Monday, May 25, 2009

I am not a sock-knitter. Right?

Then why is it when I find myself in need for some quick and portable project I turn to socks? My friend Jenny said she'd seen me knitting socks more than anything else. OK, that might be because I tend to keep the more complicated stuff for home, but still... Yes definitely socks are not the only things I knit. In fact I really love knitting tops, and sweaters the most, and I do not understand those who only knit socks and nothing else...

Anyway, here is the latest finished socks. White cables:

They were kind of inspired by the Tyrolean socks from IK, but these are my usual toe up construction and I improvised the cables as I went along. The yarn is some sock-yarn from the second hand shop.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Big declutter update

I was kind of loosing hope to have my place in some kind of order before summer, especially having my Son's room ready for his birthday. Especially because I planned to take off a few days but could not because they called me in to translate in a workshop, which is great for work, not so much for the declutter. But my dad probably felt my desperation and decided to pitch in. I was contemplating before he and his wife came that this could be a two edged sword. My dad is a man with strong ideas and he tends to jump into things make a mess and leave me to clean up the results. If I am not careful i might end up with son’s room empty, but everything else is either heaped in the middle of the living room, or stuffed into the small room with no hope making order of it ever again… A carload worth of stuff of my ex is in the “small room” (which needs to be emptied in order to be able to take stuff out of sons room), now I have to move them somewhere so I could get close to what needs to get close. My dad’s wife is an anticlutterer. You know the type who wouldn’t let my dad buy a pair of jeans until he throws an old pair out. She hates clutter and likes to be in empty spaces. She will keep commenting how I have too much stuff,(books, yarn, clothes whatever) and will try to make me throw out some… She will also have her ideas how my place should be arranged…duh.
On the other hand the two of them might be able to push me over the edge with this whole thing, and if I could manage to make them do what I want, not what they think I should…At the end, though some of my fears came through (I do have a ton of stuff in the middle of the living room) lots of things were achieved.Things are far from finished, the following pictures only show the before and the current situation, not the finished.So here is Christopher's room before:

And now. The carpet still needs a good vacuum and cleaning (umm what it really would need is a change). There will be some shelves put there...

And if you remember, the small room (that will be my craft room) looked like this in February:

The historic moment of the famous salgo (industrial steel shelving) taken apart.

The also historic moment of taking the pieces of the big cabinet that fits to up to the ceiling out of different places of the flat and put into one wall for storage:

The first of the sewing machines taken out of Christopher's room and put into the would be craft room:

And just a reminder what was left by my dad for me to deal with... all the stuff in the living room:

Now, if I could find someone to ship P.' stuff soon...

P.S.: Spell check doesn't works from here... who knows why, so you just have to live with my typos for a couple of days.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

PayPal Fraud

Yesterday I recieved this email:
Dear Member,As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. We recently contacted you after noticing an issue on your account. We requested information from you for the following reason:We have observed activity in this account that is unusual or potentially high risk.We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure account safety. Click here to resolve the problem.In accordance with PayPal's User Agreement, your account access will remain limited until the issue has been resolved. Unfortunately, if access to your account remains limited for an extended period of time, it may result in further limitations or eventual account closure. We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience.Email ID PP629 YNJDIGOYIRVUUXGVPTPOZVCRFVMLMYGCVPIRFZ

I did clicked the link, but the site was suspicious, as nohing else I should be able to clicked worked except the window to put my password in... Working in a customer center I've seen a couple of fraud cases, so I contacted paypal.
Their answer came fast:
Thank you for contacting PayPal.Mrs. Vég, upon reading your email I can confirm you that the email was not from us as your PayPal account is in good standing and we did not place anylimitations on it. Please forward it to and then delete the email from your mailbox. Never click any links or attachments in a suspicious email. If you've entered any of your details or replied to the email with personalor financial details, please log in to your PayPal account and change your password and security questions as soon as you can. You may also wish to contact your bank or credit card issuer to report the information as stolen. I'd also suggest that you take a look at the latest transactions inyour PayPal account. Here's what you need to do to see your transactions:1. Log into your PayPal account at 2. Click on 'All activity' in the Overview page. 3. Select the dates and click 'Search' to view. 4. Click 'Details' to view specific information concerning this transaction. If there's a transaction which seems to be wrong (for example if there is one that you do not recognise) or you cannot log in to your PayPal account,you should tell us as soon as possible. You can click the 'Security Centre'link at the bottom of any PayPal webpage and select Select an unauthorised transaction claim' in the 'Report a Problem' column. Please fill in the form to file a claim for unauthorised use of a PayPal account.Please let me know if you need further assistance.Sincerely,

Whew. It seems I am not a suspicious idiot after all. Nor am I a fool (as P likes to think).
I guess I did saved myself some trouble.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The compliment of the week

We have this huge three week long workshop where some contracted vendors also take part. They have this "assistant" lady, who came up to me and said:
"You know, I've been watching you the last week, and you wear the most beautiful sweaters and shawls... would you tell me where do you get them, because I would love to get things like that..."
When I told her that I knitted them myself her face fell open in disbelieve.
"Oh, but the knitting is so even, and they are so special and fit you so well..."
"Well, you know that is the advantage of handmade things..."

I have to tell ya, it felt so good...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You knew the day would come

When knitting just wouldn't be enough... I've been thinking for a while about dyeing and spinning...
The whole thing started when in the already famous second shop had some phildar wool and silk yarn. Even if the color was absolutely eeeek (see the top middle sample below), I just couldn't leave it there now, could I??? But the color was really awful (at least for me). So I thought what if i overdye it? I heard about Kool Aid dying. Now, one again there is something that is not available here, but there are different drink-powders (tasting equally awful-LOL), so I tried the one called Bolero. I tested two colors, "red grape" and "mandarine". You can see the results of the test here. In the top row there are the original strands a 70%-30% natural colored sock-yarn, the wool silk mix, and a natural pure wool. The last gave the most saturated colors, but I really love how the silk-wool got a bit of rusty shade (maybe because I started with colored yarn), which is so very "me":

And then the next adventure... this was in my mail last Friday:

Yes, I cave in and got a drop-spindle and some wool... And then the next day on the "Fair of the Museums"I found a man who sold roughly spun and dyed yarn and also some wool. Some of it was bought by someone who felts, but he also had balls of Australian merino rowing. It only reinforced me, that indeed I should try spinning.

Yes that is dark orange and dark red wool is in the background. And guess what? This merino I bought for... much less than the one that came with the spindle is, just so soft, much softer than the other one.

Interestingly enough Christopher got very interested, and wouldn't let me alone until I try and show him how it is done (yeah, I wish I would know, how to do it... well, these kids think we know everything right?, I couldn't shake his beliefs in his mommy, could I?). So here is my very first try:

Then my second:

Yes I know... It is so uneven, and way overtwisted. I have a very long way to learn, and it is difficult because I can't just go and have someone to teach me...

And just to have some success I tried plying. I had this very thin yarn (again from the thrift store), which in itself was too thin even for lace. I've been thinking I could use it better if it would be plied, and the spindle was just perfect

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quick remedie

By now it is not a secret that I was struggling with knitting in the last few months... not a finished object since the tangled yoke...So much I was thinking OMG what will I do with all this yarn if I have to stop knitting because I just can't do it anymore...
I keep on knitting, but also keep frogging and starting "something else" ... I just needed something simple and quick to finish and reinforce my belief in the fact that I can still knit and finish something...
I also keep saying that I am not a sock knitter, but where did I turned when I needed a quick fix? To my huge bin of sock yarn where I keep the treasures from the second hand/thrift store I mentioned earlier...

It is toe up, short row toes and heels. On the foot stockinette at the sole, ribbing on the upper part, on the leg part two by two ribbing. The cuff is intentionally so short (to wear with summer sneakers) and down-turned.

It was interesting to see how the colors pooled and made up gently swirling stripes...

It is so simple this is what I do when I just want to knit some socks...I've been asked to write up the "pattern", and I might do that one of these days...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

From under the counter

Back in the socialist times, merchandise was just not as readily available as these days. Many things that an american (or even someone living in Western Europe) wouldn't think twice was elusive as the holy grail. Some things you could get at a certain times of a year, I still remember standing in line just before Christmas for bananas or oranges. (Imagine my bewilderment when getting to Miami in the early nineties, I could have many types of bananas any time of the year.)
Of course when trying to acquire things like bricks or socks, or the soap brand FA it always helped if you had the right connections. Having a sister in law in the import company, or a childhood friend in the management of a building supply company was a great advantage. The envy of our class was the girl whose father was a manager of the central supermarket of the city. She had unlimited access to the small sweets called PEZ and the lovely smelling Creme21 soap.

Anyway I was thinking of that because lately...
One of my pet peeves is the unavailability of the good yarns here. Even if there is some in the stores like BURDA that is limited to one or two type of superwash wool and a couple of color cotton. If I want to felt, there is just no way to get feltable wool (unless one is comfortable to order through the net-but then you had to take a chance it getting lost in the mail. It happened to me not once, though I have to admit it is getting better).
A few years ago some of the second hand/thrift stores sold leftover yarns, but even those disappeared except in one or two stores. One of which has a lovely lady for an owner and I managed to became rather friendly with. Though it is not very far away it does fell out of my way. I don't really remember what possessed me to stop by (maybe it was when we held our knitting meetings a couple of corners away).
Firs I only found bits of stuff I liked. Two half skein of sock yarn that could be combined... a lovely light blue tweed that was enough for a mitten/glove. Four skein of a rust colored mohair wool combo. Then some skeins of feltable wool that can be made into a felted clog. Then the famous find of Rowan which became the Tangled Yoke cardigan.
The lady always admired the handknitted stuff I wear, and started to put away things for me like this bunch of Junghans Wolle 100% wool. It is the same wool in a few shades. Obviously it was bought for some specific pattern (I wish I would know which). I still have to figure out what to make from it:

Or this orange one, which is perfect for the wrap sweater I was planning for ages. It is giving me hell now, but that is an other story, and not the fault of the yarn):

And lately things become crazy... Here is just some examples she found (and put away for me):
Just when I hit the red craze for this summer (I bought a red skirt, a pair of red linen pants, and a pair of red shoes) here comes about 500 grams of red cotton:

A gorgeously soft blend of kid mohair and cotton in one of my favourite color. The only trouble that all together there is about 300 meters in this 80 grams. What would it be enough for?

A collection of cotton ribbon yarn in what we call "Benetton green" and light and dark blue. Probably a top down raglan for the summer with stripes at the sleeves and the hem. What do you think?

Or this ball of... I have no idea. It has several strands in different color, natular paprika, blue, most probably form cotton, linen and the like. 200 grams of it. Maybe a summer bag?

Some Junghans Wolle Wool and silk blend. I am thinking of slinky ribs.

Lace weight yarn form one of the norther countries. There is a line on the band: "Under the protektion of Hendes Majestaet Dronning Ingrid". Which country that is (forgive me my ignorance in this matter)? The yarns are lace weight, maybe slightly thicker. Should this become some fair isle west? Or left each color to its own and have them to become lace shawls?

Four skeins of a lovely tweedish heathery teal blue mixture of wool and rayon. A west for winter?

About 700 grams pure wool. What about the Silver Belle I wanted to make for so long?

And what about this olive(?) green yarn? The same wool-rayon mix as the teal one, but this is enough for a fitted sweater of some kind (450 grams). An other tangled yoke? The owl sweater? Or the sunrise circle?

Oh, help me!!! Decisions decision's, decisions... Not to mention that there is so many yarns and so little time to knit. (and I haven't even took a picture form all the lovely white and blue cottons she kept for me...)

Edited to add: Sorry for all the typos here, but I just cannot make the spellcheck work on this post...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bad blogger

It happens to the best of the bloggers, even more so to the rest of us... Every time I think I can post more regularly I just loose the thread...
No, this time nothing particular happened, in fact if we don't count the general uncertainties at work things are looking up as I get more and more task I like to do, and can do rather well (translations, interpretations).
Nothing new on the knitting front either, I really need to finish some of my current projects so I could start something new...
One of the Yarn Harlot's posts made me think what strange creatures knitters are. We rejoice at some of the strangest incidences (that would annoy the heck out of others). Hours of waiting in a dr's office? Hurray, knitting time!!! A train trip taking hours? Oh good, I will knit! Stuck in the metro? I hope I didn't forget to put my knitting in my bag! I can't move around without pain? At least I can knit without feeling guilty!
On the other hand even though I swore I will not do it I find myself wondering more and more about spinning. I mean I just don't need a new craft do I? I mean I am already very annoyed the unavailability of the better yarns in this god forsaken country, imagine what would I be able to find in terms of fibre, rowing. Absolutely nothing. Or some VERY raw wool just cut off the sheep if I am lucky... YUCK. I am not afraid of an other appliance, because I can imagine using the simpler, portable method (spindle) and I do have a spinning wheel in shambles down in the country house if the urge really would hit me. BUT... and other BUT is here. My knitting time is already severely limited, what would happen to it if I take up spinning???
All the same, I keep looking on E-bay at this and this or this... Not that I could by any of them... my yarn budget is limited, and diminishing fast...