Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stunt Knitting

An opportunity presented itself in the fall to do some stunt knitting and learn a new technique. I can now say I have successfully executed Shadow or Illusion Knitting.

Thankfully, Franklin Habit had a blog post about it right as I was getting started. The other instructions I'd seen just weren't making sense.

And I can say it takes far longer than you expect to do---what with having to pay attention every other row and changing colors, and a border stripe (totally would do that differently next time).



The task at hand was a baby blanket with the skyline of Chicago. This has been nicely charted out by Molly Scannell.   While the pattern calls for ~400 yards of each colorway, I was getting gauge and needed more than that of the blue--so have a spare skein of your Color A on hand! 




Overall it turned out quite nicely though. On first look it's just stripes. Done here in a silver and blue of Cascade Ultra Pima because babies and baby things regularly need to be washed.  




And then when you look from an angle, the city appears. There is a bean down there at the bottom, if you squint.  The Philosopher found it odd that the Hancock Building didn't also have antennae, so something you might want to add (it wasn't on the pattern chart) if you live with a traditionalist. 


























I'm not sure if I'll ever do shadow knitting again, but it was good to know that I could and this turned out very adorably.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Loopy Academy Semester 4

I got my Loopy Academy Spring Semester Yarn! I think that perhaps I have managed to not over extend myself.  Possibly.

The prompts for this semester are

1) A pair of socks in whatever is least familiar construction -- toe up/top down. So for me that's toe up.
2) A project with both a solid yarn and a multi color yarn.
3) A project with twisted stitches

I nearly decided to just go with three pair of socks, but that seemed too straight forward and one is supposed to be trying something new.

Each project need only be 225 yards. I didn't manage to rein myself in entirely but I did pretty well.



My plans...

1) Break out my copy of the Tsock Tsarina's Tsock 101 kit--it's here somewhere and use that or my copy of Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up to get a pair of toe up socks sorted. That should be fairly straight-forward.

2) The middle skein has a mini skein of dark brown with it--so I'm going to start with the solid and then switch to the multi-color skein for a shawlette. Currently I'm thinking Wendy Johnson's Lady Bertram pattern.

3) Yes, I did look for a Wendy Johnson pattern with twisted stitches for a trifecta but all she had posted were sock patterns and I was hoping for at least one pattern I could knock out quickly. So I found Skull Coast Hat, which is knit in DK. And I got some BMFA Heavyweight.

No projects in the 1000 yard length, nothing too crazy. And I'm hoping Wendy's lace will be memorialize-able--I expect it to be.  And pretty colors and well.

Of course, this means I want to abandon all the WIPs currently taking up residency in the living room.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Not Emptying Bins

The lofty goals of emptying yarn bins quickly always go astray, especially with all the beautiful new wool in the world. Here I add only two skeins, and one doesn't count, as it was a gift. *sage nod*

A Christmas gift to go with those hedgehog bags was a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy.

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It's the Amethyst Ink Colorway, a lovely royal purple mixed with black.

It's going to be a very popular skein if certain friends we see at tailgates happen to notice it. I can already hear antennae going up and oh, look at that, it's home colors, and isn't that lovely and you know my winter scarf went missing....

And with the BMFA skein I showed you already, I also succumbed to a picture that Sheri posted on The Loopy Ewe Blog when a Monday update went up.

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Apparently I'm not over my rainbow kick yet. This is madelintosh tosh sock in the Electric Rainbow Colorway.  It's a little bit washed out here, the greens are brighter. This is one that is definitely going to go marinate. I have no clear plans for it and it's too soft for socks.  If anyone has any suggestions...


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Do Not Marinate

A lot of yarn comes to Chez Hedgehog and marinates in the stash. After being snatched up with brightest and most cheerful of intentions, it slips into the bins, photographed and documented but slightly forgotten because it's not immediately in hand. It's one of the reasons I like to open all the bins and reorganize every few months. Along with giving me a raging case of startitis, it's good to remember what I own, to love it again, and to remember that there were plans.

Other yarns, however, come into the house and I suddenly have a plan I didn't remotely think about but which must be cast on immediately.

My first yarn purchase for the year was replacing a couple of sets of DPNs that had gone wandering. (Sibling the Elder got me caught up on the small sizes, now I should be totally covered, we'll see.)

The Loopy Ewe has been working with Tina from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and created Frozen Valley, which was a Loopy Ewe Exclusive Colorway. Yes, I fell down the "exclusive" hole, even when there are buckets of other colorways at BMFA and yarns at TLE that I want.

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The yarn was based on a photo taken by a photographer in Fort Collins and came with a notecard of that image so I could see the translation.

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Wanting no delay in casting on, I even got out the swift just for one skein!

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Gypsy helped. If you pop over to Flickr you'll see how she was climbing in my lightbox as well. Currently, she's stretched out on top of me and making it so I can't sit up straight, because that wouldn't provide as much laying-on-top-of-me room. Serving as a cat mattress has challenges.






Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sock Show Thursday: Briefly, Greenly

I'm ignoring the last of the unfinished socks from 2015. I could be done with the first pair of 2016 but no, I shunned them and set them aside for new socks.  Bright green socks.

Fleur de Fiber has such intense colors, I find myself unsurprised that in the deepest of winter I reach for her wool. I don't need the same inspiration midsummer. But pack me onto a CTA car with 50 other people wearing a black coat and suddenly all I want is BRIGHT.

This yarn is from Stitches Midwest 2014 and was replacement for yarn left in an overhead bin.

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I'm working my 1x1 ribbing over 60 stitches on size 1 (2.25 mm) needles. On one hand it's dreadfully unexciting--on the other, everyone comments on the brightness of the yarn. It's a hope of the shades to return in a few more months.

Then maybe I'll get back to those more muted purple striped socks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Last of the Christmas 2015 Knitting

Last fall I asked the very short list of people that I am wont to knit Christmas gifts for if there was anything on their minds. Armed (ha) with the requests for two sets of fingerless mitts, I eyed the stash and spent far too long wading through patterns on Ravelry.

And then after knitting two pairs of mitts, I wrapped them up, went to the post office and....

entirely forgot to take pictures.

Sibling-the-Elder to the rescue. She took some pictures for me and I reuse them here with her permission.

First up, for said Sibling, was a pair from a BMFA Rare Gem. It was a lovely pink shade that never made it into the official stash.


The pattern is Fear of Committenment, though I made some modifications.  Rather than the 2x2 ribbing called for in the pattern, I went for a 1x1 ribbing. As delicate as the cables are, the 1x1 seemed more appropriate. Also, StE's hands are a bit smaller than mine and I didn't want these to be loose.  

I started not with the pattern but with 8 rows of ribbing. I prefer to have full ribbing at the cuff so it's consistently stretchy before I launch into cables. 


While I wanted these to be nice and long, I wasn't going for the opera length that the pattern proposes, so when I reached the decrease section, I did them every 4 rows rather than every 8. This cut my repetitions of the cable pattern down a few but didn't affect fit that I noticed. For the tops, which always stretch out on all of my mitts, I switched down to size 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles from the 2 (2.75 mm) needles I'd been using for the rest of the project. 

The pattern definitely needs a solid or tonal wool, I wouldn't try to tackle it with anything highly variegated. 

Next up was the search for mitts for the Incredibly Patient Mother and for this I had an idea of what yarn I wanted to use: the Mrs. Crosby I won last year for knitting that frais rainbow hat.* The colorway is Peacock and, after great deliberation, the Lisanne Mitts seemed an appropriate choice. 



If you click through you'll see the designer knit the original mitts in a similar color, which probably influenced my choice, but overall I just liked the pattern. 


These went quickly on size 4 (3.5 mm) needles. I don't remember making any modifications, I didn't write any down, so this should be pretty true to pattern.  I like the broader cable on the back and tighter ones on the palm.  It was challenging without being overwhelming.  

I do like knitting mitts though it's not ever going to be as mindless as sock knitting and that means less time to work on them. Stilll, might have to round up a few more of those patterns I queued and see what else I can create.  

*Speaking of that hat, I can't find it. Anybody know where I put it? 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Surprise Mail from Indie Untangled

Have you checked out Indie Untangled? Lisa collates indie dyers and various accessories for those of us who want to buy everything but can't keep track of all of the dyer updates and whatnot. And in another life (okay, college, but still, it was *ahem* years ago) she was my Managing Editor/Editor in Chief. But a lot of time and bad pizza has been had since then.*

Anywho, Lisa was doing some end of the year giveaways to her newsletter subscribers and I won the final mystery package! It arrived the other day and I was eager to dive in and see what treats were in store.

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From a Little Teapot Designs was an adorable sheepy lotion bar and cuticle balm. Perfect timing on these, as the radiators are full blast at Chez Hedgehog and my hands are a bit dry as a result.

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Next was a sock blank from Berry Colorful Yarnings. I've never gotten to knit from a sock blank, I look at them periodically and think they'd be interesting but with so much sock yarn around here, taking a chance on one hasn't come up yet. Now I can try and see if I like working with pre-knit wool!

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I don't think I'll make this into socks, probably a shawlette or something like that. If you like the gradient, she's got several other colors in her shop.

And on the accessories side...

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Some very pretty buttons

and
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Some gem like stitch markers from Sploops Inspired! (Where were these in Boston? Oh right, en route)


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Thank you Lisa and all of the vendors who donated. This was a lovely surprise to unwrap in January and I can't wait to try everything out.