Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year's End

And this the last day of the year.  I've been trying to think ahead to all of the plans and goals for knitting in 2016, which still seems very far away rather than mere hours. This past year flew past quickly though there are a number of aspects I will not be sorry to leave behind.

Per Ravelry, I finished far fewer projects this year than in years' past.  2014 must have been quite a banner year, 42 projects. Of course, 3 super bulky cowls that knit up in something like 5 minutes each helped with that. This year I finished 24 projects and knit somewhere right around 5 miles of yarn. (Pictures of some Christmas knitting) 

(Deb's hat) 

There's a possibility I'll still finish one more pair of socks today but if not, then they'll be the first project finished in the new year and nothing wrong with starting off with a bang (or a toe).

(Deb's hat)

2016 knitting already has a lot of plans and event knitting-- a couple of babies, a couple of gifts I've had in the back of my head, more sock knitting. Always more sock knitting. I leave in a week for a trip to Boston and so have been trying to decide what will be the best yarn for that trip. Part of me is considering stalking a couple of yarn stores there but a resort of yarn in the past couple of days points out just how much yarn I'm trying to stuff into overfull bins. 

(Pair 5 of the Year, in the Van Gogh's Sunflower colorway)

And therein I think is the actual goal: to use the yarn I have. I seem to make that goal on a regular basis with more/less luck. This year I certainly continued to add at a rate faster than I decreased. So for Loopy Academy Sophomore Semester Spring my goal is to buy *only* the yarn I need. I can get through a fair amount of yarn before YarnCon, which should be my next in person shopping and buying too much yarn event.

I'd like to get my stash back to yarn I remember owning--even when I think I have all of it in Ravelry occasionally a skein surprises me.  I'd like to have space in the bins.

And I want to focus on knitting things that make me happy.  So it's off to the queue to see what objects I can make that will do that.

Wishing you a peaceful end of the year and hope you are looking ahead to wonderful crafting things.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Loopy Academy Sophomore Fall Semester Finished

I've just finished uploading my Loopy Academy Sophomore Semester 1 projects. I did a number on my right shoulder cranking through the pair of socks that ended up being project 3 but they are done, off the needles, and in the gift bin for now. (I might reclaim them for myself but right now my sock drawer is full).

Project 2 was the knitted pillow out of Worsted weight yarn. I wasn't anticipating this particular project to be great fun and while the cabled chart was interesting and such, overall, I was less than enthused.


The yarn is Cascade 220 superwash, mixed with a little gray cat fur. (She's fine, she's sitting on my desk mewing at me even though dinner was an hour ago.)


I realized, about halfway through the chart that there was no way I had enough yarn for the original pattern.  You're supposed to knit a long bottom back, then the chart, then more cables for a while, and then a top flap.  And while the pattern clearly said "500 yards" I only had 440. User error, not pattern error.  So, I finished up the charts, made a much smaller than called for flap, seamed and stuffed.

I am already planning what else to do with the yarn.

Project 3 was the socks that I'd just started when last I blogged.




Definitely cranked through these a little too fast, what with also having needed to finish Christmas knitting on several other projects. But they're nice socks and, most importantly, they are done and turned in.  I was glad that I finally set on the socks, I'd been waffling around all fall trying to figure out what I wanted to made. None of the patterns I could come up with seemed right.  This felt like a good use of the yarn.

I'm waiting on approval on TLE for these two projects. That will hopefully come in the next day or so.  It's really interesting to see how much participation has dropped off from last year.  The freshman year galleries were much larger, here it's only 3 pages of pictures for each category. As things continue, I expect it will get even smaller, but more people are starting and working on it so over time there should be really lovely and expansive galleries.

To those still frantically knitting away the last couple of hours, good luck and remember to get things in long enough beforehand to have a toast a midnight!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Winding Down the Woolly Year

I'm about 80% done with Christmas knitting. The projects that have to be mailed are done, though not yet in the mail as they should be. The other projects are well underway and if not perfectly finished on 12/25, that's okay. The week after Christmas is an acceptable delivery time for those.  

As I sat here again today, trying to sort out my final Loopy Academy Sophomore 1st Semester project (cables), I found myself thinking that this year hasn't been the most satisfactory for me in terms of knitting. It's been fairly productive--16 projects done so far plus a big pile of grocery bags, and I'm on track to finish another 6 projects over the next couple of weeks (4 of those are >70% done). 

Yarn has been used up at Chez Hedgehog. I haven't been able to get ahead of myself--the overall stash is bigger than it was at the beginning of the year. A chunk of that has been Loopy Academy--6 projects that required non-stash yarn adds up. The cotton marathon of the summer took a dent out, certainly, but the Loopy Ewe orders and Stitches Midwest and such more than balances.  

I am surprised to find that while I always self-describe as a process knitter, this year I find that finishing projects without an immediate plan for who will receive said product seriously frustrates me. I have two large shawls and several smaller projects without a final destination. They sit in a box of finished objects and while I can see the work I put into them and recognize that they are well executed and interesting projects.... I'm annoyed that they haven't been wrapped up and given to someone.

That one is a Loopy Academy project may come as little surprise. The prompts, while certainly wide enough to not make me feel totally hampered, have also meant I've spent time on things I wasn't especially interested in (felting anyone? pillows?). I'm considering ripping out at least one of the Sophomore semester projects after we get through the end of the semester. I like the yarn too well to leave it in a project I'll never use. 

Behold the indignities of Gypsy's life. 

Anyway, tonight I finally did decide on my 3rd project: a pair of socks with two cables running down the leg. I'm modifying the pattern I almost always use, my 1x1 vanilla ribbed socks. I mocked up what I need in Excel so I know what stitch count I'm working with. And, as you can see in the first picture, I have started. 

These will be simple enough to be knit on the train this week and I'm hoping that this will mean that by the week's end I'll be the better part done with a sock. 

Next year, there are a couple of knit-for babies coming, so I hope to get to use up some yarn on them. Or maybe target my Loopy projects at them once I get the Sophomore 2nd semester prompts. And, maybe do everything for that out of sport weight or thicker yarn. This whole 11th hour, no really I'm knitting on size 0 (2.0 mm) needles and I'm going to knit a full pair of socks on these in 2 weeks plus several other projects is not my best move.  

If you're on holiday deadlines, may your needles be speedy, your remaining skein more than you need to finish, and your glass of wine never splash on white wool. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

From the Kitchen Corner

I am waiting on the tea kettle. This is a frequent occurrence at my house as I prefer a kettle on the stove over other water warming methods. The microwave or an electric kettle/water cooker would be faster but I like my purple kettle.

When I was in graduate school, waiting on the tea kettle was my dish washing time. Living in a house with four other girls and no dishwasher, there were always dishes. And in the five minutes or so of waiting for the water to warm, I could empty the dish drainer and refill it. It was part of my morning routine.

Now, the morning routine starts with feed the cats, turn on the kettle, and then continue getting ready for work. But sometimes in the evening or weekends the kettle is still dishes or loading/unloading dishwasher time.

It also works nicely as rubbing the cat's belly time. Gypsy likes to sprawl on the kitchen rug that I knit a couple of years ago and be adored.  The time for the kettle to boil is a good amount of cat adoration, though I am sure she would argue that all home time is cat time.

Not quite Prurock's coffee spoons, but a nice way to measure time.

Do you prefer a kettle?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sock Show Thursday: Color Issues

I've started a new pair of socks!

2015-11-05 15-18-14.521

That yarn color isn't right. I've fussed with it for a while but I really should be trying to take it in natural light and or with my light box.

Here's the yarn pic I took before winding, that's better
IMG_7256 (2)

But hey, meet the sock... umm..cuff

2015-11-05 15-18-04.792

Yeah, I know, I'm not very far along and that picture is much darker. The stripe is intentional! You can see that gray/green/black in the ball at the top and it is matched by the pops of yellow and periodic surprise orange.

It's almost like my high school colors if they had let us have some hints of interesting.  (Blue and Gold, ask me about our migraine inducing senior t-shirts sometime)

I cast these on earlier this week and have managed to have a couple of free minutes to work on them in phone meetings.

The yarn is Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock in the Van Gogh Sunflower's Colorway.

2015-11-05 15-18-20.672

And it's very pretty and I wish I could work on it more. Maybe on the commute home.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

11th Month or Hour

It's November and probably the official start of the panicking about the holidays season. Various retailers would have me believe said panicking should start in September and generally for knitters, panicking for next year starts somewhere between December 26-January 1. Presently though, there is belief is there that all deadlines can be met and those piles of knitwear planned for accomplishment in the next seven weeks (six really, one must plan to mail things too) will be completed. Also the sixteen other project that have been laying around waiting for my attention for the past couple of months.

It's not a heavy knitting year at Chez Hedgehog. I have 2 Loopy Academy projects to finish--one of which will probably double as a Christmas gift; a couple of baby presents to be thinking about; some requests that need to be skeined up and started.

Still, I need to be knitting a fair deal faster than I have been for the rest of the year if I'm going to make deadlines.  Which means less playing of Farm Heroes Saga on the train to and from work and more knitting from a chart and relistening to Terry Pratchett books for the umpteenth time.

I probably should go pull at least some yarn out and see what it is I'm planning to knit up. This weekend I've been browsing through patterns for gloves/mittens/mitts and that's been horrendous for the queue. I'll make EVERYONE I have ever met fingerless gloves, right? Uh huh, sure I will.  At least one pair will be out of sport weight or DK yarn, there's just not time otherwise.

Of course, it doesn't help to have a clingy gray lapcat every time I sit down with my knitting. She's a particular barrier, no one really wants to neglect the little cat with her big green hopeful eyes but at the same time, when she's sitting on the needles things get a little challenging.  Might work better if I would go and knit on the couch or bed, where it's easier for her to be a sidecat rather than a lapcat. We used to be good at that, she and I.  Watched a lot of TV in Wisconsin that way.  Hopefully a few knitting marathons will set us on the right path again.

What are you knitting for Christmas this year?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Fall Break"

I'm having a couple of days off this week.* Yesterday was day 1 and it was lovely. Slept in a little, ran a number of errands around home, and finally wound up the yarn for Project 2 of Sophomore Fall Loopy Academy while watching the Great British Bake Off.  BrineyD got me fully sucked in. Don't tell me how the season presently on Netflix ends!

It also means I am getting back to the project that I'm stunt-knitting. That requires sitting in front of my computer, moving the chart up one line at a time. It is shadow/illusion knitting and I'm very glad to have Franklin Habit's recent post over at Skacel to help me understand. I am enjoying the technique, though I wish the chart had stitch counts marked on it so I could make it a smidge more mindless.  But I'm making do for this project and if I do another one, I might do a PDF modifier.

The weather has finally begun to feel like October, now that it is nearly November.
 If you look mid picture there, one of our squirrels was going back and forth today, stripping off leaves and heading, I think, for a pine tree at the corner of Chez Hedgehog. Hopefully that will make a nice little nest. But as you can see, the major tree outside our windows is still 80% green.

I was at Loyola campus the other day and caught this pretty grouping of trees. I love how on one end it's red and then gradients back to green.  

Hoping that the next few days, in addition to a boatload of writing, cleaning, cooking, reorganizing, going to Salvation Army-ing, etc etc that a pile of knitting can get done as well. That's the plan anyway.  

*Health Science programs don't have a fall break afaik, but I can pretend that's what this is, even though everyone else is still at school, right?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sock Show Thursday: 1

I finally finished the first sock of this pair!  Almost a month from start to finish.... where has my sock mojo gone? Are these the needles of a woman who turned out 12 pair+ each of the past two years?

Another sock has begun, but I'm not very far. I am hoping to get this one done before the end of the year, which would make 4 pair of socks total.  I know....I expect AudioGirl to show up any minute and start cracking a sock knitting whip. (And not just because she asked for socks for Christmas)

The yarn is okay but a little thin for my taste.  I doubt I'd buy it again for socks, though perhaps for another project. I don't think I like it enough that I'd be willing to go down to size 0 (2.0 mm) needles for it.  That takes a test of patience.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

But the Yarn is Discontinued!!

I'm back working on my Gingko Biloba shawl.  I took it with me to visit BrineyDeep and surprisingly made progress. I am still shocked how knitting on a project turns into progress on the knitted object. Uses up yarn and everything.


This yarn has been sitting in my stash for quite a while. Ravelry says I uploaded it October 2009 and the yarn pictures are on the carpet from the La Crosse apartment, so that sounds about right. And in the stash it has sat. A couple of times I considered selling it or sending it on to a new home, but I really do like the color (Tea Party) and it seemed a project would eventually come.

It is not a fast project. Each petal is 30 rows and while none of them are that long, keeping track of short rows requires more brain power than my usual socks and I have to haul around a copy of the pattern.

Each petal is taking about an hour.  It might go faster if I would stop also trying to do other things while knitting but I don't think it would be all that much. This will be 1300 yards, or the equivalent of nearly 4 pair of socks. I'm only knitting on size 4 (3.5mm) needles. And if a pair of socks usually takes me around 20 hours, that puts me at around 80 hours on this project. That math is kind of disheartening. I prefer to think about the fact that last time I reached in the project bag (Stitched by Jessalu --the Hedgehog Tea bag), the center-pull ball was feeling decidedly squishy.

And then I went to update something on Ravelry and clicked over to the DIC Starry page. The yarn is discontinued. For a second my brain froze and then ran through 25 scenarios all of which involved me buying cases of Starry from kindly knitters who had Trade/Sell marked on what was left in their stash.

Fortunately, I exhaled and remembered that I am beyond out of room in the stash, that it's taken me 6 years to come up with a project I wanted to knit this yarn into, and that I have another 60 hours at least on this shawl to spend with the yarn I have. Also, I have one more skein in another colorway.

I think that was very restrained of me, don't you?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Pantone

I'm told that the color for the fall is Marsala, which is a rich dark red. I approve of this, it's a color I look good in and such it is that I'm scanning clothing sales hoping to add judiciously to the wardrobe before they bring some odd spring color upon us next year that makes me look either like a small child or that I have no color sense. "Rich earthy neutrals" (says Pantone)--Yes please.

Of course, I'm also preparing for Winter, a season well worth the capital letter. My first Loopy Academy Project for the fall helped with that.


The pattern is Adama and it it knit out of two skeins of Steamer Trunk (by Mrs. Crosby, of course)


Normally, it's meant to be worn more like a very small shoulder cape, but I liked the idea of pulling it up as a hood. It is long enough that it would still tuck under my coat.

The goal for this project was texture and this pattern has lots of it.

And I think it will provide a very nice pop of color with my cream winter coat.


Marshmallow time is almost upon us.

Now if I could just get those other two projects rolling....

Monday, October 12, 2015

From Mrs. C

I've regaled to you before my love of Mrs. Crosby Yarns and I've another project that I finished recently (real knitting content) from her worsted base. But what I didn't mention is I won one of her monthly contests for finished objects!*

The frais hat that I knit earlier this year won in August. 


And as my reward I received an equivalent amount of yarn.  So I emailed and mentioned a few colors I liked and asked her to choose between.  Shortly thereafter, this lovely Hat Box in Peacock arrived.


I absolutely love it.


Along with being the HatBox sportweight base, which is a fantastic Merino/Silk/Cashmere that is ridiculously squishy, the colors gleam richly.

I've no idea what I'll make from it. I have several knitterly friends whose "oooh pretty" radar just went up, so finding a home for a finished project won't be a challenge.  Probably not socks, with the silk and cashmere this should be up by the face. It's machine wash cold, so that expands my options of who might get it as well.

In the interim, it makes a lovely piece of art at Chez Hedgehog.

Thank you Mrs. Crosby. 

*Please note, she's redoing the contest settings/rules/etc right now and has promised a new version soon but as of this date you can't enter. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Name Change?

Perhaps for October I should just change the name of the blog to Hedgehog Buys Yarn. Because there's not a lot of knitting happening at Chez Hedgehog.

Part of it is because of my new devices. Not having to worry about the battery dying between work and home means I'm working more on the train. That is a mixed blessing--I arrive to work email already gone through and two or three things started or addressed or something, but that means I'm reading and knitting less. I expect that to swing back around as the novelty of newness wears off (or maybe if my email stops exploding every day).

This doesn't count as "new" yarn...not really. It was yarn I intended to buy at Stitches Midwest, but the dyer hadn't brought any of that colorway along and so I had to order it later.


From Jennifer at Holiday yarns.  This is the Fathom colorway on her DK base, which is 100% merino. It came out very differently from the FlockSock base, which was more muted. (I made socks out of that, see here). I'm not entirely sure what it will be as yet. I had something in mind in August but I didn't write it down and so whatever thought that was has long disappeared. Even thoughts that get written down these days are struggling to keep up it seems.

And that box I mentioned from The Loopy Ewe showed up. So, um, yeah, more yarn coming as soon as I get pictures taken.

Knitting content again someday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Prudent Shopping

A friend asked for some help with a gift and, as this then involved buying yarn from The Loopy Ewe and a prudent hedgehog does not pay for shipping when she can use the money to buy yarn instead....

First up was some sock yarn from Hedgehog Fibers, which I've been meaning to acquire for ages. The dyer has lovely things and obviously an affinity for hedgehogs. It was meant to be.


As AudioGirl pointed out, I'm buying everything in this strange dark rainbow with hot pink or purple palette of late. Not sure what has spawned that but I had to resist more when we were at Sifu.  It's not exactly a reach from my beloved jewel tones but it does have those interesting pops of grey and rust.


I'm entranced by all the colors though and I think it will be a lovely pair of socks.

Also, because it's football season and we still have more home games tailgates to attend, I grabbed some purple to match the team Philosopher and crew cheer for. I promise it's a bright cheery and redder purple that it may appear. On one computer screen it looks just a little bluer than it should, on the screen where I'm composing it looks downright grape colored.


This yarn has no specific purpose yet. I've a couple of ideas in mind and several people who I am sure would be interested but as yet I haven't committed.  As I said before, I still have Christmas knitting to worry about. But a good stash should be prepared for any eventuality. *sage nod*

Friday, October 2, 2015

In Theory, In Practice

In theory, I have not bought all that much yarn this year.  I've only been to a couple of festivals and didn't break the bank there. I've been resisting the "leftover" Wollmeise still sitting at the Loopy Ewe website this past week (in case anyone wanted to get me a late birthday present...). And I've been knitting and crocheting from stash. The grocery bags are a testament to that.

In practice, the bins are still bursting at the lids and I have a pile of wool sitting on my desk that's currently taking up the spot that Gypsy thinks rightfully belongs to her.  I'd best tell you about some of it it so I can attempt to put it away and give her room to stretch out, otherwise she'll sit half on the keyboard and mouse again and I'll never get anything else done.

AudioGirl and I went out the day before my birthday and where should we meet up but at Sifu. It's such a lovely welcoming shop and on the day we were there the sky was grey and it had rained on and off all day. Coming in to colors bursting from the shelves and the embracing wools everywhere was wonderful.

I ended up with 2 things:


This is 3 skeins of bulky weight yarn from Potluck Yarn. It says Potluck Bulky 6 pack so I think originally there were 6. These were in the sale bin and they're purple so how could I refuse? Also, the thicker weights in my stash seem few and far between these days and bulky weight is good for the battered knitter ego in times of "do I really have to move my sock knitting to 00 needles?"*

AudioGirl also found the Mochi Mochi kits and while I could resist most of the offerings, I fell weak in the face of tiny hedgehogs.


It does say Hedgehog in the blog title...


Everything except needles and a tapestry needle are included and it will make 3 hedgehogs. I'm tempted to do it on the morning commute just to see who finally works up the nerve to ask me what on earth I'm doing.

There's more to show you but that should at least make a Gypsy-sized dent on the desk. In theory....

*I still haven't tested this yet. I don't have any KPPPM or Rhichard Devrieve (same base) --which was my automatic use-size-0 yarn., might have some coming though.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sock Show Thursday: Cuff Progress

The socks have been riding around with me but not getting a whole lot of progress--I've been reading a couple of books and had a couple of days off where sock knitting wasn't happening because that's anytime knitting.

Still, I'm further along.


I'm not sure what I expected when I started these, but it wasn't stripes.  The heel and gusset should certainly be all sorts of splotchy and that probably means these are destined for my sock drawer.  Yes, I know I could put in an afterthought heel and take the opportunity to learn something new. I'm doing new on another project, these are just going to have to pool.

I'm amazed it's the first of October already. Two and a half knitting months until Christmas and the holiday knitting hasn't even begun. There's a vague plan, kinda, but nothing on wool. But the dark is coming so much earlier in the evening and I noticed this week when the alarm went off I'm not waking in the light as I was. It's time to take the light box to work--I've tried unsuccessfully using it at home as I'm not one for early rise and light and at night seems counter intuitive for attempting to go to bed. In theory at work I can turn it on while I'm wrangling my inbox. My plants will probably like it as well.

At least the change in light and temperature is a good harbinger of sweater and wool sock season...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Socks on a Train

I am trying to adapt to a new phone, which doesn't have a physical keyboard and thought trying to blog on the screen might be a good way to see how my typing would be.

I already miss physical keys but the speed isn't too bad so far. I expect that I will get used to it.

Over the course of the year I have been surprised to find how little I wanted to knit socks. The past two years, knocking out a dozen pairs was fairly straightforward. This year, mid spring, I just stopped. There has been a lot of knotting, without doubt, but it has been shawls and socks and other things.

One concern I have noted in the back of my head is that my guage is changing. When I started knitting socks everything was on size two needles. Granted, the guage on those is a little loose, but I could crank through them like no one's business.

Then was 1.5ss and 1 (2.5 and 2.25 mm) respectively. My size 0 (2.0mm) were reserved for koigu kpppm. But of late I have noticed that my size one needles feel big....

I bought my first pair of 00 needles recently. I am kind of afraid to use them.

So instead I have some 0s and the Frolicking Feet yarn I bought in Florida last year.

I am not making great progress but work is again underway. I think my coworkers are relieved. Yes she is knitting, yes it is a sock. Things are more correct in the world.

At least until I get back to my Loopy Academy projects. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Missing + Sophomore

Somewhere, on Sunday, I misplaced a bag of knitting. It was a pair of socks started recently out of the BMFA that I'd just gotten. I was only an inch or so into the ribbing, but the yarn, needles, and project bag have all disappeared. I checked with the friends I saw that day and can't seem to locate it. Currently my best guess is that I set the knitting bag on top of the car, walked away from it, and someone grabbed it. It was a cute bag.

The good news is that my Loopy Academy Sophomore Fall Semester yarn showed up.  Fall projects include: cables, textured, and a pillow.  I restrained myself and did not go for one of the large textured shawls beckoning from my queue.  This fall is busy enough without my needing to make myself entirely crazy with knitting deadlines. Besides, that's what Christmas is for.


A quick snap on the desktop.

The brown Cascade 220 superwash will become the pillow project; the Loopy Solids is for a pattern in the just released Knitty Deep Fall Issue, and the Mrs. Crosby will be for a cowl. I really love the Satchel Bag base from Mrs. Crosby. It feels so wonderfully decadent. I am *almost* looking forward to winter because I'll get to wear the mittens I made out of it last fall.

Nothing is due until December 31, so I've some time. But I am looking forward to starting these sooner rather than later. Or at least as soon as I get more socks on the needles, what with that current pair missing...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Haul from Stitches Midwest

The Philosopher and I did make it over to Stitches Midwest, mostly because he wanted to go to IKEA and it's around the corner. Granted, we forgot to get the shelf which was one of the primary reasons for going and oddly, neither of us were hungry which meant no meatballs but I suppose we need more reasons to go back again.

This round at Stitches Midwest was mostly grabbing a few things from vendors I already know and like. I found it interesting how much more I saw in semi-solids and also in muted colors. My purchase won't reflect that at all but it did appear to be a trend. Mini-skeins are also ridiculously popular.  That always makes me laugh because the Unique Sheep has been doing miniskein gradients for many years.

Anyway, I ended up with yarn from some familiar dyers.

First up was Dragonfly Fibers, whose vibrant colors I continue to be fascinated with.



I love that pop of bright orange, it'll be so interesting when it's knit up. "Just to one more orange pop" I can already hear myself saying. The colorway is African Daisy.

Next I was thrilled to find that they're still dying the colorway that I grabbed to make the stoplight hat that survived last winter. It's been renamed "Chief Black Hawk"



My one new vendor this year was Knitting Notions


This was purchased with some gift knitting in mind, though I'm not sure if I'll get to it this fall. It's a richer, darker blue than I could get it to photograph.  More of a primary blue than you see here.

Of course, I had to make a stop in Lisa Souza's booth and see her and her husband. And this skein should look familiar.


That'd be the same colorway that I knit up in June for Andromeda.  I was hoping to find it on one of her other bases--but as we chatted she pointed out that a lot of people aren't looking for potential pooling issues with their sweaters. I generally agree with that, so I'll send her a special order at some point for a couple of skeins of worsted or DK.

I also stopped in the Verdant Gryphon's booth. I only have one skein left of my original Sanguine Gryphon haul from years back. The pair behind that split into Verdant and Cephalopod Yarns--the latter of whom sadly stopped dying last summer. The Verdant Gryphon continues to have the lovely colors I fell in love with.


And that's all. As I said, it was a short trip.  I always drool over new and shiny yarns but I have so much here at home and it's hard to justify all the new sock yarn when I'm not knitting it or another sweater quantity when I haven't started a new sweater in well over a year.  Also, my yarn is still busting out of it's bins (a little more so now) and all that Wollmeise is still giving me dirty looks.

So these need to get assigned but otherwise I need to dive back into the stash and dig out the beautiful things I have here.

And not just buy more BMFA....

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Smarter than the Directions

In the midst of Stash Dash, as I was contemplating a marathon project to get me through to my end yardage, I pulled out some Dream in Color Starry that has been marinating for a while. I bought this yarn with a gift certificate from the Incredibly Patient Mother a few years ago when I was on a sparkly kick and have been trying to sort out what I'd made it into since then.

A rummage through the queue on Ravelry produced the Gingko Biloba Shawl.  Skein 1 of 3 was handwound up (no, I still haven't worked things out around Chez Hedgehog so I can set up my swift again) and I had a plan for success.

Only, that's a fingering weight shawl and by the time I was casting on it was July 30. This did not bode well for completing over a km of knitting before the end of Stash Dash. Add to that the usual fall craziness as the semester has started, the students are back [I work in medical education, they never really leave but it's a fraction slower in the summer], and you can understand why I went for the bulky weight cotton weighing down my stash.

Of course, this means that is not a trick I can pull next summer... Things to remember next April.

But I did get a few repeats into the shawl before I abandoned it for crochet.


As I was starting it, I read through the pattern, read through it again, looked at the pictures, tried to figure out the schematics, read through the pattern again and got dreadfully confused.

Where, I kept asking, were the increase rounds. It seemed pretty obvious that I would start at the top center and work my way out and there would be increases to make the rows bigger and that just wasn't lining up with what I was seeing on the pattern.


Finally, I opened a message on Ravelry to email the designer and ask her what I was missing. At the last minute, I decided to go through the finished items one more time and there, I saw it.

A few repeats already completed. Clear indicating that I would work the shawl from side to side.  Which is why there was a left side and a right side.

I didn't end up emailing the designer, I'm sure she's glad. My notes on Ravlery for the project will include "this pattern is knit from the right side edge to the center lengthwise, not top down as the not very bright hedgehogs among us thought."

The shawl has been hauled around since Stash Dash but not worked on. It requires just a bit of attention to a pattern and my knitting has, as is often the case, needed to be as on automatic pilot as I can get it.  But I want the finished object, so I need to get back to it. One little repeat at  a time...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Another Blue Moon

While there is still a fair amount of Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the stash, the opportunity to buy a little more is never one I seem to be able to pass up. Particularly when Tina describes her Rare Gems.

This batch brought me a Fire and Water Rare Gem.  One of these days I probably should try for Earth and Air but for now I've been quiet happy with what she sends.  Perhaps this time the excellent people at BMFA knew I'm starting to have more babies coming in my life, as what was sent looks ready for baby sweaters....

Here's fire
IMG_7643 (2)

which has some lighter pink shades and a hint of white on the back


And Water has teals and blues.



Part of me just wants to make socks and part of me is going through my queue looking for baby sweaters... which will win, which will win? 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

To Market

I continue to crank away at grocery bags.  The last two I've finished have been on the morning commute, so they're sitting in my office.  I need to drag them home and weave in the ends.

I'm working off of 1 lb cones and while it's gratifying to watch the pounds diminish quickly, it's not my preferred way to work. I feel like I spend half of my time pulling yarn off the cone and it's really not convenient for the train. I'm making it work, though.

As I was running out of the ivory yarn, I topped the last ivory bag with green.

IMG_7637 (2)

Now I've finished 2 more bags in that green and I have a third one that is just ready for the decreases, but I've run out of the cone, so it will be set aside while I work on another color. The final bag will be all of the leftovers, but that's 1.5 lbs of bulky cotton away.  And then I have two more pounds of worsted weight cotton, so I'll be crocheting for a while yet.

A colleague asked about how long a single bag takes--the bulky weight ones are about one full commute or ~3 hours. I assume it'd be faster if I wasn't trying to hop around trains and wrangle things but that's as close a measurement as I have at the moment.

 The neapolitan bags are off to their new home, I'll have to ask around and see who wants the green and ivory bags.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A few FOs

I've started to recuperate from Stash Dash 2015. I did end up completing the 5K and have done a bit of knitting since then but it's the start of the fall semester and knitting time and energy has been spent on other things.

First up--I finished the shawl!


I ended up with a modified border as I'm not a huge picot fan and I was starting to run low on yarn. When I pinned it out, I was shooting for an 8 pointed star--and then squared out those points a bit.  I'm happy overall with how it turned out, though it's the second shawl I've made this year that isn't really my taste.  Ah well, an occasion or person will arise who loves it, I've no doubt.  I'm glad the yarn--which had been lingering in my stash for YEARS--was used up.

 One more pair of socks done. This is pair 3 for 2015. I think my usual dozen might be a half dozen, assuming a little more sock mojo comes back this fall.


And finally, that last push through grocery bags.


Everyone around here is looking for options, as Evanston and Chicago have banned plastic bags from big stores. These four are what I finished before Stash Dash was over, but since then I've finished one more and have one about half way done. I've got about 4 more pounds of cotton that I'd like to use up. They're easy snack food crafting, whip around in circles and you're done.

Other news near Chicago, if you've ever been to Loopy, it's changed owners. There was a very quiet email announcing this middle of last week. I don't think I've met the new owner before but will have to stop by and see how she is doing soon. I've not been in the store recently--for me it had gone far too big box yarn stores (Cascade etc) and I never found the unique stuff which had first drawn me to it.  I hope that the new owner will bring in some of the many Chicago dyers.

I did pop over for an hour to Stitches Midwest and I'll show you that as soon as I get pictures. Also, I've got a hat almost done, some mitts and another shawl started, and I bought some more yarn from BMFA.  So...more soon!

Loopy Academy -- Final Semester Submitted

I can only hope that it's easier for the staff at The Loopy Ewe to grade our Academy homework than it is for me to wrangle Blackboard.  ...