Monday, August 24, 2015

A few FOs

I've started to recuperate from Stash Dash 2015. I did end up completing the 5K and have done a bit of knitting since then but it's the start of the fall semester and knitting time and energy has been spent on other things.

First up--I finished the shawl!

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I ended up with a modified border as I'm not a huge picot fan and I was starting to run low on yarn. When I pinned it out, I was shooting for an 8 pointed star--and then squared out those points a bit.  I'm happy overall with how it turned out, though it's the second shawl I've made this year that isn't really my taste.  Ah well, an occasion or person will arise who loves it, I've no doubt.  I'm glad the yarn--which had been lingering in my stash for YEARS--was used up.

 One more pair of socks done. This is pair 3 for 2015. I think my usual dozen might be a half dozen, assuming a little more sock mojo comes back this fall.

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And finally, that last push through grocery bags.

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Everyone around here is looking for options, as Evanston and Chicago have banned plastic bags from big stores. These four are what I finished before Stash Dash was over, but since then I've finished one more and have one about half way done. I've got about 4 more pounds of cotton that I'd like to use up. They're easy snack food crafting, whip around in circles and you're done.

Other news near Chicago, if you've ever been to Loopy, it's changed owners. There was a very quiet email announcing this middle of last week. I don't think I've met the new owner before but will have to stop by and see how she is doing soon. I've not been in the store recently--for me it had gone far too big box yarn stores (Cascade etc) and I never found the unique stuff which had first drawn me to it.  I hope that the new owner will bring in some of the many Chicago dyers.

I did pop over for an hour to Stitches Midwest and I'll show you that as soon as I get pictures. Also, I've got a hat almost done, some mitts and another shawl started, and I bought some more yarn from BMFA.  So...more soon!

Monday, August 3, 2015

The End is in Sight

We're down to the last two weeks of Stash Dash 2015 and I am still not done with my 5K. The good news, however, is that I'm further along than I thought.  In my head I still had about 1200 yards to go and that's a very daunting amount--somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 pair of socks to knit in two weeks. It's doable but maybe not while also keeping my sanity and working on anything else.

Then I checked my Ravelry Stash Dash tab and found that I really only needed about 600 meters more! I've finished a couple of projects recently that haven't shown up here yet but they just need blocking and that's fairly quick, all things considered.

Still, the idea of another 700 yards in fingering weight seemed not perhaps my best idea, so I looked through the stash for some heavier yarn. What I came up with was a cone of worsted cotton, that last of it's weight in my stash (I still have lots of bulky cotton yarn). And with the new laws in my area about plastic bags (either a cost or not available at all) I'm sure there are a few more people looking for reusable bags.

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And so once again I'm tackling the one crochet pattern I've been able to learn: grocery bags.

They go very quickly, eat up a lot of yarn, and are immediately usable.  According to the pattern, one bag should take up about 150-200 yards, so I should get about 3 bags out of the cone and those should be pretty easily done this week, which would give me an extra week to finish out any shortages that I come across.

Next week I hope to get back to the big project I just started-- a sideways shawl that is going to take about 1200 yards of fingering weight yarn.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Need New Snack Reading

The Philosopher and I had a bookish afternoon. First we wandered over to the public library to look at the giant cookbook section. He wants to do more every other week cooking and I want to do more with the crockpot that isn't me defaulting back to a couple of standard recipes.  Not that there's anything wrong with a pot of Calico Beans.

Afterwards we swung through Barnes and Noble for something he needed. I headed over to the mystery section.

I'm a cozy mystery reader. Have been pretty regularly since sixth grade when a Scholastic Book Fair flyer included one of the Cat Who mysteries by Lilian Jackson Braun. In retrospect, I'm amazed that it was--I can't imagine that flying with a lot of parents now--but I read them by the pound and listened to them on audiobook, mostly on tape. I remember when they tried to switch away from George Guidall reading and the flatout uprising of the readers--so they ended up going back to him. I have at least most of the books in well worn paperback, I'm not sure I bothered with the last 5-6. Someone really should have just refused to publish those.

Anyway, Sibling-the-Elder got me into Donna Andrews' books, which have a bird theme and I read and re-read those regularly. I started reading Emily Brightwell's Mrs. Jeffries because they were next to Lilian Jackson Braun's books at the public library. And somehow I got sucked into the Southern Cousin books by Peggy Webb--probably the covers. They're absolutely silly but they work for me.

I haven't found another series though of late that I enjoyed. I am not interested in new-bed-partner-of-the-book, which seemed to be where several authors were headed. I tried a couple of knitting ones but the last one had the woman barely past a garter stitch scarf and was painfully obnoxious.  If I'm reading for a theme, I don't mind being expected to be a bit past beginner knowledge, even if I don't fully understand, context clues should be enough.

So I ask--do you have a favorite cozy mystery author? Something funny is preferable.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stealth Knitting

As the majority of the people who get knitted things from me either do not live nearby or know about them in advance, it's not often that I have stealth knitting.  Sure, the Incredibly-Patient-Mother knows that some of the socks that appear here might end up in her gift box at a holiday but which of the dozen pairs I crank out of the year (yes, I'm far behind this year) remains to be seen, so hopefully it's still a fun surprise. I refuse to stealth knit for the Philosopher.

But occasionally something comes up where I know a person might see the pictures on Twitter or Facebook and I want it to be a surprise. 

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That was the case with the Logwood Shawl by verybusymonkey. I wanted to surprise my board liaison, who is rolling off after two very solid years of collaborating with me on our national committee. And since she also lurks around Ravelry (she does a lot of code work for Custom Fit), I couldn't say much about it there.

How to Stealth Knit a Shawl?

1. Set aside yarn that the person has mentioned liking. (There's a method to posting all my yarn pictures, people sometimes will self-identify for things that end up in their mailboxes)

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In this case it was Lisa Souza's Hardtwist Merino Petite in the Augustine Colorway. It *glows* in direct sunlight.  My pictures don't do it justice.

2. Realize you have about a month to get it knit and start frantically knitting.

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3. Block it the night before you leave for conference, praying that it will be dry by 5 a.m. when you have to get up and leave for the airport.  Turn the overhead fan it's sitting under on high, worry that the fan will rock itself out of the ceiling.

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4. Hand it over on the last day of conference. :)

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Yup I know, lousy picture. It was 5 a.m.

Each of the smaller shots gives you some detail that is in the border, which was not the easiest--I couldn't memorize it and that meant staring at a chart and using a row counter. It's well written though and I really enjoyed it.  And hopefully it'll brighten up her winter wear this year--she's in the Boston area and I imagine all of her winter gear got quite worn last year.  


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stained Glass Hat

It comes as no surprise that I finished up that hat I was making out of Mrs. Crosby Hat Box long before I finished the Baby blanket I was supposed to be working on, does it?

It'd have been done even faster but I ripped back to the brim once to try and sort out the slipped stitches that make up the majority of the hat. I still am not 100% sure what I'm not doing correctly, but the slipped stitches don't appear to be spiraling the way that they should.

Pattern for reference link: frais

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I'm not sure if it's that it is a slightly thicker, rounder yarn or it it's PEBKAN (problem exists between knitter and needles), though I'm inclined towards the latter. I tried knitting into the front and back of the slipped stitches, neither seemed to be working properly so at some point I just gave up and knit the rest of the hat.

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Ultimately, I think it turned out to be a very cute hat, long enough to be over the ears and the folded hem gives extra warmth without a folded up brim that stretches out on first wearing.

I do think that I did a little better on the brim:

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And of course I'm still enchanted with Mrs. Crosby and the Toucan colorway in particular.

This added another 180 yards to my Stash Dash total, which is slowly growing. Must keep the pace up for another six weeks!!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Long Spice Route

I finished up my first Knit-Up-Some-Wollmeise project!!  The Spice Route scarf, which a number of people chimed in to like, was knit up out of Amazonas. My research partner Lisa suggested that color and I think it turned out quite nicely.

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The finished scarf is about 6' long by 10" wide? Ish? I didn't measure carefully but it's 7 blocking mats and a smidge.

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The blocking isn't as exciting, but the close ups give you a better sense.



Dropping all of the stitches at the end was fun.  Wollmeise isn't a particularly sticky yarn, certainly moreso than anything with silk or tencel but I'd get 10-15 stitches dropping at a pull, so it widened out quickly.
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I've got about 200 yards left from the skein, those 150g put ups are very generous, and I'm thinking about matching mitts to go with this scarf. Somewhere around here I printed a pattern, but I'm not sure where it went.

How long do you think it was after I walked away from blocking the scarf that certain little furry people went and sat on it? 5 seconds? 10?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Underestimating, but done.

It's a good thing when you over estimate how much yarn a project will need, for while leftovers do build it, a half an extra ball is far more welcome than running out on the bindoff. But when a baby blanket you thought would take 20 skeins only takes 13 and you're in the middle of Stash Dash 2015, you might be slightly less thrilled.

That said, I am very pleased that P's baby blanket was finished in the wee hours of Sunday morning, her baby shower of course having been midday on Sunday.




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The pattern is the Log Cabin Baby Blanket from the first Mason Dixon book (which I really must buy one of these days).  The colors were Flamingo, Peony, Pomegranate and Blackberry.  Pomegranate seems to be everyone's favorite color, it's a wonderful jewel-tone.  The yarn is Knit Picks Comfy, which I do like for baby things. Super soft cotton/acrylic and goes through the washer wonderfully, though it did floof a lot in the dryer.

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It was washed, dried, and wrapped quickly before certain furry felines could come and see what was up.  It ended up taking 1,342 yards, 12.32 skeins-- granted that's assuming all of them were 50 grams and I found a couple that were 52-53, so your yardage may vary. I also only did about 40 ridges on Block 10 (the purple/pink that the top) rather than 54, mostly because I was running out of time and steam.

And that knocks another 20% of my Stash Dash out of the way, though it isn't the near 40% I'd hoped for if I'm aiming for 5K.  But this does mean I feel a little less guilty about not shooting for 10K, I do have to have a smidgen of sanity left by the end of summer.

I hope P's baby gets a lot of use rolling around and playing on it.  We're looking forward to meeting her in about 6 more weeks.