Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sock Show Thursday: New Store, Old Friend

There's a new yarn store in Evanston:  Evanston Stitchworks!

To be more accurate, it's a fabric and yarn studio, but I was delighted to stumble upon it . At the time, the owner had just opened and mostly had major commercial yarns--all well and good when I need those. A goal she said, though, was to bring in smaller dyers and to have things that weren't available. She was going to Wisconsin to meet with some dyers.

And so I stopped back a few weeks later to see how it had gone. Ah, yes, the Wisconsin wool trip had gone well and she was delighted to show me this one dyer she'd brought in:


I might have squealed "I know Kathryn!"  Long time readers will recognize the brand of my favorite yarn store when I lived in La Crosse.  I still deeply miss Kathryn's store and I've never seen her yarn for sale from anyone but her--so this was an excellent find.

(I explained my relationship to Ewetopia and Viroqua to the rather stunned owner, who wasn't expecting a several years history and deep questioning on what was presently happening in the town.)


She had several bases but I only got one skein of sock yarn for now. I have a source! I can go back and buy more! (I also perhaps need to use what is in the stash and follow through on that whole plan to order from Kathryn or at least go see her at WI Sheep.)


So nice to see an old friend's work again...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Odd Space..

Despite the rarity from which I buy from Three Irish Girls, I'm always fascinated by their colors. Also, apparently I am not yet over my whole "I love all the rainbows" thing I've been having for about six months now.

So when Space Oddity showed up in an email or on a Facebook page or somewhere my resistance was weak.


Isn't it pretty!!


This doesn't show the yellow, but I assure you it's there. See here for the original luring hues. Not responsible if you also fall down and buy some.

Of course, the challenge is what to make with this. Yes, Adorn Sock (the base) is intended for socks and this would make interesting socks. But I don't know.  Gloves/mittens/mitts also came to mind and that seems most promising so far.

I might just put the yarn out in the universe and see which friend suddenly desperately needs something knit out of it. Stranger things have happened.

One small caveat when buying from TIG--it's 2-3 weeks before they ship. While this is clearly written in about six places, I totally missed it when I was buying and--USPS shipping having been what it is and me having lost several packages--I started panicking after about 10 days. If you need instant gratification, EatSleepKnit has it in stock right now.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

We Came, We Saw, We YarnConned, Part 2

You didn't think I *only* bought fiber and a spindle at YarnCon did you? AudioGirl is the best of shopping buddies--one part enabling and one part "put down the blue sock yarn already."

I had been hoping that 2 Guys Yarn Co would be back this year but I didn't see them. We did see a fair number of alpaca superbulky yarns wound with thread--apparently for rugs? And I learned that AudioGirl's bathroom rug went walkabout, which is sad. I'm not sure I can buy that yarn anymore...

I did have one planned project that I was searching for yarn for-- Nuvem by Martina Behm. I have seen this pattern several times, but it was only recently that I suddenly decided I must get yarn for it and start knitting it.

And so I stumbled into the Dragonfly Fibers booth. I adore their work and it wasn't long until I came upon Pixie Firecracker.


Pixie is a fine single and I bought all that they had, even though that leaves me a couple of hundred yards shy.  Fortunately, next to it was solid skein that looks very nice with it and will do well for the ruffle, I think.


I want to see how big it is and how I feel about it before I start the ruffle.

That wasn't our only stop. I popped it at Fleur de Fiber, whose booth was mobbed due to a moving sale, she's relocating out of Chicago and there wasn't much left mid-afternoon on Saturday. I'm guessing Sunday shoppers got very slim pickings.  I'm going to miss seeing her at least twice a year at local conferences. She is the first indie-dyer I remember picking up after I moved back to Chicago this time.

Last but certainly not least, the sale bin at Grinning Gargoyle was calling out.  This was the first yarn that I bought--as we wandered through, overwhelmed by so many options.

I have no idea what I'll do with these. AudioGirl thought the Philosopher might like the neon yellow, but I don't know. It's funky, for sure but guessing it'll end up as deep stash for a few years.  

I really love this con--my only suggestion for next year would be to start classes 15 minutes after the doors open. There was quite a queue to get in, mostly for the first-50 goodie bags and with doors not properly unlocked and people *stopping* to open their bags, the rest of us behind had trouble going forward and getting out of the cold and to our classes or shopping. The organizers seemed very cognizant of that, though and I expect next year will be a little smoother. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

We Came, We Saw, We YarnConned Pt. 1

AudioGirl managed to wrangle her schedule around so we could go to YarnCon together this year! And she also talked me into signing up for a class. (It was hard...truly. "We should go" "Okay, I'll get tickets")

The morning of was ridiculously bizarre weather. It was pretty cold, which means the light down coat for me and a heavy alpaca sweater for her. Over the course of the morning we would hear that it was alternately: snowing, sleeting, raining, snowing, and clear and brightly sunny. When we were ready to leave we had to wait a few minutes because it wasn't safe to drive, but 15 minutes later the sky was clearing. It repeated this all day.

But anyway, back to class. A first for both of us, we took a drop spindle class with Vera Videnovich. She was a lovely and patient teacher and got a dozen of us through the spinning basics with CDs and hooks and a little bit of fiber.

Following, we immediately went upstairs to find spindles. Jelby turned out to have what we needed: Akerworks spindles and YarnGeek sold us some lovely fiber (it helped that it said "good for beginners" on the label).

I got purple and grey, and Audiogirl got a lovely light gray with pops of teal. It's going to be stunning.  
The spindle is 3D printed. It's not heavy but it's got some weight to it. I've been practicing just a little here and there. I was finally able to get down to something approaching a thin single.  My impression is that I need to be more aggressive drafting the wool. It isn't going to hurt the wool's feelings. 


Another new fact I've learned with this: Gypsy is a big fan of unspun wool. She thinks she should get to lick it. Negotiations are ongoing. 


Monday, April 18, 2016

Loopy Academy: Twist and Mix

Getting the Loopy Academy Socks finished pointed out that I hadn't yet started the other two projects: a shawl and a hat. Those are now both underway.

The shawl pattern is Lady Bertram by Wendy Johnson. I got through the solid section a while back and then promptly got distracted. My stick-to-it-iveness seems to be severely lacking this spring. Of course, when each meeting brings 5 new things to the to-do list and deadlines are constantly being juggled, perhaps my knitting is just following the rest of my life. I crank through the easy parts and then deal with whichever thing is on fire the most.


The yarn for the shawl is Loopy Seasonings Series. I'm almost done with the first repeat of Chart A. Unfortunately, it's not quite memorizable, so this work all requires my tablet on my knees so I can follow along.  Gypsy is not a fan of this, as my lap is supposed to be available for her and I won't let her lay on my tablet.

The hat made it a little further along before I stuffed it into a project bag to be ignored.


This is the Skull Coast Hat and the first one that I can find on Ravelry knit in orange! I really love how the cables are popping against the reverse stockinette.  I'm through the 5 inches" of hat and ready to start the brim, but that's a cabled chart that will require sitting quietly and listening to Gregorian chant for a couple of hours.  I'm enjoying the BMFA Heavyweight (a surprise, I know) and the bright orange is an unusual enough color for me that others are noticing it as well.

My goal with these two projects is to get them within the final rows and then ignore them until end of May. Which at my current speed of knitting on them means spend the last week of May frantically knitting.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sock Show Thursday: The Ignored

It's April and I've only finished one pair of socks so far this year. Granted, those were on size 0 and if I would just buckle down I'd be at 3 pair in about 4-5 knitting hours, but acknowledging that is far less fun. It's better to just stuff these projects into my various knitting bags and pretend I've never heard of them right?



Well, I still might not finish them before Stash Dash starts, because the idea of being 500+ yards in on a 5K (probably my goal this summer) with just a couple of toes to knit is very appealing.  But I'll at least admit these projects exist again, how about that?


Chugging along on size 1 needles from... oh September. Hmm, yes I guess these have been sitting a while now haven't they. It doesn't help that they got lost in the knitting pile for a few months. Just need to do the second toe.


These, on the other foot, are only 4 months old. I forgot to take them when I saw the dyer recently, they'd been left in the office.

I also don't have any work socks right now, which is problematic. Maybe I'll rustle around in the sock bin and see what is next in sock queue.  There must be something that jumps out at me, right? In theory?

If you don't hear again from me, the entire stash avalanched and the Philosopher is still trying to dig me out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wee Ones

I keep an extensive listing of babies that have come into the Philosopher and I's life in the past few years. Some of the earlier ones are headed to Kindergarten this fall, which boggles the mind. And some are very new...

When I saw the new Flaxlight pattern, I had to try it out for a couple of friends.  As with Flax, I can attest that TinCanKnits provides excellent and clear directions and that 1 skein of BMFA STR Lightweight will see you through the 6 month and the 1 year size. 

Baby H got the 6 month size in Hobbit Garden. It's a little big now but I'm hoping that as the weather starts to turn where he lives (north of Chez Hedgehog) later in the year he'll get some wear out of it. 

And I'm almost done with one for Baby M, I've got one sleeve left. 


This detail shot was the closest I could get for color:


The gray seemed to be washing out the rest of the sweater.  This skein is the Frozen Valley colorway that was based on a picture and a Loopy Ewe exclusive, etc etc.  And yes, the sweater is presently inside out. I didn't want to flip it and then get annoyed when I picked up sleeve stitches and immediately then had to wrangle turning the sweater inside out.

These have been fun, but I think I like doing accessories and baby blankets more-- it's a little sad to know that these will only fit for a couple of months. Whereas we might be able to get most of a winter out of a hat, if my goddaughter is anything to go by. (Note to self: she needs another hat)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Be Ambitious, Over-Ambitious

The knitting cheerleaders in my head have been at it again. Of course I can knit up all the yarn in my stash super quickly and I should absolutely go whole hedgehog when Tina announces that Blue Moon is discontinuing their BFL Fingering Weight. Never mind the lack of space in the stash right now, to the colorways posthaste!!

I was apparently not the only one. Tina announced the clearance sale of BFL, which I missed, but I caught the update post a week later, where she noted that 800 skeins had been sold very quickly.  I dashed over to place my own order, though when I went back to tell a friend about it a day or two later it was gone, so I must have been on the very tail end. We can't get more? OKAY, WE WILL BUY IT ALL NOW.

I bought two skeins of each colorway: Cranberry Bogged, The Longest Night, Dancing in the Moonlight, and County Clare (clockwise from top left corner). That gives me 810 yards of each color to play with, which is a good size shawl, or a matching hat/scarf/mittens set, or maybe a 3/4 sleeved sweater. It's got a soft twist, so I don't think this will make for good socks, but I have lots of ideas and I'm sure Ravelry will help...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Something Ventured, Socks Gained

My first pair of socks for Loopy Academy Spring Semester are done!


It's my first pair of toe up socks, knit from Into the Whirled Pakkoku Sock in the colorway 221b.  I'm not sure I quite get the Sherlock reference myself, but I do like the colors. It's a decent yarn base, knits up nicely on 2.0mm(size 0) needles.


The socks weigh 72 grams, which uses up enough of the skein to pass for this assignment.

I heavily used Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up and, as expected, her directions are clear and easy to follow. I got through a toe and a gusset heel with a minimum of fuss, though I still was bogged down on the ribbing on the leg. Normally ribbing doesn't phase me, it's just something to be done and I can put my brain into autopilot and churn away. Not on these.


For now they've gone in the gift bin. They are my size, which is fine, but I need to go through my sock drawer and determine what I'm going to wear and whether or not the various socks piling up will fit someone else. If I were just a size 9...this would be a lot easier.

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, ...