Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two Quick Things: Help it Grow and Socks

Hey---just two quick things for this afternoon:

Thing 1:
My former place of work, La Crosse Public Library, is working towards their Annual Knitting in Public Day. This used to be my baby, so it's interesting to see how it's changed now that I've left and who has taken it on. There's a remote chance I'll get to go but right now that's still extremely vague.

They are doing a "Knit to the River" project--with a goal of a knitted scarf that would reach from the library building to the Mississippi. Currently they are at 30% of their goal.  It's very easy-- cast on 20 stitches on size 8 (5mm) needles and go to town.  The collected pieces will be turned into blankets after the project is over.  If you're interested, check the facebook link above. We're on a tight timeline--pieces are due June 7 but there is a holiday weekend coming up.

Thing 2:
This is what happens when I realize that I still haven't bound of toes on all of the socks being currently knitted so I can start a second of a pair or whatnot.

I now have 5 pair of socks on the needles.

A Moment of Pottery

Ever since hearing about yarn bowls, I've wanted one. While I'm not sure I'd use one all that often, I'm usually on the go and my knitting is squashed into a pocket, bag, purse, or wherever else I can manage to stuff it for the walk to the train, I think they are lovely and I'm happy to see independent potters adding to my craft.

Jennie the Potter is well known for her work. I've seen her at a number of shows but had never felt inclined to purchase. Then, around Valentine's Day, she offered a limited number of custom orders. Jennie's bowls always have a sheep and a ball of yarn on them. For the custom order, I could pick what color sheep and what color yarn.

Raise your hand if you knew what color ball of yarn I got without looking at the pictures?

It's lovely! Heavy pottery, lovely glaze. I have been using it for the Tess Shawl out of the Lorna's, as I've actually been home working on that.  Who knew! This one won't go to work with me, but I wouldn't be sad to have another one in the future that I could put work knitting in on my desk.



Happy Sheep!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shawl On, With Hope in Your Hearts...

I loved the play Carousel when I was little. As an adult, I have some pretty serious issues with the normalization of spousal abuse but the music at least still makes me happy.

I decided to join in on Wendy Johnson's latest KAL. She has such beautiful patterns and a bottom up shawl, while not something I've done before, sounded like quite a fun idea. I've only gotten through the cast on so far and please, forgive the awful colors. Fiber Optic yarn does not photograph to the brilliance that it is nor the depth of purple. This is more purple than blue in person.


I also decided that I wanted to get out some long neglected Lorna's Laces and make a shawl for myself for work.  I have my giant Malabrigo Clapotis there, but it doesn't tie around me and blue isn't always how I'm feeling. The air conditioning promises to keep me cold all summer, so I felt this was a practical undertaking (worsted weight wool, just as it's getting hot. Brilliant idea, right?)

Originally I bought this yarn with the intent of knitting a hat and scarf for a girl with whom I am not really close enough to knit items for. I wasn't really then either, but I had high hopes. I got two feet into a wavy scarf and ran out of energy. For three years this gorgeous purple yarn was ignored in my stash because it had meaning. I was supposed to be doing something with it. After moving back to Chicago, I ripped out the partial scarf, rewound the yarn, left it alone for a couple of weeks, and just started a shawl.

A garter stitch shawl.  I think I must be the most boring knitblogger ever---2x2 rib socks and garter stitch.  It's the Tess D'Ubervilles pattern.  I chose it because I wanted something mindless (1) and I wanted something long to wrap around but also be triangular. I liked the look of the shaping for this shawl.  Also, it calls for the amount of yarn that I have in the Lorna's.


It's plugging right along. The yarn is wonderfully cozy and I'm glad to finally be getting to use it. I love the subtleties of all of the purples and can't wait to wear this.  Working on size 10 needles means this grows much faster than the socks on size 0s.

These two projects, once done, will be another 1K approximately....see how I'm making plans to get through 5K this summer! There's a little method to my madness,  but only a bit.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sock Onward....

When last we left the intrepid hedgehog, she was knitting her way through the Medical Library Association conference.  Knitting has continued but we've noticed quite the slowing down since she's gotten back to Chicago. Pesky things like work, sleeping, feeding the cat, and needing to answer emails just keep getting in the way.

Socks 1: The Corn Socks

Getting there! We're getting there. I'm through the gusset on the 2nd sock and working down the foot. I've got another couple inches to go before I start the toe.  I am very ready for these to be off the needles.

Socks 2: The New Green Socks

These have seen absolutely no knitting time and love. I started working on the toe of sock one, realized I didn't have the time to futz around with the toe and stuffed them back in their project bag. Then I realized I'd only brought that one sock--the other ball of wool was still at Chez Hedgehog in Chicago. So I ignored them for the rest of the conference. Now I'm home and have access to the wool, I'll get this one off the needles in short order.

Socks 3: Indulgent Green

I am slightly further. I bound off the toe of the first sock and have done a few rounds on the second sock. I lost a day last week when the sheer need for sleep kept me in bed until 2:30 p.m. on Thursday (I'm fine, needed extra sleep post conference). The Bugga yarn is SO squishy and so very very indulgent. Part of me is sad that this is becoming socks and yet why not put something on your feet that you will feel so wonderful wearing. And I don't think the Gryphon is going to stop dying any time soon, so for now, I can always get more.


Once these socks are finished, that will knock off the better part of 1K off the summer goal. Not a bad start, if I can just keep rocking.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We Must, We Must, We Must Reduce Our Stuff

Remember how I said in January I was going to knit up 20K this year?  It's nearly June and I'm at 2.5K. This does not bode well for the stashing down, especially when I go on woolly binges and end up with enough sock yarn to outfit a ship. Sock yarn may not count as official stash but it does take up room in the office. 

Obviously I need a little healthy competition to keep me going, get me back on track and get things rolling. Enter the KnitGirllls--Leslie and Laura. I watch their vodcast every week and was stunned how Laura managed to knit through 50 skeins of yarn last summer. Granted, she's a school librarian and has a little more time than those of us still at work all day and by her own admission, she plowed through a lot of bulkier yarns.  It's far faster to use up all of the bulky weight than it is all of the fingering when one is on a deadline.  This year, the mission is 5K of yarn between 5/27 and 8/15--which is Laura's summer break. There's plenty of cheating allowed (you can finish a languishing project after the 27th and count all the yardage) but I'm hoping it will inspire me to get a few things off the needles and maybe get a little more back on track.  Also, I have all that cotton that needs to be knit up. 

Such it is I am joining the ladies. I'm working on various projects this week but will dutifully not be finishing anything before Friday.  Then, all stops are out and I'm going to be seeing just how much I can bind off.  So keep an eye on the Knit Meter ---> over there ----> and I'll be reporting in.  If you'd like to play along too, please sign up for the group on Ravelry and join the Stash Dash.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Does Stash Down Mean the Yardage Numbers Go Up?

If it doesn't, oh am I in trouble. That's right, I went wool shopping again.  First of all, I would like to thank and blame Sherri at The Loopy Ewe for her tantalizing updates. The Loopy Ewe tweets are some of a very select few that come to my cell phone--and I don't just mean on the Twitter app. No, no, those get their own text message.  So when she posted about Nichole Schaefer Twofers....I was pretty powerless to resist.  Here I'd made it through more than one Wollmeise update, but special one time only Schaefer skeins? I had no chance at all.

While Nichole calls itself a fingering on Ravelry, I'm a little skeptical. It feels awfully sport weight to me but I'll compromise and call it a heavy fingering. It's dense and squishy and it going to knit up into something absolutely marvelous.

First up is Spruce. Apologies that this is a little fuzzy. I was having trouble with this particular yarn tonight.It's pretty standard Abigail yarn: greens/blues/grays....


And then, then I got sucked into a colorway I can't explain. As a general rule I don't buy super highly variegated skeins. The Socks that Rock that I've gotten from BMFA are about as daring as I get. I'm going to have to make Turtle Girl's Breaking Hearts pattern out of these just to keep the colors from horribly pooling or striping. Debating who I can find who'll want really tall socks in these super bright shades. I blame a late spring--if it was brighter outside perhaps I would not be seeking sock yarns that can nearly blind the knitter. This is Janis Joplin.


Isn't it pretty? It's a hair more orange than that picture shows--not quite so golden rod but that's a close as the monitor would cooperate. I may just keep it and hug it and squeeze it and use it to ward off Seasonal Sad.

To round out The Loopy Ewe Order (don't want to pay for shipping now do we?) I got


Charts Made Simple by JC Briar. This has been recommended by just about everyone who could recommend it.  I haven't had a chance to read it yet, I don't doubt it will rock my world.

And then, just one more little purchase. I happened into Loopy the other day. There was method to the madness, I was meeting someone there. But they still had the KPPPM on clearance and well, since I had the time to rummage through it and find multiple skeins in the same colorway....


I now have 875 yards of Blueberry.  Also known as P722 Dyelot 23.  I like Blueberry better personally.

I have no particular plans for any of this yarn. Which means I've added another 2175 yards to the stash.

As the Incredibly-Patient-Mother has oft reminded me, I could have much worse habits. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Conferencing Knitting

I'm attending a conference and that means LOTS of knitting time.  I knew this and stuffed projects in my bag accordingly.  I forgot the cable for my camera though and a borked phone camera means no photos. My apologies. I wasn't about to buy a third camera cable. 

When I packed at home I had:

  • Socks 1: The Corn Yarn socks. I was at the toe of Sock 1 and it has been sadly waiting for me to finish it and more on to sock 1.2  (These are one size 1 needles)
  • Socks 2: The New Green socks. I was through the heel but hadn't gotten down the foot of sock 2.1 (These are on size 0 needles)
  • Socks 3: This was a ball of Sanguine Gryphon Bugga that I threw in my bag because I knew I'd hit the toes of socks and need something else.
On the flight here and in transit to the hotel and for Day 0 of the conference, I got sock 2.1 down to the toe. But then Day 1 of the conference dawned this morning. I left my hotel room at 7 a.m. and did not return until around 9 p.m. Because I was moving a lot and didn't have time to think about things like sock toes, I grabbed the Bugga and headed out. I cast on at breakfast. Bugga is sport weight yarn and I'm knitting it up on size 2 needles (2.75 mm) so by lunch I was turning the heel and by my 4:30 p.m. session I realized that I'd better start working from the other end of the ball of yarn.  Fortunately, though I'm knitting these mostly on 9" circular needles, I also brought DPNs for the toes.  So, sock 3.1 is ready for the toe decreases and sock 3.2 is about 3/4" into the cuff. Day 2 was all about working on Sock 1.2 Since it's on smaller needles, I only got through the leg today. Slacking pitifully right?

It's been very amusing. A lot of people stop me to proclaim that they can't walk and knit at the same time. I have not regaled anyone yet of the long tradition of women carrying their knitting with them to ensure they were not wasting time. I've had conversations about the difference between picking and throwing stitches, knitting baby sweaters, and so on and so forth. It gives people something to exclaim about and I'm happy to provide that. 

So, present status for the conference:

Sock 1.1 -- DONE (except to weave in the ends)

Sock 1.2 -- Ready to turn the heel

Sock 2.1 -- Working on the toe

Sock 2.2 -- Not yet begun
Sock 3.1 -- Working on the toe

Sock 3.2 -- 3/4" into the cuff

Now onto Day 3 and the going home portion of the week.

Monday, May 9, 2011

There and Back Again

It looks as though I've accomplished almost nothing on the green sock but I have. I frogged it entirely, cast on four fewer stitches and now I've gotten back through all of the yarn I had knit and am on to new yarn. I'm almost to the point where I can turn the heel, which is definitely progress, it just doesn't always feel like it. Socks on size 0 needles take so much longer than socks on size 2 needles.  

The sock has come a variety of places. It went to a couple bars with the Philosopher, other friends and I over the weekend and around Shedd Aquarium yesterday. The Trombonist, the Philosopher and I went to see the Jellies exhibit! It is incredibly peaceful to watch all of the jellyfish float around, though we did wonder which intern has the horrible job of opening the tank in the evening and untangling/combing all of the jellies who got twisted around each other during the day. In one tank it appeared that all of the jellies might tangle together and what a knotted mess that might be!!  I wonder if they have natural detangling abilities or just plan to lose tentacles if needing to go a separate way.  

We also saw a very pregnant Beluga whale, adorable sea otters,sea horses, and a couple of really giant crustaceans. It was far more interesting than what I remembered from my last visit to Shedd, which was memorialized for me in having walls of brown and tedious trout. The interactive features left a fair amount to be desired (press here for a something on this board to light up!) but we did like the touch screen information of what was in different tanks and then various creatures were by themselves quite amazing.  

Onward through the sock.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Needles Just Keep Getting Smaller

I got one pair of socks off the needles and despite the two pair that were on the needles (why yes, the Languishing Green Socks are still languishing, why do you ask?), I felt the need to go rummaging in the pre-wound sock yarn. I originally cast on using size 1 (2.25 mm) needles but decided that it was too loose so I went down to size 0 (2 mm).  I cast on 76 stitches and started on them.

The yarn is KPPPM. They don't name their colorways, I called it Spring Green and I'm calling the socks New Green on my Ravelry page. While primarily green there is a lot of yellow and blue and hints of brown.


The yarn is dense and squishy. Unfortunately when I tried the socks on AudioGirl on Tuesday, since she's getting these eventually, probably part of her birthday gift, we found that it was about 4 stitches too loose. So the progress you see in the below picture is gone.


But I'm almost done with Corn Sock 1 (started on the toe Tuesday at AudioGirl's) and I'll get these back on the needles soon at 72 stitches.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

About the Cotton....

013When one buys 15 lbs of cotton, one is rather obliged to start knitting up cotton. Fortunately, AudioGirl piped right up and requested a new bathmat. I agreed, but she had to fork over the size 11 circulars. My KnitPicks Harmony Interchange-ables are in a project and I was not digging them out.

Size 11 needles, 55 stitches, two colors of cotton, and miles of garter stitch. It's heavy and unwieldy but between Castle, the laundromat, some time watching knitting vlogs and a couple of episodes of Numb3rs and I finished it Monday night. It's about 27" wide and 36" long. I had about 3 yards of yellow left over (not enough for another row) and about 17 yards of blue. Not bad for a week's work. The cones are supposed to have 394 yards per--so 780 yards in a week and that's certainly not all the knitting that I did.

Of course, one must include the cat for scale. Please note that while she was wearing a harness for this photo opportunity she was not happy about it. My backyard is not secure though and my next door neighbors have two very big dogs (and a new puppy!) who think Gypsy looks like a delightful snack.

I'd forgotten how much cotton chews up my hands.  I've been powering through it though and dang if large needles and bulky weight doesn't knit up quickly!! I am a huge fan of things this, especially considering that we're now into MAY and I'm trying to figure out how it is that I'll get through another 17,500 meters of yarn before the end of the year to finish my 20K stash down.This finally pushed me over the 2500 meters. If I make a couple more, that will certainly make a dent but doesn't really reduce the stash since this is all new yarn this year.


(Also...fess up, how many of YOU ended up buying cotton?)

I'm not only working on that though. I broke out a crochet hook to see if I could remember how to whip up a grocery bag. I made an excessive amount of these the last time I bought too much cotton. But I'm in a new city and have different friends who might also need to be assaulted with cotton bags.

Verdict? Well, I remember how to do it but I was having a miserable time with it. It may just have been the hook I was using but I kept splitting the yarn, dropping the stitches. I suffered through one bag. I may try again with a different hook, smaller hook? It was frustrating enough that I'm not charging back into it for the moment.

020And --as you can see peeking into the picture above and now here, I'm working on some washcloths. These are being whipped through on size 10 needles (6 mm) and are at 30 stitches. I'm doing a few rows of garter, then three stitches of garter on either side as a border and stockinette in the middle. Very TV knitting.  I'm hoping one of my friends will pop up at the end of this post and say that they have an electric pink, black and white bathroom and are in dire need of washcloths. Otherwise these are going in a gift tub to be inflicted on unsuspecting recipients at a future date. So far, I have three washcloths.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stripes Go Marching 2x2 Hurrah Hurrah....

Apr17 017I finished another pair of socks! And I don't think you've seen these yet?  I can't find any pictures that I've yay! New socks.

I decided to see how my standard 2x2 rib would translate down to a size 1.5 (2.5mm) needle. I cast on my usual 48 stitches and went charging through a skein of BMFA Socks that Rock in the Gypsum colorway.

Oh BMFA STR Mediumweight. How I love you.....  After wrangling the ugly socks and working on cotton socks, there's something very satisfying about getting back to a good wool that you know and enjoy.  Not that there's anything wrong with the other two pairs of socks, but it's a treat for the hands.

022And they're done! Wasn't that quick? They hung out on the needles for about a month. I'd have been done much sooner but I was avoiding the toe of sock 2 in my tried and true can't-take-it-in-public way.

They're a little small for me, so as soon as they are off the sock blockers they'll be headed off to a pair of size 6.5 feet in Atlanta.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Surprise in the Mail!

I started reading the Knit Princess web comic a while back. Allison (the KP) has a lovely sense of humor and definitely brings out some of the best and worst in knitters.  Recently on her blog she put out a call for assistants for Sock Summit. I volunteered and while I was not chosen, she did send me a wonderful consolation prize.


Here are the first two Knit Princess Books!  She's got lovely extra comics and commentary running along the bottom, along with getting to revisit the humor and stories she's presented. I recommend it as one of those things you can suggest to people who'd like to get you something knitting related but they aren't quite ready to brave the yarn store. And if you see her at Sock Summit, grab her books!!!

Thanks Allison!

This is why we can't have nice things.

I've lamented the paucity of cabinet space at Chez Hedgehog before and, no doubt, will again. There was a rather spectacular event the other day though....

I've been trying to "eat down" the stuff in the cabinets in an attempt to not have so much food just sitting around. One of these things was a box of Angel Hair pasta, on which I had made a pretty serious dent. Said box was shoved on top of a shelf over the sink, where the jars of flour and sugar live.

There was no warning, merely a rustling crash one evening while I was otherwise engaged in the livingroom. I turned around to find that the angel hair had apparently decided to take it's own life rather than waiting to be boiled, covered in tomato sauce, and devoured.


While I believe in the five second rule for some foods, I do not follow with the dishdrainer rule. The pasta has gone on to other things.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Non-Wool Socks

I mentioned last post that I'm working on a pair of socks made out of corn yarn.

I bought the yarn at Baskets of Yarn in La Crosse--Judy's shop. I was a little intrigued by the idea of yarn that wasn't wool or acrylic or cotton, none of the more usual fibers.  The skeins I grabbed were some of the only solid colored ones she had left. I remember that her sample socks had been done up in one of the solids and she said as a result everyone had grabbed solids.

The yarn has sat neglected in my stash. I've tried putting it on For Trade or Sale a couple of times on Ravelry and it went into the bin that I took to the local group right before I moved. No one bought it or wanted to trade. But I couldn't quite bear to give it away, as I had much other stash that went to various people.

A few weeks ago I put together a basket of sock yarn. I have a tendency to be at a crucial point in a sock (usually needing to finish off a toe) when I am  headed out the door. Due to my preference to put on a sock about eight times during the toe decrease process, this makes it rather impractical for the train. So as to facilitate the whole "I need a new sock RIGHT NOW" process--I wound up a bunch of yarn that had been designated for socks. This way, I need only seek out needles and possibly a stitchmarker or three. The corn yarn, not needing to be wound, also went into the basket and got cast on the other day.

It's corn fiber and elastic nylon in the color of "Nut Brown."  It has a very cottony feel to it, as confirmed by any number of people who were at an Easter party that included Peep Wars*. I'm most of the way through the first sock, waiting on AudioGirl, who is designated sock recipient, to try them on so I can start the toe process.

I'm using size 1 needles and my incredibly unexciting but ever so practical 2x2 rib. I'm glad the yarn is finally getting used, it was starting to generate some negative vibes for having been so long neglected.

*Peep Wars

  1. Face two peeps on a plate (paper might be better)
  2. Arm them with toothpick lances
  3. Place in the microwave (make sure it is at viewing height) and set for 15 seconds
  4. Whichever peep overcomes or stabs the other one first: WINS
  5. Winners and losers can be served immediately on graham crackers. 

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, ...