Two Saturdays ago I finally realized my long-time goal of becoming some kind of crazy fiber baron, someone who controlled the entire means of fiber production from the top down in my clenched, capitalist fist: I got my own alpacas.
There are three of them -- Cinnamon, Benz, and Silverton -- and they are completely adorable as alpacas are wont to be. Those of you who've been following our progress on Facebook already know their origin story, so you can feel free to skip a bit. But for those that don't, we got them from Don and Jody Stanwyck of Jo's Fleece Fields, who've gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping us prepare to be first-time alpaca owners. I'd read and researched for years but the time had finally come to actually get alpacas, because the only way I was going to learn any more was by actually owning them.
The first question I usually get is, "why would you own alpacas?" I own them because I've been a handspinner for a few years now, making my own yarn out of what used to be fiber that was bought and prepared by someone else. Occasionally I'd bought a fleece from someone that needed washing and preparing, but that had been the closest to the beginning of the chain that I'd ever come.
With my own alpacas I'll have a constant source of fiber to spin. Sure, there's effort and cost in raising them, but they're surprisingly easy to take care of and there are lots of other benefits, such as the fact that they're exceptionally goofy looking and adorable and we have a good laugh every time we see them. The amount of money I'd spend in yarn would probably equal their cost of care anyway. And my plan is to eventually sell the yarn I make from them that I don't use -- there will come a day far in the future when I no longer want to work in the games industry and would rather do something like a cottage industry where I make and sell my own handspun yarn.
We started with three knowing that our pasture (which totals about three quarters of an acre) could easily support that without hay supplement (except in the non-growing season), and expect to be able to comfortably expand up to five, but we're taking this year to see how fast three alpacas can munch down the existing grass before we do that. We looked at various farms before buying and bought these three boys because they seemed like the perfect fit for my criteria: they're highly socialized and easy to handle (two of them are 4-H animals and have had myriad kids handling them over time), have lived together on the same farm for a while so they're already companions, and their fleeces have great handspinning qualities. It was a great bonus that one of them, Cinnamon, has mostly white fleece, making it perfect for dying.
Once the boys were settled in I decided that with the time off I currently have I'd start a project that I'd document with photos in which I take one of the boys' fleeces and show everything about taking it from raw fleece to a knitted item from start to finish. I decided to go with Silverton's first -- his beautiful gray and silver fleece was begging to be spun up.
The fleece seemed surprisingly clean. While there's definitely some dirt that comes out during preparation it's nothing like some of the fleeces I've worked with before that were so matted with dirt and VM (vegetative matter) in parts that it was hard work to deal with.
I decided at the start that the knitted item I'd make with it would be some kind of shawl. I wanted to make this 100% alpaca so that it would be an all-Silverton preparation in the end, and 100% alpaca doesn't have the memory that a wool or wool blend would have. This means I need to knit something that can have a little stretch in it and not stretch out of shape, so a sweater wasn't the best idea. A folk-style shawl knitted in roughly a sport or fingering weight yarn seems like the perfect idea.
Looking at the fleece made me initially decide to try flick-carding it. Flick-carding is a preparation technique in which you simply take the locks out and, holding them by their butt ends (the end cut by the shearer), you flick the lock ends with either a special comb or a dog brush (a dog brush is essentially the same thing) to open them up. You then flip the locks around and do the same with the butt ends. From here you can either spin them like that or pull it into a roving. I didn't actually think to do this last part, so I flick-carded a bunch of locks and set them aside for spinning.
The next step was deciding if I wanted to spin on a drop spindle or my wheel. I have a Louet S10 spinning wheel, and it's been a great wheel over the years. But as I've been able to refine my technique I've found that it's less suitable for finer yarns, which are the yarns I've been spinning more of. It's single treadle, Irish tension, and has few ratios, which means the take-up is very strong and you have to treadle like mad to get any reasonable speed. Any spinning I've done in the last year has mainly been on a drop spindle and I tend to reserve the Louet for plying, which it's really perfect for. I do plan to upgrade to another wheel (keeping the Louet for plying) but until then, it's a drop spindle mostly for me.
So I picked up my favorite spindle and spun up a test skein from the flick-carded locks. The resulting skein was very cloudy and fluffy, far cloudier than I thought it would be. I'm pretty sure that flick-carding locks should result in a semi-worsted preparation because the fibers are all aligned, but this skein was far more like a woolen preparation. Which wasn't bad, mind you, just not quite what I expected.
So I decided that since I'd recently sprung for a swanky new set of St. Blaise wool combs that I would try making some combed top from the fleece and spin a worsted skein to test against the flick-carded skein and see which I liked better. I'm really loving the preparation I'm getting from my combs -- I'll be hard-pressed to want to hand-card anything again unless I specifically want a woolen yarn -- but I also know that there's more waste when you make combed top. But given the size of the bag of fleece -- and the fact that the fleece producer is out in my pasture eating grass to make more fleece for next year -- I'm less worried about waste than if I'd just bought a small amount of rare fiber. So, combs away!
Again, I spun up a test single, used an Andean bracelet to ply it back on itself since it was a small amount, and washed the skein. When I compared it to the skein from the flick-carded locks I was pleasantly surprised to actually notice a difference: the combed top produced a nice, smooth, more lustrous worsted yarn that still had some cloud to it but was less cloudy than the other skein.
Now, any experienced spinners reading this are probably laughing. "Well, of course that's what you're going to get with it, silly." This is Spinning 101 stuff for those that don't know; woolen yarns are fluffier, have more air pockets between the fibers, and are generally cloudier. This is because the fibers aren't spun parallel to each other -- they're in a more random arrangement, producing a yarn that will be warmer and fluffier, suitable for garments that you want to be warm and fluffy. Woolen yarns are usually produced by carding fibers, which arranges the fibers a bit more randomly and usually perpendicular to the direction in which you're going to spin them. Worsted yarns, on the other hand, are produced by combing the fibers so that they lie parallel to one another. Spinning them produces a more compact and lustrous yarn that has a stronger tensile strength and will pill less. The yarn would be less suitable for a garment you want to be warm and fluffy -- or a garment that you'd want to retain its warmth when wet, like a fisherman's sweater -- but would be perfect for something that's going to get a lot of wear, such as a pair of socks. It's possible to spin a semi-worsted or semi-woolen yarn that has a little of both properties to it by varying your spinning technique on combed top.
So getting an actual worsted yarn from fleece that I turned into combed top isn't exactly a revelation. But this is the first time I've ever actually approached my spinning in any kind of scientific way, producing different preparations and analyzing what my own hands actually produce from start to finish. Being able to see that yes, I actually do produce two different types of yarn when I do two different types of fiber preparation, and that those preparations turn out as the books tell me they should, is very gratifying.
Now I had to decide which preparation I wanted to use for my finished item. I knit test swatches with both skeins and was surprised to find that visually there was almost no distinction between the two. The worsted skein produced maybe a slightly less cloudy and more even swatch, but you had to really look closely to see that. How they felt, however, was completely different. The flick-carded yarn produced a much loftier swatch; it felt thicker and squishier. The worsted skein produced a thinner swatch that felt like it had better drape.
Shawls typically are soft, cloudy, and don't need to be made from worsted yarns as they're unlikely to be worn to the same degree as, say, a pair of socks. The logical conclusion, then, is that I should go with the flick-carded locks and produce a semi-woolen yarn. But when I looked at both swatches I had to admit that I simply liked the feel of the worsted yarn and its resulting fabric better. It still had a lot of cloudiness to it but had a drape that would fit a shawl nicely and had a much more even look to it. It also helped that spinning the resulting combed top was exceptionally easy -- it just spun like a dream. Spinning the flick-carded locks, on the other hand, resulted in a slightly less even yarn. The combed top produced a more consistent yarn that was easier to get close to low sport weight or fingering weight than the flick-carded locks.
So at this point I'm combing the fleece into combed top birds' nests, and those will be spun on my drop spindle into a 2-ply yarn that will be plied on my Louet wheel. More pictures to come as Project Silverton continues.
Enjoy more Fiber Arts Friday posts!
It's just like me to go and create this brand new design and then let the site sit un-updated for weeks while people wonder where I've gone. So I thought this would be the perfect time for an important update: plugging my stuff. Buy! Buy it now! Have you bought anything yet?
What have I got for sale? Well, in addition to the handknit items I've been putting in my Etsy shop, I've been going through my handspun yarn stash and I thought I'd see if people were interested in buying it. If you're a knitter who's unfamiliar with handspun yarn, you might wonder to yourself, "why would I buy handspun yarn when I can get cheaper yarn from the knit shop?"
That's a good question, and the answer to it is quality. No, seriously. Handspun yarn is always a better quality yarn, not only because the materials are of higher quality but because the handspinning process simply produces a stronger, more durable yarn. And if you're a spinner who knows what kind of yarn you want for a project, you can create the perfect yarn rather than spending your time hunting in the yarn store for something that won't be as high quality.
The first yarn I'm offering for sale is a pretty purple superwash wool, two skeins that are around 350 yards each. Superwash wool is wool that doesn't shrink or felt significantly, meaning that you can throw it in the washer and dryer and don't have to hand wash it. I spun this as a two-ply yarn with a roughly worsted weight.
I'm also offering a couple of highly intricate scarves for sale -- The Peacock and The Seafoam. The Peacock is possibly the single-most intricate and delicate item I've ever knit in the fifteen years that I've been knitting.
One thing I'm hoping to see Etsy implement is the eBay charity integration. I'd like to be able to automatically donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity, just like MissionFish, but that has yet to be seen on Etsy. When they do I'll definitely be adding that option to my sales.
I'll be adding more handspun yarn soon and hopefully some other handknit goodies. Come on, you know you want to buy it!
I've put up a bunch of new items on the Knitting for Charity site. Ellen's been busy and she contributed a hat and a couple of scarves. I've also included my first felted project, a small bag made from purple and black wool and mohair. The money from Ellen's projects will be given to the American Red Cross, and the money from my projects will go this round to the I Have A Dream Foundation.
Check out the items and remember, when you buy you contribute to a great charity.
You know, it really sucks getting the flu over Thanksgiving week. I came down with it Monday night after Len started getting sick over the weekend, and it escalated until Thanksgiving day, when we were stuck home with a fever, aches, and chills. We were looking forward to having a nice Thanksgiving dinner at our friend Rick's, but we had to cancel that as we didn't want to spread our germs. And even if I could have managed to bake anything to bring, I don't think anyone would have wanted to eat food made by flu-infested hands.
However, I did use the time in recovery today and yesterday to work on the new Knitting for Charity site. Now that we've sold most of our items that we knitted for hurricane Katrina relief efforts, I wanted to parlay the effort into an ongoing charity drive. It should work out well, and I think my only stumbling block is that the name "Knitting for Charity" isn't terribly creative.
Here's how it works: as I and the other knitters interested in participating knit items, we'll be putting them up for auction on eBay. Because eBay partners with MissionFish.org, you can choose any charity listed to donate your sale to, in any percentage. We'll each be choosing our favorite charities and donating 90% of the money from the sale of each item directly to that charity (the other 10% will offset the eBay listing fees). New items should be listed regularly, so keep an eye out. The three charities that I plan to donate to will be The Red Cross, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and The I Have a Dream Foundation. As new items are posted, I'll show them off in the little box to the left there and probably link them here.
We've mostly been selling scarves as those are quick and inexpensive items to knit. But I want to branch out a bit and make some small knitted and felted bags, some hats, and similar items. I've thought about doing afghans too since they're fairly inexpensive when you choose a soft acrylic yarn (while it'd be nice to knit an afghan made of wool, I've always felt that you want to be able to clean and use an afghan without having to worry about ruining it). Those could be higher priced items since they take a long time to do. The drawback is that they take a long time to do, which could mean a delay in other items.
Regardless, this should be a fun and fulfilling spare-time project. We really enjoyed doing this for hurricane relief and it seemed a shame to stop it once we sold our first batch of items. It'll be interesting to see how this works out, too. I'm managing the project myself, which means posting items, shipping items, and taking the pictures of the items, all in my spare time. I'd definitely like it to become popular enough that the items are considered must-haves (thus getting more bids, thus getting more money for the charities). But I also have to make sure I don't bite off more than I can chew. Fortunately I'm always knitting, and since I can only wear so many items and can only give so many to my friends, I should always have something to post.
I also hope to eventually be able to approach the local knit shops and ask if they would like to donate yarn to us to knit into items for the cause. I have no idea how responsive they'd be to that. Right now we're each just buying the yarn ourselves, which is fine (like I said, I have to knit regardless, I'm a compulsive knitter). But it'd be even better if the local knitting businesses got into the charitable act as well.
So check out the items. There might be a nice gift in there for someone you know!
Our Knitting for New Orleans grassroots fundraising efforts are really going well. I had asked a few knitters I know at work if they were interested in doing this, and since then it's blossomed into us, the spouses of some of our coworkers, and some friends of the knitters I work with who heard about this and wanted to contribute some items.
We have about 11 items up right that you can bid on. Remember, 100% of the money is being donated to the Red Cross for the hurricane relief efforts. They're all decorative scarves right now, but a few of us are thinking of whipping up some hats, small bags, and other similar items.
Because MissionFish and eBay make it so easy to donate to charity from the sales of items, I think I'm going to keep this up and maybe have a small regular charity knitting group going from the girls at work and any friends who are interested.
So wow, I haven't updated in a while. I'm not sure why my blog updates have decreased since I got out here. I've been knitting a lot, maybe that's why. I found that once winter hit I didn't have a scarf to wear, so I rummaged around in my knitting closet, found some blue heathered Wool-Ease that I've had forever and have been unable to figure out a good use for (blue really isn't my color when it comes to sweaters, although I once thought it was which explains why I have 14 skeins of it that I bought on sale from Jo-Anns), and saw a really great pattern for a wavy scarf off of Knitty
. it seems to go well with my handknit hat, and now that I have a handknit scarf, handknit hat, handknit mittens, and handknit gloves to wear while I wear a handknit sweater, I feel a bit like I've just gotten the full set of Mark of the Viper armor in World of Warcraft. I now have an extra +2 resistance against frost attacks.
Maybe my lack of updates can be explained by the fact that I've been reading a lot about sheep lately. I picked up Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep the other day, and it's surprisingly fun to read. Now that Len and I are living in Wisconsin, and having been encouraged by the fact that a woman I work with who's an artist on our X-Men game owns sheep, I plan to begin researching for My Long-Term Plan.
My Long-Term Plan will be something I can slowly work toward for that day when I decide I don't want to work in the game industry anymore (not that I'm considering that now) or want to retire and do something different. I've been knitting for nearly half my life and spinning for the last two or three years, and I keep moving closer and closer to wanting to be a shepherd myself and own the sheep I get my wool and yarn from. But I also want to take it one step further and turn my future hobby farm into a yarn shop in which I spin and sell the wool from the animals right out behind the shop. In my little dream, this would be the primary draw of the shop.
I figure that it's going to be at least 2-3 years before I can even think of buying a sheep. Len and I first need to buy the right place to do it, someplace with enough land for what we want to do that we can also live on. Fortunately, this area of the country is perfect. Len and I have been perusing the real estate listings and we constantly see 10-20+ acre plots with old farmhouses and barns on them. We've got some time to look (probably about a year) before we're ready to buy anything, which means we can take the time to look for something we really like.
So in the meantime I can research as much as possible before even looking at my first potential buy. My first choice in breeds -- until I research more -- is Shetland so far, assuming that their foraging abilities are suited to the types of pasture that can grow here in Wisconsin, and assuming that they're a breed I can get reasonably priced here. If not Shetland, I'd like to go with Bluefaced Leceisters or maybe Ramboulliet.
I've been on Yahoo's SpinList for a couple of years now, so I've been able to follow some of the discussions from the shepherds on the list when they talk about their own herds. I've also joined a shepherd's list, so hopefully that will help with research, too.
So while I read about sheep, I'm still spinning and washing fleece. In fact, I'm spending the day scouring the alpaca wool that our alpaca-owning friends Mary Ann and Joe sent me as I promised I'd card, spin, and knit it into something for her. So, back to scouring...
Before I go into anything else here, I want to take a minute to say that Refracted Mandog
has posted its first screenshot of Psycho Saucers, our first game that we're currently working on. We don't plan to inundate viewers with daily screenshots, but since you can finally actually see something of the game in it, we wanted to give a little peek.
And speaking of Mandog, I was talking to Gabe "CodeDog" Kruger today about Activision, the company I primarily work for. I was remembering today the old patches that Activision used to give out for getting certain high scores in their old Atari 2600 and Colecovision games. What was funny was that when I said "patches", Gabe said, "you mean you could get patches for those games? Where would you download them?" Which made me laugh because I was talking about actual patches
— you know, the cloth things you'd sew on your clothes.
I had so many Activision games, and I got a few of the patches
. I was 8, maybe 9 years old, and this was before it was uncool to be so geeky. Barnstormer and Chopper Command were games I distinctly remember getting patches for. I had a little denim jacket and I begged my mother to sew on the patches. God, I was a geek. Things like that today would surely be met with name-calling and some good beatings from my peers, most likely.
And I was reflecting on how I can so clearly remember these patches and the games and the Activision logo, and it seems such a strange thing now that 20+ years later, I work for the company that has given me some of the most vivid and fun memories of my childhood when I really never set out to do that at all. I certainly never set out to work in video games. It was the love of my childhood, sure, but it was always something I did for fun, and astronomy was the thing I was going to do for a living. Funny how things turn out. If you'd told me years ago when I was playing Wolfenstein 3D on my future brother-in-law's computer during my first years as a science student that I would be working closely with the company that made that game years later, I'd have laughed at you.
So, new yarn. Len's sister Betty and her husband Gary came out from Phoenix to visit and we went yarn store visiting. She's a knitter, too (in fact, she taught me twelve or so years ago), and I took her to Velona Needlecraft up in Anaheim Hills. I found this beautiful slate blue, breezy soft cotton that I just couldn't put back down. It was the perfect color for me, so I think I'm going to make a double V-neck cap-sleeved sweater for the summer. I've already started it in a 2x2 twisted rib stitch. I've found that I like this kind of rib the best if I can do it because it keeps away that sloppy second stitch that happens so often when you do ribbing.
I've managed to finish up Len's socks, which is a great weight off my mind because frankly, I was tired of looking at them. I don't know why, but I just really wanted to get those bad boys done.
Now I can get back to my Fair Isle sweater, but before that I wanted to get some spinning done this weekend. I'd bought some mohair, some fine merino, and some soy silk when I was in Phoenix the last time. I'm carding the mohair with the merino to make about a 50/50 blend, and it's so very, very soft. I'm hoping this is the right way to deal with spinning mohair, because clearly I've been spinning it the wrong way, which is to say as a 100% unblended fiber. It's so incredibly soft as roving, but the moment I spin it up, even when I'm conscious about not spinning too tightly, it feel so brittle and coarse. So I'm hoping that by blending it with the merino I'll get a cloudy, soft fiber. We'll see.
Like you, I'm tired of the whole Janet Jackson And Her Breasts Show, but this paragraph in a New York Times editorial
kind of made me chuckle:
There are plenty of Americans to laugh at, starting with the public itself. If we are to believe the general outcry, the nation's families were utterly blindsided by the Janet-Justin pas de deux while watching an entertainment akin to "Little Women." As Laura Bush put it, "Parents wouldn't know to turn their television off before that happened." They wouldn't? In the two-plus hours "before that happened," parents saw not only the commercials featuring a crotch-biting dog, a flatulent horse and a potty-mouthed child but also the number in which the crotch-grabbing Nelly successfully commanded a gaggle of cheerleaders to rip off their skirts. What signal were these poor, helpless adults waiting for before pulling their children away from the set? Apparently nothing short of a simulated rape would do.
I have to agree with the tone on that one.
For someone who's a science geek and a game player, I've always had a secret, almost embarrassing interest in fashion. I really like viewing clothes from a structural and artistic standpoint (though I make no claims to having an artistic eye). I find the way clothes can play tricks on the eye to be fascinating. How can a certain shirt and skirt turn a pear-shaped woman into a seemingly perfect hourglass shape? (The answer: shirts that create broad shoulder lines, like slash-neck or ballet-neck shirts, and knee-length flippy A-line skirts.) How does a jacket make a woman seem like she's taller, more statuesque? (The answer: a princess-seamed tailored jacket that hits below the hip coupled with a nice heel.)
But never having had a body made for the fashion world, I tended to view fashion as my enemy. No stores ever carried things that fit me, or looked right on me, or were styled for my taste. If my tastes were running toward sophisticated men's-style tailoring with structured darts for figure shaping, the fashion trends that season were frilly peasant shirts that flowed straight down from my ample chest and made me look pregnant. If my tastes ran toward subdued colors that fit my pale, pinkish skin and light hair and eyes, the colors that season were lime green and orange.
But even despite this, I've been a fashion show junkie. I'm not talking about the runway stuff — I'm talking about the syle shows that are seeing a lot of popularity on the networks. Shows like What Not To Wear
(my favorite) have me riveted. I love seeing what the style experts pair up and how they explain what they do to a particular person's figure. What looks fabulous on one woman can look frumpy on another. The wrong outfit on a woman with a model's body can make her look downright weird, while the same outfit on a pear-shaped, curvy woman can make her look fabulous.
So having said all of this, I've come to realize this weekend that it's nice to have something so basic as sewing in my skill set.
For the last several weeks, I've been shopping both on and offline for some nice spring and summer shirts that look right on me, have some color to them, are something I like, and are somewhere between dressy and casual. It's surprisingly hard this season to find something that fits all four criteria. I can find t-shirts galore that are comfortable and fit well, and I can find very low-key dressy shirts that I find...well, really kind of boring. But nothing that's a little feminine, a little colorful and flowery, and something I can either wear with jeans or a skirt. Or more importantly, nothing that has all of those things and
is actually structured properly for my not-so-standard figure. I found stuff in Lane Bryant this week, but I've reached the point where at least half of the shirts in the store don't fit me well because I'm actually too small (I never thought I'd get to say that). Oh, sure, they fit the chest — in that regard, I'm still a bit above the norm. But then they hang off of me funny and have no shaping whatsoever, or not enough since my waist is a lot smaller than most women who have the hips and chest measurement I have.
(Have I given you too much information yet? No? Good.)
So after getting tired of finding nothing, I decided to resurrect the skill I've been honing since I was 12: sewing.
Even when I was only 12 years old I had definite ideas of what I wanted to wear, and they were never in the stores. I wore whatever my parents bought me, of course — you don't really get a choice when you're that age. But I remember telling my mother about what I wanted to wear and saying that I didn't see anything like that when we were shopping. She told me, "well, we can sew it, then." She took me to the store to buy my first pattern. We looked through the books until I pointed to something and said, that's
what I want to wear. We picked out a fabric I liked and my mother dug out her sewing machine and taught me how to read a pattern, how to lay the pattern pieces, how to cut the fabric, and how to sew it.
I kept on sewing off and on through my teenage years, especially when I was at my heaviest, which was around 18 or 19 years old. Around that time I also learned to knit, so I was learning how to actually construct garments from a structural standpoint in both knitted fabric and cut-and-sewn fabric. Every so often I'd try and create something I had in my head that I'd sketched out and was sure would look right on me, much better than what was on the rack in the stores, because I could add darts for waist shaping or flare the hem a little bit to accomodate wider hips. And that led to designing my own patterns from basic bodice shell patterns. Over the years I've designed a couple of shirts, a skirt, and a few sweaters. I even sewed my own wedding dress from a pattern I altered to fit me better.
So I decided that's what I needed to do this season. I haven't sewed much in the last few years — mostly if I want to wear something, I knit it — but the lack of any nice shirts that are similar to the picture in my head of what I want prompted me to set up the sewing machine again. The shirt you see
in the picture today is the result of this weekend's sewing effort, and I'm thrilled with how it came out. The shirt has back, front, and bust darts for shaping, is slightly flared at the hem, and has a self-faced and slightly flared seam that I decided to do last minute. I simply cut the sleeve just past the elbow, took that portion of the sleeve and added about an inch of width for fullness, cut it on the fold, sewed it, eased the fullness in, turned it inside out, and then sewed it to the hem of the cut sleeve.
It's a really great feeling after all these years to be able to have an idea of the type of clothing I want to wear and know exactly how to create it. "I'm going to need bust, back, and front darts for shaping, and let's make it a V-neck since that balances out my sloping shoulders and fuller chest, and let's flare the sleeves a little bit since that's in style right now and it helps balance my thinner arms against my thicker legs." I've got plans to make another shirt with this same bodice pattern, only it'll be short-sleeved with the sleeves actually slit along the tops to create a little flutter.
I'd like to say that all of this sewing experience and the fascination I have with style shows means that I know exactly what looks good on me. Truth is, I still don't. I fear color, and I probably still wear a few things that don't exactly flatter me. But that's okay. At least I refrained from buying the orange and lime green shirt I saw in the store the other day that I thought might look good on me.