Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thrilling Obsession

I said last week in my newsletter that several of us at Knit Knite were obsessed with discovering a new møbius cast-on. We all know about Cat Borhi's but find that one a bit hard to do.  We tried quite a few ideas we had to no avail.  They all turned into 2 sided tubes.  sigh.

However as a result of announcing our craziness to the world, one courageous woman wrote to say that Rita Buchanan wrote an article for Spin Off in 2000 with her very own Møbius Cast-on.  Of course, I cleaned out all my old Spin-Offs last year. Why is it that when one finally gets rid of something that hadn't been used in umpteen years, it then becomes needed?
I googled Rita Buchanan Møbius and got this page.  While informative it leaves out a few basic instructions.  I tried it on 16" needles as I didn't want to be casting on a zillion stitches only to rip them out a few rows later.  Alas my attempt did not work and I frogged 70 stitches.

Then Lynne S. graciously scanned her copy of the article and sent it to me.  Of course I wanted to try it out immediately but that would mean 2 new UFO's and I'm trying to get samples ready for FF of New England.  So I compromised by spinning the yarn needed for this cowl.  I took breaks from dyeing and knitting to spin.  Seemed very balanced to me too.

4 ounces of Cattleya Orchid Falkland worked up into 300 yards of 2 ply plus silver thread making it technically a 3 ply yarn.  I thought it was sportweight but once washed and dried the whole thing blossomed into closer to DK.  Had US 6 needles ready but upped them to US7's.  Did a swatch and came out with 4.5 st/in on US7.  Close to worsted I guess but whatever.  It's soft and springy.

On Wednesday I couldn't stand it any longer and cast on the needed 200 stitches.  With a backwards loop it didn't take very long and this time the cable wrapped itself around just as in the instructions.
Deirdre kept saying I was obsessed but really I was so delighted to actually have this working and being so easy to do. Got so excited I drove 15 miles to Joanne's with a 20% off coupon and chose some 2/0 beads.  I thought I was adding them to the edge but now realize they are probably in the middle so will add more later when it's almost done.  A Mobius is such a magical creation and knitting one is doubly so.
Only 6- 7 more inches to go, then I'll use EZ' stretchy bind off. 
Wonder how one blocks a møbius cowl?  Have only done Cat Bordhi's møbius baskets which are felted.  Hmmmnnnn

I can see myself playing with making different stitch patterns that go with this.  Maybe a spiral. Or how about a knitted Klein Bottle? Or maybe a simpler item - Sea Change slip stitch mobius cowl.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Cautionary Tale

I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of money on ink cartridges.  Probably because I print a good deal of patterns and fiber and yarn labels.  It really adds up at almost $100 a pop.  I was thinking of what do the recyclers do with the empties I turn in when I buy new?

hmmmm and I found a business online, ClickInks, that refills those cartridges and sells them for about half the price.  Well, I thought that was a great idea and a great bargain so I ordered a set.  A few hours later I received an email telling me my payment didn't go through and to click on the link to try paying again so my order would not be held up.  So I did.

Then I went online to check this charge.  Sure enough this one went through but so did the first one.  Huh??????  I called but since it was the weekend, they were not open. I then called first thing Monday morning and got a person who told me the second order would be cancelled.  Whew.  Good.

Later that day I received an email telling me my inks had shipped.  A few minutes later I received a duplicate email but when I checked it I saw it had a different order number.  Sheesh.  So I called again.  This time I was told that they could do nothing for me until the second box was returned!!!!!  It was their "policy'.  Sheesh again.  I asked to speak to a supervisor but was not put through.

I sent them an email and received a reply that a ticket had been opened and I would get a response within 24 hours.  NADA in over a month now.  I called next morning but was put off again.  The person I spoke with said to refuse the second box and then when it was returned so would my money.

UPS arrived on Friday with both boxes.  I refused one of them.  I waited until the following Thursday and called again.  BTW the wait time on these calls was 15 - 20 minutes.  I was told my package had not yet been clocked in by the warehouse.  I was also told that it would be 5 days after that before my refund was made.  That was it!!!!

I called PayPal and told them the whole story.  They told me they would contact ClickInks but that my money would definitely be back in my account by 9/21 no matter what.  On 9/21, they emailed me that the company never responded so my money was automatically returned.

Meanwhile this was all going on, I was printing patterns for the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival when the magenta started getting streaky.  I cleaned the printheads 3 times and it only got worse.  arghhh  I went onto the HP website and after a couple hours of doing whatever it said, the verdict was I needed a new printhead.

So by trying to save $45 I have now spent $100 for replacement cartridges and will be buying a new printer too as that will cost $20 less than a new printhead. For sure I'll only buy printer maker approved cartridges from now on.

I told ClickInks I would tell my story far and wide but they didn't care.  Be forewarned my friends.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Magoo at Last

It's been a long haul.  Jim's had a lyme relapse and cellulitis while my thigh muscle problem has returned.  Sorry to have not written in so long.  I am knitting, dyeing, designing but my time and thoughts have been elsewhere.

We were talked into  decided to take on the Fostering of Magoo until he is neutered.  Then we'll adopt him formally.  What's great about being his Foster Parents is that Shar pei Rescue will pay his vet bills until then.  Neat deal.  We get to hug this boy sooner than we thought and don't have to shell out much in the way of money except for food, grooming, harness, collar, etc.

So two weeks ago Carol, who was fostering our boy for 2 months, brought Magoo to MD, met Laura, who brought him to NJ where she and the rescue vet reside.  He got his first heartworm shot on a Monday night and had several days of recuperation to be ready to fly to Ithaca that Friday.  Alas the thunderstorms made the trip too hairy so it was postponed to Saturday, May 31.  We had our fingers and toes crossed.

              Sure enough we received a call from Jack, the pilot, that Laura got there with Magoo and  the flight was a go!

Expected arrival time in Ithaca was 10:45 am.
Evidently Magoo is a chatty fellow (above w/ Jack, below with Nancy)

We didn't get to see the plane land as the headwinds were less than expected so arrival time was 10:15 and we got there at 10:30.
The boy was very confused by then, what with all these changing humans in his life.
We took him straight to our local pet store to get fitted for a Martingale collar and harness which makes both his life and ours easier in the long run.  I do hate choking dogs with collars.
We brought him home, really home, but he didn't know that.  However he is such an adaptable fellow that he went along, confused but agreeable.

 He's settling in quite well.  There is no real history on this boy except he was found in Ocean City, MD, rather emaciated and scarred from ticks.  The rescue was notified and immediately found him a foster home in VA.  He was diagnosed with lyme, erlichia (from the same tick) and heartworm.  While in VA he was 'cured' of both the lyme and erlichia and started heartworm meds.  In NJ he got his first heartworm injection and mid June he'll get shots # 2 and 3.  He's under 2 years old so very playful but because of the heartworm injection must not get excited or play hard until weeks after the last shot and the vet declares the adult and juvenile worms dead and gone. He also can't be neutered until then.
Stay tuned for the next episode where we try to get the cats, Lillie and LouAnne, to accept this boy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A knitting celebration

A few weeks ago at Knit Knite Rosane showed us the Dreambird Shawl Pattern.  I instantly fell in love with it. It has short rows and colors, what's not to love?  Others liked it but no one else was enamored of it but me and Rosane.  We decided to spin yarn for it so it would be totally unique.

I kept vascillating from one colorway to another without actually settling on any one.  Just couldn't make up my mind.  The pattern calls for some mohair blend for the main part, maybe in a tonal, with color in the feathers of the bird.  Jim volunteered to spin some kid mohair for the project.  ummmmm  so soft.
               Meanwhile I still hadn't made up my mind.

Then a couple weeks ago five of us cleaned out Ruth's stash. It took over 3 hours of sorting, sorting, bagging, identifying, sorting, reminiscing and pricing.  We wound up with 7 large tubs of fiber, spun fiber, started projects, unstarted projects, yarn and accoutrements.

The next weekend we displayed it all at the Black Sheep Garage Sale.  We sold quite a bit, reducing the stash by about 2 tubs.  Of course we also had to have some for ourselves, adding to the very nice total going to Hospice.

I came away with some heavily angelina-ed glitzy batts not made by me, some silk, not dyed by me and other neat items, some actually dyed by me.  I just had to start spinning the batts and fell in love with the rich intense coloring.  AHA!  So that's what I've decided to use for my Dreambird.  Such a fun spin.

I've got about half the batt done so am now spinning the silk as there was way less of that.  The yarn on the left was spindle spun by Ruth.  Might need to ply in some purple silk eventually but think it'll look just fine in the feathering.

Becki took home some tussah silk but I've managed to talk her into letting me have it to ply with the kid mohair.
Does this pic look upside down to you?
Still haven't figured out what color to dye the silk/kid but it'll come.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Knitted Flower

The snow is gone from our yard and the woods.  The pond actually has some water showing and one or two brave daffodils have come up about an inch. Oh and some wood ducks are swimming in a vernal pond, poor dears.  I am declaring this winter over (ducking quickly). Mind you it's not really spring either, maybe mud season, but hey…..

So in honor of this day I worked all morning on a knitted flower.  Many of us have seen some beautiful crocheted flowers and Abigail, who is a crocheting goddess, assures me they aren't hard.  But…….

Plus I'm so addicted to Icords right now that I wanted to make one out of them.

Spring Flower   

With about 20 yds of scrap contrasting or project yarn and appropriate dpns:
We'll make two - 2 stitch tubular traditional Icords of 15" & 13each.

I used DK for the multi and worsted yarn for the pink layer but any yarn will do.

Cast-on 2 sts,
Move/slide stitches to right end of dpn.
The yarn will be on the left, bring it around to the right and knit those two sts. 
Repeat, tugging on the tail after each iteration and making sure the first stitch is relatively tight.

After 15 inches, (Put on some music and the time will fly.)  tie off leaving an 8" tail and make another of 13-14".

Thread a tail into an embroidery needle. Fold the tube back and forth so you have a relatively equal 5 or 6 petal looking object.

Thread the needle through the center folds to hold the petals on each flower in place. 
Do the same with the second tube.

Put the smaller flower layer on top of the larger one.

Thread the two together.  Add a nice bead for a center.
and attach it at will.

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Puppy?

Jim came home a couple weeks ago saying he saw a flyer at Greenstar saying that 4 shar pei needed new homes immediately as their Dad had died.  Oh my. Oh my.  And this was Jim bringing up the subject.

We researched shar pei as all I really knew was they were the wrinkly dogs and got skin diseases because they had been bred for too many wrinkles.  Well they are lovely dogs.  Great temperaments, adapable, don't need a lot of  exercise, smart and only medium sized, topping out at 55 pounds.

I called the number and it turned out it was the guy's partner that had died.  He told me a long sad tale about his partner having heart problems, being disabled, having started with 4 shar pei, then an accidental mating and his partner insisting on keeping all of the pups.  Long story short, his partner passed suddenly in February leaving this guy with 9 dogs and grief.  He realizes he can't take care of so many so posted them for adoption on RescueMe and put up posters.  The dogs had no experience with cats but he said he was bringing some down from Rochester for a meet and greet with another person from our area and would get in touch when that was arranged.  We still have not heard back from him.

Alas that got me onto the rescue sites for shar pei.  Saw a wonderful dog in a Westchester Shelter who was not neutered and they wanted $450.  Nope, not for us.  Plus, Nancy, who runs Reverence Training, advised us not to get a shelter dog, but only one that was fostered so we could ask a lot of questions.

A couple days later I got another email telling me a shar pei /lab was available in NJ.
I don't know about you but I just couldn't resist this face.  And his name is Magoo.  How perfect is that?

So we discussed it and decided to wait overnight.  We actually waited two days but I just couldn't get that face out of my head.  Could you? We called the rescue people ( shar pei rescue of VA) and asked a lot of questions.  All the answers were great. He loves cats.  He is so smart.  He is being fostered.

The major hold up is that he has lyme and heartworms.  Well - we were told to fill out an application and get a home visit.  Application went in immediately and we are waiting on Cayuga Dog Rescue for the home visit.  Our vet gave us a glowing rec.  So we were put in contact with his Foster Mom.
 He actually is being fostered in VA, not NJ, but either place is approx the same distance away.  We were told he was going in for his first injection this week and then in a month would be neutered and then we could come get him.  That sounded like about 6 weeks which is a lot of postponing of gratification but his Foster Mom sent me lots of pics and a video so we could look at him and she gave us updates too.
Alas the protocol for heartworm has now changed.  The vet started Magoo on Heartgard a week ago and want him on it for 3 months before the first Invecticin Injection, then a month of quiet - like crated quiet - and then two more injections and another month of crated quiet.  Then if all goes well he then can be neutered.
Now we are talking 4 months.  We had the choice to take him now but we would need to find a rescue friendly vet and take the responsibility for his recovery.  We read up on heartworm and got really scared.  If he doesn't stay really quiet he can have an embolism and need emergency work.  He needs to be watched a lot.  I hate crating dogs.  Nancy says she wouldn't go through it again.  My sister says NO.  Then Jim said he just couldn't deal with the responsibility and tension.   So today I told Laura that we definitely wanted Magoo but would need to wait until he was neutered.  
Big Sigh  

I am a bit down after being excited for the last week or so and don't know now if our decision to wait will mean another family will take this guy.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coastal Cap

The Iknitarod and Iditarod were fun, exciting, interesting and exhilarating this year.  We are talking already about next year's fun and maybe adding a new category called Checkpoint Challenges.

Winter is still not over, we got another 1.5 inches yesterday and it never went over 20 degrees.  Sheesh.  I find I spend a lot of time in hand knitted caps as they keep the heat in really well so we don't have to spend so much money using the propane back up to out pellet stove.  The stove can keep the house at about 60 and then we need the gas for more.  This winter that has turned out to be a rather expensive option. Anyway….
For the Iknitarod I designed a cowl and a cap.  Giving out presents and prizes is such fun.  So I'm gifting you all with the cap pattern right here.

Coastal Shell Cap

A simple but interesting cap that knits up quickly and keeps your head nice and toasty
Needles: US 4 & 6   16" circs
approx 125 yds fingering / sportweight yarn. 
Gauge: with larger needle, 5 sts/in Little Shell Ribbing B
Size:  S(M/L)  For a Medium, use M/L numbers but US 3 & 5 needles.
Notions:  markers, opt. bead or button for top of cap.

CO 90(105) sts using stretchy or long tail cast-on. Join without twisting. Place BOR marker.

Little Shell Ribbing A (5 sts x 4 rows) with smaller needle
Continue in the round as follows:
R1 & 2: *k3, p2*  [90(105) sts]
R3: *sl1-k2tog-psso, p2*  [54(63) sts]
R4: *(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st, p2*  [90(105) sts]
Repeat Rounds for 1.5 - 2 inches ending with R2.

Little Shell Ribbing B (15 sts x 12 rows) with larger needle
continue in the round as follows:

R1 & 4: *p2, k3*  [90(105) sts]
R2: *p2, sl1-k2tog-psso*  [54(63) sts]
R3: *p2, [(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st]*  [90(105) sts]

R5 & 8: *p1, k3, p1*
R6: *p1, sl1-k2tog-psso, p1*  [54(63) sts]
R7: *p1,  [(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st]*  [90(105) sts]

R9 & 12: *k3, p2*  [90(105) sts]
R10: *sl1-k2tog-psso, p2*  [54(63) sts]
R11: *[(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st], p2*  [90(105) sts]

Repeat Rounds 1- 12 for approx 5-6 inches, ending with R4, 8 or 12.

Sea Scallop Border (11 sts x 4 rows)

K 1 round reducing sts evenly by 2(6) to 88(99)sts
*p2tog twice, (M1, k1) 3 times, M1, p2tog twice*
K1 round
Purl one round.

Decreasing the top
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k8* around
k1 round
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k7* around
k1 round
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k6* around
k1 round
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k5* around
k1 round
Changing to dpns or 2 circs when sts become too tight/few on the needle.
Continue in this pattern until you have 16(18) sts remaining. *k2tog* around.

Cut off 8 inches, putting thread on embroidery needle. Then gather the remaining stitches twice, tuck yarn to inside and knot off.  Add optional button or bead. Tuck in ends and enjoy.  ©  Susan Sarabasha 2014