Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Orchid Season

The Philosopher and I had a long weekend recently and took the opportunity to go up to the Botanical Garden for the Orchid Show. It's a wonderful pop of color during the gray days of winter.  

The sock went with us. I tried to find an orchid that was the same colors but wasn't able to. 

There were lovely splattered looking orchids

These blue/purple ones were dyed. The blue ones are originally white, the purple are pink orchids. If we could get our orchids at home to bloom again, I'd be tempted to try this. 

Of course they also come in vibrant yellow shades! My orange pictures didn't turn out, sadly, but there were some phenomenal shades of orange as well. 

Some were painted ladies...and others, like the one below, looked like a screaming mouse. 

I can't be the only one that sees a screaming mouse in the orchid, can I? Ears, teeth, and possibly Mick Jagger's tongue. 

I particularly liked this orchid, it looked like something you'd see in coral, all frilly and silly. 

And finally, this one looked like a butterfly. I loved how utterly perfect it looked, right except for the one little flip a the top petal.  So delicate and lovely. 

The show is running for a couple more weeks if you're in the Chicago area. I encourage you to consider a weekday trip if at all possible. We had plenty of time and space to look at flowers, take pictures, and enjoy things. Weekends when I have been it has been mobbed.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Return of the Knitting

My knitting productivity has been down over the past month. I developed an issue with my right shoulder--which is my dominant side--and it's taken 3 appointments with my massage therapist to things reset. I'm back to normal now but there's been a lot of ibuprofen in the meantime and some knitting avoidance, as knitting for more than a few minutes started causing reminder twinges.

Once the worst of the pain was gone, suddenly all I wanted to do again was knit. So some projects are making way again and I'm hoping to get a few things done and off the needles sooner rather than later.

One thing underway is the socks for my spring Loopy Academy project. I am using Wendy Johnson's book Socks from the Toe Up as my general guideline and the Into the Whirled Pakkoku Sock yarn. I started with the "Easy Toe" to get things going. Everything else seemed to require waste yarn and a crochet hook or strange p3tog instructions, so I opted for easy. I figure I can always try something else on the next sock or next pair. 

I started ribbing on the top of the sock once I finished the toe (and a few more rows, to be honest) and knit until about 2" shorter than my foot length before doing a garter flap heel from Wendy's book. 

Now, I'm slowly motoring up the leg. 

I'm surprised how long the leg seems to be taking.  This seems to be beyond what it normally takes me to knit 70 rounds, even knowing that my yarn hasn't been seeing a whole lot of love of late. I suspect that because I knit stockinette on the bottom of the foot of socks, that goes much faster and so my expectation for how long a row takes is skewed now that I'm knitting all 1x1 ribbing.  The sock seems to fit, so far and I only have another 50 ish rows until cast off.  

The nice weather and not dressing like a marshmallow might also help me get more knitting done too. We shall see. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stunt Knitting

An opportunity presented itself in the fall to do some stunt knitting and learn a new technique. I can now say I have successfully executed Shadow or Illusion Knitting.

Thankfully, Franklin Habit had a blog post about it right as I was getting started. The other instructions I'd seen just weren't making sense.

And I can say it takes far longer than you expect to do---what with having to pay attention every other row and changing colors, and a border stripe (totally would do that differently next time).

The task at hand was a baby blanket with the skyline of Chicago. This has been nicely charted out by Molly Scannell.   While the pattern calls for ~400 yards of each colorway, I was getting gauge and needed more than that of the blue--so have a spare skein of your Color A on hand! 

Overall it turned out quite nicely though. On first look it's just stripes. Done here in a silver and blue of Cascade Ultra Pima because babies and baby things regularly need to be washed.  

And then when you look from an angle, the city appears. There is a bean down there at the bottom, if you squint.  The Philosopher found it odd that the Hancock Building didn't also have antennae, so something you might want to add (it wasn't on the pattern chart) if you live with a traditionalist. 

I'm not sure if I'll ever do shadow knitting again, but it was good to know that I could and this turned out very adorably.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Loopy Academy Semester 4

I got my Loopy Academy Spring Semester Yarn! I think that perhaps I have managed to not over extend myself.  Possibly.

The prompts for this semester are

1) A pair of socks in whatever is least familiar construction -- toe up/top down. So for me that's toe up.
2) A project with both a solid yarn and a multi color yarn.
3) A project with twisted stitches

I nearly decided to just go with three pair of socks, but that seemed too straight forward and one is supposed to be trying something new.

Each project need only be 225 yards. I didn't manage to rein myself in entirely but I did pretty well.

My plans...

1) Break out my copy of the Tsock Tsarina's Tsock 101 kit--it's here somewhere and use that or my copy of Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up to get a pair of toe up socks sorted. That should be fairly straight-forward.

2) The middle skein has a mini skein of dark brown with it--so I'm going to start with the solid and then switch to the multi-color skein for a shawlette. Currently I'm thinking Wendy Johnson's Lady Bertram pattern.

3) Yes, I did look for a Wendy Johnson pattern with twisted stitches for a trifecta but all she had posted were sock patterns and I was hoping for at least one pattern I could knock out quickly. So I found Skull Coast Hat, which is knit in DK. And I got some BMFA Heavyweight.

No projects in the 1000 yard length, nothing too crazy. And I'm hoping Wendy's lace will be memorialize-able--I expect it to be.  And pretty colors and well.

Of course, this means I want to abandon all the WIPs currently taking up residency in the living room.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Not Emptying Bins

The lofty goals of emptying yarn bins quickly always go astray, especially with all the beautiful new wool in the world. Here I add only two skeins, and one doesn't count, as it was a gift. *sage nod*

A Christmas gift to go with those hedgehog bags was a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy.


It's the Amethyst Ink Colorway, a lovely royal purple mixed with black.

It's going to be a very popular skein if certain friends we see at tailgates happen to notice it. I can already hear antennae going up and oh, look at that, it's home colors, and isn't that lovely and you know my winter scarf went missing....

And with the BMFA skein I showed you already, I also succumbed to a picture that Sheri posted on The Loopy Ewe Blog when a Monday update went up.


Apparently I'm not over my rainbow kick yet. This is madelintosh tosh sock in the Electric Rainbow Colorway.  It's a little bit washed out here, the greens are brighter. This is one that is definitely going to go marinate. I have no clear plans for it and it's too soft for socks.  If anyone has any suggestions...

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, ...