Sunday, January 25, 2015

Talisman

I've been carrying around my knitting as a talisman more than I've been working on it.  In the better part of a month I've managed to knit most of a sock and less than 50 rows on a shawl. The sock goes back and forth to work every day and probably has some serious resentment for my tablet, on which I read or have been playing games. At work it only has made it out of my purse on some days--waiting instead as I fling myself from meeting to meeting.

On one hand I desperately want to knit. I know it will calm me down, soothe a brain that has been tossed a whole lot of curve balls thus far in 2015. On the other, I just haven't cared. Someone out there just spit tea all over their keyboard. Sorry about that.  But I haven't much wanted to knit. I get a twinge of "ooh I want to make a sweater" and then my to do list bites my hand.

Part of it, I think, is that while normally I use my knitting as a way to let my brain work through things, of late my thoughts have been so overwhelming and frustrating that I haven't wanted to think things through or let my knitting be the way that they keep churning. I reach the end of the day, look at everything yet undone, zone out as best as possible on the way home, eat something, collapse into bed earlier than usual.

Getting back to wool is going to be a matter or necessity here shortly though, I have a conference next weekend and a flight the weekend after that. Time to figure out the on-the-go-projects for 2015...


Friday, January 2, 2015

Casually...

I didn't knit yesterday. That strikes me, now on day 2 of the new year, as odd.  I knit on New Years Eve, starting a pair of socks at S&K's party as I always seem to.  They always throw a great party and I always seem to have wrapped up all of my portable knitting, frantically having finished it for the holidays and whatnot. So I grab whatever skein is handy and stuff it in a project bag and, sitting at their kitchen bar, cast on what is both my last and first knitting.

This year, it's Baah! La Jolla in the Purple colorway. Perhaps not the most fascinating of names but it's accurate.

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I bought this yarn from Loopy in Chicago when they were still carrying Baah! I was disappointed that they stopped carrying it, the colors just scream at you from the wall and then you want all of them.  Fortunately, there are other sources.

I've not made any knitting resolutions this year. There's the vague general wish of getting the stash a little smaller so it fits more neatly into it's bins rather than my precariously setting the lids on and hoping.  I've had some thoughts about hats and mittens and fingerless gloves. Of course, I've knit two hats in the past week (a new one for me and one for my massage therapist, more on those later) so perhaps that bug has worn off a bit. And more washcloths, as I try to work through the cotton. But overall I'm just looking forward to seeing what I have, making pretty things, etc.

Hope you're off to a wonderful new year!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Freshman Semester 1 Done

I finished The Loopy Ewe Academy First Semester! I've submitted and am waiting on getting my pictures approved and posted to the galleries. I assume if there's any question/problems, they'll let me know.

You've seen projects 1 and 2 already: the DK-weight hat from a designer new to me and a multi-color fingering weight cowl.  (See below for additional small pictures)

When the Incredibly-Patient-Mother was visiting last weekend, I pulled out the mittens I was making for Academy and finally put the thumbs on them. I'll sit down and go through all manner of things and leave them a couple of hours waiting-- witness those fingerless gloves from last week.

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These are the Eugenia Mittens by Mollie Woodworth, which is a free pattern on Ravelry.  I used size 4 (3.5 mm) and size 6 (4.0 mm) needles. The hands took a bit of concentration, but it's worsted weight so it goes so fast you don't really notice it. The cables, all told, are 40 rows.

The yarn I used was Mrs. Crosby's Steamer Trunk in the Great-Tailed Grackle colorway. This yarn is so luscious. It's dense and squishy and rounded. I cannot recommend it highly enough for accessories. I'm sure it would make a lovely sweater as well, but I've got quite a lot of sweater quantities floating around at Chez Hedgehog to knit up before I can justify buying a whole lot of Mrs. C.

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Overall, I'm pretty thrilled how first semester went. I made two projects for myself and gave one away. I'm looking forward to seeing what we'll need to do for the second semester, and maybe getting it done a little bit earlier than a two weeks before deadline. Maybe.











Here's the cowl again, just before it went to live with Lab Mouse.



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And the hat, which I've now accidentally left in a bar and had to retrieve already! I need more winter hats.


Friday, December 19, 2014

When I am Cold, I shall wear BMFA

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock and Wollmeise. They are my two downfalls.  And yet, BMFA is a better one, because I actively knit it all up.  When BrineyDeep visited, I felt slightly guilty showing her my Wollmeise stash. It's lovely, it's varied--because I don't knit it. I suffer from possibility anxiety and worry I'll never be able to get it again. Her yarn is lovely enough and the cost of the yarn is certainly high enough that it's a luxury item.

Fortunately, I do not have a similar problem when it comes to Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Tina dreams up beautiful colors, her team dyes them on the lovely STR base, and me, I churn through it.  According to Ravelry, I've used 12 different skeins of it. Beyond the basics--Cascade 220, KnitPicks Comfy etc, I'm not sure there's another company where I've gone through 12 different colorways.  

So of course I needed more... 

I mentioned that the Philosopher couldn't possibly live without a skein of Tea and Alchemy with his name on it, right?  

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Yes, he's spoiled. What can I say, he brags about the fact that he has a selection of handknit triangles and socks. And he wears the triangles and his fingerless gloves all the time. He even wears a Malabrigo Sock yarn hat on cold days--and this from a man who doesn't wear hats if at all possible. 

Once that obligation was settled, I started looking for colors that appealed to me. Apparently I'm still in a bright kick... 

This is Hobbit Garden

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Isn't it pretty? No clue what I'll make yet.

Next up I saw a reference to the popular song Happy which is "A Room Without a Roof"

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What you can't quite see in that picture is the purple accents-- that whole ultraviolet issue again.  It's so bright, I'm so excited to make something from it. I'm thinking maybe fingerless gloves for me. I still need another pair.

And finally I defaulted back to Mediumweight for a skein. I often have said that if I only had one yarn base to pick from the rest of my life I'd go with BMFA STR Medium Weight and I truly believe it.  This colorway is Royal.

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They're bright and lovely.  I'll be happy to have them brightening up the stash for a bit and then becoming something beautiful.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sock Show Thursday: An Even Dozen (Not Bakers)

When we reached December I was feeling ahead, easy going. Sure there was only 31 days left in the year and I had a full pair of socks still to knit if I was going to reach that dozen, but hey, I've knit socks in a couple of days. A couple of days where I did essentially nothing else, grant you, but still, it was possible.

Unless, of course, you need to ship them as a gift and they suddenly need to be done FAR sooner than the end of the month. 

Thank heavens for BMFA... 

This yarn is the Tea and Alchemy Colorway, which I bought earlier this year with the Philosopher in mind.  He bravely sacrificed this skein as a gift with the strong suggestion that another skein in the same colorway perhaps could be purchased for him.  It was touch and go while I figured out whether or not I could still buy the colorway. If I hadn't been able to, all bets might have been off.  

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[Does anyone else have people in their lives who claim yarn as it comes in, even if they don't knit themselves and know it's going to be 2 years before one gets to it?]

The socks are most basic: 1.5 (2.5mm) needles, 64 stitches, knit as quickly as possible. 

It helped that last week I went down to Purdue with BrineyDeep to spend a day working with our third research partner. BD drove, I knit.  We all three schemed and planned, I knit.  We drove back in the dark, I turned the heel by the light of the passenger seat overhead flap.

While I still plan to knit another dozen pair next year, a part of me wonders if I will. I've been increasingly tempted by hats and mittens of late, thrilled by smaller projects or ones that use heavier weight yarn where I can knit them up at a much faster rate.  Such is not to suggest a moratorium on socks, heaven forfend. But perhaps not the same target, maybe only 6 pair?

I say that now...Spring is already looking to be absolutely crazy, I may only have brain power for socks.

Or maybe a stockinette sweater... 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Add Six Years...

I am not sure if I should be embarrassed about how long it took me to finish these fingerless mitts. They're on their third apartment and it's been 6.5 years from cast on to bind off.

Forgive the quick photo, these need to get wrapped up and put in the mail.  Fortunately, the recipient doesn't read my blog.












The pattern is Knitty's Dashing and I went on a spree several years ago knitting lots of pairs. This also, of course, reminds me that the Brunette's Dashing are now six years old and he really has been patient about asking for a new pair and the new mittens I was working on for him, yeah...I'm still not going to get to them before Christmas (Sorry AJ)

All these needed was a new bind off--what was I thinking it was so tight--and thumbs. 90 minutes worth of work I think?

Ah well, having them almost done in the stash meant that when faced with Christmas knitting and not much brain space, I could pull these out and a gift is ready to go.  And the recipient lives in a place where fingerless gloves should be perfect most days. So now these join the 5300 other pairs on Ravelry and hopefully get worn to shreds.


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Home Stretch

Besides end-weaving, which I don't really count but should, I have one more project to finish knitting on before Christmas. Granted, I still have to go to the post office but things seem not to be in absolutely horrible shape. (Quick, tell me what I've forgotten)

Since last you saw me I knit a dog sweater, well, since last my coworkers on Friday saw me I knit a dog sweater.  I'd show you a picture but it's already been wrapped and packed to go to it's Bichon-ly owner. M will send me a snap though and I will share that with you then. It's another doggy shrug from the Cables and Bits pattern. This is the third one I've made, this time in a bright blue/purple/really depends on the light of Berroco Vintage.

And I've also finished a couple of projects for Loopy Academy, the first semester of which is winding to a close rather quickly.

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First up, I made a cowl out of fingering weight yarn. And promptly learned that picking out short rows because I forgot to shift them around as I'm supposed to is absolutely miserable. I did it 3 times and still haven't found a way to undo it that I like.  It's drying in the dining room and then will be another gift.

The pattern is Wandering Wildflower by Laura Smoot, which I've been meaning to knit for several years.  Size 3 needles and Sweet Georgia Tough Sock yarn, which was really lovely to work with. I had just 8 grams left.

For myself, I made a hat

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While I love the Mrs. Crosby hat, I knew almost as soon as I started wearing it that a) it just wasn't long enough to deal with my hair and b) I was going to get really sick of it this winter.  So I started this hat. The pattern is Pamir and I knit it on size 5 needles.

This one was the toughest of the challenges for The Loopy Ewe. 175 yards of DK for a hat is harder to use than you'd think, and as a result the hat is a little slouchier than I'd prefer. The good news is that it fits nicely over a bun or I can fully flip up the brim to have double layers over my ears and still have a well fitting hat.

It's already gone into heavy rotation.

For the observant (or playing along at home), you'll notice I do not yet have mittens posted. They are done but for the thumbs and that's waiting on me to get through Christmas knitting and have an evening at home.  So far home knitting has had to be all Christmas knitting all the time and there hasn't been a whole lot of home knitting time in general.

If you're still on deadline, good luck!!