Friday, November 17, 2017

Thoughts on Holiday Knitting

I guess this is starting to turn into a knitting blog, but I was thinking today on how people like to malign knitters especially on TV.  In particular I am thinking of an episode of Big Bang Theory where Leonard has to wear this red sweater someone knit for him, which is aggravating to his skin.  To begin with the sweater was a little at odds with itself.  It had Lenny clumsily embroidered across the chest, but at the same time the sweater was skillfully made (although clearly a poor fiber choice).  For example the sleeves were not different lengths.  The show did not go into this directly but Leonard has asthma.  I think maybe I heard this at work, but people with asthma tend to have other allergy problems as well.  My Dad has asthma, and he tends to not do well with scented laundry detergent, or some animal hair.  When I was first learning to knit I made him an alpaca scarf.  I had read that alpaca tended to be less aggravating than sheeps wool for some people.  No such luck though that scarf leaves my Dad's neck red and horribly itchy.  So I figured I would just stick to acryllic for him, so I knit him a scarf out of bulky acryllic (thick yarn).  Now the difference between Leonard and my Dad is that Leonard lives where it is warm and sunny and my Dad lives in WI where it can easily hit -30.  A couple years ago we were having polar vortex stuff that was pushing the temps even lower.  Dad broke out the alpaca scarf and was wearing that on those days in spite of how aggravating it is to him because of how warm it is.  I suppose this is ancedotal, but the alpaca scarf is more light weight than the acyllic.  Normally in knitting the thicker a yarn is the warmer it will be, not in this case.  I guess alpaca lives up to its reputation as one of the warmest fibers.  At the time I offered to sew a backing or lining to it to make it more comfortable for him.  Nothing happened, I think I will offer again and get it over Turkey Day.    To continue with this thought though people of course tend to gravitate towards soft.  I am not antisoft, but the thing is soft also tends to equal weak.  So one of the things knitters have to take into account is how the thing is to be used.  Softness is good in scarves, but not in socks.  My favored scarf I use right now is a baby alpaca and merino wool blend that is chainette spun.  It is decadently soft.  The chainette spin increases this because it is basically a hollow tube; making it squishier.  Socks as said recquire a yarn with some tooth to it, feet aren't as sensitive as your neck, so feet can handle it better.  Good sock yarn is basically a spring, which is why it would not be wise to use chainette for socks.  Sock yarn is spiral spun and it should be tightly spun.  I once had a woman at work say she thought embroidery floss would be good for socks.  First off embroidery floss is not nearly long enough, second it isn't spun tightly enough.                           This is getting a little meandering, but people like cashmere of course, but I don't think most non knitters realize you want to stay away from cashmere with a halo (i.e. fuzzy looking)  Again that is an indication of weakness, and the garment will wear out faster.                  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Two Socks

Second sock done.  I guess I did a better job on the second.  The first one slipped down a few times.  The second stayed up all day.  They should be the same in terms of number of stitches, but maybe I should count.  Maybe I did better at keeping a higher tension on the second one.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day

My grandpa served in WWII in the Philipines.  I guess he had three purple hearts.  I asked Mom, but she won't tell me what they were for.  I think one actually had to do with blood donation.  Grandpa was O- (as am I).  A little fuzzy on the details, but I guess they needed blood to save another soldier's life.  Grandpa said they could take what they needed from him.  They took quite a lot and almost killed granpa.  That is why I like to donate blood sometimes when I feel like I can.

Friday, November 03, 2017


Maybe I am kind of a weird archaeologist.  The pyramids are cool and all, but I do view bread as one of world's wonders.  Just all the steps involved, it is amazing to me that someone way back when figured all that out.  No I am not going to claim that aliens really invented bread.  Learning how to make bread is on my list for things I want to learn though.  Anyways I also view Louis Daguerre's invention of the daguerreotype in the same way.  I don't think most know photographs started out as metal plates not paper.  In school they warned against the process as being too dangerous.  Mercury vapor is used to develop the image, and from what I understand many of the first photographers went insane from those vapors.  In perusing youtube though I have found some demonstrations.  One guy in Buffalo, NY appears to have a studio devoted to making them.  I am currently typing this on my phone, which has limited ability, but when I get a chance I will add a link.  I am curious what sort of safety precautions the youtubers are using, hopefully something.  In the one I watched it just showed the person's hands.  The Buffalo guy just showed a blacked out screen with an explanation of what he was doing (that vid said the vapor exposure had to happen in complete darkness.)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rob Hay and Lessons in Being Prepared

I probably maybe should have done this a long time ago, but I went to school for a bit with Rob.  Hopefully he won't mind me talking about him.  I don't agree with him on politics, but I would rate him as one of the smartest men I have met in my life.  He was in the graduate painting program at Marywood while I was in the printmaking.  He was one of the older ones there, but it also gave him more insight than some of us.  He went through various phases in his life.  I knew him as a staid bankerish looking guy, but I guess he went through a spiked dog collar phase.  Anyways his first try at a MFA program he said he really didn't care about anything.  He knew they were coming to fail him for his candidacy review, so he waited until they were there and about to open their mouths to critique him to tell them "I dropped out this morning, get the fuck out."  He then went on to get a MA.  He obtained his MFA from Marywood. 

Anyways Rob was also a boy scout, and he took the lesson of being prepared to heart.  Just as we were about to finish up and graduate Rob was informed that the school had lost his transcripts, and he had to get them official sealed transcripts within a very limited amount of time.  Otherwise he would have to stay another semester.  Amazingly he had sealed official transcripts in the glove compartment of his truck, which was a very good thing as I don't know if he had had to request transcripts from his old schools if they would have gotten there in time.  A little lesson in being prepared.

This is a link to examples of his work.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jose Trujillo

Speaking of buying art this is my newest acquisition.  It is by Jose Trujillo.  I found him on ebay; he seems very prolific.
  He sets his auctions quite low, although expect to get into a bidding war.  I tried to get two other pieces, but was outbid.  He has 100 percent positive feedback.  He has an excellent sense of color, and he has good brushwork.  Granted I am not a painter, but his brush work is loose not tight.  This is something I struggle with sometimes.  Iwould describe looseness as being sort of an ease or confidence in the brushwork.  Being tight can lead to distortions.  Tricks to help combat this is initially start out holding the brush on its far distal end from the brush end.  Good brushes are long for a reason.  I've read Gainsborough had a 7 foot long brush for this purpose.  I've also had a professor recommend standing when drawing or painting because it inreases your range of motion.  At any rate his work is quite affordable, and I am quite sure it is a real painting (not the tricks I talked about in On buying art).  I can really smell the oil paint on it.

Monday, October 16, 2017

9 In Hand Press 2018 Print Exchange

Hopefully I can keep focused and complete this one, but 9 In Hand Press has put out their call for entry for the 2018 print exchange.

One Sock

I still have to weave in the ends on this, but I tried it out to see how well it would stay up.  I walked for a couple hours and I thought it did pretty good.  I had to tug it up a couple times, but it didn't end up bunched up around my ankle.  Again there is no elastic in these.