Saturday, July 30, 2011

If It's July, Then I Must Be Knitting Bulky Wool

What is it about July and extremely hot temperatures to send me into my stash for whatever the bulkiest wool I own? Two years ago it was that green and tan afghan that still isn't done, this year it's the super bulky yarn that I bought in Milwaukee with the Master Sergeant.

Liz Abinate of Feministy posted a quick squishy bulky cowl the other day and finally, I found a project that I thought was right for this yarn. 

There's not much of it, only 130 yards and knitting it up on size 17 needles means it's going to go fast, assuming I actually knit on it.  And then I'll have a new cowl for winter! I've been living in cowls for a couple of years so this will be another welcome addition to the pile. 

It's seed stitch and I'll seam the ends together when I'm done, hopefully that will be soon.

I'm glad to be getting this yarn used, I felt guilty having it just sit in my stash after having made said Master Sergeant climb on a chair and rummage on the top shelf of a small and very squished yarn store in order to retrieve it for me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

About the Belt

I gave you a quick and dirty shot of the belt that I'm working on for the Philosopher. It's only progressed slightly, mostly because after I put up that post, I found a different stitch pattern that I wanted to use and ripped it all out AGAIN.

Anyway, I'm finally finally finally happy with the density that I'm getting for the belt, it has been Philosopher approved, and I'm making progress. Snail-slow progress but still it's something.

The belt is being knit out of hemp.  Here's the pound of hemp that I got in the mail.

This is a single ply of light laceweight, which, while very flexible, is not quite dense enough for a man's belt. After some trial and error, I decided on chaining the yarn first with my trusty crochet hook and then knitting the crocheted hemp.  That seems to be working out pretty well.


Ultimately I decided upon using the linen stitch. It's wrapping in on itself just smidge but once I washed a section of it, it lay out flat. So I think as long as I aggressively soak and block it before I give it to him, and give it with a) clear instructions and b) the offer that I'll reblock it if need be, I should be okay. 





I've got about 14" done. I need about 50"  And I can only do a little bit at a time or my hands absolutely start screaming--this is not an easy knit. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wherein I Do Not Actually Slack....

Occasionally I feel like I'm not accomplishing very much on the knitting front.  I don't churn out lace like my sister, designs like several good friends, or various other large quantities of projects like some of the bloggers and pod/videocasters that I follow. However, I do have my little triumphs.

I realized the other day that the two pairs of socks that are currently on the needles are pair 11 and 12--for 2011.  Someone asked and I counted in Ravelry.  Since the beginning of the year I've knit

New Green Socks
Languishing Socks
Corn for Cristy
Indulgent Green Socks
What New Socks
Ugly Work Socks
Subtle Stripe Sunday
Purple Pond Socks
Footsies
Summer Sky Socks

Now, granted, I had been working on the Languishing Socks for a while and there is one pair of footies in there--but none of those are infant sized. 3 pair are for a size 9 shoe, the other 7 pair are for a size 7 shoe. Considering we're only in July (granted, August is soon upon us), I think it's fairly safe to say that I'll have finished at least a dozen pair of socks in 2011.  Quite possibly that number will be on the far side of 15.  Considering I've knit a few other things and I do work, that's quite a hefty amount of knitting I think.

So, those 11th and 12th pair

Rainbow Stripes is being knit out of the KPPPM in what I'm calling Easter Basket.  I finished the first sock a week or so ago, haven't cast on the second sock yet. I've been having some soreness in my hands, leftover from blowing them out in Michigan (knitting nonstop for about 36 hours) and size 0 needles really seem to exacerbate that.


The pictures are a little fuzzy---the colors are really painfully obnoxious with the flash so I went with fuzz over obnoxious bright.

And then there are the Do You Feel Lucky Socks.  *pause to praise, yet again, BMFA Medium weight for all it's squishiness* These are less than 10 rows from done.  I'm working on the toe of sock 2 and then they just need a quick wash/block.  So close....



And of course, because 12 pair can't possibly be enough, I now have a pair of basic black 2x2 vanilla rib socks that are intended for the Incredibly Patient Mother. No picture at the moment but imagine about two and a half inches of cuff on my size 1.5 needles. 

I'm hosting/attending a two day conference this Thursday and Friday, so hopefully in between taking lots and lots of notes and presentation summaries, I'll have some extra knitting time. Maybe. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Hands Hurt....

The Philosopher asked for a belt. I, apparently not being of sound mind, thought this would be a relatively easy undertaking.

I'm not going to learn anytime soon am I?






This 8 inches of knitting is all I've accomplished in three hours yesterday evening. What you don't see is the 5 ripped out attempts and the sad realization that I have to crochet the hemp thread into something approaching a sport weight before I can knit it on size 0 needles to get any kind of density close to what I'm looking for in seed stitch.

My hands ache and the skin on my index fingers feels sore and abused.  But it's started and hopefully it won't be deemed too girly.  I'm not sure I have the strength to rip it out again. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's Too Darn Hot...

I'd like to say I've been working on my heavy purple wool shawl and that it's all done.  I have actually knit on it! AudioGirl and I had a Knit Night recently and I took it along. But it's a garter triangle and a picture wouldn't really show you much.  So we'll just stick to the socks, shall we?

No More Blue Songs:

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The Summer Sky socks are done! I've finished with the Yarn Love Juliet Yarn. These were drug up to a cabin in Michigan, where I did a marathon day of knitting. They're on size one needles and are sized to fit my own feet. Last count of socks that will be gracing my drawer this winter puts me at about 10 pair!  I'm very excited to see how all of that turns out once colder weather arrives.

Putt Putt Putt:

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Hey, these socks look like they belong on a putting green, now don't they? The Lucky Socks are, in theory, in the rotation, but they haven't seen much love since I got back from Michigan. That's right, I finished the blue and moved right onto the green.  All it took was a small change of project bag.

The strip is a little more subtle on these than the last couple of pair of BMFA socks that I've knit. That's perfectly okay with me. And since I already finished one with a foot my size, apparently these are staying at Chez Hedgehog too.  At least I know I'll wear them and love them, right?  Selfish knitting is no bad thing.

But I couldn't let the Lucky Socks get cocky.  They might truly take their name seriously.  And besides, I'm nearing the heel turn, which really makes them not all that great for meeting knitting. You know where this is going right?

Tada, more new socks!!

These are KPPPM, from the oops-I-fell-down-at-the-Loopy-sale-bin moment, and I originally called the colorway Easter Basket. Once I started on the socks though, the name was only too apparent.

Meet Rainbow Stripes

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(Yes, I used flash, sorry--couldn't get a non-fuzzy picture otherwise)

This is 68 stitches on size 0 (2mm) needles. I cast them on Sunday evening and got a couple inches into the cuff while avoiding things I was supposed to be doing on Monday evening. And they are seriously spiraling. I expect horrendous pooling around the ankle.

And of course, I'm making these as gift socks.  Ah well, there are too few pair of handknit socks on people's feet. Hopefully they will appreciate and wear them.

I also have a skein of black sock yarn wound and ready to go. That's going to work as emergency knitting for the days I forget my project bag as I did Monday. My mum has requested black socks a couple of times, I need to get around to a pair or two for her.

Oh, and in case you were curious as to why there are no tails, ears, or whiskers in these pictures, never fear, I was being supervised:

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

There Will be Bunny Nuggets

When the Philosopher and I first started hanging out, he indicated an interest in learning amigurumi in efforts to make children's gifts for friends who are starting to have children. I was blunt in that my talents with the crochet hook are rather limited and that I much prefer the pointy sticks. He was amenable (especially after watching me knit and eat, knit and walk, knit and talk, knit and sleep--wait, that's just a hopeful wish) to learning to knit.

I set out to find something small and stuffed animal like that he could learn some shaping on and remembered that I'd seen Laura L talk about making Monster Chunks for her student workers. I didn't want to make Chunks but I found another Rebecca Danger pattern that I did like: Bunny Nuggets.

And, if a girl is going to be knitting Bunny Nuggets, why not just go down the path of knitting monsters and inflicting them upon unsuspecting friends.

Gypsy approves (and the Incredibly-Patient-Mother has already picked out her favorite monster).

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I wish I'd known about these when I was knitting with my kids in La Crosse. It simply teaches techniques, gives you rapid gratification, and can be altered a million ways to use up scraps!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wool in the Muggy City

Now, you didn't think I managed to go to New Orleans and not acquire wool, did you?  Really?

The worst part is I wasn't even trying. I had gotten directions to walk to one of the Louisiana State Museums that is on Jackson Square. I set off out of my hotel, turned at the appropriate corners, stopped at CVS for sunscreen....

And then I saw a sign ahead of me. A needlepoint shop. I don't know many people who do needlepoint but it made more sense than holding an afghan's worth of bulky weight wool in my lap. I slowed just a bit to peer in the windows as I strolled past.

Next thing you knew I was inside the store because I could see the yarn!!

I'd found the Quarter Stitch.

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The three ladies and adorable bichon mutt that were there were lovely.  There wasn't a huge selection of wool and nearly all of it was stuff I could get here in Chicago pretty easily. They did have a bit of locally dyed cotton but a) I own way too much cotton b) the skeins were pretty but not quite me and c) they were rather pricey--though good yardage.

I picked up one skein only. One skein of Colinette Jitterbug. I discovered this yarn some time ago and I love it. I think her color sense is gorgeous and I have four colors that some day will turn into a lovely progressing fall tree shawl. I'd planned to use Charlotte's Web, but I haven't fully decided yet.
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This is a rich luscious shade of purple called Velvet Bilberry.  It's her new larger put up--400 yards in 150 grams and is priced more expensively because of it.  I'm looking forward to it being part of a beautiful shawl.

The ladies did a lovely job of wrapping it up too! Super cute.  Wish I could have stayed and knitted but there were things to see and conferencing to do.
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

And Another Thousand Meters Go Through My Fingers...

Because I tend to be pretty spread out on which projects I'm working on, it's often hard to feel as though I'm making real progress.  Oh, I finish things here and there and when I remember lengths get added to KnitMeter and Ravelry gets updated, but the day to day knitting seems like an endless black hole of projects.

It doesn't help that the minute I get to a heel or toe on a current pair of socks, I cast on another pair. We won't talk about the fact that I'm eying a couple of skeins that I can't possibly get to this weekend. Nope, nothing to look at or talk about there.

What has gotten the most work was the Early Summer Sky socks.  When last you saw them, they were only a cuff. Now, they are 1.25 socks.

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They're on size 1 (2.25mm) needles, so they're moving a little faster than the New Green socks did.

This is Yarn Love Juliet yarn. It's decidedly fine. Not fabulous, not awful, just ...fine. The color is nice but not one that people comment on. It has a good hand but it's not the squishiest I've ever worked with. I would consider buying more if they had another color I liked but I look at my current stash, have a bit of a duck, and remind myself that it'll be quite a while before I need to buy any more sock wool.

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The blue does have little hints of brown in it. That doesn't distract me, mostly because I don't look at socks while I'm knitting them.  I do like that the yarn isn't pooling!

This next pair I'm a little more enamoured with. I really do adore the Medium-weight base of Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I was getting ready to go to New Orleans for a conference and ended up hand winding this yarn because I didn't feel like setting up my swift.  Well..I hand wound it with my ball winder. It was not my best move, I really should have just set up the swift.

I'm working on the foot of Sock 1--enjoy the summer pedicure toe pic!

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The green is striping a little it with the gray. The colorway is Lucky.  I did a slightly longer cuff than usual and I tried something different for the cast on. I held two size 2 needles (2.75 mm) together and then knit the cast on onto them with one more size 2 needle.  It was really roomy when I moved the stitches onto the 9" circular that I'm using but it seems to have pretty much worked itself in and is still stretchy. Something I will continue doing, I have trouble with tighter cast ons and cutting off blood flow in the legs is frowned upon.

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And finally, just to prove that I haven't frogged it, here's the neglected shawl

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I really need to get back to it. Work is cold and this Hoglette needs a new shawl.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hedgehog Got a Brand New Bag....

If you watch any of the knitting videocasts that abound of late, you've probably heard of the Piddleloop Girls and their fabulous bags. This pair of sisters are turning out quality project bags that we can't seem to get enough of. Presently, I have three and they are in constant rotation.

The most recent on that I acquired came out of a conversation with Jen (half of the Piddleloop team) on Plurk. She'd mentioned that she was going fabric shopping and was there anything she should keep an eye out for?  I think her fabric trips must be the best ever--she gets to buy all of that novelty fabric that I look at and wonder what on earth I'd ever sew it into.  I, of course, asked for something of the hedgehog persuasion.

While there was no new hedgehog fabric acquired, Jen recalled some in their stash. She and sis went digging and turned up some fabric. I saw a picture and put in a custom order for a large wedge bag.

Here it is!!

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It's big enough to hold three skeins of sock yarn, so plenty big for a medium sized project, though perhaps not a full sweater.

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And it has hedgehogs!! It's very well sewn and I love the polkadot fabric on the inside.

Check their etsy store often, the dog and cat bags tend to sell out really fast!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Little Hedgehog That Could

I was feeling rather sad, thinking I didn't have much to show you.  And then I actually started pulling together the photos of what has come off the needles lately, what's on the needles, and new yarn and then I didn't feel like that anymore.  So let's jump into things shall we?

A couple of things are done, off the needles and included in Stash Dash 2011 with the KnitGirlls. I'm at about 1500m so far, not exactly where I should be considering that we're about to the halfway point but I have a trip coming up this weekend where I fully expect to spend most of Saturday evening and all of Sunday with needles in hand.  Progress will be made.

Done but still here

Here is the final pair of socks for AudioGirl's Birthday. She's been getting quite the wealth of knitted things this year.  She's not getting knitted stuff for Christmas, knitting maybe but not knitted. These are knit out of the first two skeins of KPPPM that I fell down and bought at Loopy when it first started showing up on clearance.  Would you believe I actually made it in and out of the store twice recently without buying anymore KPPPM.  Oh...that reminds me, I have more pictures to take.

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They are my usual 2x2 rib socks, done on 72 stitches on size 0 (2mm) needles.  They went as fast as tiny yarn on tiny needles can and I only had to rip back the leg once and the toe once. Not bad! They still need a soak in some wool wash but then they go in the gift bin. Oh, and here's a shot from "in progress" that I took a bit ago.  Art shot with extra cat tail!

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Done and gone

Audiogirl has a red kitchen and nothing in front of her sink to stand on.  Obviously this was unacceptable so about 3/4ths of a cone of cotton went to make her a mat.

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It went home with her last night, so it's gone gone gone. She said she washed the bathroom mat in hot water recently and it bounced back to it's original squishiness. She's very pleased and appreciative of all the cotton.  Three cones down, we're not going to talk about how much more I have to go.


Done knitting but not blocked

I finished the Wendy Johnson Summer Mystery KAL!!  It's off the needles but hasn't been blocked yet, so I haven't included it for stash dash.  Blocking requires that I'm actually home for a few minutes without company or people desperately needing me or what not.  I'll get there.

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This was done with the Fiber Optic Yarn Foot Notes in Ultraviolet. The yarn is soooo bright and pretty! The pattern was super easy, chart was very clear, and I can't wait to knit more Wendy patterns. 

And as you can see, the shawl is currently a small gray cat long.  :)

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So that's what's off the needles. In progress and new stuff to follow!