Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good Mail Days

I keep swearing off yarn buying--why this is I don't know. I love yarn, I use yarn, I share yarn I no longer love with others. It's not a huge portion of my annual budget--though it rivals what I spend on plane tickets.

But then, then my sister has to go and point out that Discontinued Name Brand Yarn had Louet. I have a huge soft spot for Louet Gems, it was one of the first really good yarns that I realized I'd be willing to spend an entire paycheck on with only a minimum of guilt. And did I mention that somewhere on the trip home from Egypt I misplaced one of my new finished fingerless mitts?  I was seriously bummed about that.

I did manage to somewhat restrain myself.  I cleaned them out of Indigo (I bought both skeins), got a bag of Cloud, and picked up some worsted in a color I would normally never buy (citrus) for a project for a friend who is much more orange inclined than I am.


That really should have been enough to tide me over for a bit, right? But then somebody said one of the magic phrases: Bugga's up at The Loopy Ewe!

I really like the colors the Sanguine Gryphon dyes and made my first full adult pair of socks from the Eidos sock base. I've heard raves about the Bugga and Skinny Bugga yarn base--which have that elusive and expensive fiber: cashmere.  Plus, there's that whole rarity, it's going to sell out in five minutes, run go now effect. 

The result?  One skein:

The other colors (that were left by the time I got there) were okay but not really to my taste.  Still, when it arrived and I felt it--there was an ooooooooooooh soft moment. This yarn will not be socks. I think it's going to become one of WendyKnit's shawlettes. 

And will someone please remind me the next time that I decide to make a Clapotis that to do so in Malabrigo means I have to unpick, two rows at a time, every dropped stitch row? That added at least two hours onto the project time....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Gypsy Sighting...

Gypsy is absolutely fascinated with the printer. As soon as I press "print" she's there to watch the paper spit out--either sitting on top peering down or beneath and reaching up to ensure the paper isn't alive.

The black ink hasn't been running properly so I went through about 8 rounds of "cleaning" the other night. The printer obligingly made a lot of printer type noises but no paper was forthcoming. Gypsy was very confused and kept checking to make sure the paper wasn't stuck.

She also is convinced that any box that comes in the house belongs to her. Particularly shoe boxes that are filled with TISSUE PAPER.  

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Well Begun is Half Done

Now if only Mary Poppin's magic would work on the rest of the housekeeping so I had more knitting time...

I'm through Sock 1 of my Knitting Olympics Project!! Hooray! Much knitting continued this week as I, Gypsy, and a half-dozen of my friends-in-the-computer cheered Evan Lysacek on to Gold and I watched Season 2 of the Big Bang Theory.  I'm through disc 3--it's waaaaay too easy to say "oh, just one more episode" and suddenly it's the end of the disc. It means much knitting is getting done, though not much else.

I did immediately cast on Sock 2 and I'm through the top ribbing and into the first pattern repeat.  I have another week to get it done and things look pretty good at this point. If life can stay out of my way, we should be alright. Life, job, cat, books, intertubes...these things take up so much good knitting time.

I've been alternating evenings between the socks and the Clapotis.  It changes up the gauge and probably is good for my shoulders and hands, fewer cramps, but mostly it's because I can't face two days in a row of the Clapotis at the moment.  I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit on the straight rows and the third ball of Malabrigo that never seemed to get smaller. I know--it would be just awful to have a never ending ball of Malabrigo, but I'd like to wear this shawl before all of the snow melts.  As the past few days it's been up to the high twenties and sunny, we've had a fair amount of snow melt.  We're supposed to get more tomorrow though to make up for that, Wisconsin Winter hasn't had her last say yet.

I did finally finish skein three last night and joined skein four. Without dropped stitches it's slightly over 4 needle lengths long, so approximately 56".  I'm going to go for 60" before I start the decrease rows.  The goal is that it'll be approximately my height after I drop the stitches.

My height is one of those variable things that confuses people. For general reference: on an average day I'm 5'6" (167cm); on a good day I'm 5'7" (170cm) or 5'8" (173cm); on a bad day or during about 50% of the summer, I'm 5'4" (162cm).

Gypsy helped me measure the current length.

Stretched cat wide plus extended foot tall.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Knitter Skating...

Gypsy has pretty much had it with me.  Not only did I stay home for two entire days in a row, for three nights now I've plopped down with laptop and knitting needles and the television (which is never on this much at Chez Hedgehog) to engage in Olympic Knitter Skating and Commentary.

Commentary has been kept on Friendfeed, where I and some other library chums have communed with witty comments, judgmental opinions, and much appreciation for the grace and athleticism we saw. Together we gasped at the missed jumps, cheered the Chinese teams to silver and gold, and most recently wondered what the hamsters some of the men were wearing. Ruffles, corsetry, and a tassle all in the same male figure skater's outfit, really? 

I also figured out this evening where a small gray tabby has been hiding the bag of catnip.  She hadn't quite figured out how to open it yet, but I imagine it was only a matter of time.  And it explains why she wouldn't stay out of one of the cupboards. 

But there has been knitting!  I've worked on my Knitting Olympics Project:

I'm down the leg of one of the socks!  This photo was taken at the end of pairs skating last night.  Not bad for Opening Ceremonies through Pairs Gold, in my opinion. Particularly considering I had to completely rip it out and redo on smaller needles. That was a wise choice, btw, the rib is much snugger now and it will be a better fitting pair of socks. 

I'm using Beyond Basic Knits Sonoma Sock in the Brilliant Colorway of "Red-Purple" with size 2.5 (USA) needles.  It's squishy, knitting up very nicely, and it's a darker shade in the red family, which I prefer if red is being introduced into the palette. 

I've also been finishing the very last of the Christmas knitting. Yes, I'm aware it's February.  *sigh*  I have great ambitions each year.  This year I think everyone is getting a box of chocolate.  Well...everyone at work.

Anywho. Christmas knitting was most of today's knitting at Kiwanis and my Kids Group.

Then I made a mad dash home for the last two groups of men's figure skaters short program.  I didn't want to try and turn the heel on the sock while also typing and trying to watch the tv and mind a cat who has just about driven me crazy. So instead, back to February's project: My Clapotis.

I'm still working on the straight rows. I'm not-quite-halfway-through-the-3rd-skein-of-Malabrigo number of repeats into said straight section. 

For size reference, I'm knitting on 14" needles.  It's over three feet long at this point and it will be a little over two feet wide. I've not dropped all the stitches to the bottom because Malabrigo is sticky, which makes that a bit of a chore I save for when I need something truly mindless. I have another 1.5 skeins of straight to go and then a final skein for the decreases.  This sucker is gonna be massive--it's defense against the AC in June at work. 

And finally, a meta/pairs picture of my own: The sock on the Clapotis.  Fourteen days til both projects need to be off the needles. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Knitting Olympics: Rocky Butte Socks

Just wanted to document that yes, I did cast on during the opening session.  It was a pretty giggle filled evening at Chez Hedgehog.  Gypsy was taking up more than her half of the chair and I was knitting and laughing with friends on Friendfeed--as we watched from our various time zones and empathized that people on the West Coast were a full two hours behind in the broadcast for unknown reasons.

I felt for the Stage Managers at the final stage...trying to get the fourth door to open and was truly impressed by the performance, the music, the poetry and the Punk River Dance....


Of course, since then I've decided I wasn't happy with the gauge and ripped everything out and recast on.  But...that too is part of knitting.  The clock is ticking....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

FINISHED: Primavera Socks

Gee...that only took a month from cast on to cast off.  Which would have been fine had I started on January 1 but no....I had to wait until we left for Egypt to start these socks, get a chunk into them, realize that I didn't like the yarn, rip it out, start over....

But while the Women's Moguls were finishing last night, I was whipping down the toe and sewing in the ends.

Project: Egypt Socks
Pattern (Rav link): Primavera Socks by Natalja
Amount of Yarn Used: 3/4 skein?  There's still a fair size ball left--not big enough to DO anything, so it's going in the leftovers bin.  

Gypsy's more concerned about who is chasing her tail....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Can't Stop Giggling

Do you love felines?  Do you wonder sometimes what is going on in their heads? Do you occasionally have to banish them to the bathroom for two hours at 3 a.m. so PERHAPS you can get some uninterrupted sleep for the first night this week?

Oh...right...that last one was just me. 


May I recommend Two Lumps, a web comic about two Russian blues. 

I can't stop giggling over it. 

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Inability to Restrict Myself

It's a very good thing that project monogamy is not required for knitters.  Because I would be in deeeeeeeeeeeep trouble.

I signed up for the Knitting Olympics over at the Yarn Harlot's place. (Does anyone else ever feel like we're dropping by for a cuppa and chat when she posts? It's my most favorite feed update.)

I'm taking part in the Lime and Violet Fitness Challenge in March and Miss V put out a sock pattern for that: Rocky Butte. As you have probably already noticed, I'm not the speediest or most committed of sock knitters. I'm trying though, and I want more wool socks to wear round the apt and to bed (not really a wear them to work kinda girl either). So those socks will be my

The plan for the next three weeks is: finish the Primavera Socks, start the Evenstar KAL, participate in the Friendfeed UFOlympics with MC and C and a few other FFeeps, and knit these socks.  Oh...and I've got the Clapotis to work on too--on which progress has slowed to a snail while I beat my head against keyboards and ingest more chocolate than is good for small hedgehogs. 


For the Rocky Butte socks, I think I'll use

I'm going to need another pair of size 3 needles.

And of course I just ordered a whole bunch of needles that are due in probably tomorrow, so justifying a wool store trip is out.  

I wonder if I have another set of size 3 DPNs at work that I could borrow for 17 days.  Hmmmmm.  I have a very very well developed stash of needles at work.  My knitting kids group is spoiled. 

What are you knitting in the next 19 days?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Swatching and Appropriate Furrage

I'm typing this one handed.  Gypsy decided that she's quite comfortable sitting on my left shoulder/side of my chest, which requires my left arm under her too support her in this cozy position.  And since putting her down would be cruel and unusual cat treatment *obviously* I can't do that. 

Oh good...she decided to hop down and shun me for a bit for sitting down at the computer. She was dreadfully baffled yesterday. Every single day that I've been home in the last month save one, I've left for work. Gypsy likes to sit by the door and get petted on the way out. Yesterday she let me sleep til 9:15 (that's REALLY late for her) before she knocked a plant off the bookshelf. I got up, fed her, put the tea kettle on the stove and got dressed.  These are all perfectly normal steps in the morning routine for her.  I came back out to the kitchen to make tea and realized she was sitting on the ledge by the door, waiting for me to put my coat on. I went over and petted her a couple of times but kept on with my morning. She was waiting for me to leave, which I found rather amusing. Once she realized I wasn't going anywhere, she insisted that my lap belonged to her all the time and was right beside or on top of me all day save for her midday 3 hour nap.

I did get some knitting done! 

I'm participating in Susan Pandorf's LOTR year which is kicking off with the Evenstar KAL.  I swatched last night and I think I've pretty much gotten gauge. I've not done lace really but apparently think that tackling a rather complicated lace shawl should be snack food. Hey...I taught myself to knit socks from the Tsock Tsarina Tsock 101 kit in a Saturday, lace knitting over a couple of months should be pie. And I've done feather and fan, Veronik Avery's Lace Ribbon Scarf.  I'm not totally unprepared.   

Though I really wanted some blue and silver from the Unique Sheep (see Silverlode), this was to be a "only if you have it in the stash" project. Heaven knows I never knit with the laceweight I do own and I'd need to buy circular needles, so that's where wool money for this project went. So I pulled out KnitPicks Shadow in colorway Sunset Heather. It'll be a little earlier in the evening for my evening star, right at a red sunset. 

My  blocking wasn't perfect when I took the picture, I re-pinned the bottom right corner.   It's still a little funky but the measurements are fine...and it's a shawl, gauge can be a bit flexible.* 

Other than that I've been ignoring the last 15 rows of sock that needs to be done (yes, really, just the toe and bind off...I'm lame) and working on my Clapotis. It "is" February's project after all. 

Gypsy has shown her good taste in wool by lying on the Malabrigo. She's going to be heartbroken when I tell her that despite getting it appropriately furred, it's not for her. Note to self: make sure to wash projects twice that are going to friends with cat allergies.

I'm almost through my second of five skeins for this one.  I'm going to do the center/length repeats until a) it's ridiculously long or b) I'm through skein 3, whichever comes first. Right now I'm on repeat 6 of a minimum of 13. It's going to be massive, warm, and probably worn only til the end of March, when it will be too warm even in Wisconsin for it. Of course, that's when they kick the AC on at work, so perhaps it'll get more year round use (light summer linen tops go with heavy Malabrigo shawls, right?). 

Gypsy's back...must be time to relinquish my lap and at least one hand for petting.

*Warning, I'm a process knitter.  Yeah, I prefer it fit but I dislike swatching and do it only when I absolutely must. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Head Desk Wednesday

Oh ducklings, how I wish I could tell you stories of knitting. But sadly, in the last 72 hours I've gotten maybe 10 rows done on Primavera Sock 2...possibly 13, I'd have to go look at my row counter.

Yesterday I had good intentions, the kids group that I shepherd started up again. Only, I had two brand new knitters, one of whom wanted to learn English and one Continental.  And sock knitting on tiny needles or a Clapotis and twisted stitches neither one make a good teaching piece. I spent an hour with a little square--changing the yarn from right to left hand and back again. 

Every evening I keep trying to repair a database that keeps blowing up in my face. I'm frustrated, the client is frustrated, I'm praying that by the time I get home today their IT department will have some idea what is going on and why the macros and VBA are imploding. I've already rebuilt the thing twice and it works on my machine, just not when it's on their server. (And the other database for same client?  It's working just fine, no problems.).

But I have book group tonight and heaven help me, I'm going.  And I'll bring my wool and we'll talk about

by Scott Westerfeld

This book is teen steampunk.  Yes, that's a genre.  I have mixed feelings about the book. 

And then I will go home and *headdesk* for a few more hours as I try to beat this database into submission.

Gypsy is getting really sick of watching me bang away frustratedly at a keyboard. She'd much rather her mommy sit in a chair and move sticks and string around so she can make "covert attacks" on the string.  

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, ...