odor of Lysol all around, being locked in a house with five vomitting children for three days has it's upside. For one, they simply bouncing, no jumping, no digging through drawers, no food mess (with exception), no littering, no loitering, no screaming, no fighting (believe it or not), no begging, no nagging and just a wee bit of whining...and they lay like little wet rags wanting little but to be watered and petted and given a heartfelt kudos everytime they managed to make it to the toilet in time. There is a certain peace to it all, once you figure out how to run a house as a hospital.

Adding to my downtime was my ka-flooey internet connection. We rearranged our office just before my husband left for work (in the Gulf of Mexico...for two weeks) and my computer was moved across the room. Well, certain restrung cable lines, plugging this device into that device and so on, failed. I spent the first week, before the kids got sick, trying to troubleshoot the problem on my own, begging advice from anybody who would listen. Turns out, both my mother and my husband (he calls when he can) have a heck of a lot more computer savvy than the lady who gets paid to troubleshoot bad internet connections on the other end of the bleeping phone. So long story short, after deciding it wasn't worth my worries until the kids got well, I had to re-rearrange the devices that make a virtual exsistence possible. And here we are.

Finally, things are mostly back to normal. My house is messy...again, the kids are fighting on their out the door to school...again, my husband'll be home just in time to miss all the fun, and I miss the quasi peace already. But now I'm free and able to share with you all what I got done between laundry loads and catch up on that recap of WIP's.

First up...progress on the 'Icarus Shawl'. My zen project. I love it, I do, but it's a whole lot o' black yarn and repeats. We're down to the very last chart, a mere 28 rows, then the trim pattern. Doesn't sound like much until you consider these last rows are 400+ stitches across. Needless to say, I only have patience enough to finish one or two rows in a single sitting, kids' needs not withstanding.

Next up, pre-emptive Christmas knitting. I blame this effort on a lady from the local knitting group. While I've only been to one meeting, I do keep myself informed of their goings-on through the website, which is how I was informed about her Christmas Knit-along site. This coupled with the desire to make, anything.. from this book made for easy motivation. Alas, we've got Christmas decorations and many, many cast-ons and frogging of these two gorgeous projects, either of which I'm determined to make in this aubergine yarn.

Almost to end now with the knitted toys. Without much explanation of why he wanted it, my 10 year old asked if I could knit him....a torch. Yes, a torch. It made for good short-row experimentation and he seems to love it dearly. You've all seen the rocket, but there is one other that I will put in a sperate post. And that's about all. I'm having more fun playing and experimenting than I am doing patterns.

However, not to be left out, the dishclothes. More than anything, I do them for instant gratification. Quick, charming, mostly useless and hard to give away.

So that's just about all of it in a nutshell, sorry you had to wait so long to see so little. And now I'm off to make Halloween cotumes....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sketchbook Saturday

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thunderbirds Are Go!

Prototype A is finished! Surprisingly, it didn't take anytime to finish up the last bits and get them sewn onto the main body. However, considering this was my first time designing a project in knit and discovering late that throwing my original pattern out and freehanding the last couple of elements was simpler AND accounting for the goofball mistake of sewing the first leg on without attempting a way to match the other legs exactly, I think it turned out pretty well. I love, love the tweedy yarn, Patons Shetland CHUNKY Tweeds to be exact. Worsted yarn would have been smoother and more stuffable, maybe, but I like the texture of this yarn. It kept me from wanting to add rivets in excess. (psst...I love riveting...copper rivets, aluminum rivets, made-up yarn rivets...).

I was a bit eager to finish this rocket, so that I could start another project. However, I feel I need to work on technique, for sure, and do some extra shaping work on the legs and bottom. I'm happy with the bulleye pattern on the bottom, but I wanted it to be more taught and less....navel-like. Also, I'd really like to figure out how to make the increases and decreases more obvious so that it appears to look like seamed metal. Currently I lack the skills to pull it off, but it's all part of "the vision". Should all experimenting go well, I do think I'm gonna make a couple more for my nephews this Christmas, but this one is gift to my husband for now.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sheer Abandonment

...Of the blog, I'm afraid. Pre-occupation with being pre-occupied is my only excuse too. I feel no regret about it, exactly, I just needed a break from it. If only for a moment. Here's a recap of all the semi blog-worthy things I could've posted about, but instead...did not. Ten-year wedding anniversary, one-year Katrina/Rita anniversaries, one-year blogging mark, cleaned the laundry room and fell off the edge of the earth. Nothing big. Sentimental stuff mostly.

So to make ammends to anybody out there who was waiting patiently for signs of life, I offer you proof of that I have also been suffering long hours of idlehanditis whilst away. Even have a doctor's excuse from housework for it. It's true. I swear.

Truthfully, the blue bird of happiness was completed about a year ago, but I did finally semi-block it, move it upstairs and attempted to find a frame for it. So it's something right?

Much repair work has been done on some ill-fated lettering attempts.

Still short two legs and bottom "plate" for the engine. It's christmas-y, right?

This is a failed first felting project gone right. Loved it once I crocheted the hemp handle to it. Still needs a closure and some embellishing, but it's a well-functioning knitting bag for now.

So this has been 'Recap, Part 1'. There are more U.F.O.s lurking in the corners of my home presently, but I have yet to capture them on the camera as of yet. Stay tuned.