Monday, March 27, 2017

Shawl Ahead...

I've spent the last week in Maryland, horribly confused as to the date and the time. Jumping forward and then going ahead another hour in the time zones all in one week is not something I can regularly recommend. However, in the days before packing up, I got started on one of my Spring Loopy Academy projects: beading.

I had ordered two skeins of Wollmeise DK (936 yards) in the Feldmaus colorway. It's brown, mostly, also looks kind of purple in some lights, so I also got dark purple beads. The cast on alone took a fair amount of time. I'm knitting Isen, which is lovely and which is not small. Obviously I am still struggling to take that "only needs to be 250 yards per project" to heart. At least this is the largest of the three projects? 

The first chart (800+ stitches) had over 50 repeats. I decided it was best if I separated each repeat with stitch markers. This served me well but it was a challenge to find that many stitch markers. Once I finished the chart, the stitch markers came out. Here's what that pile looked like.  Unsurprisingly, they do not match. But you can spot the adorable hedgehogs, right? 

Sibling-the-Younger lives in rural Maryland and the shawl got to spend some quality time in his backyard, hanging out by the fire pit. (Not--of course--during marshmallow roasting time. Yarn and beads plus fire and sticky sugar is a combination that I can only imagine would end poorly.) 

And then I knit through a professional conference. Sitting on the sidelines, beading hook in hand. I think I only left a few beads behind.  

By the time I got to this last picture, taken in the cab on my way to the airport, I was through the first major beading section and onto the third section, which involves short rows. This almost mindlessly took me home, with a detour on the flight to rewind the second skein of wool after it had turned into a giant collapsing disaster.  

Today I finished the short rows and I've one more chart to go. It's only 8 rows and the stitch count is far more reasonable, but it's beaded and while I'll brave beads on the floor in a dark keynote, the CTA is an entirely different question. 

I packed 4 projects with me but only worked on two. I need to get sorted when exactly I'm going to work on the gloves. I think the cowl might be mindless enough for train knitting this week and the socks that have been hanging out on my desk at work might finally see some love as well.  

Or I might just start another pair of socks. We'll see what the week brings. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

There had better be time on the plane...

We're 11 days into March and the only real progress I've made on my Loopy Academy projects is that I wound all of the wool for the Spring Junior Year stuff. And considering the price tag on those (I went with Wollmeise DK for one project...) I need to get things underway and make good use of that wool and money.

Unfortunately, I've been snowed under entirely with work stuff: I'm mid-manuscript with one colleague, facing down another manuscript that needs to be entirely written here shortly with another, working on a conference presentation with two more, and the usual grading, teaching, give presentations, and other day job stuff.

I love working with a variety of friends and colleagues on projects though, it's wonderfully inspiring to work with such smart women and figure out who it is that knows the information I'm seeking. Add us together and we can speak or write about nearly everything.

But it doesn't get the knitting done.

 Gypsy being snuggly to break
up the wall of text
As I'm headed east to Maryland to visit Sibling-the-Younger and attend a conference, I'm planning my travel snacks. I've narrowed down what I use in my regular mix: Cheerios, Parmesan goldfish, Peanut M&Ms, and Reese's pieces.  Chocolate,  peanut butter, salt, and carbs. Yum.  That's coming on Wednesday in my grocery order.

The concession we made to my tenure obligations a few years ago was grocery delivery. Peapod is local to us [referral link for $20 off if you're interested]. Their selection is good, the prices--especially if I catch things on sale--are comparable and it has been well worth the delivery fees for a polite man to show up at my door at the specified time with food.

I find it also means a lot less impulse purchasing of junk food or even just random food that tends to hop into ones cart. I'm not meandering past aisles of chips and chocolate and that means I have to consciously think to go look up chocolate pudding and add it to the order. Don't worry, Kraft Mac and Cheese is still a staple in my book. When I'm planning for a few recipes, it also means I just work down the list rather than hop around a building which totally equates to far less frustration on the "well, where do *you* think they put the toothpicks" front.

The balance with that though is that I don't always think about fresh produce. I don't see that today this fruit look delicious or they are just unpacking some fresh interesting greens. We're still six weeks away from the first outdoors farmers market so I'm not supplementing that way as yet. I need to make a conscious effort to look at what fruits and vegetables are best/most available right now and put them in my cart.

Today is a writing day though and hopefully by the time I get on a plane next Friday, my biggest concerns will be just how much knitting I can charge through in 9 days. Back to the Word Document.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Calling It...

I've decided I'm going to try and get both semesters of Loopy Academy done this spring.

Today is March 1 and I'm at 85% on the owls, 80% on the shawl, and 0% on the gloves.

Remember where I was all 100% on all three projects by March 1? Or at least something greater than 0%? 

I've started on the border for the shawl finally. I have 16 repeats of 48 rows. And it's kind of fiddly but not too much. There's pretty obvious structure to how it builds up and when you increase, although I'm going to be relying on a post it note and hash marks to keep me on track. 

The owls need wings. And I probably will need to knit one more owl. The wings are fiddly and my fiddly time has been overrun with deadlines for teaching, presenting, and research.  

And the gloves are still a ball of wool. That said, I'm attending a conference tomorrow and other than one 7 minute presentation, I mostly just get to listen. Listening is compatible with 2x2 ribbing. So I have hope for some progress tomorrow. 

Philosopher and I also took a whole vacation day (I know, right?) -- which generally means we only both worked 4-6 hours on various things and took some time in the afternoon to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the Orchid Show. 

It was lovely and bright. Orchids are so showy. We were joking about ones that looked overdone and ones that looked like they were being a little too forward with their personal parts. It's small wonder these were considered very sexual in the Victorian era... We also found at least one plant that looked like it was shouting at us. My shots came out fuzzy though...

I've just placed my order for Spring Semester. I have patterns picked out and now I just need to acquire a beading crochet hook. I have three months and three different plane trips between now and deadline...hopefully I can put all that time to good use!

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, ...