Just craziness

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What are the chances I’d be posting another finished pair of socks before two weeks had passed? The pattern is my favorite stand-by, the No-Purl Monkey. The yarn was brazenly stolen from my friend Angela. I was doing her a favor, really. She had all her sock yarn arrayed across her table and it was an obvious puzzler: One of these things doesn’t belong. Amid the springtime pinks and oceany hues, there sat the solitary skein of dark green and browns like a midget on the Globetrotters. I had to take it.

So guess what I’ll be wearing on Wednesday … my new midget socks.

Posted in Knitting | 3 Comments

Annual Knit Project

I’ve completed a knitting project. Stunning, I know.

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I like to knit a pair of Christmasy socks during December and this year I got a bit of a head start. On the plus side I have new, festive socks to wear through the holidays. On the down side, I need another Christmasy project.

Keep happy puppy thoughts in your mind for me. I may have found a breeder I like.

Posted in Knitting | 3 Comments

I need a 12-step program

My name is Beth and I’m a serial carver/non-planter. You see, I get on these carving binges and I end up with tons of stamps to be planted. Here’s a photo of the sad evidence.

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This is actually only 34 of them. Yes! I know! What am I doing hoarding all these stamps?? I don’t know! I can’t help it. And that’s not all of it. Not pictured are the dozen “box of the month” stamps that I keep meaning to give away, or the one in the car that’s got a pouch and logbook and reserved listing on AQ, or the 3 (or is it 4?) in the kitchen that are ready to plant. Then there’s the stamp that’s 70% done and one I just transferred, and 5 others on pink stuff in the queue. You don’t even want to know how many images are already picked out and waiting to be transferred. It’s a sickness. That’s all there is to it.

Posted in Carving | 1 Comment

Jinx

First of all, congratulations to several of my letterboxing friends for recent milestones…

ppack – 2500 finds!
Lindsay’s Snowman – 2000 finds!
Gypsy Ladybug – 1000 finds!
Sunday Morning – 1000 finds!

These big numbers represent more than just finding a box. Deciphering clues, following landmarks, reading compasses, inky fingers, and manymany handcarved stamp images in logbooks as keepsakes. Just think of how many miles have been hiked in pursuit of these numbers (and miles on the car!). Great job, friends!

At the risk of jinxing my new knitting project, I’ll go ahead and show a bit.

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The yarn is more reddish-plum colored. Someday, it might be a Wonderful Wallaby. But knowing me, it might also someday be a pile of partially knitted pieces that I never managed to finish. I’m hoping for the former because this would be perfect to wear on the letterboxing trail.

Posted in Knitting | 1 Comment

Alphabet Soup: a review & spoiler

Ah, PZ Kut! I miss you dearly! The search for your replacement has been long and painful. The anemic, pepto-pink of Speedy Carve gets all my attention now. That’s Pink Stuff, you know.

But then there was Firm Kut. Just something to try, not really a replacement, and try I did. And hated it. So tough to carve my hands ached. So shiny that ink refused to give a good image. Run right back to the Pink Stuff, yep, that’s what I did.

Then I hear news of MZ Kut. In the order of the alphabet, not quite at P, so still not a replacement, but very close. My heart was all a-flutter! I ordered a tiny bit to try it for myself. And here are my experiences and opinions.

The transfer:

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I use a Xylene blender pen to release ink from a laser printer as my transfer method. You can see that the black from the image is not very intense. Perfectly legible, but PS (pink stuff) takes the transfer much better.

I’d actually started carving by the time I stopped to take that picture. Just a little bit around the face and ears. It’s yellow because I stamped it with a yellow stamp pad before carving. I had forgotten how helpful that is! Carve away the yellow and see the white areas that are completed. No wondering if you’ve finished an area on an intricate carve. It’s plain to see.

The finished stamp:

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I’ve added a quarter for scale in the photo. The stamp isn’t huge, but big enough to have some fine detail as well as a bit of solid areas.

The top image used StazOn solvent ink. Generally a home run in the good, solid print department. A few areas are a bit light but detail showed up nicely.

The next image was with a fairly juicy Adirondack pigment ink. Ick! Much lighter than I expected – particularly in the more solid areas.

So I did what any frustrated stamper would do. I inked the hell out of that stamp! The nice, dark bottom image is the result. There was so much ink on that stamp that the impression on the paper had a small border of excess ink that squished out. But I got it to stamp black…

So, how was it to carve? Pretty tough. That’s in comparison to the Pink Stuff of course. The old PZ was firmer than PS, but still, not so firm as this. (and neither as difficult as Firm Kut) It took a lot longer to carve than I feel it should have. I also had a number of erroneous cuts where the blade of my gouge slid up and over the stamp. This problem would likely diminish with practice. As my tools are sharp enough to slice into a finger without me feeling it, I really don’t think that’s an issue. (yes, I learn the hard way) At the end of cuts, the rubber was loathe to release the bits that were cut away. (This has been mentioned on the carving board at AQ already.) I’m not sure I could get used to that or compensate for it. One of MZ Kut’s biggest drawbacks.

In conclusion –
Pros:
1. It’s white! (really missed using my yellow ink as a carving guide)
2. It feels durable. I suspect stamps carved from this material might never be damaged in the wild from normal use.
3. Thickness is perfect.
4. While flexible, it’s still firm enough that I bet I would almost never feel the need to back a stamp with foam.

Cons:
1. Too firm. I need just a slightly creamier material. I’m having to put too much pressure on my blades to achieve the level of detail I like.
2. Glossy surface impedes good ink transfer. I used the slightly less glossy back side and still am not happy.
3. Failure to release material after a cut.

Although there are more pros than cons, all three drawbacks are of the deal breaking level. My carving material must have a completely matte surface and it’s going to have to be a bit easier to carve.

This leaping wolf is landing back with the pink stuff for now, but will be watching for the next Z-Kut incarnation with baited breath. And may also land in a letterbox one of these days…

Posted in Carving | 2 Comments

Arts & Crafts & Spoilers

The last item today will be a genuine spoiler so if you’re in the Cincinnati area and don’t like those, click away now.
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I need a toof!! You can’t expect me to gum all my food! And get this crazy mutt off of me! Arms and legs would be helpful. How else am I supposed to catch children to eat? They’re not going to just wander by for me to gum them to death.

Soon, my friend, soon. I’m knitting as fast as I can. Occasionally anyway.
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Spoiler…

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I really like how this one turned out. I’ll be planting it in Cincinnati before too long.

Posted in Carving, Dogs, Knitting | 1 Comment

Weave with me

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In between carving stamps like a crazy woman, I’ve started a new fiber project. Thanks to the excellent tutelage of a letterboxing/knitting/spinning friend, I’ll get to add weaving to my list of fiber crafts. She’s lent me her Cricket loom to get started on and with luck, this black and red wool will turn into a useable scarf. This goes so much faster than knitting!

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And here’s a quick pic of Pearl showing her colors in support of Jacob Bowman, a coworker’s son. He’s in the midst of a stem cell transplant (additional shout out to his brave younger sister Abigail who selflessly donated!) and I’m wishing his family smooth sailing to a complete recovery.

Posted in Randomness | 2 Comments