Monday, December 30, 2013

Endless Small Blue Circle

Yesterday was black hole knitting.  The kind where you knit and knit and knit (and ignore ALL the other things you're supposed to be doing) and knit and knit and knit and yet the ribbing on a hat never seems to get past 3.5".  I've really been wanting to start my first pair of socks for 2014 even though we're technically still in the last days of 2013 and the yarn is all caked and the needles are shiny and...

The blue Malabrigo hat I told you about was also still sitting next to my keyboard and apparently I have some ability to shame myself into working on specific projects--at least, I seem to be able to do so in order to avoid other non-knitting related projects. Last night after knitting seemingly forever into the black hole of ribbing, as I crawled into bed with knitting and my tablet, I grabbed the measuring tape again.


Where that extra inch of ribbing came from, considering that I'd been measuring regularly, is unclear but I've moved on to the stockinette stitch section. That's going to be 9" and I plowed through about an inch last night so there is currently some hope that I might finish the hat in less than a year.  This will be the second Sockhead hat that I've knit without an intended recipient but it makes another nice addition to the gift bin.

I'm being very monogamous and not knitting any of the other things that are griping at me from the knitting bags, boxes, piles, tubs, etc.

Unfortunately, knitting endless rounds of stockinette on small needles isn't getting the other things that need to be done off of the to do list.  Off to do more work on those things...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Yarn just before the New Year

I realized after writing yesterday's post that the yarn that I'm using for Pair 1 of 2014 (now dubbed the BahBah BRIGHT Sheep socks) isn't actually in my stash. I'm kind of surprised by that, I thought I'd stuffed it in there at some point.

This is Baah! La Jolla.  So, discount what I said about how many skeins of sock yarn I have that I intend to turn into socks in the next year or two. Or, at least add 5 to that number to account for the yarn floating around the stash that I haven't realized isn't in Ravelry yet and therefore isn't counted.

On Dec 19, best known as the day my fliptop mitts went missing, I also popped into Nina. The owner has a lovely shop, filled with high end beauty skeins. I always end up in a bit of a yarn daze going in there. She has some work horse yarns, but the majority is the nicer and more boutique yarns.

One dyer that I'd not seen before that she carries is Knitted Wit, out of Portland, Oregon. Most of what Nina had was fingering weight but I see in the etsy shop a number of weights. I considered grabbing a skein but thought of all the of the purple already in the stash and that I already have several pair of green socks that are mine and several that are the Philosopher's. It's certainly on my radar for yarn in the future but not that trip. The dyer mentions variegated on her shop page but I only could find shaded solids. From her items sold page there does seem to be a lot of rainbow options though, if you're looking to stalk a dyer for that.

I found myself over by the Koigu. Dangerous stuff, that skinny yarn. I suppose it's not too shocking that I brought home some to knit up.  Of course, as Sibling the Elder pointed out while she was here, it looks an awful lot like the yarn I knit into the fliptop mitts and some other BMFA that I knit up for AudioGirl last year.  At least I'm consistent?


The other skein comes from the new fall collection out of Manos Del Uruguay. I have mixed feelings about Manos. On one hand, like Malabrigo, I can count on them for interesting colors and beautiful single ply yarns. On the other hand, I really don't like knitting single ply under a worsted weight. So I was pretty excited to see that they have a pretty tightly plied sock yarn: Alegria.

It's new enough (this past fall) that there wasn't much opinion about it at the shop.  I grabbed this interesting skein.


They aren't my usual colors but I think it will be an interesting knit.  The colorway is Atlantico, so I assume we're supposed to think of sand, water, and sky. At least, that's what I get from it.  The yardage is generous--445 yards--and it has nylon so it should wear well.

IMG_6835 (2)

Add it to the sock bin...

In the interim, I'm not sure what Gypsy's planning to do when I go back to work next week. Her current activities have almost entirely involved sitting on my lap. She's going to be a very put out feline next week when all of the laps in the house are absent for 8+ hours.

Friday, December 27, 2013

What hasn't been photographed?

As you  may remember, about six months ago I took a photography class with Franklin Habit. While my photography skills are still too frequently relying on a quick snapshot taken with the camera on my phone while I've moved the keyboard at my desk (or, more frequently and recently, with the webcams I have at work and home), I did have some time to break out the light box and see what I could do today. I have a long way to go but it was fun getting to try things out and not just rely on my usual "is the sun totally fading this out?"

The sun is out today and the sky is painfully clear. After I get this posted I think I'm going to walk over to Starbucks and the dry cleaner just so I get outside today and get some sunlight. It's 42 degrees so I shouldn't even need much in the way of a coat.  On Monday our high will be 7 degrees so I should get out now while I want to.

Today you'll get the projects, tomorrow the new yarn... Yes, there's new yarn at Chez Hedgehog. How many people are really surprised by this? Right, okay then.

I hadn't photographed the Muppet Scarf because it was for the Incredibly-Patient-Mother's birthday in November.  Now that she's received it and been wearing it, here it is for you to see. (Please note, this picture was taken in November)

It's Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's One Row Handspun pattern knit out of Schaefer Nichole in the Janis Joplin colorway.  I got two skeins as a pairs sale from The Loopy Ewe and ended up making things for my mother and the Philosopher's mother.  This knit up quickly on size 3 (3.25 mm) needles.

Back in March 2013 (wow, seriously, it's been 9 months already?), I started another Sockhead hat out of some Malabrigo sock. It has been given a few stitches here and there but I haven't made much progress. I'm not even out of the ribbing yet and it's December, nearly January 2014.

[Note: Gypsy's been sitting on my lap since I sat down about 15 minutes ago. Pyewacket just hopped up and was very confused as to why there wasn't room for her also on my lap. Not that she wasn't welcome, but she'd have had to lay on top of Gypsy and that probably wouldn't have gone over well.]

The yarn is some I got from AudioGirl in a trade forever ago.


I've got about 2.5" of ribbing and I think I need 4" before I go to the endless stockinette.  At my current rate I should be done somewhere around 2020.

I made a pair of fingerless mitts for my massage therapist (sorry--phone photo again here) out of some vintage Yarn Pirate Aran that had been hanging out in the stash for a while. I think I have enough for another pair, at least, I'm trying with the leftovers to crank out another pair. I'm taking bets on how soon I'll run out.


These have been sitting in bed and knitting so they don't get worked on very often. I am past the thumb gusset on mitt 1 though so those should start progressing. Maybe.

Oh, I finished up the Frozen socks last night! And I even broke out my sock blockers, aren't you all impressed?  These are destined for the gift bin.  My usual 1x1 Vanilla Rib pattern, 64 stitches on size 0 (2.0 mm) needles.  The KPPPM continues to be a lovely workhorse yarn, though there are days I wish it was just a smidge thicker.


In case you doubted it, I had help taking pictures.


And these final two are things coming rather than things really begun. The Philosopher last night had suggested that, as there were 5 days left in the year, I probably could finish another pair of socks now that the size 0 KPPPMs were done. I thought that sounded like a brilliant plan. Unrealistic but brilliant. Hmm, 5 days, about 20 hours for a pair of socks... sure I could knit 4 hours a day until New Years, right?  Who needs to do all the other things around here that I've been putting off...

Such it was this morning that I grabbed a skein of BMFA Mediumweight in Puck's Mischief and cast on. With sport weight yarn and 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles surely I could plow right through them. About 8 rows in the Philosopher noticed what I was working on. He thought the yarn was lovely. I said that was good, as these were going to be socks for him (why I didn't choose my own smaller feet, I ask you?).  Oh? Hmm, could these be fingerless mitts for him instead?



I've got another skein of Puck's Mischief around here somewhere but it's not wound and he doesn't ask for things all that often.  So I stepped away from the crazy of a pair of socks in 5 days (totally not crazy).

I did pick out my next pair though, to be started in the next couple of days and have the honor of being the first socks of 2014.


Note to self, this yarn photographs on a white background far better than a black background. Case in point:


And now I have to evict the sleeping cat. Hopefully she'll adjust to being moved to her basket.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

And now we plan...

I hope your Christmas was restful and full of joy! The Incredibly-Patient-Mother and both Siblings joined the Philosopher and I at Chez Hedgehog.  We and the felines ate far too much food, watched movies, opened presents, and had pots and pots of tea.

I got a wonderful knitting related gift. The IPM bought me two packs of blocking mats! Each set covers a full 12 square feet of floor.  The giant shawls that I've knit and that Sibling-the-Elder has knit for me can finally be blocked in their glory. [Just as soon as I move everything out of the dining room]

The one knitting related gift I gave on Christmas day there is no picture of. I forgot to take photos of the red socks that I made for the Incredibly Patient Mother. They were from the Dallas yarn purchase of last January and weren't very well aged stash...

While I didn't do a whole lot of holiday knitting, now that the year is winding down and I'm considering the new year ahead, plans are leaping out of my brain. I need to block the green sweater and finally start wearing it, I'm still trying to finish up the ice blue socks before next week (don't worry, I'm almost to the toe of sock 2), I'm midway through a pair of fingerless gloves...

A high priority though will be to make myself some mittens. Yes I need new ones already. The fliptop mittens I'd so recently knit myself are gone. Last Thursday, somewhere between a taxi / a coffeeshop / and the theater, my flips disappeared. There was frantic searching after the performance when I realized they weren't in my purse and despite retracing my steps, they had disappeared. I hope someone found them together and is wearing them in good health.

I still have a fair chunk of STR Mediumweight left and I need to run it through my yard counter to see if I can repeat or if I need stripes or what the plan should be.

The Brunette's mitts still aren't done, the Brunette's husband's mitts yarn.  I've got some sock yarn wound up for the new year but need to sort things into project bags.  And I swear, this year is going to be the year that pink afghan gets finished. Per Ravelry, I've been working on it since May 2007. This year it is getting evicted from the bin it's been hiding in and turned into a functional, person-warming object. I also have pretty serious designs on the half dozen cones of bulky weight cotton still lurking around, so if anyone is interested in a hand knit washcloth, I should know about that sooner rather than later for the gift planning bin.

There's some yarn getting evicted from the stash. It's perfectly nice wool but it's just not anything I'm going to use, so I'll post a link to my Ravelry for-sale/trade when I get it sorted out the stuff that is leaving.

The Philosopher and I have started making general new year plans as well. A lot of them involve organizing and getting rid of excess things, going through things again and pruning the load, lightening up the apartment, being able to know whether or not we're actually out of something.  One particular plan involves scanning a LOT of papers and letting the hard copies go. The tax returns from when I was 15, for example, probably safe in PDF form especially considering I've barely had to keep anything the past three-five years, all of my w2s have been electronic, even most of my 1099s have come via email.  An external hard drive takes far less space and, while we're not planning to move anytime soon, we'd like to not have to move these things again in their current formats.

I just updated the KnitMeter and I'm very close to 11K, which is pretty satisfactory for a year full of many other things. Whether or not I can average 1000K a month this next year remains to be seen.  But there are many babies expected by friends due soon and a lot of really lovely wool floating around the stash that I'd like to get out and make things we'll see what comes next.

What are your knitting plans for 2014?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sick plus Sock Yarn

I am very grateful for sick days. Not for the part where I feel like garbage or where I'm sneezing so violently that the cats flee the room though Gypsy's adapted now that she's on my lap rather than my chest and I only get an ear twitch.  I'm grateful that I woke up this morning, recognized that between the exhaustion and the congestion and the diseased feeling, and was able to acknowledge that I was probably not going to be any good to anyone in my library.  I could email work and say "Nope, not today. I'll be in and hopefully less infectious tomorrow."  So I did, and then I crawled back under the covers and was fully unconscious before the Philosopher got up to take a shower. 

After sleeping very late and having now added a half dose of sudafed, I'm upright and thinking about moving the cat enough to go get another cup of tea. I might even tackle end weaving on my green sweater. Maybe. I'm not thinking very clearly. I do at least need to run down to the dry cleaners and pick up the Philosopher's suit that he's wearing to a wedding this weekend. Head cold plus wedding ought to be fantastic. 

It's year end and I'm counting only 4-5 projects that I'm hoping to wrap up in the next 14 days before I start misdating everything again.* To that end I took a quick look through my Ravelry stash to start evaluating how much sock yarn I have for 2014 that I'm intending to turn into socks. 

And it's finally happened.  I've stopped binge buying long enough that, if I maintain my current knitting rate of about 1 pair a month, I might come close to running out of sock-designated yarn next year. A quick count through only turned up 17 skeins, not including the ice blue pair currently on the needles. Of those skeins, only 4 are sport weight, and fingering weight on size 1 (2.25mm) needles does take me a little longer, but only 1 set of socks is on size 0 (2.0mm) needles and those are usually my longest marathons.  

If I bought no new sock yarn (unlikely), and got through another 14 pair of socks (this year's current expectation), I'd have 3 skeins left. Now, of course, that doesn't count the yarn that could be used for socks but currently isn't designated for socks, yarn of any weight beyond light fingering/fingering/sport, or the Wollmeise stash. But it does signify a lot of pairs of socks having been knit.  And the possibility one day that there might be some room in the stash bins.  Perhaps.  

And it hasn't been all socks this year.  A quick count reveals: 1 pair mittens, a human sized sweater, a dog sweater, a baby blanket, a scarf, a kitchen rug, most of AudioGirl's slipper socks, but when you balance against 14 pairs of socks, you can see where most of the knitting time went.  

Hmm, I said 4-5 projects up there didn't I? In my defense, all of them are at least 50% done already, so it's not like I'm starting from wool. But I should really go tackle those and also make more tea, especially as the cat has abandoned me temporarily.

Hope you are all feeling well and your Christmas knitting is down to a few ends to weave in... 

*I almost said, writing the wrong year on checks but I'm not sure I wrote any physical checks this year.  How long will it be until that cultural touchpoint is gone for all of us? 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: Maybe Ice Blue Wasn't My Best Choice

The week has become bitterly cold, though tomorrow promises a high nearly to the freezing point. As yet, we're not quite to double digits Fahrenheit. For the wool I've purchased and the skill of my hands this week, I am grateful.

I've been doing my best impression of a wool wrapped marshmallow with a wool shawl wrapped around my core, then a down coat, at least one scarf (two this morning), wool hat, and my new wool fliptop mittens(which still don't have flip thumbs). Also all of my wool socks have been going into rotation in my snow boots. On Saturday I don't think I have to leave my house and my plans involve washing all of these woolies that have been doing such heavy work this week.

I finally made some decent progress on the Brunette's Cobbler Fliptops. Cobbler as I'm cobbling them together from things I know, things I'm trying, patterns I'm skimming, etc). The main part of both mittens is done and now I need to knit flips and thumbs. He's asked for flip thumbs so I need to get that sorted sooner rather than later. I popped into Loopy Yarns earlier this week on my way home from work to pick up some conductive thread which I may  put in the package with the mitts or I may knit the entire right thumb tip. I haven't decided yet. See cobbling...

It's Thursday though and here I have been working on a new sock. This got started mostly by virtue of it was already wound and my size 1 dpns are still in the last socks  I was working on and my 1.5s are still with the fliptop leftovers so size 0 needles it is!! Very precise, I know.

Anyway, this is more KPPPM in the P444  colorway.  When I bought it, I thought it looked like a spring sky. As I'm knitting it during deep freeze, I'm seeing very winter colors in the yarn. After this pair, I have enough in pink for one more pair and 875 yards (5 skeins) in a crushed blueberry kind of colorway that I intended to use for a shawl or something. So I'm almost through it.

This has been riding around in one of my Jessalu bags and gets sporadic rows so I'm not making progress very quickly.  Tonight I'm headed to a Hobbit marathon that will see me at a theater for 6 hours. I'm thinking the other skein of this plus the size 0 9" circular needles and I could probably make a serious dent in Sock 2.

Or I might take a hat I've been working on. It's Malabrigo sock on size 2 or 3 I think and needs hours of mindless stockinette.  

Or I might just eat popcorn for 6 hours. 

We'll see.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Avoiding all the other stuff I should be doing

We are having our first real snowstorm here in the Chicago area, though real is subjective. We're expected to get only about an inch of snow.  Of course, I had intended to make a run out to IKEA today.  Earlier the Philosopher and I got on the road so at least we'd drive out there in the daylight, if not back, only to find that there had been no particular attention paid yet to the roads in the form of salt trucks.  Everyone was driving very carefully but it was slippery and every intersection saw the Low Traction alarm dinging in the car.  We made it about a mile from home and then decided that we would just turn around.  Cross your fingers that the car got warm enough that tomorrow I get the all clear from my mechanic to take it for emissions testing because seriously, this has gotten beyond stupid.

For those who aren't Illinois local, every two years we have to take our cars for emissions testing to verify that we're not contributing to the local area pollution more than we should be.  About a month ago I took my car over to Mike the Car Guy and had him fix all of the things that were currently making me non-compliant--my car is nearly 15 years old, it tends to sprout little leaks and things--and ever since then I've been doing a boatload of unnecessary driving in order to get all of the triggers to reset in the car. If the triggers aren't reset, I can't go to the testing. Well, I can, but I'll fail and have to go back.  And I can't renew my plates until I pass the test.  So, no point in going to the testing despite the fact all the things are fixed.  Last week, I'd really hoped we'd be set but not yet.  And Mike can't tell me what exactly I need to do to trigger whichever test is left--it's not miles or anything like that. It just "isn't ready."  He suggested it's a hint that I need a new car, I responded that when the state of Illinois would like to buy me a new one, I'll consider it.

The whole part of having to drive around for no good reason, thereby increasing my personal vehicle's emissions, adding to holiday congestion, etc, just to try and get this trigger to reset itself has not been lost on me. It's been a waste of gas, time, energy, all sorts of things. About the only things good to come out of it so far is that I finally took my new work chair to work and I dropped off two bags of "stuff" (clothes etc) and a large bag of books for donation.

Little happening on the knitting front. Right now I'm working on the Brunette's Mitts.  The USPS still can't tell me where the Blonde's blanket is.  They still haven't delivered it either to her or back to me. I have a new phone number to call tomorrow though.

I should be knitting all sorts of things but of late I just don't care. Part of that is winter malaise setting in, which means more time with the Vitamin D pills and the sun lamp.

I think in January I'm going to go through the stash and put things up on Ravelry again for sale. Not that I expect a whole lot to go but there are skeins floating around in there that it is unlikely that I'll ever actually knit them up. Why not send them on to a better home than this one?

I need to get out some bright yarn and work on that. Not sure what bright yarn I have floating around that would be appropriate but there must be something. It's plenty gray and dreary outside without only working on gray and dreary yarn. (Please note, I'm happy to knit the Brunette gray mittens per request but they're know? At least his husband asked for a very pale green.)

Now I'm thinking about a quick pair of mittens for my massage therapist.  She should always have warm hands, right? And there's some yarn already wound out in the stash.....

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

All But Thumbs

It's the day before Thanksgiving and thankfully, I'm pretty sure I don't need to go to the grocery tonight.  There's the season's first quart of eggnog in the refrigerator and the Philosopher and I picked up a turkey and the traditional fixings and some wine, so we should be set.  We're going to be eating turkey leftovers from now until Valentines Day but hey, mid January, thawing out a large chunk of turkey and making chili is going to sound like a brilliant plan.

We have to have a brief moment of loss for the Tweety Bird stretch gloves I've been wearing the past couple of winters in the early-winter/late-winter it's not quite cold enough for my ski gloves periods.  They were your basic black glove except for a small plastic square with really random Tweety designs on them. Unfortunately, yesterday morning, they disappeared. I'm relatively sure I dropped them between getting off my train yesterday and getting to my building but by the time I realized that about four hours later, they were long gone.

Fortunately, I started those mitts last week! A baby shower and a couple of commutes later and ta da!

2013-11-27 09-37-33.649

I decreased a little too fast and funny on the flips and I don't have flips knit on the thumbs yet but they got worn to work today and none too soon. 15 degree weather calls for warm gloves.  My office is really chilly today, so I'm wearing them inside too.

2013-11-27 09-37-43.729

Here is where I am on the thumb so far. I had seriously thought about just making these fingerless mitts. My thumbtips are now loudly reminding me that making flips was a better idea.  Ideally, I would probably round up some conductive thread and just finish off the thumbs but in the absence of that, I'm planning on thumb flips.

2013-11-27 09-38-09.928

Misc close up shot of picking up the stitches for the flip. These were done as 1x1 rib all the way up and on the flip. This means they fit me, the Philsopher, pretty much anyone and everyone. Well, okay, not the Brunette, but that is just because his fingers are much longer than mine are.To do the picked up stitches I alternated picking up a knit stitch and backward looping for the purl stitches. Ultimately I only picked up 11 stitches on the back of each mitt. They seem anchored satisfactorily.

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And finally a flip picture.

These went really fast and now I want to knit all the mitts.  Hoping to drag out the ones for the Brunette and Husband this weekend.  They're DK weight, they'll go SUPER FAST.

Final details for these mitts:
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Medium Weight
Water One Off Colorway from (I think) the Rare Gems sale in May
Size 1.5, 2.5mm needles
One week to complete!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stress Knitting

Tuesday night I went home and told the Philosopher that I just needed 30 minutes to nap before I tackled the current pile of things to do.

Just 30 minutes, wake me up then and we'll eat.

Curled on the bed, trying to shut my brain off, I noticed I had to forcibly relax my hands, which were tightly fisted. My fingernails aren't that long but I cannot imagine that sleeping with clenched fists was going to do anything particularly good to my palms.

I'd spent the afternoon in a research forum, listening to presentations from fellow faculty and giving two presentations of my own. I've grown weary and a little resentful of the current red sock project and was determined to use the time to get through it. I'm almost to the toe on Sock 2, so I made some significant progress but if my hands were anything to go by, it apparently that hadn't brought my stress level down enough. I worry, a bit, how much more stressed I might have been had I not been repeating those K1P1 stitches over and over and over.

Such it was that when I woke up at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday (note that the Philosopher did not wake me up on Tuesday evening), I was pretty sure that I needed something different to knit for a couple of days. The red socks are in time out and I picked up a skein of BMFA Medium Weight and some size 1.5 (2.5mm) needles that I'd stuffed into a project bag a few days ago while sorting the stash.

Oh yes, I sorted the stash a little on Monday. After nearly a year of managing to only really binge once on yarn (the sweater quantities with AudioGirl), I actually feel like I'm starting to get a handle on how much yarn I have. I also wound up another four skeins for socks once I've finished the current pair. If I knit another two sweaters and about a half dozen pair more socks, I might even be able to mostly fit the yarn in it's bins.

Yesterday and today have been a lot of attend-and-listen meetings and with that, the commute, and stress rounds, I've made some progress.

Stress rounds?  Those are those one or two rounds squeezed in when I get back from a meeting or as I read a particularly long email and try to bring my blood pressure down. Can't think clearly, knit a round. Tempted to put my fist through the computer monitor (oddly a less satisfying thought now that we don't have CRT monitors anymore--not that I miss them), knit three rounds.  At only 40 stitches and on such 'large' needles, a round goes quickly and I can set down my security knitting and go back to the problem.

It's a one-off Water from Tina's dyepot and I'm really enjoying it. Hopefully in the next day or so I can have some mittens as it's getting colder.  Maybe also I can have some sanity, but that might be too much to ask from a single skein of wool. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: Paucity of Mojo

We're mostly thru the super cold snap that charged into Chicago this week. I'm still wearing my hat but not totally yanked down around my ears with a scarf entirely muffling my face.

Knitting mojo has been really low this week. I took a couple of projects with me to Vegas over last weekend and yes, I knit in the casinos. Gambling doesn't appeal to me (as I told the Incredibly Patient Mother, all I could think was how much yarn I could buy with that money) but I'll hang out and the Philosophers friends and the dealers were all charmed and curious about the current sock.

Mostly, though, we were busy and in the days since we got back little has been done. Our return travel day, Monday, saw our flight three hours delayed due to the rain/ice/weather in the area and after landing at 12:15 a.m., we found an iced car! Hooray. Fortunately one door opened so I could dig out the scraper and the Philosopher, who had slightly warmer clothes on and mittens, could scrape things off while I sat in the car with the heater going full blast and slowly melting things from the inside.  With that kind of reentry and getting to bed at 3 a.m. rather than the 11 p.m. we'd hoped for, we've both gotten through what we have to for work and that's about it. 

I think we're hoping for a 7 p.m. bedtime tomorrow so we can get a solid night's sleep before a very full weekend ahead.  

While we were in Vegas I finished sock one of Pair 13. Hmm, you haven't seen those yet.  And there are no pictures to show you.  And it's 9 p.m. and I'm in bed with bad lighting.  So, picture a shaded red yarn, knit in my usual 1x1 ribbed sock.  Now picture Sock 2 as a dozen rows of ribbing.  Tada!  

The muppet scarf is off the needles and waiting for a bath. 

And with the cold, I keep dreaming of new mittens and matching hat and mittens and all the things I want to knit this winter so I'm warm and stylish and everyone I love is also warm and stylish with fresh hats and mitts and scarves. I wonder if I'll get that home-self-cloning kit for Christmas so I can duplicate me... 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Muppet Redux and Planning Time

Would you believe me if I said I hadn't knit on a sock in four days? Or that I might even try to make it an entire week?

I finally dug out that second skein of Schaefer Nichole in the Janis Joplin colorway. It's been wound for a while with the intention of becoming skinny scarf. And I'm about 15" along.  And I still think it looks like ground up muppets.

I manage to find a stitch count that isn't pooling, though I think part of that is the dye job helping. The sequence is Orange, Teal, Purple, Pink, Purple, Teal.  With the orange doubly long and the pink only appearing as a short blip, it breaks it up nicely.  The hand on the base is really nice and I am enjoying the knitting. It does make me a little sad that this yarn is discontinued.  Also I may have contacted one of the people selling her skein of the yarn in a different colorway on Ravelry to see about buying it. Ya know, as you do...

The pattern is the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf  and it's going pretty well. I have to catch myself from switching back into ribbing now and again but considering my usual zoning out while knitting, it hasn't been horrible.

This was a requested project, by one of those few people in my life who are allowed to do such things. That'll go in the gift bin for the upcoming holidays.

My immediate family all have birthdays in the last two months of the year and then we have Christmas and about a half a dozen babies due soon, so if I'm going to get any holiday knitting done I need to start thinking about it now.  Especially with all of the work deadlines currently hovering and getting in the way of my knitting time.

Are you planning any holiday knitting this year?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lost in Shades of Purple

I pulled out the last two skeins of yarn I've purchased and noticed a very clear theme: saturated purples.  What with purple being my favorite color and all (the Philosopher's too, interestingly) and since I also occasionally knit things for people who cheer on Northwestern, the presence of purple yarn in my stash comes as little surprise.

The first skein I bought on my birthday, as part of dragging the Philsopher up to Wisconsino on a road trip. We'd gone to AeppelTroewe, which is a winery/cidery and sampled everything they had to offer. Sadly, we missed the mead this year. We're hoping to go back earlier next year.  Then it was into Artistic Fibers in Burlington.

It was an interesting shop, with a nice selection of Rowan and some Icelandic yarns I'd never heard of. I wasn't especially thrilled with the local stuff: too pricey and mostly alpaca.  I have plenty of alpaca sitting in the stash that I can't figure out what to do with. It doesn't bounce like wool and it sheds. But it's so very soft...

Anyway, I ended up with a skein from Zitron:

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It's a nice red purple with white. I think it will need to be something of the cowl persuasion, though I'll want to find something really simple that won't interfere with the colors.  Lace will never show with this.

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I don't like especially how Zitron had their skeins prepped

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I ended up taking it out and twisting it as more usually expect my skeins to appear these days. It seems like it might tangle more flat.

Then, after a long week of conferencing recently, I found myself downtown at the end of the day and stuck my nose into Loopy Yarns. It's Chicago's 2 story yarn store.  I don't get in very often and of late, the stock seems to be trending very specifically to the really  big yarn companies: Berroco and Cascade. I always feel odd buying Cascade Heritage when I know there are so many other interesting indie sock wool dyers to buy from.  There was one smaller dyer I kept coming back to though and that was Baah!

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The colors almost do it justice. It really has a vibrant glow that is just slightly ultra violet--which is nearly impossible to capture on my little point and shoot.

I picked this up after finishing up OAmy's last pair of socks and really being struck with the vibrant purple that was showing up in the KPPPM. Of course, I'm not sure I'll want an entire pair of socks out of this shade but it will be something to consider mixing with a darker color or some such.

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And as you can see, Gypsy approves.


She and Pye have been very put upon as I won't let them chew on my knitting of late.  Not that they were ever allowed to chew on my knitting but apparently as it grows cold again I need to remind them that it's still not acceptable.

Hmm, maybe these pairs would make interesting hand warmers. My office has turned into a popsicle of late. It's something to consider...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One Yard at at Time

Knitting is one of those things that I try very hard not to feel guilty about. There seem tobe plenty of opportunities where I could.  For example:

  • Most of the time, I knit plain ribbed socks. I'm working on the 56th pair I've knit since I started and all but about 2 pair were 1x1 or 2x2 ribbed socks. That seems pretty dull. 
  • I have a lot of stash that's been sitting for a long time. 
  • I have several projects that have been sitting for a really long time
  • I don't knit "hard enough" projects
  • I don't also spin/weave/crochet/etc--though I have a sewing machine that I keep meaning to dust off and hem something. 
  • I have little desire to write and publish patterns or start my own dying operation
And yet, for each of those, I have thoughts that pull me back around. 
  • The Incredibly-Patient-Mother and the Philosopher and AudioGirl don't mind plain socks. They would rather not worry about lace holes that let in cold or wear into bigger holes. The Philosopher would like his wool socks to all be bright yarn; the IPM has two or three pair in plain black. The feet I polled to don't seem to have a preference beyond warm and fits pretty well. 
  • I do have some old stash. Even purging as much as I did moving from Wisconsin. The stuff accumulates. But I hear the Yarn Harlot in my head "I have stash older than you" and realize that, as long as it's not taking up the entire living room, I'm okay with yarn that comes with memories even before I knit it up. 
  • Those older projects are a minor guilt source. But I have to look at them also as something that makes me hopeful. I believe I will finish them.  It might be a few years from now but the intention is there. Now if I could just find a three week train trip that I need to take...
  • Some of my friends and Sibling-the-Elder knit stunning lace. They enjoy a knitting challenge. Me? Well, AudioGirl likes to gripe about how many squares I knit. I'm a process knitter through and through, it's something to do with my hands.  Occasionally I have learned new techniques and taken a rare class and I've enjoyed that, but with most of my knitting happening in public, usually in public transit situations, I'm okay with dull much of the time. 
  • I can become polycraftual any time I want. Or at least as soon as I get a little more yarn used up. 
  • I can appreciate other people's spinning and dying and give them my money for their skills. It is okay to enjoy the talents of others rather than always needing to do it myself. 
Anyway, this philosophical meandering is to say that I haven't finished the baby blanket or the sweater; I've turned the heel on Sock 1 of Pair 13 for 2013; the stash keeps asking to be rearranged; and I'm trying to give myself permission to just enjoy my wool.  

One yard at a time. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: A Dozen Done

I finished Sock 2 of Pair 12. I've finished my dozen pair for the year. And it seems to have barely made a dent in the stash at all. Of course, that's only 12 skeins of yarn used up and I have slightly more than a few dozen more to go.  Casting off the toe on this sock also means I currently have no socks in progress. I owe you pictures of the two pair I finished at a conference a week and change ago.

These are the PhilosoNine Socks, knit out of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Medium Weight Socks that Rock in a Fire colorway from one of Tina's Rare Gems tonal sales. It's got a base of reds, going from a dark rich red to a very very bright red and then a stripe of purple/yellow going through it.

Overall very pretty. I was going out on a limb a bit with the reds, it and yellow are the colors least represented in my stash. But there's still that purple lingering and the Philosopher is a fan of the bright colors.

The ends aren't woven in yet. But it still is okay to serve as a stocking cap for my deskhedgehog.

I'm hoping the Philosopher will wear them this weekend. We're driving over to Ohio where his brother is doing a hospital residency so I can meet sibling/parents. Now that I've finished these socks, I'll need to reload the knitting bags so I have something for the trip. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Few Rows Here, A Few Rows There, It's like a Sunday School Outing

Bonus points if you know what movie quote I'm mutilating.

There was a big spurt of progress on Monday and Tuesday; I was attending a regional conference--which surprisingly turned out to be more of a national conference than I had expected; and I spent the better part of 12 hours listening to people and charging through a sock.

At the end of that time, I'd turned the heel and was through the gusset of yet another pair of socks for the Philosopher. These are Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Mediumweight Socks that Rock and being knit up on size 1 needles. My only picture is a snapshot I grabbed during the conference on my tablet.

It's a little more red and less orange than that. I'm actually expecting to have those magic words "a bit of free time" this weekend and looking forward to taking better pictures for you. For now, know it's very red, intended to reflect a fire frame of mind (this was one of the Tina's not-perfect skeins). 

I took it with me this morning to work but knit only about ten rows on the commute in. I ended up playing Sudoku all the way home while I was listening to Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms

The sweater continues. I spent far longer than I expected picking up stitches for the first of the collars--it's a two layer collar.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do both collars or not, fortunately I don't have to make that decision until the first one is bound off in another 8 rows. Each row is running about 275 stitches and I have to pay a bit of attention so the ribbing doesn't get off, so that's taking a bit of time as well. 

The other two pair of socks currently in progress around here are sitting in their project bags looking at me reproachfully. Again, I'll have some downtime in the next couple of days so in an ideal world I may make some effective progress.  Or I'll have a fair number of half finished socks floating about, one of the two.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: Guilty Ends and Muted Rainbows

There's been a little less sock knitting, between different things at work ramping up, a lot of Hedgehog exhaustion, an entirely unnecessary paucity of Terry Pratchett in my headphones for the commute, and that whole "I'm knitting a sweater" thing.  Fortunately, socks are still the current knitting currency when visiting football tailgates and some train time.

This is pair 11 for 2013, from Lisa Souza in her Sock! base (superwash/nylon) in the Shade Garden colorway. When this yarn arrived I realized that I had bought a skein that matched about 5 other skeins in my stash.  At least I'm consistent right?

The colors are definitely muted and after the BMFA and KPPPM that I've been working with recently, they feel even more so. No eye-searing purples here. And no, OAmy's socks aren't done yet. They're in time out until we get our paper rolling again. She doesn't get those socks until we start sending out the manuscript. 

These are 60 stitches, size 1 (2.25 mm) needles and they're progressing slowly. Most of the foot was knit at last weekend's tailgate. Most people had headed into the game but the Philosopher, the Financier, the Drummer and I hung out in the parking lot until half-time, catching up in depth rather than trying to shout at each other over loud music and 25 people. They were drinking hoppy beers, which is not a preferred beverage of mine, so I got through some knitting.  

The Philosopher also reminded me that it's just about wool sock season. This means I probably need to get the ends woven in on a few pair of socks that have been piling up near the stash.  The current pile had 5 pair on it. One of those pairs I need to do some work on--they ended up being too long--but the other four pairs just need the ends woven in and a run through some wool wash. Two pair are for me, two are for the Philosopher. Hopefully I can get those done after I finish this post. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September is for Sweaters

It's raining here in Evanston and the suddenly cooler temperatures make it a perfect sit by the window with tea and knitting kind of Sunday.  Of course, my to do list won't let that happen for too long but at least for a bit.

I frequently get a sweater bug in September. It rarely goes anywhere but in September I look at the stash, realize just how many sweater quantities I own, think about the increasing nights that are going to be cold and dark and where a warm and pretty sweater might make things much better.

In a fit of September Sweater Lust, I plowed through Ravelry, bought and downloaded a pattern, grabbed yarn from the stash and cast on. It's one of the more impulsive things I've done in a while insofar as knitting goes. I'm sure, to those of you who hang in there reading week after week of ribbed sock updates, it's a huge left turn.

Surprising even myself, I even took it with me on the train. That there were large swaths of stockinette to knit certainly helped. Me, an audiobook, and my row counter.

It started with a crocheted cast-on, which is a new technique for me. Fortunately, Lucy Neatby has a very straightforward video on YouTube so I could figure it out right away.  I haven't tried unzipping those stitches yet  but I'm hopeful.

In 9 days, I knit the body. And that's with it not being my only knitting. I forget, sometimes, how fast worsted weight yarn on regular size needles turns into thing when compared to light fingering weight yarn on overgrown toothpicks. It's hip length and ended up taking about 4.5 skeins.

Here is what I have left of skein 5. This yarn is Filatura Lanarota Wool Sprinkles that AudioGirl and I binge bought earlier this year. When you can get a sweater's worth of yarn for $12-$15 and it's in reasonable colors.... I think she ended up buying 3 sweaters worth, I bought 2. With the cost of the pattern, I should have about $20 invested in this sweater plus my time.

Maybe once I finish the sleeves and button bands, I'll think about getting out the pattern and toggles that AudioGirl bought me for my birthday last year to use with my cone of yak/merino yarn. I might be onto something here...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Almost Awake

I've been really really tired of late. Anytime that I'm not actively in "must do x" mode, I've been asleep. There's a weird post-exhaustion thing that's getting me through days and activities; it feels kind of like college again. Down a cup of coffee, pretend that the tired doesn't exist, pull on some kind of reserves that didn't seem to be there half an hour ago when I crawled out of bed, and get through. Unfortunately, this then means a tendency to come home and become a small heap of hedgehog on the couch or bed.  My housekeeping is suffering for it.

I had pretty high ambitions today: move AudioGirl and then some scrubbing at home. We did accomplish the move, but when I arrived home I had a light snack and then a two and a half hour nap. Now I'm eyeballing all the patterns. I finally purchased a shawl pattern I've been planning on starting for weeks.  I also identified a pattern that will be a nice cardigan from yarn that AudioGirl and I bulk bought earlier this year. You'd think finding a raglan worsted weight cardigan that looks like ti will do well in a tweed would be simple.  You'd think.

I also have plans for at least two other shawls and a half a dozen other things I want to start *RIGHT NOW*.  Can we tell it's fall? And that I'm procrastinating on twenty other things I should be doing? And that watching Netflix in bed while doing a little shawl knitting sounds far more up my speed this evening than some vigorous bathroom scrubbing?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: Quick and Dirty

OAmy is having a slog of a time through some work stuff, so I'm tossing this up here to hopefully make her smile.

I'm almost done with your socks!!

I apparently have a new threshold with socks: when coworkers start recognizing them and saying "you're still working on those?" I need to get through the socks and move onto a new pair. At least for the at-work rotation.

Either that or just give up and start doing sock puppet impressions in meetings.

One of the two.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sock Show Thursday: Royal Toes

When I hit the second toe, approximately, for the PhilosoEight socks, they were abandoned to at-home-knitting and I grabbed a wound skein of KPPPM to tackle the next pair. I knit it up on size 0 (2mm) needles and those are so tiny and the progress made per round feels so infinitesimal.  

And then there was locating the needles, which was doing pre-tea and certainly not fully awake. I was sure I'd left a set on my dresser but couldn't locate those. So I had to go digging in my needle case, pull out the zeros ziplock and drop multiple sets of size 0 needles on the floor. It resembled a game of pick up sticks at 7 a.m. So far, it appears that I only missed one needle when picking up. 

Once I get through this yarn, I'll have 2 more pair worth of KPPPM and 5 skeins to make something larger--it's 875 yards of fingering. Should make a decent sized shawl or light small sweater. 

This is the yarn from Woods Hole/Martha's Vineyard this spring:

I'm amazed that the trip was already nearly three months ago.  The yarn is truly that vibrant, the purple is shockingly bright and blended with metal colors: silver, copper, and a gold, though not metallic. 

I'm just starting to play with my new cell phone camera, so bear with me while I figure this out. I'm more than halfway down the foot of the first sock, pretty much to the point where it feels like I'll never reach the toe. Considering I only started these socks last Friday and it's not quite been a full week, I'm relatively sure that I will indeed reach the toe in short order. That long birthday party I went to last weekend was the site of a lot of the progress. 

This sock is riding around in one of my newest Piddleloop Bags, picked up at YarnCon last spring. 

The PhilosoEight socks were completed but they're still gathering dust on my couch. I'll see if I can convince the Philosopher that he needs to model them for you this weekend. That ought to be entertaining.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How Many is Too Many?

Last weekend at a birthday party, the Trombonist asked how many pairs of socks I'd knit and what black hole they all went down that I was always knitting more. A reasonable question, as while we were both attending said party I fidgeted through the better part of half a sock on size 0 (2 mm) needles while almost everyone else was emptying the various coolers of beverages.

I know generally where my socks go: the Philosopher, AudioGirl, the Incredibly-Patient-Mother, and me. Just now I went back through Ravelry and had a quick count of who has gotten socks.

The Philosopher's are easy; I've named all of his Philoso-number. A brilliant naming scheme, right?  But I knew immediately that I'd just cast off Pair 8 for him.  He and AudioGirl are now tied, though she doesn't get her Pair 8 until Christmas; I have to fix the toes.

The IPM is up to 9 pair and I've kept 20 pairs.  That's right, I have almost enough for three weeks worth of fresh hand knit socks every day without having to do laundry. Come next serious winter, I should be absolutely set.

Of course, a couple of pairs I need to do some modifications on and one sock has a dropped stitch that I need to fix but in general I have more 15 pair in regular rotation. I think that makes for a pretty excellent selection.  Oddly, most of them are blue. I've bought a lot of blue sock yarn.

Other recipients include OAmy (2), Sibling the Elder (1), Slippers for M (2), Philosomom (1), and the Counselor (1).  That doesn't include OAmy's most recent pair, I'm just starting the gusset decreases on Sock 1. More on that on a Thursday.

All told I've knit 52 pair of socks plus one in progress*.  That might explain why the leftovers from sock knitting are starting to overflow their own bin.  Of course, I've still got another 20 ish skeins that I'm planning to turn into socks and some more super bulky that is getting converted into slippers. The sweater yarn is calling to me again though.

(Only one pair on the needles? Don't worry, more pairs are loaded and waiting in their project bags.)


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Little Bit Disappointed

The Knitgirllls Summer Stashdown ended yesterday. I did not make the goal. When I realized over the weekend that it just wasn't going to happen, I was pretty disappointed. Here I'd had over two months! Surely I could get 4K of knitting done. Never mind that I had a major conference to get through; that work has becoming increasingly crazy. I could meet the goal that the school librarian who is off for the summer and is challenging herself to meet had set, right?

Or perhaps not.

What I got completed that I posted to the group are 3 pair of socks and the rug I knit for our kitchen. That was 1800-ish yards.

Not posted is the Blonde's baby blanket and the other two pair of socks. I'm into the foot of Sock 2 for the Philsoeight Socks, you'll see those later this week--and that means that if I sit down this evening and get the toes fixed on AudioGirl's Punk Rock Socks and spend a few commutes making progress this week, I'll have knitted 9 pair of socks before we hit mid August.

The baby blanket is about 90% done. I've seamed two strips so far and I have one more to go.  I really recommend the three needle bind off as a way to join the blanket. And the baby isn't even due for another month! Knowing I just need to finish one strip, join the three together, and do a border is both a huge joy and a huge barrier. Oh, I only have to do that much. See, I still have a month. And the Blonde won't *really* need a wool blanket in September for Baby Deux.

The stuff not posted, when completed, will be about 2400 yards. Which is just about 4K. So I ended up about 200-300 yards not knit--or the equivalent of one more pair of socks. And at some point, I have to be okay with the fact that I could not have squeezed out another pair of socks in the past couple of months.

Fortunately, it's not a race, not really. There are people who finished in the first month, there were others frantically knitting to the last hour. I participated and did get a ton of knitting in this summer, even around all of the other items on my to do list.

I'm pleased that I've got this gift nearly done and socks knit for people who will enjoy them. I'll still try to get through another three pair of socks this year but hopefully I won't be trying to wrap up Pair 12 at a New Years party.

I did spend some time with the ballwinder the other day. I realized that I was out of wound sock yarn, which is a pretty dangerous place for me to be in. I would up enough for 5 pairs, which should easily see me through the year end and then some. There's actually starting to be a little bit of wiggle room in the bins, some day I might be able to get things actually sorted and visible rather than squashed and hopeful.

And there are those sweaters I've been meaning to knit...

Friday, August 2, 2013

All the way from Ireland

The Philosopher's friend G recently went on holiday to Ireland. He's seen me knitting quite a lot; he was one of the first to see the Rock/Paper/Scissors bag and to geek out over the equations inside.

I was really touched when he presented me with some yarn from "the least touristy place I could find."  I'm not sure what touristy yarn looks like in Ireland, but this is lovely wool.


100% pure new wool from Kerry Woollen Mills. It's Aran weight, 200g in the Green Fleck colorway.

I have no idea what I'll do with it yet. It's not super soft, but it will be dense and warm.  I'm sure Ravelry will have some options for me. For now, it's just keeping me company.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scissors cuts paper, Paper covers Rock....

Yes, I did it. I broke down in the face of a restock.

I really like the early seasons of Big Bang Theory, though I haven't really been watching since about the middle of season 3. I wanted to get the Philosopher watching the early ones and never got back to catching up.  Someday, when I have copious spare time and nothing but knitting and tv shows to catch up on....

One clip I watched over and over was Sheldon reciting "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock."  I watched it enough times that I can, if asked, do the entire routine almost at speed.

So when Carin (from Round the Twist videocast) pointed out that Jessalu had specially made fabric with the design, I immediately started stalking her website. And finally, my not-very-patient-waiting was rewarded. 

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It's a new sock-sized project bag!!  If you look closely, it has the rules layout in very light script under the diagram. 


And inside it has marvelous equations. They're a mix of math, physics, chemistry...

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I've even stuffed it's first project inside: the Brunette's mitts. Remember those? I really figured those would be long gone out the door by now and perhaps if the Blonde hadn't gotten pregnant...but I digress, I've had the yarn since late last fall, I need to get them done and out to him before this winter arrives. 

So far I have some ribbing. 


I see another project that needs to be in the commute queue.  

Embracing a Color of Fall

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