Sunday, June 03, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The word "user" is used by the computer professional when they mean "idiot."--Dave Barry

The whole key to writing successful user manuals is targeting the material to those who may or may not understand the concept of the electrical plug and the "On" button.

Long week of inserting edited text into .xml code. For those of you who know, I need not say more.

For those of you who don't, the proper analogy would be forced knitting of 200 yards of stockinette. In laceweight on size 000s. With my glasses off.

I feel like Lili von Shtupp. Tired. But if ever there were a role I was born to play, it's Lili. With the exception of the thousands of men, again and again.

Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Codeheads
A break was needed from IT BS. I decided last week that it was too hot to work on the Lavold, with just one sleeve left to go. So I put that aside and started Celeste's Campanula lace jacket from this issue of Knitter's, in the Rowan Cotton Glace that I had bought for the Ophelia pullover in the last Rowan mag.

I have been of a mind that pullovers really do make me look excessively tit-o-licious, so I'm rather into jackets and cardis these days. And this has been a very satisfying knit, I must say. Celeste, you've outdone yourself. Bravo for the fitted sleeves.

I will say that given the weight of the Cotton Glace, which is borderline fingering and probably a bit closer to DK, that this is a relatively hefty piece of work. Nonetheless, it's doable. I have not knitted with cotton in a number of years and this is exceptionally nice yarn.

As far as the ties for the front are concerned, I may work my way around that, simply because as someone mentioned, ties are "fiddly." Indeed. I'll keep the ties on the sleeves, though, because they're relatively unobtrusive.

Spinnin' Thin
OK, so I finally got my plyed BBF alpaca on the winder. This first batch was 319 yds. and I'm not done yet, by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm happy with it.

I did promise to write about my thoughts re: spinning thin. So here they are:
  • Use a fiber that lends itself to fine spinning: merino, silk, alpaca. Any of these three blended work a treat. See my piece on spinning merino in the sidebar for more information on that fiber.
  • Use a short/worsted draw. Better control.
  • The thinner you spin, the more magnified any drafting inconsistencies become. And don't think that plying will hide them. The size of the inconsistency will determine whether or not it will disappear in the plying. So it had better be tiny.
  • You do not have to use a special high-speed whorl, for which you pay extra, to spin laceweight. Use the highest ratio you have. You may have to treadle somewhat faster but not that much.
  • Keep tension to a minimum. Have just enough so that the single winds onto the bobbin easily.
  • Remember that the most minute amount of fiber will stay together if it has enough twist.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Put on the high-ratio whorl. Begin spinning as you normally would, and then immediately start introducing less and less fiber into the twist. Adjust your treadling accordingly. You will find at first that you are probably not putting enough twist into the fiber and it will drift apart. At least, that's what happened to me. Too much twist and the single will snap, like a balloon popping. Surprise.
Using a spinning wheel is much akin to driving a car. Use your treadling, not your tension, to help control your single, as you would when you drive and use the brake/gas. If you run into drafting trouble, slow the fuck down! Or stop, remove the drafting mess you probably made and start again.

And don't put the death grip on the fiber. Your hand is there only to support and guide it lightly and if you clamp down on it, you not only won't draft smoothly but you will make a nasty fibrous blob.

Much of the above info applies to spinning in general. It's always a case of your control over the equipment, not vicey versy.

One of the things that absolutely amazes me is the amount of horrible spinning that people are doing and then having the nerve to sell online for $30+ a skein as "novelty" yarn. Well, in fact, who would know if they were trying to spin thick-and-thin on purpose or just flogging their badly spun wares to the uneducated public?

Since there's a plethora of crappy handspun out there that is labeled "novelty" yarn, my guess is that it's the latter, rather than the former.

Have a Nice Cup of STFU
One of the things that I do in my job is to create Flash tutorials, using Camtasia. Of course, it's not all that exciting, recording the fucking cursor go here, there, and everywhere on the application that my company produces; however, it did give me the idea to do some audio for the blog at some point.

I'm not talking about podcasting. I don't want to be bothered with that. However, I rather thought it would be fun at some point to do the blog as an audio file, rather than a typed one. Just a thought. I promise I will say "cawfee" at least once.

Summer Sluggishness
There's nothing more relaxing than sitting on the deck, knitting amidst my geraniums. I love them and I have the full sun all day for them, too.

Of course, when the Punk Princess and her jabbering girlfriends hit the pool, the serenity comes to a shrieking halt. Fortunately, all the friends also have pools, so yesterday, they made like Burt Lancaster in "The Swimmer" and did the tour.

It must be great to be almost 15, have the whole summer ahead of you, and be able to look good in a bikini. I remember those days, 42 years ago, when I went to Montclair Beach Club with my friends and lay out tanning (no sunscreen, of course), with the jukebox in the snack bar blasting "Help Me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys, which was #1 today on June 3, 1965.

Even at 57, summer is a rare and handy time of year.

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