Friday, December 23, 2011

What With the Goals...

Happy 2012! I hope you got all of your ends woven in from the holiday knitting and the New Year's champagne hasn't stayed around in the form of a bad headache.

So 2011 wasn't very successful on the goal front for me. Having knit up 13km in 2010, I set myself a goal of 20km in 2011. It was extremely optimistic considering the radical life changes in the past year (moved, new job, death in the family, new relationship, new pet--I go way off the charts when it comes to those stress counters). So it probably doesn't come a surprise that I didn't make it. The end of the December saw me make 7km.

The goal was to knit down stash and to clear things out. To some degree I have been working more from stash, certainly I've spent less money this year on yarn than in previous years. However, hitting that one cotton sale meant a huge amount more of stash that came in and adding some from fiber festivals and the occasional Loopy Ewe update has not helped.

I did, however, do some amazing things. I knit 18 pair of socks. Considering each pair takes me about 20 hours, that means I dedicated 360 hours or 15 full days just to making socks.  For those of you paying careful attention, why yes that count went up one from the last blog post.

Behold what I did over Christmas weekend: The Philosopher's Socks.  They're done and he wore them for New Year's Eve! He's shown them to two other knitters and already started mentioning that I've only knit him one pair of socks so far.  ;)  This is a step up from the not very subtle hints that I've never knitted for him.


They are Blue Moon Fiber Arts Medium Weight in the CopperTree Colorway that I purchased at Stitches Midwest this year (with the Philosopher no less, though at the time the yarn wasn't necessarily destined for him). Knit on size 2 (2.75 mm) needles over 52 stitches. It's my standard vanilla sock pattern of 2x2 ribbing.

I'm debating various goals for 2012.  I did okay with the "knit a certain project every month" for about four months a couple of years ago, but then got waylaid.  I didn't do well with a certain amount of yardage.  I tried for the Stash Dash that the KnitGirllls did last summer and made it through about 3K. But a full time and very busy job and a full time and very busy boyfriend does keep getting in the way--even when that boyfriend is very understanding that I will bring my knitting along all the time and work has gotten used to my knitting through meetings.  So for now, here's the plan...

  • Work on the afghans that need to be completed here at Chez Hedgehog.
  • Work on the WIPs sitting around the house.
  • Knit more socks for other people.
  • Continue to mostly knit from stash.

2011 was the Year of Socks

Considering that two years ago, I was not a sock knitter, it's rather surprising to me that I've knit well over a dozen pair of socks this year. And actually, as I'm counting them  up, I'm realizing that my counts were off and I've knit even more than I thought I had.  

(1) I started off the year with a pair of Footsies, using up the rest of some very luscious Sanguine Gryphon Bugga. 


 (2)Then came the Purple Pond Socks. These, I discovered after wearing a couple of times, have a dropped stitch on the sole. They're sitting in time out until I can get that fixed.

Jan24 008

(3) Next was Subtle Stripe Sunday. These socks are wearing like iron. I can't say enough good things about BMFA Medium Weight or my desire to own lots and lots more of it.


(4) The Seafoam socks are rustic socks, made from wool from a farm in Viroqua WI and I wish I had more of it. Once I get through the rest of the Ewetopia Fiber Handdyeds, I'll have to email Kathryn and see if she can send me some more. Or I might just finally make myself sign up for the CSA. The only challenge with that is I think it comes undyed and I would rather rely on Kathryn's color sense.

(5) The Ugly Work Socks are somewhere around AudioGirl's apartment. Hopefully she'll still dye them a different color for me. Otherwise I will have to round up some Koolaid and see what havoc I can wreak.
Apr17 002

(6) I started getting called out by friends about how many socks I might be knitting at any given time, hence the What New Socks? These were a birthday gift for M. Maybe I should have noticed the trend by then?


(7) But when one is reflecting the Summer Sky above, how can you turn down pretty wool?

(8,9,10) Besides, I wasn't only knitting for myself....AudioGirl got three pair of socks for her birthday in Indulgent Green, Corn for Cristy, and New Green. Not sure if she's broken them out as yet, it's not been a super cold winter as yet.




(11) I finished Sock UFOs, wrapping up the Languishing Socks from the last Knitting in Public Day I did at La Crosse.

(12) When I realized that maybe I already had a lot of green socks, I decided that a friend finishing her graduate degree could use the Do You Feel Lucky Socks. Fortunately, our foot size is the same.


(13) And the Incredibly-Patient-Mother started getting something I know she'll wear---Pair Number 13 Basic Black Socks. For a long time, she's preferred simple black socks. She'll wear the other ones I make her around the house or to bed (always good, I inherited her cold extremities) but these might get some out of the house wear.


(14) The friend who is getting the Rainbow Stripes still doesn't know they are for her, so I can't mention her name here.  And unfortunately the gifting will have to wait until the New Year because I just haven't/won't make it to the post office. These can't go out of style too soon though.


(15) I took yarn and needles to Hawaii. Actually I took several projects to work on, not realizing how much driving I'd be doing on the trip. Next vacation, M drives.  I did get the Hawaii socks done though and I love how the blues do remind me of all the beautiful water we saw.


(16) I like the impressionists, so as I struggled for a name for these socks, I thought about how they put me in mind of Waterlilies, hence they became the Monet Socks.

(17) Finally, it's another pair of black socks for the Incredibly Patient Mother. These have been a slog. The yarn, same as Pair 13, is still great. There's nothing particularly wrong with these socks, they've just not been getting time and love and that means slow going. I'm nearly to the toe though and I'll get them out the door yet!

(Almost 18) There was another pair of socks that I started and those were for the Philosopher. Unfortunately, when I get to the heel of the first sock, I had him try it on and we determined that the stitch count was too high. Since these are his first experience with handmade socks, I decided to rip back and reknit. I am back to the heel nearly again of sock 1 but I'm not sure this will make it by the end of the year. We'll see.

And please note, this doesn't include two shawlettes, dog sweater, a two lb bath mat, a 1 lb red kitchen rug, the giant purple shawl (still owe you pics, will ask my sister to take at Christmas), a super fast scarf to wear when I would see the designer, and a hat that was part of a barter trade I'll have to tell you more about next week.

Hmmm, suddenly I feel better about my productivity this year. I'm a huge slouch compared to Elizabethan cottage knitters but at least that "spare" time is being turned into warm feet for me and others. Of the completed (or very nearly so), nine pairs went into my sock drawer and are in current rotation at Chez Hedgehog and 8 pair are/were gifts spread out across five people. If I stay at this rate, using all yarn that's is intended to be socks as such (rather than shawls) and not buying anymore yarn I'll use all that up in just over two years.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Challenges of a New Feline

Raising a new feline meant that I would need to adapt another cat to my knitting ways. The majority of the stash is already tucked away in bins that the cats cannot go frolic in, but I've been particularly lucky that Gypsy hasn't shown much interest in wool beyond occasionally wanting to sleep on it and/or chasing yarn while I'm actually working on it. Even that's pretty rare though, she's happy usually to curl up next to me and sleep while I'm knitting. 

Pyewacket, on the other hand, is a nearly four month old kitten who thinks all dangling things must be captured and destroyed.  Having a kitten LAUNCH herself at you and cling to your leg because you made the mistake of retying your sweater belt is a pointy-tipped surprise every time.  

In general though, Pye hasn't paid too much attention to the knitting. There's a lot of it around but most of it is just part of her world.  There seem to be two exceptions:

1) Wool Socks.  Pye really likes wool socks. She likes licking my feet when I'm wearing them (maybe she thinks that's my artificial fur?) and she carries them around when I've left a pair on the bedroom floor. I keep finding random socks in the middle of the bed, the livingroom floor, etc. She doesn't appear to be chewing on them, so no harm is being done but it's strange. 

2) The Lorna's Laces Solemate.  I don't know what Beth and team put into that yarn but my kitten thinks it's fantastic. I hadn't noticed that the skein was missing off the kitchen table until I was getting dressed the other morning and realized I could see yarn sticking out from under the bed.  Not leftovers, such as I occasionally hand over for feline cobwebbing around table legs, no, this was new yarn that was not yet wound into a ball. I fished it out from under the bed, gave thanks that they tied the skein in several places, twisted it back up and shoved it in a drawer while continuing to get dressed. [What? You mean there isn't yarn in your dressers? It was morning, I hadn't had coffee.] You can imagine, then, my surprise to come home 24 hours later and find the yarn, untwisted again, in the middle of the kitchen.  I hope she talked Gypsy into opening the drawer, I didn't think she's strong enough to do that by herself. 

I know that what needs to happen is I get all the WIPs caught up and tidied away and there isn't yarn laying all over Chez Hedgehog. I also get highly amused reading that last sentence. 

Me vs. Kitten, hopefully I win. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Found the Camera

One of the challenges of knit-blogging is that it's best done with photographs.  While podcasters the world over have an amazing capacity for telling us about a specific yarn, I find that when I'm scrolling through the RSS feeds, I still want to see pictures of finished objects--and that I'm clicking links those podcasters provide to see the ooh-shiny.

I realized about a week ago that I wasn't sure where my trusty little Canon was.  It wasn't in the current knitting pile, on the kitchen table, stashed in my work bag.... Finally, last night, I found it in a knitting bag that was stashed in my office.

I tend to avoid spending too much time in my office in the winter.  The wall that keeps it from being out of doors is at best lightly insulated, so it's always at least 10 degrees colder in there than in the rest of the apartment. When the option is to keep that door shut and keep the heater from running quite so much, I do try to take it, but that means if I've put something in there it's a bit like putting it in a dark hole.

But having found it means I could take pictures!

I do not have a picture of the black socks. Imagine black socks that look a lot like these here, only one sock is done and the second sock is about an inch from turning the heel.

I do have pictures of my socks from Hawaii!


These are Blue Moon Fiber Arts in My Blue Heaven. My standard vanilla 2x2 rib, 48 stitches on size 2 needles. I made the legs a little longer than usual, mostly because I always end up with a fair chunk of leftovers.  This colorway striped a little but  They're still waiting to go into rotation but considering that most of my wool socks need to get a bath, that should be pretty soon.


Fortunately, my stash of BMFA Mediumweight is not fully depleted yet, and the Coppertree socks are coming along nicely.


I've got another inch or so on these before the heel flap, they need to be tall enough so that they reach the top of the Philosopher's boots, I'm told. Once I get through the heel flap, I'm going to stop and make him try them on so that if I'm dealing with too small or not right I can fix it before I get through another 1.5 socks. I know you can clearly see the gray stripe here but I promise it's much less obvious in person. I really like how this yarn is turning out.

I wish Tina at BMFA had a wish list feature on her site so I could park colorways that I know that I want. I have a lot of sock yarn to get through though before I need to be thinking about buying more. I'm so glad that yarn doesn't have an expiration date (as long as there are no moths).

And when I'm not knitting socks I'm working on the hat/mitts for a Northwestern Fan


It's a Sockhead hat made out of The Loopy Ewe Solid series  in the Purple colorway. The base is nice, though I was surprised that there isn't nylon in it. It feels like a blend. I haven't washed the hat yet so maybe it will soften up a little more. It's long enough he should be able to flip up over his ears twice to keep warm in our chilly Decembers.

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