Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lovely Little Loki

OMB, I am just rockin' out on my Little Loki scarf.

 Bead Segment 1 is complete, I've started up on my mesh. The mesh is the middle of the scarf; basically it's the length of the scarf.

 There's a close up of my mesh. It's a fairly easy pattern, but I'm paranoid about messing up. So, yes, that's two rescue lines you see in the stitches. I don't want to have to burn my Little Loki for inattention -- not that I didn't completely enjoy the act of beading (although there might be some sort of muscle strain in the wrist inherent in the act of sliding beads down the flosser and onto the stitch), but I don't want to have to redo that segment. I love that segment. It's beauty incarnate. Taking it out and redoing it would be like scraping the Mona Lisa down and repainting her on the same canvas. Vulgarity.

The other bead segment will be every bit as beautiful, I'm certain.

Here's a close up of the part of the bead section you didn't get to see in my previous pictures:

It will be asymmetrical, the beading. The pattern on the other end is almost a mirror image, although the straight row sections are different.

I am conflicted about the matchy-matchy thing, you know. It's like rhyming iambic pentameter, take it too far and you could serve apples with the cheese. A part of my mind is eased by symmetry and equality between parts, part of me is just as soothed by asymmetry -- and sometimes, it's the very same parts. The conflict makes for some interesting breakfast conversations, I can assure you, but there is a middle ground. Well-reasoned asymmetry. I believe I have found it in this project and am greatly pleased with myself.

If it weren't for my remaining flaws, I would be impossible to live with, with this massive wave of self-satisfaction.

Still and all, can't wait for tomorrow. I shall have some prime daylight knitting hours to work on Little Loki. More inches of mesh, will the thrills never end. But every little bit gets me closer to the casting off, blocking and wearing!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm Sorry, I Can't Hear You...

over the sound of my awesome.

By the gods, that's some brilliant beadwork! If I do say so myself. ;-)

Yes, I'm proud. For a first beading project, it's looking almost exactly like I wanted it to look. I'm pretty stoked. But I'm sure you didn't notice that at all.

I'm spending today getting the scarf through the first half of the beading section (there will be another, at the other end of the thing) and maybe getting started on the mesh middle bit. It's hot, I'm dehydrated and I don't feel like writing today. So if I'm going to bunk off, I'll darn well bunk off on something I desperately want and need to get done -- like this, and then maybe some more of my homework that I've been putting off for a while. I've been working through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way with a group on Ravelry, and we're up to Week 7. I got sidetracked when Week 5 started (that was the week I came back from vacation), so I did the last two weeks sort of half-tock'ed. I'm trying to get my stuff together for this week, though. I'm just past the half-way mark and I so want to see it through.

Plus, the little furry intruder is coming back for another holiday. Apparently, her housemates are wearing down her nerves so she needs a trip to our house to recoup. And her human mommy's human children are coming for a visit and need the space she normally uses for decompression.

Yes, I've hidden the good knives already.

In the spirit of clearing the decks and catching myself up, I should note I forgot to post a picture of this a while back:
Mom's Tess Shawl. The perspective's a bit wonky because of how it was laid down on the couch to photograph, but it's triangular. I finished it while I was on vacation the first full week of July.

I even did a crochet bind-off (picot edging.) I am so boss.

My awesome, it roars!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Wee Loki

I'll call it Little Loki, properly. I've plotted and planned and gotten extra dental equipment and finally it's underway:

 This is the very, very beginning of the first beaded section. There are somewhere north of 75 rows of beading to begin, followed by several feet of lattice lace, then another 75 to 80 rows of beads and selvage at the other end. I'm debating some type of fringe. I don't know, though. It may not suit.

The project has begun through the kind support of these:

 It's a flosser. One of these flossers:

I don't mind giving Oral B a shout out; they keep my teeth clean (so far as that goes). I've never had braces or bridgework, but I can honestly say these Superflossers are da bomb when it comes to beading knitting. These work way better than the other ones I got.

I'm still in some small pain from the stress of knitting on a black and green scarf past dark (why don't I ever think these things through?!?! Granted, it was required by the inspiration, but I'm going to be knitting on this thing for ages and ages -- those are US 5 needles in the middle of that sock yarn -- but if I could have chosen a different conflicted comic book villain, maybe someone whose colors are...oh, I don't know, off-white and bright blue? Yellow and spring greens? I'd be happier).

I'll get over it, I'm sure.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Another one comes home.

I got something yesterday, again in a gift bag.

 I'm developing a complex about gift bags.

The nice people at my vet's office made me a gift to go along with the tin:
 An imprint of his massive, almost people-like paw. With two hearts and his name pressed into it, too. It's sweet and a little bit creepy all at the same time.

But just look at the size of that paw, people!
My thumb fits in the center pad and I've got ginormo-man-hands. I mean, I knew he was big, but if I'd known how big I might have been more cautious around him. He always seemed so contained. A little furry Max Cady in my home.

Anyway, I went shopping today and got something to help with the Little Loki:
Dental floss threaders. I can bead away to my heart's content. I know, I know, they're the wrong sort of threaders for beading, but I can make do for now. Until I can get back to the drug store and find the other sort, which won't be until tomorrow or later.

I have had a hard day -- which is odd, since I've not done as much as I'd planned, but the past few weeks have been very difficult for me so just about anything I do seems to take so much effort. I think I will pour myself a glass of hydrating fluids (no wine for me tonight, alas) and then I'm going to get a start on Little Loki. I've finished the last of the first three seasons of Supernatural on DVD which my friend loaned me when I visited her (addiction, I so haz it), so I haven't got anything to watch -- unless I want to re-watch my favorite episodes. In true 'me' fashion, I am a Trickster addict, and I've got all but his last (SOB!!!) appearance in the pile on top of my television. Hmmm. Knitting on a scarf dedicated to a trickster god while watching The Trickster kill Dean over and over and over.... Sounds fitting.

Oh, and for the record? Despite the whole Trickster fetish, I am totally a Dean girl. Not that I'd kick Sam out of bed for eating cookies and not sharing them, that b*stard, but one gets the feeling that Dean has slightly more imagination in the ways that count to a groupie, you know? Very Alpha, slightly aggro, but probably lots of fun over a long weekend.

I don't know as I'd keep him in my house for long, though. It'd be like having a large, muddy, hyper dog. With a gun collection to make the US army cry with envy. Hmmm, maybe not so much with the Dean girl thing.

Ok, ok, ok. He can come over, but he has to leave that duffle bag in the car. House rules.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This is how the big boys do business, kiddies.

I'm only slightly bitter over this bead issue, sorry. I had control over the design process, yes, so the under-buying of beads was my own fault, but honestly. The lack of business acumen shown by the bead shops around here.... It's disturbing.

I had it pointed out to me that maybe the bead stores I contacted had minimum order requirements. All well and good, but.... They sell Miyuki beads. Like, as part of their regular stock. They've got a minimum order amount just in doing business, I'd think. Two or three extra tubes of smokey pewter shouldn't be that big a deal. If it is, the beading business is harsher than I thought. Or the market for Miyuki isn't as hopping as everyone tells me it is and they don't rotate their stock all that often. One or the other.

Anyway. Moving on. Success!

This, oh my children, is a 24 gram tube of Czech glass beads in metallic silver. Big Box Store (aka, Joann's, I have to give them credit for this one) is having a sale on bead supplies -- buy two, get one free! So I got:

Six for the price of four, which wasn't all that hazardous in a financial sense, really. I mean, I got these six tubes and a pull chain for my ceiling fan for the same amount I got the two tubes of Miyuki at a proper bead store.

Now, I'm not disparaging all bead stores. The original store I bought my beads at (Viking Fiber and Beads in Dayton, Ohio -- they had a name change, don't worry, that's the right link) was fabulous. They let me browse to my heart's content without pestering but still offered help when I looked up and did my lost puppy/shopper face. It's not their fault I did this backwards and have never designed with beads before. They also offered to order more of the same bead for me, if needed. Also not their fault they're two hundred miles away from my home, give or take, making their offer impractical to say the least. If I lived any closer, I would take them up on it.

Anyway, if you want my maths here, I figure I've got six 24 gram tubes of size 6/0 Czech glass seed beads. Considering glass seed beads of that size come in at 12 beads per gram, I've got 1,728 beads here, give or take. Which is more than double what I need for my project.


Oh, I should be precise and note:
I've actually got 1,727 silver beads and one blue bead. I suppose it's a bonus with every sixth tube or something.

At least now I can get working on my scarf. I've got it mapped out at 3" wide, which is my standard scarf width (I like them narrow -- that way they don't bunch up around my neck; I'm weird about things touching my neck), but it will probably stretch to closer to 4". Que sera, sera. I'll get over it.

Wish me luck.

And, by the bye, does anyone need two tubes of Miyuki 6/0 Duracoat Galvanized Smokey Pewter seed beads?
(Side note: I posted the Miyukis on Ravelry and had a buyer within an hour. God bless the Ravelers.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

I seriously hate beads.

I hate beads.

I've been working on my pattern for the Little Loki scarf:

Look at that. Look at that beautiful graphing, the straight lines of beading.

Then I counted the number of beads I would need. 772. Gah.

See, I went to visit my friend out of state two weeks ago, right around when everything went pear shaped (I won't go into it here, suffice to say Elvis was the last in a series of really bad incidents.) I found the perfect beads for my project there, Miyuki 6/0 Galvanized Duracoat seed beads in light smokey pewter color. See:

They're perfect. Perfect I tell you. But I bought them before I plotted out my scarf, before I came up with the finished pattern. How many Miyuki beads has Surly Knitter got? 480. At best. Bloody hell.

And how many shops in Surly Knitter's town do you think carry Miyuki 6/0 Duracoat Galvanized Smokey Pewter seed beads? NONE. And how many of the five shops she called do you think offered to order them? NONE.

That's right; of the five one didn't carry Miyuki at all, so I can hardly blame them, but the other four knew I wanted that color of that style of that size bead. They have relationships with the vendors. And none of them offered to get me more. I had no idea the bead business was so good at the moment they can just toss paying business out the window like that. And the only on-line store I've found thus far that carries them requires a $25 minimum order. Sucksucksucksuck.

Oh, well. I guess I can try to find some other 6/0 metal seed bead, somewhere. Then I've got $17 of Miyuki seed beads to offload. Maybe someone on Ravelry will want them.

I wonder what other type of bead I can find....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Elvis, July 15, 2002-July 11, 2011

Elvis, the iconic cat of Surly Knitter, has passed away today. Not quite 9.

He'd had asthma for a few years now, and I knew he wouldn't last the full spread of years given to most cats, but I always expected he'd live a bit longer that this. He died at home, and I do feel guilty about it. I believe, based on the position of his body and the fact that Yoda, his brother, was untraumatized, that his heart just...gave out. So some comfort, that he didn't drown in his own fluids. It was quick. I hope.

Elvis was a valiant cat. His hatred of veterinarians never abated, leading to not one, not two, but three Red Spots of Evil being affixed to his record. They never bothered save once, in the last three years, to try and examine him conscious. They just gassed him insensible and handled him that way. Oddly, I'm vaguely proud of that. He never, ever, ever lost his fighting spirit.

And it was a fighting spirit indeed. He never seemed to like me much unless I had a cup of food or a brush in my hands, but I will miss him. I will keep him as the face of Surly Knitter. Moreso than anyone or anything else I know, he embodied the true sense of the word 'individual' -- no one, but no one told him who to be. He told us all who he was and we just had to put up with it. In the past few months he had taken to getting up on my bed in the mornings, purring and making biscuits on my feet, allowing me to pet him. I hope that means he was happier there, toward the end. I hope I made his life a little bit...well, if not completely happy with sunshine and buttercups, at least a little better.

I love him and will miss him. He's left a chunky, cranky, wheezy, slightly sweet hole in my heart. I've already lost one big piece this year, I'm hoping no more pot shots get taken anytime soon.