Month: April 2016

kira makes her second trip to the Powhatan Festival of Fiber

kira with sheep (instagram: @lolspeak)
(photo by Dylan)

Last year, I went to the Powhatan Festival of Fiber by myself, on a gloomy, drizzly day. This year, my party increased by 3! Woo.

Powhatan Fiber Festival - Alpacas

We saw alpacas, and sheeps, and bunnehs.

Powhatan Fiber Festival - Chicken

There was a very large and incredibly grumpy looking chicken.
I have less pictures than last time, because I was being social(!). Hah…

We wandered the vendor booths, meandering from stall to stall, each of us trying to find our small score for the day. (Boo, budgets!)

There was an amazing 50% yak/50% silk blend roving by Kim Dyes Yarn, in two gorgeous colorways (a somewhat jewel-toned rainbow and a lovely blues-and-greens mermaid color). I snuggled up to it multiple times, even dragging Lauren over to it later, but I’m still attempting to resist the lure of spinning. (Because… face it, I don’t need another hobby, with all it’s tools and trappings. At least, for right now.) Sadly, there wasn’t any of it already spun up, otherwise that might have been my yarn.

Somewhat ironically, after scouring all the booths, I returned, yet again, to the Unplanned Peacock booth — and purchased the exact same yarn I got at last year’s festival, in a different colorway. I guess I know what I like!

Unplanned Peacock - Kinky Sock - Butterscotch

Unplanned Peacock, Kinky Sock, in Butterscotch. I’m not sure what I plan to make from it, but I’ve been drooling over shawls in yellow.

And, I think I finally know how I’m going to use my other skein of Kinky Sock (colorway Frog) from last years festival. The second lace shawl design I’ve been dreaming up; I think I might swatch it with this and see how it looks!

Altogether, a fun time. And I have next year’s festival already on my calendar!

-x

kira makes yet another yarn purchase

I originally played around with the idea of designing a shawl in order to use up some lonely skeins in my stash. However, the yarn has been discontinued and if I want to try to submit the pattern for publication, then I need to use “commercially available” yarn.

So… I should just buy more yarn, right? Haha…

Cyntaf Yarn

The yarn has arrived. Knit Pick Preciosa, in Goldfish.

Now to see if I can knit a worsted weight lace shawl in less than one month. (Since I need to also photograph it before deadline.) The race is on.

-x

kira makes the transition from analogue to digital: knitting charts

I’ve been designing all night and all day, with pencil-smudged graph paper and eraser crumbs scattered all over. (Literally. Designed the night away!)

Finally decided to buy Stitchmastery. After reviewing several different knitting chart editing programs, I selected Stitchmastery. Knitty officially uses Stitchmastery for all their charting needs, so I figured that was a pretty good endorsement.

Stitchmastery

So far, it’s looking to be a excellent investment, if one is interested in designing knit charts. And since I’ve apparently caught the knit-lace-shawl-designing bug, it’s looking like I’ll be using it a fair amount. It has a lot of great features — one of my favorites is the stitch validation: it tracks how many stitches are consumed and produced by each row and compares it to the previous and following rows. And if they don’t match, the program warns you so that you can double check your chart! It saves so much time from doing that by hand.

Another feature I love is that it automatically generates written instructions based on the charts, including condensing information into repeats. I’m still exploring all the aspects of the program, but it seems to be pretty great so far. Hopefully, it will pay for itself… I have plans in the works! (Unfortunately, can’t say much about them, but fingers crossed.)

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kira makes charts

knitting chart

I’d much rather be working on this than working. Lace and cable knit shawl design!

Though, after thinking more about what I want this dream-shawl to look like, I think I am going to try to make a “simpler” shawl to start with. Since I haven’t designed anything before, and I don’t want to be overly ambitious and bite off more than I can chew.

This second-but-now-first shawl is more geometric than organic/botanical. I have been thinking about either offering it as a for-purchase Ravelry download or trying to submit it for publication somewhere.

Downside of publications is that I can’t show any pictures of it online, if I want to submit it. Boooo… But, it would be amazing if it was accepted for publication.

And, if it’s not accepted, then I can post all the pictures I want, and offer it as a self-published pattern. Independent knit designer, what?

-x

kira makes Little Arrowhead Shawl, revisited

The weather lately has been indecisive.

First it’s warm and Spring-like (even sometimes downright hot), but then it will switch and turn chilly. In order to combat the fickleness of the changing season, I’ve taken to wearing my Little Arrowhead Shawl.

Despite having made it in… late 2012?, I hadn’t really worn it often. I think it was my first (or possibly second) lace shawl. I like lace shawls, conceptually and in the creation process, but hadn’t quite figured out how to wear them.

Previously, I only had pictures of the shawl from when it was blocking: Attempt #1, where the bind-off edge was too tight, and Ziggy was “helping”; and Attempt #2, after I re-worked the bind-off edge, and re-blocked it (sans-Ziggy).

But since I was wearing it fairly often, I finally snapped a pic of the shawl being worn.

Little Arrowhead Shawl

This shawl has been great for the fluctuating temperatures. It is warm, but not too warm. The yarn is smooth and soft. It is a now-discontinued DK yarn (Spa) from the Naturally Caron line from Caron, made of microdenier acrylic and rayon from bamboo. I have another skein of this yarn in pale yellow (Soft Sunshine), that now I am pondering working up into another lace shawl, since I’ve been wearing this one so much lately.

Sooo, I pull up Ravelry, and look at my options. I immediately spot one that looks good… and see that it is the Little Arrowhead Shawl pattern, again. Hah.. well, apparently I know what I like. But, I want to try another pattern, since I’ve already made that one. Variety!

Soooooo, I browse other options of thicker weight lace shawls, because I want to use bigger needles and take a break from laceweight and sockweight yarns. Looking at patterns until it dawns on me: I COULD MAKE MY OWN PATTERN for a lace triangle shawl.

WAIT, brain. What? Stopppp! …not only are you not supposed to be starting yet another project, but… designing one?

Needless to say.. I’m totally planning on looking through my lace stitch dictionaries when I get home.

(Not like I don’t already have a lace shawl on the needles (*cough*Mirkwood*cough*)… But this one would be a much quicker knit! I haven’t really picked Mirkwood back up since the cat-astrohpe. One day I’ll get around to finishing it. One day…)

-x

kira makes a pile of all the new stamps

Happy kira-got-new-stamps Day!

New Stamps Day

Despite having made the final decision to not participate in April’s National Card and Letter-Writing Month (because I did InCoWriMo / A Month of Letters Challenge in February… and somehow managed to not even post about it once!), it was time for me to order new stamps for all my regular pen-pal correspondence. And here are all the new stamps!

Yay, stamps!
Funny to be so excited about stamps, because I’m not a collector or anything.

Now time to tackle some of my to-reply pile.

-x

kira makes a visit to the asylum

I received a mass of files from my very old computer circa 2004-2006; it’s like a weird nostalgic treasure-trove of projects from a decade ago. Most of the images are so tiny and low-res, or odd filetypes, or don’t even open anymore.

Slide

ritual

mist

I had an interactive digital portfolio from back in the day (doesn’t actually show a lot of work; the project was actually to make the interactive aspect); I wish I could do a walkthrough of it, perhaps if I’m ever able to open it (it was made in Macromedia Director… I know, right?)

It was abandoned insane asylum themed, complete with crows cawing, electricity crackling, and mysterious creaking doors. Digitally scribble-drawn scenescapes, spattered with grit and grime, and your choice of 4 appropriately eerie songs to accompany your stay. A suspicious-looking service elevator transports you to the different levels of the asylum, featuring small galleries of photography and videos.

Asylum

The whole ever-so-spooky thing kind of makes me giggle now… but also makes me wistful for the days that I actually MADE things. I need to squeeze more time for making things into my life. Photography, stop motion videos, animation, sculpture, drawing… I miss actually doing stuff.

Plus, I found some old files from when I was first learning 3D Maya (oh dear, that was a decade ago). I was making chess pieces based on the zodiac symbols. I remember I had some sort of system for which symbols I chose for the pieces… but I think the reasoning behind assigning Pisces, is evident in the filename: FISHOP. *bah dum tchiss*

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