Sunday, January 31, 2016

Do Not Marinate

A lot of yarn comes to Chez Hedgehog and marinates in the stash. After being snatched up with brightest and most cheerful of intentions, it slips into the bins, photographed and documented but slightly forgotten because it's not immediately in hand. It's one of the reasons I like to open all the bins and reorganize every few months. Along with giving me a raging case of startitis, it's good to remember what I own, to love it again, and to remember that there were plans.

Other yarns, however, come into the house and I suddenly have a plan I didn't remotely think about but which must be cast on immediately.

My first yarn purchase for the year was replacing a couple of sets of DPNs that had gone wandering. (Sibling the Elder got me caught up on the small sizes, now I should be totally covered, we'll see.)

The Loopy Ewe has been working with Tina from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and created Frozen Valley, which was a Loopy Ewe Exclusive Colorway. Yes, I fell down the "exclusive" hole, even when there are buckets of other colorways at BMFA and yarns at TLE that I want.

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The yarn was based on a photo taken by a photographer in Fort Collins and came with a notecard of that image so I could see the translation.

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Wanting no delay in casting on, I even got out the swift just for one skein!

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Gypsy helped. If you pop over to Flickr you'll see how she was climbing in my lightbox as well. Currently, she's stretched out on top of me and making it so I can't sit up straight, because that wouldn't provide as much laying-on-top-of-me room. Serving as a cat mattress has challenges.






Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sock Show Thursday: Briefly, Greenly

I'm ignoring the last of the unfinished socks from 2015. I could be done with the first pair of 2016 but no, I shunned them and set them aside for new socks.  Bright green socks.

Fleur de Fiber has such intense colors, I find myself unsurprised that in the deepest of winter I reach for her wool. I don't need the same inspiration midsummer. But pack me onto a CTA car with 50 other people wearing a black coat and suddenly all I want is BRIGHT.

This yarn is from Stitches Midwest 2014 and was replacement for yarn left in an overhead bin.

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I'm working my 1x1 ribbing over 60 stitches on size 1 (2.25 mm) needles. On one hand it's dreadfully unexciting--on the other, everyone comments on the brightness of the yarn. It's a hope of the shades to return in a few more months.

Then maybe I'll get back to those more muted purple striped socks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Last of the Christmas 2015 Knitting

Last fall I asked the very short list of people that I am wont to knit Christmas gifts for if there was anything on their minds. Armed (ha) with the requests for two sets of fingerless mitts, I eyed the stash and spent far too long wading through patterns on Ravelry.

And then after knitting two pairs of mitts, I wrapped them up, went to the post office and....

entirely forgot to take pictures.

Sibling-the-Elder to the rescue. She took some pictures for me and I reuse them here with her permission.

First up, for said Sibling, was a pair from a BMFA Rare Gem. It was a lovely pink shade that never made it into the official stash.


The pattern is Fear of Committenment, though I made some modifications.  Rather than the 2x2 ribbing called for in the pattern, I went for a 1x1 ribbing. As delicate as the cables are, the 1x1 seemed more appropriate. Also, StE's hands are a bit smaller than mine and I didn't want these to be loose.  

I started not with the pattern but with 8 rows of ribbing. I prefer to have full ribbing at the cuff so it's consistently stretchy before I launch into cables. 


While I wanted these to be nice and long, I wasn't going for the opera length that the pattern proposes, so when I reached the decrease section, I did them every 4 rows rather than every 8. This cut my repetitions of the cable pattern down a few but didn't affect fit that I noticed. For the tops, which always stretch out on all of my mitts, I switched down to size 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles from the 2 (2.75 mm) needles I'd been using for the rest of the project. 

The pattern definitely needs a solid or tonal wool, I wouldn't try to tackle it with anything highly variegated. 

Next up was the search for mitts for the Incredibly Patient Mother and for this I had an idea of what yarn I wanted to use: the Mrs. Crosby I won last year for knitting that frais rainbow hat.* The colorway is Peacock and, after great deliberation, the Lisanne Mitts seemed an appropriate choice. 



If you click through you'll see the designer knit the original mitts in a similar color, which probably influenced my choice, but overall I just liked the pattern. 


These went quickly on size 4 (3.5 mm) needles. I don't remember making any modifications, I didn't write any down, so this should be pretty true to pattern.  I like the broader cable on the back and tighter ones on the palm.  It was challenging without being overwhelming.  

I do like knitting mitts though it's not ever going to be as mindless as sock knitting and that means less time to work on them. Stilll, might have to round up a few more of those patterns I queued and see what else I can create.  

*Speaking of that hat, I can't find it. Anybody know where I put it? 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Surprise Mail from Indie Untangled

Have you checked out Indie Untangled? Lisa collates indie dyers and various accessories for those of us who want to buy everything but can't keep track of all of the dyer updates and whatnot. And in another life (okay, college, but still, it was *ahem* years ago) she was my Managing Editor/Editor in Chief. But a lot of time and bad pizza has been had since then.*

Anywho, Lisa was doing some end of the year giveaways to her newsletter subscribers and I won the final mystery package! It arrived the other day and I was eager to dive in and see what treats were in store.

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From a Little Teapot Designs was an adorable sheepy lotion bar and cuticle balm. Perfect timing on these, as the radiators are full blast at Chez Hedgehog and my hands are a bit dry as a result.

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Next was a sock blank from Berry Colorful Yarnings. I've never gotten to knit from a sock blank, I look at them periodically and think they'd be interesting but with so much sock yarn around here, taking a chance on one hasn't come up yet. Now I can try and see if I like working with pre-knit wool!

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I don't think I'll make this into socks, probably a shawlette or something like that. If you like the gradient, she's got several other colors in her shop.

And on the accessories side...

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Some very pretty buttons

and
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Some gem like stitch markers from Sploops Inspired! (Where were these in Boston? Oh right, en route)


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Thank you Lisa and all of the vendors who donated. This was a lovely surprise to unwrap in January and I can't wait to try everything out.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hedgehogs Follow Me Around

If you were looking closely at my pictures from Boston, you caught a glimpse of my new knitting bags. These are particularly special ones, as Sibling-the-Elder custom made them for me. Yes, I know, I'm an extremely lucky hedgehog. They are fantastic and several people have inquired about them already.

First up was a box bag that has fabric she commissioned. (No, I won't trade you siblings.)

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Funky hedgehogs!!

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And the lining fabric goes excellently with it. Currently it's holding a project I've been neglecting in hopes that wanting to show off the bag will prompt some actual knitting.

Next up, another box bag of hedgehog delight

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That's the one that went with me to Boston. I was so scared I'd lose it on my first trip traveling with it, I was constantly checking to make sure I had it. Presently it's still holding that baby sweater that I need to finish up.

Finally, a bag that I expect to get a lot of wear out of this summer:

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It's more hedgehogs but it's a larger, bucket style bag. Check out the top.

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And she put two straps on it--both removable--either a shorter matching "ribbon" handle and a longer cross body strap.  I see a lot of possibilities to toss a sock and my wallet in and go.

She said the corners and zippers were a learning experience! I couldn't tell you the last time I lined something, probably college, so I am thrilled to have these.

Thank you Anna!!






Monday, January 18, 2016

Without Stitchmarkers

I made it to and from Boston without stitchmarkers. Despite the website assurances of TSA compliance, I'm always a little skeptical about flying with my Knit Kit when I don't check luggage. Poor packing planning beyond that and I realized on the flight out that while I needed a ruler, stitch markers, and scissors, I had none of the three with me.  A friend came to the rescue with a mini ruler, I can make stitch markers out of spare yarn, and I only had wool--which I can break with my hands...so the weekend wasn't lost, just not as convenient as it might have been.


I packed three projects--a baby sweater, a shawl, and a pair of socks. I really had expected to spend my travel flying working on the shawl. It got no love at all.


I cast the baby sweater on during the flight out-- much to the confusion of the gentleman in the middle seat. (I always try to sit in the window seat unless flying with the Philosopher--then he gets the window and I take the middle and lean into his space as needed.) I'm trying out the Flax Light pattern with a skein of BMFA Lightweight. 


By the time we reached Boston, I was through the neck ribbing and ready to work on the raglan increases. I did fortunately remember one stitch marker I'd seen in my purse earlier in the week and dug that out to mark the beginning of the round. 

The sock did get cast on, I'll show you how that's coming on Thursday. But most of my knitting time went to the baby sweater. 



I finished the body not too long after arriving back to the frozen tundra currently called Chicago. When I went to sleep last night it said it was -2F/-19C. Right now it's "warmed up" to 8F/-13C.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Spring Optimism and Travels

I'm heading out on Thursday to Boston for a conference and tomorrow morning brings the return of the daily commute and meetings. Periodically I have ideas of how I'll be done with all of my outstanding projects at the end of x holiday or y date, but that has yet to happen other than the projects that had specific gift deadlines and here it is January 3 and AudioGirl is still Christmas-presentless.  We'll have to celebrate a late Epiphany when I get home.


There was some quality time spent with the ballwinder and swift over the past few days. Other than the gray ball in the back, those were all skeins before I started. I have plans for socks, some baby items, the brown yarn goes with a project that has been lounging around since last summer, etc.

This yarn, of course, doesn't include the quite a few works in progress I dug out from around the apartment over break as well. Those are in a giant ribbon basket from the Incredibly Patient Mother and yes, it's quite a pile. Especially as several of them really should have been done a couple of years ago. I need to dig out pictures of them. Or perhaps just actually work on them and get them back in rotation. One of the two.

Combined though, those are my projects and goals for spring. The things I expect I should be able to make serious progress on, might even finish before Stash Dash 2016. (Yes, I'm snickering over that probable impossibility too.) And emptying this bin would give me room in the stash to tuck away my project bags.

Probably the most interesting skein I wound up was a BMFA Rare Gems that just finally made it into stash admission.

It wound up with a light and dark side:

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I'm not totally sure what it's going to be yet. My original plan hasn't turned up any patterns that I like--at least none that I want to haul around on a plane or train. 

There should be a fair amount of knitting time ahead. In addition to a pair of socks, I've got two other projects planned for my upcoming trip. One will require a pattern and concentration, for those times where I have it, and the other will be mindless churning. But I do need to get out needles in the near future and assign project bags. 

Speaking of which, I got a couple new bags for Christmas. One of kind custom bags!!  More details as soon as I get pictures.  

For now, I have to go make Yorkshire Puddings.  That's become a new thing at Chez Hedgehog.