Monday, June 17, 2019

My Entire Dining Room Floor

Last night I was determined to finish AudioGirl's birthday shawl*. I'm leaving for a conference on Thursday and I couldn't face the potential of coming home and it not being completed. Armed with several episodes of Sawbones**  I undertook the final sprint of brioche. It was about three hours between the remaining rows and the bind-off.

Yes, I needed the panoramic setting on my camera and yes, it really is that big. Each of my blocking mats is 12" square, so as  you're counting along at home you'll notice that it's a full 10' across the top.  The width at the big end is right at about 3 feet. My industrious supplier of cat fur is everyone's favorite small gray tabby -- as per usual. 

Project details.  This is the Raining Revolution Wrap . I used the Crow Moon pack of Socks That Rock Lightweight from Blue Moon Fibers Arts and an additional skein of Cascade Heritage 150, for a total of 1700 yards. There were a few mods -- the pattern calls for six colors; I used four. You're supposed to change colors every eyelet row; I changed when I had 30-35 grams left of whatever skein I was on, blending in the next color.  You're supposed to do two-color brioche that then blends in the early colors; I did not -- as you can see there's 5" of the pale yellow skein in single color brioche after about an inch of two color brioche.  

I sort of followed the decreases in the pattern-- they're on the skinny end. I did 5 repeats of each of those sections and that pretty much took me to the end of my yarn.  I did follow the recommended stretchy bindoff. And I did go down a needle size as recommended for the brioche.  I'm not especially good at decreasing in brioche yet so whether what I did was exactly correct is unlikely but it's within the vicinity. 

It was washed in Soak --with, at it turns out, an entirely unnecessary color catcher.  AudioGirl will be able to toss it in the washer and dryer next time -- which is good as I expect her cat Dinah will also enjoy sleeping on it. Ends to weave in tomorrow when it dries and then I need to figure out how one gift wraps a ten foot shawl. 

*No, not a surprise. She's been getting text updates every step so it would be what she wanted. At this scale, surprises are a good idea for very few of us.
**Hilarious podcast about medical history

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Getting There...

 AudioGirl's shawl continues apace.  I keep trying to remind myself that this is a 1600-ish yard shawl and it was four skeins of wool on April 17.  I still have almost a week before we hit the two month mark and I'm on the final skein. 

I did measure it this morning while it was laid out on the dining room floor -- the most flat space that exists at Chez Hedgehog -- and I have about 2 more inches of brioche before I can bind off.  I'm not sure how much of the skein that will use, quite a fair amount, but I think I'll have more leftovers of the pale yellow than I did of the other three skeins. I knit those to the last possible full row inch with great success.  

The goal is that the pale yellow only section will mirror in width the dark blue section at the beginning.  This is currently only being knit while at home, it's a little too large and cumbersome for commute knitting.  

The brioche did end up going from two color to one color in brioche. I used the incredibly useful Unapologetic Knitter's video for a refresher on how that works. One of these days I'll have to also sort out doing brioche that travels and increases/decreases properly.  

Sock knitting continues in the background as usual.  The magic time warp that finishes up all of my current projects and leaves me with nothing but yarn, empty needles and potential hasn't happened yet but I'm still hopeful. 

In the interim, a certain small gray cat (and tortie co-partner in crime) had a very healthy and dull vet visit this morning.  Annual physicals just as we like them.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

At the Edge of the Eclipse

I finished my first Stash Dash project!! This stunning shawl has been languishing on the needles for almost a year, primarily because I needed multiple uninterrupted hours to focus on it. May I recommend flying to/from California for productivity on lace shawls?

Pattern: Illumine by Nim Teasdale
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Featherlight Gradient Kit in the A Total Eclipse of the Sun colorway   peat. 900 yards. Had less than 10 yards left.
Modifications: Added 1 extra repeat of chart 1 so as to have 16 leaf section repeats
Difficulty: More than I could consistently do on the train. I could hold a conversation/watch TV  while working on it

This shawl was lovely to work on. Moving through the miniskeins made it feel like a lot of progress quickly.  I do still have quite a number of ends to weave in, but that will require re-locating my KnitKit, which I very safely put in a project bag.  One of the ... several project bags that I own. 

What was probably most interesting to me was how the pooling across the different leaves happened. I did absolutely nothing to prepare or attempt to control for/against this. When one skein ended, I added another one on and kept going. Because it was dyed as a gradient kit, I didn't even blend rows.  Other than the transition from skein 1-2, I don't know that you can tell where the changes are and I doubt this would have made much of a difference.  

The final measurements are something around 65" x 27"? That is based on my eyeballing of my 1x1 blocking mats that are all currently covering my dining room floor.  The pattern is incredibly straightforward and clear; I will absolutely knit more of her patterns.  

This will be a gift, as soon as it is dry and I get those ends woven in, which will be very soon. While it is finally starting to get warm here and the planned recipient may not need it in the next few weeks outdoors-- there is always air conditioning to be battled.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Calm Before The Race

It is the last few hours before StashDash 2019.  I have been rotating through projects and while nothing has gotten to the "one row left" level of almost finished, there has been an extensive amount of knitting completed and I am confident that this summer will indeed see a reduction in the number of works in progress at Chez Hedgehog.

To catch you up--- at present I am in California for a wedding.  That travel obligation resulted today in nearly three hours at the airport due to weather delays and a four hour flight next to a most charming but very chatty gentleman who was telling me all about his grandchildren and where best to go and eat in San Francisco when one is a visitor. 

Fortunately, Nim Teasdale does not ask me to count higher than 8, so I managed to add another 25 rows to this stunning beauty during the flight and while the Philosopher has been working on things here at the hotel. The majority of the knitting done on the shawl previously was while I was in DC with Andromeda I think, certainly it has been sitting neglected in it`s project bag for a couple of months.  Nice to have it out again and making serious dents in the wool. 

Unfortunately, I will not be able to get quite as far on it as I had hoped --I failed to remember that one goes up a needle size in another 17 rows and therefore did not pack them. It is unlikely anyone at this wedding will have a KnitPicks interchangeables kit with them. 

But you didn`t think I only packed one knitting project did you? Of course not. Those plain orange socks that have been lingering in my desk drawer are now nearly a whole sock and so they were brought along. I should be able to crank out another sock in the next few days. In anticipation of this high level of productivity, I even packed along this extra skein of Hundred Ravens yarn (seen here resting on her furriness).  So there might be a new project, but only if I manage to exhaust another 17 shawl rows and Sock Project #1. 

The orange shawl also got some love on Tuesday this week; I was at a local conference and I have now completed the "top leaf" section, which means I actually have to go back to the pattern and read it and find out what comes next.  I reached that point only a few minutes before I had to give a short talk about student privacy, which worked out nicely. 

And finally, here is where I am on AudioGirl`s shawl, which very much did NOT make the trip either to the one day conference or here to Cali. I am about 30 grams from needing to tackle two color flat brioche and I just do not think I can do that anywhere other than my livingroom, armed with a hot cup of tea.  

You may notice that the colors in Picture 1 and 4 of this post are similar-- the Teasdale shawl, Illumine, is being knit in the Total Eclipse of the Sun colorway gradient, which is also the third color that was in the Crow Moon kit.  It will be a very Blue Moon Summer when all is said and done and bound off. 

For those staying up until midnight to start Stash Dash with a loud bind off--good luck, I will see you in the chat threads and much later at the finishing lines.  

Friday, May 10, 2019

Sock Show Friday

It's been such a relief to get back to sock knitting that isn't only the size 0 (2.0 mm) painfully small yarn work. Sure, I love the colors but the sheer speed at which a sock on size 1 (2.25 mm) needles and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight Knits up... it's something of a relief. 

Wednesday I was in an 8 hour training that essentially boiled down to being told how to have conversations in a way that I am already socialized to do. The women in the room kept checking in with each other behind the scenes going "but... this is just normal, so --they're saying talk the way women are both told to/penalized for doing?" But it was a chance to have some serious chats with women I do really enjoy working with and I don't see often, we're always sprinting in opposite directions. 

I'd only brought these socks and started worrying mid-afternoon that I needed to do a toe check soon. Fortunately, there were extra needles in the knitting bag so I could flip the skein around and start on Sock 2. Take off about 2.5" of the foot of Sock 1 and that's how much knitting was in the session. Along with some note taking/scenario role-playing/curiosity about why they weren't addressing systemic culture issues/racism/sexism/when this behavior needs to be brought to HR rather than "handled in a personal peer-to-peer conversation." *  There was a lot of sock knitting needed. 

 I've also drug this pair of socks out of the desk drawer. Yes, literally. This sock has been in my drawer since 2016 -- mostly waiting for me to bring in DPNs so I could turn the heel. I've done that now and the sock is progressing much more quickly. 

Next week is a travel week, so hoping for monogamous travel knitting. Or maybe two projects. We'll see. 

* Seriously, one of the scenarios was "Julie tells co-worker Paul that it's really obvious that he's slacking" and another was "Many people at your job take things home from work even tho it's against policy. You've noticed that your coworker is taking a hard drive home to test new software and decide to step in."  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Tackling the "Finished" Bin, Part 1 of Many?

I showed you the current projects bin, there's an equally large bin that is projects that are done or very nearly done which need a bit of labor before they are sent to their new homes. Or they need to be ripped out, or repaired, or something. Anyway, they are closer to being "things" than they are "yarn" presently.

Here's what I have tackled so far.

This cowl was knit as part of the Loopy Academy and the majority of the knitting was done in 2018. I was convinced I had already sent it to it's intended recipient. Apparently this was untrue.  It is now going to go live with her. 

Needed: 45 minutes of ends being woven in and finally crocheting the ends together to convert from short scarf to squishy cowl. 

The Watermelon Hitchhiker! You didn't think I could get away without at least ONE more blog post on it, did you? This was done but the ends were not woven in. And truthfully, I haven't blocked it.  

Needed: 10 minutes of end weaving? Isn't it pretty?  

2 pairs of socks knit out of the Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze. Again, end weaving.  These are now prepared to go to their new home. 

Needed: 10 minutes of end weaving; waiting on me to go to the Post Office. 

Meet the malingerers. These two projects have been in the finished object bin for years.  The top is the Contrast and Complement shawl I  knit for Loopy Academy and StashDash in 2015.  The pattern is lovely and I can't find anyone who wants it with the ruffle edge it currently has.  The bottom is a two color shawlette that I modified for StashDash to meet deadlines and deal with the word "Bobbles."  I've been told that the pictures look, from afar, like ruffly ladies underwear.  That was ripped out and the yarn is back in the stash. I'll find some other use for lavender superwash. 

Here's what about 3 hours of unpicking and swearing at the shawl resulted in. I got the ruffles off. I also managed to unpick both the top and bottom of the shawl (inadvertently -- you go find the ends I'd very neatly and comprehensively woven in), as well as ending up with several little extra lengths due to what I assume were using up leftovers as I went on the first round.  

It was pretty miserable, even with a good murder mystery on in the background. But it's done and now after I fix the top and bottom of the shawl (don't ask how many rows I ripped out on the bottom before realizing I was doing that -- the answer is more than 2), I will use the ruffle yarn to do a simpler border.  And then this will go to a new home. 

Also, it'll count for StashDash 2019. See my scheming there?  

Don't worry, more projects to come. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Tide Me Over(Night)

The plan was that I would knit AudioGirl another Color Affection. She likes mine -- I'd modified it to make it deeper, and I had been meaning to knit another one.

Only, I'd suggested that we use a three-pack from the Midwinter Moon KAL that Tina and team at Blue Moon had been dying up and then we had to wait on the yarn and in the interim, there were many other patterns considered and ultimately Color Affection went on the back burner.  We did, however, get this beautiful pack called Crow Moon and added a fourth skein from her stash to round out the yardage.

The winning pattern was Raining Revolution Wrap, which is asymmetrical and involves two color brioche and a 400 stitch cast on. 

Oh, also we're modifying it so it's only done in 4 colors rather than six. And changing how the brioche is done so not all of it will be two color.  So yeah, totally following the pattern.

Here, a couple of rows in--the cables and stitches were SO twisty at the beginning. Fortunately, the first part of the pattern is very intuitive once you read through it a couple of times.  It'll make up for needing to remember how to do two color brioche with purl bumps later on.  

For now it's small enough to be public transit knitting, particularly when I've only got my purse and not my work bag. Not sure where I was headed here... 

This was what I did on an Express Bus on Sunday. I'd attended a 7:30 a.m. meeting in downtown Chicago (yes, we won't discuss how early I had to be up or how utterly cranky I was about that start time). I had taken a cab there (see also, not a morning person) but took the bus home and-- weekend/express bus-- had plenty of room to stretch out and wind yarn.  This took the 147 from about Michigan and Randolph to just before the Howard Red Line stop.  

I'm feathering it in starting at the 25% left of Color 1 (Blue is the New Black).  This is going faster than expected, which is great, and is also likely to be my knitting for Conference #1 --which will be next week. If I could get through colors 2-3 in the next 10 days, that'd be something of a miracle but hey, willing to try. 

(Also, planning to take sock knitting to work this week,  let's be realistic) 

My Entire Dining Room Floor

Last night I was determined to finish AudioGirl's birthday shawl*. I'm leaving for a conference on Thursday and I couldn't face ...