Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Trying to Stay Focused

Dear Self,

Yes, your new wool showed up. Yes, you're super excited about your Final Semester of Loopy Academy and you have three rather ambitious projects because you're you and you seem to have forgotten how dreadfully over-committed you are with work and professional obligations this spring. 

Okay, fine, it was alright to unbox the yarn. You needed to make sure it was all there and what you asked for. Not that TLE has ever screwed up in the past.  And sure, yesterday at work was pretty stressful so winding yarn for an hour while finishing Conspiracy in Belgravia (which is really good) was an appropriate use of the evening.  

However, you have only finished one of the three pairs of socks you blogged about and it's now February 6. You only have 9 more days and you have essentially 2 socks left to knit. You can't start the projects yet. 

Get out of the needle/tool bin. Stop it. 

That had better not be casting on I hear...


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Clearing the Decks

I have an obligation that means I need to finish three pair of socks before February 15. Someone, probably AudioGirl or Sibling-the-Elder, just snorted half a cup of coffee up their noses.

This is not quite the challenge it appears on first glance, though it certainly isn't something to be sneezed at.

Here are the socks as they currently stand:     

Pair 1 is BMFA STR Mediumweight in a Rare Gems colorway. I'm marching down the foot of Sock 2 and these are on 1.5(2.5 mm) needles, so they are going fairly quickly.  We are headed to a friends home tomorrow to watch the Sportsball Game and I could potentially finish them there. 

Pair 2 is KnitPicks Stroll Handpainted that showed up some time ago because I needed to fill out a needles order and my Ravelry page isn't clear when these were cast on. Again, I'm past the gusset on Sock 2. These, however, are on size 1 (2.25mm) needles. So that will take a little longer.  

And then there is Pair 3 which is presently .... yarn. I have cast on 60 stitches onto size 1 (2.25mm) needles. No stitches have yet been knit. I'm planning to work on these a bit this afternoon in order to get them functionally started and then take them along to this evenings' outing.  As long as I can convince the Philosopher to hold my drink, progress should roll along. (I almost said "quickly" but realistically, nope). 

I also have to finish all of these before I start my Academy homework, the wool for which is showing up on Monday. It is going to be painfully difficult not to just fling myself into Academy with this standing obligation.  

A knitters life is so difficult.

P.S. Dearest AudioGirl. Aren't you glad you issued the edict that my "boring" project needed to be socks a few years ago? Much love.... 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Type of Progress

It must count as some kind of progress when you recognize that you aren't pleased with a project after only, say 10-15 hours, and rather than committing another 100 or so, you rip it out, put the yarn in time out, and find something else to expend a couple of precious Sunday afternoon hours upon. 

(Gypsy with the yarn project just before I ripped it all out)

I had started a MKAL by Tania Richter. Because I do not always read directions, I missed that it was an RPG as well as an MKAL, which then required the assistance of a colleague because I have minimal interest in RPGs. We read through all of the initial instructions together and I opted for the colorwork option.  And.... disliked it. I wasn't sold on the charts and after nearly 80 rows was already into the realm of obligation-knitting.  As this was supposed to be fun --it's been terminated.  

I do think I might revisit one or two of the charts for other projects, they're quite lovely. And I have several other patterns by her to knit up. Just not this one.  

(One finished headband!)

As consolation, I went back to the unfinished pile and pulled out this headband, which has been languishing for the better part of the decade. I remember working on it at my last job. I'm much better at cables now and armed with a Phryne Fisher audiobook (Book 17), I cranked out the rest of this. Fortunately, decade-ago me had marked where I was in the pattern and I could make sense of my other pattern modifications.  The pattern is modified from here. I don't do the extra hearts and I do a slightly narrower back, etc etc.

It's very comfortable and I'm making at least one more -- already cast on!

I also went through the WIPs baskets and consolidated/put things away down to where I only have one large basket left rather than two full of projects. That was rather encouraging. Granted, there's a large bag of finished objects that need a good home and a very overflowing stash but those are for another day. Here's what is left: 

(Only a small pile of unfinished objects)

This is missing only the three pair of socks underway (one was in our home office, one in my workbag, and one at my office at work) and the afghan that AudioGirl has long since given up hope on. I promise one day to have the flu and finish it.  

Oh, and here's my first finished object of 2018 out on it's first day: the giant scarf out of the Malabrigo Caracol at the Women's March Chicago.  It's squishy and was a perfect layering piece for the day. And several more people have mentioned that, you know, if 2 skeins of that yarn in their preferred colorway were to show up at my house perhaps... 

(Me and Viva at the March)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Everything is New Again

It was 2 degrees when I got on the train this morning. I hadn't looked, assuming the temperature drop (back to -1F) was coming tonight. My ears hurt even with my hat. Note to self, warmer hat tomorrow.

I'm back to work this week and had students for orientation yesterday morning. I felt for the ones joining us from California. They are not prepared, even knowing they are coming to a cold region. 

Yesterday my last Senior Fall Academy project was approved! This officially makes me three projects away from graduation.  I hope Sherri has something exciting in mind for us, her first graduates.

A month winter break before we are into the final knitting semester and so I have been working on projects that have nothing to do Academy or gift knitting or anything. First up is some Malabrigo Caracol in the Camaleon colorway. It is beautiful yarn and looks like stained glass.  I bought it on quick trip to Milwaukee with BrineyDeep.  The pattern I am using is Faucett, a Franklin Habit Knitty favorite. The stitch pattern is very easy and in larger yarns goes very very fast. It also gives you a nice long fabric, which was my goal here in order to get a decent size long cowl I can wrap several times.  I just finished Skein 1 last night. 

I also started a pair of socks on New Years Eve. This was a little more challenging than expected. My hands have changed in the last few years and I knew that even though it was STR Mediumweight (a remnant or some such from a grab bag), I would need to use a size 1 (2.0 mm) needle. Only, all of my stitch counts that I default to would be wrong.  

A stitch count that works with these needles, yarn, and my feet appear to be sorted out; I will know within a few more hours when I turn the heel.  We have candidates in at work for position this week and that has afforded a little extra knitting time.  

This week has not seen me knitting much on public transit. Everyone is piled in with their puffiest coats and I am readapting to routine. Perhaps next week if we get out of the single digits.  

In the interim, there will be a lot more lotion and moisturizer. My everything is dry. (I was going to say hands but it is so much more. My face, my legs, my hair -- all of it seems to be dry and static-y.)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Final Counts 2017

I gave myself a full week of rest following the end of Christmas/Academy knitting. My right wrist  had been regularly complaining after what I think was a hyper-extension on Cookie Day.*  I usually seem to end up with some kind of holiday related/knitting related injury in December every year. One year it was in the backs of my hands; another year my shoulder. Maybe if I don't have Academy for the back half of 2018.... 

And yes, for those curious, I'm twitchy. I don't know how to watch television or listen to an audiobook without knitting.  Never mind that there is plenty of cleaning to do around Chez Hedgehog that could be done with an audiobook. Or that I could sort the stash again, which also needs to be done, while watching a movie. 

I have read multiple print books, which is more than I usually get thru in a week these days.

Overall it was a productive knitting year: I completed 31 projects and have a few outstanding that will bleed into 2018. My first completed projects were Pussy Hats for the Women's March. I'm still proud of having been able to knit an entire one and then pop it onto AudioGirl's head *at* the March. She added ribbing later and has been wearing it all winter so far.

The last completed project was the Vitamarie Shawl that you just saw. Still waiting on Loopy Ewe to approve that, but I cannot see that one going wrong. There were multiple  charts in Franklin's pattern.

Favorite?  I don't know if there was one. I looked through my projects and thought Oh Of Course and then saw another and chose that one, or that one.

Overall Counts: 

Adult Hats: 7
Infant Hats: 3
Shawls: 9
Cowls: 1
Mitts/Gloves: 4
Toys: 1
Socks: 1
Toddler Sweater: 2
Scarf: 1
Earwarmers: 2

Yes, I'm stunned that I only knit one pair of socks too. I worked on two other pairs but never made much progress. I've lost a few pair this year due to blow outs or finding moth issues that I hadn't known about when I went through everything three times last year. So 2018 may see a few new pairs on the sock drawer.  I'll also be looking for "things to do with the remaining sock or slightly well worn sock yarn that I don't want to forget." I have a feeling a sock yarn blanket is in my future--to be knit for a few decades to come.

Wishing you a restful end to the year and that you start 2018 refreshed and ready to tackle all the challenges ahead. There will be many. And I hope we have enough yarn for all of them.

*Cookie Day -- somewhere between 8-10 women descend upon the kitchen of a Lutheran church who graciously rents it to us every year and bakes for 10 hours. The result this year was 2.5 8' tables of different kinds of cookies. Something like 24 different recipes. It's delicious.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


I would say Done and Dusted but there's still a lot of cat hair around Chez Hedgehog.

 However, my last Loopy Academy homework has been uploaded for the semester and I'm even a week early! I finished this on the 22nd and blocked it overnight. It was wrapped on the 23rd and gifted on the 24th and now lives with Sibling-the-Elder.

This was not my first Franklin Habit pattern but I believe it was the first time I'd knit one of his lace pieces. The charts are incredibly clear and the final product is really lovely.  I was a little skeptical on the anticipated measurements and added 4 repeats -- 2 on each side of center. I probably didn't need them -- the final measurements were something close to 3 feet wide and 7 feet long.

I know, not my best photo either.  It was about 1 a.m. at that point.  I used Loopy Ewe Solids; I'm still disappointed that they discontinued that yarn.  Several friends tried to "adopt" this project. Or at least reassured me that they really do like that color. 

Gypsy had been firmly of the opinion that the unblocked shawl was a cat pillow.  I had to wait a good half hour to move her and the while it was blocking, of course, she "helped." 

I was even feeling a little smug that I've knit over 10,000 yards this year -- 10805 according to KnitMeter.  Then I looked at my Ravelry Stash page and did some quick math to see how much I've brought into the house that hasn't yet been knit. It's somewhere in the 8000 yards range. So it's a net loss of about 2000 yards. Plus all of the yarn I bought which was knit and has left... 

Still, not sure I'm actually making progress here in using up stash.  

I'm on a knitting break for a few days. My hands have been complaining and so I'm going to do some stash sorting, make sure ends are woven in on a few things, sort out things that need to be gifted and maybe make some plans for 2018 knitting. One academy semester to go!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Begrudgingly Entrelac'd

My Loopy Academy Senior Year Entrelac project has been completed. I did enough to complete the yardage and bound off. 

It's a 5' scarf, entirely knit in entrelac, from a skein of BMFA Heavyweight Socks That Rock in the Hush colorway. I worked form a set of internet instructions that I ceremoniously threw away the minute the knitting was done, so no pattern link for this one. 

The yarn is brighter than my camera was cooperating with that day, the bottom picture is closest in terms of actual colors. It looks much like toothpaste.

And while I am now decent at backwards knitting and can successfully navigate entrelac without too much griping, it is not a technique I have any intention of doing again if I can possibly help it. Besides the fiddly nature of the the process, I don't like the finished product. It doesn't fit with my aesthetic at all and since I'm the one who will be knitting it....

I'm giving this just until Loopy approves my assignment (or one of you hops up and down and thinks it's beautiful and desperately wants it) until I rip it out.  By January 1, this is going back in the stash.  

[One more Loopy Academy project to finish for the semester. The shawl turned the halfway point last night and I'm far faster than I was. I have 9 straight repeats and then the decreases start! Send me about 3 spare weeks and I should be in great shape.] 

Trying to Stay Focused

Dear Self, Yes, your new wool showed up. Yes, you're super excited about your Final Semester of Loopy Academy and you have three rath...