Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Brief Detour...

I found out this evening that the parent of a good friend has been hospitalized for leukemia.  She's presently undergoing chemotherapy, which promised to effectively knock out her entire immune system here shortly. There are a lot of interesting facts that go along with it (they're pumping her full of chemicals that they clean up while wearing hazmat suits, for example).

My friend is home in Chicago for the moment but headed back to see his parents in a couple of weeks. I, of course, am reacting with wool.

I'm headed to the yarn store tomorrow to pick up some skeins of Berroco Peruvia Quick or something similar and intend to have something on the needles tomorrow.  I have to track down my size 15 needles, they're around here somewhere.

Anyway, we'll be taking a brief detour as I get this project done. We'll return you to your regularly scheduled Lent after that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's not just me...

Check out today's Rhymes with Orange.  I promise I'm not trying to end up with all of the projects becoming one single project, no matter how tempting!

Friday, February 24, 2012

One skein at a time...

Lent is officially underway and Chez Hedgehog is all UFOs all the time.  At least, until I start browsing Ravelry and notice patterns like Contrast and Complement or Chantalle. Then I start stalking the stash and wondering just where the right size needles might be tucked.  Then I remember it's Lent and I've committed to that giant blanket. Maybe those patterns will be this year's Easter basket.  Along with the Cadbury eggs.

I think it's probably the worst thing I've ever named a project--Instant Gratification. Sure, each skein doesn't take THAT long, but it's 26 skeins and each of those is taking me a couple of hours and did I mention that there's a gouge in the one needle point that's catching quite often? Wooden needles are failing me left, right, and tweed.

Since taking the blanket back up last week, I've gotten through 4 more skeins of the taupe yarn.  I've got one more left before I go back to the green.  That means I've got 10 skeins of yarn left: 1 taupe middle in the middle section, 5 in the green stripe, 4 to finish the taupe border. That also means I'm definitely past the half way point in this blanket. This would be a very good thing because it's starting to get a little large.

Blanket 1
I don't really remember what the plan was in La Crosse. I doubt I swatched, so I assume I picked an arbitrary number of stitches that seemed like enough and ran with it. There might have been consulting of the ballband and general ideas like "oh, on x needles y stitches = 4"/10cm, so I'll just cast on z stitches" but even that is optimistic. Now that I'm several feet into the blanket, I can approximate that before any blocking it's currently running about 90" wide (approx 2.2 m). It's currently a little over three feet long. 7'x3'....hmmm, no wonder I'm starting to feel some heft when I pick it up and move it around.

Apologies for the dark cell phone pictures. I need to order a new camera battery.

I did put some time in on my purple socks at a meeting Thursday and made real progress on the purple mitts earlier in the week.  Pictures of those to follow. I'm hoping by next Thursday I'll have a finished pair to show you--at least one whole pair in February.

I also read Sheepish by Catherine Friend on Thursday evening. It's very enjoyable and a quick read. I was both amused and found myself identifying with some of the realities of farming (death of animals, particularly baby animals, that you can't control. It's heartbreaking but pragmatic reality and she's very honest about that).

How are your Lenten knitting plans going?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sideways glance at myself

There was no sock update yesterday because, well, I haven't worked on any socks except for a couple rounds. So taking a picture that showed no progress didn't seem helpful. Also, Thursday was a giant disaster of a several hours to answer reference question that blew my day apart.

And I've only made it through another half skein on the afghan. There have been a lot of writing deadlines this week.  Hopefully this weekend I can actually make a dent on things.

We shall see....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bring on the Unfinished Objects...

Can you believe Lent starts next week? It seems early this year, though I know we see Lent migrate around all of February and starting on the 22nd means it will be April when Easter rolls around. Also, how are we approximately 50 days from Easter?

I've been thinking through Lenten observations, giving up things, taking up things, committing to things.  A couple of years ago I did a Lenten yarn diet.  But I know that was when I was buying yarn every two-three days. This year I've bought one skein of wool total and that was because we were in Dallas. I know, I'm shocked at my restraint too, but I did buy that one project bag and I purchased a mitten pattern that I have no idea when I'll get to knitting it....

Between now and the end of March, there is a thesis due date for the Philosopher, I've got a national presentation to finish planning and give, and we're traveling for that conference and a wedding.  Oh, and M is coming to stay with me so I want to make sure that Chez Hedgehog is all tidied up. Recently it's been a cluttered disaster.

One of those major clutter points though is unfinished knitting projects.  That would include the two afghans that need to be knit up, scarves, mittens, shawls, etc.  They're taking up a fair chunk of space in the livingroom and not doing anyone any good.

So that's the plan for Lent.  No new projects. No sock wool from the stash to wind up.  It's going to be Unfinished Objects knitting all the time. And if I pull out something and really am no longer enamoured of it, it's going to be Frog Pond time. It's a waste of good needle space to have something sitting around that I'm not using and don't really care about knitting.

I do still have 2 pair of socks on the needles, those will probably become work only projects, as it's a little harder to follow charted things or haul around huge afghans at work. There's not much knitting time at work these days, so hopefully that will suffice to get me through. If not, there are mittens that I can work on.

IMG_2893I decided today to go ahead and start on this commitment and dug out the Instant Gratification Afghan that I started in La Crosse in 2009 (according to Ravelry). While I watched an episode of the KnitGirllls (thank you Leslie and Laura for the company), I plowed through one skein of yarn.  That is the one major advantage to this project--about 90 minutes of dedicated knitting and I'm done with a skein.  Granted, I have 13 more skeins to put on this afghan and that's quite a lot of knitting time to squeeze in but it's not unheard of.  If I sit down to watch a TV show that's 45 minutes, that's half a skein. And with this I can convince myself that I really should just finish that skein up.... (the tan skeins are about 87 yards; the green 115)

This is about how it looks now.  If you look hard I was originally adding in some cable twists every now and again. I'm not really interested in doing that anymore, so I'm just plowing through it--stockinette with ten stitch garter borders on each side. It's a few inches longer than in this picture (which is from La Crosse--as evidenced by the carpeting).

That's the plan for knitting at least. If I come up with any other Lenten plans between now and next week, I'll let you know.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: Green and Purple...

In the fantasy world in my head, I have huge swaths of knitting time on public transit, at home in the evenings while catching up on my Netflix, and at cocktail parties where I'm well dressed and carrying beaded and funky project bags. Keep in mind that somehow at these parties I'm also imagining that I've had time to get my hair done.  Nowhere in this fantasy do I have an apartment that needs deep cleaning, a pile of articles to read, friends who are more of the beer than cocktail persuasion who I see over jeans rather than stilettos (that's perfectly fine btw), and trains that are often very crowded so I'm holding onto a railing and squished in rather than trying to wield pointy sticks.  

There were at least a couple of non-notetaking meetings this week and one day that I got a seat on the train for the ride home.  I should have knit at the annual doctor appointment (I'm fine) but hadn't expected to be kept waiting for 45 minutes and was reading a book instead.  I know. The horror. 

I have churned a bit more out on the green sock 1. I think I've got about 2 more inches before I turn the heel, though of course that's subject to the Philosopher's boots. He needs at least a six inch cuff, preferably a little longer. 

Ravelry Link: Green Ray
Pattern: My Vanilla 2x2 Rib sock
Yarn: Ewetopia Fiber Arts Merino Sockweight
Needles: 1.5 (2.5 mm)

I've made better progress on the purple socks. I'm done with Sock 1--hooray!

Ravelry Link: Royal Toes
Pattern: My Vanilla 2x2 Rib Sock
Yarn: Ewetopia Fiber Arts Merino Sockweight
Needles: 2 (2.75 mm)

I finished it during the Superbowl last weekend, when I wasn't chowing down on food. I made hummus for the first time, using my shiny new food processor. I also used the mandolin (vegetable slicer, not musical instrument)--well, the Philosopher used it and there were vegetables and pita to go with the hummus. Surprisingly, the veggies went first! I had cooked up a pound of chickpeas, we left hummus with our hosts and I still have hummus in the fridge. It's good but does take a little while to eat up.  

I did start into the next sock, as you can see, and that's been my meeting knitting. I was asked yesterday what I *do* with all of these socks. Do I wear them? Are they gifts? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy some? I said yes to all three questions and talked about my need for something to do with my hands, handed over the skein so the asker could feel the squish of the wool and we talked about being more able to repair the socks I made than the really expensive wool socks they've purchased that wear out almost equally fast. 

I did not mention to the person asking that she's on my list of people to surprise with socks, mostly because I'd rather it be a pleasant surprise than an expectation. Known obligation knitting I have plenty of already.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sock Show Thursday: One Done and Onwards...

I haven't been to bed yet, so it's still Thursday. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Pair Number 1 for 2012 is done!!!  I got them done before February even.  Tada!

Okay so really they aren't blue, they're gray.  In this close up shot you can even see it: 

Overall I think they turned out pretty well.  I really like the yarn.  These are going in the Gift Bin.  They already have a recipient so no, you can't ask for them for yourself. Sorry.

Last week we left our intrepid purple sock halfway down the leg.  Now, I've turned the heel, decreased through the gusset and I'm zooming down the foot.  I adore size 2 needles with sportweight wool.  One minute you have yarn and seemingly the next minute you have a sock.  These are for me.  

 But as I mentioned earlier this week, I had a needle catastrophe. The Philosopher isn't entirely convinced. He thinks we can fix it without loosing the needle sizing. I've added that to the enormous list of things that need to be done "when we have time."  All that free time just lying around waiting for me, a gouged and chewed on needle (kittens! sigh) and very very fine sand paper.

So while I was waiting, I thought I'd better load my brand new Piddleloop bag.  It's dark brown with blue polka dots and it's so utterly cute that it's kind of painful.  I love getting new bags from Jen and Wendy.

Of course, if you look at all of my Piddleloop bags (except the custom hedgehog one that's holding a sweater that I'm pretending doesn't exist), you might notice a trend.

Anyone?  How I ended up with three polka dot bags I don't really understand but there you have it.

I didn't want to take DPNs to the meeting I had Thursday morning. There were enough people in that meeting who aren't used to watching me knit a lot and metal needles are noisier.  So I opted for the 9" circulars in the 1.5 (2.25mm) size.

Here's what I got done in a 90 minute meeting.

So now I have two socks rolling along. These will hopefully go quickly.  We shall see!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Needle Down....

I woke up the other morning to find that Pyewacket had grabbed my current sock off the table and started carrying it around the livingroom/kitchen area.  Fortunately, the spiderweb wasn't too complex and I was able to untangle it.  Monday night, when I sat down to work more on it, I found we'd had a casualty.

Trying to get a picture of this was pretty near impossible. I apparently need a better camera or to finally got that class with Mr. Habit.  Anyway, as you can see there's a chunk taken out of the needle.  I've tried fixing things like this before. I have sand paper for the occasionally little problem.  This, however, is a serious gouge.  In order to sand it down, it's going to change the size of the needle.

I'm not sure if I'm going to try a repair yet.  A quick rummage through the needle stash tells me that I do not have another 9" Size 2 circular. So the Purple Sock (update on Thursday) would have to be completed on DPNs.  *back of hand to forehead* The horror.  You mean, those same DPNs I'm using right now to work out the gusset?

That rummage did turn up my size 1.5 and 0 9" circulars, so I may just have to suck it up and work down the KPPPM stash and knit some of the sport weight on 1.5 needles.  I think this is just a #hedgehogworldproblem  and am trying to resist storming over to The Loopy Ewe and replacing the needle immediately. I can save it for a day I need a wool pick me up and drop into Loopy downtown to inhale the wool fumes.

Hmmm...I also need another set of size 0 DPNs (two of my five are missing now) and my 1.5 DPNs, well, one of them has been bent to heck twice and punctured me in the process.  *considers a needle run*

Embracing a Color of Fall

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