Sunday, July 25, 2010

You Few, You Cozy Few

There number of people I've knit for, at some point, is probably under fifty. Immediately family, some gifts for people at work, and a few very close friends.

Friends who are close enough that I'll knit for newborns are fewer. The Blonde is one of them though and I've been chugging away this month on a baby blanket for her. As her due date is just about two weeks out, it was none too soon that I wrapped it up today--except for the end weaving parts.  It's over 4' long and over 3' wide, though not perfectly square. More square than had I religiously followed the pattern (Mason Dixon, Book 1) but not quite square nonetheless. Also, I did an applied I-cord border, which took 3 CDs of Ranger's Apprentice Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw to accomplish (about 3 hours). Thank heavens John Keating has a phenomenal reading voice.

Tomorrow I'll break out Mythbusters Collection 5 and see about weaving in those ends.  Or perhaps Book 7--depending on if it's in at work.  Then it's off to the washer/dryer, to verify that hot water and heat won't hurt it before it's shipped east.  Shouldn't be an issue, it's acrylic/cotton. And then I get to go back to shawlettes, socks, hats, everything else that isn't fall colored garter stitch. 

And I've started planning my Christmas knitting. It is July after all.  If I'm going to get anything done this year I really should be thinking about it and raiding the stash now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy and Healthy

I've been wool shopping again. Would you believe that I'm actually down from the last two years running? I started tracking my yarn purchases two years ago in a spreadsheet and was just slightly frightened when I got to the end of the year and realized what the total number was. I did slightly better in 2009 and I'm hoping to again lower that amount in 2010. I know, it would easy to say "Just stop buying" but there's so many gorgeous yarns out there, plus special projects I can't necessarily plan for, and I'm helping keep at least one LYS in business.

I did catch the 15 minute window of Wollmeise Lace a couple of days back at The Loopy Ewe. Firefox Update Add-On for the serious win. But I am a somewhat realistic hedgehog (stop laughing, I said somewhat) and I don't knit with laceweight more than once in a blue moon. So I caught my sister, who also happened to be online, and suggested she pick out a color for her birthday. Birthday shopping for one sibling checked off. Most Excellent Mailman brought it by today, bless him--he hasn't asked yet what one earth I need all this yarn for and never looks at me funny when I've obviously just stumbled out of bed to answer the door. 

Post DC Pics 001I was down to Ewetopia the other day for Viroqua's "Crazy Days."  I'm not quite sure what prompts those but it meant all the stores were having sidewalk sales. I went for the bakery and the yarn--I'll be honest. I got a loaf of sourdough that I'm almost through and picked up some needles from Kathryn. I got the 9" sock circulars and started a 2x2 rib on the 1s. I'm going to have to take it off and decrease the number of stitches, I cast on 60 stitches and considering the last 2x2 on 1s that I did were over 52 guess is that it will be to big. It's in Ewetopia Fiber Hand Dyed and will be purse knitting at some point. It's currently on the living room chair of doom, marinating with about 7 other projects.

This morning we went to the veterinarian for some shots. Gypsy is now up to 8.4 lbs and that's not just fluff around the middle so apparently there was one last growth spurt waiting to happen. Dr. Jean describes her as a "very busy" cat. Personally, I think that was rather polite--nosy would be my description. Gypsy was all over the examination room, trying to get into the cabinets, attempting to escape through the door to where they do the testing, etc. She also panic shed all over my tank top, which necessitated a change of clothes when I got home before I could go out again. But she handled the shot and didn't bite or claw or show any other particular bad manners. Apparently our new challenge is teeth cleaning. So if I start showing pictures with bandaged fingers--you know why. She came home and promptly sacked out for a nap.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Speaking of the Unique Sheep S&S Tea Club....A Finished Object!

I finished something! I's a rarity and you're all grabbing your emergency inhalers. Just because my cast-on-itis has run rampant.

I blocked and wove in the ends on the Traveling Rainbow!

Pattern: Traveling Woman Shawl
Yarn: Unique Sheep Green Cotton/Bamboo Fingering, Persephone Colorway from the US Sip-n-Stitch Shipment #1
Modifications: Increased stockinette section for one extra repeat at start of Chart A; one additional round of Chart A; an extra two rows in the third round of Chart A--oops.
Size: Approximately 54" by 20" --I didn't measure it before I packed it.
For: :) It's a surprise....I'll update when she gets it.
Obligatory adorable cat photo:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Okay....I Get It Now

SPOILERS if you're in the Unique Sheep Sip & Stitch Tea Club.....

I came home on Tuesday drained and crabby. The vast majority of those feelings had to do with the fact that coughing had kept me up most of Monday night and I'd had a long day and faking it only goes so far. I desired nothing more than an episode of Numb3rs and some way-too-salty-to-be-good-for-me snack. And ice cream. And a hug. And some cough meds. And....

From where you walk into my building, I can see sorta/kinda my apartment door. Specifically, I can see if there is something leaning against my door. Now, I've been pretty good and have only ordered yarn for one project since I got back from ALA and that was a special order for yarn that someone else is going to be paying for--I'm just doing the knitting. And there was no way that the custom order from the dyer was in yet. So when I saw a box, I was surprised. I already had gotten a box from the Incredibly-Patient-Mother with an elephant and some books for work...but who else might be shipping me something?

It was shipment 2 in the Unique Sheep Sip and Stitch Tea Club! And instantly I got it--the joy of surprise yarn, already paid for, and I don't even know what is coming in the box! That's the lure of all of those yarn clubs. Oh that could be trouble.....there are so many different clubs one can sign up for.

I went diving into the box with unseemly haste. Well, I did so as soon as I'd fed the small gray one. Cat feeding is priority number one around here when I get home from work and it was 9 p.m. and she had not been fed in 12 hours.

The ladies at US did a lovely job!

I got yarn and tea and a mug and honey sticks! (There used to be 3 honey sticks.....currently there are 2 but I need to hide those from the one with fangs.) 

The theme is Buccaneer and the tea has words like: coconut, chocolate and vanilla.  It smells like dessert in a cup. It's from SerendipiTea . Personally I think I'll be saving this for when it isn't ten thousand degrees outside so I can truly enjoy it.  Right now I've been drinking gallons of green tea to try and stay cool.

The yarn is just what you'd expect a buccaneer to have: the traditional black and white flag in a familiar pattern and gold doubloons to show for his/her work.  It's machine washable merino and should have a nice pair of socks or a small shawl. I am not instantly inspired but there are some ideas floating around in the back of my head.

And finally--a mug!! I love mugs and this one is headed right for the cabinet (via kitchen sink). 

This one will need to stay at home--people at work already think I'm my own little brand of special, I don't need to worry them more!

All in all, very happy with the shipment and with the club....

Trying to convince myself that I don't need to sign up for another club RIGHT NOW. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Souvenier Yarn and I am a Sheep

So, as mentioned before, I went to DC for a librarian's conference (btw--I typed knitting conference first). While I didn't really do a lot in the knitting department, I did get some time in at a yarn store.

Plans were made with a friend on Plurk to meet up mid-Monday and then our only question was where to go. I reached out to Wendy Johnson, designer of a boatload of lovely shawls and socks, and was promptly told of fibre space. We ventured forth into Alexandria and were well rewarded for braving the 30 minute train ride and 10 minute walk.

fibre space is absolutely charming! Yarns are sorted by weight (sensibly--I've never grasped the mindset behind one store I was in that sorted by color.) and they have a number of indie designers and dyers. I saw some Wendy patterns even, but restrained myself. I had already bought one of her patterns that wouldn't get cast on during conference. My companion bought some beautiful fall colored yarns to make a Clapotis. The winding process turned into an adventure--she started at the wrong end, things ended up wrapped around the swift base, all sorts of hilarity ensued but the ladies working were most gracious.  

I grabbed yet another skein of Berroco Pure Merino, this time in a dark (aptly named) Grape Jelly shade. If I can get back to actually making them, I'll have a rainbow of headbands before winter comes again.

But I didn't only come to DC for yarn I could get at home (albeit, not in that particular shade) so I prowled around the indie dyers to find something with which I was not familiar. There were a number of options--believe me! (They also had Spud and Chloe, my first spotting of it in the wild. Liked it but didn't have room in the suitcase for a sweater's worth.) Instead I got a skein of

Blue Ridge Yarn, the Bambie base, in Wild Cherry.  It's a luscious blend of pinky purple, almost denim blue, and a muted forest green. It's Merino and Bamboo, which has a nice shine to it and a nice hand. 400 yards--so I'll be able to make something pretty out it. You must promise that you're not going to get completely sick of me making shawlettes, even though I'm not sure I'll ever actually wear one...

While I was in DC, the post man came and he brought a happy shiny package from Wolles Yarn Creations.

Now, I wouldn't have known about this etsy store were it not for the Yarn Harlot. And I am a faithful little sheep, after she posted about it, I started stalking the store. RSS feeds on Etsy stores are my new favorite invention btw--I find a seller whose things I like, I grab the RSS, and whenever something new is in their store--it shows up in my reader. This could be very horrible for my bank account but the ooh shiny factor is huge!

Anyway, I have one friend who has been hinting that she would possibly be interested in something knitted. From another friend, I have obtained the fact that a pink/brown color combination would be acceptable. I actually have another pink/brown project on the needles but I don't think it would to Ms W's taste--it's kind of ridiculous. I'll dig it out and take pictures in a minute...but I wanted something pink/brown.

Patience (of approximately 48 hours) and careful review of my RSS feed rewarded me: I got a skein called Strawberry Hershey. Chocolate on the outside, pastel pink on the inside. The four plies aren't twisted--but I also have some camel yarn like this. I figure the color-changing-cotton will be a good test run before I break out the Baby Camel I paid a smidge more for from School House Press.

Can you stand to see another shawlette? Cause I just printed a pattern to start.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Really Should Know Better

Getting a season of a television series from work is somewhat akin to putting me into a yarn store having a 75% off the good stuff sale. You know you're going to overload, over indulge, and wake up at three a.m. wondering "Did I really need the puce mohair? I don't really even LIKE mohair."

But when you only have the DVDs for a week, one tends to spend many hours in those worlds... Currently I'm watching Numb3rs, something I've caught occasional episodes of live and very much enjoyed. Crime television with an emphasis on the crime being solved--not gruesome details or images that are going to keep me up  nights. I like how the characters are written and the interesting mathematical explanations.

Yesterday, in a fit of "it's my day off and I don't feel good and I'm just going to sit here and knit" I curled up with Season 2 and watched far too many episodes to be good for my overall well being. By the time I stumbled off to bed I had a number of inches of a new scarf worked (sorry, no pics yet) and many new math factoids racketing around in my brain.

Only, like what usually happens when I overload on shows, it wasn't enough to turn off the television: I ended up dreaming Numb3rs. My episode though, broken up fitfully with coughing fits throughout the night, had to do with the math needed to create a triangular shawl from the top center. Something about the yarn overs on the side and in the middle and there was "Charlie-vision" everywhere.

Truly, it wouldn't have surprised me had Don Epps suddenly appeared in my kitchen this morning. I would just have hoped he would be making omelettes or something of that nature.

I do have the triangular shawl on the needles from ALA, need to get that finished. Just five more rounds of the chart--50 rows or so. And that baby blanket.  And...and...and...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shawling Along....

Hopes, I had them, of getting knitting done while I was recently traveling to the American Library Association Annual Conference. I wound three fresh skeins of yarn, picked out patterns with the assistance of Sibling-the-Elder, planned needles to take through airport security.

I apparently forgot my propensity to sleep on long flights. I rarely get even the "free" in flight beverage because I'm fast asleep and have no desire to be awoken for a can of orange juice. Usually I'm sleeping balancing a cup of coffee anyway--I do pretty well at that I have to say. But generally speaking 1-3 rows after take off and I'm out cold. So much knitting time lost to sleeping.

I have only ten rows left on the Rainbow Shawl and it's all lacey type rows, which meant it wasn't really conducive to traveling, being hauled to conference sessions, being dropped mid-row when I needed to do something.

I started with a "We're Different Okzident" skein of Wollmeise 100% superwash. It may not be the dyer's own exacting standards but I think it's lovely--it looks to me like all the colors one finds in a beautiful stream on a summer day: bright blue, dark blue, teal, green--it's muddled and I keep thinking I'll spot a turtle or a beautiful fish. Guess I know what kind of shawl pin I'll want to go with this when it's done.

Pattern selection was the Old Man of Storr Shawlette. I've only made one modification: the designer calls for a yarn over at the front/end of the WS rows on the lace portion--but she also has you increasing 4 stitches on the right side row of the lace portion-- one on either end and one in the middle. Only, the lace section only increases 4 stitches every 2 rows. I was adding 6 but only needed 4. I figured it out after the first couple of rows and just omitted the wrong side yarn overs, I don't think it'll be a problem.

The shawlette went lots of places in DC and was stared at by many people. I was working the garter/plain/body section so I didn't need to explain much about it, which was fine, but the wool was admired. And yes, I am aware I show a certain bit of craziness for taking wool to knit on in Washington DC, where it was hot, humid, sticky, etc--to the point that I didn't need a wrap for the evenings. I was in a lot of very air conditioned spaces also and I only own so much non-wool. 

I'm tooling right along on the lace portion and now that I have a sense of what I'm doing with it--that should go speedily. It's going to have to take back burner though for the next few days: I am volunteering/working at our major summer festival for the next four days for Kiwanis. That means I'll not be able to do anything much more than chug away at knitting.  Don't worry, I've cast on another shawlette. Or there's always that baby blanket (not wool/machine washable) that I need to finish. That baby is due in less than two months, I need to get hopping on it.

In Which There is MORE new yarn...

I'm considering leaving my coworkers instructions--if you don't hear from me within a couple of days, the stash should be searched. 

Two weekends ago I grabbed up three of my knitting girls for WWKIP in Viroqua. Owner Kathryn was hosting and we were off. It was a gorgeous sunny day. The girls browsed about the shop and I sat outside with the Rainbow Shawl. No new pictures of that, I haven't touched it in days. 

So of course, being that we were in a yarn store and all, I bought yarn.  I got some new Berroco but I've already stuffed it somewhere in the pre-traveling-house-sitter-coming cleaning frenzy and my brain has managed to completely erase where it was that I put it. 

Fortunately, I also hit the hand-dyed sock yarn wall and I didn't hide that from myself--so not all is lost:

Now, if you look in my stash you'll see I already have some yarn that is very very similar to this. In fact, it's probably dang near close to identical. (I haven't compared them yet, it's not hugely important.) Point is, I really think it's gorgeous and I would like to do a "bigger than one skein" I will do a two skein project, probably alternating every two rows through the whole project and driving myself slowly but surely insane. 

Also, Em located a sale table! This lovely skein was half price because of a couple of knots. If only Noro cared so much, I fight be inclined to buy their yarn. As it was, I think we cleaned K out.

No plans for the yarn as yet, but it's here at Chez Hedgehog and it's pretty.  And as the Incredible Patient Mother reminds me, I could have far stranger/worse habits than the collection of beautiful skeins of (mostly) wool. 

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...