22 August 2008

Lambswool yarn

Last weekend was very hot by Seattle standards, so naturally, I bought a sweater. J. Crew, men's XL, 100% lambswool.

I found this amazing sweater while at Goodwill with Matt, seeking crafting materials. This time it was... knitting materials! Form of: a sweater from which yarn can be recycled!

The best part about the sweater, other than the overall good quality and minimal wear, was...

...the seams! Perfect for RIPPING OUT. There was not a single serged seam. For information about why serged seams are no good, please read here or here. I found those websites useful in showing me The Way. (cue music: Clay Aiken's "The Way")

This week, I have been living in a yarn factory. I rip out yarn, organize it all over the floor and couch, wind it around the backs of chairs, tie it up so it doesn't tangle, soak it in the sink, hang it in the shower to dry and straighten out, dry it further on a rack by the window, do some math to figure out yardage, twist it into skeins, etc. So much wool to work on! Yesterday I was finally able to consolidate it all in one place to take this picture:

So that shows the current state of the sweater. All that is left of it is the entire back, seen here folded in half under everything else. On top are some assorted pieces to be joined together, and - my pride and joy - skeins totaling 970+ yards of wool.

Later I will tackle that back piece that is still intact. I wonder how many hundreds of yards I will get out of that? Oh yeah, did I mention this sweater was half off at Goodwill, so it was maybe two bucks? Two bucks for this much wool yarn... you will find such a deal NOWHERE ELSE.

I should note that the reason I am suddenly interested in working with wool is that I want to make some items for the Afghans For Afghans humanitarian effort. Maybe some baby and childrens' socks, hats, mittens, etc. They only accept wool due to the challenges of the climate where the items will be sent.

EDIT: I almost forgot! Last weekend my mom gave me another sweater to recycle. This was an alpaca hand-knit cabled sweater from somewhere in South America, and she bought it decades ago at a boutique in Tokyo. When I was a child, she purposefully washed it in hot water to shrink it down to my size. Now I am big, and the sweater remained small, so it was just sitting in a drawer for years. The sweater is shrunken, but not felted together, so there's life left in that yarn yet. First thing I'll make is a winter hat for mom, the yarn seems to be handspun so it has interesting texture.

I'm learning a lot about sweater construction from taking these apart. Here's a picture of a sleeve, filetted open.

After being wound in a ball, the yarn behaves itself despite it's crimpedness, so I probably won't soak or straighten this out, I'll just wind it up and use it right away.

16 August 2008


Last weekend I had the pleasure of dog-sitting for Aubrey's mom's three dogs while she was out of town. It was a lot of fun, and I was glad to be back in Seattle proper for a bit.

My new friends are Hazel, Piper and Scout the puppy.

We had an excellent time! We chased tennis balls...

And chewed on our feet...

And dragged slobbery squeaky toys into my bed and squeaked them suddenly and unexpectedly as I slept...

OK, so those things were mostly the dogs' doing. But here is an activity I was definitely involved in: Peeing a LAKE on the floor right before bedtime. Technically, the actual peeing was done by a dog (I never did figure out who), but I was definitely involved as I cleaned it up, and as I was navigating around it in the dark of midnight because the POWER WENT OUT.

But seriously, the activity I was most involved in? A little thing called FRIENDSHIP. Here's how you do it!

Aww. I'm glad we got to keep each other company this weekend. More pictures here!

01 August 2008

Visual aides

To get a pretty fair idea of what my time in Idaho was like, please listen to Sugar Hill Gang's Apache while watching the following:

Marcus gets down:


I was sad to leave Marcus and Stu yesterday after I had such a good time visiting them. I rode Greyhound from Idaho on my way back home, and before I left, I joked around with them about being murdered by a drifter while traveling. Haha! It was funny then, but um... kind of less so now, based on this recent incident in Canada: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/01/canada
"We heard this blood-curdling scream and turned around, and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy sitting next to him repeatedly, like 40 or 50 times," passenger Garnet Caton told the Canadian press.
The severed head of the victim, described as in his 20s, was then displayed to the stunned passengers.
Holy CRAP. I'm glad the only frightening person I encountered was a guy with a swastika tattooed on his arm, who was openly discussing his criminal record. His other tattoos included a shotgun, and other stuff I couldn't make out because I was really, really busy minding my own business.