Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mismatch! In which Count Sockula knits more dishcloth socks

Just a lightning entry here from the Count, because I wanted to experiment with two different kinds of double-wrap, no pick-up short-row heels.

One is the garter stitch heel, ably demonstrated by  KnitPurlHunter   -- this type of heel, double-wrapping but NOT picking up the wraps--- works so well that the Count might use it to exclusion in all socks.  Instead of KPH's clicker, though, Count Sockula employs stitch markers to mark the unworked center stitches.

The other heel is the Count's own harebrained scheme: why not do the same thing of not picking up wraps,  but only use stockinette stitch!  Muahahaaaa!

And it worked.  Sort of.

Count Sockula was presented with a nice stockinette stitch heel that looked perfect on the left side of the heel (when the heel is facing the Count), but some not-insurmountable gaps on the right side.  This may have to do with stitch tension.  We shall see.

And because I wanted two different color socks, but a single yarn ball for each, I picked some Sugar 'n' Cream self-striping cotton.  Top-down, 36 stitches, worked on #4 needles for the K1 P1 cuff, switched to #6 for the heel and foot.  It's likely that for future dishcloth sockies, I will switch back to the smaller needle to work the heel.

Behold!  Cousins, all the way.  The coral-toned sock with the stockinette heel shows some green from an added strand:

Count Sockula is also beginning not to like a very pointy toe.   I pointed the toe because that meant fewer stitches to Kitchener, but meh.   I should have bit the Kitchener bullet and worked the usual 8 stitches per needle, not five.  And decreased every row after a bit, for an even blunter-toe effect.

Yes.  Mystery Sock.  On the way.  Unllikely to be finished until colder weather hits.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Go Speed Racer Go! In Which Dr. Inkenstein 're-views' an old pen/ink

Checkered Flag or Crash!
Hero fountain pens,  a well-known brand made in China and  imported by dedicated pen dealers, produce some very spiffy pens at a next-to-nothing price point.

Dr.  Inkenstein aquired this particular model, the 569, quite some time ago, attracted by its general look.   It probably cost between $10 and $15.

The Hero 569 has such a pronounced racing-theme look with its silver 'rims' and black and white checkerboard barrel, that I almost expect it to sprout wheels and take off.

Unhappily, it doesn’t fly quite yet.

I had high expectations for the 569, perhaps because of its semi-hooded nib look and heavy feel. Eager to make it to the starting line, I first tested this pen (it’s a converter-fill) with a small amount of J Herbin Diabolo Menthe ink, and found that it was a ‘hard starter.’ I had to really coax the ink to come forth, but when it did I immediately tried it on a page of story notes on a ruled Levenger Letter pad. I was enjoying the color of the ink and the look of the nib, and had written a sentence or two of chapter notes when---SPURT!  STUTTER!  BLOB!
What the---?  Oh, the pain.

Dr. Inkenstein wiped the pen off and started in again. One word--BLOB.  I ended up with three fat inkblots on the page, and decided to write out the ink on a cheap steno pad.  I only got three paragraphs or so out of this quarter-fill before the pen ran dry, which seemed odd to me.

So I ran to the fabled Fountain Pen Forum for help, and taking the advice I got, tried a different ink, Noodlers Navajo Turquoise---another quarter-tankfull.  I started writing with this ink on the cheap steno pad, and it started with less difficulty than the previous fill. Using the cheap pad, I wrote a draft of this review with no further problems.

I don’t dislike this pen’s writeability at all---but in addition to seeming fussy about the ink, the line it produces isn’t quite as fine as the Hero 329 and the grip doesn’t suit me as well due to the ridges just north of the racy black ‘hood.’

The Hero 569 has a stiffer  feel to its nib as well. 

But with the Hero logo big and bold on the nib end, and a repeat of the logo surrounded by laurel leaves on the snap-on/off cap, the Hero 569 carries its racing theme all the way up and down the pen.

Dr.  Inkenstein tried one final test on the Levenger pad with the new tank of Noodlers---and instant blobbage!

Maybe the pen just hates that paper.

Sorry that there's no photo of the pen itself.   Just this scan of hasty scribblings.   Got the pen from isellpens, where it might still be viewable on one of their Hero pages.

Since I like the Speed-racer look of the pen, it will stay in my collection, as long as I keep it away from Levenger paper.

On Edit:

This ancient review illustrates the many and mysterious interactions of pen, ink, and paper.   I write with some inks that bleed on every conceivable form of paper, even Clairefontaine (Everflow True Blue, but I LOVE that color!).  I write with some inks that behave themselves in anything, on anything (just about any Sheaffer ink).

Levenger's pads are decent; I use them with a variety of fountain pens and inks.  J Herbin inks, ditto.   Speed Racer just really, really needed to throw up on that Levenger pad. 

Nothing Dr. Inkenstein can't cope with.

Oh, and here's Speed Racer himself:

Not the best pic, but ehh...

Stay tuned for TEH MYSTERY SOK.    It lurks in the wings, waiting.....