Friday, September 7, 2018

Embracing a Color of Fall

Being out of Loopy Academy Homework has left a strange deadline hole in my life that SEVERAL pregnant friends are attempting to fill. Yes, I see you all. You and your impending bundles of joy and diapers. 

But their new Knights of the Loopy Table gives me a little extra motivation for a project just begun -- it has a points-for-using-stash option!

My friend Viva is a handknit appreciator. I knit her twins (now nearly 2...where does time go) afghans. Those weren't done on baby day 1 but in the first 3-4 months and are well-loved and used. Is there greater praise to a knitter than it's been loved to shreds? So during a long text chat one night we were talking about her interest in a new hood/scarf for winter and me, trying to distract myself from yet another black square, I started sending her patterns. 

Oooh, there's one that might work. And then she was off to The Loopy Ewe site, rummaging around for what caught her fancy. 

She decided on Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Worthy Fingering, which is discontinued, in the Ochroid colorway. There were four skeins left. Just enough. We arranged wool purchase and now I have this loveliness to work with. 

It doesn't photograph under bad dark lighting and at weird angles well. I can't imagine why not. I'll have to get the light box out and try to remember the techniques Franklin Habit taught me. Trust me when I say there is a lot of depth of color to this yarn. 

It's also some of the softest yarn I've ever touched. Cashmere and silk. This is going to be Extra Super Drapy and also lofty and  also warm. Color and warmth, just what the Chicago winter needs. 

The first section is knit in two parts, requiring a little more wrangling than is super easy on the train but I'm about halfway through that and once that's managed, it'll be pretty smooth sailing.  

And also I have to get some baby knits done. In another row. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Warm and Snuggly and Finished

Okay, so there might be a few ends to be woven in still... maybe, but the blanket is DONE. I could put it on the bed and sleep under it except for the fact that it has been in the mid-90s in Chicago and the air conditioner is doing everything possible to keep up.


3.5 months and 29 skeins of wool later... the Philosopher and I have a new blanket. It's huge and it's heavy. It's also superwash, so unlike it's predecessor (sadly destroyed by moths), I can toss it in both washer and dryer and keep the cat fur to a minimum. 

The squares have been hauled all over the US and Canada these last couple of months, so a wash will be in order as soon as those last couple of ends have been woven in. 

I'm also planning an i-cord border, but that will require a few more hours and possibly a television series marathon. I have the Mrs.Bradley mysteries and a disc of NCIS LA to catch up on as soon as fall semester teaching lets up enough for me to breathe.  

The blanket was crocheted together using remnants of the light and dark gray and purple. I'll do the border in black -- I have one full skein left and remnants. If that isn't quite enough, it's black yarn, I can get more. 

So many people were curious about this project and it was perfect for summer. Fall is going to be all sorts of new and exciting projects, and heaven knows I'm not sad to be done with the black squares, but I am going to miss how easy this was. 

Fortunately, there are always more socks to be knit. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

AudioGirl Birthday and Square Assemblage

Among some of my closest knitting friends, AudioGirl and BrineyDeep, I'm not sure I would say there is a lot of agreement of things they both choose to knit. AudioGirl loves asymmetrical things and post-apocalyptic. BrineyDeep goes more traditional patterns, uses a lot of gradients, and has handspun wool for her own sweater. 

There is one designer they agree upon though: Ysolda Teague. Particularly her Gretel hat. To the point that upon seeing this hat, they both, separately and individually, exclaimed "Wait, I know that pattern, that's Gretel isn't it!" 

picture of a yellow cabled handknit hat

Why yes, yes it is. That's the super slouchy version in BMFA Gaea in Saffron Surprise. It's a dense, rich wonderful yellow and an exceptionally squishy yarn. And as AudioGirl had requested a beret for the coldest of Chicago winter days...I set to work. This will be a lovely bit of sunshine next February. 

There were some modifications. After finishing it to pattern, it became obvious that the brim was far too loose. Now, I know you can't rip ribbing upwards, so didn't pick out the cast on, but it did take longer than I'd like to admit to snip and rip down most of the ribbing. I decreased then both needle size (5s to 4s) and p2tog'd a row so I was down to a k2p1. That served much better.  

And also (drum roll) THE SQUARES ARE DONE.  That's right, with 2 weeks to spare on Stash Dash 2018 I've managed to at least finish the squares and I merely need to assemble them and weave in all the ends. 

Merely she says. Hahahahahahaha.  50% of the squares have 4 ends, 50% have 2 ends. It's not horrible but it certainly won't be "quick"  

The Philosopher and I agreed on a pattern layout (see Instagram or FB for the options --I'm @hedgielib on Instagram) and I'm crocheting squares together. Which, of course, means more ends. It's not taking as much yarn as I had expected though so that should put me in good shape for potential border plans. I-cord eats yarn quickly.  

And soon I have some stunning yarn to show you. Courtesy of a friend who is also on a yellow kick... 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Reds and Pinks

Squares continue at Chez Hedgehog. I finished Square 36 the other evening. Although, right at the moment I can't remember where I put it. It's around the house somewhere. I remember winding up the extra wool. So six more to go. All black, which should just be dreadfully exciting. 

In the interim, the stash, as always, is growing. I assume if I took up weaving it might start going down at a rate faster than knitting but I am hesitant to buy a small loom.  I feel like that would be down a rabbit hole of "well, but weaving uses so much yarn so fast!" and then suddenly I'd have even more yarn. It's my same worry about spinning.  

Also when Tina sends out a note about her Rare Gems, I am weak. I did hold out long enough that only Earth was available. We're all water babies, aren't we? The blues and greens always go first. But this lovely burgundy and green came to live with me.  

It is STR lightweight and I have no idea what I'll make with it. Maybe one of the many needed baby sweaters, or something like that. 

I also had to round out an order to WEBS and what better way than a skein of Mrs. Crosby? 

Scarlet Ibis in the Hat Box weight. It might not be a bad blend with the skein above, maybe I could knit it held double and get through both skeins all at once? Or at least do some kind of stripes? 

And the cats continue to do well. Gypsy is seen here roundly ignoring Finnbar the Roomba. She's gotten much better at that, seeming to have figured out that Finn can't climb. So if she's on the couch or in her window basket, she's safe. 

Pye on the other hand was photographed later after Finnbar had returned to his dock. She is occasionally willing to sprint through the living room while he's running but generally she prefers sitting just outside the current room being vacuumed.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Make Sure You Give Back

Make sure you give back.

Such a common phrase, such a polite idea.

And so insidious.


Give to your profession. Make sure you mentor new people, write, speak, attend or conferences, peer review, edit, serve on those local/regional/national/international committees, give up your nights, weekends, and everything else. No of course there is no honorarium. This should be part of your passion.

Give at the office. You should be donating to your workplace or at minimum to things your workplaces tells you to support. Let us help you set up that monthly deduction so it comes right out of your paycheck. Also we need you to toss in extra for this other initiative.

Give to anywhere you ever attended for education. And make sure it isn't restricted in any way that keeps it from being used on a new stadium. Your donation will go towards that suite where we'll host other people we ask for money. More important people. Not you.

Give to your politicians. Who cares that the money seems to disappear at a grand scale and be drowned in other money from old white dudes.

Give to your craft. You should be donating yarn, patterns, knitted objects, and money to all of these things. What do you mean you aren't only knitting for charity? Or for me, for free. You have all that yarn. I just want a cabled, personally designed, laceweight sweater. In cashmere.

Give to culture centers. It's never enough that you buy a ticket or a membership, you should also always be making regular constant donations to these organizations. And attend their special fundraisers. And bring all of your friends and tell them they must donate too.

Give to all of the charities, events, topics. Time, money, Twitter feed. Make sure everything gets equal representation.

Give to the people around you. You're a woman, you're supposed to be nurturing and caring. You're supposed to want to spend your time in a hostile situation cleaning it up and making sure it is done in such a way that no one feels threatened or challenged. Oh that's just something you do innately.

Hand over money.
Hand over time.
Do it for ME
Serve on committees
Peer Review
Give to this scholarship fund
Put in time on this project
Organize this event.

It's just this one thing. You're so good at it. We need someone clear headed. It's part of how you build community. It's part of how you move us forward. As a favor. Just one more time. But there's no one else we can call. It's for a good cause. We need a 95% donation rate. We just need $1. It'll only take five minutes.

Don't you dare be selfish or for others to shoulder the load. Don't imagine a day where you won't face 15 new waiting demands. Don't want someone to have sorted things so you just have to show up. Don't expect anyone else to clean up the mess. You should give *more* so you can clean up the disaster they left us.

Make sure you give back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I'm Totally Not Cheating on the Squares

Okay, maybe I am. Just a little. It was just one or two rows. Less than 30 for sure.

I was home today, burning some vacation time (and apparently running Week 1 of All the Errands) and needed something, new project.  This is Illumine, and I'm knitting it out of the Total Eclipse of the Sun colorway minis kit that I picked up last year. It's going to take a while, I have to pay attention to the right side rows and the repeats, though at least the back is just straight purling. I have a potential plan for this but we'll see.    

Proof that I didn't entirely abandon the squares. That's square 31 and 32 is more than halfway done. I'm finally onto the black yarn and yes, it's going to be a drag. To my personal credit, I started this on May 12 and it's not yet July 12 -- so the fact that I'll have knit 32 squares in 2 months means I am averaging one about every two days, which is a decent amount of knitting considering the usual obligations of work, home, feline petting, and sleep. I am rather tired of them, even with the nice fact that they are perfect commuter knitting. I keep telling myself "but only 10 more" and that's helping a bit, of course then there are all the ends to weave in, the crocheting together to do and hopefully something of an edging. 

Pyewacket continues to supervise. Or rather to try and take over Gypsy's spot. This is my latest bag from Stitched by Jessalu and the cats have been taking turns sleeping on it when it's not attached to me. Mostly it's around a belt loop and following me about. 

Two black wool yarns and the black cat; well there's today's theme isn't there. 

Stay cool... 

Friday, June 29, 2018

When at Conference, I Shall Knit

In my suitcase I will pack... the start of a children's memory game that I haven't played for years. Fortunately as an adult it is slightly easier to remember what it is my suitcase. Yarn. Always yarn. The squares and I were off for a few days of a conference. 

Here I am stuffed into Hollow Metal Tube #1. BrineyDeep and I shared a flight and hotel, though we sat in different rows and so didn't annoy the entire plane with discussions of pick-up vs. pick-up-and-knit, the latter technique I still don't quite understand. This was my last purple square. I'd really hoped to be done with it before we left, but such was not the be the case. 

But from there on it was all light gray all the time. Here, the square and I are at an awards ceremony for a coworker. This makes me realize I can't tell if it's better or worse to be churning along on things that are the same color. You have no idea if I've only knit 3-ish squares all summer. I promise there are ziplocs in my living room containing squares. 

BrineyDeep and I took the opportunity for high tea. Such desserts and an excellent pot of Darjeeling. And the opportunity to see two very adorable young people get engaged a couch or two over from where we were sitting. 

The Philosopher joined me at the end of my conference and we explored a bit. Here at the insectarium I attempted in vain to catch the gorgeous colors of this butterfly. This was the best shot I got but those wings *glowed* blue. You can only see a suggestion here but it was stunning. 

At the suggestion of our friend Kolt, we headed out to a small place that served some of the best fried chicken I've ever had. That was an absolutely phenomenal meal. We rather waddled back to the airport on Wednesday to head home. 

On the plane there was more knitting.... 

And a final square started on the trip, which got wrapped up this morning.

With commute knitting and a little evening knitting, I'm now almost half-way through Square 27. That's 10 dark gray complete; 10 purple complete; and I should finish the 7th light gray one tomorrow. I had done 3 light gray before, so I only made it through 3.25 squares on the trip? Something like that. Half a square a day approximately.  

I caught myself dreaming about knitting a pair of socks today. 15 squares to go.... 

Embracing a Color of Fall

Being out of Loopy Academy Homework has left a strange deadline hole in my life that SEVERAL pregnant friends are attempting to fill. Yes, ...