Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Do Not Click Buy....

So I made that new years resolution to work from stash and to try and hone down all of the excess of wool, gorgeous wool, that inhabits my home with me. The yarn skein to mammal ratio is slightly terrifying, the yarn skein to human ratio is somewhere approaching ridiculous. When the pile of stash boxes reaches over my head and Gypsy thinks it's a mountain to be conquered...

I promised myself that if I really wanted to shop I would look for other knitting tools that I have been clicking back to over and over again. I've purchased some stitch markers, some new needles (I now have something like four sets of size 2 needles), a new project bag. But no yarn. 

It's been 25 days. I've looked at yarn. I've though about buying yarn certainly. There has been browsing around etsy and Webs and The Loopy Ewe. I considered putting in a near wholesale order with Kathryn at Ewetopia on her sport weight sock wool--but resisted as I knew the BMFA skeins were on their way.

The goal is to make it until at least the end of January. I still have a gift card from the ladies I used to work with and it's burning an evil hole in my pocket. I want to rush to Loopy and grab beautiful skeins and wave them about. And that's gift money, I tell myself, not me actually spending money. 

But I don't need wool. I am resisting. At least until February 1. Maybe longer if  I can hold out.

It's not a diet. It's being prudent.

And let us all be honest with each other: I've finished a single sock so far this month. It's not like I'm going to run out anytime soon. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Plodding Knit Stitch at a Time

It's much harder to be a prolific knitter when social obligations call you away from the needles for more than one evening a week. I'm enjoying being very social again but I've overdone it a bit and found myself duly leveled on Saturday. An ambitious cold virus set me sleeping 36 hours straight, interrupted only by one attempt at a warm cup of tea and two feedings of a cat who would not be ignored. Gypsy was very confused and worried that I wouldn't get up otherwise, always nice to have someone squeaky fussing over you.

Fortunately AudioGirl and the Therapist are happy to plan knit nights and someday I might be able to lure the Cartoonist over for a civilized evening of tea and biscuits and swearing at wool.

In the interim, I make no progress on the blanket, nor the shawls. I did however take possession of the last yarn purchase of 2010: four skeins of Socks that Rock in Medium Weight. It's approximately a sport weight, for those playing along, which puts it in the category of Hedgehog's favorite sock weight. I've only ever had one other skein of STR and that went to AudioGirl in a swap before I started seriously knitting socks.

Jan24 002
The skein on the far left (Puck's Mischief) is bound for a shawl. AudioGirl and I agreed it's just too lovely to be consigned to feet. Personally, I think she sounded a little skeptical about a couple of the other skeins, but an interesting sock drawer I want and so I shall have. The other three skeins are destined for work sock knitting: 2x2 rib socks, hauled around campus and knit through meetings. At the rate I'm knitting at work this should last me until the end of spring semester. The to be sock colors include Gypsum (now down from the website on vacation), My Blue Heaven (blues and greens, shocking I know), and Never on a Sunday (pretty and bright, hopefully will help me think of spring). 

But for now these skeins are still in sock queue as I spend my time in a Purple Pond and with Seafoam Socks.

The Seafoams only get worked on at work. Since I did not take them to that last meeting where I could knit, that means they get a couple rounds a day, as I'm trying to explain the inter-library loan page over the telephone or listening to a webinar that's not note taking intensive.

I just turned the heel on the first sock and I'm working down the gusset. Last count I have about a half dozen more decrease rows before I can charge on down the foot and finish this sock. The yarn is warm and slubby but I'm less in love with it than I was. It's not the yarn's fault, it's just my own fickle nature thinking that oh, that's all I have to knit in the office when I have five minutes or need to stop briefly and clear my head. My systems administrator thinks I'm strange for knitting while he installs things on my computer. I think it makes far more sense than me hovering asking "are you done yet?" every twenty seconds.

At home, when I have five minutes not taken with sleep or petting a very neglected feline (the other side effect of being social--the cat is displeased), I'm working on the Purple Pond socks.

And I finished one!!

Jan24 008

The yarn definitely got much muddier/quieter as it knit up.In the skein it was very vibrant and now it is pleasantly chipper. We're still dealing with a multicolored sock but not one needing to announce its presence to the aliens on other planets.  

Jan24 007

The remaining half skein of sock yarn is taunting me. It's not getting cast on this evening. I have five things that must needs be done and then I'm going to bed. I'm still not quite at 100%. 

There's always tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guilty Expression

There are rumors going about that I have shamefully been ignoring my to-do list in favor of yet another pair of 2x2 rib socks dubbed Purple Pond.

Jan02 003You should in no way believe that I've been trying to figure out best stitch count for me on size 1 needles so I can start knitting up the fingering weight yarn rather than going out and buying more sport weight yarn. Nor that I'm going with a count of 64 stitches because 72 just seems excessive when I do 48/52 on size 2s....

Nor should you be tempted to think that I turned the heel of Sock 1 at the Brunette's hotel room last night while we waited for Restaurant Man to join us so we could head to dinner.*

There might be some truth in the fact that this Knit Picks Stroll Yarn in Make Believe gets much muddier as knitted and isn't so bright. I know this happens when you squish colors together, I've seen allusions and explanations on blogs of dyers and yarn teachers. But I'm not sure how I feel about the end fabric yet.  I'm also trying not to be skeptical about the yarn in general. I've been working with some really cushy yarns and KP Stroll is more of a work horse yarn than a squishy wool. I think this will make the socks hold up longer. I hope anyway...

And finally, we will not be mentioning the other pair of 2x2 socks, the Seafoams, being knit on my beloved size 2s at 48 stitches, or that I just finally got to the heel flap on sock 1 for because I did not take them to the three hour meeting yesterday through which I couldn't possibly have been knitting the Purple Pond socks.

MDTrans 063

The Seafoams, which are the official work sock project at the moment, are being knit out of Ewetopian Fibers Hand Dyed Merino/Nylon Sock. It's wool from Ewetopia Farm--so I'm getting to create very locally produced socks. It is very sheepy sock yarn, sport weight (or excessively heavy fingering--take your pick), and this is a rare skein that Gypsy has wanted to lick/pummel/claim as her own. Which is why I'm knitting these solely at work.

*I did talk to the Brunette about his flip-tops. He was wearing his Dashing and mentioned several people at work have asked about them. We confirmed thumb plans and that he would like a snap or button or something to hold the flip back. Also, he'd like first knuckle individual fingers. I really must love this man. Restaurant Man was listening with interest, I suspect he'd like a pair too.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Knitting Deadlines and Obligations

Though I've knit a little each day of the new year, it hasn't been a great amount. Most days I think I've managed a total of about four rounds on a sock. Considering November and December's output, I'm not particularly impressed with myself. My knitmeter on the sidebar of the blog still sadly says that I have not knit this year, because I don't put things in until I finish the item.

Granted, this could be just a little whiplash from the holiday knitting. There were an excessive number of City Shawls. In thinking about it though, I realize I have a fair amount of deadline focused knitting that I need to get started on/back to/cracking the whip so that perhaps I will have things rolling before August...

  1. My mom asked for a knitted headband in black. I made her one in green--which she wears a lot but it's kind of a strange shade and doesn't work with all of her clothing. Black would be better. I would be very happy all winter if I could live in a modified version of Hugs-n-Kisses-with-Love Headband. I don't do the hearts in the ribbing and I do a wider ribbing than the pattern calls for I think.  
  2. I started one more City Shawl for a coworker who had left just slightly before I did from my last job. She was the first coworker besides my immediate supervisors who knew I was leaving--finding out on Friday (everyone else the following Tuesday) because I wouldn't have seen her to share the news for nearly a week otherwise. I told her and her first response was "Me too!" We shared our goodbye celebration in November. I need to get that shawl done. 
  3. I've signed up to be in the Knitgirlll's Small Shawl/Kerchief Swap. I won't find out who my swap partner is for another week or so and then that's due in March. I'm waiting to see who I get and hoping their color preferences align with my current stash. If not--oh look an excuse to go yarn shopping. 
  4. There are two babies in my near future: a cousin and a friend who was really close in college. Less so now but it's his first and in honor of that friendship. One baby is due in March and the other July. I have some non-wool stash that will probably be designated for these babies. 
  5. One of my favorite people to knit for is the Brunette. He wears the things I've made him. So when last I saw him we discussed the need for flip-top mittens that would have a way for him still to text. Not being able to find a single complete pattern that I like, I've been cobbling things together. As he's appearing in Chicago on Tuesday to see a client, these are going to have to get some serious knitting time in over the weekend. (A weekend which is--I might mention--already full with social engagements, most of which I cannot knit at and which I really can't knit mittens I'm making up as I go at, which could be a problem). 
  6. Flip top mittens and more headbands for me!  I've been wearing the same pair of mittens all winter. They're fine but they aren't flip tops.
  7. I've never actually knit a sweater. I taught a couple of my knitting kids how to knit sweaters. I've walked them all the way through the process. Having sewn for many years helps with that. But I've never knit one and that was a spring goal.
  8. Thrumb mitten kit. I got one for Christmas from AudioGirl. We're supposed to get together and knit them--as she has a kit too. Between 2-3 a.m. on Fridays I guess because dang if I can figure out when our schedules collide. 
  9. The pink afghan. It got stuffed into a bag after the last debacle of ripping and I haven't put in my hour on it this week. But it is only Thursday. There are three more days. 
  10. I need a new on-the-go project. I have a pair of vanilla socks that are living at work in anticipation of long knittable meetings or days I have to go back and forth across campus (15 minute bus ride each way). But everything else requires a chart or concentration or it just has become too unwieldy.  
  11. The other UFOs cluttering up the apartment. I need to finish or start ripping. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Last of Last Year...

I did finish two pair of vanilla socks during extended meetings and such last year. The Incredibly-Patient-Mother got the Water Lily Socks for Christmas.  She will wear wool socks and it makes me happy to think that she'll have warm feet.  I inherited her perpetually cold feet.

These socks are for me though. I've decided I'd like to have about  a dozen pair in my sock drawer so I don't have to do sock laundry every weekend between now and May. Of course, as I only have about five pair right now (Green, Teal, Burgundy, Blue, and those White/Purple/Green, yup five) that's going to be a bit of knitting. Still, I said I was charging in and making progress on some stash this spring, right?


Jan02 001

How Many Meetings Socks (Rav Link)
Needles: Size 2 (2.75 mm)
Yarn: Ewetopia Fiber Shop Merino Sportweight in Spruce
Stitch Count: 52
2x2 Rib, Flap/Gusset Heel, Continue ribbing on top of sock, Rounded Toe.

Jan02 002

Squashed Bugs Socks (Rav Link)
Needles: Size 2 (2.75 mm)
Yarn: Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in VW Bug
Stitch Count: 52
2x2 Rib, Flap/Gusset Heel, Continue ribbing on top of sock, Rounded Toe.

I've already wound up some more yarn for another pair of 2x2 socks. Also, I'm looking at a pair of Cookie A Monkies.  Maybe.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

That New Year Not Quite a Half Marathon.....

It's going to be a coming from behind what with all of this already lost 9 inches of afghan knitting due to user error but dang it...here I go on my 20km journey.

I'm a KnitGirllls fan and hang out occasionally on the Rav Boards. One of the recent threads was chatting about what we'd like to do for 2011. I'm amazed how no one ever seems to say "I want to spend the next year buying lots and lots of stash!" No, we all say that we're going to lose weight. I'm no different, but it's interesting to notice. We all seem to have way too much wool and be aware of a societal requirement that we proclaim that we need to reduce the amount.  I wonder if other crafters feel equally guilty? (Besides quilters and sewers who are pleading similar excesses of fabric) I can't remember my best friend ever saying he has too many fishing flies or supplies for them. It seems that perhaps because this is a predominantly female craft that storing extras, spare parts, etc is shameful and something we should take care that others aren't aware of what we have. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee talks about stash being a very private thing--as the muggles don't understand--but she's also good to point out that yarn is our medium and pointing out that owning lots of paint when you're a painter isn't considered odd. 

I have very specific reasons for wanting to work with stash this year:
  • I moved into a smaller apartment.
  • That apartment has only 2 very small closets and both of those are full of clothing. 
  • I have been given and have purchased beautiful yarn. I want to get it out and do something with it!
 I'm aware things will cycle and I'll buy more yarn. I refuse to look at that as shameful or something to be hidden just because it's a craft others don't understand*.  My grandfather did woodwork for years without us asking disdainfully if he really needed more wood or wood tools.  Nope, if you could figure out something he didn't have in the workshop, that was something to consider as a Christmas or birthday gift.

So I'll craft from stash because it's beautiful yarn I own, trying to think of it as using the paints I already love, rather than from any sense of guilt. Yarn and guilt shouldn't belong in the same sentence.

Oh, and I just realized. One of my best friends will be in CHI in 10 days. He asked for some flip top mitts and I agreed, though I didn't put a deadline on them. I'm going to use worsted though. Wonder if I can get those done before he gets here.  Off to rummage for some black worsted weight.  

* We'll talk about the guy who told me that my knitting was intimidating another time when I'm not quite so off-kilter about it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Dunk in the Frog Pond

Had a rather interesting mishap with the Lattice and Lace afghan. Apparently, at some point about 9 inches ago I shifted the pattern and decreased a four stitches.  I'm not exactly sure how that happened.  I'm going to blame eggnog. So I dropped just those end stitches and fished out a crochet hook to fix it...

Jan01 011

And I was really just going to do that, but I know I've made a couple other clutzy mistakes in the past few inches. Ones I had decided I could live with in an acrylic afghan that I'm going to give away five minutes after it's done to whichever of my friends speaks up the loudest. This assuming that the Incredibly-Patient-Mother doesn't want it. It does kind of work with her current living room decor....anyway, not the point.

I frogged. Frogged back to the row where I decided to shift things. I lost 9 inches of knitting, which isn't an unbearable amount but it's very sad.  Gypsy thought she should be allowed to attack the yarn while I'm unwinding it from the afghan and is presently shunning me because I said no.

Jan01 012

So I'm about 9" further along than I was when I first picked it up again at the Incredibly-Patient-Mother's house over Christmas. I'm attempting not to heave a deep, put upon sigh. 

Current afghan length: 32" w/o stretching

Jan01 013

Width is about 42" without stretching.  Because it has a sort of ribbed pattern it pulls in a bit so it will stretch to four feet wide without too much work.

I have this much left before I go back to burgundy.

Jan01 015

I have six skeins of burgundy and another pound or so of the rose.  I'm going to start with the ball and if I need the skein I'll use it. Otherwise the skein is leaving the house and being disavowed.

Jan01 016

Gypsy thinks the blanket should stay living here.

Jan01 017

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...