Friday, June 20, 2014

Thunk

That is the sound of my knitting progress and mojo and everything else hitting a solid wall. As I ramp up for a major national conference with all of it's sundry obligations that multiply like hangers from the dry cleaners, my knitting has just tanked. It doesn't help that the past two days (2!!) I managed to commute to and from work with no knitting. Yes, I had knitting in my office, but I only barely touched those socks. I did get through the heel of Sock 1 and I picked up gusset stitches today. Otherwise, I've not really knit much this week.

Beyond the challenges of various other pulls on my time--and the fact I still haven't figured out how to touch type and knit simultaneously (maybe I should invest in Dragon software for blogging?)  much of my knitting at the moment requires at least a little brain power. The mitts need thumbs, the new Philosopher scarf requires that I count to 8, the sweater sleeve is fiddly.  None of these are particularly hard, but neither are they entirely mindless churning away of stitches.

On one hand, my thought is "hey, a reason to start another new knitting project!" while the other hand is applying a gentle smack to the forehead of "if you'd just do x, you'd (a) finish a project or (b) get to where you could mindless knit again"  And as right now I don't think I have capacity for much in the way of "new" I'm hoping that I can at least get past a stumbling block in one of the other projects here shortly.

I will have to figure out something new to knit, however.  That conference, so full of meetings, should be prime knitting time. At least, during those portions where I'm not actively speaking and tweeting. I'm guessing that I might just cast on 2 pair of socks and take those. At least that won't involve much thinking, but it does mean I have to wind yarn.  One more thing to add to the to-do list for the next few days...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Stormy Weather Steam

This project had started to be socks but then I changed my mind, grabbed some new needles from Loopy downtown, and then worked on it fairly passively. For....two weeks. It went much faster than I expected.

IMG_7126

It generally follows the Age of Brass and Steam pattern. As in, I used the increases and the eyelet rows and kind of faked everything else. I knit until the center matched the length of the first Brass and Steam triangle I knit him approximately matched, did an eyelet row and bound off.  I figure it's about 70% of the yarn in the skein (no scale) so I'm calling it nearly 300 yards.

IMG_7120 (2)

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Solemate and this is the first time I knit with this yarn. It's only 55% merino, the rest is Rayon and Nylon but it's supposed to keep your feet at an even temperature, if you're wearing socks. It's extremely drapey on larger needles.  I was going to knit this on size 0 (2.0mm) needles as memory serves and it's on size 5 (3.75mm) needles instead.

IMG_7125

While from a distance it looks gray, there are a lot of  subtle blue/purple/green tints to the yarn. Mostly purple.  The Philosopher is already concerned that one of his friends may try to steal it, as it's exactly one of her favorite colors.

With this project, I'm at 1597 yards out of the 5468 that I'm aiming for by the end of summer. No, the stash I added yesterday doesn't count against me. It probably should but I'm not sure that I can knit *that* fast. So I'm currently at 29%.  Not too shabby for the end of the 3rd week. I have another 7.5 weeks to go so this puts me right on track. Of course, I'm also getting close to that part where I don't have projects that are nearly done to help bump up my yardage quickly.  Must get those sweaters finished...


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

While I can't give you a definitive answer on nature, I can give you a definitive answer on felines, at least those at Chez Hedgehog. They don't like vacuums but they're learning to co-exist with Finnbar the Roomba. We've got a couple of artificial walls that go with it and Pye and Gypsy have figured out pretty quickly that if they stay outside the room where Finnbar is, he can't get to them.  I brought Finn in to do our home office today and they sat just outside and watched. As soon as his "I'm done" music finished, Pye was in here, demanding to be petted.

But nature must be in my stash because no sooner had I patted myself on the back regarding the new dents I was making than Webs put up one incredible offer: Cascade yarn, already on clearance, at a further 15% off.  I did some math and realized I could get more than enough yarn for 2 sweaters and a shawl for less than what a sweater along would regularly cost.  

IMG_7094 (2)

First up is a bulky weight. The color is slightly more gray than it's rendering here on my monitor.  I've been meaning to make the Owls Sweater by Kate Davies for a while but didn't have enough bulky weight yarn. I did the math and bought 8 skeins of Cascade 128, which should also give me enough to make another City Shawl .  I have two of those already and have made quite a few more.  It's a great quick knit. 

Second is some classic Cascade 220.  I picked this up because it's Tweed.  

IMG_7095

That wonderful black brown just yells academia to me and I have various visions of a structured sweater.  Not sure what pattern, it might have to marinate a few years first, but with 8 skeins of this as well, I should have plenty of options.

Of course, there comes the question of storing all of this wool. Fortunately, my current sweaters in progress continue apace and AudioGirl and I are going to be discussing her taking some of my non-wool yarn out of the stash next week. Plenty of room.  At least, so I keep telling myself. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sock Show Thursday: Desk the Second

A part of me wishes I had a more brilliant name than "the second pair of socks that lives on my desk at work" for this pair though it's true. This yarn is so wonderfully bright, though, it deserves better. What do you think I should call them?

2014-06-12 15-33-42.483

With the Emergency Work Socks done, I needed another project for meetings and, as the swift and ballwinder aren't set up right now, I needed something easily handwound. Enter the last two skeins of KPPPM destined to become socks. There is still another 5 skeins in my stash but they are in a blueberry kind of color and I'm hoping to make something larger.

I did have to take these home once, but only because I had a meeting Monday morning that was knittable. Still, where the EWS seemed to slowly chug, these are quickly churning. I'm already to the heel of the first sock. On size 0 (2.0mm) needles no less! Size 0 and "fast" are not words I usually use together unless the modifer "not" is also nearby.

2014-06-12 15-32-54.120

Another few rows and it will be gusset time.

I love the colorway, which I picked up from Nina, a shop here in Chicago last winter.  It's bright without entirely searing your retinas and there are periodic pops of an unexpected color (e.g. 1--just 1 stitch in a very clear yellow. Appropriate to the pallet but only one stitch there) to keep me entertained.  (Anyone who just sighed bemusedly that I'm entertained by pops of color gets taken off the handknits list...)

My commuting knitting has mostly been on a scarf for the Philosopher that you haven't seen yet. It's about 3/4th of the way done. Or, 3/4ths of the way until I'm sick of it. One of the two...

Stash dash continues.  I'm at 1188 meters, so slightly more than 20% but with still quite a ways to go. I dug out the Brunette's mitts the other day and those only need thumbs, so I'm hoping to make progress on those very soon. Every couple hundred meters counts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Suspicious Squishy Packages

It's a good thing that the sweaters that I'm knitting are going quickly.

IMG_7093

Webs (yarn.com) had an extra 15% off of their clearance Cascade. That's 16 skeins of yarn, enough for 2 sweaters and a shawl if I counted accurately.  Pictures when I'm home during daylight hours.

If  you missed that sale, they have another one this week on a different brand of yarn. I already deleted the blog post but I'm sure you could find it. Nothing like a little extra temptation of "it was on clearance" AND another 15% off...

I really hope to get these knit up sooner than 5 years from now though. We shall see.


Neverending Scarf...No wait, I'm done.

This was a ridiculously long project. 480 yards cotton that seemed to be one of those infinite amounts quite a few times...

Behold:
IMG_7081 (2)

It is finally finished, blocked, and actually dry and folded up waiting to go into the gift bin.

IMG_7089

It was long enough that I broke out one of the new blocking mats that I got for Christmas. [Just as soon as the Philosopher and I get all of our stuff in the dining room sorted again, I need to put all of them down and block all of my shawls.]

I still find the color shifts on the pink end too abrupt for my liking.

IMG_7082 (2)

But the red and brown faded together nicely

Here's a more red look
IMG_7087

And then into the browns

IMG_7088

And this is what I had left. Something around 10 yards? I could have knit a few more rows but I didn't feel like stretching it when I got to the garter rib ending and I figure a few yards leftover don't actually hurt anything.

IMG_7090

The pattern, Upstairs by Wollschnegge, was easily and clearly written. This can be memorized in a few repeats.  I left stitch markers in mostly to improve my semi-autopilot knitting.  I only did 39 stitches, if I knit it again [shudder] I might made it one more repeat wider.

Sweater body is almost done again, I'm on the ribbing and new socks to show you tomorrow!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Worsted Weight Dents...

With summer temperatures has come determination to make a couple of sweaters knit in worsted weight dents in the stash.  The Filatura yarn has only been marinating for about a year, but the Cascade has been sitting in the stash for five years. How time does readily fly.  I bought it from a Webs Anniversary Sale 5 years ago, which means it was their 35th anniversary, if I have my numbers from this year correct and it really has sat in there long enough.  Besides, if I could empty out one of the large bins, I could put the leftover sock yarn in there rather than having 2 smaller bins of leftover sock yarn.

I did see one pattern earlier this spring while the Incredibly Patient Mother and I were at YarnCon that looked as though it would make a nice scarf of leftovers but that will involve finishing a couple of other things first (a) and (b) sorting a few skeins of sock yarn together so it doesn't look entirely haphazard. 

Where was I? Oh, right, sweaters. 

I'm working through the two Tin Can Knits sweaters from The Simple Collection. They are excellent oatmeal knitting, as I think I've said before, clear directions, straight forward swathes of stockinette with a little bit of detail for interest.  

This is how Flax looked earlier this week.  Sadly, it doesn't look like this anymore.  
IMG_7066

I finished this first cuff, which I'm modifying from the pattern. After knitting 8" of straight, I switched to 1x1 ribbing for everywhere except the garter pattern running down the sleeve. Note the very helpful feline standing on the needle for me. 

IMG_7073

IMG_7071

I think it's giving it a better look to the finish, less of a poof in the transition to ribbing.  I'll have 5.5" of ribbing on each sleeve. 

However, the sweater isn't designed with any shaping. While that'll be fine for small children, should I make the pattern again and/or for the Philosopher--who doesn't wear sweaters and has flatly stated that he prefer I not spend my time knitting a sweater he knows he won't wear (though he continues to appreciate other handknit accessories)--I'd like a smidge of shaping. So on Tuesday night I ripped back to 3" below the underarm (I'm borrowing from another worsted weight raglan sweater pattern that was sitting around Chez Hedgehog) and added the first round of decreases. I plan to bring it down about 4 inches and then back out a bit for the ribbing, and do longer ribbing. 1.5 inch of ribbing was already getting sadly stretched out and I've only tried the sweater on once.

Please note, this is not an error in the pattern, it continues to be an excellent pattern. I just wanted something that at least alluded to a waist.  The sweater looked pretty good on me even without the shaping, so I expect it to look even better this way.  Of course, it means I'm reknitting 2.5 skeins, but fortunately on size 8 needles that goes pretty fast.  It'll be a good sweater for the fall when the weather has just gotten chilly and I need a warm barrier, but not yet my winter coat, which I'll be avoiding as long as possible this year.

Sweater 2:
IMG_7059

I'm also working on the Harvest pattern, which is their cardigan.  I'm on my second skein of 220 in this nice blue colorway and I've divided for the sleeves.  The garter collar is nice.

IMG_7062

It's a little large to take to work, so it's not getting as much work on it as I'd like. I think the body will take another 1-2 skeins and each sleeve will be less than one, so I'll have some yarn left over. I'd originally bought 8 skeins each of two different colorways and as I'm not knitting heavily cabled sweaters, the wool is going a fairly long way. It's not superwash though so I need to sort out what I can make and to whom I can give it as anything made will need to be hand washed.

What have you made of worsted weight only-a-couple-skeins-in-this-color? My last go through the worsted weight yarn turned it into a giant log cabin blanket that just came back from the dry cleaners--too much of a mix of superwash and non-superwash and where on earth would I dry it to try and wash it at home. I'm not sure I want to make another one, though it's an option if someone wants blue/green/brown pillow covers (not quite enough for a lap blanket if I'm counting skeins in my head correctly).

Anyway, dents in the stash are coming along nicely.




Thursday, June 5, 2014

Magic Knitting Elves (Or lack thereof)

I keep hoping that if I leave this scarf out somewhere that magical knitting elves will appear and finish it up.  Sadly, the Philosopher and the cats have not taken the hint and done a few rows for me, so I'm still only halfway through the brown section.

IMG_7037

I do like this half of the scarf much better than the first half. Part of that is probably the fact that I looked at the light pink half in unfinished shawl giving me guilt form for a couple of years but also I think it's blending and shifting between the red and the brown more smoothly and with less abruptness. The colors are closer together overall and that helps.

IMG_7038

This yarn is giving me excellent stitch definition though and it should be interesting when finished. Interesting and then off to the gift bin.  If I can finish it up this week it will put me over the 20% mark for The KnitGirllls 5K and that would be a good place to be in the first week of June. Of course, it helps if I pack in on the train and work on it during the commute rather than staring wistfully at it and leaving it by the bedside hoping for those elves...


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bright Shiny Stitchmarkers

I lose stitchmarkers at a fairly regular clip. It doesn't help that the daily pill/vitamin case that I usually store all of my stitchmarkers in went missing for the better part of six months. It was, of course, after I had ordered more that I finally located it.

But stitchmarkers will continue to be used at Chez Hedgehog and I really liked the packaging job done by the etsy crafter that I found.

These are all from Such Gwenderful Stuff.  She mostly makes snagless stitchmarkers and puts them together in sets of different colors. It's really a cute idea and very appealling visually.  I picked up three sets of stitch markers.

IMG_7043 (2)

Each set comes in a really cute tin with a sticker on the lid that identifies the type of stitch marker within.  The winter colors had a snowflake on the top, the rainbox said rainbow, etc.  The tins are small enough to easily fit into a knitting bag--about a dollar coin size around--but large enough that I will hopefully not drop them without noticing a fairly large noise.

IMG_7049 (2)
Further, each  set of stitchmarkers comes on this ring. It's the first time I've seen this done and I think it's brilliant. I've certainly popped open stitch markers and had them fly all over the room, and this little detail--keeping them all together until I need them, is very thoughtful.

Now I have no excuses not to start on lace projects needing stitch markers though...

Monday, June 2, 2014

I'll be with Mrs. C...

When Franklin Habit started linking to a mysterious Mrs. Crosby, I was intrigued. Then it started seeming that there would be yarn associated with this name and some rather witty comments that were showing up. Finally, someone could point me to Eat, Sleep, Knit, where I could acquire said yarn and here we're off and going...

Mrs. Crosby yarn is the newest project of Beth at Lorna's Laces, whose colors I have long admired. I lost my hat made from one of the LL yarns but I still spent much of the winter wrapped in my giant purple shawl done in the Shepherd Worsted.

IMG_7074

I purchased a skein of the fingering weight, which is the only yarn currently sharing a base with the Lorna's line, the solemate yarn.  It's mostly wool but includes Outlast, which is supposed to keep your feet at a reasonable temperature all the time.

IMG_7079

You'll have to forgive the less than stellar shots today.  The Philosopher has taken over the entire dining room with his stuff at the moment and there is nowhere for me to set up my lightbox at all.

The Wild Huckleberry is a very nice shaded solid and should knit up well.  I'm not entirely sure what it will become just yet.  It points to a trend though that I think I'm starting to see.  For the past several years, the emphasis in yarn and dying has been focused on bright colors, and super saturated tones. I think part of what appeals about Mrs. Crosby Plays is that it is far more subtle. There are depths to the color, no doubt there, but it hints at Victorian feelings and semi-solids and seems as though it should of course it should be mailed to you with a cup of tea.

Sherri at The Loopy Ewe promised on Friday to have some up today in the regular update and I expect it to start selling like warm cinnamon buns. I may have to wait a round or too to get some, or perhaps if I make my actual 5K as planned this summer...


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Well, now what?

I finished the toe of the Emergency Work Socks yesterday.

IMG_7055

They are my usual 1x1 Vanilla Rib socks, knit out of KPPPM on size 0 (2.0mm) needles. 68 stitches, about 70 rows on the leg (71 I think, but I'm not going back to count). They took 4 months to knit as work socks. I think they only came home twice, though those trips did equal a fair amount of knitting.

IMG_7057

It does raise a small question of what I am going to knit as socks now. I think I'd best go through the wool stash and pull out five or six skeins that are definitely meant to be socks and get them wound up today, as currently I have no socks on the needles.

Ahh, yes, the hand in the back, yes, I did end up ripping out the socks I was working on last week and starting a small triangle shawl sort of based on Age of Brass and Steam.  It's coming along, more pictures soon.  And that means that all of my socks are finished.  Presently.

A quick look thorugh Ravelry identifies a few skeins yet to become socks and I need to dig those out.  Meetings will yet abound and I do plan to get through at least 6 more pair this year.

I'm halfway now, a month early, through a full 6 pair.
IMG_7058

Or maybe I'll start hauling the sweaters back and forth again.... one does rather get more progress done on those when they are actively being knit upon.


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...