Saturday, 18 April 2015

The sage sweater

I'm known as somewhat fanatical knitter - and a slow one.
To be exact, I do not knit slowly, on the contrary. It just takes me time to finish a given piece, the main reason being that I have several on the needles.
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I tried to count but the result was inconclusive. Around six unfinished sweaters/tops and similar amount of shawls, scarves, cowls and the like. One is missing a bit of sleeve, I run short of yarn and now I'm undecided whether to order the one or two balls I may be needing or a whole bag because the yarn is nice (and discontinued). The other needs some measuring done and possibly ripping. Another one was a bad yarn choice and now I wonder what to do next. I did finish one in 2015 though. I got the yarn, it's from the family of Katia's merinos (Merino Sport or Merino Soft), I got ten balls plus some nicely matching angora blend from Anny Blatt, knitted the body and thought about making something creative with the sleeves. At the end, after at least two years elapsed, I tossed said angora aside and substituted it by a Bluefaced Leicester yarn from somewhere-on-fleabay dyed using alum mordant and St. John's Wort.

It's the
Dither pattern, a bit tweaked on the go and I'm sure to use it again someday soon.

And obviously, an unfinished picture. I fail to get finished ones, even less so pics of someone wearing the stuff. May work on it in future.

A new hobby

Around a year ago, I got a loom. I started without ambitions so the option was Ashford's Knitter's Loom - small, portable, easy to deal with even if one is a clumsy semi-moron.
It's magic because it works. I made fabric.

A still life with folded loom, storage box and The Thing I Wove

I meant it for a skirt but it ran some 10 cm short for my girth and I'm very positive that my dressmaker would tell me to go to hell with this because the selfedge is too tight and the fabric is not dense enough for any serious sewing. I'm untouched by education, practice and skills so I'm not hindered by any of those pesky right ways to do things. The plan is to do the darts on the outside, hand-quilt it to some visually inert interlining to hold the shape and hope that it works. Or maybe I'll lose patience before I lose those 10 cm of girth and I'll leave it as a fringed scarf.
Which is not that important because I made fabric!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Hoarding cats would be worse, right?

And faithful readers know that I'd love to have at least half a dozen of them.

When it comes to perfume collecting, I have a few preferred brands for reasons that are not always rational. Lancôme because it brought me to vintages, albeit randomly (I think I liked the Kypre box back then, Gueldy, just because, and Shiseido for similar reasons.

I did a bit of shopping and here's the loot.

One Lorenzy-Palanca because it was for a pittance along with Conquête and the rest is Shiseido: Rose Royale in the blue bottle, Camellia Superieur in the box, some other Camellia in the green bottle and a 2012 anniversary thing in the orange-ish flacon.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Very illustrative

It wasn't in the user's manual for life that one starts falling apart before hitting 40.
I kept throwing prescription meds' packages in one box for the whole 2014 and...

My one year consumption of meds. Most of them are antidepressants and anxiolytics. The smaller part is meant to treat my damn GERD... and I'm not a particularly compliant patient because I forget everything. If I took the stuff as I should, there would be more. Feel free to be sorry for me.


And a gratuitous cat picture...

Photoshop vs. Photopaint or a short history of frustration

I've been working with images since time immemorial. Or actually since 1992-ish. Not sure when I started using PhotoShop but it was some time about then.
I got the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, I think, which I cherish on my hard drive because now everything is on the clouds and one doesn't get their Adobe crap anymore, one can only rent it and I'm paranoiac, old-fashioned and a luddite. Now, my good laptop died (1) and the borrowed one has some weird screen resolution that doesn't cooperate well with a secondary screen and it's too small for any serious work. (2) The hard drive doesn't rock either.

Digression
I started messing with graphic design in around 1991. I remember CorelDraw v. 2.0 that worked in the wireframe only. We had the first computers with Pentium processors in this country in 1998, ordered directly from IBM and the folks in the computer shop came to look and be amazed. The glories of living in a company that started in one's kitchen. The first software I learned to use was said CorelDraw. Later on, Adobe stuff found its way into our kitchen and adjoining spaces. I never really learned to use MS Office and similar stuff because who needs Word when there's PageMaker or shitloads of cool typesetting software - and there's no way I'm producing documents that lack graphic design. Similarly, I don't throw lousy snapshots around. Every image that leaves my dirty paws is 'shopped. Because I have some standards which are so deeply ingrained that they'd need to be surgically removed.
end of digression

I'm photoshopless and because I just don't do lousy pics, and I have an urge to post stuff all over the place, I had to resort to installing PhotoPaint from the Corel suite. I'm constantly struggling to find tools that are there under unfamiliar names or maybe they're not there at all, who knows.
I finally got used to my new camera to an extent, spring light is inviting and I've had an urge to plague the world with pics. I'm warning ahead that they may or may not be up to my standard because the combo of unfamiliar camera, unfamiliar software and odd screens may produce suspicious results.

My memory card is full, that's why I'm bothering with sorting out pics, not leaving it for later, whatever a later may be.
(Let's not start on the heaps of films from predigital era which someone should scan.)

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(1) No, it's not only resting.
(2) Been slowly going blind since 1988. I only get frustrated when the coupons are for frames and lenses although they say "all merchandise". I don't need new $1000 titanium frames. I don't need a replacement for the $50 ones I got on sale, for that matter, all I need is lenses. Fuck you, opticians.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

At random

On Thursday, I got tickets to Paris. Mom is preparing in her usual way, reading travel blogs and noting down tips where to get something for free or cheap. I looked at a map of Paris and noticed that I lack a general idea what is where. Been there twice for a week or so but I failed to remember what's on which side of the river etc.

Work is busy and somewhat annoying. The house is full of kids and I hate kids even more than other people (for those who are new here or didn't notice yet: I'm a certified sociophobe).
It looks like spring but my office is colder than ever. I'll probably go and find a space heater before my toes fall off.
My camera refused to cooperate under the pretense of being full so I was forced to start sorting out pictures. I discovered things I already forgot about. Someone remind me that I remind my shrink to do something about my withered memory.

Monday, 26 January 2015

A story of one dyeing fail

I'm into mushrooming, I have pics to prove it but then I should bother to find them and I can't properly photoshop them and although Corel PhotoPaint works just fine, not my current screen. And back then, I wasn't in the mood.

I however kept various stuff. Because, the internets say that one can extract dye from mushrooms. I read a bit here and a bit there but they were not particularly useful because good part of the descriptions started with something like Navajos used the Dyer's Mushroom... and since there's no proper name given, I have no clue if this species grows around here. (1) One of the more interesting reports said that fermentation helps release the pigments. The others said that about salt, ammonia and a few other substances. One of the recipes called for wool and mushrooms immersed in a jar and left to ferment for a few months in full sun, that it's fine, the stench will go away after a few months.
This has somehow caught my attention although my fermentation experiments went only as far as getting some kefir grains and feasting on sour milk until the culture turned bad. I hear, however, that the wild bacteria that are just around here could work pretty well, too. I got a mixture of bolete leftovers (good stuff gets eaten or conserved by drying), some dried Laccaria amethystina - they say that it turns your food purple but when dried, it lost a bit of colour so I wasn't very sure - and orange mix of Hydnum repandum and chanterelles.
I needed to go away for a while so I left the mushrooms sit in their respective vessels for two days.

Bowl: chanterelle and hydnum mix; jar: Laccaria; beer glass: bolete mix.

The soaked mushrooms did develop some character that included bubbles and a bit of suspicious smell. The Laccaria jar was a fail, no apparent dye - or at least I didn't trust the greenish colour enough so to compost it went.
The usual method of boil stuff - soak yarn - keep warm for a few hours should do the trick in theory. There should be some Finis coronat opus bit - beautifully dyed samples or some such. However, it didn't work at all. Alum mordant or not, the dye just didn't set. Not at all.
There is a contest in photography of all things fermented. Should you want, gimme a thumbs up - I want to outrun at least one of the wonderful pickles, alcoholic beverages and whatnot.

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(1) which is the scientific name in Latin. The only thing that works all over the place. Well, mostly, and still better than common names, much better.