Monday, August 29, 2011

Who Wears Dark Socks?

Some days I'm very hard on myself about how much knitting I do--or rather how much I don't do. I look at friends who knit, bloggers, certain sisters, and other people and I wonder what I'm doing wrong, or why I'm not as productive as they are.  Part of it has to do with a lot of work obligations and a morning commute that doesn't allow for knitting (packed in like sardines on a lurching train doesn't lend itself...), part of it in that it isn't my job, part of it is a social life that doesn't always lend itself to knitting--though friends, family, coworkers, and many complete strangers will try to convince you that I knit everywhere.

I have to remind myself then that knitting is supposed to be my craft, my hobby, the thing I do to relax and because I enjoy it--not because I'm obligated to do it. Knitting, or thinking about knitting, shouldn't be something the prompts guilt. I haven't quite figured out how to make that all work but I keep reminding myself and hoping that eventually it'll kick in.

Things are slowly stitching along at Chez Hedgehog. The primary project to receive work of late has been a pair of black socks for the Incredibly-Patient-Mother. She wears a lot of black socks and it's really her preference. She's been willing to wear some of the extra brightly colored ones I've knit her thus far but I know she'd really like something basic that isn't going to show with the black socks and pants she wears most of the time. 

Today I managed to get sock 2 cast on! I'd finished sock 1 over the weekend, going to have her try it on when she comes to visit in a week or so.  We had a 90 minute (actual time 105 ish) all staff meeting this morning and I huddled in a corner and worked 2x2 rib while hearing about people who have retired, staffing shifts, and a few new positions that we'll be hiring! Hooray for hiring! I'm on the search committee for at least one position, I have a feeling that's going to be a lot of reading of resumes and a lot of meetings. 

These black socks are pair number 13 on the needles for 2011.  The Rainbow Stripe socks got a little love over the weekend, though I'm still not quite to the toe on Sock 2 and I apparently need to rip out the toe of Sock 1 and add just a handful more rows. 

I have, however, swatched for the sweater, made a small project, and gone to a yarn festival. So if I can just survive through the rest of the work that needs to be done today, perhaps I can spend a couple hours getting some pictures taken and show you the new shiny things I have. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Luck Go With a Lady Last Night....

The Lucky Socks are done! Annnnnd, they've already been wrapped up and gifted so you don't get a final sock picture.

It was my friend Katie's birthday last week. Katie asked me a while back to help her learn how to knit socks and while we've started, we've both been so crazy busy that progress has been really slow.  I thought this might inspire her again.

Imagine that the needles are gone and there's a toe:

Now it's been all Rainbow Stripe Socks all the time. I'm through the gusset decreases on Sock 2. I broke it out at a couple of social events this weekend--not the wedding or reception, but at a post official wedding festivities bar the following day and at a rousing round of Rock Band. We discovered that using a size 0 knitting needle is a much easier way to get the tambourine sounds for the vocals than smacking the mic against our hands, legs, etc.  Easier on the mic than banging it on the table too.  

The Philosopher's Belt has gotten no love, the black socks that I started for my mum have gotten zero knitting time. The afghans I keep meaning to finish are sitting gathering dust.  So what have I done?

I've volunteered to test knit a sweater by the end of September. A sweater in fingering weight. On size 3 needles. I've gone through my stash virtually (thank you Ravelry!) and figured out which of two yarns I think will be most appropriate and where I have enough yardage. I'll swatch in the very near future and see what I can do with them. 

Tomorrow finds me in an eight hour meeting (then I get to go back to work for three hours! Yay). Hopefully some of that time can be knitting time. I have a sock to finish. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Down the Stripes

I was charging right along through the summer, knitting up a storm, and then I hit some brick wall.

Part of it came from a sore right hand. I knit through the fourth of July weekend unceasingly. The definition of a process knitter, I knit because it's soothing and keeps me from fidgeting in other, less socially appropriate ways. Just leave me in the corner to knit, really. Only, I'd overdone it and knitting for very long began to hurt. That's never a good sign. 

A lot of it has been just being really overwhelmed recently. The Philosopher can attest that of late I've been incredibly frustrated and grumpy mostly because I don't feel that I've got a good handle on everything that needs to be done, I don't have enough evenings at home, and I don't have enough reading/knitting time. Not being able to step back, step out and allow myself the recuperation time is really wearing on me. 

So mostly I've just been carrying knitting around. There hasn't been much progress, just yarn a few inches away waiting on me.  And today the few stitches here and there are finally starting to feel as though they add up.

I'm just ready to turn the heel on Sock 2 of the Rainbow Stripes.  Everything is still fine with these socks, size 0 needles, KPPPM yarn, my standard vanilla 2x2 rib. I'm still amused watching the stripes coil around the leg and, thinking about the person they are intended for when done, hoping that they will like them. 

Knitting's my detox time and my escape and too little of that makes for a really sad and frustrated hedgehog. Hoping to fix that soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Pair of Needles at Rest...

KnitIn2008 153
(Image borrowed and linked from La Crosse Public Library Flickr Account, taken by my sister, click through to see lots of other pictures of Joyce from that day)

I heard via Facebook that Joyce Williams passed away today. It was news that brought a huge wave of sadness.

Right after I moved to La Crosse, I was tasked with hosting the Knitting in Public Day. They'd done one, a Knitting for Peace Day, to such success that they wanted to repeat it. While enthusiastic, I didn't know very many Wisconsin knitters yet. (That would change!) Local Knitting Maven Betty Kendrick suggested that we call her friend Joyce and ask if she'd be willing to speak.

Joyce's acceptance was prompt and gracious. And she asked for as many mannequins as I could round up.

When Joyce arrived she brought a huge trunk show of knitting: sweaters from her books and recent projects she had made. She gave me prizes from her own stash to add to our door prizes for the day. She hauled in copies of her books, which Betty would sell for her throughout the day. In retrospect, I wish I'd had the funds to get them and have her sign them.  

Her evening presentation, given only partially from behind the lectern that was nearly taller than she was, explored her adventures in knitting. She chatted about her love of wool as a tool, preferring it over all other kinds of fiber for it's reliability and flexibility. She painted beautiful pictures with her stories of sitting by a fireplace during a harsh Wisconsin winter, turning laceweight into beautifully stranded sweaters. She evoked gasps when she casually flipped open the tea length jacket she was wearing to reveal how the yarn was carried across the inside of the entire jacket.

After the presentation Betty and Co took her to dinner. I went home and had a little lie down.  My blog post from that day is over at Hedgehog Librarian--it predating this blog.

Joyce was welcoming and inspiring. I will miss knowing that she's up in Wisconsin working on a new project. I hope she's found a new cozy place to sit and knit on...


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