Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Trip to the Frog Pond

Hamster-Flipping Perfectionist Tendencies after I've arsed something up...

You know I'm working on these really exciting 2x2 rib orange socks out of some yarn by Plucky.

At some point I knit the heel flap on Sock 1 but didn't do the decreases--just the 25 rows.  So that whole "eat up the stitches" that actually makes the heel cup never happened. Now, this wouldn't be a problem had I then come back to my knitting the next time and done the heel cup and proceeded down the foot.  In what can only be termed a fit of complete inattention, I skipped that step. I picked up the stitches for the gusset, did a ridiculous amount of decrease rounds, and merrily worked my way down the foot (2x2 rib on the top/stockinette sole) and toe.

My ability to be oblivious amazes even me.

I cast on the second sock right away, heaven forbid I only have ONE sock on the needles. I worked and I looked at the first sock and was so pleased that perhaps I'd manage to get a project done in the month of April, even if it wasn't anything that I'd originally planned.

The knitting goddess (Athena, I'm looking at you) was laughing.

Finally, the error was apparent to me.  But hey, I told myself, the first sock didn't fit that badly. It's a little roomy but this is really nice yarn and it could just be a gift pair for someone else. Since I really only wear my handknit socks round the house or in my winter boots in the very depth of winter, these could be given as really comfy bedsocks and it'd be fine, right? wasn't. I knew it wasn't.  I knew I'd made a completely bizarre error.  I knew I'd made it twice because--since the socks need to match--I deliberately repeated it last night while watching the new BBC version of Hamlet. (And immediately put the DVD on my wish list--it's excellent!) I worked down the foot of Sock 2.  I would just get them done.  So what if the ankles were baggy. Just because the yarn had 10% cashmere and was some of the squishiest yarn ever.

 Knit knit knit knit.....

I dreamed about the socks in the wee hours of the morning--post Gypsy getting me up the first time (this starts about 5 a.m. these days) and when the alarm actually went off. When you're laying there dreaming about heel flaps, it's time to rip back.

I frogged.

Sock 1 is back to the heel flap and on a pair of metal needles, waiting for those heel cup decreases. Sock 2 is on the original wooden needles (I've gotten used to the 4" DPNs surprisingly fast) and has also been ripped back to the completed heel flap.

This time, I will make sure I do the decreases.

The good news?  The ball of yarn attached to Sock 2 is bigger than the one attached to Sock assuming it takes about the same amount of yarn (it should) to reknit Sock 1-- I shouldn't run out of wool on this one.  Might have to do a little bit of adding down by the toe of Sock 1.  But overall, I should be using most of the yardage without running out. 

Gypsy thinks I should be spending more time fishing her mice toys out from under the refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Day 3 One Great Knitter

One Great Knitter
Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

One of the people whose work I've recently come very much to admire is TurtleGirl76.  I think I first became aware of her for the Charlotte's Web Shawl that she did. Rav/Flickr links. I was captured by the beauty of the shawl. Since then I love to follow along as she whips through

She takes beautiful pictures--with much light and color. Recently she got a new camera and has been reshooting some of her yarn and it looks delicious. We have very different tastes--she likes stripes, I don't, she's in a red phase, I have very few skeins in the red family in my stash. But that's part of what is magic--she can look at a pattern and see something totally different than what I saw, and knit something incredibly gorgeous that I might not have every considered but for her sharing it.

She also seems pretty fearless--changing patterns on the fly and knitting personalized top down cardigans. 

And, of course, I have to put a shout out for the fact that I adore Tabby Tuesdays--there are many a Tuesday morning that seeing her marmalades with all their furry fabulousness and crazy commentary that has brought me huge smiles. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day Two: An Inspirational Pattern

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so! 

Oh the mountains I have yet to climb. The kids group I've had for two years has gotten me over many many many of the little humps: first sock, more lace, better pattern reading. I can talk a kid through just about anything. so long as it isn't crochet. E and I figured out construction of a turtle, A&S are both doing sweaters despite my never having done one, and while I still have them beat for lace, it won't be for long.

I've still never knit a sweater for myself, so at this point it's something yet on the to do list. A difficult pattern I'd like to do?

Vivian by Ysolda Teague
(Link to Twist collective)

It's got cables, lotsa cables. And a hood.  And a zipper. 

I can sew, I've put in zippers before.  It's been a while but I'm capable of it. 

So that's the current goal :) eventually....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day One: Starting Out

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I don't remember when I officially began knitting, I was around the age of seven or eight. I remember disagreements with an anti-left hand relative about allowing an ambidextrous child to hold the yarn in her left hand.  

Ultimately, it was my grandfather's long time significant other (girlfriend just sounds cheesy) who taught me. I learned a bizarre cast on that apparently no one else does and learned English method. From her I learned the knit stitch. 

I returned to knitting more seriously when I was in seventh grade, around age 10 and that's when I count from on my Ravelry page. I add another year on my birthday, it seems easier that way. 

I have no idea what the first thing I knit was...the first thing I remember completing was a variegated scarf for my mom out of Red Heart.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gypsy Friday: New Toy

A friend with cats suggested getting a Kickstick.  As I've seen Gypsy do much attempted bunny kicking of her Mousie toys, it seemed reasonable.  When I got home for lunch on Thursday, the kickstick had arrived.  I unwrapped and turned it over to the anxiously waiting feline.

This was taken a minute or so later:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Knit Blog Week Next Week!

Eskimimi Knits, the lady in charge of The Blog Hub at Ravelry (which I just joined), suggested that next week Fiber bloggers have a Knit and Crochet Blog Week! It starts next Monday if you'd like to play along

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another Week in Which I Barely Knit

Hi all--did you survive tax season? Are your papers and money sent in? I did mine once I got correct documents from one of my freelance clients (insert grrr here) and had that all off by the end of February/first of March? But I just sent in first quarter check for estimated. The joys of working for yourself--not only do you get to lose time in the evenings but you get to send in huge amounts of that money to the government! Yay.

It paid for my braces though, so I'm trying not to be bitter. And it looks like I'll have another/more opportunity(ies) for medical editing coming very soon, which is excellent. 

Knitting content?  Oh right..knitting blog. Hmmm

There hasn't been much knitting at Chez Hedgehog of late and I can't really explain why. I've been home in the evenings.  Some of it has been reading time--paperbacks and pointy sticks don't quite work. Yes, I know, i could invest in a very expensive e-book reader and then buy masses of books to read on it while it's on a kickstand of sorts--I'm a public librarian. I get most of my books from work. (Not counting the half dozen or so that have come this past month new/used from online sources....)

I did finally get the pictures up from the Knitting in Public Day at work--about which I'll actually be blogging over at Hedgehog Librarian because it was a library event. But the work pictures, taken by me and valiant assistant Laura, are here. I'm the one in the b/w dotted swiss blouse with a red tank underneath. Because both of the socks I had with me that day were at points that required more thought than I could devote to knitting, I cast on yet another sock that day, which I've since ripped out. Plain vanilla socks for me are 2x2 rib....I'm having some kind of issue with stockinette socks. 

More from the mailbag soon--because the postman has been buy with pretty things. I was leaving for work on Tuesday and passed him coming into the building. He knows I'm home Tuesdays to let him in for me or other tenants--other days he knows to try and get someone else to buzz him in to leave my boxes for me. He's really nice and doesn't seem to mind just how much I prefer to have shipped here rather than going to the mall.

In the interim, Gypsy's meerkat impression:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Does Anyone Read Arabic?

It was our last day in Egypt. Oh...btw, the pictures from that trip are finally going up over at Hedgehog Librarian, if you don't follow along there already. 

Anyway, I leaned up to our guide and told her I knitted and I was looking for yarn. Did she have any ideas where to buy some?  By this point in the trip I'd stopped carrying my knitting so I couldn't show her the barely worked on sock I'd been ignoring. She had to think about it for a minute to come up with what I was talking about--but once we figured out that I meant the craft with two sticks rather than a hook, we were fine.

Marwa didn't knit but she had some friends/family who did other similar crafts. So she made some phone calls. At the end of the day and our trip to the Bazaar, things weren't looking good. We climbed back into the van and headed for our hotel and there, as we were on the on ramp to the highway--I saw a stall packed floor to ceiling with yarn.

Only, we were on the on ramp, on the wrong side of a ten foot fence--and it was in an area of the Bazaar that was outside where the official guides are allowed to take tourists. So we couldn't have gone there without costing Marwa her job.

Still, she had one more thought. We'd leave the van at our hotel and then walk to a nearby fabric stall. Perhaps they would have yarn? It was a safe place she could take us and on the way to where we planned to have dinner, so that was agreeable.

The shop was very small--room for two small counters, shelves floor to ceiling, and a couple of folding chairs. There was a small television in the corner. And there was a cabinet, the upper half of which was filled with yarn.

Most of it was strange Chinese yarn--with names for various man made fibers that I'd never heard of. I didn't really want that--we were in Egypt. I can buy stuff made in China in the US--though I have to say I've never seen any of those yarns here.

There was some Egyptian cotton--at least, that's what Marwa told me it was. It feels like cotton and it was available in several colors. I cleaned out my wallet of Egyptian pounds, paying about $1.25 per skein.

I don't know what I'll make with it--but it's vibrant, and it's vacation yarn--so it doesn't count as stash. And I bought yarn in Egypt!! 

Does anyone read Arabic who could translate the label for me?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Best Trade Ever...

Late last fall, a high school classmate mentioned she was going to teach English in Peru on Facebook. I made a passing comment about buying yarn.

Slightly later last fall, same classmate said she needed someone in Wisconsin to pick up a few bottles of a local wine, her new favorite white wine that's made at one of the local wineries here and apparently doesn't get shipped out of state.

I reminded her that I'm in Wisconsin and would be at my mom's for Christmas. She suggested wine for yarn.

A plot was immediately hatched.

I turned up at her house over Christmas with wine and we spent a few minutes chatting. First time we've spoken really since graduation and, while things have changed, a lot has stayed the same or followed a trajectory we sort of saw then. Kind of.  Okay, so we're not living in DC, working for a major newspaper, taking fabulous coffee breaks on the hour but hey...she's teaching college English and I'm a librarian. We're still on the right-brained side of things.
She was off to Peru and I stalked her travel blog, wondering if she'd mention the odd shopping that needed to be done. I got a Facebook message: what colors did I like? I sent back: blue, green, purple. 

And then, several weeks before she was due home from Peru, I arrived home to a box. A Fed Ex box. This confused me, I always have Fed Ex deliver to work. I didn't recognize the return label name either and then it struck me--it was her husband. Her husband who had just taken a trip down there to see her! ALPACA!!!

There are 12 balls of green and 12 balls of a blue/purple. I'm estimating a DK weight and I have no clue on the yardage. Certainly enough to make a long sleeved sweater in each color, probably a fairly heavily cabled sweater. It's soft and luscious and soooo off limits to the cat--who loves alpaca. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

It Followed Me Home....

One of my justifications for binging at my LYSs is that they are local businesses, they are owned and run by lovely women, and I want them to stay here and keep selling yarn. If my splurge helps their doors to stay open and it's not costing all the catnip money--then I think we're okay.

Part of the pleasure of hosting a knitting in public day, especially when one has a generous budget with which to play as I did this year, is getting to buy raffle prizes. I do get donations, which I very much appreciate, but I like to supplement where I can, which means a pre-KIP-shopping-trip to my three local yarn stores. (Technically there are four, but I won't shop in one of them.)

Our Lady of the Business Office even agreed to drive this year! Extra knitting time! Also--she pays and I don't have to buy and then get reimbursed! This is an excellent way to go yarn shopping--though OLotBO likes to take back roads, which are all windy and twisty and equal a carsick Hedgehog.

First we went to Viroqua, home of Ewetopia Fiber Shop. I picked up a Pom Pom maker to use with my kids group--they adore pom poms and it uses up yarn like nobody's business. Since my kids group is going on hiatus in May for a while, using up yarn would be a good thing.

I also picked up three skeins of Queensland Haze, which is 60% Corn Viscose and 40% Cotton; 275 yds/skein It's in the surprising shades of blue/green and should be enough yardage for a simple tank top. I'm thinking about the Honeymoon Cami from Knitty. I saw a friend wearing one and loved it.

Next we drove over to the Salem Stitchery. Tammy carries a lot of embroidery things as well as yarn, but she has this huge wonderful wall of Cascade 220. She also carries interesting yarns I've never seen anywhere else. If I could figure out what to do with them, I'd buy her stock of Rauma yarns from Norway. It's rough and scratchy and I'll bet it softens up beautifully with a wool wash and is incredibly warm and wears forever. I have a couple skeins around here somewhere and gave some to one of the kids in my knitting group. 

This trip though I bought English wool in an Olive Green. No, olive isn't particularly my shade and yes, I just knitted a ridiculous amount of a similar shade for an afghan for my brother. But I picked up 5 skeins and I'll find something interesting to make with it. 

Finally, it was over to Baskets of Yarn. Wouldn't you know Judy had a sign out front that said "Yarn Sale." Be still my bleeding checkbook...I knew she was moving and hoping to not move all her inventory, so there were things to be had within. 

And were there! Immediately I was drawn to the "Bear Hug" kit: pattern, yarn, and bear buttons all wrapped into a cute ball. I have at least four friends who are having babies in the next 4 months. I'm only knitting for one of them but lookit! So cute! I couldn't resist.

I also bought a skein of sock yarn. Black and white with pink and some shots of green. I'm thinking mittens. I'm also thinking the yarn fumes might have gotten to me on that one because that's not normal Hedgehog. I was on my third store by that point.  I also got 10% off purchase coupons for her new location for the Knitting in Public Day. I hope everyone rushed the store....certainly I'll be headed that way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April's Showers Bring Evenstars?

I swatched and then promptly ignored the Evenstar KAL that started the better part of 8 weeks ago? Something like that?

Finally, Sunday evening, I was called away from the computer screen for a while and I decided I'd at least better get the thing cast on. I rummaged through the large knitting bag of "what the hamsters is this?" but failed to find my size 3 4" wooden DPNs. I had to use the 7" metal DPNs. I'm sure the wooden needles are safely put somewhere so that I can use them for the if I can just figure out where I decided "safely" was.

I probably should have looked up the called for cast on but in all honesty, it's a circular shawl. A circular lace shawl whose whole purpose is to have holes all over it. Granted those holes are in a certain pattern, but still...I'm okay with having a hole in the middle of it.  If it drives me nuts when it's done, I'll figure something out. Or I'll give the shawl away.  No one getting a hand-knit lace weight shawl has any room to talk about holes.

*pauses to go look on the balcony at the cat, who has found that a chipmunk has a burrow by the patio beneath us* 

I made decent progress, I'm up to 144 stitches and through the first two rows of the chart. It's not miraculous but it's started and I now have a reason to turn on M*A*S*H or Pride and Prejudice or any of the other movies I have nearly memorized so I can concentrate on counting.

And it's on the circular needle now. I need to remember to pick up dental floss this week at the grocery.

This has taken the place of the planned April project for 2010 (which was a originally a sweater). At least I'm still shooting for one project a month.

I've scheduled this for April 7--which will be the 4th Annual KIP Day. So you can bet safe money that I will not be knitting Evenstar that day. I hope to have finished Orange Sock 1 by then and be working either on Orange Sock 2 or the foot of Colinette Sock 1. (I need better names) Those I can drop at a moment's notice to go draw raffle prizes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oh Hai April....

Let's declare March the fabulous failure that it was and move on. There was some knitting in March. There had to have been. But dang if I can figure out what.

I started the month with a UFO List

One Multnomah Shawl
3 afghans (one just needs ends woven in)
One cat bed
One scarf (again, ends and blocking)
2 pair fingerless gloves
One pair socks
Various Washcloths
Whatever else is living in the one chair in the living room....

And I finished the month with an almost identical UFO list.

The washcloths are done. They're either stockinette with a garter border or just garter squares. Oooh, ahh, not very exciting.

I spent a lot of time working on an orange sock out of Merino/Cashmere/Nylon dyed by the Plucky Knitter (who has AMAZING colors btw). I would probably be on my second sock but for realizing after turning the heel that it was too big and I wanted it smaller. *sigh*....rippit rippit rippit. It's a plain 2x2 rib cuff, flap/gusset heel, with the top of the foot continuing with 2x2 rib. I know, you're yawning. I'll make socks, I just tend to not want to have to think about them.  A certain former roommate has implied that this is okay so long as any extra pairs appear in her mailbox.

I'm past the heel again on sock 1 and over halfway down the foot. I think I'm within ten or so rounds of starting the toe.  And then...I get to do it again. The suspense takes your breath away doesn't it. Be grateful I'm not torturing you with the log cabin garter stitch leftover squares that are my computer knitting. At least with socks there's hope for gusset flap excitement.

Let's change it up, shall we? How about the other sock I cast on towards the end of March:  a 3x1 rib!  The excitement, the chaos! At least it's Colinette Jitterbug. I purchased this yarn last spring on a trip to Milwaukee with The Master Sargent and yes, I've heard I need to set the dye the first time I wash said completed socks. A little vinegar in the initial rinse should do nicely, right?

The colorway is Kingfisher and it contains all of my favorite colors: black, purple, blue, and green. If you browse through my stash at Ravelry, you might have noticed a slight tendency towards these shades. Perhaps.

In case you're wondering, I knit my socks--and almost everything else circular--inside out. I can knit right side out but for whatever reason, it's more comfortable for me to have the right side inside.   I took those pictures today--so that's exactly where I am at: ready to pick up the gusset stitches on heel 1.  I know the cuffs aren't particularly long, Colinette is a little shorter on the yardage and I'd rather have leftovers than an odd colored toe on sock 2. Someday I really need to get Wendy's book and the scale my older sister swears by...

In the interim, I've been shopping and I DID cast on something new and actually challenging for April. expected unexpected surprise...


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

It's a beautiful day here and I'm going to go put the ham in the oven to torment Gypsy.  No worries, she'll get a bite or two.

Wishing you a happy and blessed Easter with your family.

A Brief Distraction From Squares

If I wave new yarn under my nose, it might take off the feeling of "yet another square?" right? I complain but actually the square...