Friday, June 15, 2012

Spy vs. Accountant! In Which Dr. Inkenstein Compares The Inner Pen-sonality

Bond. James Bond.
I don’t understand the characterization of the Hero 007 as cheap and flimsy. Maybe the price is low, but right off the bat, the spy pen wrote with a buttery feel and excellent flow.
Whereas the Accountant (Guanleming 978), while deceptively elegant in appearance, wrote reluctantly, dry-er, somewhat scratchier, though it got easier as it went along. And, befitting an accountant’s pen, it’s a little bit particular about the paper with which it associates. Unknown yellow lined pad, begone. Office Max comp book, we can live with it. We just don’t love it. Staples bagassee, now that’s more like it.

Spy Pen, Accountant Pen:

This particular accountant probably works for James Bond. Hence, the fancy-dress. Someone’s got to do the books.
Here we have the case of two pens whose personalities contrast their looks. The Spy Pen looks like it belongs to an accountant. Which makes sense. You don’t want a neon sign flashing, "Hey! I’m a secret agent! Everybody watch out!"
No, you want to do your work undercover! So it’s fitting that the spy and the accountant swapped clothes. After all, if you’re an accountant, people aren’t shooting at you and aiming giant lasers at your personal areas. At least, not most of the time.
Sleek and silver and black. James Bond in a tux, watching out of the corner of his eye.
Silver and gold with patent-leather black section. M’s most trusted bookkeeper.

Behold the two tests and judge for yourself.
James Bond:



The 007 James Bond pen (donated to me by a kind member of FPN) is available from various ebay sellers.
The GLM is available from isellpens, who also has much better pictures than I am able to take. He probably uses a spy camera.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Method not Pattern: In Which Count Sockula Drops Back And Punts

Gather round the fire, my children, while I recount the horrrrifyyyinnng tale of….
Oh, skip it.
Do you like to experiment with different kinds of sock heels and toes? Me, too. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even have to think when knitting the double-wrap garter stitch heel, my fave. If I were to attempt a conventional flap heel I would HAVE TO LOOK AT A PATTERN.
The horror.
For patterns are to Count Sockula as sunlight is to a vampire. Once you know basic sock construction, and have played with different cuffs, heels and toes, you can just make it up as you go along.
Be that as it may, I will do anything to avoid having to pick up wraps, but if you don’t do something, you create the dreaded and ugly GAP. One pickless-upless method is the aforementioned garter stitch heel. You wrap twice, pick up no times.
Another such is the Japanese Pick method. The ‘pick’ here doesn’t mean picking up a wrap. There are no wraps. You pick up an extra stitch to close the gap, then knit it together with another stitch.
Do you have trouble with the Japanese Pick Heel?
No? So it’s just me, then. Figures.
Count Sockula recently attempted a JPH without looking up any reference at all, only a vague memory to guide me. Naturally. The heel just kept going and going and going, and finally I had enough and just finished it off any old how. It didn’t look good, but it was finished.
Then I did what I should have in the first place and LOOKED IT ALL UP. Doing so, I saw a very nice picture of an extremely colorful sock with a JPH and what appeared to be thousands of teeny gold safety pins hanging off every edge of the heel.
That’s a lot of pins.
The theory is, you use the pins to pick up an extra loop of yarn, which you then knit together with a loop already on your needles to close the gap. Then I read you can do the JPH without safety pins and just snag an extra loop with your knitting needle. Like you would any other make-a-stitch thingie.
I also found out you’re supposed to slip the first stitch. Which I forgot.
All this just to avoid wraps and pickups!
Then, since these were top-downs, I ended with a star toe. I just decreased evenly all around (the work was on four needles, knit with a fifth) and then cinched the remaining stitches off. It came out looking much better than the heel. So there.
Sock: Sort of anklet-y thingie
Yarn: Red Heart scraps
Stitches: 32
Needles: Big pink plastic comfort-y things in size 8
Cuff: Messed up. Started with 3x3 rib, switched to 1X1, then 2x2. Don’t even know what I ended up with.
Method: Top-down, trying two different heels and star toe.