Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Far and Away

This week, I'm in Woods Hole, MA. About two weeks ago, I was invited to take part in a Biomedical Informatics Fellowship. So this week has been full of lectures on decision support, secondary data use, REDCap, genetics, etc etc.

I've been knitting a lot during the lectures, it keeps my hands busy so I'm not wandering off to see if there's anything super emergent in my inbox (hint--there isn't). But knitting that much in a stretch means I'm going through a yarn at a rather alarming rate. Yesterday I finished the blue socks before our first break and got through the leg of Sock 1 of a new pair, AudioGirl in June. I'll show you those when I get back or if I round up some spare time on Saturday at the airport.

Don't worry, I brought one more skein of yarn in case I finish up AudioGirl's socks before Saturday. Yes, normally, I'd laugh at me saying that too but this week that seems like a fairly reasonable statement to make.

Today, we got out at 2 p.m. (the last two days, we wrapped at 9 p.m.) and we had the opportunity to grab the ferry over to nearby Martha's Vineyard. I'd never been there before and ultimately, I only had a couple hours there. Limited on time, brain slightly worn out, what's a knitter to do?

I hopped in a cab, headed across to a small community, and made a beeline for a yarn store. I hadn't planned on going yarn shopping, truly, but one of our hostesses pointed out that not only was there a yarn store, they were having a big sale. Thoughtful of her, wasn't it?

The store is in a small house, right off of Main Street and right in the middle of everything.
Unfortunately, they didn't really have much that was local. I was disappointed because I know there are both sheep and alpaca on the island. There was some alpaca but I have plenty of what-am-I-going-to-do-with-this-but-it-was-local alpaca yarn in the stash.  

Fortunately, the knitter who was working was amazing. She told me all about the farms on the island, all the various sheep they were raising, and everything that is happening there. They're building the Martha's Vineyard Fibershed, a very cool local source idea out of California. She's going to be establishing a minimill to help meet the needs of the small farms on the island where they have 15-20 sheep and it's not cost effective to send it off island.  They're also going to grow flax.  

We chatted about sock yarn, drop spindling (I think she's convinced me to try again), why silk isn't the best fiber in sock yarn that's being made into socks, current projects, a couple favorite indie dyers (Fiber Optic!).  It was so lovely to meet her and geek out about yarn for a bit. If I have the chance to come back to Martha's Vineyard, I will want it to be a trip that includes visits to several of the farms and perhaps to purchase some of her handspun.

I did want to get something, even if it couldn't be local, and so I dove into the new KPPPM colors that they had. Here's what I ended up with: 




Isn't it vibrant? That purple just glows. Right now, the current plan, as with all my KPPPM, is making these up for one of my research partners. She and I need to finish a paper first though.

As you can see from the bottom picture, I was back on the ferry when I took these pictures. It was windy and a bit overcast but we didn't end up with all of the downpour and thunderstorms that we'd expected to have today and I was able to be outside most of the time.

I'm back at the Woods Hole Marine Biology Library now-- we don't have laptops outside of class and I've got to get a letter of recommendation for a colleague going up for promotion out the door tonight. Best get back to that and then back to my knitting!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Into the Wild

I sent at least two pieces of knitting into the wild today. I say at least two because at 7 a.m. I wasn't going to try and have a truly coherent chat with a half-asleep Philosopher about the appropriateness of a scarf.

Two pieces of my knitting are flying to Florida today as gifts for the Philosopher's parents. While not new, these projects have obviously been underway for a while, actually releasing them is a lot more terrifying than I expected.

Knitting for other people is often difficult and it's one of the reasons I won't do paid-for knitting. I'll barter, infrequently, but in general if I'm knitting for others it's for people I dearly love and who have expressed interest in receiving knitted things.

So, my mother, boyfriend, siblings, and several of my dearest friends regularly get things. One of my research partners gets infrequent socks. Periodically I'll sit down and knit something for someone who hasn't gotten anything before if yarn or pattern strikes me as "for them."

PhilosoMomandDad? I've not met them in person as yet. And they live in Florida, so hand knits as defense against the weather aren't quite as important as they are in Chicago. Defense against the air conditioning maybe....

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The Ground Up Muppet Socks are off to PhilosoMom and for PhilosoDad I've sent a shawl that I started five years ago.  The shawl was the Philosopher's idea, I trust his judgement of things his parents will like.  He also picked out the sock yarn for his mom.

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The shawl is huge, five feet from back of the neck to tip, about a 6' wing span. It's knit out of Ewe-Phoria yarns, which is some of the first yarn I ever bought on the internet. I got it off of Ebay while I still lived in New York. Originally I started it as a prayer shawl for BlondeMom but she's allergic to wool and I had to change gears mid project. And so it languished, waiting for edging and some love. It got a 10 row garter edging on the sides and was blocked not extremely aggressively on the dining room floor. I had to cover it with towels so certain felines didn't turn it into a work 75% wool; 25% cat fur.

I hope they'll love the projects. I hope they'll understand how many hours it takes to do all of that knitting. I hope he remembers to remind them that handwashing would be best for these. Both projects are knit out of superwash but I'm still paranoid.

The third piece is a malabrigo scarf that I whipped up for the gift bin sometime last year. I was using up leftovers with Franklin Habit's Faucet pattern. It goes super quickly with worsted weight and size 9 needles. I left it for the Philosopher to decide if the graduating DO would appreciate it. If not, I may send him a hat later on, he'll be in Ohio for a while and it gets chilly there.

For now, I have to get back to a baby blanket and a pair of socks.







Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fire and Water, But No Smoke

BMFA's Color Lady Tina put up more mill ends the other day. As deeply as I love BMFA and all of the color options, I really love the surprises that she comes up with when there are leftovers and imperfect skeins.

Previously I've gotten the water shades, as of course everything blue/purple/green tends to be a favorite in my stash. So of course, I went for another water shade.



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This one looks like the bottom of stream. Initially it did feel a little bit plain but then the Philosopher and I noticed the pop of coral. It's like peering down into the water and suddenly a fish darts past. A rather bright fish! We both found that very exciting.

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The other skein that I ventured to try was a Fire skein. I knew to expect reds and oranges but wasn't sure what else would come. The result is this very vibrant mix of pink and red and orange and just a hint of yellow.

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For now I assume both will become socks, though they each have mitten or hat potential as well.  I'll have to poke around the various sock loving people in my life and see if anyone really wants to lay claim to either color.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Waiting for Dye

I did finish the sweater! It's my first official sweater, despite having talked a knitting student in La Crosse through one. I did make a shrug for a coworker's daughter once but that was a super bulky project and wasn't for me, so I'm not counting that either.

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I bought this yarn for the excellent reasons of a) it was on sale and b) it was named after one of my favorite heroines: Elizabeth Bennet. It's from Yarn Love, who is no longer dying, in the Plum Cake colorway. Apparently plum cakes are a yellow cake.  Unfortunately, yellow cake and my complexion are not really good for each other, so I need to track down some sort of dye.

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It's a cute sweater, perfect for summer. The yarn is 20% bamboo and 15% silk, which make it light and glossy. It doesn't close in the front, but it will do nicely over a tank top or light t-shirt for cooler summer evenings.

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Just as soon as I get the ends woven in and it fully dyed.




Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: Charging Thru May

It's spring! It's spring! The daffodils and tulips are finally all in full blossom and yesterday I spotted a beautiful lawn of new grass and violets.

Violets are my very favorite flower. They're so delicate but with such rich deep color. I'm happy to see them on the lawns near Chez Hedgehog because it means that it's warm enough for them but we haven't yet hit the first round of lawnmowing, which always cuts their lifespan abruptly.

May's socks are rolling right along.  Gypsy and Pye were so good to help me as I tried to take pictures the other day. 

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While yesterday's commute home on the train (no air, forget cool, moving in that car; also broken train in front of us = lots of delays) was not ideal knitting time, I did soldier on.  This photo is a couple of days old, I'm now through the toe of Sock 1 and about an inch into the ribbing on Sock 2.  

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These are being knit out of Sanguine Gryphon and I very greatly enjoy the depth of color. Under the bright sunshine, these really pop!

Oh...and yes, I did finish the Philososix Socks. They are waiting, along with the Black and Teal socks and a few other projects, for me to have an ends-weaving evening.

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At least the socks are keeping each other company.