Sunday, March 1, 2015

Loopy Academy Semester 2: Planning Stages

Friday morning I woke up and realized that I wasn't going to make it through the work day. At 7 a.m.., when I should be leaving for the train, I was instead stumbling out to feed the cats (they don't understand sick days), sending a nearly coherent email to my coworkers (they do) and then back to bed for an hour. I haven't been leveled this badly by a cold in several years but it's been truly miserable and required a ridiculous number of tissues.

I ended up having three phone meetings, because life doesn't actually stop when you're sick and BrineyDeep and LDZ and I were on deadline for a paper and I had to draft another short piece for a coworker to eyeball. BD, LDZ, and I submitted our manuscript Friday night and I took my sickly self back to bed. The only knitting accomplished was 4 rows on section 2 of my Catkin.

Saturday I woke up feeling far more civilized and was up and about for about 4 hours before succumbing to the lure of an afternoon nap. The Philosopher shuffled me off to bed and propped the door so that noise was blocked but the felines didn't feel dreadfully left out.

I got up again around 6 p.m. as the Philosopher was headed out to a social event-- briefly I was kind of sad that he was going out and I was staying home, but then I started violently sneezing again and was much happier retreating to the couch for podcasts and winding yarn.

For I've realized that it is suddenly March and I need to get going on my Loopy Academy 2 projects if I'm going to finish them this semester (due date is May 31, which suddenly feels very close).

Semester 2 is requirements are

1) A striped project
2) A felted project
3) A project with slipped stitches

No yarn weight requirements but each project has to use at least 175 yards.  

I can't say I was thrilled: stripes aren't my favorite and I have never been a fan of felted stuff.  But this is supposed to be stretching our skills and I dug some things out of my queue.

My striped project will be a shawl: Contrast and Complement.  I'm doing the sport weight size out of Cascade Superwash Sport in Navy and a pale blue called Alaska Sky. Yes, not especially original considering the pattern colors are pretty close to that but I looked at other combinations and wasn't caught by anything else.  This may be a gift. Not sure yet.

My felted project will be slippers: French Press Felted Slippers. We'll see how they turn out. I grabbed some rust colored Cascade 220 to make them. If I don't like them, I'm sure there's someone around with size 7.5 feet who will speak up.

My slipped stitches project will hopefully be short and sweet, but I just rejected the pattern I was considering so knows what it will be. I bought 2 skeins Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in the pale green colorway they call Plume. I'm leaning toward fingerless mitts right now.

I hand wound most of the yarn while on the couch Saturday night so assuming recovery continues, I can get started this week. 90 days to make three projects really should be sufficient, shouldn't it?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Help Me Pick a Project: Vote, Comments, Etc

Earlier I said I had too much Wollmeise. Well, not really too much, but I acknowledged that it's now spilling out of it's designated WM bin and that's just silly.  A couple of skeins I own are off limits--predesignated for projects--but most aren't. So, you're going to help me choose project and color, right?

Here are the colors currently in the stash (click through for bigger): 

Color 1: Admiral. I promise it's a super dark blue.
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Color 2: Petit Poison Medium --think really dark raspberry, or port.
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Color 3: Nazar Boncugu 
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Color 4: Madam Souris
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Color 5: Petit Poison, Number 5, Dark: Again, Raspberry/Port colors. Guess who just realized she had two skeins of Petit Poison?
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Color 6: Ein Klein Wenig Verrucht: a  nice blue/purple shade
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Color 7: WD: Fliederbusch: don't mind the WD, just mean's "We're different" so it's a little off from what the dyer intended. Still lovely.
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Color 8: WD: Der letzte Versuch: Actually blues and purples in the skein
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Color 9: WD: My Old Blue Jeans: Has anyone noticed I buy jewel tones?
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Color 10: Turkis: so bright teal it almost hurts. (Also, seriously I've owned it for 5 years)
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Color 11: Amazonas: from earlier this week, looks like Parrots.
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Color 12: Im dunklen Wald
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And here are some projects that I think would knit up nicely (all of these are Ravelry patterns, you should be able to click through and see them w/o an account: 

Pattern 1: Whippoorwill -- this is a lovely 2 color shawl. Please specify which 2 colors you think should go together. 

Pattern 2: Spice Route: long rectangular scarf that kind of looks like Clapotis.  Might be good for one of the variegated colors? 

Pattern 3: Undine: I've been meaning to knit this forever, no idea why I haven't yet. 

Pattern 4: La  Cumparsita: I love Marnie's patterns. And this looks so elegant. Would be perfect for a cocktail party. (Please note, I rarely go to cocktail parties)

Pattern 5: Carlina: A more practical scarf with interesting pop out details.

Pattern 6: Arctium: Marnie again, I wasn't kidding. 

Pattern 7: Christmas Lights Shawl: I could only make the smallest size w/ one skein. Hmmm....

Leave me a comment, tweet, FB post etc and let me know which pattern and which color.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sock Show Thursday: 2015 Edition So Far

If I'm planning on making 12 pair of socks this year, I'm already behind. Here it is, nearly the end of February and I have 1.5 pair done.  This doesn't bode especially well, because the spring doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon. And while I should be knitting on the train, too many evenings of squished in with other commuters with broad shoulders and me a tired hedgehog...

Anyway, I have finished some socks! 

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Oh, hmm. Well, pretend there are 2 now!  This is Baah! La Jolla yarns in the Purple colorway. My usual 1x1 rib pattern knit over 60 stitches on size 1 (2.25 mm) needles.  These are going into my drawer for Northwestern Football season when I don't really feel like being super purple but would like to have warm feet and pretend a bit of team spirit at tailgates.

Next up, sale yarn!

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These are the socks I started in Florida (pictures still to come! I bought yarn. No one was surprised.) as the Philosopher and I took Alligator Alley to Tampa.  I really love the base and it's been gray recently, so my coworkers have all been looking at the skein hoping that something like that green comes for us soon. Only a few more weeks til spring now... Again, size 1 needles, 60 stitches.

This yarn is Zitron Wolkeinspiel and the color appears to be Snow Drops, if I'm translating correctly (Schneegl Ckchen--Sibling the Elder do you want to tackle that?).




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

To Figure Out This Year

I have something approaching an embarrassment of Wollmeise yarn. Claudia dyes up such stunning colors and there's always such a mad rush when it posts at The Loopy Ewe. I feel swept along in the tides of Oh-that's-lovely-I-got-some-too-limited-amounts etc etc..

I know better. The Wollmeise has a perfectly nice online wool shop in Germany. And at the rate I'm knitting it up (one skein every... 5 years or so?) I should be set for another 60 years or so.  Yeah.

So this year, I need to figure out at least a couple of things to make with it. Two of the skeins are spoken for. I won't say which, of course, because that'd give it away to the final recipients (only one of whom is the Philosopher).  But I need to go through my queue, figure out what works that will use up as much of each skein as I can, and just start knitting it.

You've figured out by now I bought more, didn't you? Two skeins of Twin (her Merino, Nylon base) this time:

Skein 1 is Im dunklen Wald and it does indeed look like a forest floor.

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and Skein 2 is Amazones and it reminds me of parrots.

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Hmmm, I see a call for a vote coming.  Off to scheme!




Monday, February 23, 2015

Marshmallow with a Squashed Stoplight

Yes, that's what I look like when I'm wrapped up to go outside. My cream down coat (which got a trip to the dry cleaners while I was in Florida--more on that later) makes me look like a walking marshmallow and my winter hat, which no longer unfortunately can be called "new", is in stoplight shades.

My first hat for the winter was the Pamir that I knit for Loopy Academy Semester 1. Unfortunately, we went to a holiday party and the hat went home with someone else.  It could have told me it wasn't happy with me, but I guess not.  Faced with the prospect of several more months of winter and my primary available hat not one I was thrilled with (the Mrs. Crosby one that I still need to rip out), I dove into the stash again, pulled out the Pamir pattern and set forth...

This is Pamir #3 (Pamir 2 went to Madame Massage Therapist)

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It's loose on the head there because I was just getting ready to block it again.  I wear it every single day. 

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Those of you contemplating your own Pamir may be noticing that the band on the first picture looks a little odd: it's inside out.  The Philosopher likes the geometric design that the pattern creates on the back, so I knit the brim inside out. When I fold it up over my ears, as the negative Farenheit temperatures have certainly called for, you see the usual pattern. 

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The yarn is lovely. It's Dragonfly Fibers Traveller in the Chicago Blackhawks colorway. I picked it up at Sifu last fall. I'm only sad that it doesn't seem to be a regular one of their colorways and so I don't think I can get more. This was a huge disappointment to several friends who have tried to abscond with this hat--both male and female.

And while I enjoy it, I am just starting to get sick of it.  I need a couple more hats in rotation soon...back to the knitting needles! 






Friday, February 20, 2015

Some Progress...

We're midway through the month and I finally have some knitting progress for 2015. Not much, but at least I don't feel like I'm never going to complete anything and really, does it make sense for a woman to commit this much space in her living room to a hobby that she seems to have only a passing acquaintance with? Never mind the many bookshelves of books and a conversation with a friend recently where I admitted, in a vague tired way, that I hadn't read much since Christmas.

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Meet my Catkin shawl.  I started it after Christmas I think, so we'll call it January.  I completely missed very clear directions and had to rip back. This has been sitting on my desk at home for six weeks. I'd knit 10-15 stitches (stockinette with some interesting increases) and then sigh and put it down to work on whatever it was, or go stare at a book, or sleep.  Midwinter blues and work crazies have been double whammies of tough this year.  I've just completed section A and section B should be a piece of cake--at least, assuming I can get back to working on the shawl.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks, purchased a few years ago in Washington DC.

I have also finished, though as yet I have no picture for you because it needs to be blocked, another triangle for the Philosopher. I sort of used the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief as my guide--mostly because he likes the shape of those increase-- but there are no eyelet rows, just alternating stockinette, garter, and moss stitch. I abhor moss stitch, which I find surprising because obviously I have no problem with 1x1 ribbing. He'd asked for another "dark" triangle and this is done in the Styx colorway of Sock! by Lisa Souza, which is black/navy/purple yarn.

I'll see if I can get it blocked this weekend and a picture up for you. Perhaps the cats will pose with it if I tell them not to. ;)






Sunday, January 25, 2015

Talisman

I've been carrying around my knitting as a talisman more than I've been working on it.  In the better part of a month I've managed to knit most of a sock and less than 50 rows on a shawl. The sock goes back and forth to work every day and probably has some serious resentment for my tablet, on which I read or have been playing games. At work it only has made it out of my purse on some days--waiting instead as I fling myself from meeting to meeting.

On one hand I desperately want to knit. I know it will calm me down, soothe a brain that has been tossed a whole lot of curve balls thus far in 2015. On the other, I just haven't cared. Someone out there just spit tea all over their keyboard. Sorry about that.  But I haven't much wanted to knit. I get a twinge of "ooh I want to make a sweater" and then my to do list bites my hand.

Part of it, I think, is that while normally I use my knitting as a way to let my brain work through things, of late my thoughts have been so overwhelming and frustrating that I haven't wanted to think things through or let my knitting be the way that they keep churning. I reach the end of the day, look at everything yet undone, zone out as best as possible on the way home, eat something, collapse into bed earlier than usual.

Getting back to wool is going to be a matter or necessity here shortly though, I have a conference next weekend and a flight the weekend after that. Time to figure out the on-the-go-projects for 2015...