Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is It the Light Or Is It My Eyes?

I wanted thread to match the yarn I'm knitting with right now, so I dug through my sewing stuff and found a spool I hoped might work. It was not quite right, the color was a little too flat and gray, maybe leaned a little more towards red tones than the hinting-green blue of the yarn.

Thinking I'd stuck a sample in my purse, I went to JoAnn's to find a better match. Of course, when I got to the thread display, there was no sample yarn in my purse. Evil language!

I have a pretty good color memory, though, so I looked through all the similar blues in Coats and Clark. Found one that was a maybe, but I wasn't happy with it, so I moved on to the Gutermann rack.

Wham, bam, found it ma'am.

Bought it, took it home, put it next to my yarn, and did the success fist pump and grunt. Got it!

I was so tickled at my long distance color matching that when I come downstairs I brought the yarn and thread with me so I could scan it and admire my own mad skillz.

My jaw dropped when I saw the scan. The colors looked nothing alike.

I ransacked some of the less likely spots I might have stashed a spool of thread and came up with one more candidate, but upstairs, in natural sunlight, it looked too green.

So, nerd that I am, I decided to conduct a scientific experiment. My results are below.

Natural sunlight:

Scanner illumination:

Incandescent light:

Fluorescent light:

The camera doesn't lie. It records the light that falls on its sensor - within its limitations.

It's amazing the way the human eye compensates for differing wavelengths and intensities of light. The yarn and threads looked about the same to me in all instances.

So how should you cope with chameleon color?

Consider where the item will be seen for the most part: in the office under the fluorescents; at home in the evening incandescent; outside on a sunny afternoon - and don't forget the quality of natural light changes depending upon the time of day, season and weather conditions. If I have two items to compare, I will usually carry them to a window if possible just to make sure the store lighting isn't playing tricks on me.

One sure bet, I won't be sitting on a scanner when I'm wearing my colors...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kinky Yarn

Nah, I'm not talking the titillating kind of kinky, though it is intriguing to try to imagine how yarn could be that kind of kinky. I'm talking about been knit, blocked and frogged yarn.

I'm trying to resuscitate the yarn I took out of the toe of the Engineer's sock. I know I'm going to need it in the future when his toe pops through, and I only had a few yards left of each skein after knitting the socks.

Perhaps, I thought, if I hang the yarn up in the bathroom, gravity and a mild dose of shower steam will relax the bad permanent wave. So I hung it over the towel bar for a couple of weeks.

Still kinky.

So I hung it right in the shower with me -- away from the spray, of course.

Still kinky. Maybe a little less kinky, but still...

How's about another shower, a hotter one this time?

Don't know how that would have worked because at the end of my hotter shower I managed to knock the hanger off the top of the shower door and get the yarn all tangled like crazy trying to snatch it up before it got too wet and dropping it two more times. Did you know that wet yarn and wet skin stick together very effectively?

Not much I can say about that except there has been great debate over whether my middle name should be "Mess" or "Grace." Either fits me quite well, but I will claim "mess" as my avocation and "grace" as a sarcastically accurate description of my physical prowess.

The yarn did relax enough after that -- possibly from a mortal fear of being subjected to more of my attempts to straighten it -- that I decided it was acceptable and made a wee center pull ball of it.
I'm ready for toe holes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Elitism Vindicated

In the past year, I have become (brace yourself) a Yarnie. I have no shame in this. It may seem a bit snobbish, rather like claiming to only watch PBS if watching television, but actually, it's purely sybaritic. Running your fingers over a skein of acrylic just ain't the same as stroking baby alpaca.

To make this effete affectation more acceptable, it has been officially declared as politically and ecologically correct by no less than the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

2009 has been declared the International Year of Natural Fibers. Check out the web site; it's good looking, comes in six different languages and is very educational.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Such Loverly Friends

Some of the brightest things in my world are my friends. I can be proud of the excellent job I've done in selecting them and even prouder that they've chosen me back.

Yesterday one friend and I met for lunch and a computer session -- I am the friendly neighborhood nerd and act as computer guru for many. (Unenlightened self interest, I enjoy doing it.) She brought me a cat cartoon clipped from her paper, a yarn catalogue and what she claimed were a couple of results of her library thinning.

Ooh, I've had Mason*Dixon Knitting on reserve at the library for ages.
Thank you Friend! Your thoughtfulness is just one of the many reasons I appreciate you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I had to pick the toes out of the Engineer's birthday socks because he thought they were too long, but here they are, done and modeled on his hairy legs.

Wonder how long it will be before his toes poke out the ends.