Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stash Dash: Something of a Plan

Stash Dash 2015 finally kicked off on Friday and I started sprinting to finish my Loopy Ewe Academy Spring Semester Freshman projects. I got two done over the weekend! Hooray! More pictures and details on those soon, they just need a bath, block and photos.

Finishing those puts me at a solid start of around 1200 yards towards what I'm hoping will be an easy 5K (5469 yards). Obviously I don't expect to get through that same amount every weekend, although if I did I'd have a much smaller stash and/or would need to buy yarn more frequently.  Monday I knit some but mostly gave my hands a rest; I noticed some strain after churning through all of the garter stitch to finish up the shawl on Sunday.

I was trying to sort out projects to develop a general plan for the summer so hopefully August 14 won't sneak up on me. I'm not quite to the level of "I have a spreadsheet and need to knit x number of yards per week" that a few people are doing but it's good to get a general sense of what is coming, right?

Projects Remaining: (~4290 to go...)
  1. The Loopy Ewe Academy Felted Wine Carrier ~200 yards
  2. Log Cabin Baby Blanket ~1700 yards
  3. Superheroine Socks ~300 yards
  4. MaytheFourth Socks ~300 yards
  5. Amazonas Spice Scarf ~400 yards
  6. Catkin Shawl ~750 yards
  7. Bookshelf Lineup Scarf ~350 yards
  8. Logwood Shawl ~400 yards [not yet cast on] 
Finished Projects: (~1180)

  1. The Loopy Ewe Academy Slipped Stitches Hat ~180 yards
  2. The Loopy Ewe Academy Stripes Shawl ~1000 yards

Of all of those, only one isn't cast on yet, which suggests that perhaps I have a few too many projects on the needles lying about Chez Hedgehog, doesn't it? And that doesn't include travel knitting, I'm headed out of state three times in June, twice on airplanes and the latter flight will be full days of travel back and forth to San Francisco. That by itself should be a pair of socks that aren't yet started.  

Starting from a position of strength is no bad thing. I finished that list up there and for a split second thought "hey, maybe I should try to do the 10K." I just managed to keep myself from falling on the floor laughing as that doesn't take into account anything else in my to do list this summer, which is long and robust. The Catkin has been lingering far too long and I need to figure out what parts of it I can do on the train.  Trying to only work on it at home is obviously not going to cut it. Depending on how the rest of June goes, it might turn into airline travel work.  

My only concern at the moment is pending projects 3-8 are all fingering weight yarn. I might need to toss in a couple of worsted weight hats or mittens, just to keep variety in my hands going. Otherwise, things should hopefully churn right thru!  

Happy Dashing!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

To the Wire: Loopy Academy Semester 2 Progress

I almost put progress in scare quotes, though those are ridiculously overused, but I do have actual progress to discuss, so it's not an untruth.

The end of semester 2 for Loopy Academy Freshman year is fast upon us, only another 2 weeks remaining.  Many people are long done and have submitted their projects already, I'm going to be in the final round of uploaders, trying to get things in under the wire. That's for 3 reasons: (1) I greatly underestimated how long my shawl would take; (2) I have been avoiding the felting and slipped stitches projects because I don't really care about either of them; and (3) knitting for some reason doesn't get done when I set things aside and wander off for a couple of months.

Yes, it's true, I'm not especially enthused about my felting project or my slipped stitches project. I don't like felted projects and it was an extra blow to see on Ravelry that my original plan: the French Press felted slippers, didn't use up the required amount of yarn. I know people who adore felted things but I am not one of them so I've been finding all sorts of excuses to work on socks or other projects instead.

Finally today I've cast on a wine bottle cozy. It'll use up the yarn, go quickly, felt downstairs in the washer (don't worry, I'll use a pillow case) and then be a hostess gift or some such.

The shawl is finally churning along nice (see: actually needed to knit on it).  On Friday on my commute home I cast off the body. Now I just need to spend another hour weaving in ends before I pick up and start on the ruffle. Time to review the Yarn Harlot's tutorial on "pick up and knit" (as opposed to just pick up)  I've got a full skein left in each color--more of the darker blue-- but I figure if I just use those up I'll be even on each side and if I run out during bind off, I'm covered.  I'm considering binding off the ruffle in the opposite color. Maybe. We'll see.  The ruffle is going to take a while though so that will have to be commute knitting this week.

I don't have much of an excuse as to why I haven't been working on the slipped stitches project. Ennui probably. I ended up choosing a hat and it will be lovely and most likely will dash off to the gift bin. I love the color--an icy aqua--but I just haven't been able to get excited about it. I'm hoping that casting on will help. It's unlikely to hurt things.

I'm taking the summer off, not doing Camp Loopy so I can just focus on Stash Dash (which starts next Friday!!) and getting older projects done rather than just more new projects. Then maybe this fall for Sophomore Year I'll stick to just the yardage Sheri and TLE is requiring rather than trying to do a giant project (1000 yards when I only needed 175?).  Perhaps.

And now I have an annoyed gray feline who would like me to realize that her dinner is 12 minutes late and this is an abomination unto Nuggan.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sock Show Thursday: Distracted by Shiny

I was churning away at the Superhero socks and then I hit that point on the foot where I'm not sure if I'm ready to start the toe or not. It's never a good point, because inevitably I'm out or planning to be out and I can't measure or sit down and try them on or whatever.

And that's where I was last Friday on my way out of the door to a symposium, which is why I grabbed another skein of wound sock wool, more size 1 (2.25 mm needles) and started yet another pair of socks. It's only Pair 4 for 2012, technically I'm way way behind if I'm still shooting for 12 pair this year.

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This is the other skein of Zitron Wolkenspiel that I picked up at Nina a while back. I've added another 10 rows or so to the leg since taking this picture but really, will it look that much vastly more interesting until I get to the heel?

At least it's churning along. It's not getting much love now that the conference I cast it on for is over. Too many other things to try and get finished up before the end of the month.

I realized though that I hadn't shown you the first two pair that I finished this year.

Pair 1: for all of the Northwestern games this fall that I wander around the tailgates for.

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Pair 2: These need to be overdyed. Too bright, even for me.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spoils of YarnCon

The Philosopher is home in Florida and I'm told that at least one friend there has put in a very hard plea for a pair of socks. I really need to start a wish list, I've got several things that are in the must-be-done sooner rather than later pile but I've not been planning well. With Stash Dash coming up in just a couple of weeks, some forward thinking would not go entirely amiss.

Especially as I've managed to buy more yarn. We had YarnCon in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, it's a great local festival and I got to track down a Twitter knitting buddy. I don't think I'll ever stop being entertained by being able to walk up to someone, say "Hi, I'm *insert handle here*" and pick up with a total in-person stranger where we've left off online the day before.

I only had a couple of hours at YarnCon, the Brunette was in town and he trumps even good yarn. Still, lovelies can be acquired hastily.

I had to, of course, swing by the Sophie's Toes booth. I really only get to see the dyer, Emily Parsons, at YarnCon and I've been doing pretty well at knitting up all of what I purchase between years. I think I have one skein left from previous purchases and it's been cast on, just neglected.

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This time I went for one of her six packs, which has 87 yards of each color. She had a lovely shawl hung up in similar colors to this, starting with the darkest and going out to the light--which I thought was an eye-catching choice.

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It's fingering weight, but with about 525 yards total, I should be able to make something fairly substantial.

In terms of booths I can never make it past, Fleur de Fiber is also right up there. I just love her Acadian base, it knits up into such excellent well wearing socks. I know some knitters don't like 100% merino socks but I haven't run into too many problems as yet. Now, that said, I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to have to move "regular" fingering weight yarn down to size 0 (2.0mm) dpns from 1.0 (2.25mm) but I'm hoping not just yet. When that happens, KPPPM will have to move to size 00 and then where will I be?

Oh, right, knitting Fleur de Fiber. I got two skeins:

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The Jimi colorway and

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The Puppet Bike colorway--named for a street performer in the Andersonville neighborhood. She also had a more pastel/baby version of this but I liked the exuberance of this color better.

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You'll note everyone's favorite gray tabby wasn't about to let me take photos unsupervised today.

When I mentioned to Shannon Okey from Cooperative Press that I was looking for a couple of new shawl pins, she hauled me over to Balwen's booth.

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Just think, I'll always have an inch measure with me.  And I think using cuff links as the pin itself is great! I've not had a chance to try on many shawls yet, I was wearing one of the heavier lace shawls Sibling-the-Elder made me a few years ago and I was a little concerned about it catching but on more garter type shawls....

Finally, I got into The Grinning Gargoyle's booth. This was not easy, it was packed everytime I went past and I only managed to be in a nearly-empty booth for about 30 seconds before other people tromped in after me and we all had to huddle up.

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But for shades like that, can you blame us? I don't knit red all that often and I've no idea what this will be, but it's pretty. And it's MCN, so probably need to do something more of the scarf variety than socks.  Though cashmere on feet is never a bad thing.

None of these have plans yet, so if anyone who knows they are likely to get knitted things for the usual holidays wants to speak up... Otherwise they'll be in the bin until inspiration sparks.





Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sock Show Thursday: With My Thanks to the Tsock Tsarina

The knitting community recently learned that our lovely Tsock Tsarina is having some pretty serious health issues.

Too often, we lose someone without warning and without the opportunity to say thank you. Having gained a little advance knowledge this time, I wanted to make sure she knew how much I appreciated her.

I learned to knit socks in 2009, over a weekend, from her Tsock 101 kit. I'm sure I've told the story here before but one the kids in my group at the library had asked to start a pair of socks and I'd given her the line I always gave my students when I had no idea how to do something "Sure! Let's start that next week." Thankfully the kit was already in my stash and one baby sock later, I was a sock knitter. I finished my first full pair in October 2009, and today I'm working on pair 72 out of Holiday Yarns FlockSock. Rather fitting, as I'm pretty sure I bought the kit from Holiday Yarns 7 years ago.

72 pair of socks. I've knit 1-2 pairs that were patterned but quickly fell into my beloved 1x1 ribbed socks. My hands pretty much have it memorized, I just show up for the heel turn and a bit for the toes and making sure they are close to the same size. And that's only from having worked through the top down instructions. Imagine what might happen if I go back and read the toe-up instructions.
 And I am just one knitter. The Tsock Tsarina has had profound influence far beyond me.

I am incredibly grateful that she shared with us this news, that she explained how she hopes the Tsock empire will live on. I am glad that I get to say how much her work has meant to me and how I've been confident to knit so many socks because of her excellent instructions.

From my own warm feet and the warm feet of those I've knit socks for: Thank You and many hugs.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Space, Promptly Filled

It's always interesting how things "fluff up" to fill the spaces we give them. I never realize just how tightly things are packed until I've gotten rid of 10-20% and yet things are still full. Kitchen cabinets, the yarn stash, closets...

The last of the yarn I had up for trade/sell on Ravelry has left Chez Hedgehog. A nice lady from Montana emailed and asked to purchase it and so it's off for a new life where hopefully it will get used up. It's yarn I purchased with a plan of knitting it into shawls for coworkers from my job in Wisconsin. I wasn't happy with the yarn when it came--not unhappy enough to send it back but it wasn't going to work for the projects I had in mind and slowly I've been de-accessioning. It was nice to pull those three skeins out, toss them into a USPS soft pack and wave them off to a new home.

The Incredibly-Patient-Mother was up for a visit this weekend. She's planning a garage sale and asked if there was anything that I wanted to toss in. I always have a running box of things-to-go-to-Goodwill and that left with her. She also provided took some yarn that I didn't love anymore and didn't feel like going through the hassle of selling.  A full bin+ from my stash got handed over. I remembered, fortunately, to go through my Ravelry Stash page before she left and parked off all the things that have now left.

And, having shuffled around a couple of skeins, I found that there is not really any additional room. The wool all immediately puffed up to fill the space. One minute the IPM was looking at an empty bin, the next a full one. But the lids close on both of them now and that's something.

There's been a fair amount of knitting this week, almost entirely on the baby blanket. As we're nearly to April, I'm going to have to get back to The Loopy Ewe Semester 2 projects if I actually plan to get the semester done. But the baby blanket requires less thought and so it's been project  of choice of late. I'm on Rectangle 7 of 12 I think. Of course, they're getting much bigger, each row is over 100 stitches now and that adds to the time.  Still, while I'm on my re-listen to Night Watch by Terry Pratchett (All the little angels, rise up, rise up) it's coming nicely.

Of course, it would assist in the creating more yarn space if I'd knit from stash rather than purchasing new yarn every time I come up with a project. Summer should be a break from Loopy Academy and Laura from TheKnitGirllls is talking about doing Stash Dash again, which is her summer vacation/summer sprint through using up stash. Last year I got through around 3K and what I deemed a "reasonable heap" --I'd be very pleased if I could get through another 1.5 sweaters this summer. I've worn both of the ones I made last year several times and with positive responses.

Hmm, I wonder what the official start date for Stash Dash will be. If it is before TLE Semester 2 ends, which it might be, that could put me at 1.5K right away. Not really helping with deep stash, I know but still, success could be mine.

I'll have to inquire about that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015