Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Easy Stuff

Spring semester is taking it's usual toll on me and my students and when you add *waves at everything* -- it's difficult to pull together enough brain cells to think about yarn related projects. As per expected result then, I'm back in my deep comfort zone of knitting. Fortunately, yarn continues to be beautiful. 

There's sock knitting!! It tells you something about my object permanence that when I was fussing around with the project bag I pulled out -- to my own surprise -- the first complete sock. Thigns I apparently knit in January.  It's nice to be back on the sock train again, though considering I'm hoping to get at least 10 pair done this year, I need to speed it up just a smidge.  

But as probably anticipated, most of my time is back on more honey cowls -- these three are No. 17-19.  The first was absolutely some of the softest merino I think I've ever used. I honestly thought there was cashmere in the yarn and was stunned that there wasn't. The yarn is from Oink Pigments and the colorway was an Indigenous fundraiser -- Soil Mates. 

Just freshly off the needles is the glowing example using yarn from Black Cat Fibers. I'd bought a couple of their riotously colored skeins at a YarnCon past and decided to go get some of their black yarn so I could ensure it was the same base. This absolutely flew by - it helped that I had to take a plane and a good way to keep my hands busy in the air is to be knitting. I expect this one to be highly fought over and am curious who pops up looking very hopeful about it. 

The third is just underway and it's more Black Cat Fibers. Again, such bursts of color and this pattern is doing exactly what I want -- highlighting the colors and not losing them or muddying due to everything being close together.  

I also finished a hat for the Philosopher from some BMFA but he's been wearing it and so I don't have a picture. I know, the audacity. 

I also updated my KnitMeter account and I was pretty pleased to see that I'm past the 1km for 2022 before the end of February! Last year about this time I was in one of those multi-week spans where I didn't knit at all so this feels better. Or it's me being so unable to process everything else going on in the world and the giant disaster known as my inboxes and to do list that the only thing I can do is knit round and round. 

One of the two.  

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Final Haul

 I was standing in the shower thinking to myself that I was doing so much better this year -- I'd nearly made it to March and I had been very restrained in my yarn purchases so far this year. 

A pile of yarn and beads on a couch

Then I remembered I needed to photograph and upload my final Loopy Ewe box. It was truly a sign of just how hard we all hit the website when Sheri announced that it was several days before my order shipped. And -- I think for the first time ever-- not everything arrived. A couple of buttons and one skein of yarn wasn't in the final pile (yes, they corrected pricing).   

Detail shot of five skeins of yarn -- yellows and purples

I thought it was fairly restrained overall. It's a dozen skeins of yarn. There's a variety of weights-- including some Rasta to make another super fast giant cowl. Those are so satisfying to whip up. Also some aran weight from JulieSpins and 1 skein from Dream in Color.  

Detail shot of yarn skeins -- blue, pink, and 4 skeins of a gray with pink tinges

I got enough yarn in the Crystals and Pearls colorway, Dream in Color Smooshy, that I could make a sweater. It's fingering weight and it's a delicious yarn, it'd make a stunning sweater with good stitch definition. Or a giant shawl. Or or or...the possibilities are definitely many. I also managed to buy some beads that work perfectly with the yarn, though that wasn't my intent. 

Detail shot of a bunch of tubes of beads for knitting

It is actually because of the Loopy Ewe and Loopy Academy that I am a fairly confident beader with my knitting. It's not something I aggressively seek out but the chance to buy all these beads and have them on hand did seem like a good idea. They take up a lot less space than yarn does.

And finally, I got two bottles of Wollmeise Wool Wash. While I hope that Claudia of Wollmeise is arranging for a new US distributor, I wanted to make sure I was set on this end with the trademark scent that is her wool wash.  

The yarn has been photographed, cataloged, and I will attempt to put it away here shortly.  It is slightly impeded by the reality that I still have far more yarn than I have bin space and I am not actually knitting at the speed of light. I'm knitting much faster/more this year than I was last year, but for comparison -- this pile of wool is almost equivalent yardage to what I knit in all of 2021.  

Gotta get back to that 2020 and 20K levels of knitting this year if I'm going to make a dent. 

Especially since there's still that BMFA order from late last year outstanding.... 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Aiming for a Fairer Fight

 In late 2020, I had the pleasure of participating in the mad scramble that was Romancing the Runoff.  I contributed a cowl and was utterly delighted when a friend of mine won that auction! So of course when they sent out a notice that there would be a Romancing the Vote Auction, it was off to the bins for me. 

There are a number of handknits around the Chateau, as you can imagine. Some are pending specific gift giving, some are waiting to tell me their destiny, some... well I made a choice to knit that now didn't I.  Anyway, I pulled out four different cowls and the auction launches this morning!

I'm so excited for this because the donations go to Fair Fight, which is working towards preserving everyone's right to vote and  easily access this important part of our democratic processes.  Since 2016, voting rights has been a specific concern of mine and it's nice to get to support in this unique way -- combining my love of knitting, of romance novels, and getting everyone to the voting booth!

There are a LOT of really amazing items up for auctions and I can't wait to see the battles as romance authors and readers try to beat each other to the punch.  I'll be obsessively following my own auctions and maybe bidding on one or three things. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

One Last Sprint for The Loopy Ewe

 Yesterday evening, Sheri and the Elves sent out an announcement that The Loopy Ewe (TLE) is retiring and the store will be closing. 

I've blogged at length about my affection for TLE. I started buying yarn online from Sheri not exactly at the beginning of her store, but near. I remember buying sock yarn from her and Sonny and Shear and thinking they both had funny store names. Watched her grow the business in St. Louis and then in an unheard of and I believe unprecedented event -- Move The Entire Store to Colorado. Added fabric and discontinued fabric. Brought to my attention dozens of small dyers. I'm sad I never got to visit in person. 

The utter kindness and sheer reliability of TLE are things that have held me as a loyal customer for all of these years. I would order something and 2-3 business days later a Box of Fun with a happy round sticker on it would arrive. Like clockwork. There was always a kind note; the packages were always beautifully wrapped. Even the time someone from the post office had clearly stepped on and broken the box I didn't lose a thing due to their diligence.  

The earliest blog post I can find about TLE on here is from 2010 ( -- where I'm commenting on having raced to buy some of Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga. That was something TLE absolutely taught me: how to Extremely Efficiently Buy Yarn. There would be a tweet, email, fb notification, Ravelry notice and OFF we'd all go to ravage the digital shelves and pick them clean -- most frequently of Wollmeise but many other dyers as well. And I'm clearly then not commenting on a new phenomenon.  

Over the years, I participated in Knights of the Loopy Table, Loopy Academy, Loopy Graduate School -- netting multiple giant lace shawls and a lot of new abilities out of those 27 projects: better colorwork, beading, gloves.  I may never knit gloves again after doing two pair.  They're warm and beautiful and have four million ends to weave in. Also it confirmed that I do not like entrelac at all. But as a collective, we the customers *learned* and celebrated with each other and were a community. 

Last night, I did the last* sprint for The Loopy Ewe yarn. I got the email just before leaving work and I knew in my heart the Wollmeise would go fast. But I left it til after dinner -- knowing full well just how much Wollmeise I have here at the Chateau. And, as expected, it was *picked clean.*  No matter, I spent a significant amount of time trolling through each of the dyers on the site and putting anything and everything that appealed in my cart.  

It was not a small cart. But it kept shrinking as various things would go out of stock, clearly indicating that-- as with so many yarn purchasing runs before -- I was not alone. It felt like the most poignant way we could send our collective love, buying as much yarn as fast as we could and cart-jacking each other.  

Something that has deeply impressed me forever was The Loopy Ewe's ability to manage their inventory. I don't think I have ever encountered a "oh sorry, someone in the the story purchased this already and so it wasn't on the shelf." I wondered how they would  handle it; unsurprisingly, the store is closed to in person shopping as of this morning at least for a few days while they ship things out to us. 

My last Box of Fun will be here soon. 

*Probably last. I might get something else but things are going so fast.  

Monday, January 3, 2022

Shhh, I'm Knitting - 2022 Goals

It's fascinating how after a week away from the constancy of inbox, Zoom calls, and minor emergencies that arise with disturbing regularity my brain reaches for crafting and reading. I think I knit for four or five hours yesterday, working on at least three different projects. I'm 2-3 hours of crafting into today and by no mean am I done yet. 

Which of course means that work really kicks in tomorrow as I need to prep for the spring semester and I'm back to the office on Wednesday unless we hear otherwise due to Omicron.  So far, what instruction we had hoped to do in person has been hard moved back to online for the foreseeable future.  

But at the moment all I want to do is sit in my breakfast nook corner and see how many hexagons I can make. Why yes, I do have a new project -- when I was unpacking I realized that the amount of fingering weight yarn leftovers has gotten past the point of functional. When the leftovers need several large bins of their own, it's time to find something to do with them. And so it was off to search for patterns I liked and which I thought I could commit to for the next 3-5 years.  (No one said this was going to be a *fast* knit.) I landed on Margarita's Coverlet (Rav Link), which is comprised of individual hexagons that each take somewhere around 9.5-10 grams of yarn.  

(Second Hexagon, Same as The First)

I have since realized that this will not actually reduce the amount of things taking up stash space for a while, which is a bit of a problem. But a differently shaped one -- this will be a project rather than random leftover skeins so clearly it's not the same thing, right? I'm on hexagon 3 from these leftovers of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight. For a decent sized coverlet per the pattern it looks like I'll need at least 115. That's going to be a lot of sock yarn leftovers. Goal for tomorrow (in between updating my Blackboard site for my data course) is to rummage through one of my big bins and sort out what is fingering weight and can be used and what isn't and should go into some other scrap yarn project.   

I'm also working on a hat for the Philosopher -- he wanted something a little lighter than the super deep winter one he wears when it's single digits (although, this week he will need that one). And while I made him a watchcap two years ago, neither of us knows where that is. I was looking at pictures of it and we were trying to figure out where we could possibly have been going. Oh right, that was before the pandemic. 

It's been a rough couple of years. 

Other projects currently having moved into rotation are a miniskein shawl, a new pair of socks, and work on the giant pink afghan that may someday be a completed object. Maybe even this year. 

All five of these projects did make it on my goal list for 2022, which was scribbled into a Google Keep Note on New Year's Day with at least some specific intentions in mind. It's not a short list -- currently sitting at 25 projects. It's a very doable list if I'm somewhere closer to my 2020 / 2019 levels of knitting productivity as opposed to my 2021 levels. And, as per usual, there's that underlying goal of maybe at the end of the year all the yarn will fit into only the bins rather than the bins, the extra bins, the side bags, the spare box, and over there and around here somewhere.  That will probably require more than 25 projects but I'll give it a good go. 

Friday, December 31, 2021

A Quiet Year End

It's been one of those very odd holiday seasons. A few "normal" things and a lot of strange things. The Philosopher and I were talking about the forthcoming new year that starts tomorrow and on one hand, I have a list of all the things I'd like to make in 2022 and so help me the stash starts getting smaller, etc etc.

On the other... it's yarn, it'll keep, right? 

I knew 2021 wasn't going to be the year of production I had in 2020. There's only so many works in progress and hats to knit, even around the Chateau and I 'd finished quite a lot of them. Add the swings in restrictions and various new demands on me going up and down throughout the year and a serious level of general burnout distraction and we achieve... just over 5km

There's not a lot that's exciting in what got finished. Two pairs of socks, three honey cowls, a couple of hats. 

And there was a lot of time that I didn't knit in 2021. In the past this usually looked like carrying socks in a bag back and forth to work. Here it was even less than that. I went several weeks without knitting at different points. But, as a kind friend pointed out, the craft will be there when I need it and slowly it's started coming back into my hands of late. 

I do actually have some knitting plans for the new year and I wind up a lot of yarn the other day-- first time I've had my swift out in months, definitely since the move. There's a bin set and ready to go of yarn that I don't have to wait on -- assuming I can locate appropriate needles. Tonight as we observe the start of another new year with a small clump of friends, I'll have a sock to knit. Hoping the stitches continue to tie us together and hold us into a new year that promises a lot of challenges ahead. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Cast On, Rip Off, Wind Up, Re-Sort

For some people it's spring cleaning; for me it's the week between Christmas and New Years. It's a holding pattern of time, full of both nothing and everything, which sees me fresh from holiday knitting deadlines and desperate to cast on all the things while all the same time I want to buy all the yarn that's on end of year sale. 

So far I have resisted. 

That doesn't mean there's not new yarn in the house though! Sibling-the-Younger, who has recently gotten really into crochet, is quickly appreciating the beautiful colors of yarn that about from dyers like the fantastic Fiber Optics. He got me three skeins for Christmas! 

Two different unified gradients! I was instantly rootling through my Nim Teasdale patterns in my head trying to decide which I wanted to work on first. The colors are so vibrant and the yarn so soft. 

A Giving Tuesday yarn purchase from Oink also arrived! This is Soil Mates on the Mystic Base.  From their site "We will be donating 40% of gross sales to organizations working to end violence against Native and Indigenous people in North America."  A cause I can definitely support *and* incredible yarn. Yes, please. 

Mystic is Oink's DK base so you can guess what these will be right? Right? Yes, the 14 people jumping up and down saying "a honey cowl!" You are correct.  I've already wound the skeins (and several other) to have a few honey cowl sets ready to go. I just finished one, so obviously anther will be on the needles soon. 

And finally, to try and stem the ooh-shiny --- The Philosopher got my yarn shelves rebuilt and the stash is at least mostly arranged again. 

As usual, the stash overwhelms me a little, mostly because I know exactly how long it would take for me to use all of this yarn. It's not that I don't want to, far from it, but I could knit for several years, especially at my 2021 speed [read, not very fast/far] and still have plenty of beautiful options. 

To try and stave off feeling completely buried, I have cast on several new things in addition to doing a solid hour of yarn winding this afternoon. The Philosopher requested a new hat; AudioGirl has mentioned that her socks are holey (which means a few other people's are as well, me included); and there's always more things I want to make. 

Tomorrow or next day I need to do my year end analysis. I don't think I'll cast anything else off between now and then so it's time to compile the list. See what 2021 has brought us and what I hope for in the new year.  

Can't wait to hear your plans. 

The Easy Stuff

Spring semester is taking it's usual toll on me and my students and when you add *waves at everything* -- it's difficult to pull tog...