on the needles

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just Sick of It

Well - I was sick of knitting the Log Cabin Blanket.

Until I started crocheting the border.

Now I'm sick of crocheting the border.

And I'm right back into my "I hate cotton and won't ever knit with it" philosophy.

This blanket is sapping my will to live.

Ugh! Calgon - take me away!

Plus - up next I have to knit a border for my baby blanket. Right after I figure out how and what to do. There's a reason I'm crocheting my Log Cabin border. I hated the way the seams looked on the mitered border on the Log Cabin Blanket in the Mason Dixon Knitting book. You construct the angle at each corner by adding stitches by knitting in to the front and the back of the last stitch. Then you sew the angles together. Maybe I'm missing something but surely must be a better way to do this?

Anyone? Bueller, Bueller....?

So I'm not looking forward to the Baby Blanket border at this point. At least it only took me three days to knit the body of the blanket - but dang! - that Unger Utopia sheds like crazy. And it's creaky acrylic.

The worst part is - I can't even think of what to knit next. I was wanting to do that coat in the Summer Tweed but now I'm feeling like it will only make me hate Summer Tweed. Too roughy and cottony feeling.

I need wool!!!

Ok - done complaining - back to the drudgery of 1,000 stitch long rows of single crochet.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Odds & Ends & a Bit of Scandal

A couple of things -

First - thanks for all of the nice comments on my dear little birds. Harry Potter is coloring in at a really fast pace now. I'll post another picture of him soon so you can see the total transformation.

Second - I've been having trouble with my Bloglines interacting (or not!) with my Aol Browser. For some reason it suddenly stopped displaying pictures so most of the blogs I read were showing up with that awful little red X instead of pictures. So I have been mostly reading my blogs through another browser. Unfortunately that browser doesn't seem to want to recognize my Blogger ID - so I am unable to comment on blogs that use that system. The point of all of this is - if I usually comment on your blog but haven't been lately now you know why. I haven't stopped reading - I've just been temporarily gagged. :( I'll figure out a way around all of this or work out whatever bug is in the system as soon as I get a moment to rustle up some brain cells that are willing to co-operate! Been too busy around here.

Third - Have you seen this? Cara posted about it over on her blog January One. Apparently The Knit With Shop in PA is voluntarily recalling several Debbie Bliss and Noro yarns because the yarns do not actually have the cashmere content that was stated on the label. The yarn recall notice can be seen here.

The yarns in question are specifically:
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
KFI Cashmerino DK
Noro Amagi
Noro Cash Iroha
Noro Lotus

The Knit With Shop posted this letter
saying that they have tested the yarn and found that the Debbie Bliss and KFI yarns actually have no cashmere content whatsoever and that the Noro yarns contain less than half the cashmere content stated on the label. They also go further and say that the yarns are "defectively spun". The Knit With Shop says it has discovered this discrepancy after "scientific testing" and "expert fibre analysis". Needless to say, Knitting Fever International disputes The Knit With Shop's claim regarding the yarn.

So - what do you think? Personally, I would probably be more inclined to believe The Knit With Shop's claim than not (even though I have had no dealings whatsoever with them and never knew of their existence until I read about them on Cara's blog) - although I would appreciate a more explicit explanation about how they arrived at their conclusions. But rumblings about KFI's business practices have been going on for a long time within the industry itself and have been aired here and there throughout blogland as well. In many ways the complaints have been similar to the complaints about big stores like Walmart. I'm not going to go into a huge thing about it here - but I think most people who have used Noro yarns have had complaints about knots, badly spun yarn (thick and thin when it's not supposed to be), and excessive vegetable matter in the yarn. And as for Debbie Bliss yarns I personally have had yarn that literally just disintegrated in my hands as I attempted to knit with it because it was just so poorly spun, as well as excessive knots within skeins. Also most of her yarns pill like crazy and in my opinion don't stand up to ordinary wear and tear.

I used Debbie Bliss early on in my knitting career but you could go down into my massive stash and not find a single skein of her yarn in there. I do however have tons of Noro Silk Garden and Kureyon - despite the fact that I know full well there will be plenty of "duds", skeins that are almost unusable due to excessive knots and weak thin spots. Why the Noro? Because no other yarn really duplicates the striping effects and no one else has the color genius that Mr Noro has. So I put up with the bad in exchange for the good. However, that is an informed choice I make. I do not like the thought that I may be being duped into buying yarns which are not what they say they are.

I'd love to hear other opinions on this!

Back soon with more bird pictures - and - I'm working on the border of the Log Cabin Blanket!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

So About the Gouldians...

Well - the big news is - I've doubled my flock! That's right, now I have fifteen of these gorgeous little birds. I got three boys and three girls from a lady who had to give them up because she has RA and was finding it difficult to care for them. So - now they live with me.

After the appropriate period of keeping the new birds in quarantine and going through the whole round of medicating etc. etc. in order to makes sure that everyone was healthy and didn't pass on any illnesses to my birds - they were finally ready to be housed in the big cage along with everyone else.

Here's the whole flock:

You can click on the photo for a closer look but I warn you it's massive - otherwise you wouldn't be able to see the birds!

So far everyone is getting along great. The transition has been really smooth. Phew!

I will introduce the new birds in another post but first I wanted to give you an update on the two baby birds that I've been posting about since hatching.

First up, the little yellow girl:

Here she is, on the left, fully feathered out sitting with her daddy Godric (who looks as if he is going into a moult soon). I've decided to name her Fleur, in keeping with the Harry Potter names theme and because I think she has turned out to be such a delicate little beauty.

And remember her little brother?

Well, here he is today, about halfway through his moult.

Look at those shimmery blue back feathers! He's just gorgeous. His head looks like it will be a light shrimp pink color with a black outline.

And here's a shot of his gorgeous tummy and chest:

I love the super electric purple of his chest - what a sight he will be when he is all feathered in! I feel so sorry for the little guys when they moult - it's got to be uncomfortable and stressful - but they look so gorgeous afterwards. I've decided to name him Harry Potter - because he's a very special boy. :)

So I'll show off the new birds next time. I need help choosing a name for one of them so get your Harry Potter thinking caps on!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cabinets & Other Organizational Tools

Just a quick post to show you guys what the bookcases/cabinets look like:

This is one of the Garrett Cabinets from Pottery Barn. The glass doors slide rather than open out which I like a lot since I think the glass is less likely to get broken that way. I love the way they look all filled with books! Ignore the two big black blobs on top - those are paintings we have to re-position on the wall since this cabinet is not as wide as the shelves that were there before. The paintings of the ladies faces I bought off of Ebay - they are by a Russian artist but I forget her name. There is another of these cabinets in the same room but I only took a picture of one - I'm sure you get the idea of what it looks like. So - do I look like a super studious smarty pants with my little mini library or what? ;) And no more dusty books!! Yay! (And I am NEVER NEVER moving all of those books again!)

You can click on the pictures if you want to see any of them larger.

These are the Rhys Bookcases and large TV cabinet from Pottery Barn as well. (Of course since we had the large TV cabinet hubby had to go immediately out and by a very large tv to go with it.) This is in our sitting room and is the view I have whilst knitting. Honestly the tv is crazy big for the space but I am trying to get used to it. We still have to re-hang the painting that goes on the wall between the cabinets because the massive tv was blocking half of it!

So - as you can probably imagine I was pretty exhausted from dismantling all of the old shelves, setting up these and carrying all of those books around!

In other news: I'm trying to get together a post to show you how I use the spreadsheets to keep track of my yarn - PJ wanted to see an example. (I NEED to have a spreadsheet - although nothing could be cooler than having a Palm Pilot to organize the stash like Jess does!! I had little obsessive compulsive fits of awe over that idea. I am SO asking for a Palm for Christmas - never saw any use for those things until Jess enlightened me! LOL!) And Mrs. Pao - yes, I did consider making a yarn database. But then I considered I may be crazy and that idea fortunately died an early death. :) I also had a good laugh at the image of Jessie cramming her yarn into a closet and then leaping out of the way and slamming the door shut before it could all fall out again. Yep - thought that was really funny and cute until that same night when I went to put some yarn away in the craft room. It was dark and I had my hands full and didn't bother to flip on the light. I managed to get the door open without incident but I took one step inside the room and tripped over a box of yarn, half fell and stumbled away from that box only to immediately trip over another one a foot away and nearly broke my neck! So - the craft room needs a final overhaul before it is ready to actually be used. Thank goodness for the extra shelves down there - lord knows I needed them!

Also - I've had a big addition to my Gouldian flock - so pictures to follow!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Book Cabinets Fit!

Were you guys crossing all of your fingers and all of your toes for me? You must have been to get these massive book cabinets to fit up the stairs, through the tiny hall and around the corner - with no dings on the walls or the cabinets either. Lets just say I'm glad that I wasn't the one carrying those things!

AND, I got my order of purple yarn today so I can start knitting on the baby blanket again. Woohoo! Not that I will have any time since I will be moving books around until the wee hours of the morning....oh, and did I mention more furniture is coming tomorrow? Would you mind keeping those fingers and toes crossed just a little bit longer? Thanks! ;)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Anyone want to trade?

Remember when I posted this? Probably about six months ago.

Well, I'm FINALLY getting those lovely book cabinets - HOORAY!! I cannot wait! I hate hate hate it that my books are just sitting there on open shelves getting covered in dust. (I'm really allergic - not just totally obsessively organized.) It's a big pain to dust the books and I always have an asthma attack after I do. But the cabinets are coming this week - please pray they will fit up my stairs!!! So at least my nice books will finally be getting the nice comfy protected home they deserve. And this means I can use the current shelves downstairs in my craft room. Yay! More yarn storage!

However, this also means it is time to finally get rid of some stuff. No matter how hard my hoarding gene kicks in I just can't keep everything.

So, I thought I'd see if you guys wanted to trade. I've got TONS of back issues of quilting magazines, several years of Ehrman Tapestry catalogs, tons of FiberArts magazines, a bunch of issues of Embroidery (this magazine is really beautifully done. It's a UK magazine that focuses on the arts side of embroidery and other needlework - chock full of inspiration.) I've also got a handful of Beadwork magazines and about five books full of really cool projects to do with children of all ages. The books are in perfect condition and have everything from science projects, funky food projects, crafts etc. If you have kids these are really a great resource.

If you want some of this stuff email me and let me know what you want. I honestly don't care what you give me back - if anything - because the whole idea here is for me to free up space in the craft room and it seemed like a shame to just throw this stuff out.

****Also - has anyone noticed that Blogger has been really weird with pictures lately? I have a hard time posting them and about half of the blogs I read are showing up without the pictures coming through. It's really getting annoying!****

Please Patternworks!

Send yarn!

It only took me one day of knitting on the baby blanket to use up the single skein I had. I have ordered more yarn from Patternworks but so far it hasn't shown up. So I reluctantly went back to knitting on the Log-Cabin-Which-Never-Ends. Ugh! What a lovely vacation I had from the Log Cabin. Only someone who has been continuously garter stitching for a month can understand how great it felt to purl and yarn over. The simple lace pattern of the baby blanket (that quite possibly would have bored me to tears under other circumstances) just flew by too fast! Wow - things knit up quick on size sevens, even when a row is 120 stitches long! What was I thinking knitting up a blanket on size fives?? After managing to knit a few logs I just couldn't stand it anymore so I started weaving in ends.

So that's where I am - reduced to weaving in ends. Pathetic huh?

Patternworks - please send yarn! Fast!!