Lacy Night

It’s been a long time since I blogged about knitting!  Whew.  Well, after all that thinking and worrying, worrying and thinking, about the navy Sterling yarn and the Mushishi, I decided to shelve the Mushishi project.  With the Sterling yarn, I designed an a-line pullover with an empire waist and lace trim on the cuffs and hem.  I knit one sleeve a few weeks ago and then took a break from it for a while in order to work on some krrmmmm…mmmm…er… yeah.

Yesterday I got back to it.  After thinking about it for a while, I changed the pattern to a cropped cardigan, not a-line.  This was because I have envisioned wearing it buttoned over a long solid-colored tee (like a set – not to wear the cardigan as a removable jacket).  So I rewrote the pattern and knit the right front piece.  Today I am working on the back piece (the largest piece of the garment).  Here is a pic of the sleeve for you, after washing and blocking.  The lace edge is the same pattern used in the Ocean Wave shawl (turquoise, completed about six weeks ago).  It’s a nice easy lace pattern and has become my default lace pattern.

The sleeve, laid flat.


The lace edge, up close.

Caveat Emptorium

In “Gone with the Wind,” Scarlett is opening a retail store in Atlanta, and Rhett sarcastically jokes that the store name should be “Caveat Emptorium.”  Scarlett, not having the benefit of a classical education, takes him at his word and even goes so far as to have the sign painted before Ashley tells her what it actually means.

I am a seller on  This is a venue for people to sell handcrafted items.  So far, as a seller, I have very limited luck.  I have sold

  • a bunch of silver metal clay supplies
  • a mixed bunch of metal clay supplies
  • one skein of yarn.

As a buyer, my luck has been even worse!  This year I went to Etsy for a lot of my Halloween accoutrements (yes, I like that word) because I wanted unusual stuff.  So far I have purchased four things from various Etsy sellers, and all but one of them have that “handmade” look.  As Terry Pratchett says, “made by people who think that thumbprints baked into the clay gives it that authentic handmade  look.”

  • A pair of fingerless corset gloves which you can vaguely see in my costume photo.  These looked beautiful in the seller’s pictures, but in real life, the seams were crooked; the glove was almost too tight to get my hands in, and (perhaps this is just a problem for me, and not all customers) the seam that made the flat piece of fabric into a glove was sewn right down the palm, which made it uncomfortable.  Good enough for a costume, though, so I didn’t care that much.
  • A beautifully-made Victorian reticule, which I didn’t even use with the costume!  This was a high-quality item; I will find a way to use it somehow.  Maybe in next year’s costume.
  • A mini top hat (you can see in my costume photo).  Again, the seller’s picture made it look high-quality and very sassy.  In person, the veiling was covered with blobs of dried glue; the striped fabric glued onto the crown was glued down crooked, and – you know how you can get folds in things you’re gluing, and it makes a lump in the thing?  That.  I contacted the seller and she was willing to take it back, but after paying return shipping it would have left me with a really minimal refund, so again, I kept it.  Good enough for the costume.
  • Today I received my most recent purchase, an unusually-styled cotton dress that I’d hoped to wear on Christmas day.  The fabric is quite see-through; I’ll have to wear a slip.  (Ding.)  The construction of the dress is sort of sloppy – loose hanging threads, a big seam across the center back neckline where she sewed her label in, and slightly crooked seams under the arms.  This was a pricey purchase, and the seller’s policies page says “no refunds.”  (It also says “Your item may not be perfect, but it’s made with love in my heart!”  Probably a good warning sign, there.)  I’m really irked, not least because I now have nothing suitable to wear on Christmas!

I am now a FIRM BELIEVER in “caveat emptor,” and as soon as I offload all my stock that’s currently listed on Etsy (yarns and roving), I am going to close my account so I’m no longer tempted to shop there. 

To avoid finger-pointing I’m not posting links to the sellers I’m dissatisfied with.  If you are interested in knowing, so you don’t make the same mistake, you may email me and I’ll let you know who they were.

Brains of a Goldfish

Every day for three days I’ve come to the blog to write something.  And I’d forgotten my password, and instead of clicking “Forgot Password,” I stupidly just kept trying combinations of various passwords, and not being able to get logged in.  Finally after requesting a new password yesterday…by the time the new password arrived, and I logged in, I’d forgotten what the new blog topic was!

However, I just now remembered.  So here we go.

You did read that I fiddle with my fake manicures.  A word to all you similar girls out there – Shellac will pop off the nail if you fiddle with it.  I’ve got just enough new growth that there’s an edge of nail polish sticking up, in the back, between the skin and the Shellac.  Last night at the doctor’s office I started fiddling with that little ridge on the edge of the manicure, and peeled up a very, very small piece on the back edge.  Maybe 1mm.  And I was determined not to pop the manicure off, so I left it alone…for about ten seconds, and then it was just too irritating, so I popped it off.

The surprising thing was that it came off quite cleanly, all in one piece.  My old gel manicures used to do that, but they were thick layers of plastic.  Paint some acrylic paint on a piece of Saran Wrap and when it dries, peel it off.  That’s the consistency of the Shellac.  More like a film than a piece of plastic.

So there I was with one bare nail.  Ha, ha, ha…soon a second nail bit the dust.  This one did not come off cleanly, but in strips.

Anyway, this is a simple followup report.  I’ll try to leave the rest of the nails alone, so I can do a real report about removing them in the acetone.  Stay tuned.

(And oh, yes…some scientist has done studies with goldfish and mazes that prove they really do have quite excellent memories!)

The Future of Manicures

A couple years ago, I bought the accoutrements necessary to do gel nails at home.  A special 36-watt UV lamp is required to cure the gels that are used.  The main purpose of gel nails is to create artificial length, but I was always able to grow my nails easily, so I used it more as a bulletproof  manicure.  The steps to complete it were many, and a full manicure took at least an hour to do.  Afterwards I had beautiful shiny nails that were rock hard, and the manicure lasted forever.  The only time I needed to remove it was when the new nail growth started looking goofy behind the red nail polish.  On the other hand, I frequently fiddled with the thick layer of plastic that was on top of my nail, and all that fiddling usually meant that the entire “manicure” layer would pop right off my nail.  So in that respect it was less than thrilling.

Lately I’ve been hearing about this new “gel nail polish” from Creative Nail Design, called Shellac.  Still requiring a UV lamp, it is only a 3-part process, just like regular (non-gel) manicures:  base coat, color coats, and top coat.  Curing times are 1 minute for the base coat, 2 minutes for each of the color coats, and 2 minutes for the top coat.   I ordered the Shellac items and they arrived yesterday.  Last night I did my test case manicure.

The Shellac products are the same consistency as regular nail polish (more or less), instead of thick goop like the old gels.  That’s a plus.  They spread easily, whereas the old ones were thick and had to be sculpted in order to be flat on top and to fill in the sides of the nail.  That’s a big plus.

The Shellac process is, as mentioned, easier and quicker than the old method.  That’s a big plus.

The one place where they “tie” is that (allegedly) the Shellac will not chip or wear off, so when I start getting new nail growth, I’ll need to remove what’s on my nails now and do a new manicure.  With the old method, I would have to file down the top of the nail, including the new nail growth, and fill in the back area and redo the top.  With Shellac, I’ll have to sit around for 10-15 minutes with my fingernails in a full-acetone solution.  Might be a problem.

But I can’t find anything where Shellac is worse than the old method.  So I’m hoping this is a good new trend – with all the typing and knitting I do, I used to get frequent chipping with plain old manicures.  Maybe Shellac is the solution to those problems.  I will report back (with a picture) in 2 weeks, unless it gets to be disastrous before then, in which case I’ll report back when the nails look disastrous!

Yes, my application is a little sloppy.  And I forgot to do the leading edge of the nail.  I’ll do better next time!

Just an update:  here is is November 8, and they still look just as shiny and new as in the original photo.  No chips, no edge wear!  AND I figured out how to fix the blog formatting!  Whee!