Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One Obligation Down

I finally finished the afghan strip a person  I don't speak to....*sigh*

It's done. I'm not a big fan of it.  The yarn is okay but not my favorite. The pattern is fine but I didn't really like it. There wasn't a chart with the pattern, which drove Sibling-the-Elder crazy.  I had trouble with the border regularly and spent too much time having to fix two-three rows.

But mostly it was the obligation of knitting for someone I haven't spoken to in over 15 years, who may or may not like it, and who won't realize just how many hours it took (minimum of 1.5 hours per repeat, 14 repeats). If it's anything like the other afghan I got wrangled into for extended family, I won't even get a thank you note.

Knitting should not be like this.

But at least it's over, I can add the yardage to my KnitMeter, and I can finally get back to some of the obligation knitting that I am doing for people I like/care about/speak to.





Blanket Strip
Pattern: Limerick
Yarn: Naturally Aran Ten Ply
Needles: Size 8 (5.0 mm) --this was down 2 sizes from what it called for in the pattern.  I'm not that loose a knitter but dang....


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: Polysockous

I had such great intentions for Dallas. I was going to knit two mittens and five socks and have TONS of things to show to you. And then I arrived in Dallas recuperating from a wonderfully horrendous virus only to be taken down by allergies.  It's much harder to get a lot of knitting done when one cannot breathe regularly and is having to stop and take three minute sneezing breaks.  I did get the first mitten cast off--so it just needs a thumb and a fliptop.

Mostly I spent the conference slogging away on Gray Sock #2. I'm trying to remember when I turned the heel but it escapes me. Actually, as I sit here writing this, I'm kind of curious whether or not I actually remembered to turn the heel properly.  *Rummages* Phew, okay, it's fine. Nice to know I can turn a sock heel on auto pilot some days.



My phone has apparently decided that gray = blue today.  It's really gray, I promise.  Here's a slightly better shot.



 And yes, I'm wearing hosiery. I wear it almost every day.  I'm one of the strange people who doesn't mind wearing it.

Anyway, by Monday midday, as I as packing up my suitcase, I was so bored with all of my current knitting projects that I pulled out the purple Ewetopia Fiber yarn and put it in my carry on. I cast on 48 stitches once I got into my seat on the plane and knit the majority of the flight. The woman sitting next to me spent much of the flight trying not to look at my knitting. Once we'd entered final descent, she did ask what I was making. I heard some wistfulness there I think, and she was of an age that I imagine she learned how to knit as a child. The purple sock went into rotation yesterday at work--drawing a lot of comments.  My boss leaned over and grabbed the skein while we were in a meeting and someone else wondered if I'd be knitting on the reference desk (No).

I show it here next to a gray sock so you can see how far I am. I'm an inch or so from turning the heel on the first sock. I have class with the Dentistry students on Friday. I bet I can sneak a little knitting in there.

I love this yarn. It's squishy and pretty and soft. Working on size 2 needles is always near instant gratification.  Of course, it does mean I'm going through my sport weight yarn at a rather alarming rate but I suppose once it's gone I can work through all of the fingering weight.  Someday I'll place another giant order to BMFA, but not before I get some of this wool cleaned out.

Also, less than 24 hours after arriving home I could breathe and was no long constantly sneezing.  Hooray for regional allergies?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fell Down in Dallas

Depending upon which blogs you read, vacation yarn and sock yarn "don't count as stash." Somehow I doubt that the yarn I brought home from conference doubly doesn't count as stash--unless that would somehow mean I got to count one fewer skeins of yarn?  Does that work? I didn't think so.

After getting through a swath of meetings at the conference I attended, a friend and I headed off towards the one wool shop that was within walking distance of our hotel. It was only about a 15 minute walk, but Dallas is not particularly walking friendly. Everywhere we went there were ripped up sidewalks and walking under highway overpasses, even during the day, when you just don't see other people about is rather creepy.  Still, we turned into what is probably a very nice neighborhood and located the little house that hosts The Shabby Sheep.

The store comprises the first floor of the house. I couldn't find any particularly sorting method--mostly by weight, but not entirely. Their primary company is Cascade, though I don't recall seeing a wall of 220 like I'm used to--that could be because we were in Texas.  There were many local knitters there, needing help, looking for needles, etc and it was a number of minutes before anyone said anything to my friend and I in way of greeting. We seemed to have just slipped in under the radar, when we were acknowledged they were very friendly.

When shopping out of my local area, I like to find indie dyers or smaller companies that I can't find regularly at Loopy or The Loopy Ewe. And in that I was disappointed.  I could only find one dyer that I didn't immediately recognize as a pretty large/familiar brand.  I went through the five or six skeins of said dyer and picked out the one that didn't look like everything already in my stash.

Sibling the Elder should be pleased: it's Red




It's Pagewood Farm Yukon in "Really Red"  It's a muted/faded red, a little closer to brick than fire engine.  It's a hefty skein, 450 yards, and 70% merino, 20% Bamboo, 10% nylon.  It's got a nice hand on it.  It will probably be socks, though perhaps I'll pair it with something or use it as trim. It looks like it'd make nice sweater trip. That, of course assuming I ever get back to my sweater knitting.

And yes, I did take points off my ChoreWars for it and I had plenty for it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: Plodding

The nice part about blogging is that I can't get you sick through a computer screen (though the Beerophile SysAdmin is claiming otherwise).  I'm definitely under the weather, I was home ill yesterday and managed to get almost no knitting done. Sleeping, yes, but I wasn't up to knitting.

But it's Thursday and there have been a couple of opportunities wherein knitting was okay and I wasn't working on the blanket strip of doom. (Why am I knitting a blanket strip for a cousin I don't speak to? *sigh*)





I'm headed to Dallas tomorrow morning. Don't worry, Pyewacket and Gypsy will be supervised the Trombone Player, who is exceptionally gracious in his willingness to play endless rounds of chase the rope toy.  I'll be at a conference that is almost entirely meetings that I'm not required to take notes for.  Hooray!

That means travel knitting! It's the better part of a three hour flight, time at the airport, many friends who knit available for dinner at the conference and me not feeling up to much more than sport weight wool.

Airplane Knitting:
Klock's Mittens

Don't have a picture for you at the moment. They're bright purple and I need to get them done. I'm knitting a modified version of the Scottish Fleet Mittens from Sock Yarn: One Skein Wonders.  No patterning, just ribbing and they'll be flip tops.  Mostly I needed stitch count and thumb instructions.  It works for me.

Conference Knitting:
Gray Socks above and in a fit of KNIT ALL THE THINGS (along with read, write, edit, listen to, etc...) I packed two skeins of Ewetopia Fiber Shop Merino Sportweight.

I have Royal Robes. which will be socks for me I think...we'll see.

024

and Fir Bough, which has been designated as the next pair of socks for the Philosopher.

016

That's all I'm taking. If I run out of knitting, I'll just have to go find a couple of wool shops in Dallas.  Won't that be a hardship.  (Also, if I manage to churn out 2.5 pair of socks and a 1.5 mittens in four days, look for flames to be coming off my needles--it's not impossible, but not really probable.)

Now then, while I am almost packed I still have about 30 things on my to do list before I leave for the airport at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

If you're anywhere near where I am (it's 6F right now, headed down to -2F), please stay warm.






Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Me and My Strange Candles

No, this isn't knitting related. Just amusing.

As you can probably guess by the name of the blog, I collect hedgehogs.  I have a number of figurines around Chez Hedgehog and the Incredibly-Patient-Mother is always on the lookout for unusual hedgehoggy things that might appeal to me.

This year, she founds some candles. The package had an owl, a squirrel and a hedgehog. I've been on a mission to actually use up candles (too many that I have in the house have gone through at least two moves, possibly three, which is at least one too many). So I set them up in the bathroom and lit the owl and the squirrel.














Well, at least you can tell it still looks like an owl. This is about an hour into the burn and the squirrel had started looking a little odd.


















If you look from the top, it's a little more apparent what the issue is....



















The squirrels eyes had started melting into the center.  It was really strange. Also incredibly funny. I went into the bathroom every 15 minutes or so to giggle over the squirrel.

Those two woodland creatures have now burnt out. I'm burning through a few other scented candles before the hedgehog goes under the match.

Friday, January 13, 2012

With Squee

Once I really plunged into the online knitting world a few years ago (I'd say knitting itself but there's a gray afghan in Iowa that will attest I've never really stopped knitting), I quickly became a fan of the Yarn Harlot. Anyone that willing to share their successes and failures with equal candor was high on my list of people I wanted to know.

I own all of her books and I've read the entire Yarn Harlot blog archives. I've seen her speak in person at least three times and yes, I've even watched all of the clips of her I could find on YouTube.

Stephanie is an engaging and incredibly funny speaker. She points out, very pragmatically, how if she were talking about any subject other than knitting, we'd all be far more likely strongly disagree with her. And I have to give her credit for being willing to go on two week book tours and talk and read to the tops of a bunch of heads as so many of us are face down in our needles.

Last fall, during her most recent book tour, I got to see her outside of Chicago. I am in the top photo of that post, a tiny little dot near the very back towards the center right. The Philosopher had come along to watch my hero worship and be amused. I wanted him to show Stephanie his first ever project (a bunny nugget by Rebecca Danger); he declined.

Stephanie was headed on to other places but I wanted to make sure she was well armed. I brought her a beverage from a local brewery (Metropolitan, their stuff is really delicious), a flat bottle opener (in case she ran into more non-screw top beer, which was what I'd brought her), and some Starbucks instant coffee in a vain attempt to ward off her being without coffee for at least a couple of stops.

She was appreciative of the beer and was happy to stand with me for the picture. And I think we more than overwhelmed the poor little bookstore staff--who were long since out of chairs and just couldn't figure out what to do with MORE knitters. (They were also, from the sounds of it, low on copies of her new book to sell us and pretty low on patience.)

Thanks for coming Stephanie. When do we get another audiobook?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: 1+

It's a sign of how many meetings I've been in at work that I managed to do the vast majority of this knitting only at work (I'm still slogging through the afghan strip at home) that I can present to you....the first finished sock of 2012:













Here it's posing on top of some papers and a laptop. Oh, and it's inside out.







Close up of the leg, color is a little better here.  You can definitely see where I changed needles with this yarn, I'm hopeful that it will pull itself together after a bath.

And yesterday I did manage to at least cast on Sock 2.  I'm all of five rows into the leg and this probably won't get picked up again before next week. I'll take it home over the weekend though, there is a baby shower that needs attending where I might have some knitting time.









Here are the specifications on these socks:

Yarn: Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock
Needle Size: 1.5 (2.5mm)
Stitch Count: 64
Pair Count for 2012: 1
Ravelry Project Link: Gray Lady

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Testing....

Pay no attention to the felines behind the curtains....


Back to the Chore Wars

One of the myriad things the now defunct Lime and Violet podcast got me into was Chore Wars. At the time, there was a rabid flood of sign ups when we all decided we too needed to participate in KnitWars, using the website as a way to track how much time we spent knitting, reward ourselves by spending the earned gold pieces earned on shiny new wool, and perhaps keeping ourselves a little more accountable.

As I've been trying to think about more mindful crafting and using up some of the sock yarn around Chez Hedgehog rather than going on a shopping spree, I thought getting back to it might be a good way to help me toe the line on spending.  So I reset my gold to zero for the new year (I hadn't used it in quite a long time and had lingering gold) and I'm working my way back up again.

The last time I did this, I equated each earned gold piece to being $1.  I've heard of people who did similar, those who were more hard core about reducing their stash equating 1 gold piece = 1 cent.  I'm not quite that focused on destashing and besides, I recognize that some days a new skein of sock wool is the only thing to take away the crankies. Also, I recognize that as a crafter I like having tools of my trade around me, perhaps just not as many as I currently have.

This time, I thought I'd do a 2gp:$1 ratio. Considering how much I knit and can accumulate points/gold pieces, that could easily give me a knitting allowance for the month and a buffer in case there is a festival that I can't miss out on.  Currently I have 58 gold pieces or approximately 1 skein of sock yarn.

I've tried other stash reduction methods and certainly it makes sense to go through and clean out stash occasionally that you no longer love, aren't ever going to use, etc. I dislike having to ship things though, especially as it's a royal challenge to get to the post office.  So for now I'm working on knitting things up, using yarn as I had originally intended or for new patterns I've discovered, and filling up the gift box.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sock Show Thursday

After assaulting you all over the past year with picture after picture of me and my double pointed needles, dutifully clicking away, I thought this year it might be nice to limit myself to a weekly update on socks. That way, hopefully, I'll be able to show you some progress.

In a fit of too much coffee, I had the brilliant thought that I could finish a sock per week and then I'd have 26 pair this year and wouldn't that be great? And then I realized that I haven't touched the sock I'm presently working on in over a week due to other knitting deadlines and as soon as the current knitting deadline is done I have two other pressing ones.

Anyway, here's Sock 1 for 2012



















Hmm, no it's not actually blue, it's gray. Here's a close up shot that shows it a little better.


















Specs:
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock
Needle Size: 1.5 (2.5mm)
Stitch Count: 64
Pair Count for 2012: 1
Ravelry Project Link: Gray Lady

It's my first time working with TIG, and this was purchased on my first trip to Windy Knitty. I really do need to get back to that shop again, I liked what she had. The yarn is very nice. It has a tight twist that shows everything and actually, as you can really see in the second picture, I'm getting ladders between needles. They aren't bad and I'm sure a washing will smooth that right out but it's not something I've had trouble with for a while. You might consider two circulars or magic looping with this yarn. I would like to get some more of their yarn eventually though, the colors are lovely. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gypsy Makes Headlines

Gypsy was spotlighted today at the Sunflower Musings blog, home of Three Cat Limit, who is our Kickstick provider of choice. I've bought two large kicksticks from her etsy store and shared some minisquares she thoughtfully threw in with other cats in my life.  Everyone loves them!!  It's really high quality catnip.  I'll have to see if I can make a video soon of Pyewacket with a kickstick that's about the same size she is.

I did finish my first project for 2012 yesterday, the Squish Cowl is done! 130 yards of super bulky are now a very large cowl. I haven't decided yet if I'd like to keep it for myself or give it to someone else so for now it's in the gift bin.  Pictures soon.  


An Eclipse Coming At You

I'd told you I ordered the "Total Eclipse of the Sun" from BMFA, but I didn't yet have a chance to share how beautifully i...