Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye 2012. Don't Let the Door Hit You!!

Despite the speed with which the year has flown, I can't say I'm sorry that we're looking at the tail end of 2012. While there have been a number of very good things this year: several friends got married, the last cousin whose wedding I expect to be invited to got married, my mom and brother both graduated in May with their Bachelors degrees, the Philosopher and I have a beautiful apartment; it's also been one of the more stressful years in memory and I'm ready to close the chapter and open on a new calendar.

In the logical portion of my brain, I know that there is nothing that is changing between December 31 and January 1. I won't wake up and the world will be fresh and new, except for on the squares where we mark our commitments. And I'm already well booked into the first couple of weeks of the new year, so I can't say that there's nothing ahead but possibility.  But it feels fresh and gives me something to hang my hat on.

On Ravelry, most of the groups I skim are talking about goals for 2013. I'm not especially good at goal setting when it comes to my knitting.  It always seems to end up with a desire to knit more from my stash and stop buying random yarn just because it's shiny. I did manage to  buy a lot less than usual when it came to yarn in 2012 and I'm sure the shelves currently housing the stash are grateful. That shelving was the biggest stash/yarn/knitting related purchase of the year.

In 2013, I'd like the stash to fit comfortably on those shelves, rather than in the stuffed fashion it currently does. That, I think, will be a reasonable goal. If I could knit up one or two of the sweaters' worth, use up a couple of the cones of bulky weight cotton, and not binge too much on more sock yarn, there may be a definite chance.

I'd also like to find a scrap yarn pattern and start using up the sock yarn leftovers. I had intentions of wrapping them up and giving them away but I find that I hold a lot of memories in those miniskeins and I'd like to keep them around. So perhaps it will be the world's largest log cabin blanket? That was an incredibly portable project and if I'm smart enough to weave in the ends as I go.... Of course, it'll still be a very random and not particularly attractive blanket but hey, wool, warm, and a boatload of memories should help to make up for that.

I got out the skein winder the other day and wound up a few "next" projects. A couple skeins of BMFA for socks, a couple of heavier skeins. I have one prewound skein (from the manufacturer) of a blue sock yarn that is next for the size 0 needles. I wish I wasn't already well aware of how long socks on size one needles take.

For now though, I need to be working on a late Christmas gift for AudioGirl.

Things I knit in 2012:
12 Pair of Socks (assuming that last pair gets off the needles by midnight NYE)
A cowl
The Fall Color Affection
A Shawl for Mrs. Miller
Kitchen Rug for Angi and Eric
A hat for me
2 pairs of super bulky slippers for M
A scarf for Sam
Most of the Instant Gratification Afghan

I suppose that's enough for one year.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I *was* buying less yarn this year....

Compared to years past, 2012 has been a light yarn buying year. An exquisite level of work and life frustration recently has left me stalking wool shop websites, planning to knit everything right here and now and being moderately annoyed at the cost of overnight shipping. There's nothing like aggressive pursuance of a tangible craft when one is incredibly frustrated with the intangibles of knowledge work.

Recently, I remembered Lisa Souza and her beautiful colors. She does such lovely things as dyes silk yarn that Franklin turned into a beautiful pineapple bag. I'd picked up a skein of her Polwarth/Silk in the Styx colorway at Stitches Midwest in 2011 and it's lounging in the stash.  As I started to look for yarn that I could use for a project the Philosopher had requested (more on that later), I recalled that originally said yarn was intended for him and went looking to see what else I could find on her website.

While I ended up going a different way for the Philosopher's project, I did happen to stumble through Lisa's sock yarn and buy a couple of colors. She's so prompt answering questions and shipping and the yarn is so lovely, I will make it a serious goal to spend more yarn money with her.

I got two skeins of sock yarn, one in the aforementioned Styx colorway and the other in

The Styx is black with hints of raspberry and blue.


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Though from any great distance it looks black.

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This is her Sock! base and as such probably would be best as socks but I'm not sure yet if that will be the final product or not. It's so subtle. The Incredibly Patient Mother wears a lot of black so it might go in the black but with subtle for her or it might go into something for my sister or...or....or....

019I also picked up a skein in colors that will seem oddly familiar.  Perhaps because they almost match the BMFA random skein that I got earlier this year. I really have to stop buying the same three skeins of yarn over and over someday.  Lisa calls this Shade Garden.  It's full of pink, blue-purple, green, and gray.



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This yarn will most likely be socks. Because obviously I'm running low on sock wool.

If you got some extra yarn money for the holidays or if you just haven't had a browse over there recently, do check out Lisa Souza's yarns.  While the Bombyx Silk will set you back a rather large chunk of change (and rightly so!) her other yarns are certainly within a reasonable price range.  I don't know if she'll be at any festivals near me before August, so I'll be sticking to web orders til then...


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Miscellaneous Pyewacket Picture

I have *so much* to show and tell you about! I spent the better part of four days knitting.  My hands are a little sore but there was progress. Also, there were some things already gifted that unfortunately you'll not see.

But for now, a feline to tide you through the day.

Pye doesn't especially like sleeping under blankets, but she agreed to pose for you.

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She's under my giant log cabin squares blanket, which I need to photograph on the bed, because the couch cover is totally borking up my camera--it being far lighter in color than any of the afghan squares.

I still need to crochet around the edge of the blanket to give it some firmness but it was in heavy rotation for a year before I got ends woven in (that's now done), so I'm not in too much rush.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wherein I am invisible (at least the yarn is shiny)

I managed to get caught on pictures with everything except the slippers I mentioned last post. And since I've already gone through all the pictures that I took this evening, I'll just have to show them to you next time. Trust me that knitting up a bulky weight slipper sock in a matter of a very few hours feels oddly indulgent.

There have been some weird internet issues at Chez Hedgehog, hopefully that's short rather than long-term.  Of course, I've been having some odd internet issues at work for a few days too. Computers that randomly decide they don't see our network, email that doesn't want to copy to the send folder so I have no idea if it sent or not (I think I sent one email four times Monday and then had to resend it on Tuesday because it still wasn't clear if the recipients had gotten it), etc etc. I'll let someone more astrological than I tell me if Mercury is indeed in retrograde, at least insofar where computers are concerned.

Also, I've been meaning to describe my shopping experience at Knitty City in New York since I got back.

To give you some history, the last time I had been to Knitty City, I still lived in Queens and was just starting to buy yarn on the scale I currently do. In that trip I found myself utterly ignored and, after wandering around the shop, I left without buying anything.

Now, several years and a whole lot of yarn buying later, I thought I'd give it another shot. I'd heard so many good things about Knitty City, so many people who say it's their favorite yarn store, such wonderful selection, etc. etc. Perhaps I had just looked too much of a poor grad student last time? Also, what better way to give back to my beloved hurricane stricken city than by indulging myself in a little wool while I waited for the Brunette? See, look at my altruism.

I have apparently perfected invisibility in Knitty City. I counted, in the half hour I was there, four staff members. The only time I was spoken to was when the woman who I believe is the store owner checked me out--though the young man behind the counter with her had just lowered himself to ask if I'd found everything--and her conversation with me was perfunctory.

It's unclear what else they expected me to do. Did I not make eye contact or attempt to enough times? Was my sitting at the small central table obviously comparing three shades of electric orange not perhaps a hint that I was weighing options? Should I have been more obvious with the Color Affection shawl I was wearing? The friendly local designer who was in the shop tripped over me three times, which we chuckled about, though the lack of floor space meant moving amongst the yarn was challenging. But to the store staff I remained patently transparent and unacknowledged.

I wasn't hoping for someone to hover near me, but a greeting or question as to why I was fussing with three skeins of orange yarn would have been appreciated. By the end of it I was amusing myself, standing back to observe the store and feel like a member of London Below, albeit one who still has to pay for the wool.

I probably should have left again without buying anything. I thought about it. Ultimately, I wanted the Lorna's Laces that was hanging down a back hallway almost unnoticeable and since I was visiting the Blonde and the Brunette, I wanted to plan for my next knitting for them. Having the yarn in hand helps.

But I won't go back. It probably won't effect their bottom line too much, an infrequent NY yarn buyer such as I am, but in the future, I'd rather spend my yarn money places where I am visible.

I've already started knitting up the Lorna's Laces, which is the Shepherd Worsted in the Amy's Vintage Office colorway. I've been admiring this colorway for a long time and I decided I needed a new hat.

Behold:
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It will have cables at the top, I'm working off a Lion Brand Cable Twist Hat and Scarf pattern. I love the yarn and am almost hoping it gets cooler again soon so I can wear it. As soon as it is finished, of course.

For the Blonde comes a non-shocker. She adores the color orange and was wearing a pair of pants nearly this color last time I saw her.  This yarn is La Jolla from Baah, who are the same people whose yarn I used for the Warm Water socks that I made myself earlier this year.  The color saturation on this stuff is fantastic.  I got a better picture without flash, but include a small one with flash in case you'd like to damage your corneas. Not sure what I'm making yet.

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Finally, the Brunette tells me that his Dashing Mitts are finally starting to die. And since he's wearing a little more brown these days, we're going for gray instead of new black ones. Of course, what one knits for the Brunette, one should also knit for his husband. They both really appreciate hand knits. So he picked out some yarn from the Loopy Ewe Solids line, but I haven't ordered it yet.

For the Brunette we have Berrocco Vintage DK. The picture came out a little bluer than the yarn is.  It's a true warm gray.

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Once I get through holiday knitting and finishing pair 11 and 12 of socks for this year (or at least 11), I want to start spending a lot of time on mitts.  Thankfully, Brunette-by-Marriage is okay not having flip top mitts.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inspirations Always Strike Late

Why is it that every time I think I'm not going to be knitting until Christmas Eve, I'm suddenly struck with inspiration? It's not a horrible thing. I've been struggling to find ideas for M. She has wonderful taste and periodically I've been able to surprise her with things but this year I find myself tired and rather anti-buying things just for the sake of buying things. Fortunately, she mentioned recently that she needs some new slippers and that got me thinking about bulky weight slipper-socks. They knit up far faster than your usual pair of socks and would be very toasty. Started one pair (I'm past the gusset, let me see if I can find my camera) and wouldn't you know that I've come up with at least two other people that need a pair?

As I discussed these with AudioGirl, she requested for some worsted weight slipper socks, and she'd like taller ones that she can wear with her winter boots. I agreed, though said they might not be available until after Christmas. As it's presently over 50 degrees in Chicago and supposed to be nearly 70 tomorrow, and as she has at least four pair of wool socks that I've knit for her, we're not in too much of a rush. I might save those as plane knitting (going to Atlanta in a couple weeks) and then see if I can finish them up the week after Christmas. They'll be an interesting knit, I expect that she'll wear them til they develop giant holes and then most likely turn them into legwarmers.

So that's two people on the Christmas list who I can put a clear gift listing by. The Philosopher isn't getting any knitting for Christmas but I have another project to get started on for him soon and he's got socks already on the needles, so I don't think he's feeling too neglected. Also, I got his Christmas gift figured out in September. It's currently residing in the lower drawer of my bedside table (yes, he knows that it is there, no, I don't think he's peeked).  Now then, three more to figure out in the next twenty days.

I'm also trying to figure out how to get rid of some yarn. There are a few things lurking in the stash that just don't appeal anymore. For now I'm going to toss stuff up on Ravelry but don't expect much. I'd like to at least not deeply lose money on this, particularly since it will require running to the post office, and cost of shipping is high enough that the yarn looks really overpriced. I've had mediocre luck with trading too and without a local knit group to say "hey, anyone want to buy some wool off of me?" not sure what I'll end up doing. Presently I'm trying to resist wrapping it up for the White Elephant party I'm attending next weekend.





An Eclipse Coming At You

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