Here are the Denise needles, with two different tip sizes: 13 on the bottom, 11 on the top. Since I was having problems getting the stitches over the stationary needle in the Addi Turbos, and the working needle sets the stitch size, I thought that it would be worth trying a smaller size on the stationary needle. Also, being able to set the cord diameter more exactly to the project might also help move stitches around the needle.
I made the mistake of picking up the Twisted Sisters Voodoo in iris today -- 50% silk, 50% merino -- and oh, it glows in the light. It also provided inspiration for the baby present, which was slated to be in purple. It really is too expensive (and too overwhelming) to use in the whole piece. Along with my newfound confidence in making cables in different colors, I think it would work out well to have the cabling and framing stitchwork in the purple silk/merino, with the reverse stockinette in a soft black, possibly varigated. I was originally thinking of the Aurcania nature wool that I already own. Based on the cabling on the St. John's cross, however, I think that it would work out better to have the background reverse stockinette be in a slightly lighter weight, like DK. This way, none of the darker yarn will show through the knitted cables. It still needs to be a soft black, and preferably slightly varigated, so that the hanging does not end up looking like a bad black velvet elvis painting.
So the current plan: A frame of dragon scales (Barbara Walker second treasury, p. 136), knotwork dragon (enlarged, or two dragons) in the center, and baby's name in runes underneath, all in the Voodoo Iris. The backround in reverse stockinette, and possibly an outside border mimicking a matt frame in a soft, varigated black in DK weight. I might also include an inscription in binary knit/purl at the bottom.
Since the working needle sets the gauge, and right now one of the things that is slowing me down is moving stitches off of the stationary needle, why not use a smaller gauge needle on that side? Just go down a size or two. I've been getting better about not knitting too tightly (otherwise known as figuring out how to make the Addi Turbos go fast), so this is becoming less of a problem, but it would still be fun to experiment with. This would mean purchasing a set of Denise needles or equivalent.
It should also be possible to develop an inexpensive swift substitute. I believe that the adjustibility of the swift is primarily to go in the opposite direction, to turn balls into skeins. I think it would be an interesting engineering challenge to come up with a swift made out of off-the-shelf parts, that could be made for $20. Since the manual ball winders are sometimes available on sale for under $30, an entire setup could be made for under $50. This will especially benefit people that don't live near yarn stores, and need to mail-order yarn. One initial design is a cone on a lazy susan, where the skein of yarn just falls to the correct circumference. Depending on the variability of size in skeins (which will set the height of the cone), there might need to be some weights inside to adjust the inertial moment of spin. If people want to go from balls to skeins (say for dyeing), that might still be possible by putting a "collar" around the cone at the desired circumference.
Have you figured out by now that I <3 Elsebeth Lavold? I think The Embraceable You collection is incredible, with a large part of the attraction being the translation of metal armor (ultramale) into knitted angora garmets (ultrafemale). Mostly on a dare by Abby at Borealis Yarns, I've been thinking about knitting the cuffs to the Worf outfit, if I could find the right yarn. I wanted a verdigris / weathered copper in a very soft yarn, paired with a thin gauge copper wire. Enter Alchemy Silk Purse in Copper (and they have a whole line of other metals, too!). And the prices are extremely reasonable, especially for 100% silk. Wow, I <3 Alchemy Yarns, too.
A cardigan or vest, with asymmetrical opening along the mid-Atlantic ridge. The back of the vest would be gray, since I think it would be insane to reproduce the entire globe; and the opening of the Atlantic works the best. And doubly geeky -- taking the vest off would involve further opening of the Atlantic ==> projection into the future of plate tectonics. I still want to do the plate tectonics shawl first, since the piecework will make it easier to fix or replace a part when I'm learning intarsia. This will be a good second project, though, since all of the colors will be in lines and it will be relatively easy to plan the colorwork.
I have had thoughts on my project ideas, so I'm behind in getting them down in pixels. For the baby present, I really wanted to incorporate St. John's cross, the symbol for happiness, but a knotwork dragon, border, and cross would just be too much. Enter the dragon skin stitch from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury, from NoNoKitty at A Fiberholic Life. Danielle is planning a sweater, but it would make a great border for my piece -- subtle, so it does not compete with the knotwork, but part of the same theme. So Fafner in the center top, baby's name in runes along the bottom, dragon skin stitch around the four sides (like a frame), and the St. John's cross in the corners. I don't have a very clear picture of what I want the yarn to look like, other than the color (bright purple!).
I'm also still thinking about the labyrinth as a shadow shawl. Upon inquiry, I've been informed that curves don't take to shadow shawl knitting well. But I still have this inner conviction, that if I do it in a fine enough yarn, cut down the size of the pattern (the inner half of the labyrinth), and make the piece big enough, the transitions might be gradual enough to make it work. It might make me insane, but work. I also need to start thinking about the yarn -- I want something with a little sheen, and that would make very stiff purls that would "pop". For colors I want a rich chestnut brown, and a creamy off-white. I briefly considered a more varigated brown (that Schaefer Anne is addictive!), but the pattern will have enough challenges without dealing with varigation, also.
...that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to keep the stash restricted
Or throw caution to the winds and invest (time, money) in a shadow shawl.
Two possible color combos for the shadow shawl (the yarns are Schaefer Anne and Kid Seta):
Pros: I like the pattern, was considering taking the shadow shawl class for fun (before suddenly having an idea I'm excited about designing), I really deserve some pretty hand-painted yarn in my life (not so much opportunity with liking the cables and designing with intarsia and all), the Schaefer Anne is beautiful stuff.
Cons: I have several projects in the planning stages I'm excited about (though I suppose I could count the shawl as "research" towards one of them), I don't know what I would do with a shawl, I don't know which color set I want (partly because of the point immediately above).
Conclusion: open knitting night is eeeeeevil. Though I did get almost another rep done on the DNA scarf; it is at 4 1/3 reps now. But since things look pretty much the same as before, no new pics until I reach the ribbing.
My cousins have had a baby, and I'd like to make a present celebrating. (Yes, I know I should have done this before the baby arrived, but I didn't know how to knit then, or at least not very much -- and they're going to have it for at least another 18 years). Bright purple yarn is a necessity, such as the Mousakis Butterfly Cotton:
...and I'd like to design a piece using elements from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting, specifically the knotwork dragon, Fafner (dragons are also mandatory); some sort of knotwork along the sides; perhaps the symbol for happiness; and the baby's name in runes on the bottom:
I was originally thinking of a baby blanket, but the baby already has tons of crocheted baby blankets. Now I am thinking a wall hanging or pillow, that would still be useful at the baby gets older (again with the 18 years thing). Plus most baby-suitable yarn is tiny, tiny, tiny and I can't imagine knitting up a huge swath of it.
The original post is now organized by category, which makes things easier to find. I've also added a few links I've found in the past month, a few things suggested in a discussion on the knittyboard, and some comments on geeky books that I either own, or have looked at. I plan on infrequently updating that post, rather than starting new ones, for the convenience of those people who would like to bookmark the page (hit the "permalink" link before bookmarking). Most of my projects have a high geek factor: fibonacci sequence, DNAcables, and continental drift / plate tectonics. And if I had only known about the cat bed incorporating the moebius strip!