Monday, June 13, 2016

Halfway +

The stress knitting has slowed a smidgeon, mostly because the hands have had to be on the keyboard rather than the knitting needles and no matter how much I'd like to be stress knitting, typing can be slightly more productive in reducing the stressful workload. 

Last weekend I made a run down to Purdue for a two-day workshop. It was rejuvenating and interesting and I got to make plans with a colleague for a spring 2017 project (I said " March" and he was all O_o but realistically that is when we'll be able to look at it.). 

And while there I got to start on skein 3 of 4 for my Firecracker Nuvem. I was very very bored and done with the second skein. The first skein was a push to get through nothing but black, I knew that was going to be tedious but also it was the beginning of the project, so it was exciting. 

Skein 2 was not exciting. It was the least bright of the three skeins and knitted up, the yarn muted further. I was actively struggling to find enthusiasm to finish it. But now I'm onto the first skein with a fair amount of teal in it--which, in all honesty, is a big reason for this project. Pops of teal. Also, look at me past the 50% mark! 

The transition is subtle, I don't think you'll see where skein 2 becomes 3, unlike the change from skein 1 (yes, I realize I should have done 20 rows building into the color from the black, I didn't, oh well). 

It's coming slowly. I am knitting sometimes on the train when I can squeeze space and don't feel like I'm going to be slamming into people. I'm listening to Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, which is ~14 hours per book and there are 8 books. In theory, I've got almost enough time each week on my commute that I should be able to get through one book a week just on the train. In practice of course, this is not the case. But I'm mostly through book 1 and I'm enjoying it again. there are pieces of the text that I know I had skimmed over in print that, in audio, I cannot fast forward through because it's been so long. And skein 3 has pops of color as I go, so I can pull out a length and there's some bright red coming up or intense yellow to distract me. 

I'm hoping to finish the shawl long before I finish the books. I'd like to get some other knitting done this summer. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Real Live Finished Objects and the Indy500

Stash Day finally  started! A week ago. But I wasn't really participating until May 31, which is when I cast off and blocked my first two objects.

First up is the Lady Bertram Shawl by Wendy Johnson. I was pleased how this turned out, though was very burnt out on it at the end. Johnson calls for Chart A, Chart B, Chart C, Chart A, cast off.  Only, I still had a LOT of yarn left. Not enough to do another project and I was through enough for Loopy Academy but onwards I went A, B, C, A, B, C, and then while in the first four rows of A (round 3!) I said enough. I could have done a complete repeat of A the third time but I'm okay with having not. 

Gypsy, of course, was helping with blocking. This is in the gift bin, waiting a final home. 

This project was supposed to be a hat, but it took a sharp left turn when I realized that because I hadn't read really much of anything properly, it wouldn't take enough yarn to meet Loopy Academy requirements. So I went for a double layered cowl instead and plowed through. 

I'm not entirely convinced of it's final existence. I really liked the yarn (shocking, it's BMFA STR)  but I don't know about the cowl. I might rip back the doubled part; I might pull out the whole thing. We'll see. Right now it's still on the blocking mats. 

And then last weekend the Philosopher and I went to the Indy500! It was my first trip to the race, though I grew up listening to it and have an odd amount of knowledge squirreled away, most of which I assume I absorbed from the local radio broadcasts. I pay attention to no other races, but bring up the Andretti or the Uncer families or mention something about pit stop times and I suddenly have thoughts and feelings

The centipedes went with us. They thought traffic should have been faster driving down I-65. Only 2 mph above the speed limit average speed? You'd think we were in a state that didn't race. 

On the way to the actual race, I knit in the van and I pulled out the sock for just a minute or two midrace to do a few stitches. Things were happening rather fast (200+ mph) and we all had a couple of drinks and I didn't want to accidentally stick anyone with a size 0 (2.0 mm) DPN. Tetanus shots + racing don't go together. We were sitting in the straightaway as you came out of turn 4. It was a fantastic experience!

And now, back to the needles. Stash Dash won't knit itself... 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

When You Cannot Finish the Hat...

"Finishing the hat--how you have to finish the hat.
How you watch the rest of the world from a window while you finish the hat.
Mapping out a sky . . . what you feel like, planning a sky . . .
What you feel when voice that come through the window go, until they distance and die
Until there's nothing but sky."
-- Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George

Only, I cannot finish the hat. I'm waiting on Stash Dash.

The pile of not-yet-finished things is getting higher over here. It doesn't help that I have abandoned almost everything that I was working on for my Firework shawl. The newest socks that are underway? They've been left at work so I don't need to keep hauling them back and forth. The two other pairs that could use some work before Stash Dash so I could have a comfortable lead? Wasting away in their project bags.

I did manage to work a bit on the shawl that I'm making for Loopy Academy. Only, it was to realize that I will probably want to add an extra 8-16 rows depending on how much yarn I have left, which will mean that rather than 8 rows and a bind off left, which is where I presently should be, I'm back into wondering how far along I'll end up going.  It is likely that time rather than wool is going to determine the final size of the shawl--which will be helped if I stop knitting black stockinette.

I'm also starting to get edgy about the black yarn. I love black, I wear it almost everyday. A pair of black pants and a jewel toned top and you have about 90% of my wardrobe. But it's not unrelieved black knitting...

This is one of the problems with knitting something where you are going to use every single yard of the skein. There won't be leftovers--which is great--but that also means that rather than just knitting up those 300 or so yards needed, you are making the whole 475 yards in each skein. I take pictures of the increasing squishiness of the solid black skein to prove to myself that there has been progress. 

As all this black is simultaneously making all the colored yarns in my stash that much more appealing, I downloaded the current spreadsheet from Ravelry to try and get a sense of just how much wool is taking up space around Chez Hedgehog. The answer, which is fairly accurate (within 5K or so) 80 kilometers. 80,000 meters of wool. So when I was ruminating that I might shoot for 7K over the summer for Stash Dash, I was thinking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of my stash. Which frankly isn't very much.

And doesn't include the yarn on the way for an upcoming baby present.

Part of me is presently screaming "you need to go Cold Sheep already!" so I can divest myself of some of the yarn. And part of me is eyeing a yarn sale...I wonder if carpenters get a similar sense of guilt.

Anyway, I'm trying to get projects to the edge for Stash Dash 2016. I'd love to have a K or two done in the first week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Black and Amorphous

I've got a new project started! My Nuvem (named Firework in Ravelry) is underway. 

(casting on while flying South)

I cast on while I was headed down to Atlanta last week. I have to applaud Judy's Magic Cast On, other than that I screwed up my first attempt by not leaving myself a long enough tail, it is wonderfully simple and does indeed disappear into the fabric of the shawl. 

You'll notice I have a pure black skein here. There was a slight change in plans. Originally, I had grabbed three skeins of Dragonfly Fibers in the Firecracker Colorway, Pixie Base and one skein of a teal that--under the YarnCon lights--looked similar enough to make a good ruffle. Under natural light this was not the case. 

And from what I can tell, Dragonfly Fibers doesn't regularly dye an all black skein of Pixie. Fortunately, they did do one for a kit and someone on Ravelry was willing to sell me hers. I decided to go with all black in the middle and then fan out the colors. Everyone who has seen the yarn thinks the pops of teal are lovely and at least one person has already tried to lay claim to the finished garment. 

I'm hoping that by mid-July when I expect to finish it, it will be warm enough in Chicago to deter some of the grabby fingers. 

While it is 98% mindless knitting, working in black means I need good light and do have to notice every other row whether I'm doing increases or plain and so while this is fabulous TV/commute/listening to a webinar knitting, it's not going to be the only thing I can work on. I'm going to a 6 hour play in about two weeks and a part of me is wondering if I could get a raglan sweater started and through the armholes before then. 

I spent a blissful and restful weekend at M's and Sunday afternoon languished on the chaise, read Agatha Christie, and worked on my knitting. I had anticipations of being able to finish multiple skeins of yarn while in Atlanta and also the socks that I took along with me. 

(on the flight home)

As you can see that didn't happen. But progress has been made and it's going into rotation for commute knitting. Certainly I should be able to get through a large dent before Stash Dash starts. If I can finish it for Stash Dash, it'd be 1500 yards all by itself, a sizable contribution towards any level of completion.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sock Show Thursday: New Store, Old Friend

There's a new yarn store in Evanston:  Evanston Stitchworks!

To be more accurate, it's a fabric and yarn studio, but I was delighted to stumble upon it . At the time, the owner had just opened and mostly had major commercial yarns--all well and good when I need those. A goal she said, though, was to bring in smaller dyers and to have things that weren't available. She was going to Wisconsin to meet with some dyers.

And so I stopped back a few weeks later to see how it had gone. Ah, yes, the Wisconsin wool trip had gone well and she was delighted to show me this one dyer she'd brought in:


I might have squealed "I know Kathryn!"  Long time readers will recognize the brand of my favorite yarn store when I lived in La Crosse.  I still deeply miss Kathryn's store and I've never seen her yarn for sale from anyone but her--so this was an excellent find.

(I explained my relationship to Ewetopia and Viroqua to the rather stunned owner, who wasn't expecting a several years history and deep questioning on what was presently happening in the town.)


She had several bases but I only got one skein of sock yarn for now. I have a source! I can go back and buy more! (I also perhaps need to use what is in the stash and follow through on that whole plan to order from Kathryn or at least go see her at WI Sheep.)


So nice to see an old friend's work again...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Odd Space..

Despite the rarity from which I buy from Three Irish Girls, I'm always fascinated by their colors. Also, apparently I am not yet over my whole "I love all the rainbows" thing I've been having for about six months now.

So when Space Oddity showed up in an email or on a Facebook page or somewhere my resistance was weak.


Isn't it pretty!!


This doesn't show the yellow, but I assure you it's there. See here for the original luring hues. Not responsible if you also fall down and buy some.

Of course, the challenge is what to make with this. Yes, Adorn Sock (the base) is intended for socks and this would make interesting socks. But I don't know.  Gloves/mittens/mitts also came to mind and that seems most promising so far.

I might just put the yarn out in the universe and see which friend suddenly desperately needs something knit out of it. Stranger things have happened.

One small caveat when buying from TIG--it's 2-3 weeks before they ship. While this is clearly written in about six places, I totally missed it when I was buying and--USPS shipping having been what it is and me having lost several packages--I started panicking after about 10 days. If you need instant gratification, EatSleepKnit has it in stock right now.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

We Came, We Saw, We YarnConned, Part 2

You didn't think I *only* bought fiber and a spindle at YarnCon did you? AudioGirl is the best of shopping buddies--one part enabling and one part "put down the blue sock yarn already."

I had been hoping that 2 Guys Yarn Co would be back this year but I didn't see them. We did see a fair number of alpaca superbulky yarns wound with thread--apparently for rugs? And I learned that AudioGirl's bathroom rug went walkabout, which is sad. I'm not sure I can buy that yarn anymore...

I did have one planned project that I was searching for yarn for-- Nuvem by Martina Behm. I have seen this pattern several times, but it was only recently that I suddenly decided I must get yarn for it and start knitting it.

And so I stumbled into the Dragonfly Fibers booth. I adore their work and it wasn't long until I came upon Pixie Firecracker.


Pixie is a fine single and I bought all that they had, even though that leaves me a couple of hundred yards shy.  Fortunately, next to it was solid skein that looks very nice with it and will do well for the ruffle, I think.


I want to see how big it is and how I feel about it before I start the ruffle.

That wasn't our only stop. I popped it at Fleur de Fiber, whose booth was mobbed due to a moving sale, she's relocating out of Chicago and there wasn't much left mid-afternoon on Saturday. I'm guessing Sunday shoppers got very slim pickings.  I'm going to miss seeing her at least twice a year at local conferences. She is the first indie-dyer I remember picking up after I moved back to Chicago this time.

Last but certainly not least, the sale bin at Grinning Gargoyle was calling out.  This was the first yarn that I bought--as we wandered through, overwhelmed by so many options.

I have no idea what I'll do with these. AudioGirl thought the Philosopher might like the neon yellow, but I don't know. It's funky, for sure but guessing it'll end up as deep stash for a few years.  

I really love this con--my only suggestion for next year would be to start classes 15 minutes after the doors open. There was quite a queue to get in, mostly for the first-50 goodie bags and with doors not properly unlocked and people *stopping* to open their bags, the rest of us behind had trouble going forward and getting out of the cold and to our classes or shopping. The organizers seemed very cognizant of that, though and I expect next year will be a little smoother.