Friday, December 19, 2014

When I am Cold, I shall wear BMFA

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock and Wollmeise. They are my two downfalls.  And yet, BMFA is a better one, because I actively knit it all up.  When BrineyDeep visited, I felt slightly guilty showing her my Wollmeise stash. It's lovely, it's varied--because I don't knit it. I suffer from possibility anxiety and worry I'll never be able to get it again. Her yarn is lovely enough and the cost of the yarn is certainly high enough that it's a luxury item.

Fortunately, I do not have a similar problem when it comes to Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Tina dreams up beautiful colors, her team dyes them on the lovely STR base, and me, I churn through it.  According to Ravelry, I've used 12 different skeins of it. Beyond the basics--Cascade 220, KnitPicks Comfy etc, I'm not sure there's another company where I've gone through 12 different colorways.  

So of course I needed more... 

I mentioned that the Philosopher couldn't possibly live without a skein of Tea and Alchemy with his name on it, right?  


Yes, he's spoiled. What can I say, he brags about the fact that he has a selection of handknit triangles and socks. And he wears the triangles and his fingerless gloves all the time. He even wears a Malabrigo Sock yarn hat on cold days--and this from a man who doesn't wear hats if at all possible. 

Once that obligation was settled, I started looking for colors that appealed to me. Apparently I'm still in a bright kick... 

This is Hobbit Garden

IMG_7424 (2)

Isn't it pretty? No clue what I'll make yet.

Next up I saw a reference to the popular song Happy which is "A Room Without a Roof"

IMG_7407 (2)

What you can't quite see in that picture is the purple accents-- that whole ultraviolet issue again.  It's so bright, I'm so excited to make something from it. I'm thinking maybe fingerless gloves for me. I still need another pair.

And finally I defaulted back to Mediumweight for a skein. I often have said that if I only had one yarn base to pick from the rest of my life I'd go with BMFA STR Medium Weight and I truly believe it.  This colorway is Royal.

IMG_7412 (2)

They're bright and lovely.  I'll be happy to have them brightening up the stash for a bit and then becoming something beautiful.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sock Show Thursday: An Even Dozen (Not Bakers)

When we reached December I was feeling ahead, easy going. Sure there was only 31 days left in the year and I had a full pair of socks still to knit if I was going to reach that dozen, but hey, I've knit socks in a couple of days. A couple of days where I did essentially nothing else, grant you, but still, it was possible.

Unless, of course, you need to ship them as a gift and they suddenly need to be done FAR sooner than the end of the month. 

Thank heavens for BMFA... 

This yarn is the Tea and Alchemy Colorway, which I bought earlier this year with the Philosopher in mind.  He bravely sacrificed this skein as a gift with the strong suggestion that another skein in the same colorway perhaps could be purchased for him.  It was touch and go while I figured out whether or not I could still buy the colorway. If I hadn't been able to, all bets might have been off.  


[Does anyone else have people in their lives who claim yarn as it comes in, even if they don't knit themselves and know it's going to be 2 years before one gets to it?]

The socks are most basic: 1.5 (2.5mm) needles, 64 stitches, knit as quickly as possible. 

It helped that last week I went down to Purdue with BrineyDeep to spend a day working with our third research partner. BD drove, I knit.  We all three schemed and planned, I knit.  We drove back in the dark, I turned the heel by the light of the passenger seat overhead flap.

While I still plan to knit another dozen pair next year, a part of me wonders if I will. I've been increasingly tempted by hats and mittens of late, thrilled by smaller projects or ones that use heavier weight yarn where I can knit them up at a much faster rate.  Such is not to suggest a moratorium on socks, heaven forfend. But perhaps not the same target, maybe only 6 pair?

I say that now...Spring is already looking to be absolutely crazy, I may only have brain power for socks.

Or maybe a stockinette sweater... 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Add Six Years...

I am not sure if I should be embarrassed about how long it took me to finish these fingerless mitts. They're on their third apartment and it's been 6.5 years from cast on to bind off.

Forgive the quick photo, these need to get wrapped up and put in the mail.  Fortunately, the recipient doesn't read my blog.

The pattern is Knitty's Dashing and I went on a spree several years ago knitting lots of pairs. This also, of course, reminds me that the Brunette's Dashing are now six years old and he really has been patient about asking for a new pair and the new mittens I was working on for him, yeah...I'm still not going to get to them before Christmas (Sorry AJ)

All these needed was a new bind off--what was I thinking it was so tight--and thumbs. 90 minutes worth of work I think?

Ah well, having them almost done in the stash meant that when faced with Christmas knitting and not much brain space, I could pull these out and a gift is ready to go.  And the recipient lives in a place where fingerless gloves should be perfect most days. So now these join the 5300 other pairs on Ravelry and hopefully get worn to shreds.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Home Stretch

Besides end-weaving, which I don't really count but should, I have one more project to finish knitting on before Christmas. Granted, I still have to go to the post office but things seem not to be in absolutely horrible shape. (Quick, tell me what I've forgotten)

Since last you saw me I knit a dog sweater, well, since last my coworkers on Friday saw me I knit a dog sweater.  I'd show you a picture but it's already been wrapped and packed to go to it's Bichon-ly owner. M will send me a snap though and I will share that with you then. It's another doggy shrug from the Cables and Bits pattern. This is the third one I've made, this time in a bright blue/purple/really depends on the light of Berroco Vintage.

And I've also finished a couple of projects for Loopy Academy, the first semester of which is winding to a close rather quickly.

IMG_7391 (2)

First up, I made a cowl out of fingering weight yarn. And promptly learned that picking out short rows because I forgot to shift them around as I'm supposed to is absolutely miserable. I did it 3 times and still haven't found a way to undo it that I like.  It's drying in the dining room and then will be another gift.

The pattern is Wandering Wildflower by Laura Smoot, which I've been meaning to knit for several years.  Size 3 needles and Sweet Georgia Tough Sock yarn, which was really lovely to work with. I had just 8 grams left.

For myself, I made a hat

IMG_7390 (2)

While I love the Mrs. Crosby hat, I knew almost as soon as I started wearing it that a) it just wasn't long enough to deal with my hair and b) I was going to get really sick of it this winter.  So I started this hat. The pattern is Pamir and I knit it on size 5 needles.

This one was the toughest of the challenges for The Loopy Ewe. 175 yards of DK for a hat is harder to use than you'd think, and as a result the hat is a little slouchier than I'd prefer. The good news is that it fits nicely over a bun or I can fully flip up the brim to have double layers over my ears and still have a well fitting hat.

It's already gone into heavy rotation.

For the observant (or playing along at home), you'll notice I do not yet have mittens posted. They are done but for the thumbs and that's waiting on me to get through Christmas knitting and have an evening at home.  So far home knitting has had to be all Christmas knitting all the time and there hasn't been a whole lot of home knitting time in general.

If you're still on deadline, good luck!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Until Spring: Yours from a Pile of Knitwear

Happy December 1! Along with being Sibling-the-Elder's natal day (Celebrations! *confetti explosion*), it's where I finally begin to embrace winter.

There's a shift when one reaches December.  Up until now, everyone has been clinging to vestiges of fall. It can't be this cold, it's not even December. How can we be preparing for Christmas, it's not even December (that one from the Philosopher who is obviously not knitting for the holidays)? I don't want to wear my super warm coat, it's not even December (that'd be me).

Now, the final month of the year has arrived. With the temperatures plunging overnight, everyone woke this morning and acknowledged that it is winter replete with the extra darkness, and the need for layers of wool. Winter hats, scarfs, and mittens are beginning to be our primary source of color among the many black wool coats. There is excitement about holiday traditions ahead, along with some trepidation, While we haven't had much snow yet, it's obviously on it's way and pressing that need to replace snow boots that were relinquished last spring after nearly a decade of service.

On the yum front--we're eating at lot of cookies at Chez Hedgehog. A couple of weekends ago, LabMouse arranged a cookie baking day.  A half dozen of us showed up, ingredients and mixing bowls in hand, to take over the kitchen of a suburban Lutheran church.  It's been some time since I spent a day cooking with women and I was a little worried walking in, only knowing two other people there. But no trouble-- there's an ease immediately created by "d
oes this need more flour" and "how many spare egg whites do we have now?" and we had a lovely 9 hours baking. Below is about 3/4ths of what we made.  I have one tub in the freezer, I took a couple dozen to Friendsgiving, and we're still noshing away...

(Photo by Tina Griffin, used with permission)

And the knitting continues apace. While I didn't actually wipe out all of the project bags as hoped, I did located another empty project bag, shifted around some planned holiday knitting to take advantage of a mostly finished product, and started my Loopy Academy Hat.  I'm through the brim and chugging through several inches of stockinette before the crown decreases.

There's hope for my sanity yet. Maybe.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Overwhelming Optimism.

The Philosopher was out of the house for a bit, which gave me the space to sort a few of the yarn/knitting bins. This is a fairly regular task, involving putting away all of the needles that have piled up here and there, figured out what is currently in the project bags, etc.

This time, I dug a little more deeply than I usually would in a quick clean up. I pulled out projects that have been sitting in the stash for, oh, at least 5 years. There are a couple of pair of mitts like that.  I also located a sock that only needed one dropped stitch sorted out before they could go in the drawer.

Currently, the back of the couch looks like this.

Flush from success of getting that pair of socks sorted out, I immediately became convinced that I could finish all of these projects (9) and the 3-4 others that you don't see because they are in a bin because I ran out of project bags, as well as the rest of the holiday knitting that I keep vaguely remembering that I need to do. 

And I could do all of that before work on Monday at the latest.  Never mind that those bags involve three pair of socks, a scarf that requires a lot of attention to knit, a hat that I haven't actually cast on yet, and a belt project that has been going on for several years.  Nor does it include the non-visible pile of finished items that need ends woven in. Very minor details, all that.

I did pull out the Warm Water Socks. I finished these over two years ago, wore them once, and set them aside to fix. Tonight, I finally unpicked the toes (thankfully, I'd never woven in the ends--for once a little slacking paid off) and ripped back to where I was ready to pick up the gusset. And as I started decreasing the gusset again I thought "this will be super quick and then I can work on something else this evening."  I said this about socks knit on size 1 needes (2.25 mm). That I'd just ripped back--on both--to the heel. Yes, I just have the foot left to knit on both socks but that's not going to just fall off the needles.

So I've put them in a bag and added them to the back of the couch and now I think I'll cast on that hat, as it's due soon for Loopy Academy.

I didn't think I'd sprinkled anything other than cinnamon and nutmeg into this evening's eggnog, but I'm starting to be suspicious...

Friday, November 21, 2014

One for you, one for you, one for me.

Recently, a cowl pattern came out at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, which is a wonderful site looking at romance novels. A couple of friends strongly hinted (okay, maybe not so much hinted as clearly wished) and the next thing I knew I was mucking around WEBS trying to decide what colors they'd like.

I ended up with three skeins of Malabrigo Rasta, yarn that I have thought is beautiful but couldn't find a pattern for prior to this that would make something really reasonable out of one skein.  One quick order later, a couple hours of knitting for each one and I had three cowls. But the friends hadn't been told about said yarn purchases, so I had to wait to show the cowls off. Now that the mail has been delivered, I can share some pictures.

The pattern is very straight forward and uses up any extra super-bulky that you've had lying around the stash in a big hurry.

For D I picked out a luscious red. She likes red.

IMG_7362 (2)

As you can see this can be worn just around the neck or pulled up over the head. It snugs up nicely under a coat or will make a good outer layer over a tighter fitting hat on those extra cold days we're already headed towards.

IMG_7364 (2)

For C, I chose a skein that was just beautiful to me.  Hopefully it will be a good accent against her winter coat(s). [Hopefully this winter she'll only need to wear one coat at a time. After last winter, Midwesterners are a little skittish.]


IMG_7359 (2)

And for me blues and purple. Mine is a picture just after completion, I've been wearing it and haven't had inclination to pop it back in the light box but I'll try to get a better picture soon. It's the Sheri (883) colorway if you're looking for it.

IMG_7351 (2)