Another Hobby Blog

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tiffany Exhibit

On Thursday Gipsieee took me to the local art museum to see a travelling exhibition of Louis Comfort Tiffany's works. There were several of his smaller windows, beautiful examples of his work! (but not the peacock window which is huge and would not travel well.) I could stare at any one of Tiffany's windows for hours at a time and not get bored. Two of the things I love best about the way he created his stained glass windows are 1- the use of multiple layers so that the colors blend and shift as the light strikes them differently or as you move in front of them as a viewer. 2- the use of lumpy 'gemstones' of glass that protrude beyond the boundary of the leaded frame.

There were so many wonderful things to see! Although he is most known for his work with glass, his designs became manifest in almost any form of art and craft imaginable including elaborately carved wooden chairs and simple engravings for wallpaper patterns. At this exhibit we got to see stained glass windows and lamps, blown glass vases and doorstops, enameled inkwells, fanciful jewelry, glass mosaics, a wrought iron and chainlink firescreen and a section of bronze balustrade, several watercolor paintings, a couple of wallpaper patterns, and much more! Since it is a travelling exhibit, most of these pieces came from far away and this may be the only time I see them in person. No photograph can ever replace the opportunity to see them in three dimension, but it's better than nothing and definitely has value for rewakening the memory, so I brought home with me the exhibition catalog and will be drooling on its pages for weeks. :)

So in honor of Tiffany, and because Laurie asked, here are some pictures of my own replica of the Peacock window:

reminder: the unfortunate crack which upset me so deeply

the replacement! No crack!!

Of course, after seeing the state of some of the official windows, maybe a crack or two isn't really that unauthentic. The real windows are just riddled with cracks as the glass carries the strain of so many years and climactic changes. But the real windows are actually leaded, and the leading helps carry the strain so that the whole window doesn't fall apart when one piece gets broken. Since the replica is only color glazed onto a single sheet of glass, it doesn't have that kind of integrity, and became dangerous when it broke. I'm still hopeful for ways in which I can reclaim some of the broken window somehow, and I have a couple of ideas for its transformation.

But for now, I have my peacock back!

Here it sits amidst the glass dust of its previous incarnation. This is only a temporary display to enable the photography, though, because it is in the same type of display stand which did not protect the previous window. I am looking for ways in which I can display the window more safely with the sunlight still behind it. Suggestions are welcome.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Progress: SET socks

Dear Laurie,

Thank you for being so understanding! I love the socks that I am making for you, and I hope that you love them too and that they fit you and keep you warm! I also hope that they will be done before winter sets in, and I am doing my level best to apply all my efforts to meet that goal.

Since it's nearly the intended deadline for finishing the socks (October 31), and since I am further behind schedule than I would like to admit, it seems an appropriate time to give a progress update.

This is how the SET socks looked on Tuesday:

This is how the SET socks looked two days prior:

Astonishingly similar, no? So similar that one might think that no progress at all had been made in those two days. But such an assumption would be wrong. The length is the same, but the space-dyed section of yarn is completely different. It was an error that could have been avoided, of course (aren't most errors?), and because I didn't avoid it I had to rip and reknit. Not for the first time, either!

So let me tell you about these socks. First and foremost, I still love them and I am still excited about them and I still can hardly wait to see how they turn out, and I hope that they fit properly and that you adore them!!

Now on to the details. Full of enthusiasm, when I first heard about this sock exchange, I came up with A Plan. I thought it was A Good Plan at the time. Maybe it still is, but it was also A Complicated Plan. The first part of The Plan involved dyeing some yarn for the socks. For that, I needed first to get the yarn for dyeing. I thought I'd lucked out! I found some simply dreamy yarn in a sale bin and bought all that was there. I took it home, dyed it blue-green-purple, and hung it to dry...

...but telling you in story form will take forever! Here it follows in basic form:

. Formulate The Plan
. Buy yarn
. Dye yarn
. Discover that one of the skeins hasn't taken the dye properly. It's half-acrylic.
. Look for more yarn that matches.
. Ballwind the (non-acrylic) skeins, even though there's probably not enough yarn to do what I'm hoping to do.
. Realize that new yarn will need to be dyed and dyelots won't match.
. Decide to dye the new yarn solid and use it for contrast points.
. Discover that the brand of yarn is really just not available anywhere in the area.
. Realize that the sale bin is not always a bargain.
. Consider pairing the dyed yarn with something completely different as contrast points. Maybe Cascade.
. Realize that there may be differing care requirements between the two types of yarn.
. Worry about the way that they may shrink and wear differentially if combined within a project.
. Readjust The Plan
. Buy new yarn--with plenty of extra
. Dye new yarn. As predicted, new yarn does not match previous yarn. This is no real surprise, since the colors were intuitively applied, not measured and calculated.
. The new yarn is suprisingly close in color and value to the previous yarn.
. The hand of the yarn is noticably different. (This should have been a Clue.)
. New Plan involves cuffs, heel, toe of charcoal grey and space-dyed legs and insteps.
. Do gauge swatches from charcoal. Make copious notes.
. Space-dye New Yarn.
. New Yarn dries just barely before flight out of town.
. Consider bringing SET project on the trip.
. Ballwind four skeins of new yarn. That's two of charcoal for two cuffs, and two of space-dyed for starting the legs.
. Realize how much space the yarn will take up in my carry-on.
. Realize that this project would be irreplaceable if Security caused problems.
. Decide to leave the SET project home and take something smaller on the flight.
. Return home: unable to find copious notes.
. Have already ripped gauge swatch.
. Spend a day re-knitting gauge swatch and recalculating pattern.
. Try new cast-on. Don't like it.
. Cast-on again, knit a few rows.
. Despise two-socks-on-two-needles method. Maybe it will work better when the socks have more substance.
. Switch to single-sock-on-singular-needle method.
. Realize that gauge is way off.
. Recalculate.
. Cast-on again. Knit several rows.
. Don't much like the single-sock-on-singular-circular-that's-too-big method. The extra rabbit-ear loops of cable that stick out from the knitting are annoying.
. Soldier on.
. Complete first charcoal cuff.
. Join in space-dyed yarn. Knit several inches. (This would be where the afforementioned Clue might have helped.)
. Realize that pattern decreases at the wrong rate.
. Recalculate pattern decreases.
. Rip and re-knit.
. Circluar needle fails: the glue doesn't hold. The points come out of the ferrules.
. The knit ladders. All the way back to the cast-on.
. Rip.
. Get a new needle. While I'm there, I get a shorter length, too. So I can get rid of the rabbit-ear phenomenon.
. Cast on again.
. Complete 1 cuff.
. Join space-dyed yarn. Knit several inches. (This would also be where the afforementioned Clue might have helped.)
. Sinking sensation as I realize I've knitted with the original space-dyed yarn instead of the new one.
. Rip.
. Reknit.

At some point in all of this, it occurs to me that space-dyed yarn plus decreases equal unpredictable color pooling. (blink-blink) Sometimes it astonishes me how I can miss the obvious.

I'm going to keep soldiering on, and hope that the color-pooling doesn't create a hideous effect!

Now that I've finally gotten a good start on them, I am hoping they will start to behave, and I'll be able to finish the socks not too far after deadline!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Knitting Progress: SP6 Socks

In early October, we travelled down to the Northern California Renaissance Faire (more on that later, I swear I haven't forgotten!) and to spend some time visiting with old friends.

Since travel by airplane means limited luggage, I decided that I should bring with me a knitting project that would fit in my carry-on bag and would not crowd fellow travellers when I brought it out to knit on the airplane. (Fortunately for me, neither the passenger nor the flight attendant who caused such grief to Yarn Harlot was on the flight.)

Sadly, this ultimately came down to leaving my SET sock project at home, and bringing with me the ball of sock yarn that my Secret Pal sent in Box 1.

I must admit it was not all smooth sailing. I worked that short-row heel at least ten times! but perserverence pays off. Here is the progress so far:

I still need to Kitchner the toe, and then I need to duplicate the whole process for it's mate. Wish me luck!

As for the yarn (Cherry Tree Hill), I love it! It works up soft and is smooth in the hands. The colorway thrills me even more in the finished sock than it did in the skein! I can hardly wait to finish the second sock so that I can wear them!!

But first, I will need to make some serious progress on my SET socks! They are supposed to be completed 5 days from now, and there is seriously very little chance that will happen, but I must do my level best because the person I am knitting for is a very very dear lady who deserves a decent pair of socks before winter sets in!

Secret Pal 6 - Box 3 !

Wow. Generosity knows no bounds.

Yesterday I told you about the wonderful box that arrived from my Secret Pal on Friday. Today I get to tell you about yet another box! and a fabulous Halloween card. :)

I'm pretty certain that I have mentioned at least a couple of times how much I love things that sparkle, shine, and glow. I may also have mentioned how much I adore things that are opalescent like soap bubbles glinting on a spring breeze or the holographic side of a CD. Once, my sweetie wrapped up a present for me in holographic wrapping paper with shiny irridescent ribbons and bows, and honestly! I think I may well have loved that box at least as much as I loved what was inside! But I digress. I love shimmery sparkly things.

On Friday, I went out to my mailbox and peeked inside, and WOW!! talk about surprises! I had only JUST recieved a box from my Secret Pal the day before, and here, staring me in the face, was a bright orange envelope from none other than: My Secret Pal!! Oh happy day!!!

In my excitement and happiness, I tucked all the other mail under my arm and ripped that envelope open at once!

Now it just so happens that my mail was delivered in the mid-afternoon, and by the time I'd gotten around to walking the dog and raiding my mailbox, the sun was at a very low angle. It also happens that I was walking in such a direction that the sun was behind me. This means that the light of the sun, travelling at 299,792,458 meters per second, was shooting directly over my shoulder. I never had a chance.

I pulled out the fabulous card that my Secret Pal had sent me, and the Ghosts, animated by the evening sunlight, darted straight into my eyes. Owwie!! I was blinded!

Let this be a lesson to all: be extremely cautious when opening holiday cards outdoors on a sunny day.

(photographed with and without flash)

Now that I can see again (grin) I love these ghosties!!!


On Monday, yet Another box arrived, also from my Secret Pal! (I tell you, I really do have the bestest secret pal ever!)

Having learned my lesson from the ghosties, I waited patiently for the rest of my household to come home before opening the box. Hey, it's good to have someone around just in case one needs to call 911 after being blinded by ghosties! ;) And that was just an envelope! Who knows what dangers might lurk inside a seemingly innocent Box!

Inside the box was lovely blue and white tissue paper, and nestled within the colorful nest was:

A set of Zephyr stitch markers! Personalized just for me!!

Thank You Secret Pal! I love them! You made an excellent choice!!! They are so silly and they make me chuckle everytime I see them! Thank you for being the wonderful Secret Pal that you are!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Secret Pal 6 - Box 2 !

Last Thursday I stayed home with a bit of a flu. The flu itself didn't hit me too hard, but it did put a real dent in the plans that I'd had for the day. I was supposed to be going out for the day with Gipsieee. We'd even put the dog into daycare so we didn't have to worry about him. And then I got sick. (pout!)

So I'm moping and feeling sorry for myself for half the day.

Until the doorbell rings and I discover that the UPS man has brought me a box! From my Secret Pal!! She's taken the idea of anonymity to the extreme: so far there is no return address, no e-mail, no way that I can initiate contact with her! (It's almost enough to make me want to track her down just to prove that I can! ..but no, my manners are better than that. :) )

So I wait for Gipsieee to get home before I open it. I spend the day wondering what could possibly be inside. And when I do finally open it, WOW! October is breast cancer awareness month, and everything inside the box is bca pink! Everything!! Even the shredded paper she used to cusion it all! It's a veritable treasure trove of abundance! I can't wait to get out my digicam and put up a thank-you note!! (which is this, here, of course.)

* *

I may well have the most fabulous and thoughtful secret pal ever!
Thank You Secret Pal!!

(ps. I also got your card and a third box! ..but I've run out of time to post about that tonight. Thank you! Hugs!!)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thank You Secret Pal!

Dear Secret Pal,

Your breast-cancer awareness box arrived yesterday! It's fabulous!! I will get pictures up later this weekend. :)

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Serenity, a Knitted Review

So I went to see Serenity with a bunch of friends (there were 30 of us for that showing) on opening night. (I loved it, as did all 29 of my friends.) I arrived only shortly before the movie, so I didn't have much time to spend in line playing cards and yapping (more's the pity), but I brought my knitting anyway. Not a complicated project: I left the lace at home, I left the size 1 needles at home, I left the fuzzy mohair at home. I brought a simple project that I could knit in the dark: the pair of Fisherman's Wool (natural dyed) knee socks for myself for Renaissance Faire.

* *

As you can see, the knitted review ends about half an hour before the end of the movie. In a particularly bright scene, I happened to look down and noticed a significant problem:

I guess I knit faster when the movie is exciting.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Laundromats are evil places, and yet somehow magical. They transcend the rules that apply to everyday reality and impose their own unfathomable, alchemical chains of cause-and-effect.

Case in point: I put 5 polo shirts, 4 blouses, and a sarong into one load of laundy at the laundromat yesterday. Naturally, (given the premise that laundromats are evil places) the white polo shirt came out of the dryer with strange blue gunk all over it which is definitely not lint and seems very unlikely to come out in a second wash. Not just one or two little spots at the hemline either, but a huge blotchy blue rash all over the sparkling pristine white pique.

The magical half of this equation is that ONLY the white shirt has this gunk on it. The pale grey shirts, blue shirts, purple blouses, and sarong are all miraculously normal.

I haven't yet counted the socks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

SP6 Incoming: Box 1

Dear Secret Pal 6,

Thank you!
The box you sent arrived last Thursday!! Just in time for me to open and appreciate it before I travelled! The timing was perfect!

What a fabulously decorated box!!! notes on the outside that give a wonderful clue to what lies within! Perfect! Very thoughtful!!

As for the contents, I couldn't be happier!

In fact, the sock yarn you sent was just perfect to take with me on the airplane! Small and light and full of possibility. I think I will make.... SOCKS!!
(And my wrists, while not completely healed yet, are letting me knit with tiny needles again!! Yay!!!)

I thought at first that I would follow the pattern that you included for cabled ankle socks! They look like a perfect choice for me: just the height that I usually wear my socks anyway!!! But it turns out that the pattern is written for sport weight instead of fingering weight, so it didn't match the yarn you sent without some adaptation (doubling the yarn would probably work but then the color progression would be affected.) So I brought the yarn with me and left the pattern at home. I will work with one at a time.

I've been lusting after Manos yarns for quite some time, but have never picked any up for myself. And look what's in the box!! a skein of Manos! The colors match the sock yarn so well that I briefly toyed with the idea of combining them into one project. That isn't happening, but maybe I will make projects that coordinate. .. Perhaps a warm winter hat to match my warm winter socks?

The mother-of-pearl picture frame is absolutely precious!! Gipsieee fell in love with it immediately, and since she has been kind enough to share her gifties with me, I couldn't refuse to share the shell picture frame (which I, also, adore!) with her. Besides, it was the only way I could get her to give the yarn back!! (teasing wink)

I was able to keep a firm grip on the heart-shaped sheet-holder! I love it!!! What luck that I had a brand new postcard from Rox! (Thank you, Rox!!!) just waiting to be displayed!

Also in the box were some lemon tea (oh, the aroma! would be just perfect for today if we weren't separated by 1200 miles...) six lightly scented candles, lightly scented body lotion and soap, a fun green scrubby (perfect! I had used my previous scrubby to death!) and some knitting-image blank-inside greeting cards! Just in time for holiday greetings!!!

Thank you for thinking of me! Your thought and effort really show! I couldn't be happier!


In Brief

I haven't forgotten. I need to post. I know that.

Today I am resting, hoping that I am not getting sick. Gipsieee is sick today, as is another friend of ours with whom we spent time over the weekend. I feel less than optimal, but not quite too sick to function. Just sick enough that I'm not quite functioning Right. Can't quite concentrate or hold onto a concept long enough to do anything with it.

If I were at home, I'd be curled up in my own bed with the book I've been reading. (Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver). Instead I'm in a hotel room with some library books and a knitting project. (Thank you again, Secret Pal!! I love the sock yarn! it works up wonderfully!!) I wanted to bring my SET project, but it was bulky and I need to refigure my gauge swatch (I lost the notes I made) so I wasn't as ready to start as I thought. I am excited about getting started on it when I get back home, though!

Last weekend we went to the Renaissance Faire. It's become something of a tradition, really. Each year we try to make it down for one weekend. This year we succeeded again. :) We had a lot of fun, and I will write more about it later. The masks were a huge success!! (more on that later too)

This week we're visiting Bay Area friends. Reconnecting with people and places we don't get to see often enough.

The hotel we're staying at is kinda cute. Our room has a sliding glass door that opens out onto a huge long patio. It's on the second floor. It reminds me of an old-west saloon and rooming house.

The local library was kind enough to give me a circulating library card even though I'm out-of-state.

I found a fabric store that sells nothing but Silks. I bought too much.

They were next door to a yarn shop that had one fabulous ball of Koigu PPPM. I bought it too because my local source is completely out of all the good colors. I'm not sure what I'll do with one ball, though. Wristies, maybe?

I saw Mirror Mask. The first half was really strong. The second half not so much. Very strong visual focus. Glad I wasn't feeling nauseous at the time!

I'm feeling as fragmented and unfocussed as I sound.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Spaceholder Post

This post will be deleted soon, when I've had a chance to write proper posts to cover the following:

4: RenFaire: Masks, Etc

5: SET yarn progress

6: New Peacock Window: image of healthy window (sans crack)