Monday, December 30, 2013

Endless Small Blue Circle

Yesterday was black hole knitting.  The kind where you knit and knit and knit (and ignore ALL the other things you're supposed to be doing) and knit and knit and knit and yet the ribbing on a hat never seems to get past 3.5".  I've really been wanting to start my first pair of socks for 2014 even though we're technically still in the last days of 2013 and the yarn is all caked and the needles are shiny and...

The blue Malabrigo hat I told you about was also still sitting next to my keyboard and apparently I have some ability to shame myself into working on specific projects--at least, I seem to be able to do so in order to avoid other non-knitting related projects. Last night after knitting seemingly forever into the black hole of ribbing, as I crawled into bed with knitting and my tablet, I grabbed the measuring tape again.

4.5"


Where that extra inch of ribbing came from, considering that I'd been measuring regularly, is unclear but I've moved on to the stockinette stitch section. That's going to be 9" and I plowed through about an inch last night so there is currently some hope that I might finish the hat in less than a year.  This will be the second Sockhead hat that I've knit without an intended recipient but it makes another nice addition to the gift bin.

I'm being very monogamous and not knitting any of the other things that are griping at me from the knitting bags, boxes, piles, tubs, etc.

Unfortunately, knitting endless rounds of stockinette on small needles isn't getting the other things that need to be done off of the to do list.  Off to do more work on those things...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Yarn just before the New Year

I realized after writing yesterday's post that the yarn that I'm using for Pair 1 of 2014 (now dubbed the BahBah BRIGHT Sheep socks) isn't actually in my stash. I'm kind of surprised by that, I thought I'd stuffed it in there at some point.

This is Baah! La Jolla.  So, discount what I said about how many skeins of sock yarn I have that I intend to turn into socks in the next year or two. Or, at least add 5 to that number to account for the yarn floating around the stash that I haven't realized isn't in Ravelry yet and therefore isn't counted.

On Dec 19, best known as the day my fliptop mitts went missing, I also popped into Nina. The owner has a lovely shop, filled with high end beauty skeins. I always end up in a bit of a yarn daze going in there. She has some work horse yarns, but the majority is the nicer and more boutique yarns.

One dyer that I'd not seen before that she carries is Knitted Wit, out of Portland, Oregon. Most of what Nina had was fingering weight but I see in the etsy shop a number of weights. I considered grabbing a skein but thought of all the of the purple already in the stash and that I already have several pair of green socks that are mine and several that are the Philosopher's. It's certainly on my radar for yarn in the future but not that trip. The dyer mentions variegated on her shop page but I only could find shaded solids. From her items sold page there does seem to be a lot of rainbow options though, if you're looking to stalk a dyer for that.

I found myself over by the Koigu. Dangerous stuff, that skinny yarn. I suppose it's not too shocking that I brought home some to knit up.  Of course, as Sibling the Elder pointed out while she was here, it looks an awful lot like the yarn I knit into the fliptop mitts and some other BMFA that I knit up for AudioGirl last year.  At least I'm consistent?

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The other skein comes from the new fall collection out of Manos Del Uruguay. I have mixed feelings about Manos. On one hand, like Malabrigo, I can count on them for interesting colors and beautiful single ply yarns. On the other hand, I really don't like knitting single ply under a worsted weight. So I was pretty excited to see that they have a pretty tightly plied sock yarn: Alegria.

It's new enough (this past fall) that there wasn't much opinion about it at the shop.  I grabbed this interesting skein.

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They aren't my usual colors but I think it will be an interesting knit.  The colorway is Atlantico, so I assume we're supposed to think of sand, water, and sky. At least, that's what I get from it.  The yardage is generous--445 yards--and it has nylon so it should wear well.

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Add it to the sock bin...

In the interim, I'm not sure what Gypsy's planning to do when I go back to work next week. Her current activities have almost entirely involved sitting on my lap. She's going to be a very put out feline next week when all of the laps in the house are absent for 8+ hours.




Friday, December 27, 2013

What hasn't been photographed?

As you  may remember, about six months ago I took a photography class with Franklin Habit. While my photography skills are still too frequently relying on a quick snapshot taken with the camera on my phone while I've moved the keyboard at my desk (or, more frequently and recently, with the webcams I have at work and home), I did have some time to break out the light box and see what I could do today. I have a long way to go but it was fun getting to try things out and not just rely on my usual "is the sun totally fading this out?"

The sun is out today and the sky is painfully clear. After I get this posted I think I'm going to walk over to Starbucks and the dry cleaner just so I get outside today and get some sunlight. It's 42 degrees so I shouldn't even need much in the way of a coat.  On Monday our high will be 7 degrees so I should get out now while I want to.

Today you'll get the projects, tomorrow the new yarn... Yes, there's new yarn at Chez Hedgehog. How many people are really surprised by this? Right, okay then.

I hadn't photographed the Muppet Scarf because it was for the Incredibly-Patient-Mother's birthday in November.  Now that she's received it and been wearing it, here it is for you to see. (Please note, this picture was taken in November)

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It's Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's One Row Handspun pattern knit out of Schaefer Nichole in the Janis Joplin colorway.  I got two skeins as a pairs sale from The Loopy Ewe and ended up making things for my mother and the Philosopher's mother.  This knit up quickly on size 3 (3.25 mm) needles.

Back in March 2013 (wow, seriously, it's been 9 months already?), I started another Sockhead hat out of some Malabrigo sock. It has been given a few stitches here and there but I haven't made much progress. I'm not even out of the ribbing yet and it's December, nearly January 2014.

[Note: Gypsy's been sitting on my lap since I sat down about 15 minutes ago. Pyewacket just hopped up and was very confused as to why there wasn't room for her also on my lap. Not that she wasn't welcome, but she'd have had to lay on top of Gypsy and that probably wouldn't have gone over well.]

The yarn is some I got from AudioGirl in a trade forever ago.

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I've got about 2.5" of ribbing and I think I need 4" before I go to the endless stockinette.  At my current rate I should be done somewhere around 2020.

I made a pair of fingerless mitts for my massage therapist (sorry--phone photo again here) out of some vintage Yarn Pirate Aran that had been hanging out in the stash for a while. I think I have enough for another pair, at least, I'm trying with the leftovers to crank out another pair. I'm taking bets on how soon I'll run out.


















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These have been sitting in bed and knitting so they don't get worked on very often. I am past the thumb gusset on mitt 1 though so those should start progressing. Maybe.

Oh, I finished up the Frozen socks last night! And I even broke out my sock blockers, aren't you all impressed?  These are destined for the gift bin.  My usual 1x1 Vanilla Rib pattern, 64 stitches on size 0 (2.0 mm) needles.  The KPPPM continues to be a lovely workhorse yarn, though there are days I wish it was just a smidge thicker.

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In case you doubted it, I had help taking pictures.

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And these final two are things coming rather than things really begun. The Philosopher last night had suggested that, as there were 5 days left in the year, I probably could finish another pair of socks now that the size 0 KPPPMs were done. I thought that sounded like a brilliant plan. Unrealistic but brilliant. Hmm, 5 days, about 20 hours for a pair of socks... sure I could knit 4 hours a day until New Years, right?  Who needs to do all the other things around here that I've been putting off...

Such it was this morning that I grabbed a skein of BMFA Mediumweight in Puck's Mischief and cast on. With sport weight yarn and 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles surely I could plow right through them. About 8 rows in the Philosopher noticed what I was working on. He thought the yarn was lovely. I said that was good, as these were going to be socks for him (why I didn't choose my own smaller feet, I ask you?).  Oh? Hmm, could these be fingerless mitts for him instead?

*sigh*

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I've got another skein of Puck's Mischief around here somewhere but it's not wound and he doesn't ask for things all that often.  So I stepped away from the crazy of a pair of socks in 5 days (totally not crazy).

I did pick out my next pair though, to be started in the next couple of days and have the honor of being the first socks of 2014.

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Note to self, this yarn photographs on a white background far better than a black background. Case in point:

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And now I have to evict the sleeping cat. Hopefully she'll adjust to being moved to her basket.





Thursday, December 26, 2013

And now we plan...

I hope your Christmas was restful and full of joy! The Incredibly-Patient-Mother and both Siblings joined the Philosopher and I at Chez Hedgehog.  We and the felines ate far too much food, watched movies, opened presents, and had pots and pots of tea.

I got a wonderful knitting related gift. The IPM bought me two packs of blocking mats! Each set covers a full 12 square feet of floor.  The giant shawls that I've knit and that Sibling-the-Elder has knit for me can finally be blocked in their glory. [Just as soon as I move everything out of the dining room]

The one knitting related gift I gave on Christmas day there is no picture of. I forgot to take photos of the red socks that I made for the Incredibly Patient Mother. They were from the Dallas yarn purchase of last January and weren't very well aged stash...

While I didn't do a whole lot of holiday knitting, now that the year is winding down and I'm considering the new year ahead, plans are leaping out of my brain. I need to block the green sweater and finally start wearing it, I'm still trying to finish up the ice blue socks before next week (don't worry, I'm almost to the toe of sock 2), I'm midway through a pair of fingerless gloves...

A high priority though will be to make myself some mittens. Yes I need new ones already. The fliptop mittens I'd so recently knit myself are gone. Last Thursday, somewhere between a taxi / a coffeeshop / and the theater, my flips disappeared. There was frantic searching after the performance when I realized they weren't in my purse and despite retracing my steps, they had disappeared. I hope someone found them together and is wearing them in good health.

I still have a fair chunk of STR Mediumweight left and I need to run it through my yard counter to see if I can repeat or if I need stripes or what the plan should be.

The Brunette's mitts still aren't done, the Brunette's husband's mitts are...um... yarn.  I've got some sock yarn wound up for the new year but need to sort things into project bags.  And I swear, this year is going to be the year that pink afghan gets finished. Per Ravelry, I've been working on it since May 2007. This year it is getting evicted from the bin it's been hiding in and turned into a functional, person-warming object. I also have pretty serious designs on the half dozen cones of bulky weight cotton still lurking around, so if anyone is interested in a hand knit washcloth, I should know about that sooner rather than later for the gift planning bin.

There's some yarn getting evicted from the stash. It's perfectly nice wool but it's just not anything I'm going to use, so I'll post a link to my Ravelry for-sale/trade when I get it sorted out the stuff that is leaving.

The Philosopher and I have started making general new year plans as well. A lot of them involve organizing and getting rid of excess things, going through things again and pruning the load, lightening up the apartment, being able to know whether or not we're actually out of something.  One particular plan involves scanning a LOT of papers and letting the hard copies go. The tax returns from when I was 15, for example, probably safe in PDF form especially considering I've barely had to keep anything the past three-five years, all of my w2s have been electronic, even most of my 1099s have come via email.  An external hard drive takes far less space and, while we're not planning to move anytime soon, we'd like to not have to move these things again in their current formats.

I just updated the KnitMeter and I'm very close to 11K, which is pretty satisfactory for a year full of many other things. Whether or not I can average 1000K a month this next year remains to be seen.  But there are many babies expected by friends due soon and a lot of really lovely wool floating around the stash that I'd like to get out and make things with...so we'll see what comes next.

What are your knitting plans for 2014?





Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sick plus Sock Yarn

I am very grateful for sick days. Not for the part where I feel like garbage or where I'm sneezing so violently that the cats flee the room though Gypsy's adapted now that she's on my lap rather than my chest and I only get an ear twitch.  I'm grateful that I woke up this morning, recognized that between the exhaustion and the congestion and the diseased feeling, and was able to acknowledge that I was probably not going to be any good to anyone in my library.  I could email work and say "Nope, not today. I'll be in and hopefully less infectious tomorrow."  So I did, and then I crawled back under the covers and was fully unconscious before the Philosopher got up to take a shower. 

After sleeping very late and having now added a half dose of sudafed, I'm upright and thinking about moving the cat enough to go get another cup of tea. I might even tackle end weaving on my green sweater. Maybe. I'm not thinking very clearly. I do at least need to run down to the dry cleaners and pick up the Philosopher's suit that he's wearing to a wedding this weekend. Head cold plus wedding ought to be fantastic. 

It's year end and I'm counting only 4-5 projects that I'm hoping to wrap up in the next 14 days before I start misdating everything again.* To that end I took a quick look through my Ravelry stash to start evaluating how much sock yarn I have for 2014 that I'm intending to turn into socks. 

And it's finally happened.  I've stopped binge buying long enough that, if I maintain my current knitting rate of about 1 pair a month, I might come close to running out of sock-designated yarn next year. A quick count through only turned up 17 skeins, not including the ice blue pair currently on the needles. Of those skeins, only 4 are sport weight, and fingering weight on size 1 (2.25mm) needles does take me a little longer, but only 1 set of socks is on size 0 (2.0mm) needles and those are usually my longest marathons.  

If I bought no new sock yarn (unlikely), and got through another 14 pair of socks (this year's current expectation), I'd have 3 skeins left. Now, of course, that doesn't count the yarn that could be used for socks but currently isn't designated for socks, yarn of any weight beyond light fingering/fingering/sport, or the Wollmeise stash. But it does signify a lot of pairs of socks having been knit.  And the possibility one day that there might be some room in the stash bins.  Perhaps.  

And it hasn't been all socks this year.  A quick count reveals: 1 pair mittens, a human sized sweater, a dog sweater, a baby blanket, a scarf, a kitchen rug, most of AudioGirl's slipper socks, but when you balance against 14 pairs of socks, you can see where most of the knitting time went.  

Hmm, I said 4-5 projects up there didn't I? In my defense, all of them are at least 50% done already, so it's not like I'm starting from wool. But I should really go tackle those and also make more tea, especially as the cat has abandoned me temporarily.

Hope you are all feeling well and your Christmas knitting is down to a few ends to weave in... 


*I almost said, writing the wrong year on checks but I'm not sure I wrote any physical checks this year.  How long will it be until that cultural touchpoint is gone for all of us? 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: Maybe Ice Blue Wasn't My Best Choice

The week has become bitterly cold, though tomorrow promises a high nearly to the freezing point. As yet, we're not quite to double digits Fahrenheit. For the wool I've purchased and the skill of my hands this week, I am grateful.

I've been doing my best impression of a wool wrapped marshmallow with a wool shawl wrapped around my core, then a down coat, at least one scarf (two this morning), wool hat, and my new wool fliptop mittens(which still don't have flip thumbs). Also all of my wool socks have been going into rotation in my snow boots. On Saturday I don't think I have to leave my house and my plans involve washing all of these woolies that have been doing such heavy work this week.

I finally made some decent progress on the Brunette's Cobbler Fliptops. Cobbler as I'm cobbling them together from things I know, things I'm trying, patterns I'm skimming, etc). The main part of both mittens is done and now I need to knit flips and thumbs. He's asked for flip thumbs so I need to get that sorted sooner rather than later. I popped into Loopy Yarns earlier this week on my way home from work to pick up some conductive thread which I may  put in the package with the mitts or I may knit the entire right thumb tip. I haven't decided yet. See cobbling...

It's Thursday though and here I have been working on a new sock. This got started mostly by virtue of it was already wound and my size 1 dpns are still in the last socks  I was working on and my 1.5s are still with the fliptop leftovers so size 0 needles it is!! Very precise, I know.

Anyway, this is more KPPPM in the P444  colorway.  When I bought it, I thought it looked like a spring sky. As I'm knitting it during deep freeze, I'm seeing very winter colors in the yarn. After this pair, I have enough in pink for one more pair and 875 yards (5 skeins) in a crushed blueberry kind of colorway that I intended to use for a shawl or something. So I'm almost through it.



This has been riding around in one of my Jessalu bags and gets sporadic rows so I'm not making progress very quickly.  Tonight I'm headed to a Hobbit marathon that will see me at a theater for 6 hours. I'm thinking the other skein of this plus the size 0 9" circular needles and I could probably make a serious dent in Sock 2.

Or I might take a hat I've been working on. It's Malabrigo sock on size 2 or 3 I think and needs hours of mindless stockinette.  

Or I might just eat popcorn for 6 hours. 

We'll see.  







Sunday, December 8, 2013

Avoiding all the other stuff I should be doing

We are having our first real snowstorm here in the Chicago area, though real is subjective. We're expected to get only about an inch of snow.  Of course, I had intended to make a run out to IKEA today.  Earlier the Philosopher and I got on the road so at least we'd drive out there in the daylight, if not back, only to find that there had been no particular attention paid yet to the roads in the form of salt trucks.  Everyone was driving very carefully but it was slippery and every intersection saw the Low Traction alarm dinging in the car.  We made it about a mile from home and then decided that we would just turn around.  Cross your fingers that the car got warm enough that tomorrow I get the all clear from my mechanic to take it for emissions testing because seriously, this has gotten beyond stupid.

For those who aren't Illinois local, every two years we have to take our cars for emissions testing to verify that we're not contributing to the local area pollution more than we should be.  About a month ago I took my car over to Mike the Car Guy and had him fix all of the things that were currently making me non-compliant--my car is nearly 15 years old, it tends to sprout little leaks and things--and ever since then I've been doing a boatload of unnecessary driving in order to get all of the triggers to reset in the car. If the triggers aren't reset, I can't go to the testing. Well, I can, but I'll fail and have to go back.  And I can't renew my plates until I pass the test.  So, no point in going to the testing despite the fact all the things are fixed.  Last week, I'd really hoped we'd be set but not yet.  And Mike can't tell me what exactly I need to do to trigger whichever test is left--it's not miles or anything like that. It just "isn't ready."  He suggested it's a hint that I need a new car, I responded that when the state of Illinois would like to buy me a new one, I'll consider it.

The whole part of having to drive around for no good reason, thereby increasing my personal vehicle's emissions, adding to holiday congestion, etc, just to try and get this trigger to reset itself has not been lost on me. It's been a waste of gas, time, energy, all sorts of things. About the only things good to come out of it so far is that I finally took my new work chair to work and I dropped off two bags of "stuff" (clothes etc) and a large bag of books for donation.

Little happening on the knitting front. Right now I'm working on the Brunette's Mitts.  The USPS still can't tell me where the Blonde's blanket is.  They still haven't delivered it either to her or back to me. I have a new phone number to call tomorrow though.

I should be knitting all sorts of things but of late I just don't care. Part of that is winter malaise setting in, which means more time with the Vitamin D pills and the sun lamp.

I think in January I'm going to go through the stash and put things up on Ravelry again for sale. Not that I expect a whole lot to go but there are skeins floating around in there that it is unlikely that I'll ever actually knit them up. Why not send them on to a better home than this one?

I need to get out some bright yarn and work on that. Not sure what bright yarn I have floating around that would be appropriate but there must be something. It's plenty gray and dreary outside without only working on gray and dreary yarn. (Please note, I'm happy to knit the Brunette gray mittens per request but they're gray..you know? At least his husband asked for a very pale green.)

Now I'm thinking about a quick pair of mittens for my massage therapist.  She should always have warm hands, right? And there's some yarn already wound out in the stash.....

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...