Sunday, August 26, 2007

Finished: Hydrangea Lace Scarf

Pattern: "Hydrangea Lace Scarf" by Eugen Beugler
Colourmart 100% cashmere, 3/28 heavy laceweight
Color: Shagreen
$34 per 150 g cone
50 g
Needles: 3.5 mm
no clue
25 x 137 cm
Modifications: None
Difficulty: Easy

I love this scarf. It's perfect. The green is perfectly light and delicate, the pattern easy to memorize. The blocking required more time and pins than usual, because I wanted to get the edge right.

From my last dyeing experiment.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Asian people and Down Syndrome

I read a review of an article today on that really upset me; not the post, but the article. It's published in Medical Hypotheses, an academic journal by Elsevier, and the title is "Down subjects and Oriental population share several specific attitudes and characteristics" (if you want to read the whole article go to the badscience blog post unless you have a subscription for this journal or want to purchase the article separately).

What it's all about:


Down’s syndrome is characterized not only by a typical “habitus”, mental retardation of variable gravity and several alterations of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrenteric and immunitary system, but also by specific attitudes and characteristics that are in common with the Oriental population. Starting from the origin of the term mongolism, replaced with other terms such as Trisomy 21, Down’s syndrome, and anomaly of Down because of the racist use made in the last century, we propose, in the light of modern knowledge about the heredity of features, a reflection on those aspects and attitudes which highlight a very particular twinning between a Down person and Asiatic peoples.
Proof of this claim:

Down persons during waiting periods, when they get tired of standing up straight, crouch, squatting down, reminding us of the ‘‘squatting’’ position described by medical semeiotic which helps the venous return. They remain in this position for several minutes and only to rest themselves this position is the same taken by the Vietnamese, the Thai, the Cambodian, the Chinese, while they are waiting at a the bus stop, for instance, or while they are chatting.

Where the hell did these dimtwits get their observations? Marco Polo? These bumpkins probably never set a foot to Asia.

There is another pose taken by Down subjects while they are sitting on a chair: they sit with their legs crossed while they are eating, writing, watching TV, as the Oriental peoples do.

I very much doubt that this is something that is passed genetically, rather it seems like a cultural thing.

Another aspect of Down person that remind the Asiatic population, are alimentary characteristics. Down subjects adore having several dishes displayed on the table and have a propensity for food which is rich in monosodium glutamate (a salt of glutamate), such as parmigiano, beef broth, tinned food, etc. The Chinese food abounds in monosodium glutamate that seems to be responsible for the fifth taste or ‘‘umami taste’’

Parmigiano? You mean, the Parmesan cheese from Italy and that is found in abundance in dishes like spaghetti?

The tendencies of Down subjects to carry out recreative–reabilitative activities, such as embroidery, wicker-working ceramics, book-binding, etc., that is renowned, remind the Chinese hand-crafts, which need a notable ability, such as Chinese vases or the use of chop-sticks employed for eating by Asiatic populations.

I’d like to take my knitting needles now and shove them up someone’s no man’s land where it really hurts.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm dyeing yarn!

Inspired by Elemmaciltur's successful dyeing experience I decided that now was the time to finally give kettly dyeing a try. Why kettle dyeing? Because I've had an eye on the gorgeous yarn at for a while (I'm probably going to place an order there soon...). I've seen people knit really nice things with it, like here or here. It's multicolored yarn, but I like it. :)

I did basically the same as Elemmaciltur, except that I soaked the yarn for maybe an hour and not a day (I also used way way way less vinegar ;)). As I felt self-confident enough to have remembered everything necessary about the dyeing process I didn't bother to take one last look at the website before starting (great idea), so I didn't cook it for an hour, instead I just waited till I had added the last colors and the water was clear, then took the pot off the stove to let it cool. I also found a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water and to adjust the temperature of my colors to ensure that adding the colors would not cause a significant change of temperature in the water thereby causing the yarn to felt.

I made different mixtures with the red food coloring in various concentration. To get a darker red I added a bit of blue. The colors were a nice dark red/dark pink/light pink in the pot, but washing turned them all into various shades of lobster red. There are also many white spots where the dye didn't penetrate the masses of yarn.

It's a very very bright green... The funny thing is I just wasn't able mix a light green. I added three drops of blue food coloring to a cup with water and vinegar and one drop of yellow. Then I added many many more drops of yellow and it was still the same color (a very nice woodruff color, by the way). Anyway, as you can see, in the end the yarn turned a very bright yellowish green.

Yarn: 4-ply sock yarn by Wolle Rödel, 420 m/100 g
Color: white
Amount: 100 g

Yarn: Rheumawolle by Wolle Rödel, 280 m/50 g
Color: white
Amount: 50 g

I used sugarfree food coloring (I got told that it's important that the food colorings be sugarfree otherwise it won't work. I had once tried to dye yarn with something similar to Kool Aid, but it contained sugar and it didn't work out well. Probably also because I hadn't been aware then that I might have to set the color with vinegar.).

I would have prefered different colors, but these look ok, too. Next time I might try to get my hands on some dye for Easter eggs. I wonder if they still sell them at this time of the year.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

MS3 clue 1

I pinned it on the back of a pillow. Looks ok as far as now, no mistake noticed.

I found two little tin boxes to store some of the beads. Much better than tubes that tip over if you're not careful and more convenient than the little zip lock bags in which these beads arrived.

And when you open them, they look like little treasure chests. :D

Friday, August 10, 2007

Last details about Hanami Stole

Pattern: Hanami Stole by Melanie Gibbons (Pink Lemon Twist)
Yarn: Colourmart 100% cashmere, 3/28 heavy laceweight (by the way, if you have ever wondered what all these funny numbers like 2/28, 3/28, 1/18, etc. mean, they tell you how many plies your yarn has, first number, and how thick it is, second number. For more information go here)
Color: Rumour
Price: $34 per 150 g cone
Amount: probably 120 g, because I have 30 g left and this was a 150 g cone
Needles: 3 mm, but 3,5 mm would also work out
Gauge: it seems my swatch had 28 stitches x 40 rows/10 cm
Dimensions: 45 cm wide and 168 cm long
Modifications: I cast on more stitches, 113, because my gauge was different. As I didn't want my stole to become so holey, I left out the last two charts. I somehow had to make up for the missing length and I wanted to have a slower transition between the basket weave lace pattern and the blossom pattern anyway, so I inserted a somewhat longer stockinette section (two charts long) between the two pattern sections. And I thought less holes would make the stole a bit warmer, too. My stole was still too short though, so I took the first blossom chart and doubled the number of rows between the holes till this part was two charts long. After that I just followed the pattern. The last thing I did was made the ruffle at the end a bit more, uhm, how do you say, "ruffly"? Instead of one row of kfb I did two. And I added beads every four stitches when binding off the ruffle. I felt like having something a bit more girly and sassy, therefore more ruffles. :)

That's how the stole looks worn (I wonder when I will have the opportunity to wear a stole?! And I'm already working on my next one. :D). The yarn becomes incredibly soft and fluffy after washing. It does not smell good when you buy it, because it still has spinning oil on it, but I think it's worth it (and it added some polish to my wood needles :D).

Finally - casting on for MS3 stole!

I thought I would never start this stole. First I didn't know what yarn to chose, given that Melanie said the best choice would be black or white. Personally I found it difficult to find laceweight yarn in these colours. Eventually I chose Zephyr wool-silk in "Pewter" which is the nicest light grey that you can probably find. I really like this color. :) Then I had trouble finding the right beads. I wanted the same glass beads that I had used for the Hanami Stole, but I didn't have enough for this stole. I finally found some on the internet (the shops here only carried acrylic beads or they were too big, too small, not the right color, not the right shape), but it took another couple of weeks till they arrived. As I have already said I initially wanted the same transparent glass beads as I had used previously, but in the end I settled on matt black beads that I purchased with the other ones. I'm knitting the stole with my new ebony needles (I've totally spoiled myself recently :D I got a couple of Holz & Stein knitting needles, 350 g of really nice glass beads, Alpaca Drops yarn in a beautiful raspberry color for knitting the Wine and Roses Mitts and a small blanket for me and a new bike (I didn't have a bike for maybe more than 8 years)) and I found that the matt black of the needles and the silver of the yarn were a good combination. The black beads make the stole look a tad more interesting. I'll show pictures later.

And last but not least, a website I found recently: Knitting Delight. There are some awesome shawl patterns there. I really like Sternblume, Moonflower, Spiderlady and Numero 13. Unfortunately the pictures are all in black and white, while some might consider this chic and classic, it appears a bit dull to me (also the quality of the pictures could be a bit better), nevertheless, it's still obvious that these shawls are very pretty.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cast-on for Hydrangea Lace Scarf

Pattern by Eugen Beugler. Available at Fibertrends. I'm using Colourmart 3/28 100% cashmere in "Shagreen".

By the way, I just saw that this beautiful wrap cardigan with kimono sleeves by Sweaterbabe is sold at half the price throughout August. And yes, it's all mine already. :D


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