Search Results for: pax
(cheep cheep cheep)
I’ve come home to an empty house and it’s very quiet. Well, except for the crickets… literally. They make a ruckus when we’re working on a fresh batch, but only if the door to the spare room is open. (They’re for Spike, the dragon.) Steve has left to go work (and play) at PAX East and it’s just me, the cat, the dragon, and a couple hundred crickets until late Sunday night. It’s a good thing my Ashland Bay order came in yesterday, or I might not know what to do with myself.
There’s nothing quite like coming home from work and finding a giant, bulging box of wool on your doorstep. Those folks at Ashland Bay mean business, they stuff so much wool in that box that they had to use that special reinforced packing tape you hardly ever see. Once opened, the entire mass puffed up and I was awestruck at the beauty of all those natural fibers just waiting and ready to be dyed. It’s a little daunting, sure, but this day has been a long time coming in more ways than one. In some ways, finally having my very own fiber account feels very official.
With so many choices, which one to dye first come Saturday morning? It’s not even a difficult decision for me, I’m definitely dyeing the Black & Blue Faced Leceister you see in the bottom left of the photo. I like to dye intense, deep or bright colors and I can’t wait to see how the mixed fiber over-dyes. I adore over-dyeing greys and light browns, that’s why I often buy colored fleeces for the F’locks I have in the booth. The depth of color you get is so much more complex than on a white or ivory fleece. So yes, Black & Blue it is! I didn’t purchase it in as large a quantity as I did the ‘bare’ wools because I’m not sure everyone else loves it as much as I do, but there will be a few dozen braids by the time all is said and done.
The one I’m most intimidated by is the Merino/Tussah. Given the wispy, delicate fiber content, I worry about handling it during the dyeing process. I know it has to be done, and it’ll probably be just fine, but I still worry. I’ll probably be a wimp and dye it last, and then fall in love with how the silk takes the dye. Speaking of silk, the mawatas I ordered are also intimidating, but really cool at the same time. I only ordered a pound because they’re both expensive, and the kind of thing that might not fly off the shelves until later in the year when the bigger shows come ‘round. To help illustrate how they’re used, I’ll have a couple of layers already attenuated and ready to work with, one in a knitting swatch, the other with a spindle. That should get people’s creative juices flowing.
With two weekends between today and the first show of the year, it’s going to be quite the race to get as much of this dyed, dried, braided, and labeled. The latter half of the process I can recruit help with, but the former… that requires time, sun, and a good breeze doesn’t hurt. Wish me luck!
Every once in a while I remember that there was life before yarn. My life before yarn was a mish-mash of a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The only real focus I had was sewing, to the tune of Ren Faire and Vampire the Masquerade: Dark Ages LARP costumes. I don’t geek by half, that’s for sure. But then I got a gift of a sewing machine that I didn’t enjoy as much as the Brother (brand) it replaced, and the last nail in the coffin was learning to knit and spin. Poor sewing, it didn’t stand a chance.
Since 2004 it’s safe to say that I’ve sewn maybe four or five projects, two of which were knitting project bags. It’s kind of shameful, really, when you consider that I have a giant tote with over 100 patterns of all sorts in my basement. Worse yet, I have many naked windows here at Tiny House. For shame! Then this Christmas I fell in love with my mom’s new Project Runway (Brother) sewing machine and my parents decided that they wanted me to love sewing again. Now I have one too; an early birthday/Christmas gift.
(The photos were taken with my iPad, sorry for their over exposure.)
The machine has been sitting quietly for a month, but now that the wool room is cleaned up it’s in the place of honor on my crafting table. It’s been whispering to me. When I dug up some gorgeous Halloween fabric I’d squirreled away in there, I knew it was time to sew. I washed the fabric like you’re supposed to, ironed it, and found myself a free pattern for the type of sling pouch I used to have before I lost a bin of bags and WIPs when we moved to Tiny House. I loved that bag, a girly skull and vines combo I’d made a few years ago. Clearly my lovely Halloween fabric was destined to be a similar bag. Sunday was the day, I decided.
It started out well enough. I cut out my free pattern download and taped it together, only to find that it was too large by about 35%, and the longer handle too short to comfortably hang off your wrist. The entire pattern was hacked apart and maneuvered, ending up roughly where I hoped it should be. On top of that, where the hell did all my black thread go? How could I not have a single spool of black thread with all the Halloween costumes I’ve sewn? Not to be daunted, I chose a lovely burnt orange and released my angst to the universe. Contrasting thread isn’t the worst thing in the world that could happen to my project.
Knowing the value of following directions, I dove in, checking against both the written steps and the schematics. I was a good girl. I even pressed my seams! Trust me, I should have had a cookie just for that and washing the fabric, for I am a lazy sewer. I slowly read the directions aloud when it came time to really start assembling the bag, a trick that sometimes helps me when I get stuck with any kind of pattern, for stuck I was. The instructions said one thing, namely to stick the outer fabric ‘bag’ inside the liner and sew up the sides of the handles, both outer and inner edges. The schematic showed the two ‘bags’ and handles sewn separately. I became confused. There was much seam ripping and time lost.
I took a break. Steve wandered in several times for advice on cooking my oatmeal cookies for PAX gifts and I may have been less than helpful while I glared daggers in his general direction. In the end, I said “screw you, pattern!” and just did what I thought would ensure I’d have a bag to show for my now aching back and dry, unblinking eyes. Eventually, I won.
The bag is everything I hoped it would be, and my pattern re-working gave me a WIP bag that’s just enough for a sock project and my Altoid tin of notions. The main handle is slender and not too bulky, and the bag has a nice shape when stuffed with a project. I love the filigree, slightly vintage look to the Halloween fabric! With another yard and a half, I have plenty for future use. Not too shabby for someone who hasn’t sewn in forever! It took me about three hours to make, and that includes having to rip apart and resize the pattern, and the hour I lost trying to figure out what was wrong with the handle instructions (or my understanding of them). With practice I bet I can knock one out in about an hour.
Note: I wish it were about an inch and a half longer, but it works. I’ll adjust the pattern accordingly for the next one I make. Also, I want to see about getting some fusible interfacing so help prevent sharp needles poking through.
So… would you believe I actually have knitting to show? Why, yes, I do! My Chroma socks are finally finished, finished while I was away at PAX East, to be more precise. Yes, there were times I was not, in fact, freaking out the muggles with my spinning wheel. Well, most of the time I was, but meal times and too tired to think times were perfect for my sock. I left my notions tin at home though, so I didn’t get around to binding off and photographing the finished socks until tonight. Whenever I worked on them in public I always got compliments on the colorway and color progression, and I agree that they are pretty and certainly fun to knit in that respect. I’m pleased with how they’ve come out, and how they feel on my feet. I wish I had weighed my yarn out, there was plenty enough yarn to lengthen the cuffs at least one repeat each.
My thoughts are mixed on this yarn, now that I’ve used it. I loved the color changes, but I did have a knot in the ball. Fair enough, it happens, especially with single ply yarns. As with Noro, however, the colors didn’t match up at the knot, so one of the socks is a little wonky. The yarn is very soft, but because it’s not rustic like Noro, it’s very splitty to knit with. No eyes-free television knitting there. The socks biased, which my Noro socks have not. I’m not sure why that is, now that I think of it. Singly ply yarns are wont to bias when knit, but my Noro socks never have. The bias is fine with this stitch pattern, it make it pleasantly diagonal. I have no idea how these socks will wear, and I wonder if Mini Mochi (it’s inspiration) wears well. For $9/100g, I’m not going to freak if they fuzz up, though I do expect to get at least a season’s worth of wear out of them. My time is worth something after all.
Would I recommend this yarn to others? Yes, with caveats:
- I would be prepared for anything when it comes to sock durability, more on that when I’ve worn and hand washed them a few times. (All my socks are hand washed.)
- I would wear this next to my skin, but you might not, so keep that in mind when it comes to scarves, cowls, and hats.
Chroma would be fantastic for “faux isle” mittens and hats, and especially lovely for shawls/shawlettes. Because the color changes are so slow, there’s no conflict with complicated lace patterns. I’ll hold off on my last ball, the rainbow colorway, until I see how my socks wear. It may be that I use it for something else entirely, depending. At this price point, I’m a happy camper no matter what.
Yet another big difference between my old office and the new… no Halloween spirit. In my old office there would be over a dozen (10%+) of the staff dressed up in some way to celebrate Halloween. In my new office there was myself, and one person who works so far in the back of this multi-section building as to be in another world. I stuck it out until 2 and then changed into my “rescue” street clothes. The fact that I even brought them goes to show I already had an inkling. How sad.
Despite the fact that this would have been our first uncommitted weekend, in more than a month, this very lack of all things Halloween led me to ask Steve if we could have a few gamer friends over for “Crockpots, Cards, & Chillers”. Pretty much a laid back afternoon of comfort food, cards/games, and at least one silly vintage “horror” movie. First up is Vincent Price in “The House on Haunted Hill”. Have you seen it? It’s so corny that it’s more funny than spooky. The respondees were all “we don’t do horror!” and I’m saying, “neither do I, this stuff is rated G!” So, Saturday will be spent with a few friends, and I’ll have something a little bit like Halloween to enjoy.
It’s weird to be crocheting again, but crocheting I am. This time it’s a caplet for my cousin’s daughter in the most shocking purple and pink. You can read more about it here on the Confessional. Tofutsies makes a great finished product, but it’s splitty as all hell, even with a dull crochet hook. It’s going to be properly Princessy when it’s done though, and that’s what matters. Well, that and the fact that it’s utterly washable and less delicate since it’s crocheted.
Aside from the teal and brown stripe socks (which mom has claimed as her own, come Christmas), that’s it for me, which is weird. I already whipped out a Jayne hat for one of our PAX friends who’s gone through a rough time and had to have both his legs amputated. Man like that, he deserves a Jayne hat. Now I’m stuck pondering whether to do something completely different, or to finally start on the Forest Path Stole. Do I really want to start another epic lace project? I don’t know.
If I did start a sweater, I already know what yarn I want to do it in. Think of me what you may, but I adore Plymouth Encore. And after making all three of my sweaters in wool, I’m ready for something that I can throw in the washing machine every once in a while. I purchased two sweater’s worth of Encore Tweed (squee!) at the O’Dark Thirty Sale last year and I’m itching to use them. Whether I’d choose the black or the dusty lavender would depend entirely on which pattern I choose. Of course, on that front I’m also entirely helpless.
I’m sure something will come to me.
PAX East was, in one word, amazing. I skipped most of the con, as we knew I would, but the parts I did attend I very much enjoyed. Thanks to Steve, and Penny Arcade’s newly instated policy of medical badges, I was able to attend the opening and closing ceremonies, which are limited to only 4,000 people. Yes, only 4,000. When you consider 60,000 people attended, you get some idea of the scale. There was no way I was going to be able to stand in line for hours to attend anything, the medical badges were a blessing and we didn’t abuse the courtesy.
Wil Wheaton’s keynote speech, for now only available on Youtube in six 10-minute parts, was epic! We laughed, we screamed, we cheered. There’s adult language in the speech, but if you’re a gamer, want to understand gamers, or know a gamer of ANY stripe, it’s well worth listening to. Meeting him Friday night was a moment of fan-girl squee, I only curse not having my camera with me. The closing ceremony is the final session of the PAX game show, the Omegathon. This year it was a Nintendo classic tribute wherein two teams worked their way through four classic games and the pre-chosen objectives. In order, if I remember right: Super Mario Brothers, Pole Position, Tetris, and Contra. All but one I played as a child, so the nostalgia factor was high.
People watching at the convention was fantastic, I was often thrilled to see really great costumes, great games I’d never played before, and all manner of community spirit. People were friendly and we both met folks we’d love to see again sooner rather than later.
While Steve enjoyed the convention, I mostly spun in the lobby of our hotel, which was connected to the convention center. I thought I over packed spinning fiber, but no, I almost ran out, and that includes plying finished bobbins! I met all kinds of knitters and crocheters, and the public was mesmerized. Everywhere Steve went he was complimented on his Jayne hat, and between him talking about me spinning, and me telling people they’d recognize my husband by his hat, we kept meeting people who said “I met your husband/wife!”
Apparently I was quite the rock star, or at least my wheel and I were. I talked about spinning and yarn to no fewer than three dozen people/groups over the course of three days, from staff, to con guests, to hotel guests from around the world. And those were just the ones who had the guts to ask and not just stare. Due to the amount of picture snapping the night we checked in I broke from my lazy ways and had makeup on every morning by 7:30. Sitting shots might be my least flattering ones, but at least I looked my best.
The best parts were when I met one interesting knitter/spinner/crocheter after another. We even had a Ravelry meetup in the Prudential foodcourt. I’m not sure who seemed weirder, us or the costumed con-guests getting lunch.
Blythe, especially, was fantastic. We sat and talked together all Sunday morning, the hours just flying by. I admire a woman who not only has an Appa plushie (squee!) but also teaches herself to cable by knitting a lapghan. True to form, I guessed what yarn she was using without touching, but she surprised me back by wowing me with the biggest ball of Bernat Softee I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know it came that big!
My personal take away from the convention was two fold. First, men in Utilikilts are hot. Lots of the Enforcers (volunteer staff) were wearing them, wowza. Second, apparently some gamers (aside from my husband) think I’m hot, as I was baldly propositioned twice in two days. Who’da thunk it?
I haven’t seen Steve this happy since our wedding day. For that reason alone the trip was worth every hard earned (and saved) penny. His whole demeanor was more relaxed, more excited, more happy than I see him during our day to day life. He doesn’t have a fiber community. Our local gaming community, which he started when he owned his comic book shop, has long since dissolved. He doesn’t have festivals and shows like I do, he doesn’t get to be among enormous crowds of people just like him as I do. He doesn’t get to meet new people frequently who share his interests, striking up random conversations, and making new connections like I do. Being a part of this convention meant the world to him, and we’ll do whatever we can to ensure that at least he gets to attend next year.
Seriously, what a weekend! All things considered, we both had a great time and I can’t wait to go back next year. In costume. Viva la geeks!
I have a Human Resources convention today so I’ll be leaving early and gone all day. When I get home it’s last minute chores and then we’re OFF! Where? Why to the geekiest place on earth, at least for one weekend.
PAX is coming to Boston for the first time, and Steve and I will be there… along with 60,000 other gaming nerds. Well, me, I’m not so much a gaming nerd, but I do like games and I am happy to join my husband for a weekend of fun. We’re sharing costs by room with gaming buddies, and that really helps.
Me, I plan to hang out and knit or spin the entire time. What? I’ve done it before. I packed for fiber-geddon, just in case I suddenly become super woman and plow through my current spinning and fiber projects. You never know.
We’ll be back Sunday night, have a great weekend!