Tuesday, July 24, 2007

more cavern

cavern in progress

The Cavern Cardigan is going strong. I'm all done with the shaping and now it's straight stockinette stitch until it's long enough. Oh, and sleeves. The yarn is growing on me. I managed to get a surprisingly good photo of the color this morning (and about eleventy-billion terrible ones) before work. I think this will make a good knit to wear to work, where my office is FREEZING. Seriously. They gave me a space heater to use while they run the AC.

Besides that, in the past week I: a). turned 30; b). got a husband; c). went to City Crab for restaurant week (it was terrible!); made an amazing zucchini carpaccio; and d). went to IKEA and managed to come out with NADA (though to be fair, I wasn't going there for anything for myself anyways).

Looking forward to a low-key week and weekend coming up. Hoping to rock out the cardigan quickly, plus another restaurant week reservation at Destino (where Justin Timberlake is a minor owner. Yes, we're dorks). Also searching for a good sock pattern for some patterned Trekking XXL. Not sure if toe-up is the way to go, but I don't want to waste any of the yarn, so maybe I should branch out and try something new...

Friday, July 13, 2007

the return of the knitting content

Well, I've now scrapped the idea of trying to use the Cascade 220 Tweed for the Fitted Knits Textured Tunic. I knew when ordering that there was a good chance I wouldn't like the fabric it would make at the required gauge. Instead, I frogged what little work I'd done, took a few days to search around Ravelry and the interwebs to find a suitable replacement pattern, and finally settled on with Cosmicpluto's Cavern' Cardigan. It uses just the same amount of yarn that I have on hand, it's worked in one piece from the top-down, and because it's worked back and forth (instead of in the round) with seed stitch edging, it remains interesting to knit. It's brilliant, really. And so far, through this pattern, I've learned a). That I love seed stitch and b). I love seed stitch against a cable cast-on. Love love.

cavern cardigan - in progress

Now, about that yarn. I love the base color ("persimmon," although I do believe that persimmons are orange in real life), but those primary-colored flecks in the red yarn kinda make me think Ronald McDonald's Playland. It's not a huge deal, though, I'm just being a bit snarky.

Monday, July 02, 2007

raku firing

Also while in NC, I helped my Dad do a raku pottery firing. He wanted to test out some glazes, and I was interested in learning about the process. He has a makeshift raku kiln which we set up in the driveway. I decided to document the process and thought it would be interesting to share here...

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1. The kiln, made from flame-resistant wadding and wire; 2. Dad sets up a propane tank with a hose to feed the fire into the kiln; 3. The kiln with lid and hose; 4. Ceramic pieces are set up on the kiln bricks for firing; 5. The flames starting up; 6. The pieces stay in the kiln until they start to glow fiery-red; 7. The fired pieces are dumped into a tray of sawdust and newsprint and covered with a bucket to exhaust the oxygen; 8. The heat from the ceramics immediately catches the newsprint/sawdust on fire; 9. must use tongs!

I think Dad is partial to the iridescent colors that can happen with raku, like copper and teal and fuchsia. I really like the rusted, oxidized look. My favorite glaze is below:

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One of the ceramic pieces before and after firing. Some of the glaze exploded off the piece while firing on the upper right, there, but the colors came out really nice.

It's easy to see how people can become addicted to pottery. You never know what you'll come out with; especially with Raku. It all depends on how much air gets to the piece, what it's covered in (newsprint, sawdust, etc.), and how fast you can cool it down and stop the process.

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A close-up of the raku glaze.

I think it's a good lesson to have to let go of a certain level of control and hope for a happy accident.