Friday, November 21, 2014

One for you, one for you, one for me.

Recently, a cowl pattern came out at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, which is a wonderful site looking at romance novels. A couple of friends strongly hinted (okay, maybe not so much hinted as clearly wished) and the next thing I knew I was mucking around WEBS trying to decide what colors they'd like.

I ended up with three skeins of Malabrigo Rasta, yarn that I have thought is beautiful but couldn't find a pattern for prior to this that would make something really reasonable out of one skein.  One quick order later, a couple hours of knitting for each one and I had three cowls. But the friends hadn't been told about said yarn purchases, so I had to wait to show the cowls off. Now that the mail has been delivered, I can share some pictures.

The pattern is very straight forward and uses up any extra super-bulky that you've had lying around the stash in a big hurry.


For D I picked out a luscious red. She likes red.

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As you can see this can be worn just around the neck or pulled up over the head. It snugs up nicely under a coat or will make a good outer layer over a tighter fitting hat on those extra cold days we're already headed towards.

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For C, I chose a skein that was just beautiful to me.  Hopefully it will be a good accent against her winter coat(s). [Hopefully this winter she'll only need to wear one coat at a time. After last winter, Midwesterners are a little skittish.]

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And for me blues and purple. Mine is a picture just after completion, I've been wearing it and haven't had inclination to pop it back in the light box but I'll try to get a better picture soon. It's the Sheri (883) colorway if you're looking for it.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sock Show Thursday: Fresh and Minty

I've almost finished pair 11 for 2014. I've been chugging along at nearly a full pair ahead of schedule all year and yet here I am in late (gah!) November and I'm still finishing up the second sock on pair 11.  Of course, I've been doing a lot of other knitting on the go: a cowl, a scarf, etc, but still, you'd think the socks would just knit themselves at this point.

Fortunately, a couple of evenings out with friends, one to see Gail Carriger in Chicago and one to eat delicious Japanese noodles and I'm nearly done.

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Yes, Parasol Protectorate readers, I got to see Gail Carriger on the final stop of her current book tour--Book 3 of the YA series that she's currently writing. Friend C suggested it and I trudged over after work, carrying my beat up copy of Soulless.  It'd be more abused, but it's actually my second copy. I'm still not sure who has my first copy.

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Gail did an hour of Q&A, rather than a traditional reading, and it was lots of fun. It wasn't a huge group but we got to have a nice chat with her and send her off (hopefully peacefully) back to the Pacific Northwest, home to her own bed.  She's just as funny and lovely as you'd imagine from her books.

The socks, when worked on, are coming right along. They are toothpaste minty.  This is my usual pattern done in Sophie's Toes Merino Sock, that I picked up last spring at YarnCon. I'm not quite through all the yarn I bought from her, this is 2 of the 3 skeins. The third is on the needles but not any progress made recently, so nothing to show you there.

With these winding down, I need to wind more stash. Despite my not knitting socks very fast of late, I have seemed to work through all of the "this is for socks" yarn that I usually carry around with me.  Of course, mittens are calling my name with the cold temperatures, so we'll have to see.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wait time washcloths

Whenever a computer is slow at work while I'm trying to work with a student, I always joke that "they promised us computers would make our lives faster."  We've all been there, waiting for something to load that seems to be taking forever.  In my head sometimes I'll make the little whirring modem noises from my high school days and yes, I know even that was a miracle of speed and such.  Still, as I'm griping at my phone that it can't do six things at once and has really started slowing down recently, making mapping really inconvenient when I am on the fly, grrrr....

Anyway, when I'm at home and waiting on the computer to load something, I keep a washcloth on the needles. Earlier this year I set out to use up all of the rest of the bulky weight cotton that I bought a couple of years back and I know lots of people who like a handknit washcloth.

So far I've made it through one entire skein in Charcoal:

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And honestly I have no idea how many washcloths I've made.  I started giving them away already, usually in batches of three, so at least six or so have gone to a new home.  I think I have 9 or 10 more around here still, so figure 15 or so per pound of cotton?

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I'm knitting all sorts of patterns as the mood strikes. Mostly I've been knitting small log cabin washcloths, though also I tried a half linen stitch and did some moss and garter stitch. It's not going especially quickly, I started in April with the intent of busting through 3-4 pounds of cotton and I'm only just through the first pound six months later, but it's getting it used and eventually the incredibly patient mother will get her stash reloaded and a few other friends who've made washcloth noises will get some too.

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Perhaps I might even use some here at Chez Hedgehog. That'd be novel, now wouldn't it? Odd that I only have one around here for me.

And in the interim, the time waiting on the computer rebooting is being put to good use.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Little New Stash

While waiting for the Philosopher the other evening before a show at the House Theater, I moseyed down the block and into Nina. The proprieter always has such lovely things and it was a nice way to while away the time. She was helping a new knitter find some super bulky yarn to create a bulky fast scarf and I was trying to remember what obligation knitting I had for this year.

Then, of course, I got waylaid by the sale bin.

Remember the Rorschach Socks? I found more of that yarn.

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Isn't the raspberry lovely?

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Or, you know, if lime is more your style. Yes, they're really that bright. And by bright I mean neon.  I assume they'll just be socks at some point in the next year, I don't have any particular plans as yet but I'm not sure I know anyone who wants that level of bright nearer to their faces that over the toes.

I do really like the base though, which is Zitron Wolkenspiel.  I should probably check to see if they have anything in slightly less bright shades.

I also picked up a skein of Berroco Vintage. It's knit-a-dog-sweater-season and fluffy pup needs a new shrug, I'm told.

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The yarn is a little more purple than this but again, my usual trouble with the camera eye and ultraviolet.

This is the only yarn that gets to stay out, the Zitron skeins are both headed to the stash to marinate.  Perhaps I'll dig them out again in March when it's grey...






Monday, November 3, 2014

Helping Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders is a group I've donated to before.  And I know they continue to do excellent work around the world. So when I saw a news story that they were struggling with funding in order to meet the need in West Africa, I wanted to help.

I was trying to think of what I could do as a fundraiser and knitted objects seemed most logical. These are projects that I've knit over several years, with yarn much enjoyed but who haven't yet found their home. I'm hoping this might find it for them. To borrow a phrase from the Yarn Harlot, some Karmic Balancing Gifts.

I've listed six items below with pictures and descriptions. If you're interested in participating, please make a donation to Doctors Without Borders and then send me an email or Ravelry message (see my About Me page for those), specifying which item you'd like to be in the drawing for. I'm setting that specifically because I'd like you to get to pick and I'm not reknitting the socks to a different size. Donation size isn't important, everyone gets one shot, but I hope you'll contribute.

I'll leave this up until December 1, then will be in touch to get mailing addresses. All projects are fully knit, I just haven't taken final pictures of a few.  Any questions, I'll add to the bottom of this post.

Thank you for donating to DWB's efforts!

1. Candy Shop Scarf

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This is a cotton scarf knit in a color changing yarn. It goes from pale pink to red to chocolate brown. It's about 7" wide and about 7' long.  It would be good for warm weather--not so much for winter though.

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2. Easter Egg Scarf

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This is a light purple and white scarf. It's about 7" wide and about 6' long, knit in a superwash wool. The yarn is Intention's Yarn, from back when Violet was dying it.

3.  Small Spring Shawlette

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A bright green and purple scarf, knit from fingering weight superwash wool.  It's about 2.5' down the center spine and about 5' wide. The yarn is Juliet from Yarn Love. I don't think they are in business anymore.

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4. Cold Beach Socks

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These are women's socks, sized for abour 6-7. I wear a 7 and they're a little snug lengthwise for me.  The yarn is superwash wool, Manos Del Uruguay Alegria. It's a fine gauge yarn.

5. Rorschach Socks

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These are women's socks, sized for abour 6.5-7.5. The yarn is superwash wool.  The heels are a little goofy, what with the purple and white. They're bright but not too much so.

6. Desk Socks

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These are women's socks, sized for abour 6-7. I wear a 7 and they're a little snug lengthwise for me.  The yarn is BMFA, which is a superwash wool.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Swear There was Knitting Progress Here Somewhere

I know I've made knitting progress in the past couple of weeks. I've cast on and finished 4 projects, finished a sock, and cast on two other projects and yet I have very few pictures. Something is not aligned here.

Part of it is gift knitting, not even Christmas, just general gift knitting, and because of where all this blog posts, I can't post pictures until the recipient receives their mail or I have lunch with them. One project is purple/blue on black yarn and that's going to require my best lighting efforts, which in turn requires being home/lucid/and with some time. Time has been short this October. So let's see what I do have for you.

Most recently I started the cowl that I'm knitting for Loopy Academy. The requirements for the project were a:

"Cowl in a multi-colored (defined as 2 or more distinct colors in the same skein) or self-striping Fingering weight colorway" that uses at least 175 yards.

I decided on the Wandering Wildflower pattern by Lara Smoot. I chose it because it called for size 3 needles, of which I have many. Not, perhaps, my best way of choosing a pattern but after digging through many pages of cowls, it was the one that appealed most to me and it did look as though it would do nicely for a multi-colored yarn.



The yarn is Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock yarn. It's very pretty, a light blue/teal with purple and brown and some gray/green hints in there as well. I have a sneaking suspicion that the LabMouse (new coworker) might try to abscond with it when I'm not looking. She doesn't knit herself but it does look like it'd match a lot of her favorite clothes.



As you can see, I'm not very far along. The pattern is sweeping sections of short rows and then yarnover rounds. What you see is maybe 3.5 hours of knitting? It's going to be a longer project. In another 2-3 hours of knitting I have to move the stitch markers and that should just be interesting. We'll see how it goes. [What is it with me and this super intense purple these days? This is the 3rd or 4th project this year with it.] 

Oh, hey look I found another picture. I made another One Row Handspun (that's the name of the pattern, I haven't taken up spinning yet) scarf.  It was a nice quick snack food knit but scarves inevitably get a little dull around the 5' mark.  Also a little unwieldy.



Anyway, as soon as I get the ends woven in I need to block it and wrap it up. This recipient does not, I don't believe, read this blog.

More pictures when I find a few spare brain cells...

Monday, October 13, 2014

To California and Back Again: in Socks.

The Philosopher and I are just back from a California wedding. This of course required travel knitting, debating if there was time to go wool shopping, and the perennial debate about the numbers of pairs of shoes that I needed to pack for a short weekend away including a trip up to wine country. 

Shoe count ended up landing at 4 pair and yarn shopping didn't happen. We might have had enough time on Saturday to drive up to the next town from our hotel to the nearest yarn store but we opted for other activities. I've had a lot of yarn arriving at Chez Hedgehog recently, so perhaps this is no bad thing (it's mostly for Christmas knitting).  

My first project was finishing up the Cold Beach socks. I hadn't wanted to bring them, truth be told. I was bored with them. It is tiny yarn on size zero needles (2.0 mm) and the leg of sock two took forever but I had finally reached the flap for the heel and that's where travel knitting began once we'd checked in at the airport. 




I wanted to leave these socks at home and start something new, who wanted boring on a beautiful trip? But realistically, if I had let these linger I knew I would only resent them more and it was just time to put my head down and work thru them. So not only did I pack them, but they were my plane knitting for the flight out.  

We had dinner with one of the Philosopher's friends in San Francisco, having navigated the Bart and the bus system up to his place from our near-the-airport-hotel. And while we were chatting after the meal, I finished sock 2.  




Sock Details
Pair 10 2014
Rav Details: Cold Beach Socks 
68 stitches on 2.0 mm needles
Manos del Uruguay Alegría Yarn in the Atlantico Colorway

The next morning, we drove into San Francisco proper. Usually I drive but this time the Philosopher drove and I couldn't have been more grateful. I'll tackle most driving challenges but the grade on the hills was so steep that I was scared just being in the passenger seat. Both of us found the "come up to the top of a super steep hill and then stop and then go, praying that you didn't miss seeing anyone" alarming.  He drove, I knit. 


Sock Details
Pair 11 2014
Rav Details: Toothpaste Socks
60 stitches on 2.25 mm needles
Sophie's Toes Merino Sock in the Whale Watch Colorway

This is being fondly called the Toothpaste Socks.  My colors are all off--phone camera plus hotel lighting, but it looks like shades you'd find in toothpaste--minty not-real greens and blue. I'm always amazed how different needles feel when I make the change. Though only .25 mm thicker than the needles I'd used for the Cold Beach Socks, these seemed far bigger and the socks going much faster. 

After lunch, we rounded up another friend driving up to the wedding with us and went to the Golden Gate Park.  



We went to the Japanese Tea Garden, of course, for tea and a wander about. San Francisco was having a lot of fog that day so it was overcast and cool, perfect tea weather. 

After a brief stop in at an art opening (we're so posh), it was off to Windsor, CA.  Again the Philosopher drove, and I navigated. We had the obligatory In-And-Out Burgers for dinner and met up with friends at the hotel. 

Saturday morning brought sunshine and a few hours to spare before the wedding. After a very excellent brunch, we stopped in here to try some local beer:


How can you not stop at the Jaded Toad?  I had knitting suspended from my belt loops all weekend, so knitting progress, while not fast, was ongoing. 
We could have stayed all afternoon here in the sunshine of their beer garden, but we wanted to also visit Old Redwood Brewery, a local microbrewery, and stop in for a wine tasting at another local place. 

Then we were back to the hotel for a dash through showers and onto a shuttle bus for the wedding. I didn't remember to take any pictures there, but we were at a lovely winery that's a fair drive away. 
Sunday, we drove back, dropped our two friends at their different destinations and then made our way to the airport. I got stopped at security (Is there anything sharp in your bag? There are knitting needles in that green pouch. Ah, that's what he saw. Okay, have a great flight.) and then armed with my socks and the audiobook of Wizard of Earthsea, we were headed homeward.  I knit for several hours and by the time we landed I'd tucked things away because I'd reached "need to check for toe" point and it was just too squashed on the plane for that. Four hour flights are hard on the body and it was about 2 hours after landing that we finally got into our apartment. 



Today I'm home with very clingy cats and not knitting on socks at all, despite the chill outside. As I mentioned earlier though, Christmas yarn has been arriving and holiday knitting is definitely upon me.  There will be much to come soon!.