The ink, according to the recipe I was using, is finished – and the result is a very dark liquid with a blueish tinge, much darker than I’d expected. That might be due to my making a very small amount (which would increase the surface to volume ratio, and thus oxidisation) or it might be due to the longer time of the ink standing around, or it might be due to the ingredients.

Whatever the reason, I have learned several things.

One: There is quite a lot of sludge left (which the recipe says can be used for a second batch of ink), reducing the yield of actual liquid to write with quite a bit… to about half, actually, in my case.

Sludge left, ink right…

Two: It’s a fairly viscous ink. That is a nice thing as it makes using the ink on fabric a bit easier than when it’s more liquid – though with a bit of practice, that is also no problem.

The ink test on fabric…

So that would make this ink nicely suitable for use as embroidery pre-drawing… if there were not number

Three: It’s too oxidised, and that means there are too many free-floating ink particles in the liquid. Which means that though it will not wash out, it will bleed – and this, in turn, means I will look for (and try) a different recipe, and see if that works better.

The ink I have now is still a nice ink, though not for pre-drawing. It does give a lovely black on paper or parchment, though, and that usually does not get washed… so if someone needs some writing ink, let me know!

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It’s time for a stack of links again!

There’s a “rare sheep breed wool challenge” going on in the US, started by The Livestock Conservancy. It runs under the delightful name of “Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em”, and you can read more about it here and here.

The Council of British Archaeology has a number of research reports online for free download, on a variety of topics. You find the list (including the Archaeology of York volumes) here.

Speaking of publications, here is an article about the completely fucked-up system that is academic publishing, where you pay to get access to publications on research… which had been paid for by the state (usually), and where the authors and peer reviewers do not see a penny for their work. Yes, really. It’s a complete gnah situation.

And finally, an art project with knitted sweaters that let their wearers blend into the background.

Posted in and now for something completely different, Internet resources, knitting | Leave a comment
Well, for me it starts today – I am on my way to Oberstdorf for the Allgäuer Nadelstiche. There will be yarns, and nalbinding workshops at our booth, and there will be mountains in the background and coffee and good times with Margit.

Last year’s view of the mountains… I guess they will still be there this year.

The car is loaded, my trusty thermos mug is filled with delicious coffee, and tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll be at the fair – drop by and say hello, and have a look at the delightful brand-new things I am bringing along with me!
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Like probably everybody else with an email account, I’m getting spam, and sometimes plenty of that. Which is annoying (especially since legally, I’m obliged to check my spam to make sure it really is only spam…) but sometimes, there’s a real gem in there.

Interestingly, for instance, I get a lot of offers to help me find sexy girls in my city – in a number of different languages, all of them not very grammatically correct. There was English, of course, but also (badly-translated) German, French, and Spanish. I am not sure how they know that I do read all of these languages, but do not realise I’m not into ladies (well, apart from all that happily married stuff, you know).

Recently, there was also a lot of those mails telling me that the sender had cracked my account, yadda yadda, long story short, I am supposed to send money in form of bitcoin. (Obviously, there was no account-cracking – it’s just a spoofy mail to get people to send money.)

Those were all very similar, and all rather boring, semi-bad English. Yesterday, though, I got a really good one. Not only is the mail more elaborate, and the English worse than in the previous ones, it also has a P.S. And that actually is the most delightful P.S. that I have ever found in a spam note. Here it is:

P.S. You are not my single victim. so, I guarantee you that I will not disturb you again after payment!
This is the word of honor hacker

I also ask you to regularly update your antiviruses in the future. This way you will no longer fall into a similar situation.

Do not hold evil! I just do my job.
Have a nice day!

Now isn’t that nice?

Posted in and now for something completely different | 2 Comments

If you are a knitter, you will know that there is more or less maths involved in knitting. While it’s quite possible to avoid maths-ing to a large degree, not doing so can make things much, much easier – like adjusting a pattern to your gauge instead of endlessly fiddling around with different needles, and maybe trying a different yarn, to “get gauge” exactly as stated in the pattern. Or figuring out how much yarn you’ll need from knitting a sample swatch and weighing plus measuring it. Or other things like that.

I was reminded of all that maths stuff when looking for an article about early compound knitting on JSTOR and found instead this one here:

Belcastro, Sarah marie, and Carolyn Yackel. “About Knitting…” Math Horizons, vol. 14, no. 2, 2006, pp. 24–39. JSTOR, (JSTOR is a paywall thing, but they offer a free registration that allows you to read up to six articles per month for free. So if you are interested in that article, or in other stuff, you can sign up there and get some sciencey goodness.)

I found it amusing – and if you are tickled by the combination maths and knitting, Sarah Marie Belcastro also has a webpage about these things, with plenty of links to keep you amused and/or occupied. And a photo tutorial for a knitting increase that looks like a reverse ssk or k2tog!

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I’m a little late to the party talking about things that one might do during Lent, seeing that it’s already more than a week since Ash Wednesday – but better late than never, right?

Fasting times such as Lent is one of the things that fascinate me in a way as they are obviously a religious thing, but can also have a very practical aspect. This time of year is one of scarcity – before we had canning plants and freezers and large climate-controlled storage facilities and an overall abundance of food available all year round, the time of year just before Spring proper was when food supplies were running out, but there was little or no fresh food available yet. So having a period of fasting with severe food restrictions in this time of year was actually less of a harsh restriction than it would have been at other times.

It does still serve, however, as an opportunity to look again at what one has, and what one may eat and drink. In turn, the release of the restriction still means some extra enjoyment and festive feeling when Easter comes around (with fresh foods as well) – so the period of restriction enhances the impact of the feast, helping everyone appreciate what is available again.

In our modern days, there’s no scarcity due to the season anymore, so the restriction for Lent might feel harder today. On the other hand, having a restriction with more impact probably does a better job at reminding how comfortable life usually is – which is also why quite a few modern people do not follow the “traditional” Lent rules, where there is no meat allowed, but make up their own fasting rules. One of the quite popular choices is to drink no alcohol during this time, another to forego all sweets. The idea behind this is that something convenient, or dear, is given up for a while; something that feels hard to give up, as a form of penitence.

The BUND Naturschutz (which is one of the eco organisations in Germany) has taken this year’s Lent as an opportunity to ask people to “fast plastics” instead of alcohol, or sweets, or meat (or, of course, in addition to that). Plastics, especially single-use plastics, are everywhere in our consumer society, and they pose a huge environmental problem. So the BUND asks us to look at what we buy, and use, with an open and critical eye for this Lent period: Is the stuff packaged in plastics? If yes, is there a way to avoid it? Maybe something packaged in plastic can be made at home, with little effort and for less money than when buying it; maybe avoiding plastic is as simple as bringing a canvas bag; maybe it’s just choosing another brand. Some things, such as milk, are available both in a tetrapack and in glass bottles; yoghurt can be bought in glass jars instead of plastic tubs.
While there are some people who actually try to go “zero plastic”, I find it really hard or impossible to non-plastic in some cases. So I still buy some plastic-wrapped stuff – but I am trying hard to reduce it, and even if I am still creating quite a bit of waste this way, every single bit of the stuff that is not used helps.

So… are you fasting? If so, what? Or trying to reduce plastic? Or both, even?

Posted in and now for something completely different, green living | Leave a comment

I’m getting asked now and then about the oil light swimmers in my shop – are they available on their own? And now… they are.

With my last order of the complete sets, I was able to also get the swimmers solo, both the three-bladed and the round type. So now everyone who wants to have an extra wick-holder or five… can!

The new silk colours for the embroidery silk are in the shop now as well. I am quite in love with how the new lineup of colours looks:

I’m really happy about this. And I’m even happier that these are not the only new thing coming into the shop… there’s several things that have been in the pipeline for a while, but had not yet come to fruition. Now, though, things are moving, and if everything goes according to plan, I will have something shiny and nice in about two weeks’ time…

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