Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sock Show Thursday: Rorschach and a Cold Beach

There has continued to be sock knitting at Chez Hedgehog! Well, okay, not so much at Chez Hedgehog, more like Commute Hedgehog, PlaceofWork Hedgehog, but at least there's progress being made.

These first socks are going to be done before the yarn hits it's one year mark: the Rorschach socks.

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I bought the yarn on my birthday last year. It's Zitron Wolkenspiel in the Himmelbett Colorway.  I don't know why the color is called Four Poster Bed, but perhaps someone at Zitron can shed some light.

What's best about these socks are the heels:

Heel 1
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Heel 2 ---[This picture has been giving me fits pulling in, please try to click through to Flickr if it is giving you strangeness as well.]
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I've been showing them to everyone and asking what they see. I've gotten some rather unusual answers, no one sees the same thing.

The other socks are yarn from last winter.  I appear to be really focused on this first in-first out for the stash, I need to get past that and go deeper into the stash.

These look like the colors of a cold day at the beach. Not the warm summer sky but the colder one that makes you wish you'd brought a cup of coffee while you watch the tides roll in and out.

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I'm almost done with sock 1 as you can see but I'm knitting on size 0 (2.0 mm) needles and that's slow going.  The heel is pretty, if you want a sense of how the yarn might knit up not in my usual 1x1 spiraling rib.

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The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Alegría, which was new late last year I believe.  It's a 3 ply in a very light fingering weight.  It's a nice yarn. Not a workhorse and I don't remember being especially enchanted with the colors they had--though I was trying to find something that didn't look like *everything* else in my stash so that was probably more of a problem with me than the yarn.  They should be warm, comfortable socks.  If I can get the second one done.

This is pair 9 and 10 for 2014. I'm definitely on track to finish 12 by the end of the year, especially if I stop only knitting on size 0 (2.0mm) needles...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Winter is Icumen In

Sumer is Icumen In is the song I sang in Madrigals but with that fading fast into a brisk fall, I'm thinking ahead.  As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I lost my winter hat and bought some Mrs. Crosby worsted weight yarn to repair the problem.  But what would let me use every inch, still cover my ears, and not have too much going on to compete with the beautiful colors?

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I went with the Basic Ribbed Hat by Jane Irish Nelson. What I liked about this simple paid pattern is that she included both bottom up and top down directions for a beanie or a stocking cap and the yardage she required looked to be about right to meet the 164 yards that I had.

In order to use up all of the yarn, I did a top down hat. I think this might be a first for me. I'm always doing ribbing at the bottom and then decreases.  Anyway, after the first 18-20 rows, it was 2x2 ribbing. Of course, my hands default to 1x1 ribbing due to all of my sock knitting, so I had to correct a few more times than I'd like, but overall it went very quickly. I knit the entire hat in just a few hours one afternoon.

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I love how it turned out. The colors mute a little knit together and it looks like a stained glass window.

I still need to give it a quick wash and weave in the ends (the i-cord at the top will be a "button" where one might put a pompom).

I must tell you that this yarn was absolutely delicious to knit with. It's squishy and bouncy  and feels wonderful on the hands.  I've already ordered more for another project-- but that's another blog post.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Not My Usual Palette

I finished this scarf for the Philosopher a couple of weeks ago but haven't had the chance to get it in front of the camera. It still needs a full soak and the ends woven in--- oh, and dyed.

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Meet my 70s Lampshade shawlette. 

The yarn is BMFA Medium Weight Socks that Rock from the Mill Ends sale earlier this summer. I'd originally just planned to knock out a pair of socks but when the Philosopher said he really liked it, I ripped back. 

The pattern is Grashús by Larissa Brown. I did some sort of hybridization of sizes, knitting on size 5 (3.75mm) needles but  used the fingering weight size for stitch count rather than sport weight size? 

The top half of the pattern is garter + increases and the bottom is a very interesting technique called Double Garter that I'd never done before.  

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It creates a very springy but dense fabric that is really cool.  And also is incredibly easy to screw up: 

Example A: 
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Example B: 

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And that doesn't include the multiple times that I picked back a number of rows very painstakingly trying to figure out where I could get to okay again.  After the first, third, eighteenth error I probably should have started using lifelines but I didn't. Learn from my mistakes....

Here's the beginning
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The pattern is written where you start at one end, increase across until you're halfway through your wool, and then decrease.  This would have worked better (a) if I hadn't been knitting this in public a few times and (b) if I'd ever bothered to acquire a kitchen scale

The problem with the former (other than causing interesting errors as seen above) is that at some point about halfway through I forgot that I was supposed to be doing increase rows and did a fairly large "straight" section.  Once I realized this, I eyeballed the skein, knit a few more rows, called it "just past halfway" and, sending up a little prayer regarding the latter issue started decreasing.

Here's the end:

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I got further than I expected, but certainly the ends don't quite match.

Once I hit the halfway point, the Philosopher started debating what color he wanted to overwash it with.  The pink is very fuschia and the overall mix reminds us a little too much of a hotel bedspread.  I think the verdict is that we're going to try adding a blue wash. That should tone the pink and green down and harmonize it a little more.

And proof that everyone's taste is different: I was working on this at a recent social event and one of the other women there absolutely loved the color blend. So it's a good thing Tina dyes great color mixes for all of us, not just what's in my preferred palette.






Sunday, September 14, 2014

Warm, by Myself

There's been a cold front moving slowly through Chicago and with it has come the first real hints of fall. It's good sleeping weather, as the Incredibly Patient Mother reminds me, and she's right. These are the first nights that I want to burrow under an extra blanket, revel in the fact that it's quiet (no AC), and when I wake up I wonder where all of my woolen things are.  The Philosopher has gotten to wear a triangle for the first time this season-- he chose to start with the green one that I knit earlier this summer. I have a feeling that the requests for a "dress triangle" are going to start up again soon.

Yesterday though, for the first time ever, I pulled on a sweater I had knit for myself and went to the farmer's market.

It was perfect weather, cool but sunny. And while I bought ridiculously large zucchini, interesting squash, unusual apples, and parsnips, the Flax Sweater was just warm enough without being too much.

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I've knit a lot of socks. I've made hats and scarves, mittens and shawls. And this isn't even the first sweater that I've knit for myself--a couple of years ago I made a light cardigan that will, if I ever get it dyed because I shouldn't wear pale yellow, be a lovely addition to my closet. I made that green sweater from the same yarn (Filatura Lanarota Wool Sprinkles) but the shoulders turned out too wide and it went to live with the IPM. But this was the first handknit sweater that I've made that I've actually gotten a full day of wear out of.

The Incredibly Patient Mother made many of our clothes as I was growing up. I have a sewing machine but I'm seriously out of practice making entire garments, though she taught me and the muscle memory runs deep. The satisfaction though, of walking down the street knowing that I'd made my clothes was probably tangible to the people around me.

I've worn it again today, just at home, and as both of the cats have been trying to burrow into my chest at various points, it seems that they like it as well. Pyewacket keeps licking the sweater--not a felting problem that I had anticipated needing to ward again. Paired with my Pumpkin Patch socks, I'm feeling very handknit from head to toe.

And warm, by my own cleverness and some time, sticks, and string. Maybe there's something to this sweater bug I hear about...


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...