Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye 2012. Don't Let the Door Hit You!!

Despite the speed with which the year has flown, I can't say I'm sorry that we're looking at the tail end of 2012. While there have been a number of very good things this year: several friends got married, the last cousin whose wedding I expect to be invited to got married, my mom and brother both graduated in May with their Bachelors degrees, the Philosopher and I have a beautiful apartment; it's also been one of the more stressful years in memory and I'm ready to close the chapter and open on a new calendar.

In the logical portion of my brain, I know that there is nothing that is changing between December 31 and January 1. I won't wake up and the world will be fresh and new, except for on the squares where we mark our commitments. And I'm already well booked into the first couple of weeks of the new year, so I can't say that there's nothing ahead but possibility.  But it feels fresh and gives me something to hang my hat on.

On Ravelry, most of the groups I skim are talking about goals for 2013. I'm not especially good at goal setting when it comes to my knitting.  It always seems to end up with a desire to knit more from my stash and stop buying random yarn just because it's shiny. I did manage to  buy a lot less than usual when it came to yarn in 2012 and I'm sure the shelves currently housing the stash are grateful. That shelving was the biggest stash/yarn/knitting related purchase of the year.

In 2013, I'd like the stash to fit comfortably on those shelves, rather than in the stuffed fashion it currently does. That, I think, will be a reasonable goal. If I could knit up one or two of the sweaters' worth, use up a couple of the cones of bulky weight cotton, and not binge too much on more sock yarn, there may be a definite chance.

I'd also like to find a scrap yarn pattern and start using up the sock yarn leftovers. I had intentions of wrapping them up and giving them away but I find that I hold a lot of memories in those miniskeins and I'd like to keep them around. So perhaps it will be the world's largest log cabin blanket? That was an incredibly portable project and if I'm smart enough to weave in the ends as I go.... Of course, it'll still be a very random and not particularly attractive blanket but hey, wool, warm, and a boatload of memories should help to make up for that.

I got out the skein winder the other day and wound up a few "next" projects. A couple skeins of BMFA for socks, a couple of heavier skeins. I have one prewound skein (from the manufacturer) of a blue sock yarn that is next for the size 0 needles. I wish I wasn't already well aware of how long socks on size one needles take.

For now though, I need to be working on a late Christmas gift for AudioGirl.

Things I knit in 2012:
12 Pair of Socks (assuming that last pair gets off the needles by midnight NYE)
A cowl
The Fall Color Affection
A Shawl for Mrs. Miller
Kitchen Rug for Angi and Eric
A hat for me
2 pairs of super bulky slippers for M
A scarf for Sam
Most of the Instant Gratification Afghan

I suppose that's enough for one year.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I *was* buying less yarn this year....

Compared to years past, 2012 has been a light yarn buying year. An exquisite level of work and life frustration recently has left me stalking wool shop websites, planning to knit everything right here and now and being moderately annoyed at the cost of overnight shipping. There's nothing like aggressive pursuance of a tangible craft when one is incredibly frustrated with the intangibles of knowledge work.

Recently, I remembered Lisa Souza and her beautiful colors. She does such lovely things as dyes silk yarn that Franklin turned into a beautiful pineapple bag. I'd picked up a skein of her Polwarth/Silk in the Styx colorway at Stitches Midwest in 2011 and it's lounging in the stash.  As I started to look for yarn that I could use for a project the Philosopher had requested (more on that later), I recalled that originally said yarn was intended for him and went looking to see what else I could find on her website.

While I ended up going a different way for the Philosopher's project, I did happen to stumble through Lisa's sock yarn and buy a couple of colors. She's so prompt answering questions and shipping and the yarn is so lovely, I will make it a serious goal to spend more yarn money with her.

I got two skeins of sock yarn, one in the aforementioned Styx colorway and the other in

The Styx is black with hints of raspberry and blue.


Though from any great distance it looks black.


This is her Sock! base and as such probably would be best as socks but I'm not sure yet if that will be the final product or not. It's so subtle. The Incredibly Patient Mother wears a lot of black so it might go in the black but with subtle for her or it might go into something for my sister or...or....or....

019I also picked up a skein in colors that will seem oddly familiar.  Perhaps because they almost match the BMFA random skein that I got earlier this year. I really have to stop buying the same three skeins of yarn over and over someday.  Lisa calls this Shade Garden.  It's full of pink, blue-purple, green, and gray.


This yarn will most likely be socks. Because obviously I'm running low on sock wool.

If you got some extra yarn money for the holidays or if you just haven't had a browse over there recently, do check out Lisa Souza's yarns.  While the Bombyx Silk will set you back a rather large chunk of change (and rightly so!) her other yarns are certainly within a reasonable price range.  I don't know if she'll be at any festivals near me before August, so I'll be sticking to web orders til then...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Miscellaneous Pyewacket Picture

I have *so much* to show and tell you about! I spent the better part of four days knitting.  My hands are a little sore but there was progress. Also, there were some things already gifted that unfortunately you'll not see.

But for now, a feline to tide you through the day.

Pye doesn't especially like sleeping under blankets, but she agreed to pose for you.


She's under my giant log cabin squares blanket, which I need to photograph on the bed, because the couch cover is totally borking up my camera--it being far lighter in color than any of the afghan squares.

I still need to crochet around the edge of the blanket to give it some firmness but it was in heavy rotation for a year before I got ends woven in (that's now done), so I'm not in too much rush.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wherein I am invisible (at least the yarn is shiny)

I managed to get caught on pictures with everything except the slippers I mentioned last post. And since I've already gone through all the pictures that I took this evening, I'll just have to show them to you next time. Trust me that knitting up a bulky weight slipper sock in a matter of a very few hours feels oddly indulgent.

There have been some weird internet issues at Chez Hedgehog, hopefully that's short rather than long-term.  Of course, I've been having some odd internet issues at work for a few days too. Computers that randomly decide they don't see our network, email that doesn't want to copy to the send folder so I have no idea if it sent or not (I think I sent one email four times Monday and then had to resend it on Tuesday because it still wasn't clear if the recipients had gotten it), etc etc. I'll let someone more astrological than I tell me if Mercury is indeed in retrograde, at least insofar where computers are concerned.

Also, I've been meaning to describe my shopping experience at Knitty City in New York since I got back.

To give you some history, the last time I had been to Knitty City, I still lived in Queens and was just starting to buy yarn on the scale I currently do. In that trip I found myself utterly ignored and, after wandering around the shop, I left without buying anything.

Now, several years and a whole lot of yarn buying later, I thought I'd give it another shot. I'd heard so many good things about Knitty City, so many people who say it's their favorite yarn store, such wonderful selection, etc. etc. Perhaps I had just looked too much of a poor grad student last time? Also, what better way to give back to my beloved hurricane stricken city than by indulging myself in a little wool while I waited for the Brunette? See, look at my altruism.

I have apparently perfected invisibility in Knitty City. I counted, in the half hour I was there, four staff members. The only time I was spoken to was when the woman who I believe is the store owner checked me out--though the young man behind the counter with her had just lowered himself to ask if I'd found everything--and her conversation with me was perfunctory.

It's unclear what else they expected me to do. Did I not make eye contact or attempt to enough times? Was my sitting at the small central table obviously comparing three shades of electric orange not perhaps a hint that I was weighing options? Should I have been more obvious with the Color Affection shawl I was wearing? The friendly local designer who was in the shop tripped over me three times, which we chuckled about, though the lack of floor space meant moving amongst the yarn was challenging. But to the store staff I remained patently transparent and unacknowledged.

I wasn't hoping for someone to hover near me, but a greeting or question as to why I was fussing with three skeins of orange yarn would have been appreciated. By the end of it I was amusing myself, standing back to observe the store and feel like a member of London Below, albeit one who still has to pay for the wool.

I probably should have left again without buying anything. I thought about it. Ultimately, I wanted the Lorna's Laces that was hanging down a back hallway almost unnoticeable and since I was visiting the Blonde and the Brunette, I wanted to plan for my next knitting for them. Having the yarn in hand helps.

But I won't go back. It probably won't effect their bottom line too much, an infrequent NY yarn buyer such as I am, but in the future, I'd rather spend my yarn money places where I am visible.

I've already started knitting up the Lorna's Laces, which is the Shepherd Worsted in the Amy's Vintage Office colorway. I've been admiring this colorway for a long time and I decided I needed a new hat.


It will have cables at the top, I'm working off a Lion Brand Cable Twist Hat and Scarf pattern. I love the yarn and am almost hoping it gets cooler again soon so I can wear it. As soon as it is finished, of course.

For the Blonde comes a non-shocker. She adores the color orange and was wearing a pair of pants nearly this color last time I saw her.  This yarn is La Jolla from Baah, who are the same people whose yarn I used for the Warm Water socks that I made myself earlier this year.  The color saturation on this stuff is fantastic.  I got a better picture without flash, but include a small one with flash in case you'd like to damage your corneas. Not sure what I'm making yet.



Finally, the Brunette tells me that his Dashing Mitts are finally starting to die. And since he's wearing a little more brown these days, we're going for gray instead of new black ones. Of course, what one knits for the Brunette, one should also knit for his husband. They both really appreciate hand knits. So he picked out some yarn from the Loopy Ewe Solids line, but I haven't ordered it yet.

For the Brunette we have Berrocco Vintage DK. The picture came out a little bluer than the yarn is.  It's a true warm gray.


Once I get through holiday knitting and finishing pair 11 and 12 of socks for this year (or at least 11), I want to start spending a lot of time on mitts.  Thankfully, Brunette-by-Marriage is okay not having flip top mitts.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inspirations Always Strike Late

Why is it that every time I think I'm not going to be knitting until Christmas Eve, I'm suddenly struck with inspiration? It's not a horrible thing. I've been struggling to find ideas for M. She has wonderful taste and periodically I've been able to surprise her with things but this year I find myself tired and rather anti-buying things just for the sake of buying things. Fortunately, she mentioned recently that she needs some new slippers and that got me thinking about bulky weight slipper-socks. They knit up far faster than your usual pair of socks and would be very toasty. Started one pair (I'm past the gusset, let me see if I can find my camera) and wouldn't you know that I've come up with at least two other people that need a pair?

As I discussed these with AudioGirl, she requested for some worsted weight slipper socks, and she'd like taller ones that she can wear with her winter boots. I agreed, though said they might not be available until after Christmas. As it's presently over 50 degrees in Chicago and supposed to be nearly 70 tomorrow, and as she has at least four pair of wool socks that I've knit for her, we're not in too much of a rush. I might save those as plane knitting (going to Atlanta in a couple weeks) and then see if I can finish them up the week after Christmas. They'll be an interesting knit, I expect that she'll wear them til they develop giant holes and then most likely turn them into legwarmers.

So that's two people on the Christmas list who I can put a clear gift listing by. The Philosopher isn't getting any knitting for Christmas but I have another project to get started on for him soon and he's got socks already on the needles, so I don't think he's feeling too neglected. Also, I got his Christmas gift figured out in September. It's currently residing in the lower drawer of my bedside table (yes, he knows that it is there, no, I don't think he's peeked).  Now then, three more to figure out in the next twenty days.

I'm also trying to figure out how to get rid of some yarn. There are a few things lurking in the stash that just don't appeal anymore. For now I'm going to toss stuff up on Ravelry but don't expect much. I'd like to at least not deeply lose money on this, particularly since it will require running to the post office, and cost of shipping is high enough that the yarn looks really overpriced. I've had mediocre luck with trading too and without a local knit group to say "hey, anyone want to buy some wool off of me?" not sure what I'll end up doing. Presently I'm trying to resist wrapping it up for the White Elephant party I'm attending next weekend.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Smidge of New Wool

If you were reading closely this week, you'll notice that I said I didn't buy any new yarn on Sunday. That's true. Despite the temptation to click over to BMFA and whisk through all the money I'd allotted for Vogue Knitting live, I instead went to the stash.  I did remember, though, that there have been a couple of yarn purchases that we've not discussed.

First is the last Blue Moon Fiber Arts purchase that I did make.  When Tina posted in August about the online barn sale, I may have been first in line at the check out. Certainly I was trying to be.  3 skeins of mediumweight at $13/skein? That was a price I could not resist.  I was momentarily hesitant--what if the bag that Tina selected for me just wasn't in my palette? What if it was all yellow? But the price point won over my concern and, as most of my socks are gifts anyway, colors outside my usual palette would go nicely into the gift bin.

I shouldn't have worried. I don't know if Tina or anyone at the barn consulted my order history when choosing for me but they couldn't have picked a better bag. One skein of pinkish-purple with teal, one vibrant dark purple, and one shockingly bright green with pops of purple and blue. My favorite color was obviously tying these three skeins together.

(Apologies, I realized as I was winding skein 1 that y'all hadn't seen these yet).  See my post from late Sunday night for a better picture of the purple skein.


The best part, though, was when the Philosopher saw the package as I unwrapped it. We had been discussing colors that the esteemed Philosoparents might enjoy in knitted gifts and I wanted to add these to the potential pile. He examined them and immediately announced he wanted all of them for himself.

That's right, my boyfriend, who is never happier than when dressed in jeans and a black shirt, wanted the bright purple, green, and pink/teal yarns for his feet.


I found a good one, fellow knitters. Not only does he identify what of the stash he'd like, but he likes to wear his handknit socks when we're going to events where he can take his shoes off (parties in people's homes usually) so other people can see and admire his handknit socks. Last Saturday I suggested that it was cold enough for a pair of handknit socks and he was very excited to get to break them out for the first time this season.

And in the category of outside of my usual color palette: the travel yarn I bought while attending a wedding in North Carolina.

We were in Raleigh and I was pleased to see that a yarn store was only about a ten minute drive from the hotel.  I went the morning after the wedding, in between the morning-after brunch and a spectacular bbq lunch that preceded a lot of sitting in the airport waiting for our flight.

The store was called Great Yarn.  It's a small but interesting store. The lady who was working was trying very hard to talk catch all of the people coming in for help on the three hours they were open on Sunday. After two passes through the store though, I didn't see anything I couldn't buy at home. It's one of my strong preferences to not buy major brand yarn at a festival or a store in another state.  I can get Cascade and Berroco etc at home, that's not yarn I'll remember.  The lady minding the store noticed my frustration and asked what I was looking for. Did they, I ask, have *anything* locally dyed?

They did, a few skeins in a bin that was mostly full of Malabrigo, which is how I'd overlooked it as I'd gone through the store. I don't imagine they get a lot of tourist traffic, but it would have been nice for the dyer for them to make it a bit more prominent.  The yarn is from Three Waters Farm in Graham, NC and--since the dyer didn't name it--I'm calling the colorway Strawberry Banana.


The base is superwash merino and it's probably destined to become gift socks. Right now it's just memories of a really good Bloody Mary with extra olives and a really beautiful bride.

Bonus picture: Pyewacket likes to help with photoshoots too!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Proof is in the Bindoff

The biggest thing I finished recently was a pair of flip-top mittens for a very patient brewer. Last year he swapped me for some homemade mead and I have been woefully behind. The mittens were delivered to him on Saturday but third hand and so I do not have photos. Suffice to say that I heavily modified a pattern, made up a lot of things, and never ever want to knit fingering weight mittens for someone not in my immediate family ever again.

I do have proof, however, of the socks that have come off the needles. 


We have three pair, two that are entirely done but for the end weaving and one that needs a toe but I'm calling it close enough. 

First up are the Windsor Socks:


These were knit on size 1 (2.25mm) needles out of Miss Babs Windsor Monochrome. I think this was my first experience with Miss Babs' yarn. I sincerely hope it won't be my last. It's a pretty, squishy blue-gray yarn.  

Next we have the Ground Up Muppet Socks. Yes, that's what I think this looks like, leftover felt pieces all ground up together.  The yarn, Schaefer Nichole, is incredibly decadent. It's a heavy fingering, so I knit it up on 1.5 (2.5mm) needles instead of size 1s. These will cushion the feet of the wearer and are so ridiculously bright and cheerful. 


I was surprised that the yarn didn't stripe more, but imagine that had a lot to do with my gauge and the fact I was using ribbing. If I'd been knitting on a different needle size, I would not have been surprised to have more striping or blotches of color.  


This yarn was part of a spontaneous Loopy Ewe sale in May 2011. This was only the first skein of Janis Joplin colored Nichole and it has a lovely enough hand on it that I wouldn't mind knitting with it again. I'm a little done with the colors though. I might see if I can find someone on Ravelry who would like to trade for a similar skein.

Finally are these Louet Gems socks. These have been on the needles FOREVER.


I love Louet Gems. It's a little bit pricey and one could wish to not have to buy two skeins just to make a pair of socks but it's great yarn. I left these at work, I've ignored them willfully in the face of shinier yarn, everything I could do but stuff them back in a bin and pretend I didn't cast them on. But I'm ready for the toe on sock 2 and then they go far far away. Or at least into the gift bag.

With these, though, I hit a milestone. These are pair 8-10 for 2012.  And it's just the end of October which means I'm on track to finish a dozen pair of socks this year! Certainly, it's not last year's 18 pairs but considering that I've been primarily working on smaller needles, and did the mittens (1 sock pair equivalent) and knit the Color affection (3.5 pair socks equivalent of yarn), I'm not doing too poorly in my book. According to knitmeter, I just passed the 5K mark as well.  I really must start knitting up worsted weight again, it goes so much faster.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Next Up On the Needles...

With last week's storming, Chicago saw the temperatures drop from an abnormal high in the upper 60s to lower 70s to it's much more normal late October temperatures. Saturday night I wenched around the apartment, wondering why our radiator heat wasn't percolating along. I know it's been turned on for the season, it has kicked in before. Finally, sometime after 2 a.m., we got steaming clicks and rattles and the apartment warmed up.

It's been a quiet weekend at Chez Hedgehog. The Philosopher, just finally at about 80% after a nasty bout of food poisoning, is presently laid low by something new gastrointestinal. A couple of hours ago he finally fell asleep for longer than 20-30 minutes, so I think we've come over the worst of it. Dinner has not revisited either (chicken and rice soup and a loaf of sourdough bread, thank you Campbell's for making this evening easy), which is an even better sign. I'm still chomping my way through the sourdough, one slice has peanut butter, one slice has honey.

I love good bread. Chewy dense slices slathered in peanut butter, jam, honey, Nutella, cheese, it's all very appealing. I haven't made bread in a long time, though once upon a time I think I was fairly successful with yeast breads. And with a really good bakery down the street, it's always tempting to race home and catch a roll or loaf before they close up shop.

I was supposed to go wool shopping today. It was the last day of Vogue Knitting Live and I thought I might even be able to stalk Franklin as I raided the marketplace and spent too much money. The Philosopher's illness meant I got no further than the grocery (four blocks). I was faced with a minor dilemma though: I'm on my last "current" pair of socks.

It's uncommon, especially after the disaster of three pairs of size 0 (2mm) needle socks simultaneously, that I don't have at least two pair of socks on the needles and going. I've been working through sock yarn that I wound up prior to the move in July, mostly because there hasn't been anywhere to set up my swift and ball winder. But I've gone through most of that yarn.

So I faced the stash--that's right, I still owe you a picture of the newly sorted stash on it's shelves:


Lighter weights are towards the top, a rather ridiculous amount of yarn in sweater quantities towards the bottom, and the cotton cones on the top. Why I still have that much cotton baffles me, it seems like I keep knitting through it. AudioGirl has hinted that another large mat would be welcome and I think we need one in the kitchen as well.

I went for two bins that had been identified as holding "next project" yarn, mostly sock weight but also some worsted and some seriously old DK that's I've been considering for a baby project. I dug the swift out of the office and cleared off the dining room table.

Here are most of the winding victims of the evening (except the far left skein, that one got squeezed and put away for a couple more weeks).


These will probably become tediously familiar in the coming weeks as they turn into three pair of socks and a scarf. The Lorna's Laces Worsted will probably become a hat but I thought it best to leave it in it's skein for now.  I can hear it sighing in the stash..."So close."

An hour and change of winding later, all my project bags are full and I'm once more prepared for commuting and meeting knitting.  And I didn't spend any money on yarn (today).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shed Leaves: Sock Sized

You didn't think I'd really given up sock knitting, even when hurting, did you?  Sure, it slowed me down a little but you can't keep a frustrated woman from the needles.  I've also come to the not especially brilliant conclusion that I should only do one pair of socks on size 0 (2mm) needles at a time. I'd been wading through more than that and was definitely at the point of disparaging all sock knitting ever. Switching to a size 1 needle (2.25 mm) made an enormous difference.

As proof that they are done, I present to you three pairs off the needles.

Black No. 6  was the sixth pair I'd started in 2012. I think I'm officially out of Black Cascade Heritage yarn now.


This is not a particularly exciting picture but they aren't particularly exciting socks. Squishy, sure. But not festive.  They're in the gift basket.

The Tiny Teal Socks seemed never ending. These were on size 0 (2mm) needles, out of Berroco Sox. The yarn is not the softest, though I expect it to be really hard wearing. When I finished these I banished my size 0 dpns so effectively that I can't find them. I'm not kidding, I've managed to lose 2 sets of size 0 needles. I have no idea where they are and a casual flip of the apartment hasn't helped.  Someday I'll do something crazy like put needles away when I'm done. Apparently I haven't reached that point yet.


The Warm Water Socks, at least, made me happy. The yarn was so vibrant and seemed to fly off my needles.  Even knitting on size 1 needles (2.25 mm)


These are out of Baah! La Jolla yarn, which I recently discovered at Loopy. A word of precaution that this might be the most money I've spent on sock yarn. That being said, the yarn is vibrant and squishy and just what I needed to get out of the doldrums.

I tried something new with the Warm Water Socks, decreasing the gusset at the heel rather than on the sides of the foot. I don't like how it turned out. The Philosopher described them as high-heeled socks and it's pretty apt. The arch to the foot is too severe.  I think I want to try TurtleGirl76's model of double decreases on the bottom of the foot. With a single set of decreases I ended up with extra material at the heel and it's already felting after one wearing.

That is everything that is done at the moment. I've got three pair on the needles to show you on Thursday for Sock Show Thursday, assuming I can find my 1.5 (2.5mm) needles and continue to make progress on one pair....

If you're keeping count, I've finished seven pair of socks so far this year and I'll have these next three done pretty soon. That will put me to ten pairs, averaging one pair per month. I don't think I'll make the 18 pairs that I knit last year, but last year's socks were primarily out of sport weight yarn and this year has been much more about fingering weight.  I have another 10 skeins picked out that I'd like to knit up "next" as socks, so I should be covered well into next year.

Someday I'll start knitting worsted weight yarn again. Can you imagine how fast that will go?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shed Leaves: A Large Fall Leaf

In the fall trees shed leaves. Their bright colors and stemmy ends clutter the walk to the train and float down to get fixed in my hair when I'm not looking.

At Chez Hedgehog, I'm attempting to shed unfinished objects. Looking back through the past couple of months of posts I see I haven't kept you up to date on the things that have fallen off the needles. I'll note, none of these things have been properly blocked nor ends woven in but with the needles reclaimed, I'm calling them done enough for now.  Here's the first of what I've found piled up.

I did finally finish the Phoenix Fall Tree Color Affection (Affliction).  I ended up using around 1100 yards and I needed at least 150 more.


This was knit, for those just tuning in, out of three skeins of Colinette and one skein of Louet Gems. The Gems was the closest that I could find in a chocolate brown.

I modified the pattern in that I started with the brown and introduced the green in the first section. I did not carry the brown into the second section, but moved on to the green with the mottled orange. Then, for the third section I did green, mottled orange, and orange.

I wanted a deeper shawl than the pattern described and followed someone's directions to only do two stitches before the wrap and turn in the third section.  While this should have made a deeper shawl, it also ate up a ton more yarn, far extended how long the project took, and meant that I was starting to drive myself stir crazy. Also, the shawl isn't that much deeper.

That picture above is wrong side out, which is actually how I plan to wear it.  I wanted something that looked like a fall tree, something that blended smoothly from color to color.  As you can see below, the harsher stripes of the pattern's right side, did not blend.


As you can see a little more clearly, I gave up the green a couple of inches from the bottom. I wasn't through the third section yet, but I didn't have much green yarn left and I was hoping to do a little something with the leftovers.  That hope will go unrealized--I ran out of the mottled orange yarn entirely (again, before I formally finished the third section) and I knit with the plain orange until I was nearly out of yarn before binding off with Jenny's surprisingly stretchy bindoff.  While this is very stretchy, it's also a yarn pig and those rows were NOT short, so that took a lot of yarn.

There was a little bit of orange yarn left, perhaps 10 yards? Pyewacket got to it though and such you'll not get to see it again.

Here's a close up of the side I was picking up from with the wrap and turn. You can see at the bottom where it should have been much deeper....


And here's the whole thing pre-blocking


There's a wedding I'm hoping to wear it to in North Carolina in a couple of weeks, which means I need to wear in all the ends and get it laid out on something to block. Oh, and lay towels on top so that Pye and Gypsy don't help themselves to the freshly washed shawl.

Though when I first started this shawl, I had a lot of hope for using the pattern multiple times to use up some of the fingering weight yarn that's taking up space and isn't really appropriate for socks. By the time I finished this, though I really wasn't enamoured of it. The pattern itself is fine, it's clearly written, I had no trouble following the directions. I just am not as thrilled with the end product as I'd hoped.  Maybe once I'm a little further removed from the knitting of it....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Slightly Broken...

There hasn't been a whole lot of knitting at Chez Hedgehog of late due to a string of being slightly broken.  Nothing is seriously wrong, but I've had some aches and pains that don't seem to be caused by knitting but are being aggravated by knitting. First it was some shoulder issues of unknown origin, with a dull/sharp ache that lasted a couple of weeks.  And then last night I managed to jam my right hand pinky (a.k.a. the finger I use to tension yarn)  so it's puffy and sore today and promises to be uncomfortable for a few more days. 

I'm carrying the same pair of socks around that I've been working on for the past month, the Windsor blue ones. I'm working on the heel flap for sock 2, which I know is dreadfully exciting. The navy blue socks sit in a Piddleloop bag on my desk at work, wistfully hoping to be worked on again some day. Of course, that would mean needing to buy yet another set of size 0 dpns. Mine are all still missing. I have an entire cuff before I need to get to that though so I don't really have an excuse. 

I did make my first big knitting splurge for 2012 last night. I keep a running total as part of my checkbook spreadsheet tracking how much I've spent on yarn and yarn related type things. There's been a fair amount of wool investment over here in the past five years. It'd be nice if there was some kind of tax break on crafting materials but as yet, there is not. 

Usually when I say splurge, it involves me, a yarn store, and too many wool fumes. This time it was a fairly orderly plan and an IKEA shopping cart. 

The Philosopher would like my yarn out of the giant bins that it currently resides in. He argues, rightly, that it's not visible nor particularly attractive to be stored in that fashion. Also, he dislikes having a huge pile of underbed tupperware stacked up in the livingroom.  

Unfortunately, I can't use open storage. If I still only had Gypsy, that might be an option, but Pyewacket is a yarn thief. Yesterday I found a skein in the bedroom that should have been at the bottom of  a bag that is in the livingroom, underneath a few other things in said bag. She doesn't tend to destroy skeins, just carry them around. Still, I'd rather not have to play 52 skein pick up/dust/wind/clean every evening, so my solutions will have to be covered and sealed.  

Enter IKEA tubbery. 

Yes, I'll admit I have a love affair with storage containers. At my first post-college job, I was a receptionist for financial planners. We had a horrendously messy supply closet. After being granted some miscellaneous expenses funding, I stocked up on tubs at Walmart and spent a blissful Friday afternoon hauling everything out, sorting, and labeling EVERYTHING.  I remember one of the accountants popping in a few times, first out of concern, then out of interest, then later hoping that she could take me home to organizer her house. But come Monday, there was not question whether or not we had Post-It Notes, pens, staples, etc.  When they moved offices about a year after I left, I'm told that moving office supplies was the easiest part.  

We bought twenty small clear tubs, four medium sized tubs, and two shelving units. (Yes, this means I now technically own 9 bookcases.) Because of how long it takes to drive out there, my commute, and the 40 minutes it took us to wander around and find everything we needed, we were one of those people checking out three minutes before they closed. Fortunately, when you only have to scan one item and count it 20 times, rather than 20 different items, check out goes a little faster. 

I'm hoping to get the yarn sorted into it's new home tonight. The old tubs are going to be our storage tubs, so they'll be pressed into service elsewhere almost immediately.  

Pictures to follow!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: Wishful Water Thinking

I think I've figured out part of the problem I was having with my knitting mojo, which had gone down to sporadic and minimal at best. It appears mostly to have been an episode of "I've been knitting the same pairs of socks on size 0 needles forever and ever and I'm bored with the yarn and they are size 0 needles and tiny yarn..."

Fortunately, a recent trip to Loopy remedied this problem. I picked up a skein of Baah! La Jolla in Brazilian Emerald and yet another pair of size 1 DPNs. Hey, the yarn stash still isn't unpacked (though maybe I could do that tonight). Anyway, add a week or so of time to that, finally loading some audiobooks on my mp3 player for the commute and tada: 1.5 new socks. 

Also, the blue in this is much more teal but the camera on my phone is convinced otherwise and so far I haven't been able to talk it into anything else. See The Loopy Ewe for a truer color. 

I'm working out the gusset on the second sock.  This is, as per usual, my plain vanilla 2x2 rib sock pattern with one small alteration: the gusset decreases are going at the back of the heel rather than the side of the foot. This leads to that rather interesting looking arch that you see in the upper photo. The Philosopher says that they look like high heeled socks. I find the fit interesting, certainly different. Obviously I've not had a chance to wear them and see how they work out but I'll give it a shot.  

Yes, I actually decided to keep these. Most of the socks I knit these days are intended for other people. I have a healthy sock drawer and I don't actually wear my handknit socks to work most of the time--the shoes I wear aren't roomy enough for that. I do have some obligation knitting coming up soon, mostly for the holidays. Being forced to deal with all of your stuff does tend to lend itself to desiring to USE UP your stuff. I find that I'm getting past the attachment of wanting the beautiful yarn to be mine forever and ever.  There's a lot of beautiful yarn out there and I want to feel comfortable purchasing more, not thinking about my stash in a guilty fashion.  Hopefully immediate family won't mind getting yet more woolly things for upcoming birthdays and Christmas. 

I've still got a fair bit of skein left, and should even after I finish the foot on sock 2--which I expect to be tomorrow.  I need to decide if I'm doing some kind of left over sock yarn project relatively soon, I'm starting to amass quite a lot of leftovers. Perhaps another log cabin? Can you imagine all the ends?  

I haven't yet gotten completed pictures of the pair of black socks I was working on a while back or the pair of blue sky socks that I finished up more recently. I also have dug out the navy blue socks to get those done.  Of course, when my options are happy shiny teal with shots of green or staid navy blue, you can guess what's gotten worked on.  There's nothing wrong with the yarn, it's Louet Gems, it's just not new and shiny.  Must work through that desire for happy sparkly time and get that second sock rolling. Once it's started and I actually knit on it, what do you want to bet more progress will be made than when I leave it sitting on my desk just out of line of sight?  

Finally, I was going to start the Windsor socks on 0s but I've had enough of making myself face size 0s--especially as I still have a navy blue sock that needs that circular. So the Windsor yarn is waiting for the size 1 DPNs and then it too will be off and rolling.  

How's your knitting going? 

Friday, July 27, 2012



You. Yeah, you. C'mere.

I got some new stuff.  And it's good.

I *might* have gotten out of a last meeting for the day a few minutes early recently and perhaps I took the time to swing past Loopy Yarns on the way home. I really just went for some needles--the 40" size 6 needles so I can spread out the Color Affection shawl a little bit (little being operative word there) and another set of size 0 dpns so that I can get the blue sock off the needles before December. From what I can tell I've lost two full sets of size 0 dpns in the past month. They're not in project bags, they aren't in suitcases. I can't imagine the TSA was really that interested in my long wooden toothpicks...

Did you really think I could get out of the shop without perusing everything they had, exploring the sale bins, and remembering belatedly that there's a whole WALL of Miss Babs to be had?

Apparently I continue to be weak in the face of sock wool.

Meet Windsor, a skein of monochrome sock yarn, 80% merino, 20% nylon, 400 yards. It smells just sheepy enough to make me happy without the worry that I'm going to end up with lanolin all over my hands while I'm knitting. The color is perfectly named, reminding me of English china patterns.


This is as close as I could achieve color wise. Note the healthy spiderplant leaves in the background. I'm having a little trouble with a couple of my plants, I think I'm overwatering despite my feeling of never watering. Not the spider plant.  I have huge babies draping off of it and I just had to take off a giant shoot that was sprouting flowers and babies all of the place. There's only so much room in this cube.

I apologize for no finished sock pictures. The intention was to take them when I got home last night. Instead, I got home around 7:30, walked in the door, sat down on the couch to take my shoes off, and promptly fell asleep. Nothing--dinner, cat feeding (oops--just wet food, they're okay), more unpacking, pictures--happened except snoring until about 2 a.m., which was when I started jerking awake every ten-twenty minutes. I'm hoping to sleep past 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Permission to Weed

I've actually gotten a fair amount of knitting done! But it's all socks, so I'm waiting until Thursday to show it off.  Last weekend I traveled to Cincinnati to see my last unwedded cousin* off into matrimony. As Sibling-the-Elder handled the driving from the west side of Indianapolis down and back again, I got to spend that time with needles in hand.  

I find it interesting how people react to my knitting when I knit on public transportation. Inevitably, someone nudges the person next to them and tries to surreptitiously point out what I'm doing. A surprising number of people avoid sitting next to me but will sit close enough that they can still watch. Recently, an older woman spent the entire ten minutes we were seated next to each other scooting as far away as possible, as though I was going to contaminate her by moving a 9" circular and blue yarn. I find it particularly amusing when I've let my mind wander and I'm gazing blankly out the window, only to snap back to reality inside the car and see someone obviously fascinated that I'm knitting without watching my hands. The slow magic of 2x2 ribbing, fellow train riders, let me show you it.  

At home, I've been attempting to bring the cardboard under control. It's a long process, not helped by full work days, a few social obligations (see above re: wedding), train time, etc. I did make a large dent in unpacking clothing, which alleviates some of the morning challenges. As I've been unpacking, things have been going through an evaluation again and that's both a relief and frustrating.  So far I've been trying to give myself permission to get rid of clothing that doesn't fit properly, summer clothing that I haven't worn in several years, and clothing that really isn't appropriate considering my age, profession, and usual sartorial choices. I already have two paper grocery bags full and the more I think about it, the more I want to clear out. Linen pants that make me look dumpy, full length skirts that are awkward to walk in, I'm looking at you!

Clothing is easier to weed that most things. It's also a lot easier to unpack. Both the Philosopher and I have a lot of boxes of "stuff" that needs to find homes--potentially homes other than ours. We keep commenting that  we haven't used or missed a lot of what is in boxes in over a month, do we really need all of it?  Obviously, the Christmas ornaments don't count here, but I'd prefer to lean on the side of weeding than holding on to things.

This last couple of years have been lower on the wool buying side, but there's still plenty of yarn around the new Chez Hedgehog. Most of it is sitting in a GIANT box that needs to be opened, reviewed, pruned, and put somewhere. I'm trying to determine if I can use wire boxes the Philosopher already had or if that will just be too much of an invitation for Pyewacket.  I'd love to get a couple of full length glass bookcases so I can see the yarn but shut it off from felines, but that's long term planning.  Short term, I'm sticking with my bins and hat boxes.  Once things are unpacked, I want to do some extended planning for things I'll knit for myself or the few people I regularly knit for.** Planning like picking out and printing patterns, putting things together with needles, and allotting train time.  

How many more people can I freak out on my daily transit? Only time will tell. 

*Now it's just my siblings and I on that side of the family. The other side, we don't get invited to the weddings, though I've contributed to the family knitted blankets.  
** I suggest Franklin Habit's recent post about Yarnworthiness if you're curious who I knit for. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Someday Repeats Will be Done

I got about 33 minutes of knitting time in last night. I say 33 because that's how long the most recent Knitgirllls episode was.

But, wait, I have that long commute every day now! Surely I'm knitting all the way to and from Chez Hedgehog to the Library? (It's an 80 minute commute if all the timing works perfectly.) I'm not really sure why I haven't been knitting as much. Certainly the train has been air conditioned, for which we're all very grateful. Mostly I've been reading. Part of that is not having my mp3 player charged and loaded, which is my own fault but has something to do with not being able to find the charger. As much as I enjoy working on the plain black sock that is my current purse knitting, it's really intended to be done simultaneously with something else. Having just replaced a phone* I'm a little hesitant to set up my phone on my purse to read.

I also am usually standing for about half of the commute home, which doesn't really lend itself to DPNs and gusset decreases.

While watching the videocast, I worked on the Color Affection shawl. I finally have lousy pictures to show you! I took these last night with the new phone and a combination of an already smudged lens (it's hot and humid) and odd overhead lighting gives us this:


This one is a little better


Little cat feet provided by Pyewacket, who sprawled out on the shawl until I started taking pictures. She's not especially enamoured of me photographing her. Gypsy has learned to tolerate the paparazzi.

33 minutes was 4 rows and I am finally just past the midway point of the green/orange section. If you've not knit one of these, the first two sections are pretty straight forward and then you do ever increasing rows, picking up stitches from the main body every other row. I'm picking up two stitches plus the wrap and turn stitch every odd row. That's a slight modification from what the pattern calls for (3). This should give me a deeper shawl, assuming I don't lost my sanity in the interim. I do expect to run out of green yarn before the end of this, so I have to decide when I want to switch to all orange/fall all the time soon.

The one thing that really strikes me is how the oranges are playing together. The fall color is very burnt orange and fiery--the middle skein, all orange all the time, has an interesting pink tone to it. It's not disruptive, but it's definitely a slightly different tone. That might have something to do with the fact I bought them at two different stores several months apart and the dyer may never have intended for them to be used together. Perhaps. :)

I do need to get my yarn out of the disastrously huge box I dumped it in over the next week. I had someone ask about buying a skein and, as it is one I'm not deeply attached to, I'm perfectly willing. However, I am not entirely sure where that skein is. No worries, the seller knows I'm in the process of looking and that it's going to take me a bit.

Tomorrow, though, I have an event to attend that should be knitting friendly, so some progress on the black sock should be made. If nothing else, the Philosopher and I will have a fairly long trip home on the train.

*As near as I can tell, my phone was lifted off of me at a train station on Saturday night. I called Verizon and had everything on my account temporarily deactivated, just in case. I did have insurance, so a replacement was a deductible and an online form away. My one major complaint with the process: they refused to believe that my work address is a valid address for UPS delivery. Trust me, UPS comes to the library almost every day.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Has Anyone Seen My Wool?

Greetings from the oven currently posing as the Midwestern United States, where we're volleying between instant perspiration upon stepping out of doors and the damp clammy feeling over too much humidity and air conditioners attempting to keep up.

During this wonderfully pleasant heat wave, I'm happy to report that the Philosopher and I are 95% moved! We're not quite at 100% because we just haven't had time to get that last car load out of my old apartment and clean it up. The move, which was supposed to be three very long days of packing up two adult apartments and then moving them on Monday, has turned into a week long epic story--the kind where you have to have reminders and circle back around and verbal cues to remember what came next.  The highlights include:
  • Movers who didn't bother to show up for work
  • New movers who arrived six hours after originally scheduled time
  • High 90s/Low 100s temps
  • A broken elevator for a 7th floor move out (did not happen, waited til fixed on Thursday)
  • An unreasonably angry person (not me)
  • 27 new bruises (just me--my legs look patchworked; have not counted Philosopher's bruises)
  • One slightly traumatized Pyewacket (Gypsy took it all in with a yawn)
Keep in mind, those are only the highlights.  My movers did comment on the amount of yarn I have, though in an interested "we don't really understand you but at least it's not heavy" kind of way. They reserved the heavy comments for the many boxes of books. 

It's all cardboard all the time now at Chez Hedgehog and, just to top it all off, I'm on my way to a wedding in PA this evening. The idea of coming home on Sunday and doing something crazy like laundry is a little too appealing. I'm really tired of living out of the suitcase I packed for Anaheim.  

There has been some knitting. I took a couple socks with me to California and the Color Affection Shawl. Everything got a little bit of love but most of the time was so busy (and the shawl rows are getting long) that it feels like nothing much was accomplished.

I'm about halfway through the second sock of the black socks that I'm knitting. This is the third or fourth pair of black socks I've made? Something like that.  Apologies for the bad photo skills, cell phone camera plus tired Hedgehog.... 

This other pair, I don't think you've seen before, though I've mentioned them. It's the Berroco Sox in a teal colorway. It's a little more green than this picture would suggest. I'm knitting these 2x2 ribbed socks up on size 0 needles, which takes a particularly long time when you don't remember where it is you stashed your size 0 dpns.  Hmmmm, that could be a problem. Or an excuse to go to the yarn store.  One of the two.


And finally is a quick preview shot of the Phoenix Fall Tree, which is what I'm calling my Color Affection Shawl.  Yes, it's wadded up in a bag but hopefully that gives you an idea of the colors I'm working through. The Colinette yarn that I'm using is gorgeous. Every time I get it out people remark on the colors and how lovely the yarn is. I like the really tight twist.


I don't really like the needles I'm using, they're too blunt. Again, need to go to the wool shop and see about getting something pointier for those picked up stitches. I'm on the final section where one is juggling 3 skeins of yarn and that does make it creative. We're driving back from PA on Sunday* and I'm hoping to log some knitting time then to make a dent on it. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. In theory, when the earth cools slightly, I'll be able to wear it too!

I did not go yarn shopping in California. We did drive past a yarn store but it was at 10 p.m. and they were not a 24 hour store (shocking, I know). Considering that I've just spent a week muttering "I'm going to get RID of things" it is probably in my best interest that I did not acquire more things. I am trying to figure out how one could get a yarn vendor to the American Library Association conference next summer though. If people will buy bedazzled t-shirts and topaz jewelry, why not have a table or two of wool vendors? Must touch base with some of the local stores and see about a wool crawl too.

*I don't fully understand why we're driving. Philosopher prefers to drive, I think there are perfectly good planes but it seemed silly for him to have to take me to the airport in PA. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moving the Stash and Going to the Sox

I'm going to have to admit the stash again. I'm moving in July.  It's not a long move, just about 10 miles to a new apartment, but it comes with a Philosopher roommate and the knowledge that the stash has to be drug out of all of it's various spots and relocated. I'm a little terrified by that.

I was chatting with a friend recently who commented that he almost always sees me knitting socks.  I countered that while being in class, being short staffed at work (even more so than usual--coworker is gone for a month doing a practicum), packing, and trying to get ready for a major conference in just over a  week, socks are about the only thing I have the brain power for. In theory I'd love to dive into sweaters, work on the giant afghans, etc etc.  But I find that it's easier to let my hands just process the wool and if I happen to end up with a lot more pairs of 2x2 ribbed socks at the end of it, that's okay.

The Philosopher knows how much yarn I own. In theory. He knows there are tubs and hat boxes. I don't think he quite realizes just how much there is though. It's a little easier to say "oh, there are some tubs there" and "there's a basket or two over here."  He's started talking about building shelves and the idea of having to get it all out where he can actually see it is a little daunting. I haven't seen all of the stash in at least two years, probably longer, whenever it was the last time I dumped everything out and sorted. I looked at most of it right before I moved back to Chicago but that was with an eye to get rid of things I didn't love. Now I have to look at it as something taking up shared space.


In other news, the Color Affection Shawl is going well, it was my knitting a week ago when I accompanied Franklin to the White Sox game. He needed a driver, so I got the Gecko vacuumed and we headed south. It's a good thing I'm a little paranoid about travel time--we ended up in traffic on Lake Shore Drive that was stopped long enough that *I* broke out my knitting. I should not be able to get through an entire round of a sock on something purporting itself to be an active road.

He was knitting a sock and while I'd brought one, I wanted to make a dent on the Color Affection. After five innings and a hot pretzel, I'm about 2/3rds of the way through the second section and starting to contemplate section three. A lot of knitters asked questions about it and really liked the colors I'm using. I think it will be really beautiful when it's done. I haven't seen another one done in four colors, but I've not waded through all of the completed projects on Ravelry.

I worked on it again at dinner with AudioGirl. The colors make me so happy, I'm looking forward to seeing how the wrap and turn rows of section 3 look with the added third orange.  I had seen one suggestion to only go 2 rather than three stitches past where one had done the previous row to get a deeper shawl and I do plan to do that.  Eventually I might even get you a picture....

For now, I just finished a black sock and my pillows are hailing me.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: Natty Navy

I've been dealing with a pinched nerve this week that has meant a whole lot of strangeness when it comes to knitting. Everything appears to be healing and fine, yes I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, yes I've already ruled out heart attack symptoms that show up in women but not men.  And I've been able to knit, I've just been incredibly whiny while doing so. The Philosopher has had to listen to a lot of complaints about my arm not feeling right.

Right now there are three pair of socks on the needles and you've seen absolutely none of them. Sorry about that.  Close your eyes and imagine the leg of a black 2x2 rib sock, just about ready for the heel turn, on size 1.5 (2.5mm) needles. That's the first pair. The second pair is out of Berroco Sox that I picked up at the now-closed Knitter's Niche.


I'm working that up on size 0 (2.0) needles. It's also nearing a heel turn.  Neither of those have gotten much play because they are at that heel turn stage and while I can turn heels like a pro in public, I'd rather do it at a point where I don't have to pay attention.

That means this week has been all about some navy socks. Navy appears to be in this summer? I'm not really sure how I feel about that. I know navy is a neutral but inevitably I have a harder time pairing blue pants than I do black or brown with shoes/blouses/etc.


These are being knit up on some Crystal Palace size 0 (2.0mm) needles. I had another meeting after this photo was taken and so I've just begun the heel flap of the first sock after completing a six inch cuff.


These are being knit up out of Louet Gems, which has been marinating in the stash for a good long while. This yarn was, as I best recall, supposed to be gloves or mittens or some such. But as I've hit the point of wanting to clear out some stash and using up yarn that I like but isn't extra-super-hooray, socks it is. They're mindless, they're progressing relatively quickly, and they make excellent gifts to those who appreciate the time/hours/and 20K stitches.

Adventures in horticulture continue. The spider plant finally is actually starting to look like a plant rather than a rather sketchy collection of dying leaves and non-dying ones.


I notice now that it's listing a bit towards the window so I'll have to remember to rotate regularly. It could use a little more soil, so I'll have to bring in baggie of potting soil or something. My coworkers won't find that weird will they?

But there's other plant news. Last fall the Incredibly-Patient-Mother had brought me a set of three pots that all had interesting little plants in them. Gypsy thought they were delicious.  I had noticed that one pot, which had held a small tree, was valiantly trying to regenerate and I brought it to work.  It promptly died and was sitting unnoticed in a corner of my cube for a couple of weeks.  Then I noticed this:


I've watered it and put it back in the window to see if it comes back.

Finally--who wants a clipping off of my Wandering Jew? This plant is going to take over the entire building if I'm not careful.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Off-topic: Open Access Research

I don't write a lot about my library job of here, I'd much rather tell you about my spider plant (which is looking quite healthy now, thanks) or the endless rounds of 2x2 rib socks that are falling off the needles (I started two more pair over the weekend).

One of the major challenges for academic libraries, with much broader impact for the public and world, is that the vast majority of research gets locked away in paywalled journals. Even when the research is federally funded, the researchers are expected, usually required, to sign away all rights to their articles to publishers--corporations or societies--that then charge academic libraries really large amounts of money to provide access to the research. We regularly have to explain to faculty and students that no, we can't purchase everything, and no, we don't own the journal that you published in so you can't even see your own work. One of the major goals of librarianship is to help people access information, so you can imagine how this grates.

For myself, I decided that I didn't like this model for scholarly communication. Closed access was really irritating when I was a public librarian and regularly felt shut out of conversations because I didn't have the budget of a research university behind me. The idea of paying $30/article that I wanted to to view was ludicrous.

So I put up an Open Access plan for myself. I blog every week about trying to get tenure while holding to that plan every week over at Hedgehog Librarian.

And now, a very smart group of people have started a White House petition, asking the Obama Administration to require that federally funded research be made available via the internet to the public who paid for it.

It needs 25K signatures in the next 30 days. Obviously, more signatures than that would be fantastic.

If you'd like more a quick two minute video that explains more of what this is about, please check out this one created by the satirical Twitter account @FakeElsevier. There's music but not any other audio, so you can watch without headphones.

If you have questions, please let me know, I'm always happy to talk about why I'm doing this and some of the frustrations I've come up against.

And if you agree that this research should be available, please go and sign.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled socks, spider plants, and cat photos.


Told you it was looking much better.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bring on Summer

Summer has a different rhythm. School will soon be out for many, if it isn't already. There are graduations every weekend for a while. People seem a little more relaxed in the summer. While there's plenty to do, the long days give you hope that everything can get done and you can still enjoy the day, rather than feeling like there's nothing on either end of work but darkness and wanting to sleep. Restaurants and pubs have patios open and eating outside becomes a familiar part of the routine. Grilling is foregone conclusion, with recipes moving away from crockpots and hot stews to sweet corn and burgers.

Today my calendar didn't have anything on it. Oh sure, there are a thousand things to do, not the least of which is tackle this disaster of an apartment that waits hopefully for me to come home and spend a couple of hours eradicating the cat fur. I have a piece to copy edit that I would like to get back to the writer before tomorrow morning and there's some wardrobe flipping that finally needs to be done. I am hoping that after May 20 I can safely put the heavy wool sweaters into storage until the fall.

But that all feels very far away at the moment. I slept in late and then wandered down to my favorite manicure shop to have the hands and feet pampered. The massage chairs there are phenomenal and exactly what I needed, having woken up feeling like my lower back was completely compressed. I'm trying to grow my nails back out, having chewed them off during some of the stress of early spring, and that means manicures. I discovered in New York that if I spent money on my hands, I wouldn't chew my nails. If I can get my nails to a reasonable length, I can stop, at least for a while, but there's something psychological about not chewing the paid-for-manicure. I added a pedicure so that I could start wearing more open shoes--though probably not in the 50 degree temperatures at work.

And I sat for an extra drying cycle, reading my book, a old murder mystery. The murder is interestingly done, with killer early determined (by the reader) but motive slowly revealed. It was written in the mid-70s and you can imagine the political incorrectness of it, mostly gender assumptions. I'd been seeking out something of the mindless television type though and this filled the need well. Now, I think I need to tackle the bookcase full of texts that I need to read once and pass on to others and old issues of National Geographic that I need to read through and then leave on the "take one/leave one" bookshelf at work.

For now though, I think I'll wander over to the pie shop to see what today's selections are. Then it's back to the things that are mocking me about needing to be done...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: When Last We Left Our Intrepid Hedgehog

When we last left our intrepid heroine, she was facing down ENDLESS obligation knitting. It was a good obligation and mostly her own fault that she's past deadline and wasn't done. That went to the post office on Tuesday evening and hopefully will never have to be thought of again.  If I get a finished object image, I'll post that but otherwise, know that it was way too much fussing with gauge and ended with me knitting worsted weight on size 2 needles--which only works for about an hour before my hands start cramping badly.

As I write this evening, Pye is curled up on the log cabin afghan that I made in La Crosse, which still needs it's ends woven in and a border. It's her favorite place to sleep, she's purring up a storm, all by herself. I catch her licking the afghan occasionally, apparently she has a special affinity for the flavor of sheep. She's recuperating from her spaying. I was happy to get her as a kitten but there need be no more kittens in the world from my two ladies. Gypsy had one litter before I adopted her and Pye was the last litter of a female who my friend's mom was trying to catch and spay in order to end a colony.

Obligation knitting done and Philosopher required to sit down, I could finally get around to the toes on all of the various and sundry socks I've been working on for him.  One sock wasn't as far along as I thought, another needed a few rows ripped out.  Anyway, all of the socks are done, off the needles and are only awaiting one final fitting--just in case.

First up are the Green Ray socks.  I knit most of these at Computers in Libraries in March, though Ravelry has a January start date. Ouch.


Needle: 1.5 (2.5 mm)
Stitch Count: 56
Yarn: Ewetopia Fiber Shop Merino Sportweight
Purchased: WI Sheep and Wool 2011

When I realized I had other places to go and needed more on the go knitting (that'd be around Easter), I started on the Philothree socks. Note that the Philosopher could only remember that I was knitting him a pair of green socks. He didn't realize that I was knitting him two pair of green socks until a couple days ago when I made him sit for all of the toes. Suffice to say, he's pleased and looking forward to wearing them in the fall/winter.


Needle: 2 (2.75 mm)
Stitch Count: 52
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Superwash Sportweight
Purchased: Yarnation, 2010

Lamb's Pride (according to Ravelry) is 100% Wool. It's definitely not merino, it's tougher than that. It still knits up into very squishy socks though and I will be interested in seeing how it wears. I think it may pill less than the Ewetopia Fiber.

The socks that I started at Dark Lord Day have gotten a few scant rounds knit on them, though they've been hauled hither and yon. Now that all other socks are done but for end weaving and toe verification, I'm hoping to make some faster progress--though on size 0 needles it's still going to be a while.

Oh--one other modification to my usual pattern with these.  Normally, I start the toe of the sock at the base or thereabouts of the recipient's big toe and proceed thusly. Philosopher has longer toes, so this doesn't work with my row gauge. With these, I knit most of the way through his toes, then did a few rows of decrease (not every other--every row) and then a three needle bind off. I still need to teach myself to kitchner but this seemed perfectly adequate as a bind off.

There wasn't a lot of yarn left, but there's some for repairs if needed.


And of course, I had help taking pictures


Oh, the spider plant now officially has two babies and 6 new leaves. A new photo of it soon!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Plant Rescue

One of the joys of feline ownership is, of course, that they'll chew on the plants and you can't have anything that's poisonous to them in the house.

This wasn't a huge problem when I got Gypsy. I was living in La Crosse and had close to twenty plants. There were jokes about the mammal:plant ratio. To give you an idea, I refer you to the following evidence:

(there were two more shelves to that structure behind Gypsy)

(There were two more bookcases with plants on them to the right--this is actually supposed to be a picture of the cat under blanket)

June 19 005
(I had a really healthy boston fern than had to be left behind at the last minute. I was sad. The Incredibly Patient Mother has promised me a new one--I'd grown that one from a frond she'd given me before. Fortunately the parent plant is ENORMOUS)

(The apartment faced south. My philodendron plants were huge. I have a nine inch span.)

I moved with a couple of plants, most of which did not survive the transition to the fairly dark cave I live in right now--Chez Hedgehog being a garden apartment. And Gypsy, with a far smaller amount of snacking options, started actually doing damage to the plants.

I finally brought to work the last plant that I had at home.

Plant Rescue..Week 0

This sad little spider plant has a story. I was given it's parent plant by the aunt of a good friend in New York. The Lobster and I were at Aunt Liz's for a holiday, Thanksgiving maybe or Easter. She gave me one of her spider plants to take home. It moved with me from New York to Chicago and then to La Crosse, sprouting countless babies, many of which I planted and shared.  The parent plant was finally starting to look a little rough and the root ball was huge.  Faced with needing to downsize quite a lot, I opted to include it in the huge batch of plants that I gave to a young man who had just moved up to La Crosse and was facing the winter ahead with some trepidation--I'd posted them for free on Craiglist. He took at least a half dozen of my plants, a couple other people had come by and picked up free plants as well.

I kept this spider plant deliberately, one of the healthiest and more mature of the babies. As you can see, Gypsy had turned it into lunch/dinner/in between meals snacks.

It came to work about a week and a half ago and went up in the West facing window of my cube. And here's how it looks after a week:

Plant Rescue..Week 1

So far I see two new leaves (one on the left and one on the stem) and in general it looks a whole lot perkier. Amazing how sunlight and lack of felines can help.

And now that I've written you a nice long blog post about my spider plant, we'll see if any of you come back soon for actual yarn content.

Oh--one more picture--if you weren't sure that yes, I can actually grow plants here, the IPM brought me a wandering jew frond (a clipping off of AudioGirl's Wandering Jew, which has since died and gone to plant heaven). Here's how it's looking:

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...