Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Photographing Blues and Purples

My favorite color is purple. I love all purples, which is probably what makes purple my ultimate favorite. I love lilacs and periwinkles and plums and eggplants... My ultimate favorites tend to be in the plum/eggplant type family, the deeper darker hues, but I love them all.

So why is it that I can't photograph them? *sigh* Blues seem to intensify way too much in all of my digital pictures. So that when I do my best to adjust the color using my antiquated (and free) software, it completely skews what was once a beautiful background.

Yellow snow. Ewwwww....

But here are two purples I created in an attempt to recreate a yarn for the lovely AuntieAnn. On my monitor at least, the purple is ALMOST correct. Enough that hopefully she can pick a favorite. The other will soon be listed in my Etsy store. Looking at them together, they still don't seem that different. The top one is a tad more "grape" with a tinge more red in the purple. The bottom one is a bluer purple and a bit more variegated. I prefer the bottom skein myself, just because of its depth and intensity...both lost with my piss poor photography.
Maybe it's time for a class and a software upgrade....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm Done

We've had issues with our landlords since we moved in to this place. At first they were tolerable, though gross and annoying. Upon moving in, we discovered fleas, 2 mice living in the kitchen, and chiggers in the back yard. Easy enough to take care of ourselves, but what a pain. Then, the concrete steps outside crumbled last winter. They were cracked when we moved in and last year's winter was blanketed in ice. They claimed it was our fault for throwing down salt, and maybe it was. But no one warned us not to use salt or told us the concrete steps were unfinished and unsealed.

November 1st, after several verbal complaints when we paid rent, I went ahead and outlined many of our complaints in a letter and mailed it to the landlords via certified mail. Two of the issues involved water. One was a leak in the ceiling we'd been complaining about for well over a year. It would only drip once or twice with each rain, but the ceiling looked horrible and I feared mold growth. They assured me that with winter coming, I wouldn't have mold issues. I was livid at that response and insisted they do something. Several weeks later the landlord crawled around in the attic with a caulk gun and swears the problem is solved and there's no sign of mold up there. *sigh*

Another major issue was that every time we turn on the shower, it drips water (quite a bit) into the basement and right on top of my new washing machine. Not only was I worried about my washing machine shorting out, but again of mold.

I've been sick alllllll winter. I just can't seem to get well. I'm catching every cold, every sniffle, every cough, and even strep throat a couple weeks ago. Baby Yarnworks has had croup three times this winter and countless colds. Big Sister has had the sniffles most of the winter and last night coughed so much she threw up. Her tonsils are absolutely enormous.

Yesterday, three and a half months after the certified letter and after a reminder note in January's rent payment, they FINALLY sent a plumber out to fix the shower. It turns out that whoever did the plumbing never sealed the pipes, they just put them together and wastewater from the shower has been leaking.

I pointed out a spot in the floor that looked like water damage and wanted to confirm with the plumber that it was from the same issue, not from the sink or toilet. Nope, not from the shower. Definitely from the toilet. He says it's not even attached to the floor and that if anyone sits on it just right, it's going to make a huge mess. And all my concerns about mold? Confirmed. At least that's it's in our home...who knows how much of an impact it's having on our health.

I asked the plumber to call the landlord back and request permission to repair the toilet as well and he refused! He said the landlord already sounded upset about the shower repairs he had to do and wouldn't call him back. So this is what I'm left with...

And yes, that's carpet along the baseboard. Lovely, no?
So, I'm done. Absolutely done. I could complain about this repair and wait 3-18 months for them to take care of it, but I can't. Not only do I not have the energy, but I have these two sweet babies to think about. They need to get out of this house as fast as humanly possible.

I'm open to any and all advice guys. I'm not exactly sure how to proceed. But I definitely think we're moving as soon as I can find a new place.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Iraq Fingerless Gloves Pattern

Apparently these fingerless gloves are creating a lot of envy in Mr. Yarnworks' unit, so I promised I'd post the pattern. As knitters know, projects like these take many hours and while I love Mr. Yarnworks and his guys, I'm not going to spend his entire deployment clothing his troops.

Now why do guys in 120 degree temps need gloves? Simple. When the temps drop even to 70 degrees at night after being out in the insane heat all day, it feels outright frigid. Also, according to Mr. Yarnworks, they recently got temps low enough that snow fell. He's getting a lot of use out of his gloves.

This pattern is a modification of this one: Now, in retrospect, there's a closer pattern here: but at the time, I wasn't planning to add fingers and wanted to keep it simple. But Mr. Yarnworks begged and he doesn't often ask me to knit for him, so I folded and adjusted the pattern myself. Also, I should note that Mr. Yarnworks has large hands, so this pattern is meant to suit him. Adjust the pattern accordingly.Materials:
Size US2 double pointed needles (5 works best)
100g Fingering weight superwash wool

Stitch Marker
Stitch Holders

A note on yarn choice. I used KnitPicks Essentials 75% Superwash Wool/25% Nylon in "Fawn" which seems to be discontinued already. Black is always a good choice too. Now, first and foremost, if you are making this for someone going overseas, please please please use wool if at all possible. Wool has the incredible property of being self-extinguishing. If you hold a flame to it and then take the flame away, wool will stop burning. What burned will be ash and there will be no more fire. So if your Soldier or Marine is in an explosion, you want them to be wearing wool. If your serviceperson is allergic to wool, the second best option is cotton, which at least burns clean. Think of a candle wick. It burns, but it burns fairly quickly and won't hold the flame on the skin. There's nothing left once the cotton burns. Whatever you do, please please don't use acrylic or another synthetic fiber. These fibers are plastic. Yes, plastic. Take a length of acrylic yarn and hold it over the sink and light the end on fire and watch what happens. It melts! If your serviceperson is wearing gloves made of acrylic and survives an explosion, there's a very real chance they'll have plastic grafted to their hands and arms. That's not good. Now, in this case, I used a yarn with 25% nylon, but we did the burn test before using it. The wool content is high enough that it still self-extinguishes...although if I had been thinking more clearly when I began, I would have picked a 100% wool yarn.

Also, "superwash" means that these are machine washable. Many of our servicepeople send out their laundry. If your wool isn't superwash, it will come back to them felted unless they have the forethought to hand wash it themselves. Let's not test how well we know our troops. Make it easy on them and make it superwash.

CO 70
Row 1: K4, P1 to end; join in the round, being careful not to twist
Row 2: K4, P1 around

Continue in pattern for approximately 8" or desired length to bottom of thumb.

To create the thumb hole, simply knit back and forth in the pattern (K4,P1 one row and P4, K1 the next) for approximately 2" to 2.5", then rejoin in the round.

Continue in pattern another 1.5" to base of fingers. At this point, you can bind off to create simple wristwarmers. Or, continue below if you prefer short little fingers as Mr. Yarnworks does.

Slide the stitches off onto stitch holders and be prepared to move the stitches around a bit as you pick up stitches for each finger.

Use this diagram to help guide you.

First, pick up 3 stitches by the thumb on one DPN and 9 stitches on each of two other DPNs.

Begin to knit around. Cast-on 3 more stitches between the fingers before knitting the second set of 9 stitches. You should end up with a total of 24 stitches around. Continue knitting around for 8 rows (or desired length). Bind off.

Slip the next 9 stitches on either side onto DPNs. Pick up 3 stitches from base of last finger.
Begin to knit around. Cast-on 3 more stitches between the fingers before knitting the second set of 9 stitches. You should again end up with a total of 24 stitches around. Continue knitting around for 8 rows. Bind off.

Slip the next 8 stitches on either side onto DPNs. Pick up 3 stitches from base of last finger.
Begin to knit around. Cast-on 3 more stitches between the fingers before knitting the second set of 8 stitches. you should end up with a total of 22 stitches around. Continue knitting around for 8 rows. Bind off.

Slip next 6 stitches on either side onto DPNs. Slip remaining 3 stitches onto another DPN. Pick up 3 stitches from base of last finger. You should now have 18 stitches on the needles. Knit around for 8 rows. Bind off.

Tuck in your ends, closing any holes between fingers as you do.

And you're done! Now go find some really gorgeous handpainted sock yarn and make a pretty pair for yourself!

Beautiful Birthday Gifts

Do any other bloggers out there take pictures specifically for their blogs, plan or write blog entries in their heads, then not post for a month or more? Please tell me I'm not alone. I think have 4 or 5 blog entries I'm late posting. I will try to post them in order and space them out a bit...hopefully not more than a month will go by between entries. ;)

January 10 was my 31st birthday. I had originally planned to get a sitter, round up some friends, and go out to eat. But you know what? That is entirely too much work. I'm having such trouble finding sitters lately that I decided that I didn't want to have any stress over my own birthday. I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to make any plans at all. I just wanted a nice, fun day with my girls. Alyssa helped me make "pupcakes"....

....and otherwise, we just played. It was a great time. :) I'm so glad I didn't rush around trying to find a sitter and worrying about getting home on time and all that jazz.

I got a couple surprises in the mail too. See the prettiness?

This came from my good friend *K*....she rocks! See what it looks like all opened up?

It's a beautiful Della Q knitting bag and matching notions bag. It's large enough to hold a laptop, so it's definitely large enough for any portable knitting project. :)
And this purpley owly cuteness came from my friend *S* who actually began as one of my customers and quickly grew into a good friend. It was also wrapped up all pretty-like, but I was much too excited to stop and consider picture taking until long after it was opened.

This is a great crochet hook/DPN organizer from CoyoteCraft on Etsy.

I must say that the workmanship here is absolutely impeccable. I'm very impressed and would highly recommend this Etsy seller to anyone looking for a case like this. I'm loving mine!
So thank you *K* and *S* for making my birthday special and helping to hold my ever-growing obsession with knitting tools and stash. :)