Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Came, I Saw, I Swift.... Swift-ed... Swift'd

I wound yarn.

That just sounds far less fun that "swift'd"  But it does mean that the rest of the yarn for my make up from Junior Fall Semester for Loopy Academy has been would and is available without delay --a  good things as I've started using all but two skeins of it.

The shawl continues apace, I'm on section 3 and I don't have any photos for you. I'm on the "outer cog" section, which is thankfully going to require far less attention than section 2 did. 18 rounds but relatively straight forward. If I can get some concentration going on the train this week that should be doable. The edging repeats are definitely going to take some time.

The owls are also moving right along. And yes, I changed my mind about the inside out thing. Unlike the elephant of last fall, I don't have to stuff this toy until the very end, which means my style of knitting doesn't affect the final product. Owl 1 is still missing wings and eyes and I need to sew down the beak rather than use a DPN and attempt to stab myself while taking a quick photo.

Owl 2 is just over halfway done. There are 110 rows in the project and I'm on 63. This is mindless enough for tv watching but not quite for reading through news feeds or blogs. I have a post it note going marking my rows, it's just easier that way for me. Of course, all of this taupe means I really want something else bright and cheerful to knit. Must get those gloves started. 

And here is my "help."  This is immediately post-yawn.  She takes up a large portion of the desk and while I adore her as a small feline, she's been in the way a lot.

But it looks like I might be able in the next 9 days to nearly meet my incredibly optimistic goal of re-doing Fall semester in the month of February, which means I need to make sure I'm still happy with my yarn and project choices for Spring Semester if I'm going to hit buy sometime early next week.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Inside Owlettes

Tonight I started the second of my three Loopy Academy Fall Make-Up projects. It's February 9, so I'm not doing too badly. I've been focused on the shawl/bobble project --Industrial Revolution. I've even had a couple of knitting meetings this week, although I had to take time to handwind a skein.  I know, I just need to set up the swift and get all of the yarn done for this semester. Maybe Saturday... 

Anyway, I'm participating on Instagram in the #yarnlovechallenge that Mary Heather from Ravelry is hosting. Each day we get a prompt and post a representative picture. It's been fun and there are so many interesting pictures going by.  Normally I tend to push my pictures out to FB or Twitter but because this is everyday and themed, I haven't been. If you're interested in seeing what I posted, my profile is 

My picture from yesterday was taken on the train on the way home, rather late. Work days have been running long and nights very short. "I'm going to oversleep" insomnia is so much fun. 

Anyway, toy shot... 

I'm about  a third of the way through the body on my first of n owls. I'd originally guessed I'd need to make around 3, I'm going to revise that up right now and say closer to 5. These are going to be dainty little owls, which is fine my me. 

Also, anyone who has seen me knit in the round knows that I knit inside out. Rather than working on the stitches closest to me, I'm working on those farthest away. I'm not sure where I learned this technique. As I demonstrated with the elephant, I'm capable of doing it "correctly" but I realized I don't need to for the owls. Purl side out should be fine.  

So instead, I'll have Inside Owlettes. The Philsopher has already heaved a deep sigh at that joke and wandered away. Apparently he doesn't want an owlette of his own.  

Did you know a group of owls is called a wisdom? Things I've learned from mystery author Donna Andrews. 

Project 2 underway, maybe this weekend I'll start the gloves too.... or at least get out the swift. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Loopy Academy Semester 5: Take 2

I haven't had the stomach to come and blog about the fall semester. I was so delighted with myself, finishing with a full seven hours to spare. I posted pictures, I was all done....

And neither me, nor anyone on the uber-thread on Ravelry noticed I'd missed a very specific instruction: my toy had to have 2 colors of yarn.

My elephant? One color. Which means I did not complete the prompt and therefore did not complete the semester. And it wasn't until a full week later--when my photo hadn't been approved, that someone sorted it out for me. So I spent the rest of January figuring out what I'd do since I needed to redo those three projects. (There was also some pretty solid gnashing of teeth and chiding myself for not double checking the instructions.)

So here we are February 3 and my Box of Fun, as The Loopy Ewe calls them, arrived this afternoon. As soon as Sheri announced Spring Semester being open, I pressed Purchase on my cart, which has been hanging out waiting for me.  I have plans and they are not to be thwarted.

First up is that Bobble project. You will recall I was annoyed with myself last semester upon realizing I'd not bought the right wool for the project (apparently an inability to read instructions was my entire state of being last fall). This time I have it correct and I have four skeins of the Malachite colorway of Loopy Solids. For those of you who also like mixing solid colors--they are still clearing out stock from the old run of this and it's $9 a skein for 220 yards. It's a very decent price and it's a nice little workhorse yarn. It's a light fingering--similar to KPPPM or Louet and if I were knitting socks, I'd use size 0 (2.0mm) needles. This is going to become an Industrial Revolution Shawl

For the toy, I have 2 colors--see there--2! Sand and Mocha and more of the Loopy Solids. These are going to become Dreamy Owls. They'll probably be smaller than the pattern says (8") because I intend to use size 0 needles (2.0mm) and make as many as needed to get to 250 yards.  I'm guessing 3. Not sure how thin the fabric would be with size 3 (3.25 mm) needles...

Finally, I have to suffer through gloves again. Yes, the fall pair was much easier, no, I'm not thrilled about making these. But I can at least use yarn I love and that's where BMFA STR Lightweight comes in, in the Valkyrie colorway.  I'm also leaving off the cables and just getting some gloves done. My friend G made a pair from the Sock-it-to-Me pattern last fall and they looked cool, so here we go. 

What about Spring Semester--which includes colorwork, buttons, and beads? It's on hold until March 1. I want to see how much progress I can make in February first. If I'm moving along well and have at least 2 of these projects done, then sure, I'll order yarn. If not--then we shall see.  I'm also looking for *small* projects.  I really must stop with this whole "let's knit an 800 yard shawl in fingering weight for one of these projects" kick that I'm on. 

Wish me luck... 

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...