Sunday, January 22, 2017

Attending the Chicago March and Taking More Steps Forward

**I am sure there are financial needs from the marches yesterday that the organizers could not have anticipated. I encourage you to donate a few dollars to help them close out their balance sheets. **

Yesterday I participated in the Women's March in Chicago. I, with approximately 250K other people, descended on Grant Park. The Philosopher and I packed onto already full train cars and wended our way downtown, pausing to meet up with others who wanted to travel with us.

For me, as for many in our group, it was our first march. And there were many reasons we and so many others marched yesterday: women, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual identity, immigration, economic, privacy, and others.

We never got anywhere near the stage where presentations and announcements were being made. Word started trickling around that we had far outpaced the amount of people who would fit in the planned march route but then we were hearing cheers and at some point we began to move. We marched through the Loop of Chicago and there were chants and cheers. We waved to every train going by overhead and to people in the windows of the downtown youth hostel who were watching.

Throughout most of it I was trying to finish a second hat. Knitting time having been thin on the ground, I wanted to bring it along and then AudioGirl said she hadn't had time to make a hat for herself. So in the midst of marching, I managed to do a three needle bind off with a 16" circular needle and the crochet hook from my KnitKit.  About 3 seconds after done and with ends still dangling, AudioGirl stuffed her new pink ears on her head.

Yesterday was important. On FB, Twitter, and the news sites, we saw that we were not alone.  There were marchers in Antarctica! And the many smaller marches that are not getting the national eye--  gathering in towns across this large nation. There were amazing signs and a lot of very positive energy. Particularly I loved hearing the chants because the pitch was high, clearly indicating the number of female voices.

Over the course of yesterday, I had a conversation with several people about what happens today and tomorrow and the next day. While everyone agreed that a march alone was not sufficient, many are still trying to identify what particular piece is next.

I could choose any of those reasons listed above in the broad sense and focusing on any certainly doesn't preclude my caring or engagement on other fronts. In my professional roles I have a specific obligation to information literacy (how do we sort out what is fake news and the bias a person may bring to the table) and to freedom of information/access to information and to privacy in which to access information. It was lost on neither myself nor my students that I spent the afternoon of the inauguration day having a robust discussion about evaluating the authority of information resources with a group of students who have immigrated to the United States to practice their chosen profession.

Personally, I am interested in engaging on voters rights. I am looking into organizations like League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote to see what I can do there. I'm following legislation, and getting more information about court cases, the threats, and the needs.

If you're interested in finding an organization who could use your time or your money, the march websites had list of supporters. Here are Chicago's:

We made hats. That was obvious and it was great. But we have a lot more to do. Onwards.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I still have 7 hours...

But I'm already done and my pictures for Loopy Academy Junior Year, Semester 1 are posted and I'm officially done with those three projects! They add to the pile of "well, now what do I do with these?"

So what did I end up with?

First done was the Bobbles project. This ended up with far more drama than I would have liked, due to my inability to read the pattern I was planning on using.

A second choice seen here was Arroyo, which, if you look at the pattern, does not have bobbles.  After I'd tried a couple of bobbly patterns, I opted for a pattern I liked and added a row of subtle bobbles. Yes, I know, I just said "subtle bobbles" 

But they are relatively subtle--see the grey blobs? Sorta? Okay, I'll zoom in. 

1 row of gray blobs. I'm not really sold on the whole scarf but it turned out less annoying than I expected, so, yay. 

You've just seen the gloves, so I won't spend much time there. This was less painful than the first set I made, I think mostly because these were in fingering weight. If I redid the pattern, I'd leave the palm in ribbing up, or at maybe the back of the hand. There ends up being extra fabric in the hand and I find it a little irritating. Overall though they fit decently and I'll probably end up wearing them this winter yet. 

Finally, winning the cuteness prize is my stuffed balloon elephant. 

This is a series of increases/decreases to create tubes and then you can either follow directions or--if you're me, just twist it around until it mostly resembles what you're going for shape wise. 

Each project was ~250-350 yards, so not really more than an average pair of socks, but each required being at home for the majority of them, which took more time than I'd have liked. 

Not sure what spring semester will bring but hopefully it will be something slightly more commute friendly. (And ideally I'll pass this semester very quickly) 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Counts are Piling Up

In my annual race to the deadlines, I'm still not done, but the count in the finished pile is growing rapidly.

My Loopy Academy finish, which last week seemed rather optimistic, is quickly becoming manageable. Two of the three projects are done: the toy and the bobble project. And I've cast on the second glove. Which makes it sound like it's humming right along. In reality, I have one whole row completed and there are many hours ahead of me, but at least the first 40 rows or so are just 2x2 ribbing and that I can do in near stupor. This will be followed then by 40 rows of rather intricate cables, a reasonably mindless thumb and palm and then...more fingers.

(Proof of glove 1)

It's not going horribly. I think it helps that I just finished the incredibly fiddly elephant toy, but the work is certainly not fast and I can't imagine trying to knit gloves for recipients whose hands are not immediately available to me at all times. 

So there will be a parade of finished objects in the next couple of days, assuming I can get another 10 or so hours of knitting in before the 31st. The idea of having to knit *another* pair of gloves, on an external deadline is not one I think I can bear at the moment. 

Gypsy has decided that, as I am home, I must be supervised at all times. She's following me from room to room, sprawls next to me or on top of me or my knitting or whatever she can. I remind her that there is another human in the house who could serve as a foot warmer, ear rubber, chin massager etc but she is having none of it. I think she assigned Pyewacket to Philosopher supervision instead. 

Wish me luck, I'm still in glove purgatory... 

Monday, December 26, 2016

One Thing Done

I did not make all of my holiday deadlines. Fortunately, gifts are received graciously even if I'm running a little late to the post office.

Christmas Eve I was able to deliver personally to AudioGirl.

While out shopping earlier this fall, she'd mentioned wanting a skinny, asymmetrical scarf. Add to that a box of mini-skeins from Sophie's Toes that she's been commenting on since I bought it and a plan emerged.

196 rows later and...

One assymetrical scarf! 

The scarf is reversible, with alternating rows that keep it from locking too far into a front side/back side. And I was able to use up almost every single row of yarn that came in the 6 pack. 

The progression went from a bright yellow with orange and green dots that I'd probably never pick up on it's own all the way to her Flannel colorway, which I have knit up for the Philosopher's favorite triangle. 

There are very sharp contrasts between sections, even with me trying to alternate rows at the beginning/end--these are miniskeins of six of her other colorways that progress nicely, it's definitely not a gradient where you're slowly progressing through colors. 

But overall I was pleased with it. It got a light block, which sadly did not remove all of the cat hair, and is now probably being sniffed by AudioGirl's suspicious feline. And everywhere I look on Ravelry, now I see asymmetrical sock yarn scarves... 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Morning Count

Because it's December and I, as I have said, fail annually at remembering that this part of the year shows up regularly, getting ready in the morning has a new component: the yarn projects for the day.*

I'm never at my best first thing in the morning. I can go from dead asleep to brightly chipper on the phone in under a minute but if you want sustained thought, that takes whole lot more time and usually either coffee or tea. Adding in project evaluation takes extra brain cells and I'm impressed that so far I've not managed to walk out of the house without, say, my phone. We'll see what kind of shape I'm in by the end of next week.

The reason for these extra neurons firing is an attempt to review the day ahead and determine what knitting time is available and what kind of knitting time that is. The Yarn Harlot is much better than I am--she can approximate how long something will take to knit and also better knows what kind of knitting she'll be able to do at a given event. She spreadsheets. I know I shouldn't take a lace chart to a dark bar but beyond that hope springs eternal.

Based on what knitting time I can think of, I usually need at least two projects. And so something gets stuffed into a bag (the ones from Gretel and Sibling-the-Elder are on overtime, they are my two biggest bags) and off I go. The utterly mindless is reserved for when I need to be listening to something/someone; the needs thought/review gets shuffled to the commute, a few minutes sanity midday; or waiting for people.

Progress is going slowly. I cannot stand and drink wine and knit all at the same time, I can manage any two but throw in the third and I'm thwarted. And then I've had wine... so traveling home I'm sleepy and that doesn't make the best knitting time either. Ah well, a few more midnight candles burning...

*Yes, I know I should be doing all of this the night before when I'm getting ready for bed. Ideal Me would do that, but Ideal Me wouldn't have left me in this bind, would she?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Done and Dusted

I finally got to make a special knitting delivery today!

When I found out my friends E&P were expecting twins, I was very excited. E and I have been friends long enough that if you ask, neither of us can entirely figure out how we met. At some point she was just on speed dial and we've been through many a professional organization mini-crisis together.

Twins often show up a little early and this pair was no exception. And while I'd gotten to meet them, I just now finally finished all the edging and end-weaving, etc, and so when I went over to babysit for a couple of hours, I brought along their blankets.

I made two Mason Dixon Moderne Log Cabin baby blankets.  The yarn for both was Plymouth Encore, which is 75% acrylic, 25% merino and very washable. It also comes in many colors.  E had said black was totally fine and she didn't want pink but beyond that she didn't have any particular color preferences. Blanket One was Black, Dark Burgundy, Medium Gray, and Charcoal. 

Blanket Two, in addition to the Black, was more of a study in Heathers. The colors included Emerald Heather, Light Gray Heather, and Gray Heather.  And you can see I changed up my color orders so the black wasn't in the same place at the same time. 

I modified the pattern; I always do a bit (this is the 3rd/4th of these).  I didn't do the color work at the bottom or sides, instead just doing straight long rectangles.  I'm also not sure what the correct border is supposed to be --I always just work from the PDF on Ravelry which doesn't tell you what it is. 

So instead I do a 3 stitch applied I-cord edging. For these I did it in the non-gray color for each blanket.  

I don't have much yarn left from either set of colors. The Philosopher had suggested that I use the black as the border but I didn't have enough and I liked the idea of a little bit of color around the edge. But if they go through the wash a few times and need any minor touch ups, I have the leftovers stashed away.  

Now they are ready for wash and dry with their baby detergent of choice and tummy time has a whole new set of blankets for drooling upon! 

(Also, now I get to blog about most of my knitting again! E noticed that she hadn't seen these on the blog.) 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Maybe It Will Work for Easter

Earlier this fall I bought yarn for making my Loopy Academy projects. I had patterns and plans but alas, am a Hedgehog of the Occasional Inability to Read the Pattern Properly Until Several Months later. *sigh*

And so I refactored, grabbed new patterns, and faced my yarn choices. 

Two skeins from that shipment have to be set aside for gifts, so I'm left with my original yarn choices and a curious wondering about what I was possibly thinking in September.

I bought lavender wool. I don't particularly care for lavender-- I don't wear the color; I'm not a big fan of the scent. More for those of you who do like it, truly. Why did I buy lavender wool? If you run into September Hedgehog, ask her. 

And the project needs to be at least 250 yards and include bobbles, which means I need to use both skeins. 

I also don't like bobbles. Sibling-the-Elder has done some fantastic work with lace and nupps. I adore what she is capable of and my coworkers keep threatening to permanently borrow the shawls she has made me. But bobbles in worsted weight and with me knitting just look like clunky blobs dangling off an otherwise reasonably satisfactory knitting project.

Each semester, Loopy Academy brings me a project with a skill set I don't really have and while I can say, ah yes, I've now done it, the result turns back into yarn or goes immediately into the gift bin.  In doing a quick count on Ravelry just now, of the 12 projects completed so far 4 were gifted/are in the gift bin; 3 were frogged; and I've kept 5. Of the three for this semester, I have a feeling I'll keep 1. It depends if there is any hope that the gloves will fit someone else.

I've restarted the bobble project a couple of times now. And I've just decided to rip out what I have so far and start again. My first effort was a pattern that I found online and while yes, it would have been doable, six inches in I found it so hideous that I refused to take pictures of it. Not the pattern's fault, though the designer wasn't the clearest and I wouldn't buy anything from her again. But lavender feather and fan lace topped with chunky bobbles wasn't doing anyone any good.

So now I've tracked down a crescent scarf pattern that I will modify to add a row of small bobbles. And if I run out of yarn, I'll bind off early and it will be a shallow crescent. Hopefully this is the last time, as I go to cast on again.