Friday, December 23, 2011

What With the Goals...

Happy 2012! I hope you got all of your ends woven in from the holiday knitting and the New Year's champagne hasn't stayed around in the form of a bad headache.

So 2011 wasn't very successful on the goal front for me. Having knit up 13km in 2010, I set myself a goal of 20km in 2011. It was extremely optimistic considering the radical life changes in the past year (moved, new job, death in the family, new relationship, new pet--I go way off the charts when it comes to those stress counters). So it probably doesn't come a surprise that I didn't make it. The end of the December saw me make 7km.

The goal was to knit down stash and to clear things out. To some degree I have been working more from stash, certainly I've spent less money this year on yarn than in previous years. However, hitting that one cotton sale meant a huge amount more of stash that came in and adding some from fiber festivals and the occasional Loopy Ewe update has not helped.

I did, however, do some amazing things. I knit 18 pair of socks. Considering each pair takes me about 20 hours, that means I dedicated 360 hours or 15 full days just to making socks.  For those of you paying careful attention, why yes that count went up one from the last blog post.

Behold what I did over Christmas weekend: The Philosopher's Socks.  They're done and he wore them for New Year's Eve! He's shown them to two other knitters and already started mentioning that I've only knit him one pair of socks so far.  ;)  This is a step up from the not very subtle hints that I've never knitted for him.

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They are Blue Moon Fiber Arts Medium Weight in the CopperTree Colorway that I purchased at Stitches Midwest this year (with the Philosopher no less, though at the time the yarn wasn't necessarily destined for him). Knit on size 2 (2.75 mm) needles over 52 stitches. It's my standard vanilla sock pattern of 2x2 ribbing.

I'm debating various goals for 2012.  I did okay with the "knit a certain project every month" for about four months a couple of years ago, but then got waylaid.  I didn't do well with a certain amount of yardage.  I tried for the Stash Dash that the KnitGirllls did last summer and made it through about 3K. But a full time and very busy job and a full time and very busy boyfriend does keep getting in the way--even when that boyfriend is very understanding that I will bring my knitting along all the time and work has gotten used to my knitting through meetings.  So for now, here's the plan...

  • Work on the afghans that need to be completed here at Chez Hedgehog.
  • Work on the WIPs sitting around the house.
  • Knit more socks for other people.
  • Continue to mostly knit from stash.

2011 was the Year of Socks

Considering that two years ago, I was not a sock knitter, it's rather surprising to me that I've knit well over a dozen pair of socks this year. And actually, as I'm counting them  up, I'm realizing that my counts were off and I've knit even more than I thought I had.  


(1) I started off the year with a pair of Footsies, using up the rest of some very luscious Sanguine Gryphon Bugga. 

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 (2)Then came the Purple Pond Socks. These, I discovered after wearing a couple of times, have a dropped stitch on the sole. They're sitting in time out until I can get that fixed.

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(3) Next was Subtle Stripe Sunday. These socks are wearing like iron. I can't say enough good things about BMFA Medium Weight or my desire to own lots and lots more of it.

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(4) The Seafoam socks are rustic socks, made from wool from a farm in Viroqua WI and I wish I had more of it. Once I get through the rest of the Ewetopia Fiber Handdyeds, I'll have to email Kathryn and see if she can send me some more. Or I might just finally make myself sign up for the CSA. The only challenge with that is I think it comes undyed and I would rather rely on Kathryn's color sense.
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(5) The Ugly Work Socks are somewhere around AudioGirl's apartment. Hopefully she'll still dye them a different color for me. Otherwise I will have to round up some Koolaid and see what havoc I can wreak.
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(6) I started getting called out by friends about how many socks I might be knitting at any given time, hence the What New Socks? These were a birthday gift for M. Maybe I should have noticed the trend by then?

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(7) But when one is reflecting the Summer Sky above, how can you turn down pretty wool?
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(8,9,10) Besides, I wasn't only knitting for myself....AudioGirl got three pair of socks for her birthday in Indulgent Green, Corn for Cristy, and New Green. Not sure if she's broken them out as yet, it's not been a super cold winter as yet.

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(11) I finished Sock UFOs, wrapping up the Languishing Socks from the last Knitting in Public Day I did at La Crosse.
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(12) When I realized that maybe I already had a lot of green socks, I decided that a friend finishing her graduate degree could use the Do You Feel Lucky Socks. Fortunately, our foot size is the same.

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(13) And the Incredibly-Patient-Mother started getting something I know she'll wear---Pair Number 13 Basic Black Socks. For a long time, she's preferred simple black socks. She'll wear the other ones I make her around the house or to bed (always good, I inherited her cold extremities) but these might get some out of the house wear.

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(14) The friend who is getting the Rainbow Stripes still doesn't know they are for her, so I can't mention her name here.  And unfortunately the gifting will have to wait until the New Year because I just haven't/won't make it to the post office. These can't go out of style too soon though.

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(15) I took yarn and needles to Hawaii. Actually I took several projects to work on, not realizing how much driving I'd be doing on the trip. Next vacation, M drives.  I did get the Hawaii socks done though and I love how the blues do remind me of all the beautiful water we saw.

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(16) I like the impressionists, so as I struggled for a name for these socks, I thought about how they put me in mind of Waterlilies, hence they became the Monet Socks.
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(17) Finally, it's another pair of black socks for the Incredibly Patient Mother. These have been a slog. The yarn, same as Pair 13, is still great. There's nothing particularly wrong with these socks, they've just not been getting time and love and that means slow going. I'm nearly to the toe though and I'll get them out the door yet!

(Almost 18) There was another pair of socks that I started and those were for the Philosopher. Unfortunately, when I get to the heel of the first sock, I had him try it on and we determined that the stitch count was too high. Since these are his first experience with handmade socks, I decided to rip back and reknit. I am back to the heel nearly again of sock 1 but I'm not sure this will make it by the end of the year. We'll see.


And please note, this doesn't include two shawlettes, dog sweater, a two lb bath mat, a 1 lb red kitchen rug, the giant purple shawl (still owe you pics, will ask my sister to take at Christmas), a super fast scarf to wear when I would see the designer, and a hat that was part of a barter trade I'll have to tell you more about next week.

Hmmm, suddenly I feel better about my productivity this year. I'm a huge slouch compared to Elizabethan cottage knitters but at least that "spare" time is being turned into warm feet for me and others. Of the completed (or very nearly so), nine pairs went into my sock drawer and are in current rotation at Chez Hedgehog and 8 pair are/were gifts spread out across five people. If I stay at this rate, using all yarn that's is intended to be socks as such (rather than shawls) and not buying anymore yarn I'll use all that up in just over two years.









Friday, December 9, 2011

Challenges of a New Feline

Raising a new feline meant that I would need to adapt another cat to my knitting ways. The majority of the stash is already tucked away in bins that the cats cannot go frolic in, but I've been particularly lucky that Gypsy hasn't shown much interest in wool beyond occasionally wanting to sleep on it and/or chasing yarn while I'm actually working on it. Even that's pretty rare though, she's happy usually to curl up next to me and sleep while I'm knitting. 

Pyewacket, on the other hand, is a nearly four month old kitten who thinks all dangling things must be captured and destroyed.  Having a kitten LAUNCH herself at you and cling to your leg because you made the mistake of retying your sweater belt is a pointy-tipped surprise every time.  

In general though, Pye hasn't paid too much attention to the knitting. There's a lot of it around but most of it is just part of her world.  There seem to be two exceptions:

1) Wool Socks.  Pye really likes wool socks. She likes licking my feet when I'm wearing them (maybe she thinks that's my artificial fur?) and she carries them around when I've left a pair on the bedroom floor. I keep finding random socks in the middle of the bed, the livingroom floor, etc. She doesn't appear to be chewing on them, so no harm is being done but it's strange. 

2) The Lorna's Laces Solemate.  I don't know what Beth and team put into that yarn but my kitten thinks it's fantastic. I hadn't noticed that the skein was missing off the kitchen table until I was getting dressed the other morning and realized I could see yarn sticking out from under the bed.  Not leftovers, such as I occasionally hand over for feline cobwebbing around table legs, no, this was new yarn that was not yet wound into a ball. I fished it out from under the bed, gave thanks that they tied the skein in several places, twisted it back up and shoved it in a drawer while continuing to get dressed. [What? You mean there isn't yarn in your dressers? It was morning, I hadn't had coffee.] You can imagine, then, my surprise to come home 24 hours later and find the yarn, untwisted again, in the middle of the kitchen.  I hope she talked Gypsy into opening the drawer, I didn't think she's strong enough to do that by herself. 

I know that what needs to happen is I get all the WIPs caught up and tidied away and there isn't yarn laying all over Chez Hedgehog. I also get highly amused reading that last sentence. 

Me vs. Kitten, hopefully I win. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Found the Camera

One of the challenges of knit-blogging is that it's best done with photographs.  While podcasters the world over have an amazing capacity for telling us about a specific yarn, I find that when I'm scrolling through the RSS feeds, I still want to see pictures of finished objects--and that I'm clicking links those podcasters provide to see the ooh-shiny.

I realized about a week ago that I wasn't sure where my trusty little Canon was.  It wasn't in the current knitting pile, on the kitchen table, stashed in my work bag.... Finally, last night, I found it in a knitting bag that was stashed in my office.

I tend to avoid spending too much time in my office in the winter.  The wall that keeps it from being out of doors is at best lightly insulated, so it's always at least 10 degrees colder in there than in the rest of the apartment. When the option is to keep that door shut and keep the heater from running quite so much, I do try to take it, but that means if I've put something in there it's a bit like putting it in a dark hole.

But having found it means I could take pictures!

I do not have a picture of the black socks. Imagine black socks that look a lot like these here, only one sock is done and the second sock is about an inch from turning the heel.

I do have pictures of my socks from Hawaii!

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These are Blue Moon Fiber Arts in My Blue Heaven. My standard vanilla 2x2 rib, 48 stitches on size 2 needles. I made the legs a little longer than usual, mostly because I always end up with a fair chunk of leftovers.  This colorway striped a little but  They're still waiting to go into rotation but considering that most of my wool socks need to get a bath, that should be pretty soon.

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Fortunately, my stash of BMFA Mediumweight is not fully depleted yet, and the Coppertree socks are coming along nicely.

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I've got another inch or so on these before the heel flap, they need to be tall enough so that they reach the top of the Philosopher's boots, I'm told. Once I get through the heel flap, I'm going to stop and make him try them on so that if I'm dealing with too small or not right I can fix it before I get through another 1.5 socks. I know you can clearly see the gray stripe here but I promise it's much less obvious in person. I really like how this yarn is turning out.

I wish Tina at BMFA had a wish list feature on her site so I could park colorways that I know that I want. I have a lot of sock yarn to get through though before I need to be thinking about buying more. I'm so glad that yarn doesn't have an expiration date (as long as there are no moths).

And when I'm not knitting socks I'm working on the hat/mitts for a Northwestern Fan

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It's a Sockhead hat made out of The Loopy Ewe Solid series  in the Purple colorway. The base is nice, though I was surprised that there isn't nylon in it. It feels like a blend. I haven't washed the hat yet so maybe it will soften up a little more. It's long enough he should be able to flip up over his ears twice to keep warm in our chilly Decembers.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Reduced to Bullet Points

Happy After-Thanksgiving!! And for the curious, I have managed to resist the very excellent sales that all of the various yarn companies and stores have been offering. It's very very difficult, let me tell you. 30% of here, free shipping there, and so on and so forth. 

Today is all about bullet points because a) I have no pictures and b) I need to write out lists to get my head on straight. 
  • Deadline Knitting: 
    • I agreed to knit a blanket strip for a cousin who is getting married. This is done in bulky wool so it really just requires an evening or two with a few movies or TV shows.  The Philosopher and I have started watching Warehouse 13. That deadline is coming up super fast so that should go on the needles very soon. 
  • What I really Should be Knitting: 
    • Philosopher's Belt. He's been waiting so patiently. 
    • One of the two afghans that are lurking half finished around the living room. I will gain a lot of yarn storage space by finishing them, though I'll have to find somewhere to put finished blankets. Might give one of them away just from defensive blanket storage. 
    • Rust and Stone Cardigan. All it needs is ribbing and sleeves. I've been actively avoiding it, mostly because knitting it requires thinking.  
    • Squish Cowl. If I'd just giving it one good evening of knitting it'd be done already. There was snow this morning, I'm going to need cowls very soon.  
  • Currently and actively on the needles
    • Hat and Mitts for Klock. We're swapping, he's getting woolly things, I'm getting mead. 
    • Socks for the Philosopher. I cast on some really beautiful BMFA in Coppertree and it's blending beautifully. Surprisingly it isn't striping.  I'm starting to run low on how much BMFA Medium Weight is in my stash. I'm trying to be strong and work through other sock yarn before going nuts on the Blue Moon site again but it's so hard. The yarn is so lovely. 
    • Pair #16--Black Socks knit in approximately the Incredibly Patient Mother size. First sock finally got finished (we'll discuss the disaster that was the first toe some other time) and I'll cast on sock 2 on my way to dinner tonight.  
  • I still owe you pictures of
    • The Glowing Mystery Shawl. It's done, blocked, and has been worn a couple of times. I still think triangular shawlettes are a little odd as scarves but since I can't figure out what else to do with them, I'll wear them.  
    • The Socks I knit in Hawaii. Nothing too exciting about them, my usual 2x2 rib pattern. But they're pretty....
    • Hawaii. Right, there was a vacation wasn't there. 
    • The Big Purple Shawl. I've been wearing it a fair amount and people love the color. I love how warm it is and the fact that it loops all the way around and I can tie it in the front of me. If I can figure out how to persuade myself through another one, it will be a good thing. 
  • New Stash
    • I did get a skein of the new Lorna's Laces Solemate, which is supposed to keep your feet both warm and cool, depending on the weather. It's very soft and I almost have the sense it will be drapey, which isn't the best for socks but we'll see how it knits up.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feline Update: Cuteness and Cones

My brain power over the past month has been limited pretty much to 2x2 rib, garter, and stockinette. Fortunately, those three things can pretty regularly turn into a pair of socks. Here's the only knitting picture I have for you at the moment.

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Monet Socks
Size: 8.5
Knitted on: Size 0 needles
From: Intentions Yarn, Clarity
Thoughts: The yarn was splitty and I was done with these socks long before I actually finished them.

Since that's all the knitting, you'll have to bear with me while I talk about my cats for the next couple hundred words. 

First the good news: I adopted a new kitten! A friend of mine has been on the lookout for me for about six months now, his mother often ends up with stray cats who need a good home and I indicated interest in a female, preferably no more than two years old. When she rounded up a batch of kittens (and the mama), and when those kittens came to Chicago while his mom was out of town, it was an opportunity not to be missed. 

There were four kittens: two mostly orange, white, and light brown tabbies and two orange and black handpaints. All were female and despite a polydactyl heritage, everyone had the normal number of toes. Apparently there's some new genes in the bloodline.  In visiting with the kittens the Philosopher and I identified "The Shy One," "The Starter Kitten," "The Worried One," and "Pumpkin." I tried to imagine which one would be the most appropriate with the gray princess who already has shed all over everything I own. 

Ultimately, I decided on "The Worried One."  She was the second biggest of the group.  Before we left her sisters behind, she was dubbed Pyewacket

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We got a lift home and introduced her to Gypsy, who was nonplussed and some hissing ensued. 

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Pyewacket spent the first night in the bathroom, the first time she'd ever been alone. She also had to spend the next day in the bathroom while I was at work--mostly because I wasn't sure she was making the transition to pine litter and I really didn't want to come home to Crouching Gypsy, Hidden Pye AND kitten potty accidents on carpeting. The sound of pitiful meowing and a small black foot reaching under the bathroom door was one of the saddest things I've had to deal with in a long time. Gypsy sat outside the bathroom, keeping watch.

Fortunately, within about 72 hours the hissing had considerably decreased, Gypsy seemed rather more accepting of the bouncing black furball, and Pyewacket had figured out where the litter box was!

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Due to a death in the family, the Philosopher spent the weekend with the two of them and he texted pictures of cats snuggling, so I'm encouraged that everyone will do just fine. She's growing like a weed, I noticed already that she is bigger than when I took these photos.

But that brings us to last night and the bad news, when I flipped Gypsy over to rub her belly and found a rather large cut on her back inner thigh. It wasn't bleeding but it was raw, so at 9:30 p.m. it was off to the Emergency Vet, where she got three stitches and enough sedation to make her really loopy and snuggly. She also went nose first into my food when we got home; she's not usually quite that brazen.

Gypsy is doing just fine, she's not in pain from what I can tell, she's eating, moving around, not favoring the leg at all. Antibiotics this morning were no fun and we get to repeat that every day for the rest of the week but I'll take that over the fear that there's something wrong with my cat. I'm not sure where the cut came from, we can't find any blood in the apartment and it doesn't appear to be from tussling with Pye--they're still just fine. Gypsy had been cleaning it assiduously so hopefully we just need to wait for time to heal.

That, however, also means she's wearing a cone (or was when I left the house this morning, I assume she didn't figure out how to take it off yet).

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She's very put upon and really really wants her ears scratched.

**Cat Info cross posted to Hedgehog Librarian 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dear Self: Don't Feel Guilty

Of late, everything has been dog piled on and it's showing. I'm stretched thinner and thinner, which sends me off in fits of fury or tears a lot more easily. Every time that I sit down when I'm not actively having to get something done, I'm falling asleep.

As you can imagine, this means there's not been a whole lot of knitting progress at Chez Hedgehog. I keep telling myself that I shouldn't feel guilty about this, that I have a lot going on and it's okay to not kill myself working on a craft project that is supposed to be my relaxing hobby when I'm already tired. It's hard though.

One must occasionally admit unrealistic expectations, or at least temper your expectations when change comes, which it always does and will.

I did sit down the other day and break out the large purple shawl.  I've gotten a couple of podcasts back into it and I have made some progress, I'm finally on the third skein of Lorna's Laces.  The Philosopher claims it's a large triangular blanket, not a shawl. I disagree.  I'll be warm in it though.  It's going with me to a football game today, Northwestern is playing and it's bright purple. If I can just find a seat (away game, we'll be at a pub), I might be able to whack out a good chunk of skein 3.

The Philosopher also built me a Roku box for my birthday!! It's an Apple Mini loaded with Plex Online software. I can stream Hulu, YouTube, Netflix and lots of other things on it.  My favorite find thus far though was PBS.  I can now stream Antique Roadshow! I may never get up from the couch ever again.  I'm absolutely thrilled.

I did finish the first of the Monet Socks...did it make it home from work? Let me go rummage in my work bag.

*Rummaging*



 Ah-ha! Success.  This got finished during a phone meeting and I had left it at work. Sock 2 has about six rows done, though now that I've brought home the 9" circular needle, it's a smidge more portable. Might take that to the pub as well.  I might finish the shawl, you know. I only have another 100 or so rows....

Then there's the sweater. I made a huge amount of progress on it when I was in New York last month and if memory serves I'm ready to start the ribbing on the back before continuing the points on the front.  It continues to be a great pattern and fits well, but it requires paying attention, which is why it hasn't seen much love since I got back. I'm thinking about taking it on my trip to Hawaii next week, if I can get down to sleeves before then.

 
I really like the slipped stitch detail running up each side that is in place of a side seam. It still looks seamed but it's all one piece.  It also is surprisingly more apparent in photos than I feel like it is in real life.  I'll be asking the Philosopher to take some photos of me in it when I'm done.

Several other things on the needles, nothing getting much love.  But I'm getting back to my knitting without feeling guilty about it.  At least I'm not hurting the wool's feelings. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rust and Stone (or Cake) Sweater: Part 1

I got permission to blog about the sweater, so I can show you how things are going!

It's a top down cardigan design, with first sweater tabs cast on and then the back and shoulders and fronts knit from there. It took me a couple of readings through the pattern to really understand what was going on but once I'd done that--things have been going quite smoothly.

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That's where I'd gotten to at the end of the first skein of yarn, which is about 150 yards of Plum Cake Elizabeth Bennet Yarn Love merino/silk/bamboo. I'd just gotten past splitting the sleeves onto spare needles (I'd ended up buying way too many size 2 circulars but I suppose eventually I'll be using them all.) and was starting down back shaping and increases in the front.

It was rather gratifying to get the sleeves onto their own needles and get to actually try the sweater on as though it was clothing:

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I will of course be making the sleeves but it's a cute cap sleeve right here...

Now I'm most of the way through another skein and 20 rows from being done with the back shaping.

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As you can see a little clearer in this picture, there's a mock seam running down the side created by slipped stitches.

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The yarn isn't pooling too much, it created a rather strange X shape, sort of like houndstooth in the swatch and I was hoping that would appear here. Instead I'm getting some miscellaneous little stripes. The yarn is also a little more splitty than I'd like and what I'd recommend for this project. I did end up with a couple of extra stitches when I was doing the back increases but those seemed to be user error rather than an issue with the pattern numbers.  I'm going to have a lot of ends to weave in once this is done and blocked.

Gypsy thinks I should be paying more attention to her.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In the Planning Stages....

News! I finally broke the 5K mark on how much I've knit this year! Considering last year I knit 13K and we're in September and I don't have a lot of Christmas knitting on the needles, I really don't think the 20K this year is going to happen. That makes me a little sad, I really did want to get a lot of stash used up and instead, as is more usual, I added a ton of stash and didn't use much up. But it's my hobby and I'm using yarn that I bought and it's cheaper than many hobbies I could have....

I spent over an hour winding yarn the other evening for projects that should be in the queue in the near future. I also went through some of the stash and pulled out an entire bin of sock yarn that should be wound or pulled from when next I'm needing some socks to knit. That bin is full, so you'll get to see lots more socks.  Also, now that I know approximately how long a couple of other people's feet are, I can just make socks longer if I choose so they'll get some new socks as well.

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So, what's in here?

The large grey ball and the darker blue at the bottom are both skeins of Eco Wool. I want to make city shawls out of them, one for myself and one as a very belated gift for a friend. Those, I recall from last year's marathon, take about six hours each to make. Very manageable over a weekend with a television or during a football game at a friend's house. (Game is easily 3 hours, plus tailgating time!)

The smaller gray ball is alpaca that needs to turn into a scarf/shawl.

The three skeins of green/aqua yarn are for me. I decided that when I saw the sale (50%) that I wanted a matching hat and scarf set. If there is enough, I'll be doing mittens as well, might be striping that with some of the leftover black yarn from the #13 socks--it's all Cascade Heritage 150 if I don't have quite enough yarn. I wear a black wool coat or a white down coat in the winter, so it's time for some bright and cheerful accessories.

The unwound skein is from Stitches. That will hopefully turn into a scarf for the Philosopher if I can get things rolling. Underneath that and nearly hidden is a skein of dark blue Bugga that I'd like to turn into socks.  There are also two skeins of STR in there--the fall colors are for the Philosopher and the blue will be for me or for someone near and dear, haven't decided yet.  Finally is the light gray sock yarn which is Three Irish Girls Adorn. Again, probably socks for me.

Oh right--that purple skein. That's the final skein for the purple blob of a shawl that I keep working on. I'll get back to that just as soon as I get through the sweater that I'm on deadline for....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Magic Number 13

I finished two pair of socks over the weekend!!  Huzzah! Now I've officially completed 13 pair this year, and of course there's already another pair on the needles--soon to be 2.

First up, I redid the toe on Sock #2 of the Rainbow Stripe socks, so now they'll fit the recipient's feet. I just need to pop them in the mail to her.

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I like how the legs turned out fairly similar--with big pink circles coiling down the leg. The KPPPM is really nice and sturdy and I think will be very long lasting socks. I really must knit some of it up for myself as socks--one of these days.

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I also got the toe of Sock #2 on the Basic Black Socks done.  Those were handed over immediately (complete with cat fur) to the Incredibly Patient Mother, who was up visiting. Everyone will have warm feet this winter, darn it! (Well, maybe not so much on the darning, but I'm sure I"ll end up having to learn how.)

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No doubt you're wondering if I'll ever get tired of 2x2 rib vanilla socks.  Honestly, I'm not bored with it yet.  Every now and then I think about working on a lace pattern on socks and perhaps at some point when I have a little more time and brain  power, I will. For now, though, I'm getting to use delicious yarn and no one who has received socks has heaved a deep sigh of "If only they were lace socks...." Of course, people who complain about such things might not be recipients in the future.

The blue yarn that I showed you on the 8th has indeed been cast on but was left at work so that I have work knitting for some upcoming long meetings that I'll  be more than able to knit through. In the interim I have a lot of things to finish before the weather truly starts getting cold rather than just flirting with cool nights.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pay No Attention to the Project Behind the Curtain

There's lots and lots of knitting happening over here at Chez Hedgehog, but unfortunately I can't share with with you. I'm test knitting the Rust and Stone Cardigan and at the moment I don't have permission to show it to you all. I think once it's done I can blog in detail.

I'm using

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It's Yarn Love in the Plum Cake colorway of Elizabeth Bennet that I purchased from Sonny and Shear. My mom had given me a gift certificate and I fell down hard at the idea of yarn named after the heroine of one of my absolute favorite books.

It's an unusual choice for me--it's pale yellow and I don't think I actually own any other yellow clothing. If I do, I've forgotten about it. It's also partially bamboo and silk, which means it's slippery! I've dropped stitches a couple of times to a lot of swearing.

The sweater is going well though, I think. I will be pushing really hard to make the deadline (two weeks away) but I have a trip to NY between now and then that should give me some airport/plane knitting time.  It's a point where I can try it on though, which is great because I feel like I'm actually making clothing, not just randomly knitting and praying.  I did have to go down a needle size to get gauge.

We'll see how it all turns out, I'm optimistic.  AudioGirl had been threatening to make me knit a sweater to when this came up, I figured it was worth jumping in.

More pictures once I have permission!!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Because You Had a Bad Day...

Earworm for Blog post title.

I had a rough day recently at work. It was extra long at the end of a long week and I kind of limped out of work only to find out that the plans I was expecting for the evening were on a different day (not my fault, the email had the right date listed but then referred later to the following week). I stumbled into Loopy looking for a little pick me up. 

Fortunately, Veronik Avery has my back. Licking my wounds I emerged from the depths of the Loopy Sock/Lace Weight Room bearing enough fingering weight for a sweater.  It's the Boreale in Ruby Wine and it's lovely. I hope I can get to it this fall because it's just perfect for a pretty and very warm sweater.  With the temperatures in the 50s at nights and in the 60s during the days, I'm going to need those very soon. 

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Miscellany

I seem to be totally incapable of project monogamy, fortunately that's considered completely acceptable among knitters. No one seems to find it too inappropriate that I bounce from project to project, although they might just be too polite to mention it.

The Big Purple Shawl, also known as what I'll be wearing to Northwestern Football Game Tailgates the instant it gets finished, is coming along nicely.  I have just over a skein left to go. If I actually gave it some serious knitting time, it would, of course, get done much faster. I'm doubtful that this will occur before October and the first homegame is Saturday, but there will certainly be other opportunities.

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I have made some progress on the Philosopher's Belt. The challenge with that is needing to crochet yarn, then knit, then wonder if I've made any progress, then crochet yarn, then knit... Even though it's only 9 stitches per row, it seems to be taking forever. AudioGirl suggested running a quick single crochet along the edge once I'm done to keep it from stretching--which was a great idea. I just have to get it done and blocked.

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And finally, I introduce to you the first of the Bunny Nuggets.  When the Philosopher had said he wanted to learn to knit, it was with the intention of making amigurumi for friends having offspring. As I don't crochet, this meant we were knitting and that meant Rebecca Danger. I liked the idea of a Bunny Nugget to start things off.

Now, Rebecca's a fan of Magic Loop. This is all well and good if you know how to do it. For those of us who taught ourselves via video about 30 seconds before teaching the Philosopher, it was just a touch of spontaneous learning.  I'm still not convinced to give up my beloved DPNs (even after they stabbed me) but I can at least get through the technique as needed.

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My nugget is the smaller red one. That's just a smidge of leftover sock yarn from the socks that I knit during the last winter olympics.  We were going through my leftovers hatbox and I kept pulling out skeins and saying "Oh, this is from this event, this I was knitting during that, this is from another trip...."  I think it might have been a little intimidating for someone who was trying to pick out yarn to knit into a small stuffed animal.

The Philosopher made the larger nugget. That's Filatura Lanarota Chaco that I bought at Smiley's in New York. AudioGirl knit me a cowl out of it at one point.  I've still got a few skeins of the purple around here.

I opted for I-cord ears rather than the DPN ears I think she recommended?  The pattern is well written and we made it through in one afternoon/evening.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Slew of Sock Knitting

When I am avoiding other projects, I tend to sneak back to my sock knitting. While this doesn't get a whole lot of bigger knitting done, it does mean that I eventually end up with some socks that will go in the gift box for Christmas.

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The Rainbow Stripes look done--but they're not.  I have cast off two toes of socks and for all intents and purposes I have two socks.  However, take a slightly closer look when I lay Sock 1 on top of Sock 2.

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Yup--it's about an inch shorter.  I'm not sure how I thought that it would fit the size person it's supposed to be fitting, but it's obviously too small. So I finished the second sock, I'll rip out the toe, and I'll round up a test foot in the right size before these go to their new owner.  New thing with these socks--I've discovered I really like a quick 3 needle bind off for the toe. I decreased down to 8 stitches, whipped through the bind off and tada! I will also be getting feedback about the toe, if the ridge is uncomfortable.  

And then there's Pair Number 13--the Basic Black Socks that will go to an incredibly patient mother who has been waiting a long time for black socks.  While I won't call these unlucky socks, I will just mention that I have been known to wear the knitting bag attached to my belt loop and when one runs for a bus, dashes on last second, and slams bodily into a seat--the very sharp needles tend to poke through the fabric of the bag and into one's clothing and skin in the rump area. There was some yelping. No worries, my tetanus shots are current, cleaning was promptly administered, as was Neosporin. I'm still wearing a large bandaid but that's more obliviousness about taking it off than anything else. 

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Another inch and a half and I can start the toe of Sock 2.  I'm really hoping to have these done before she comes to visit next week. I'd love to send her home with a fresh pair of wool socks. :)  These are being knit out of the Cascade Heritage and I really think I should get some more once I've used up a few of the skeins cluttering up Chez Hedgehog. It makes very warm and squishy but wearable feeling socks. I'm not worried that these will develop holes their first time out.

That's all on the sock front right now but don't worry...here's what's coming once these are done:

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stitches Midwest Market

The Philosopher and I traipsed out to Schaumburg for an afternoon at the Stitches Midwest Marketplace. We wandered up and down the aisles, taking in all the wools and sights.

He was fascinated with
  • Square needles--to the point he ended up getting a set from the Kollage people. 
  • Spinning wheels and drop spindles
  • Needle felting (but he didn't want to try it)
  • Habu Textiles--especially the stainless steel blend yarns.
I was more focused on a couple of dyers I knew, a couple I didn't, and the one booth that had BMFA....

This was my first encounter with Lisa Souza and I hope it won't be my last. I've been hearing about Lisa Souza yarns since I started listening to Lime and Violet but had only seen an example of her yarns in person once at a friend's house.  Now, here I was, faced with an entire booth of gorgeous yarn! How does one possibly choose?  

Well, one could be sneaky and pay attention to the boyfriend who is tagging along and who picks up a skein and mentions that it's awfully pretty and very soft. One might remember a pattern one has been meaning to knit up for said boyfriend, maybe.... 

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Lisa and her husband were minding their booth and they were just lovely to chat with. She has beautiful colors and amazing yarn bases. I would definitely enjoy getting more yarn from her.  

Then there was Fiber Optic's booth. I'd run into Kimber's booth in March and ended up the WendyKnit's Mystery KAL out of a skein of her vibrant wool. I still haven't blocked it, which is why you haven't seen the final product yet.  It's in the "block and gift" pile in the living room. It's gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but I don't wear little scarves...

I restrained myself, I only bought two skeins: 

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Aren't they shiny? The bright blue is called Catamaran and the darker is Midnight. In natural bright sunlight, they are difficult to look at they are so vibrant.  I'm REALLY looking forward to knitting these up, though I don't really have a plan for them. I think the Midnight I might do a two skein shawl--do the garter/stockinette plain part in black and then add this on the edge.  The Catamaran might just get put into a vase and called art. 

Finally, in the last aisle, I came across the Fold's booth. Now, I'd heard of the Fold, a shop here in Illinois that I've yet to visit though it doesn't appear to be too far away.  And she had the only BMFA that I spotted in the entire event. She had Raven Clan even--so the Philosopher and I could look at how different bases took the dyes differently and he could it see it in it's yarn state (he's seen the shawl my sister made me).  

While I continued to be enamored of all the Raven Clan, I succumbed only to a skein of BMFA Medium Weight, for I am weak in the face of oooh so squishy socks.  

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It's called Coppertree and it's everything I picture in fall: a burnt orange, greens and tones of brown.  It's absolutely lovely.  

While I was there, I did get to try out the Signature Needles that have been the hot item on nearly all of the knitting blogs I read/videocasts and podcasts that I subscribe to at present. I really liked the stiletto tips and the needles are very nice. I'm not sure they'd speed up my knitting that much but I definitely liked them. I was slightly disgruntled by the woman sitting at the booth talking about the needles with customers. She was talking about needle length and how a woman she'd seen earlier in the day had a huge red patch on the pinky side of her palm from where the needle was rubbing her hand. I was mid sock so I did a few stitches, looked down at my hands, did a few more stitches and then mentioned that I was surprised it was on the outside, as my needles hit around the base of my thumb.  The woman watched me knit for about 45 seconds and then said, quasi-apologetically, that I knit weirdly.  I'm sure she didn't mean it insultingly but it seems like there could have been a better way to phrase that.  

I did do some other buying while at the wool fest but it's for other people, so unfortunately I can't share it with you.  

72 Hours-- Ish

We have reached the period of the calendar year where I am deeply in denial of deadlines, full on avoidance, and procrastination. Th...