Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Random Number Cable Socks!

OK, by now it's obvious that I'm out of the running for any serious competition on Summer of Socks, and I'm not even going to get patterns written up.

But, I've done the Random Numbers Cable Sweater, and the concept is really easy to apply to socks too.

Random Cables, extreme closeup
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

See the cables, how they go all over the place at irregular intervals? That's because the cables are random. Truly random, as in a random number generator, or a throw of the die. (that's the singular of dice, to make my mother the English teacher proud.)

Random Cables
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

I started out using a table of random numbers (just google "random number generator" and you'll find one), but that got to be too cumbersome. You need to keep track of the paper, and a pencil, and mark off the numbers...

Then I ran across a fancy die from my kids' fantasy gaming days. It's 10 sided, with numbers 1 through 9 and 0 (zero). Oh, goody!

hmm - you still don't get it? OK, I left out the "rules" I knit this by. Please know that you don't have to follow my rules. You don't even need to follow your own. (I don't!)

I started these socks with my usual knit an 8-stitch, 5 row rectangle, pick up stitches all around, then increase 4 sts at the corners, every other row. After a goodly amount of rows, I started a 2x2 ribbing over the top of the foot.

Then - and here comes the fun part - I use the die to tell me when to do the cables, and whether to do them right over left, or left over right.

If the die comes up:
1, 3 or 5 - then cable left
2, 4, or 6 - then cable right
7,8,9 or 0 - no cable, just plain knit.

I knitted for awhile, and decided the cables were a little too frequent. So, I randomly decided NOT to cable. It's all good. If you make a mistake - who's gonna know???

And as if that weren't cool enough - you can vary the rate of the cables to accent or vary whatever color you're on. See that wide section of red/orange stripiness? That little accent of frequent cables changes the color, doesn't it? Can I pretty please pretend that I did that on purpose? (big goofy grin here)

Brainstorming again... on students, crafting, and outreach

I'm a happy camper today -- I had lunch with Jez, who's the new Outreach Coordinator! wheee- I love Jez, not just because she's a crocheter, into yarn, and crazy-infectious enthusiastic about all sorts of stuff.

And we're going to do an Official Library Outreach Activity with yarn! Don't know what, specifically, but as usual I've got all sorts of ideas.

I'm thinking about some sort of contest, with gift certificates for prizes, that would bring crafting into the 21st Century.

I'm thinking about stuff like I see on MakeZine. Like the 30-minute Hovercraft. I've actually seen kids on the Harvey Mudd campus with remote-control hovercraft. Imagine walking along, hearing a strange noise, coming around the corner and seeing this strange contraption coming at you. And then seeing the kid with the remote control a few yards away.

How could we combine technology like that with old-skool crafts? How could I combine a hovercraft with knitting, fer cryin' out loud?

hmm... but what if a sweater had circuits? What would it do?

I can see a knitted hat, with solar cells that would power a fan, or sunshade.

Maybe lace holes that would get tighter as the temps got cold, so the shawl would be warmer.

OK, we'd have to have teamwork here, to combine old technologies (knitting, crochet) with new (electronics). I'm seeing social networking here...

ooo. How about a camouflage beer bottle; press a button and it sprouts a Coke-can sweater?

Or origami that folds itself? Or moves in some way?

A colleague just sent me this website from MIT: Eric Demaine's Linkage Animations. Wouldn't it be cool to program an origami mobile to move like that?


But only for a while... (bwaa hahahaha!)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Assessments; or, What I did this summer...

Back on July 2, I made myself a "to do" list, and now, on Labor Day, it's time to weigh the dreams against the reality. Wait, we already know that answer.

Ok, just for grins and giggles, here's the assessment.

  • Spin up the cotton from last year's harvest, and design, weave and submit for that contest in Colorado. I got two spindles spun on the charkha. But the set-up's still right in front of the recliner, on a TV table - so there's hope, right?
  • Finish the rocket gansey. OK- I still have about an inch of ribbing to go on the neck, and it's done. It's 106F outside, fer cryin' out loud!!
  • knit 93 million pairs of socks so I win the Summer o' Socks. I'm only 92,999,999 short of that goal. (snork!) I knew after the first week there was no way I was going to win, but what the heck, it was fun!
  • Finish the cashmere sweater for the Roketman. See previous reference to temperature. I only did another 4-5 inches.
  • Spin up the 10 pounds of recycled denim. Nada. Zilch.
  • Spin up the Prudence fleece from Whitefish Bay Farm. I got it washed and carded up-- I need to figure out the project before I know what weight to spin.
  • Get about 5 fleeces from Robin Snyder in North San Diego County, and dye, spin and sell the skeins. Cecilia and I got 3 fleeces, I've processed about half of two of them. Oh, plus I got the Montadale fleece from the guild raffle. See picture "Mountain O' Wool" below.
  • Re-start the seedlings for the dye plants that died. Another zilch. Once the weather breaks, we need to re-do some of the drip lines.
  • Write the article on Quipus. This is written, but I need to spin up some samples in order not to step on copyrighted pictures.

Other stuff I DID do this summer:

  • I got an Alden Amos Wheel! whee... A lady in Claremont wanted to give it a good home, and I fit the bill. (can I just let my id tell my super-ego that my kharma must not be too bad??)
  • I did a Liles fermentation vat. Ok, so it's not the best color (see below) but I have bragging rights, right?
  • I did the class on the weaving and dyeing of Chiapas, for good friends from guild who didn't mind that it was a bit short on weaving.
  • Got the video of Dave dizzing roving up on YouTube.
  • OK, not exactly fiber-related, but the boat trip was Awesome! I got to see Earthues, and Maiwa...

All in all, the best reason I can give for keeping this journal is to remind me that I don't do so bad, after all.

Roket gansey, as of 9/3/07
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

Here's the Rocket Gansey. Stitch definition is pretty good, but I didn't expect the yarn to fuzz like this.

Garter Stitch Raglan, version 2
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

This is the current obsession. I have to say this - the Garter Stitch Raglan is one of those patterns perfectly suited to the yarn, and vice versa. Hemp does not act like cotton!! The difference is that cotton will sag, and I don't see that happening with hemp. This is the second time knitting this sweater, because I had 4 skeins left over from the kit. I ordered four more skeins, and may need one more.

Wool Mountain
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

Here's the Mountain O' Wool... not much spinning getting done, is there?

Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

This is the Liles fermentation indigo vat... it really was stinky. Can you see the fruit still floating around in there? That's my clue that the fermentation has stopped- it's not eating the fruit any more. Too bad- it's a great way to use all that yucky stuff the birds ruin and drop to the ground.

would you call this blue?
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

These are the samples. The top sample is Romney (5-6 days), the bottom is the Montadale (~3 weeks).I'm rather disappointed in the color... reading through Liles again, he says to add a teaspoon of urea if the fermentation stops. I'm thinking -- maybe.