Apr 2, 2007

Fun with swatches, and discoveries at the Faire ;D

Sahara: Having trouble with the gauge; for Brian's Duel hoodie, I had 20 stitches per 4 inches in worsted weight poly/cotton yarn with size 5 needles, but for some reason, with Sugar 'n' Cream type cotton yarn, I'm still at like 19 stitches per 4 inches with size 4 needles. I may try another size down once I stop being annoyed with that, but then, I may abandon this yarn and try another, since I'm not really attached to anything about it except maybe the color.

Socks For Soldiers Socks: I finally started a gauge swatch for a pair of Big Black Socks, but I got about six rows in before getting bored. Knitting an item is one thing, and swatching is another. Laaaaa. I shall persevere this week.

In other news, I totally had a money-out day at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival yesterday. For one thing, I found a booth with really nice fountain pens and, er, whatever the kind of pen is called that just has a nib you dip into ink. (You know, like the ones at the Rainforest Site. I swear I knew what they're called at some point, but I'm having trouble remembering nouns lately.) Since Brian mauled my last fairly inexpensive metal-nibbed pen in this style by sticking himself in the hand with it and bending the nib out of shape ;), I've needed a new one for a few months. I usually use these for inscribing art type stuff -- 'zines, maps, chunky book pages, etc. I actually bought a faux feather pen that's sort of the same style, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to get the nibs to stick in the feather. So I saw these glass pens at Faire, like the ones I've been staring at online forever, and I pick one up that has a neat triangular cross-section, and it feels ridiculously comfortable in my hand. I'm like, I could totally write with this like forever. And the guy in the booth says in a lovely, conversational French accent, "You know, how you dip the pen in the inkwell? Those pens will write several lines on one dip." And I think we were both the same amount of happy with that idea. I tried it out, and I liked it ridiculously (I never did get it to run out while I was testing it, actually), and he very kindly looked in the back for a turquoise-colored one for me, but since there were no turquoise ones to be found with a triangular cross-section, I went with the light blue one I picked up first.

Rather demure for me, but I got peacock-colored ink to make up for it; and the nice man was terribly pleased with me for that, too, since most people apparently get standard colors like black and dark blue, which you can find anywhere. ;) But really -- if you don't want a standard pen, why write in standard colors? ;D And the shop owner apparently makes his own ink, too, and I think he may turn the wooden-handled pens himself. He's based in New Orleans, and if I ever go, I Must Make Time to visit his shop. He's terribly sweet, and he said he had fun talking to me, and I got a pretty pen and ink out of it. Parfait. ;D

But wait! There's more. ;D At the end of the day, we're about ready to leave, and we're making final rounds of a couple of shops I haven't seen. We see one of the kajillion people we know and keep running into filling in at one of the booths, and we ask her if she has any clue where this guy is that Brian wants to talk to before he leaves. She says no, but there are a bunch of people in the ice cream line and maybe one of them will know where he is; maybe we should go around that side of the lane on our way to check out the hand-turned wooden bowl vendor I suspect is the same one we saw at FLaRF. Brian gets caught up in talking to a couple of people, so I wander on ahead, figuring he'll catch up, and lo! In front of a little booth sandwiched in between two of the major lanes, where you don't really notice it, where *I* wouldn't have seen it except that I happened to want to stop by the wood stuff shop, a tri-loom is set up.

...and on the other side of the tri-loom sit three spinning wheels. One of them is an antique. And the people in the booth have spindles. :D

So at virtually the last second before we left, I managed to find not one, but three spinning wheels, a bunch of spindles ("They're by a maker called Greensleeves, I don't know if you've heard of them." "OH! Greensleeves! No wonder they look so familiar!" "We don't have any of the basic ones left, but..." "Oh, that's all right, I have enough of those anyway..." ;)), and a newly local shop with a blacksmith, looms, and spinnyspinny stuff. And the nicenice man taught me how to spin on their Ashford Traditional ... so now I have officially spun on a spinning wheel for the first time, and I liked it, and it was easy, and I'm sure I could be spinning smoothly within a couple of hours of sitting down at one. WOO!

Anyway, here's my new spindle, which I bought because I've been whining about needing a new non-homemade one, and because not only was it less than the spindles at the local yarn/fiber shop, it's also not the same as the spindle I have from them, which misbehaves sometimes:

It looks rather like a Lady Barbara, but the price doesn't match up, so maybe it's an older model that was just left in stock...? He said he thought it was walnut. Here's the inside of the top:

I even managed to hide from a searching Brian inside the booth despite my bright pink haremy pants, since I thought it would be funny to show up again for Brian while spinning on my new spindle, since I know he'd go, "Wait. You didn't bring that with you. Er...?" I didn't end up doing that, but there was a general round of amazement that he somehow didn't spot the loudness that is my bargain Thai silk wrap pants.

Oh, and I stopped by Ruban Rouge, the local scrapbooking store in Palm Harbor(ish), this past weekend while on the (successful!) hunt for Secret Spring Bunny stuff, and they're quite nice, and have all sorts of fun beachy-themed scrapbooky things. Oh, dear. I may have to go back in there for me someday. ;)

Now it only remains to get all this dang Faire dust out of my nose and lungs and pores and clothes, and to rest up, since I'm strangely tired last week and this. Must ... catch ... up ... with life...!
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