Thursday, January 4, 2018

Everything is New Again

It was 2 degrees when I got on the train this morning. I hadn't looked, assuming the temperature drop (back to -1F) was coming tonight. My ears hurt even with my hat. Note to self, warmer hat tomorrow.

I'm back to work this week and had students for orientation yesterday morning. I felt for the ones joining us from California. They are not prepared, even knowing they are coming to a cold region. 

Yesterday my last Senior Fall Academy project was approved! This officially makes me three projects away from graduation.  I hope Sherri has something exciting in mind for us, her first graduates.

A month winter break before we are into the final knitting semester and so I have been working on projects that have nothing to do Academy or gift knitting or anything. First up is some Malabrigo Caracol in the Camaleon colorway. It is beautiful yarn and looks like stained glass.  I bought it on quick trip to Milwaukee with BrineyDeep.  The pattern I am using is Faucett, a Franklin Habit Knitty favorite. The stitch pattern is very easy and in larger yarns goes very very fast. It also gives you a nice long fabric, which was my goal here in order to get a decent size long cowl I can wrap several times.  I just finished Skein 1 last night. 

I also started a pair of socks on New Years Eve. This was a little more challenging than expected. My hands have changed in the last few years and I knew that even though it was STR Mediumweight (a remnant or some such from a grab bag), I would need to use a size 1 (2.0 mm) needle. Only, all of my stitch counts that I default to would be wrong.  

A stitch count that works with these needles, yarn, and my feet appear to be sorted out; I will know within a few more hours when I turn the heel.  We have candidates in at work for position this week and that has afforded a little extra knitting time.  

This week has not seen me knitting much on public transit. Everyone is piled in with their puffiest coats and I am readapting to routine. Perhaps next week if we get out of the single digits.  

In the interim, there will be a lot more lotion and moisturizer. My everything is dry. (I was going to say hands but it is so much more. My face, my legs, my hair -- all of it seems to be dry and static-y.)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Final Counts 2017

I gave myself a full week of rest following the end of Christmas/Academy knitting. My right wrist  had been regularly complaining after what I think was a hyper-extension on Cookie Day.*  I usually seem to end up with some kind of holiday related/knitting related injury in December every year. One year it was in the backs of my hands; another year my shoulder. Maybe if I don't have Academy for the back half of 2018.... 

And yes, for those curious, I'm twitchy. I don't know how to watch television or listen to an audiobook without knitting.  Never mind that there is plenty of cleaning to do around Chez Hedgehog that could be done with an audiobook. Or that I could sort the stash again, which also needs to be done, while watching a movie. 

I have read multiple print books, which is more than I usually get thru in a week these days.

Overall it was a productive knitting year: I completed 31 projects and have a few outstanding that will bleed into 2018. My first completed projects were Pussy Hats for the Women's March. I'm still proud of having been able to knit an entire one and then pop it onto AudioGirl's head *at* the March. She added ribbing later and has been wearing it all winter so far.

The last completed project was the Vitamarie Shawl that you just saw. Still waiting on Loopy Ewe to approve that, but I cannot see that one going wrong. There were multiple  charts in Franklin's pattern.

Favorite?  I don't know if there was one. I looked through my projects and thought Oh Of Course and then saw another and chose that one, or that one.

Overall Counts: 

Adult Hats: 7
Infant Hats: 3
Shawls: 9
Cowls: 1
Mitts/Gloves: 4
Toys: 1
Socks: 1
Toddler Sweater: 2
Scarf: 1
Earwarmers: 2

Yes, I'm stunned that I only knit one pair of socks too. I worked on two other pairs but never made much progress. I've lost a few pair this year due to blow outs or finding moth issues that I hadn't known about when I went through everything three times last year. So 2018 may see a few new pairs on the sock drawer.  I'll also be looking for "things to do with the remaining sock or slightly well worn sock yarn that I don't want to forget." I have a feeling a sock yarn blanket is in my future--to be knit for a few decades to come.

Wishing you a restful end to the year and that you start 2018 refreshed and ready to tackle all the challenges ahead. There will be many. And I hope we have enough yarn for all of them.

*Cookie Day -- somewhere between 8-10 women descend upon the kitchen of a Lutheran church who graciously rents it to us every year and bakes for 10 hours. The result this year was 2.5 8' tables of different kinds of cookies. Something like 24 different recipes. It's delicious.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


I would say Done and Dusted but there's still a lot of cat hair around Chez Hedgehog.

 However, my last Loopy Academy homework has been uploaded for the semester and I'm even a week early! I finished this on the 22nd and blocked it overnight. It was wrapped on the 23rd and gifted on the 24th and now lives with Sibling-the-Elder.

This was not my first Franklin Habit pattern but I believe it was the first time I'd knit one of his lace pieces. The charts are incredibly clear and the final product is really lovely.  I was a little skeptical on the anticipated measurements and added 4 repeats -- 2 on each side of center. I probably didn't need them -- the final measurements were something close to 3 feet wide and 7 feet long.

I know, not my best photo either.  It was about 1 a.m. at that point.  I used Loopy Ewe Solids; I'm still disappointed that they discontinued that yarn.  Several friends tried to "adopt" this project. Or at least reassured me that they really do like that color. 

Gypsy had been firmly of the opinion that the unblocked shawl was a cat pillow.  I had to wait a good half hour to move her and the while it was blocking, of course, she "helped." 

I was even feeling a little smug that I've knit over 10,000 yards this year -- 10805 according to KnitMeter.  Then I looked at my Ravelry Stash page and did some quick math to see how much I've brought into the house that hasn't yet been knit. It's somewhere in the 8000 yards range. So it's a net loss of about 2000 yards. Plus all of the yarn I bought which was knit and has left... 

Still, not sure I'm actually making progress here in using up stash.  

I'm on a knitting break for a few days. My hands have been complaining and so I'm going to do some stash sorting, make sure ends are woven in on a few things, sort out things that need to be gifted and maybe make some plans for 2018 knitting. One academy semester to go!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Begrudgingly Entrelac'd

My Loopy Academy Senior Year Entrelac project has been completed. I did enough to complete the yardage and bound off. 

It's a 5' scarf, entirely knit in entrelac, from a skein of BMFA Heavyweight Socks That Rock in the Hush colorway. I worked form a set of internet instructions that I ceremoniously threw away the minute the knitting was done, so no pattern link for this one. 

The yarn is brighter than my camera was cooperating with that day, the bottom picture is closest in terms of actual colors. It looks much like toothpaste.

And while I am now decent at backwards knitting and can successfully navigate entrelac without too much griping, it is not a technique I have any intention of doing again if I can possibly help it. Besides the fiddly nature of the the process, I don't like the finished product. It doesn't fit with my aesthetic at all and since I'm the one who will be knitting it....

I'm giving this just until Loopy approves my assignment (or one of you hops up and down and thinks it's beautiful and desperately wants it) until I rip it out.  By January 1, this is going back in the stash.  

[One more Loopy Academy project to finish for the semester. The shawl turned the halfway point last night and I'm far faster than I was. I have 9 straight repeats and then the decreases start! Send me about 3 spare weeks and I should be in great shape.] 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The [Frantic] Knitting Season is Upon Us

Holiday knitting is fully upon us. And if you're like me, this means a combination of severe procrastination and frantic knitting. My post-Christmas appointment with my massage therapist is already booked -- as my hands and shoulders are about to hurt like hell.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that I already made her something.

The product of a day's knitting up a skein of Malabrigo Worsted. There are worse ways to spend a holiday weekend day. First was Caliometry and a rummage around the apartment located this fancy lion button. 

Second was this Alpine Earwarmer/Headband.  And ultimately this didn't use the full skein, but she got the leftovers for when the button hole has stretched out or the cables need tightening up. 

Much time this weekend was also spent on Ravelry reading through the Indie Giftalong thread. 300+ designers with a 25% coupon code. I did set a limit on just how much I was spending on patterns and I think I only went over by about $10.  Not too bad. Of course, no clue when I'll actually have the chance to knit these -- see holiday knitting and Loopy Academy knitting for spring. But hey, I'll be done entirely with Academy (I hope) next June! So perhaps there is hope. 

In the interim a small gray cat has been complaining that I've been in front of the computer for too long today. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

72 Hours-- Ish

We have reached the period of the calendar year where I am deeply in denial of deadlines, full on avoidance, and procrastination. This is a regular occurrence and I seem unable to avoid it. Thus it was the perfect time to go yarn shopping, right? 

I still had that gift certificate from The Knitting Knook from WI Sheep and as it is just north of Milwaukee, I called my friend BrineyDeep and made arrangements for a little light yarn collecting. 

We were so restrained!!  I picked up two absolutely stunning skeins of Malabrigo Caracol, which is a thick and thin, super bulky single with thread ply wrapping. It looks like stained glass. A goal for the upcoming holiday weekend is to set up my light box and get decent pictures. It's absolutely lovely and I'm hoping to get a long cowl out of it that will brighten up the gray winter days ahead. I also finally got a copy of the Opinionated Knitter, which I will hopefully get to peruse over Christmas break. 

Speaking of gray, that was the color of yarn I pulled out of the stash on Wednesday night. Briney's kiddo had outgrown their sweater -- toddlers will do that. I had time and Cascade 220, right?  

I was about 85% done when I got to her house -- working on sleeve 1. Which, arguably isn't too bad for 2.5 days wherein I still had to go to work and do various and sundry other things. This is Flax in the 2-4 year size. It was too big for said toddler, which was the goal. In about 2 months it should be roomy and I'm hoping it won't be outgrown for a 12 month, but we shall see.  I have no doubt it will be stuffed over all manner of other shirts and worn to pieces.  

And Mama has leftovers in case of a quick need to repair or extend the ribbing.  

You'll notice of course I make no mention of my Academy projects. The fingerless mitts for my office? Going swimmingly. The sleeves on another baby sweater that I started Summer 2016 -- SUPER important to finish right now. The entrelac and charted projects? Entirely being avoided. 

It doesn't help that I can't commute with either one. Home knitting time is still somewhat limited and I've long since reached the don't wanna phase of both projects. The yarn is fine for both and Franklin's pattern continues to be clear and should turn out quite interestingly. There's just a lot of whining. 

Maybe over the Thanksgiving weekend I can make a dent. There will be a several hours parade and then the National Dog Show to watch.... 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Unremembered Knitting

I keep having to remind myself, using Ravelry, that I do continue to knit productively and turn out projects at a fairly steady rate. Certainly I forget to tell the blog about things but Ravelry is a decent source of truth.  A quick run thru things that have recently appeared and come off the blocking mats.

The Philosopher's purple triangle was a loss to the moths last year and thus needed replacing. The Loopy Ewe has finally run out of purple, I don't know what I'll do next time. This was the Milkweed pattern. It's well written and very clear and knits up quickly and beautifully. It should get it's debut at a tailgate soon now that the weather has turned cooler. 

I also, for the very last time, reknit this yarn. It's my third time through it. The yarn is the earliest of the Dizzy Blonde studios. I knit a hat; then ripped that out when the Philosopher said he'd really prefer a scarf. That scarf was too long and bulky. And then there were moths and so what had been 1 skein turned into 2 (hat + remnants) turned into about 10. It was an opportunity to try reskeining. I soaked the miniskeins and hung them in the shower with a plastic hanger as weight. They seemed to turn out alright? Either way -- I'm DONE with this yarn. The pattern is the Fibonacci Neckerchief, which, considering my boyfriend seemed incredibly appropriate. 

And I went to a conference in early October where I would need to be able to drop and go. Pull out my standard modifications for the Sockhead hat and we're off! I go down a needle size, down several stitches, and I don't make it very slouchy. I also do a 1x1 ribbing rather than the pattern recommended 2x2. It's my 3rd or 4th time through it, so I've got it down pretty well. 

The yarn is Western Sky Knits in Zombie Garden II and it's  not photographing here as well as I'd like. It's much more charming in person and people regularly commented on liking the yarn.  I think this hat goes in my bin for winter, I do like a bright hat.

Finally,  look SLEEVES! That only took several extra months. This toddler sized Flax Light is done. I've still got a lot of the Cascade Heritage yarns to use up but I was pleased with how this turned out.  

I've got two other projects to show you (see--I am productive, just behind at my storytelling).  Those need their own posts though. Wool is eventually getting used up around Chez Hedgehog. Slowly. 

Everything is New Again

It was 2 degrees when I got on the train this morning. I hadn't looked, assuming the temperature drop (back to -1F) was coming tonight. ...