Monday, March 30, 2015

Space, Promptly Filled

It's always interesting how things "fluff up" to fill the spaces we give them. I never realize just how tightly things are packed until I've gotten rid of 10-20% and yet things are still full. Kitchen cabinets, the yarn stash, closets...

The last of the yarn I had up for trade/sell on Ravelry has left Chez Hedgehog. A nice lady from Montana emailed and asked to purchase it and so it's off for a new life where hopefully it will get used up. It's yarn I purchased with a plan of knitting it into shawls for coworkers from my job in Wisconsin. I wasn't happy with the yarn when it came--not unhappy enough to send it back but it wasn't going to work for the projects I had in mind and slowly I've been de-accessioning. It was nice to pull those three skeins out, toss them into a USPS soft pack and wave them off to a new home.

The Incredibly-Patient-Mother was up for a visit this weekend. She's planning a garage sale and asked if there was anything that I wanted to toss in. I always have a running box of things-to-go-to-Goodwill and that left with her. She also provided took some yarn that I didn't love anymore and didn't feel like going through the hassle of selling.  A full bin+ from my stash got handed over. I remembered, fortunately, to go through my Ravelry Stash page before she left and parked off all the things that have now left.

And, having shuffled around a couple of skeins, I found that there is not really any additional room. The wool all immediately puffed up to fill the space. One minute the IPM was looking at an empty bin, the next a full one. But the lids close on both of them now and that's something.

There's been a fair amount of knitting this week, almost entirely on the baby blanket. As we're nearly to April, I'm going to have to get back to The Loopy Ewe Semester 2 projects if I actually plan to get the semester done. But the baby blanket requires less thought and so it's been project  of choice of late. I'm on Rectangle 7 of 12 I think. Of course, they're getting much bigger, each row is over 100 stitches now and that adds to the time.  Still, while I'm on my re-listen to Night Watch by Terry Pratchett (All the little angels, rise up, rise up) it's coming nicely.

Of course, it would assist in the creating more yarn space if I'd knit from stash rather than purchasing new yarn every time I come up with a project. Summer should be a break from Loopy Academy and Laura from TheKnitGirllls is talking about doing Stash Dash again, which is her summer vacation/summer sprint through using up stash. Last year I got through around 3K and what I deemed a "reasonable heap" --I'd be very pleased if I could get through another 1.5 sweaters this summer. I've worn both of the ones I made last year several times and with positive responses.

Hmm, I wonder what the official start date for Stash Dash will be. If it is before TLE Semester 2 ends, which it might be, that could put me at 1.5K right away. Not really helping with deep stash, I know but still, success could be mine.

I'll have to inquire about that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

With Advance Apologies to AudioGirl

My knitting has gotten side tracked. A good friend announced her first pregnancy and being my own little lemming, I felt the immediate need to make her a baby blanket.

AudioGirl just heaved a deep sigh--she knows the marathon of garter stitch at Chez Hedgehog is on once more.

It's another Moderne Log Cabin Baby Blanket, from the first Mason Dixon knitting book.   I'm on square 3 and my third color. The fourth will be purple.  The expected infant is female.

Sorry, AudioGirl, I'll get back to short rows and all of that Wollmeise lace knitting just as soon as I get a bit more on this done. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Into the Archives

I'm a habitual re-reader of favorite books. It's the reason that many of them stack up on the shelves of Chez Hedgehog and why my copies of a few select favorites look like they've been to the ends of the earth and back. There are smudges on pages, discolorations where tea has been split, the covers are all beat up, etc.

It's a little harder to reread blogs--sorted as things are in reverse chronological order and requiring a fair amount of clicking and internet connection for said rereads. So it's probably not a surprise that there's only one blog I've fully reread: the Yarn Harlot.

The first time I went through the full archives I was still living in La Crosse and probably working on a blanket or something else that didn't require a huge amount of attention. I don't remember much about it other than sitting in my living room pressing "Next Entry" on my laptop. The second time was, from my own archives, December 2010. The third was about 18 months ago--apparently I've sped up my cycle.

And I've just completed my fourth reread. Yup, start to finish, all the way through every blog post (okay, so I skimmed some of the book tour posts).  Stephanie has been writing for 11+ years and frequently posting 5 days a week, there's a lot of material there.  As this hasn't been my only activity and---again hampered by that need for internet--it's taken me about two months to get through the archive this time. I was only reading on my tablet, which only gets wifi, so that knocks out reading on the train.

I debated with myself a couple of weeks ago what was appealing about it to me. Am I just a crazy fan? I suppose in some way it could be construed as such, but ultimately I decided I liked it because it felt like reading a memoir, only one without ending or a message. I read memoirs from time to time, but frequently I avoid them because it seems that the point is to tell me how someone succeeded and there's an implication that if I just tried a little harder, or was a slightly better person, shouldn't I be accomplishing like this person did? I also don't do well with reading other people's hard times: I abhored Angela's Ashes for that reason, it felt like someone just hanging out all of the dirty laundry. I didn't care and only finished it because it was going to be on the midterm and final for that Irish lit class.

Reading, or in the Yarn Harlot's case re-reading, the archives shows me how a person has changed with less of an editorial hand and no coherent message that I'm supposed to walk away having learned. It's a snapshot of things as they were at a certain point in that person's life and I can see what has changed or hasn't. I'm not sure if I could ever see myself rereading my own archives, though I occasionally dive backwards and see what was interesting a few years back for a minute, nor have I found many writers who are compelling enough to send me back to the beginning. It's a testament to Stephanie's ability to write, her engagement with her world and her audience, that I've gone through a fourth time and vaguely wish there was an easier way to grab all of it, put it on the shelf and re-read offline until the pages are grubby with wear. Ultimately I'm glad though that it hasn't ended and that some point next week there will be another piece to the story.

And since I've finished, while I'm back to charging through several books littering the library shelf that are about to be overdue, I started looking around for another archive that I wanted to read.

I've started on Franklin Habit's The Panopticon. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole

After a brief joyful adrenaline spike this morning left me debating if I could crawl under my desk and sleep until next week, I concluded unsurprisingly that I'm not 100% recovered. I am, however, entirely fascinated with my new project.

It's my Contrast and Complement! It's garter stitch but does require a bit of concentration to make sure you're increasing at the correct spots and didn't just blow past the stitch marker you were supposed to care about.

I've just finished repeat 5, the designer charted up to 20. Not sure I have that much yarn (also have to do a big ruffle) but I still have quite a lot of my first two skeins.

And for the curious, it's Navy and Alaska Sky (dark blue, light blue). No other color wars needed.

Wollmeise planning is still happening and at some point I need to get back to the socks I'm knitting, the other shawl that's feeling neglected, etc etc.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Loopy Academy Semester 2: Planning Stages

Friday morning I woke up and realized that I wasn't going to make it through the work day. At 7 a.m.., when I should be leaving for the train, I was instead stumbling out to feed the cats (they don't understand sick days), sending a nearly coherent email to my coworkers (they do) and then back to bed for an hour. I haven't been leveled this badly by a cold in several years but it's been truly miserable and required a ridiculous number of tissues.

I ended up having three phone meetings, because life doesn't actually stop when you're sick and BrineyDeep and LDZ and I were on deadline for a paper and I had to draft another short piece for a coworker to eyeball. BD, LDZ, and I submitted our manuscript Friday night and I took my sickly self back to bed. The only knitting accomplished was 4 rows on section 2 of my Catkin.

Saturday I woke up feeling far more civilized and was up and about for about 4 hours before succumbing to the lure of an afternoon nap. The Philosopher shuffled me off to bed and propped the door so that noise was blocked but the felines didn't feel dreadfully left out.

I got up again around 6 p.m. as the Philosopher was headed out to a social event-- briefly I was kind of sad that he was going out and I was staying home, but then I started violently sneezing again and was much happier retreating to the couch for podcasts and winding yarn.

For I've realized that it is suddenly March and I need to get going on my Loopy Academy 2 projects if I'm going to finish them this semester (due date is May 31, which suddenly feels very close).

Semester 2 is requirements are

1) A striped project
2) A felted project
3) A project with slipped stitches

No yarn weight requirements but each project has to use at least 175 yards.  

I can't say I was thrilled: stripes aren't my favorite and I have never been a fan of felted stuff.  But this is supposed to be stretching our skills and I dug some things out of my queue.

My striped project will be a shawl: Contrast and Complement.  I'm doing the sport weight size out of Cascade Superwash Sport in Navy and a pale blue called Alaska Sky. Yes, not especially original considering the pattern colors are pretty close to that but I looked at other combinations and wasn't caught by anything else.  This may be a gift. Not sure yet.

My felted project will be slippers: French Press Felted Slippers. We'll see how they turn out. I grabbed some rust colored Cascade 220 to make them. If I don't like them, I'm sure there's someone around with size 7.5 feet who will speak up.

My slipped stitches project will hopefully be short and sweet, but I just rejected the pattern I was considering so knows what it will be. I bought 2 skeins Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in the pale green colorway they call Plume. I'm leaning toward fingerless mitts right now.

I hand wound most of the yarn while on the couch Saturday night so assuming recovery continues, I can get started this week. 90 days to make three projects really should be sufficient, shouldn't it?

Embracing a Color of Fall

Being out of Loopy Academy Homework has left a strange deadline hole in my life that SEVERAL pregnant friends are attempting to fill. Yes, ...