Monday, December 27, 2010

Addendum....

I should know better than to blog while hopped up on coffee and my mother's baklava....

The original plan, brilliantly conceived of last night, was to knit 1 hour per week on the giant pink afghan. But when I was typing earlier I couldn't remember what the plan was and so made up the idea that I would knit one ball of yarn on it per week. 

While a ball of yarn per week is not unrealistic insofar as how much knitting I do, it is when we consider this particular project, the fact that it is not meeting type knitting, that's it is rapidly becoming too big for the train, etc etc. 

So...back to 1 hour per week. That's a couple episodes of  Columbo and Sibling the Younger has given me five seasons to watch now....

The Pink Thing

In packing to head down to the Incredibly Patient Mother's house for a few days, where we had a lovely Christmas that was a full day of eating and family and catching up, I managed not to bring my camera cord.  I have the camera. I remembered to pack the battery charger. The two (yes, I finally found the other one that I knew I'd moved--promptly after buying a new one) camera-connect-to-computer-cords are both in Chicago. Now, there might be one around here, I haven't asked either of my siblings.  Actually, it's a pretty safe bet that there is, considering that my mum's digital camera is around here too somewhere.  Anywho...

In May 2007, if my own admissions on Ravelry are to be believed, I cast on the pink behemoth. I had several pounds, quite literally, of Red Heart in rose and burgundy. I grabbed a pattern from somewhere, I'm not sure where anymore. It was before I signed on to Ravelry, before I moved to Wisconsin, etc etc etc.  Why I have that much acrylic yarn in those shades is unclear, but it's now moved twice with me--possibly more. I'm not sure if it lived in New York. Someone check with the Blonde's husband (former flatmate of mine) and get back to me on that, will you?   

It's a two row stitch pattern, of which I am a big fan as it's painfully simple to memorize and pretty easy to read when I pick it up every 6-12 months.

Row 1:
K2P2 *K2 YO K2 (double decrease) K2 YO K2 P2* (to the last two stitches) K2
Row 2:
K2 Purl across K2

Multiples of 13 plus 6, according to my occasionally questionable math.

Now then--you'll notice above that I say (double decrease). That's because when I dug it out of the stuffed hedgehog*, I'd forgotten which double decrease I was supposed to be doing. I think it's a k3tog and yes I could have ripped back or gone down a row or two to figure it out or called upon the Cartoonist or a Knitting Store Owner and begged for wiser reading than my own.  But that's not a particularly well centered decrease, I thought, and so--in 15 minutes while I was supposed to be packing to leave for the IPMs house and was instead fussing with an afghan I hadn't knit on in well over a year at least, I changed to a slip 1, k2tog, psso decrease instead.  Yes, you can see the difference; No, it doesn't seem to have a huge effect on the pattern. I figure once it's done and been through the wash once or twice, it won't really matter.

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I have at least a half dozen skeins of burgundy left and about 2 lbs of the rose. It's about 4'-4.5' wide. I'm less than 3' in so far but as I said, there's a lot of yarn to go on this. It's older Red Heart and not quite as strangely plastic as the stuff one sees at Walmart these days. It's not merino or any of my other squishy natural fibers but it's an excellent on the go project and I do like the idea of an afghan that can be tossed into the washer and dryer without guilt.

Growing up, there was a long denim blue afghan in my mother's house. It was a little too narrow  but it was endlessly long to a seven year old and one just mummified oneself with a book and called it snug. I have a feeling this afghan is going to be like that. My goal is to try and knit at least the equivalent of 1 skein per week until I wear this stash out. 100 grams or thereabouts? Perhaps this way by next Christmas I could be done with it and have one less afghan. It's going to have to be "thereabouts" because a) I don't own a scale and b) I'm working with skeins that are a full pound of wool. I can't knit a pound in a week for this and still do things like eat, sleep and work.  As those are required (well-not sleep) for staying alive and paying the bills..... Over Christmas and before New Years I'm getting a head start.

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The pictures are from when I put it into Ravelry. It's a few rows longer now. Also, during that 15 minutes of re-interpretation of the pattern and altering of the double decrease, I moved it over to circular needles--which makes me slightly less inclined to needle Sibling-the-Younger in the car.

Completed sock pictures soon--I've finished two pair this week!

*Stuffed Hedgehog:  Sibling-the-Elder found a huge floor pillow in the shape of a hedgehog at IKEA. It came with a giant air pouch, which I promptly got rid of an filled it with afghans for the summer. It was starting to get cold again before I moved and the afghans were in use so I stuffed 3 afghans in process and a few other knitting projects in various states of completion inside, zipped it shut, and handed the hedgehog over to the moving guys. They didn't even ask. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Going to be a Really Long Hike...

At the beginning of 2010 I signed up for a Stashdown 5K. The goal was to knit 5,000 meters of yarn from my stash. So I had an idea of where I was going, I ran the spreadsheet that Ravelry so generously provides we woolly many (over 1 million) that tells us how much is in our stash.

I was at 55km of yarn. This wasn't a fully accurate count and I knew that. There was yarn that I hadn't included--it wasn't a full admission of stash. I've spent the year working to be more diligent about admitting all of the yarn I have in my apartment and making sure it's documented so I have a chance to see it and want to use it.

I gave away yarn at the Knit In. I gave away yarn and sold yarn when I moved. I've knit a lot this year--over 12km according to KnitMeter--which is a wonderfully simple and fantastic tool. We still have almost 3 weeks left in the year too and since I don't count projects until I bind off (woven in ends optional), there are some socks that will probably yet be added to that count.

So would someone explain to me how it is that I have 56km of yarn now? All the yarn I've knit, given, mailed, used, everything. And I'm slightly above where I was when I started.  No wonder things aren't fitting in their designated bins if I'm not actually losing yarn weight.

As I said, I've got several projects on the needles that could easily wrap up before the end of the year, so I'll say that this year I was nearing 15km without really pushing myself too hard. I did some holiday knitting but not a huge amount. I knit most days but not every day.

Therefore, it's time for a tangible goal. I need to knit up this yarn I own. All of these beautiful colors and textures. I have gift yarn that I want to use to show the people who gave it to me that yes, I do enjoy it and do appreciate their having given it to me. (We won't talk about the gift certificate burning a tidy hole in my pocket--I think maybe I'll buy some Signature Needles with that. Or project bags. Something NOT yarn--except maybe 1 skein that's prebeaded...maybe)

The Goal

Knit 20 kilometers of stash in 2011.

It's over twelve miles of yarn, which means I'd be averaging a mile per month. It's going to be a slog and it's going to need some big projects. Trying to knit nothing 12 miles worth of socks might be a bit much for even my sock drawer.

I'm not going to say "thou shalt not buy any wool" because that's the surest way I know to turn myself into a yarn buying/craving machine. I will keep in mind though that I own much beautiful yarn. I will remember that I have a huge queue of patterns and plenty of yarn to knit those queued items up. I will stop being paranoid that I might never have another opportunity to buy Wollmeise. When it comes down to it, there are many beautiful yarns and independent dyers. I can support them without losing all of my storage space to them. Maybe 2011 will be the year I buy stitch markers and round out my needle collection.

Between now and December 31, I want to pick out a few patterns and begin to decide upon some options and things I'd like to knit up. My twelve projects for 2010 got a bit derailed, perhaps it's time to revisit.

And to dig out the WIPs and see what can be finished for the end of the year. Half knit shawls keep no one warm.

Here's to the hike for the new year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wade Amongst the Water Lillies

These socks were a bit of demonstration, a bit of test run, and ultimately, a bit of a path down a slippery slope.

It all started so innocently. Having had my size 1 9" circulars disappear in some parking lot or other (what I get for keeping my knitting in my purse), I grabbed a set of size 2 9" circulars the next time I was down at Ewetopia Fibers, whilst AudioGirl was visiting.

When we got back to Chez Hedgehog, I grabbed the Water Lilies yarn that I'd purchased at the same shop on another trip to demonstrate the efficacy of 9" circulars for knitting socks. AudioGirl tried but ultimately decided DPNs were more her style, though we agreed that for the first couple of rows, it's much easier with a circular.

These socks became a coping project. Supposed to be packing? Lets knit a row on the socks. Supposed to be having meetings and getting things cleaned up? Lost in the sock. So on and so forth.  There are many times in life where I feel very unsuccessful at many things. Despite much experience, I'm not the best mover. Transitioning jobs is inevitably stressful.

But through it all and even through avoiding all of my other works in progress...there was a brightly colored sock following me about. The sock didn't judge. The sock didn't nag. The sock didn't care that I was abandoning extensive to do lists to sit and watch an episode of Castle because I was completely overloaded.

Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures until I was nearly done with Sock 2...but still

Here's sock 1

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Sock 2 on top of Sock 1--by the time I dug out the camera and had the energy to take pictures, I was nearly to the toe of sock 2.

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Sock 2 alone...

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The socks are both done now, but for weaving in the ends and a trip through the wool wash. They're wonderfully squishy and warm. I really should have bought another half dozen skeins of Kathryn's Merino sport weight before I moved.

Oh well, it means I use up some of the other gorgeous stash that I already have, right?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Magpie

I was doing quite well and being relatively project monogamous. That's all gone by the wayside.

But first, some proof of progress that things are chugging along here at Chez Hedgehog.

I'm on the second green sock, apparently at the heel or thereabouts.  I have to admit, it's been hanging out in the bag that G made me since Friday. I honestly had it in my head that I was on the toe.  Apparently not.  Ooops.

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Anyway, it's not truly stalled. It's cold out and all of my wool socks are in the wash, I'm going to need to finish more soon. Or do laundry.

However, I was out a bit over the weekend and apparently remembered Saturday that I was at a heel turn--which isn't really conducive to adult beverages and hanging out with My Friend the Lawyer.

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This is Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in VW Bug. Squishy and vibrant and squishy and cashmere and yum....It's more green than this picture is showing--that's too blue/teal and this is a much greener shade. Apologies. We're nearly to the darkest day of the year and while I see much daylight at work (I have a window for which I'm SO incredibly grateful) I don't really want to freeze my tushy off taking pictures in the dark when I get home. So you get the silver tray instead...

But then, last night, the Harlot posted. Not just more pictures of that lovely cowl/shawl/scarf she'd show us the other day but the pattern!

Everything went out the window as I leaped off  my Ektorp Tullsta to fetch the last half a skein of EcoWool in Latte left from my Oatmeal Shawl (you haven't seen it but it's done and I live in it when I'm home--photos soon. I haven't blocked it either). My money moved through my Paypal account like a speeding train towards Stephanie and with my KnitPicks options and the only cable I had free (24"), I cast on.

I finished the first repeat last night and I'm a little more than halfway through the second repeat.  I'd be further along but I have annoying things like bills to pay and ironing to do. If I were really motivated I'd copy the chart and take it over to the laundry mat and get those wool socks washed and such....but it's down to 10 degrees F (-12C) again.

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Projects 003

My goal is to get it done before the weekend.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Adventures of License Plates...

Part of the joys of relocating is always relabeling your car as necessary by the various states in which you live. This is particularly important in Chicago because having appropriate stickers allows me to actually park on my street.

Before I moved, on the day I signed the lease actually, I went by the alderman's office and bought some guest passes. You can get up to 30 of these per month, per household, at $8/15. This would, I believed, give me plenty of time to get moved and downtown to the DMV at the Thompson Center.

Only, to change things over, the state would like two items that prove residency (along with my passport and social security card--despite the fact I was a registered license holder here before). My lease wasn't enough and so I had to wait until a bill arrived. Comcast wins the race for first bill in Chicago. Aren't we all thrilled?

It meant that I was well into the first few days of my new job before I had all of the paperwork. This also meant that every morning I was filling out a guest pass, replacing it in the window, and heading for the train. The floor of the front seat is littered with used passes. 

Once everything was acquired, I grabbed a couple of hours from work Friday morning and got off the blue line a few stops earlier than usual. First a verification that I didn't need to pay taxes on the car (bought it enough years ago and in a different state); then a new title. After that was a wait to get a new license and finding out that I'd have to take the written exam again. (Really? I just took it three years ago!!  *sigh* I passed.) Trying to get a decent picture. Making a brisk sprint over to City Hall via the underground pedway to get the sticker for my car window and then out to work. 

Saturday was going to be the warmest day before the end of the year and one of the few days that I would be home when it was daylight. Thus it was deemed the best day. I got into the cupboards for the razor blades and GooGone that I'd purchased some time before to take off the previous city stickers. The ones they used to give you truly only come off via razor blade. Armed with new plates, small screwdrivers that I was sure I'd used last time, razor blades, napkins, goo gone, and city sticker, I charged out of doors.

Into the rain. Cold rain. Rain I had not dressed for because I had it in my head that 37 degrees was warm. I was in a wool coat but getting drizzled on meant I was getting chilled very fast.  I sat in the front seat and chiseled away at the older stickers. I'm sure it looked very strange, a young woman sitting in her car, scraping the inside of the windshield furiously.  I can't say it was a tidy process but I got sticker residue from guest passes of three years ago off, scraped away the old city sticker residue, hacked off half of the sticker from living in Lakeview, and decided I didn't care about the Cubs sticker until it was warmer. I smacked on the new sticker and headed for the plates.

The last time I had to change plates it was September. And warm. Here I was, crouched in the street, cold rain still coming down and realizing that the small screwdrivers I brought out with me weren't going to cut it. How I'd managed to screw them on that tightly I don't know but it sent me back inside in search of my bigger screwdriver and four different tips--it's an IKEA set. And it's a good thing I brought them all, I ended up using three different ones to get my Wisconsin plates off and the Illinois plates on. 

Griping all the while and continuing to get soggy.

But it is done and I was able to set about the rest of the afternoon. Within 24 hours the temperature had dropped near 40 degrees and a heavy snow storm that would cancel all the flights out of O'Hare was upon us. I was grateful that I didn't have to venture out just to put a pass in the car...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Year in Review

Can you believe it's been almost a year since I broke my knitting content out from Hedgehog Librarian? On one hand, seems like forever, and on the other, wasn't that five minutes ago?  One of my favorite "year in review" things that I see around the biblioblogosphere is a quick summary of the first sentence posted in each month. It kicks me back through the archives and is usually good cause for amusement.

January: I have some specific knitting goals set for 2010 and wanted to blog about them a little more at length, but without overwhelming my primary blog: Hedgehog Librarian.

February: Oh ducklings, how I wish I could tell you stories of knitting.

March: Mousie came to live with us shortly after Gypsy did.

April: It's a beautiful day here and I'm going to go put the ham in the oven to torment Gypsy.

May: By 11 a.m. today it was 90 degrees outside.

June:  In what can only be described as a cruel twist of fate from Mother Nature, following an exquisitely sunny and hot May, June temperatures have gone back down and we've had enough rain that I'm beginning to wonder if I didn't relocate to Seattle without noticing.

July: I'm considering leaving my coworkers instructions--if you don't hear from me within a couple of days, the stash should be searched.

August: So, at some point I agreed to knit something for a fundraiser.

September: Two projects off the needles!

October: I'm delinquent enough in writing this up that everyone else should be fine...hopefully I'm spoiling this for no one.

November: I was leaving a note on another blog and realized I hadn't blogged over here for a bit. 

December: But of course, on this long adventure of the LPL Yarn Crawl, we didn't go only to one store!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gypsy's Birthday

A year ago, when I brought Gypsy home, I decided upon her adoption date of December 10 as her official birthday. She's three and has fluffed out into a fully mature 8 lb cat.
It's been a fun first year. Gypsy is very social, strongly prefers women to men, is described as a busy cat (read--nosy), and is much better at snuggling and chatting than the house plants. She's a decent car passenger, an early riser,  a big fan of ham and Cheetos, and a bit of a klutz.  She's firmly convinced that she can jump higher than she's actually able to and this is pretty entertaining and occasionally frustrating as she knocks things down.
Here's a picture taken right after she arrived at Chez Hedgehog.
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Hanging out on the balcony--she obviously misses going outside here but with the cold, her skittish nature and the large dogs next door it's not really an option. Hoping to make use of a harness next summer.
Where's My Pina Colada
Once I lay something out to block, she considers it her property--though she's surprisingly good about not bothering my knitting/yarn other than to lay on it.
With cat for scale
And stealing the shot...
A Feline Wrap
Happy Birthday Gypsy! Tuna fish for supper tonight!

(This entry cross posted at Hedgehog Librarian)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

City Shawls...as far as the eye can see

Before I left La Crosse, I knit shawls for women that I worked with at the library.  This wasn't a new idea, I'd contemplated knitting them shawls several times. As these women had already been recipients of washcloths and crocheted grocery bags, it was time for something a little bigger.

And then there was, of course, the news that I was leaving and wouldn't be around to entertain them with deliveries of yarn, knitting through all the meetings or the occasional slight glow after catching a really good sale.

Add to which that my stash grew exponentially while I lived in La Crosse. I had room. I filled it with yarn. Lots of yarn. Beautiful yarn. I needed a pattern that would allow me to not have to move ALL of the yarn. So I went into the stash to see what was around. I figured I'd have enough for four or five shawls at least if I went for the worsted weight.

The City Shawl by Stephanie Japel calls for 350 yards of Bulky yarn.  I cast my first one on back in August out of Louet Gems worsted held doubled. The finished and pre-blocked picture is here. Though it was my original intention to give it away, I'm not usually much of one for orange, I found that this shawl went wonderfully with everything. And being such, it gets tied on quite often.  I can wrap it around my shoulders and tie the ends behind my waist.  Works beautifully and keeps my hands free. Considering we've suddenly gotten to December and I haven't knit as much for myself as I would have liked this year, I have ever intention of knitting several more of these for myself.

But first, knitting for the women in the Youth Services Dept. A quick rummage through the stash turned up a lot of potential yarn. I could knit 10 City Shawls and STILL have a lot of worsted weight yarn left. A lot of it had moved with me from New York, which means it was well over five years old. Now, I recognize that stash can be passed from generation to generation and in the grand scheme of things, that isn't really all that old, but still...five years? Time to get things moving.

The City Shawl is really great mindless knitting. Cast on, turn on season of a TV show or an audiobook and before the season/cds are over, you have a shawl.  I did some modifications after my first couple. I stopped making the bottom point. It seemed like a waste of yarn.  I also got rather loose with the number of rows one was supposed to be doing and when one switched between garter and lace.  This was about big shawls and stashbusting.

I ended up with

Blue for MLW  (the only one I bought yarn for)

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This thing was HUGE after blocking.

Giant Blue Shawl for Marge


White and Blue for L
(imagine a picture--somehow I have no pictures of either the yarn or the shawl)

Green for C

Celine's Shawl

You try keeping the cat off of alpaca.

Gypsy & Celine's Shawl


Pink for D

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Tri-Color for L

Lucy's Shawl

Brown for S--which didn't photo well on carpet that was nearly the same color...so here's the cat keeping it company.

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Six shawls.  And I cranked those things out in a matter of about six weeks.  These things are super fast.  They eat stash. They block out HUGE!  They're very warm and practical, despite the openwork. They have a slight tendency to swing to one side, due to the slant of the decreases. I suppose, if I were a truly practical knitter, I'd alternate between left slanting and right slanting. Maybe.

They got the shawls my last day of work. Always down to the wire...that's me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Speed of Knitting

I have no idea how fast I knit. Compared to the Yarn Harlot, I'm a tortoise. According to my knitting kids, I'm a Road Runner (mee-meep). I knit at a decent pace and after retraining my hands a couple years ago to hold the throwing yarn over my index finger, I've speeded up a bit, but I'll never win a fastest knitter award. This is fine by me. Process knitter and all that.

On Monday I had two meetings. First was a two hour meeting going over Benefits information. I knew that I'd need to pay attention but that this would not be requiring much serious note taking. HR people like to send all the information home with you. Second was a four hour continuing education program that I would need to take notes, but still hoped to get some knitting in.

Only, I was at the toe of my current sock. In a mad dash Monday morning I rummaged through the stash room/library, came up with the skein of Spruce merino sportweight sock yarn from Ewetopia Fibers, got my size 2 DPNs out of the rolling case they live in, and raced out the door. That I had a pretty good idea where the yarn was and that I knew the needles had been put away were the only reasons this all worked.

And I knit through both meetings.  Through the nice young man who read us his PowerPoint slides for 90 minutes straight. Through greeting JDP, whose acquaintance I originally made a couple years ago and who was knitting a stunning sweater. Through my copious note taking.

So if you knit for about six hours, minus a lot of note taking during four of them, 2x2 rib (my vanilla socks), 52 stitches, size 2 needles, sport weight...

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You get half a sock. I turned the heel during the last presenter.



And then Tuesday there was another four hour meeting.  Lest you think I'm not paying attention--I am. I follow along, take notes, and plan blog posts. It's better than having me totally zone out and start writing grocery or to do lists, trust me. I perched next to JDP and we were the knitting row. I'm sure someone found us irreverent. 

But I've knit most of a sock in two days. And that's only at work. That's not including any other knitting that I'm doing at home.  The next couple days aren't quite so knittable, so don't expect quite as much sock progress.

I did go through the stash to dig out more sock yarn though to have on hand.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Birthday Yarn and Fall Baskets

Alright I know I said I'd stop with the stash yarn but I  never showed you my birthday yarn, did I?

The Incredibly Patient Mother has a spinning wheel (though I need to nudge her back towards it) and Sibling the Elder sits down and a lace shawl falls off her fingers when she stands up five minutes later.  These are good women to have shopping for you when you are a bit of a yarn-a-holic. Which I might be. Perhaps.

Anyway....back to birthday wool.

My sister knows I love all things blue and teal and purple and green and such. I'm in good company, if the Sanguine Gryphon and Wollmeise updates are anything to go by--those always seem to be the first colors that sell out. 

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So she went in search, this sister of mine, for yarn that bore my name and was of a proper shade to fit in with the rest of my stash.

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Isn't it pretty? :) Apparently, there is only one store in the United States that carries this particular type of Schaefer yarns. Others carry Schaefer Anne and other such but not Abigail. She tracked it down, called the shop and put in a special order for 2 skeins that are a gorgeous shade of blue with hints of gray. Lovely and squishy.

She also knit me a stunning shawl.  (I know, I'm incredibly spoiled) But I have not been in her presence or that of a certain Cartoonist or Restaurant Man of late and I need someone with a good camera. We'll do something at Christmas probably to rectify this error.






Now, my mother is also wise in the ways of the Hedgehog. Wise mother has heard me lament--at great length--that indie dyers aren't doing black and teal combinations. Brown and teal I can find in excess but not black and teal. I'm fussy, I want black. So what did she find me for my birthday?

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Blue Ridge Yarns--in black and teal. Not just pretending to be black and teal but truly and vibrantly black and teal.

No clue what I'm making yet but isn't it stunning?






She also got me some handy yarn storage.  I'm sure she probably meant it for other uses as well but really, in this apartment, it's yarn storage.

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Now, there are three of these, progressively smaller. And it was to my surprise not that the cat claimed them but how. She likes to sleep on top of the largest one. When she curls into a round, it's perfectly cat sized. We're still having discussions about not using ones claws on them but she's doing pretty well.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Change of plans...

I was going to show you detailed pictures of all of my recent stash acquisitions, many of which have interesting stories. There was going to be LONG blog posts about all of it.

However, I was getting tired of writing it all. Which meant, I suspect, that you were getting tired of reading it all.

So...it's time for a stash flash.  A quick view and no more than a line or two description....

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This is a double skein of Ewetopia Fiber Sport Weight Handdyed. Kathryn had it behind her counter where she was going to split it up into two skeins. Ferreting it out with AudioGirl, I asked if I could buy it whole and Kathryn agreed. It has no ball band, I'm calling it Midnight Sky. 

Next up... EcoWool+. Now they make this stuff in colors other than Sheep! Not that there is anything wrong with the sheepy colors. I have a lot of Latte in my stash. But still..it's purty.A score with AudioGirl from Baskets of Yarn.

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Now, you know I love my sister very much. So much that when we were IMing one day and a Loopy Ewe Wollmeise Lace update popped up I said "tell me what colors you like and I'll get you one for your birthday!" and she did and I did and there you go. Let it not be said that I don't enhance the stash of others.

When I caught another random Friday update of lace, I grabbed a skein of semi-solid. Because it was coming from the WM directly, I didn't know what shade it would be. And sibling mine...I love you very very much. But this is MINE.

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I'll figure out something else for you for Christmas. Hopefully post haste.

I also, in the last couple months, got a Wollmeise Grab-bag and scored these beauties:

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I now am able to see an update go by without feeling frantic. I have six skeins of my own that should be knit up. I will be okay. Really...okay. Keep telling myself that.

There's one other skein to show you all but it really does have a good story to go with it. Next week perhaps when you're not quite so tired of all of my wool....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

20 Days to Christmas....Stop Me From Shopping

So..there's not a lot of space at the new Chez Hedgehog. I've mentioned that already I think. Certainly it's a lovely 1.5 bedroom garden apartment and for one small female and one small gray cat, it's plenty of space.  But for a girl with a large library and well fed stash..it's um...kinda tight. 

I own a lot of yarn. Beautiful yarn. Yarn that has stories behind it. Yarn that I can't wait to knit up whenever I dig it out of the bins and remember that I own it. And we're 20 days from Christmas. By now I should be absolutely crazed with Christmas knitting.  I should at least be contemplating what I'm giving people for Christmas.

Instead...here I am sitting, reading archives of the Yarn Harlot's website, and trying to justify to myself the purchase of more sock yarn. I don't need sock yarn. I have over 50 skeins of yarn that fit into the "sock weight" category, though most of them are fingering and not really sock yarn.  We're looking about about 14 pairs of socks really if we're talking "sock" sock yarn.  Why am I considering stalking The Loopy Ewe or dashing over to Blue Moon Fiber Arts?  Why am I peering out of the side of my eye at the gift certificate to Loopy that the women I worked with gave me upon leaving?  Why on earth, when I have 3 square inches of living room floor to stand in, am I even remotely considering adding one more item to this chaos? 

These are my issues on Sunday afternoon. I'm waiting on a new camera cable. I have one but despite moving in the car it has managed to become lost somewhere here in the apartment. I had it the day I moved. I know that because I uploaded some pictures to this laptop. Dang if I can find them now.  So I'll just have to work on that backlog of stuff and promise you that I've nearly finished a pair of socks, I've knit and ripped out a scarf, and that my apartment is a disaster. 

Guess I need to turn the kettle on again and see about finding some living room floor before I have to go to a Be the Groove Show later.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Strawberry Chocolate Progression...

A few months back I saw the Yarn Harlot talking about cotton. That in and of itself caught my eye, as she's a self-proclaimed not-really-a-cotton knitter. I'm increasingly less so, wool is so much more forgiving and alpaca is far more squishy. Still, I was fascinated with the color progression shown in the skein and clicked over to Wolles Yarn Creations.

Color changing cotton is all she does and it's lovely! There are a lot of variety of shades and you can request custom blends.  Most of her blends come in two skeins --a light to dark and dark to light with the same shades. I threw her store feed into Google Reader (my new favorite way to follow Etsy store owners) and waited for something to catch my eye.

IMG_4619What came up was the Strawberry Chocolate. I have a friend who lives the pink and brown combination. As she's a beach bunny, cotton would probably be perfect for her for a small shawl. It'll be far more washable and usable than wool would. It's four ply and 480 yards.

Having successfully gotten through the Old Man of Storr, I thought that might be another simple but lovely shawl that I could knit without having to pay too much attention. This became my computer knitting.
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The majority of Old Man of Storr is garter with increases, so I was waiting for the color changes to make things interesting . The plies aren't twisted together and that is a little creative. I'm using wooden needles with a blunter tip and, for me, has helped me fight the splittiness but it's still a challenge.


First we began with bubblegum pink. There wasn't too much of this, so that went pretty quickly.

IMG_4624Then I got to the first change. I wondered how she had done it, it was so intriguing to me, I was trying to determine what dying process could possibly have been used to create this gradual color progression. And then I reached it.

The first knot! The slow shifts in color are made by cutting a single ply and replacing it with a new color.  It will mean a lot of teeny little ends to weave in but as they are only single ply ends, it's not too much of a hassle.

I've progressed through two color changes now and am on two strands of red, two of pink, about ready to change to three of red, one of pink.  While you can see the shifts in person, the camera shows them far more clearly than the naked eye does...

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Progressing....Stripe 3

Not sure how quickly I'll get it done. As memory serves I don't have that much more to go on the garter increases on the body.  Something like 20 rows last I counted. But at the moment my hands are fully cramping from delayed moving syndrome and I'm not entirely sure where I packed the project. I think it's in the giant hedgehog floor pillow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let Someone Else Drive....(Part 3)

But of course, on this long adventure of the LPL Yarn Crawl, we didn't go only to one store! After YD and buying a new vase, (Seriously--what's wrong with me that a month before moving I'm buying vases?) it was off to What in Yarnation! in Cannon Falls, MN.

What in Yarnation!* opened in September 2010, so I think we were the first big tour that they'd had. We were greeted with cookies and wide open arms. As we were rejuvinated and came with wide open checkbooks, this was good!

The store is lovely! It's not huge but they've packed a whole lot of yarn into it. It's a Berroco store, so I got to play with all of those different blends. As the shops near me were all Cascade, it was a nice change. I nearly bought 2-3 sweaters worth of a tencel wool blend that just glowed in the skein. But the owners showed those of us who were drooling that it loses a lot of the sheen when knit up. That was disappointing but I appreciated the honesty.

There was a lot of variety in addition to the Berroco and a wonderful sit-and-knit space where we all congregated before and after checking out. As I'd been suffering through broken size 15 circular, I took the opportunity to replace that to my greatly increased sanity. There was every color of Lion Brand Homespun**, Brown sheep, and some local stuff too. I like it when there are indie dyers/indie spinners available.

Personally, I went for sock yarn. There was an interesting selection and I found two things that seemed worthy of following me home.

First: Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Superwash in Sport Weight in Sage

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They are small skeins, so I bought two to make a pair of socks, but I think there should be enough to make some toasty knee high socks. That's the goal at least. I have been meaning to tackle one of Wendy Johnson's basic toe up patterns--as I've only knit cuff down before--and this yarn seemed perfect for that hurdle.

I also found this yarn which I bought entirely because it was interesting.  Which might not be a good thing. I haven't decided. But look at it:

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It's Bamboo Zania in Gold/Burgundy. Rainlover on Plurk tells me that it isn't the best for socks. I figured it might make for an interesting shawl, hence the 3 skeinlettes. I was really mostly struck by the color combination. I don't think I've ever seen that golden yellow and burgundy in a skein before. And I have no idea what to make with it that won't pool. 

We stumbled out well laden and headed back to La Crosse. Overall it was a lovely day and I spent way too much on yarn.  But hey, that's what a good yarn crawl is all about right?

***

*Sorry, I can only find the FB page. If there's a website and I missed it, will someone shoot me an email?
**Makes a good blanket on size 50s..
***I'm prescheduling this. When it posts I'll actually be at my first day at the new job! Wish me luck.  :)

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&#...