Monday, June 19, 2017

It's a Celebratory Kind of Shawl

The Birthday Yarns shawl is off the needles!! It still needs a block, mostly I'm waiting on that because I am pretty sure the purple will bleed a bit and the white won't be as perfectly white anymore, but it's done!



Saturday was a "watch several hours of NCIS:LA" kind of day after running errands and being Reviewer 2 on a paper (I have so many opinions when I'm reading other people's work).  I was determined to get this finished up.  


I made a modification.  After the third lace panel, one is supposed to only continue with the Main Color --which in this version is the multi-colored yarn from AudioGirl.  I wanted to use up all of the yarn that I'd been gifted, so I continued the stripes that were written earlier in the pattern. When I ran out of purple yarn (DIC Smooshy in Dark Amethyst), I then knit a few more rows just in the multi-colored yarn (Knitted Wit Victory in Market Flowers).  I bound off using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind off and had less than 6 feet of yarn left!


The shawl has been set aside for now, it's on to other projects for Stash Dash. And my Loopy Academy Junior Year Completion Prize is on it's way!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Remember I Used to Knit Socks

I went digging through Ravelry to see when last I had completed a pair of socks. It seemed like it had been a while.  That recollection was correct. I haven't finished a pair of socks since last August. Considering that for a couple of years there it was a 12-18 pair a year, this has been a major downshift. A couple of things have driven that: Loopy Academy, a perception that everyone I regularly make socks for is probably set for a bit [Philosopher, AudioGirl, Incredibly Patient Mother, Me], Baby Knitting. I'd blame Christmas knitting but I don't remember if I ended up getting any holiday knitting projects done other than a scarf for AudioGirl.

AudioGirl came over and tried on all of the socks that were done but unclaimed and she took home three or four pair I think. And helped me size a couple pair that I'd knit optimistically. Someone will wear them kind of thing. If they're too small for me they go over here; if they're too big for her, they go over there.

Theoretically, I continue to knit socks. There are three pair of socks currently in project bags, but none of them are through the first sock yet.


This is some KnitPicks yarn that I bought to round out an order of needles, and it's become my travel socks for the summer. I cast them on for Dark Lord Day in May and then they went is Lawrence KS for a conerence and Indianapolis for the Indy500. Most recently, I worked on them at the House on the Rock in Wisconsin. We don't have too many other major adventures planned but I'm relatively sure these will last the summer. 


Meanwhile this sock leg has been sitting mournfully on my desk since at least October. Sometimes during yet another conference call or committee meeting, I'll get through a round. Usually though my brain is too active or I'm scrawling yet another to do list. The yarn is Rhichard Devrieze Peppino. It's really lovely,  but I remember why I burned through all of my KPPPM (very similar if not the same base) and then *stopped* knitting it for years. I swear this yarn takes forever to knit up. That 5-10 stitches doesn't equal a row probably also does not help. 

The third pair was started at some point unremembered. I know the yarn went with me to Arkansas in April, but beyond that I have no idea. The yarn is KnitPicks Stroll in the BigTop colorway. I bought it last September. For whatever reason it is not in my stash and I'm not adding it now. Apparently it's part of the I-need-all-the-rainbow-yarn binge I was on (might still be on? Not sure). 



Also, yes I see the ladders in the wool where I change needles; No, I'm not especially worried. Two washes and those disappear.

There are two other pair of socks floating around here. One which may be ripped out, another which I need to make a decision on if I'm going to actually finish them because of reasons.  

But they would all help with the StashDash counts and they are already underway. So maybe. If I can just get them all onto DPNs rather than 9" circulars (much recommended for the race track, but still not my favorite method). 

And then I just need to sort out which of my friends where a 7/7.5 shoe.... 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer's Bright Colors

It's 92 degrees out this evening and there's not much sign of it cooling down anytime soon. The Philosopher is re-seasoning the cast iron and I keep thinking it's a lovely evening for knitting. Obviously the heat is getting to us. 

But StashDash is here and, having my knitting time to call my own again post the sprint that is always the end of Academy (Yes, I passed the full year this time! Fall is going to seem so easy!), I've hopped back into a project that has been languishing: the Nostalgia Shawl. I'd sorted out the yarn last October as I was tossing the stash. 


One skein is Knitted Wit Victory Sock Yarn in the Marketplace Flowers colorway, which AudioGirl brought me from Seattle for my birthday. The other is Dream in Color Smooshy in the Dark Amethyst colorway from Sibling the Elder--also a present. The two definitely worked together, with the purple being highlighted against the colorful pops and the color pops being just a touch toned down. 

The Nostalgia Shawl is a crescent-shaped shawl that is made up of rows of alternating stripes and then short-row lace. I'm being lazy and following the written directions, it's just been easier than trying to count on the chart as I've hauled this back and forth. 

I'm nearly through the final section of stripes and then I have one more lace repeat and then a border to go. And a number of ends to weave in. I haven't washed the DIC so I don't know if it will bleed. I doubt the white will stay quite as brilliant as it is now no matter what.  

It's a riotous blur of color in the middle lace section and the border will be as well. And it's likely to be ~700 yards used up, a nice addition to my StashDash total. I was thinking that this summer may be more focused on works in progress, of which I have the better part of 5K that could pretty easily be completed. But there are also at least two baby projects that need to be knit.  Should get on those sooner rather than later! 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Through the Final Sprint....Waiting the Judging; On to StashDash!

Yesterday was the final day for Loopy Academy for the spring and as per my usual, it was down to the last few hours. Fortunately I only had small details to wrap and hopefully, hopefully... everything will be approved. 2 of the 6 projects are pending on The Loopy Ewe website.


First up was another pair of gloves. I used the same pattern (Knotty Gloves) as I did in the fall with some modifications. I used size 1 (2.25mm) needles rather than 1.5(2.5mm) needles. I skipped the cables, but I did ribbing all the way up including the fingers. The only part of the gloves that are stockinette are the thumb increases. I could have built out the ribbing there but I wasn't feeling quite that ambitious. These fit much better than the pair I did in the fall as well, I really do prefer a lot of ribbing on accessories.

The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Valkyrie colorway. It's lovely yarn as always but this skein bled significantly. My hands looked like I'd been rummaging around in a coal bin every time I worked on the gloves.


And then last night at a local Mexican restaurant, waiting for Viva, I wrapped up my toys. The bartender very politely did *not* comment on the fact that I was sewing on wings while drinking my cider. I'm sure she noticed though.

Meet the owlettes! I knit three just to be sure that I used enough yarn to meet the 250 yardage requirement. In retrospect two would probably have been sufficient. And they are 2 color :) Yay.  The are pretty adorable. The pattern is Dreamy Owl. It's fiddly, more than anything. I like the end result though and these already have a planned home.

The one benefit to wrapping up this late is that these also count for Stash Dash! So I'm at least 500m (will be weighing and photographing to make sure yardage...) into the summer. I have several in progress projects that need to be charged through next so I am hoping for a solid 3K summer, maybe even a 5K if things ever slow down.

Next fall someone remind me NOT to knit another 900 yard shawl, will you?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

At least one... [Dragon Mitts Complete!]

I finished Spring Semester for Loopy Academy Junior Year! Assuming they accept my final photo (yes, I'm checking probably more often than necessary), I have completed buttons, beads, and now colorwork.


The dragon mitts are done! These needed only the ribbing on the thumbs completed, so that was about an hour of knitting while watching TheKnitGirllls. And at least three people have already expressed some extremely interested eyebrows at these, so I might need to make another pair or two. 

Wendy Johnson wrote a lovely pattern and this is a very straightforward knit, particularly for novice colorworkers. You do need to be able to follow a chart and I need to get better at locking my floats but overall... 

These were knit out of Loopy Ewe Solids (still on clearance sale, might have to go get some more). I used the gray as the main color and definitely used more of that skein than the purple contrast for the dragons. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't hit the 250 yard mark, but these came in at 275 yards by weight (53 grams). I knit them on size 3 (3.25 mm) needles, which is a size I don't use much. I thought it might be too loose but overall it worked nicely. These fit me a little bit loosely and a little too tight on the Philosopher. 


Right now they are set aside for blocking and other attendant things later; I'm traveling this week and not leaving things out for felines to love upon. 

Now I'm attempting to slam through the rest of my fall semester makeup. I am hoping to get most of an owl done today and then, which would mean I only have to take the gloves with me for evening/plane knitting at the conference.  

Gypsy is pretending that she is invisible when she sneaks past me into the hallway of our apartment building. 




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Number 2 and Number 3 Are Done

I have not one but TWO projects for you today. And I'm halfway through my Loopy Academy six projects (fall junior make up and spring junior).  Of course, even though I've finished three projects I'm currently done with neither semester. But I have two episodes of the KnitGirllls to watch tonight and so there's hope.

First up, the shawl that went to Maryland is completed! This is Isen and I knit most of it during my epic trip out to Baltimore and to see Sibling-the-Younger.


The yarn is Wollmeise DK in the Feldmaus and it took very nearly all of two skeins. I have a little bit left, which will be set aside in a ziplock in case there are any repairs needed in the future. I used Miyuki Beads in the Dark Smoky Amethyst color and I only needed 3 beads total out of the second tube. Glad I had the second tube but really, only 3?  This was for the beaded pattern requirement for Loopy Spring Junior Semester.



As you can imagine, this is a heavy shawl. Each skein is supposed to be 7.1 oz plus the bead weight. It's an odd shade of brown, with hints of purple that show under the sunlight. Overall I enjoyed the beading work, though it certainly makes commuting and knitting impossible. Very much a sit at home (or in a conference, webinar, etc) kind of project. 


The pattern is beautifully written, the charts were easy to follow. It's been languishing for about six weeks waiting for me to have time to finish two more beaded rows in the last 8. Overall it went very quickly though for a nearly 900 yard shawl. And yes, that makes 2 800+ yard shawls I've knit since February 1. 


Gypsy wonders why I keep trying to take a photo of her in a shawl. 

Actually finished a week or two ago was this cowl! This is also for Spring Semester and it meets the buttonholes and buttons project prompt.  


The pattern is the Gothic Lace Cowl by tincanknits, whose straightforward patterns make new techniques entirely manageable. My only complaint and this is a small one, is that a specific size of button isn't called for and while I followed suggestions on the pattern page, I really should have probably purchased a slightly larger set of buttons. 


Still, as you can hopefully see, there are buttons and buttonholes. Nine of them, as memory serves. The buttons were an Etsy find and whomever is gifted this cowl will get the extra 2-3, as buttons do tend to get lost over time.  

The yarn is two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted and I had to alternate as TLE didn't have two skeins of the same colorway in stock. That's always a possibility with Malabrigo, particularly the brighter colors, but it slowed me down a bit and that was a little frustrating. Still, it's done, it's pink and purple, it's photographing a little bit lighter than it actually is... and it's off the needles. 

That makes 3. Right now I have 2 thumbs to finish on the dragon mitts (spring, stranded colorwork), one owlette and a bunch of wings (fall, toy), and one pair of gloves -- I'm ready to start the thumbs on both and then work up the hands (fall, gloves). It's a lot yet to do in the next 15 days and ideally I'd like the majority of that done before I leave for Kansas next week. 

Then I can start working on a nice big project for Stash Dash 2017.... 



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Proof Positive: Industrial Revolution

I've had my eye on the pattern Industrial Revolution for a while and it served nicely for my spring redo of bobbles.  Certainly a better choice that what I did on my first attempt at a bobble project, which is a shawl that I just not one of my favorites

I decided to knit this up in Loopy Solids in the Malachite colorway.


It's a steampunk pattern, designed to look like gears and makes a lovely small shawl. I used about 3.5 skeins.  As you can see, it has quite a number of small bobbles and, while I can't say they are a technique I enjoy, I can get through them without too much blue language.  It does invoke spokes and gears though, with many yarn overs.  


The border is worked sideways, with the stitches increasing up and down.  I blocked it gently here, if I were being more exact, I would have pinned each point more distinctly. I'm not sure I have quite that many pins in the house though. 


All in all, I'm pleased with how it turned out.  Gypsy had to add a paw or two of approval and so now I may never get gray cat hair out of it. 


One officially down, five more academy projects this semester to go! 


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Yet Another May Countdown

That thing where you keep saying "No really, I'll get things started and done earlier...."

The curse of a process knitter.

It's May, well, it is tomorrow. And here I hoped to have at least 4 of my Loopy Academy projects done.

An obviously not completed mitt

Things are starting to finally roll along but I'm definitely not done yet. 

There are six projects on the deadline here...
Make Up Semester
1)  Toy -- the owls haven't been touched in months. No one has wings. One body still to knit. 
2)  Gloves -- I got the cuffs of both done but I'm not through the thumb gusset on either yet, let alone the drama that is knitting fingers. Still, at least underway. 
3)  Bobbles. DONE AND BLOCKED. Need to post final photos here and on Loopy Academy

Spring Semester
1) Buttons -- the knitting is done on the cowl, the buttons are not sewn on. That should be about an hour of work, I hope. 
2) Colorwork.  -- See above. I cranked through one mitt this weekend. This requires several hours of knitting in one place because of the chart but it's not horrible. 
3) Beads -- after I got back from Baltimore the shawl was entirely abandoned. It needs 8 rows, with more beading.

I need to sit down and figure out how much time each project really still needs. 5-6 hours would knock out 2 of them--so I think that might be my first priority. It'd be lovely to hold them until the last week of the month so that they all count for Stash Dash 2017 but I think I'll just need to get through and go back to all of the other WIPs that are piled up on the couch (yes, literally a big pile).

I foresee quite a lot of British television for me in the month of May. Who is with me?   



Sunday, April 2, 2017

YarnCon 2017: Ooooh, Shiny


The Philosopher and I went to YarnCon yesterday! It's always a lovely way to feel like spring is here, having a large local yarn festival. And it doesn't hurt that my friend Shannon drives in from Ohio and so I get a hug and a chance to share at least one ridiculous story.

Observations of the day: the general pallet is still multi-colored, but it's more muted than in the past couple of years. There were a couple of dyers with shaded solids but I've still not seen anyone competing with Two Guys Yarn Co for pastels. What did surprise me was that the only "tool" type booths I saw were for project bags. I saw only one booth that seemed to have spindles and no one had wheels this year that I spotted.

There were some favorite vendors I've seen before and a few new ones that were delightful and so obviously I had to make a few acquisitions.


The Philosopher has asked for a new customized mitt for working on digital boards. I wanted something that isn't going to show dirt all the time but was lovely. Yes, I know that first picture is horribly blown out, I was trying to show all of the colors. This black+ yarn from Honey Girl Farms is delightfully complex without being annoying. From 10 feet, it'll look mostly black but from up close there's quite a richness. 


Black Cat Fiber is going in the books as a new favorite. They had tremendous colors. I limited myself to just this one and doesn't the silk just shine! This should be a lovely small shawlette. I know it will mute a bit as knit up but it'll be a lovely gift to someone when done.  And they were just lovely in the booth to chat with. As my first purchase of the day, they also recommended a few other favorites to swing by. 


The Philosopher and I were both immediately drawn to the bag of these braids in CJ Kopec's booth. It's a brand new colorway for her, designed by her son. It's called Cadet and it's 100% merino. I hadn't been sure if I would buy fiber this year; I still haven't spindled up the entire 4 ounces that I bought at YarnCon last year from YarnGeek.  This was so appealing, however, that I couldn't pass it up. Several people asked me about it as we wandered about, so I assume a few more braids went home with new friends too! 


I was specifically recommended by two people to drop into the Northern Bee Studio booth and I was very pleased that I did. I'm sure they won the award for farthest traveled--they came from Alaska! They shared that to fly all of the yarn here, they put it in vacuum sealed bags and prayed very hard that TSA wouldn't open the bags and inadvertently fluff all the yarn again! Everything made it and it looked like they'd be taking far less home. I was happy to help contribute to lighter luggage with this Deep Forest skein. You can't see the label but it's 10% yak. So very deliciously soft. Also, they had a cobalt blue skein that was *ridiculously*  bright. Unfortunately, it was only available as a miniskein but I was assured that it would be on the website soon.


And finally, up on the balcony this year (that was new, not sure if I liked it), was Sophie's Toes. That should be a familiar name by this point, I buy things from her pretty much every YarnCon and AudioGirl's Christmas gift was knit from one of her 6 packs. We discussed a few of her colorways and I ended up with this lovely one-of-a-kind skein, something she'd overdyed. It'll likely just become a pair of socks, but what a fun knit that will be to discover the colors that come next.  Her booth looked like it'd been hit pretty hard but there was still some lovely stuff for the Sunday crowd. 

I haven't bought a lot of yarn this year besides what I've needed for Loopy Academy (that's been enough) and that's probably good as I've also not used a whole lot of yarn. But these struck me as special enough to jam into the space around Chez Hedgehog. Now to just keep them from marinating too long... 







Monday, March 27, 2017

Shawl Ahead...

I've spent the last week in Maryland, horribly confused as to the date and the time. Jumping forward and then going ahead another hour in the time zones all in one week is not something I can regularly recommend. However, in the days before packing up, I got started on one of my Spring Loopy Academy projects: beading.



I had ordered two skeins of Wollmeise DK (936 yards) in the Feldmaus colorway. It's brown, mostly, also looks kind of purple in some lights, so I also got dark purple beads. The cast on alone took a fair amount of time. I'm knitting Isen, which is lovely and which is not small. Obviously I am still struggling to take that "only needs to be 250 yards per project" to heart. At least this is the largest of the three projects? 

The first chart (800+ stitches) had over 50 repeats. I decided it was best if I separated each repeat with stitch markers. This served me well but it was a challenge to find that many stitch markers. Once I finished the chart, the stitch markers came out. Here's what that pile looked like.  Unsurprisingly, they do not match. But you can spot the adorable hedgehogs, right? 



Sibling-the-Younger lives in rural Maryland and the shawl got to spend some quality time in his backyard, hanging out by the fire pit. (Not--of course--during marshmallow roasting time. Yarn and beads plus fire and sticky sugar is a combination that I can only imagine would end poorly.) 


And then I knit through a professional conference. Sitting on the sidelines, beading hook in hand. I think I only left a few beads behind.  


By the time I got to this last picture, taken in the cab on my way to the airport, I was through the first major beading section and onto the third section, which involves short rows. This almost mindlessly took me home, with a detour on the flight to rewind the second skein of wool after it had turned into a giant collapsing disaster.  

Today I finished the short rows and I've one more chart to go. It's only 8 rows and the stitch count is far more reasonable, but it's beaded and while I'll brave beads on the floor in a dark keynote, the CTA is an entirely different question. 

I packed 4 projects with me but only worked on two. I need to get sorted when exactly I'm going to work on the gloves. I think the cowl might be mindless enough for train knitting this week and the socks that have been hanging out on my desk at work might finally see some love as well.  

Or I might just start another pair of socks. We'll see what the week brings. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

There had better be time on the plane...

We're 11 days into March and the only real progress I've made on my Loopy Academy projects is that I wound all of the wool for the Spring Junior Year stuff. And considering the price tag on those (I went with Wollmeise DK for one project...) I need to get things underway and make good use of that wool and money.

Unfortunately, I've been snowed under entirely with work stuff: I'm mid-manuscript with one colleague, facing down another manuscript that needs to be entirely written here shortly with another, working on a conference presentation with two more, and the usual grading, teaching, give presentations, and other day job stuff.

I love working with a variety of friends and colleagues on projects though, it's wonderfully inspiring to work with such smart women and figure out who it is that knows the information I'm seeking. Add us together and we can speak or write about nearly everything.

But it doesn't get the knitting done.

 Gypsy being snuggly to break
up the wall of text
As I'm headed east to Maryland to visit Sibling-the-Younger and attend a conference, I'm planning my travel snacks. I've narrowed down what I use in my regular mix: Cheerios, Parmesan goldfish, Peanut M&Ms, and Reese's pieces.  Chocolate,  peanut butter, salt, and carbs. Yum.  That's coming on Wednesday in my grocery order.

The concession we made to my tenure obligations a few years ago was grocery delivery. Peapod is local to us [referral link for $20 off if you're interested]. Their selection is good, the prices--especially if I catch things on sale--are comparable and it has been well worth the delivery fees for a polite man to show up at my door at the specified time with food.

I find it also means a lot less impulse purchasing of junk food or even just random food that tends to hop into ones cart. I'm not meandering past aisles of chips and chocolate and that means I have to consciously think to go look up chocolate pudding and add it to the order. Don't worry, Kraft Mac and Cheese is still a staple in my book. When I'm planning for a few recipes, it also means I just work down the list rather than hop around a building which totally equates to far less frustration on the "well, where do *you* think they put the toothpicks" front.

The balance with that though is that I don't always think about fresh produce. I don't see that today this fruit look delicious or they are just unpacking some fresh interesting greens. We're still six weeks away from the first outdoors farmers market so I'm not supplementing that way as yet. I need to make a conscious effort to look at what fruits and vegetables are best/most available right now and put them in my cart.

Today is a writing day though and hopefully by the time I get on a plane next Friday, my biggest concerns will be just how much knitting I can charge through in 9 days. Back to the Word Document.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Calling It...

I've decided I'm going to try and get both semesters of Loopy Academy done this spring.

Today is March 1 and I'm at 85% on the owls, 80% on the shawl, and 0% on the gloves.



Remember where I was all 100% on all three projects by March 1? Or at least something greater than 0%? 

I've started on the border for the shawl finally. I have 16 repeats of 48 rows. And it's kind of fiddly but not too much. There's pretty obvious structure to how it builds up and when you increase, although I'm going to be relying on a post it note and hash marks to keep me on track. 

The owls need wings. And I probably will need to knit one more owl. The wings are fiddly and my fiddly time has been overrun with deadlines for teaching, presenting, and research.  

And the gloves are still a ball of wool. That said, I'm attending a conference tomorrow and other than one 7 minute presentation, I mostly just get to listen. Listening is compatible with 2x2 ribbing. So I have hope for some progress tomorrow. 

Philosopher and I also took a whole vacation day (I know, right?) -- which generally means we only both worked 4-6 hours on various things and took some time in the afternoon to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the Orchid Show. 




It was lovely and bright. Orchids are so showy. We were joking about ones that looked overdone and ones that looked like they were being a little too forward with their personal parts. It's small wonder these were considered very sexual in the Victorian era... We also found at least one plant that looked like it was shouting at us. My shots came out fuzzy though...

I've just placed my order for Spring Semester. I have patterns picked out and now I just need to acquire a beading crochet hook. I have three months and three different plane trips between now and deadline...hopefully I can put all that time to good use!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Came, I Saw, I Swift.... Swift-ed... Swift'd

I wound yarn.

That just sounds far less fun that "swift'd"  But it does mean that the rest of the yarn for my make up from Junior Fall Semester for Loopy Academy has been would and is available without delay --a  good things as I've started using all but two skeins of it.

The shawl continues apace, I'm on section 3 and I don't have any photos for you. I'm on the "outer cog" section, which is thankfully going to require far less attention than section 2 did. 18 rounds but relatively straight forward. If I can get some concentration going on the train this week that should be doable. The edging repeats are definitely going to take some time.


The owls are also moving right along. And yes, I changed my mind about the inside out thing. Unlike the elephant of last fall, I don't have to stuff this toy until the very end, which means my style of knitting doesn't affect the final product. Owl 1 is still missing wings and eyes and I need to sew down the beak rather than use a DPN and attempt to stab myself while taking a quick photo.


Owl 2 is just over halfway done. There are 110 rows in the project and I'm on 63. This is mindless enough for tv watching but not quite for reading through news feeds or blogs. I have a post it note going marking my rows, it's just easier that way for me. Of course, all of this taupe means I really want something else bright and cheerful to knit. Must get those gloves started. 


And here is my "help."  This is immediately post-yawn.  She takes up a large portion of the desk and while I adore her as a small feline, she's been in the way a lot.

But it looks like I might be able in the next 9 days to nearly meet my incredibly optimistic goal of re-doing Fall semester in the month of February, which means I need to make sure I'm still happy with my yarn and project choices for Spring Semester if I'm going to hit buy sometime early next week.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Inside Owlettes


Tonight I started the second of my three Loopy Academy Fall Make-Up projects. It's February 9, so I'm not doing too badly. I've been focused on the shawl/bobble project --Industrial Revolution. I've even had a couple of knitting meetings this week, although I had to take time to handwind a skein.  I know, I just need to set up the swift and get all of the yarn done for this semester. Maybe Saturday... 

Anyway, I'm participating on Instagram in the #yarnlovechallenge that Mary Heather from Ravelry is hosting. Each day we get a prompt and post a representative picture. It's been fun and there are so many interesting pictures going by.  Normally I tend to push my pictures out to FB or Twitter but because this is everyday and themed, I haven't been. If you're interested in seeing what I posted, my profile is https://www.instagram.com/hedgielib/ 

My picture from yesterday was taken on the train on the way home, rather late. Work days have been running long and nights very short. "I'm going to oversleep" insomnia is so much fun. 

Anyway, toy shot... 


I'm about  a third of the way through the body on my first of n owls. I'd originally guessed I'd need to make around 3, I'm going to revise that up right now and say closer to 5. These are going to be dainty little owls, which is fine my me. 

Also, anyone who has seen me knit in the round knows that I knit inside out. Rather than working on the stitches closest to me, I'm working on those farthest away. I'm not sure where I learned this technique. As I demonstrated with the elephant, I'm capable of doing it "correctly" but I realized I don't need to for the owls. Purl side out should be fine.  

So instead, I'll have Inside Owlettes. The Philsopher has already heaved a deep sigh at that joke and wandered away. Apparently he doesn't want an owlette of his own.  


Did you know a group of owls is called a wisdom? Things I've learned from mystery author Donna Andrews. 

Project 2 underway, maybe this weekend I'll start the gloves too.... or at least get out the swift. 




Friday, February 3, 2017

Loopy Academy Semester 5: Take 2

I haven't had the stomach to come and blog about the fall semester. I was so delighted with myself, finishing with a full seven hours to spare. I posted pictures, I was all done....

And neither me, nor anyone on the uber-thread on Ravelry noticed I'd missed a very specific instruction: my toy had to have 2 colors of yarn.

My elephant? One color. Which means I did not complete the prompt and therefore did not complete the semester. And it wasn't until a full week later--when my photo hadn't been approved, that someone sorted it out for me. So I spent the rest of January figuring out what I'd do since I needed to redo those three projects. (There was also some pretty solid gnashing of teeth and chiding myself for not double checking the instructions.)

So here we are February 3 and my Box of Fun, as The Loopy Ewe calls them, arrived this afternoon. As soon as Sheri announced Spring Semester being open, I pressed Purchase on my cart, which has been hanging out waiting for me.  I have plans and they are not to be thwarted.


First up is that Bobble project. You will recall I was annoyed with myself last semester upon realizing I'd not bought the right wool for the project (apparently an inability to read instructions was my entire state of being last fall). This time I have it correct and I have four skeins of the Malachite colorway of Loopy Solids. For those of you who also like mixing solid colors--they are still clearing out stock from the old run of this and it's $9 a skein for 220 yards. It's a very decent price and it's a nice little workhorse yarn. It's a light fingering--similar to KPPPM or Louet and if I were knitting socks, I'd use size 0 (2.0mm) needles. This is going to become an Industrial Revolution Shawl


For the toy, I have 2 colors--see there--2! Sand and Mocha and more of the Loopy Solids. These are going to become Dreamy Owls. They'll probably be smaller than the pattern says (8") because I intend to use size 0 needles (2.0mm) and make as many as needed to get to 250 yards.  I'm guessing 3. Not sure how thin the fabric would be with size 3 (3.25 mm) needles...


Finally, I have to suffer through gloves again. Yes, the fall pair was much easier, no, I'm not thrilled about making these. But I can at least use yarn I love and that's where BMFA STR Lightweight comes in, in the Valkyrie colorway.  I'm also leaving off the cables and just getting some gloves done. My friend G made a pair from the Sock-it-to-Me pattern last fall and they looked cool, so here we go. 

What about Spring Semester--which includes colorwork, buttons, and beads? It's on hold until March 1. I want to see how much progress I can make in February first. If I'm moving along well and have at least 2 of these projects done, then sure, I'll order yarn. If not--then we shall see.  I'm also looking for *small* projects.  I really must stop with this whole "let's knit an 800 yard shawl in fingering weight for one of these projects" kick that I'm on. 

Wish me luck... 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Attending the Chicago March and Taking More Steps Forward

**I am sure there are financial needs from the marches yesterday that the organizers could not have anticipated. I encourage you to donate a few dollars to help them close out their balance sheets. **

Yesterday I participated in the Women's March in Chicago. I, with approximately 250K other people, descended on Grant Park. The Philosopher and I packed onto already full train cars and wended our way downtown, pausing to meet up with others who wanted to travel with us.



For me, as for many in our group, it was our first march. And there were many reasons we and so many others marched yesterday: women, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual identity, immigration, economic, privacy, and others.

We never got anywhere near the stage where presentations and announcements were being made. Word started trickling around that we had far outpaced the amount of people who would fit in the planned march route but then we were hearing cheers and at some point we began to move. We marched through the Loop of Chicago and there were chants and cheers. We waved to every train going by overhead and to people in the windows of the downtown youth hostel who were watching.

Throughout most of it I was trying to finish a second hat. Knitting time having been thin on the ground, I wanted to bring it along and then AudioGirl said she hadn't had time to make a hat for herself. So in the midst of marching, I managed to do a three needle bind off with a 16" circular needle and the crochet hook from my KnitKit.  About 3 seconds after done and with ends still dangling, AudioGirl stuffed her new pink ears on her head.

Yesterday was important. On FB, Twitter, and the news sites, we saw that we were not alone.  There were marchers in Antarctica! And the many smaller marches that are not getting the national eye--  gathering in towns across this large nation. There were amazing signs and a lot of very positive energy. Particularly I loved hearing the chants because the pitch was high, clearly indicating the number of female voices.

Over the course of yesterday, I had a conversation with several people about what happens today and tomorrow and the next day. While everyone agreed that a march alone was not sufficient, many are still trying to identify what particular piece is next.

I could choose any of those reasons listed above in the broad sense and focusing on any certainly doesn't preclude my caring or engagement on other fronts. In my professional roles I have a specific obligation to information literacy (how do we sort out what is fake news and the bias a person may bring to the table) and to freedom of information/access to information and to privacy in which to access information. It was lost on neither myself nor my students that I spent the afternoon of the inauguration day having a robust discussion about evaluating the authority of information resources with a group of students who have immigrated to the United States to practice their chosen profession.

Personally, I am interested in engaging on voters rights. I am looking into organizations like League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote to see what I can do there. I'm following legislation, and getting more information about court cases, the threats, and the needs.

If you're interested in finding an organization who could use your time or your money, the march websites had list of supporters. Here are Chicago's: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/our_supporters/

We made hats. That was obvious and it was great. But we have a lot more to do. Onwards.