Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Here you have it, folks:
YARN! That I made! My first handspun, how exciting. It is messy as all hell but I love it. It's Corriedale wool, bulky weight (mostly), 6-7 wraps per inch, and has about 36 yards in the 2 ounces there. It actually turned out a little nicer than I thought it would, the underspun parts are quite soft and fluffy. I'm excited to see how it works up.

But first, I've got some socks to finish. Three more repeats and then the toe! Off to knit a bit more now...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Like Lightning

This spinning thing moves along quickly! It could just feel that way because I'm working with small samples and 2 oz. bits of fiber, but I've finished my first batch of spun yarn!
Unwinding from the "cop", while Calypso investigates
Since I don't yet have a niddy noddy and I was kind of in a rush, I wrapped the yarn around my forearm, which turned out to be a silly idea because I ended up with a bit of a tangled mess of yarn.
Kinky nest of yarn. I bet a bird would love this.
But I figured, what the heck, let's go ahead and "set the twist" anyway. So I gave it a bath.
No, no rubber ducky.
And hung it to dry, weighted down to reduce the kink-factor.
My crazy-ass first handspun. So proud!
Like I said, it's a bit of a mess right now, but hopefully when I go to wind it up it will look nicer. I also just hope it doesn't all fall apart! But I trust physics. I can't wait to see what it's like to knit with. And, I already started another batch, which has been drafting much more easily than the other wool did and I'm getting a thinner, more consistent yarn that I adore.
Ignore the lumpy teal stuff, that's leader yarn.
More details later, though. I even spun in the car on a road trip, haha. My Fiasco may come to rue the day he gave me that spindle. Yay, spinning!

Note to self: Put down the spindle and work on your socks. You only have 2 days left to finish your second January pair. I'm on the gusset of the second sock... commence speed knitting!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting All Knit-stalgic

There's almost nothing I love more than converting unsuspecting innocents into diehard knitters. Nothing. For some, their attention is grabbed because they're fascinated by the process. For others, they covet the results. For my dear friend Katy, it started with the yarn (Bugga!) and since I talked her into purchasing her first skein, she's made lightning-fast leaps and bounds down the winding road to Diehard Knitterland. Here's a bit of a map to how I see that road going:

The 12-Step Road to Addiction
Step 1A: Hmmm, this knitting thing sounds interesting. *internet research*
Step 1B: My, what pretty socks you have. I want! *covet*
Step 1C: Omg! Yarn is so pretty! I had no idea! *spends monies*
Step 2: I will try this. Yes. *scarf knitting commences*
Step 3: Ravelry is discovered. Countless hours are lost.
Step 4: What are these circular things? * hat knitting commences *
Step 5: This Yarn Harlot lady is hilarious!  *knitting blogland is discovered*
Step 6: Nobody told me size 1 DPNs were so small! *first sock knitting commences*
Step 7: What is The Knitters Book of Yarn? *learns everything about yarn and still wants to know more*
Step 8: Stitches East? Vogue Knitting Live? SOAR? Sock Camp? Rhinebeck? *wishful thinking about yarn-related events commences*
Step 9: Expresses love through creating knitted gifts.
Step 10: Expresses love through creating more knitters.
Step 11: So many things to say about knitting! *blogging commences*
Step 12: I could make something like that myself! *designing commences*

Katy is currently somewhere around Step 7. I couldn't be more proud! In two years, she'll be giving spinning a whorl (haha puns are fun) and eventually we'll both be traveling  from festival to festival purchasing hand-dyed yarns, spindles, wheels, fiber, unwashed fleeces, and ultimately whole sheep. At least for myself, it's only a matter of time.

I feel pretty confident about my two-year prediction, because here is my first sock, finished in January 2010:
Knitpicks Stroll
Ill-fitting, loosely knit, and awkwardly modeled, yet I can't help but be proud of them and I even still wear them from time to time. Now, two years later, I'm around step 11 & 12 of my personal road to addiction and branching out into the brand new world of spinning. It's so fun to learn a whole new jargon, new ins-and-outs, make new mistakes, and discover new tricks. I just wish, as always, that I had more time.

Whereabouts are you in your road to Diehard Knitterland?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Wish I Could Quit You

In this instance, it is not knitting that I wish I could quite, nor yarn, nor my brand new spinning interest. It's my research project. Stupid horseshoe crabs and their stupid non-model-able data. I've spent 6 weeks trying to redo what I did in my thesis to make it better, and nothing's made it better, and now I'm stuck having one of those weeks where a million deadlines are occurring at once and I wish I could just be a cat instead.
Who else is jealous right now?
Now for happy thoughts: spinning is fun!
Look, yarn!
I'm working my way through the this Corriedale roving pack dyed by Wysteria Editions available on Knitpicks. Each little bundle is 1/4 ounce, so I've worked through a little over 1/2 ounce of fiber so far.
The resulting yarn is incredibly inconsistent, I'm still struggling with drafting the fibers out nicely, but I'll get the hang of it. I'm just going to spin up this batch into some crazy multicolor novelty-esque yarn that will become the lumpiest knit potholder in all the land. But I'm cool with that because it will still be yarn that I made!
Twisty proof that I'm doing it right!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spin Me Right 'Round, Baby, Right 'Round

Golding "Learn to Spin" kit and Knitpicks Wysteria Editions Wool Roving pack
I was so excited about starting to spin that I coerced my wonderful Fiasco into giving me my birthday present at the stroke of midnight, Cindarella-style. :)

It's a nice, solid, 3", 1.9 oz drop spindle with a cherry whorl, walnut shaft, and dragon heartstring core. (teehee... Yes, I know this isn't Harry Potter, but it really is a little like magic!)

First attempt!
I struggled a bit with drafting the fibers correctly, so I have a lot of messy bits where the pieces overlap. The roving I used was different than I expected from the books I read, it was already combed neatly and seemed to be drafted already, when I tried to separate the fibers a little bit the strip just fell apart. So I tried just pulling a thin strip off the roving and spinning it as it was without any more drafting and it seemed to work better. It made a smoother, more consistent yarn when I just connected strip after strip. It's probably not the most efficient way to do this and I'm probably not explaining it right, but later on I'll do some youtube video research and see if I can puzzle out how other people work with roving like this.

Do you have any favorite spinning resources/videos that I should check out?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Where Did The Year Go?

One year ago today, this was me:
Shawl pictured: Springtime Bandit
Super excited, newly engaged, and completely unaware of the craziness (much of it unfortunately bad) that 2011 would bring. But I managed, because I had this goofball by my side:
Shawl pictured: Aestlight
We're currently no closer to having a wedding planned or knowing what our futures hold than we were a year ago, but that's alright. I know we'll figure it all out eventually because we have each other*. Awwwwww...   :)

*I'm rarely this cheesy in public but it is our engage-versary and I just couldn't help myself. Sorry!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Excitement Afoot

I’ve been making some progress on my mawata mittens! These are taking longer than I thought they would, but I suppose it makes sense when I need to stop and prepare the silk every few rows . Between that and the fact that silk is not very elastic, my fingers get tired quickly so I can’t knit on these for very long stretches of time. But they sure are pretty, aren’t they?
BMFA Mawata/Silk Hankies, colorway Aurora Borealis
You can see in the cuff where the stitches look all wonky that it took me some time to figure out how much to tug on the silk fibers to get them to a thickness I liked before knitting with their supremely fluffy selves. Closer to the needles the stitches are smaller and more even because I became accustomed to what I need to do. I  decided to add a thumb gusset to these (on the other side) due to the aforementioned inelasticity of silk. I’m kind of winging it, though, so I hope it works out ok! I've knit thumb gussets in other patterns, but I'm not following any of those at the moment out of laziness and am just going with my gut. Living on the edge!

The other exciting thing afoot (sidebar: wouldn't "Excitement Afoot" make a great sock pattern title? I call dibs!) is represented by these:
I'm going to start learning to spin! I was inspired by some recent blog posts I'd read (this was one of them, be warned that it is a sad but beautiful post, and this was another) and some threads on Ravelry discussing spinning-- I couldn't resist the idea of playing with different fibers and turning them into yarn,  I had caught the bug. My darling Fiasco agreed that a drop spindle would make a good birthday gift so I'll have one shortly! I've already read through the "Start Spinning" book he gave me early and half of the "Respect the Spindle" book. I have to wait until Tuesday before I can actually start spinning, though. I can hardly contain my excitement!!!

Sigh. I don't think the idea of spinning one's own yarn from various types of fiber does this to normal people...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Grey, Green, Purple

I appear to be on a grey, green, and purple kick lately. I love those colors and lately it really shows! My Cotty socks from yesterday fall under that heading, I think. Check out what happened with the pooling when I changed stitch count:
The cuff was knit on 60 stitches and the leg on 55 (supposed to be 56 but I randomly decreased again for apparently no reason). Just switching a few stitches made it go from big crazy spirals to neat little stripes. I love the way it looks and I'm glad I changed stitch count.

Here's some more grey, green, and purple for your viewing pleasure:
STR Mediumweight, colorway Tlingit
In my Final Order of 2011 I received a different color that I really didn't like as much as I had anticipated, so I destashed and bought this skein with that money instead. It's kind of a little bit like cheating on my resolution of not buying new yarn in 2012, but I rationalized it since I was supposed to have a new skein of STR MW and I didn't spend any new money on yarn that hadn't already been earmarked for it, so it was all good. And besides, my birthday's coming up, so whatevs. New yarn!!!

Because it's my birthday month, I received an awesome $20-off-any-purchase coupon from Vera Bradley (apparently I buy a lot of bags from there). Since I didn't need a new purse and didn't want to shell out a whole lot of money at the moment, I ordered a medium sized cosmetic bag. Guess what it's perfect for?
Yup. :)
A new project bag! I have a purse in this same fabric, and it tickles my matchy-matchy bone that my knitting bag will coordinate with it. It's a good size for a small project and it's even lined with plastic so no super-sharp needles can poke through. I'd say it's a win, and it fits in with the color scheme of my life lately. Not half bad.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scottish Cotty Socks

I finally started my Cotty socks!
STR Mediumweight, colorway Scottish Highlands
I've been meaning to knit this pattern for a long time. It involves so many things I love: it is simple with a memorizable lace repeat, it has sweet details (that picot cuff), and it plays nice with variegated yarns. I love the colorway I'm using, but I'm getting some crazy spiraling going on. I frogged back to the cuff because I apparently couldn't read last night and did the leg all wrong, I basically skipped half of what I was supposed to do and just knitted plain instead. Silly mistakes! Worked out well, though, because now I've decreased down to the 56 sts I usually like knitting my STR MW socks with, and I think it will help turn those crazy spirals into tidier stripes. We will have to wait and see! This is one of my favorite things about knitting with Socks that Rock yarn: you never know how the color will turn out, and small changes can make a huge difference! It might also explain why I have so many socks-in progress: I love starting new socks for the excitement of finding out how the yarn and pattern will mesh, and then I forget to finish. Woops! Funtimes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is It Sexist?

I'm not sure how I feel about people calling me "hun". I know it isn't intended to be demeaning, but something in me balks at it. It doesn't bother me much when the middle-aged woman at the grocery store calls me "hun", I'm still caught off guard a little by the implied familiarity, but I guess I just chalk it up to maternal instincts. However, when men call me "hun"-- it bothers me. This has happened a few times in the last year or so, including a student of mine in a class I was TAing last fall and the dude at Subway just now. The student calling me "hun" was entirely inappropriate, and if it had happened again I would have had to address it (at the time I was too surprised) but he was a good deal older than me, so that perhaps explains his lack of boundaries. But this dude at Subway just now? I'm pretty sure I'm older than he was, so that explanation is out. Who the heck is he to call me "hun"? And it's not like I misheard, he said it a handful of times throughout our 2-minute checkout exchange. It's very strange. I know there are plenty of worse things to be called than "hun", but apparently the feminist inside me hates it! Perhaps because it seems a mere stone's-throw away from "toots" or "sweetcheeks" or some other patronizing, pre-sexual-harassment-era term of endearment. Maybe they think it's sweet, but it bugs me. Is a man calling a woman he doesn't know or barely knows "hun" inappropriate? Is it sexist? Is my being bothered by it coming from men but not women sexist? These are the burning questions that occupy my thoughts when I am procrastinating beginning yet another pointless bout of data analysis.

As far as knitting goes, I'm dreaming of the day when I have time to actually sit and knit complex, beautiful things like laceweight shawls or, oh my, even sweaters! To have the brainpower left over at the end of the day to focus and keep track of all of that would be awesome. I'm feeling the time crunch to finish a pair of mittens (it's dang cold outside!) and neither the fussy Flints nor the mawata mittens are get-up-and-go type projects. I hate feeling restricted to knitting only simple things, either by time or energy level or concentration ability. So this is the knitting I have with me at the moment, and I don't even want to work on it:
Bugga in Fig Eater and Dog Days Cicada
This is a bit of a Taygete shawl by Rosemary (Romi) Hill that I began back in August. The shawl is knit end to end alternating stripes and then you pick up along the bottom edge to knit a lace section and surround the whole thing with a picot edging. It should be lovely when it's done, but I've become disenchanted with it. I'm just past the midpoint of the lengthwise section and although I believe it will be a very pretty shawl when it's finished, it's really kind of boring now. I loved the color combo when I chose it, but now I'm feeling like it's more of a fall combo than a winter/spring combo and I don't think I have many outfits that will match it after all...it's just not revving my engine. I wish it was. I'll still work on it b/c of its mindlessness, but this is how I end up with projects that are on the needles for months and months and months. Disenchantment... the silent FO killer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sore Fingers

As promised, here are the photos of the first pair of socks finished in 2012:

STR Lightweight, colorway X-mas Rocks
I love how the pink and yellow colors pooled similarly around the gusset of each sock. My Fiasco calls these my 'clown barf' socks. I can't really argue with him. They are bright. Yet they are also festive, and that was the point.

Doesn't everyone wear thermal pants because it's so dang cold in their house? No? Oh well, just me then.
I started these socks way back in February 2011. I had wanted to knit them in time for Christmas 2010, but alas, it was not to be. I needed a plain sock A.S.A.P. to knit while reading papers and since the X-mas Rocks skein was already wound up, I started them. I winged the pattern, alternating stockinette stitch with *K3,P3* rows, and I liked the ridged effect so I kept going. They hibernated for a while until I tried to finish them in time for Christmas 2011, but that was not to be, either. Nevertheless, they are done now, and make my feet no less cozy despite the fact that we're past the holidays.

I am kind of mad at them, though. I spent all day Saturday knitting them and then a lot of Sunday evening as well, and now my fingers are too sore to knit anything else! I've tried, and I just can't seem to knit comfortably at the moment. I'm not used to having a whole weekend  of knitting time, usually it's just what I can snag here and there, so I guess my fingers are out of shape! Which is a shame, because I'm itching to knit a Here and There hat. I need a warm hat and it's so darn cute. The yarn is even all ready to go:

but no dice. It will just have to wait. Ever knit yourself sore before?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sock Situation

Alright, photographic evidence of my socks-in-progress delinquency:
SIPs of shame
There had been more, many more, but I frogged a few that I knew I would never finish. These are the 7 pairs that I will finish in 2012, in addition to the 17 new pairs I would like to knit from start to finish this year. It sounds like a lot, but I know I can be a speedy knitter when I focus, and since I'll be unemployed shortly, I anticipate an increase in my standard amount of free time.

These socks all stalled due to a few reasons: a fussy pattern and lack of time (top left pair and top right pairs), a dislike of the needles (top middle, bottom green, and bottom right), or a dislike of either the yarn base or yarn color (bottom left, bottom pink, and bottom right). However, I will overcome these silly little obstacles, because all of the knitting pictured above could've been 4 finished pairs by this point!

I added a sock ticker to the top of the blog to keep me honest. The one pair I finished are the ribby holiday socks I discussed yesterday, but I can't show them to you because I left half the pair in my office desk. They were great work-knitting socks because they were mostly plain. My next work-knitting pair will be the Cotty socks I discussed earlier. I decided to change my January sock knitting goals back to what they were originally (my goals, my rules!) which are as follows:

  1. finish X-mas Rocks socks (DONE!)
  2. finish South Fork socks (60% done)
  3. start Blathnat socks start (and finish?) Cotty socks
  4. start secret Valentine's Day socks
I would love to both start and finish my Cotty socks in the remaining 2 weeks of the month, but that might be delusional. We'll see, sock hope springs eternal!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Some Progress

Even though I've been working 14-hour days trying and failing to get my thesis data to model correctly, I have been making some progress on my four 'active' works-in-progress lately. Time for update pics!

Sock 1 of my South Fork Socks is complete, with the second one begun. This pattern is really enjoyable, I highly recommend it.
STR Mediumweight, colorway Puck's Mischief
This is sock 2 of my made-up-as-I-go ribby holiday socks.
STR Lightweight, colorway X-Mas Rock
 The first is done and since this one is so close,  I think I will bring it with me to my Fiasco's family's house today while we visit. That will give me a couple of hours of driving time to knit on them and since they are so simple, I might even be able to finish them today!

Here is the progress on my super-fussy-yet-wonderful Flint mittens:
The Sanguine Gryphon QED, colorways Radius and iSkein (blue)
The yarn is quite thick and the needles quite small, so the cabling gets tough to do at times, but I think they are going to be fantastic when they are finished... and practically bulletproof.

Finally, the metal needles I was waiting for came in and the mawata/silk hankie mittens were so much easier to work than when I was using bamboo.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mawata, colorway Aurora Borealis
It's not the neatest knitting I've ever done, the thickness of the silk fluff varied considerable in the first few layers that I prepared for knitting, but now I know what thickness I like so when I separate more layers I will know better how much to stretch them out before knitting with them. I love the way these feel, they are amazingly soft. I am using Kollage Square DPNs in size 5. Square DPNs are supposed to be easier on your hands and for some people they tighten up their gauge while they knit as well. I've noticed that mine tightens up a bit, which is good for things like socks on thin yarn where I would need to use needles smaller than 2.25mm to get a tight enough gauge, which I don't like doing. My only issue with the Kollage needles is that they are very blunt, so it is difficult for me to manipulate stitches like K2tog or SSK or cables. So I reserve my square DPNs for plain knitting, but I do like using them.

That's what I've got going on. What's your favorite WIP at the moment?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Silk Is Fluffy

Unspun silk is super fluffy! I was surprised. The other night I took my mawata / silk hankies and started playing around.

BMFA Mawata, colorway Aurora Borealis
I peeled off a layer, stretched it out until the center became so thin it turned into a big ring of fiber, then broke the ring and yanked on it until it evened out thickness-wise.
I then took my newly-formed cotton candy fluff and cast on for some mittens.
You can see that I haven't quite got the even thickness thing down yet. The stitches to the left are kind of sport-weight sized and the stitches in the middle are worsted/aran weight sized. No matter since I'm frogging this anyway. I suffered through several rows before I realized that the reason every stitch was being a pain in the butt to knit was probably because I was using bamboo needles to which the unspun silk clung too tightly. I'm waiting on some new metal needles to arrive before I continue with my fluffy mitten adventures. I'm excited, how about you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Midnight Knitting

It's totally normal to stay up until 3am knitting because you didn't get home from work until midnight and you were just so excited about mittens you couldn't wait to cast on...right?

I swatched while reading (the Kindle is a bookish knitter's best friend, I swear):

On the Kindle: "Hit by a Farm" by Catherine Friend
I tried and failed (again) at the provisional cast on, so I said "screw you, provisional cast on, you're ugly and I don't like you!" and just went with my tried-and-true nice-and-stretchy Twisted German cast on. Instead of unzipping the waste yarn and placing live stitches on the needles, I just picked up the required amount from the cast on edge, easy peasy. I mean, it's for the inside of a mitten cuff, I don't care if it's invisible!

A many-needled knitted thing
I then played a fun game of knitted fabric origami to make that look like this:
DPNs within DPNs!
Finally got to knitting the hem together:
Yup, knitting stitches together across two different-sized needles while alternating two different colors... crazy.
And ended up with a beauty of a mitten cuff:

Love that braid!
This pattern (Flint by Jared Flood) is extraordinarily fussy but I love it already. We will ignore the fact that that little slip of knitting took me nearly 3 hours to produce. Whatever. All in the name of pretty mittens!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mitten Madness

A while back, the Yarn Harlot made a blog post about her Mawata mittens that started something of a silk-hanky-buying craze at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It was so neat to see her stack of whisper-thin layers of cocoon silk turn into rustic, colorful mittens. I instantly wanted to try it and just got some in the mail yesterday:
BMFA Mawata / Silk Hankies, colorway Aurora Borealis
These feel incredibly soft and light, I absolutely cannot wait to turn them into mittens. Silk is many times warmer than wool, so even though they are lightweight they should keep my hands nice and cozy, if winter ever arrives. (50 degrees F in January, really?) I actually had the chance to see how silk hankies are made at a knitting event at my local yarn shop. I got to pull the cocoon off the pupa and stretch it out and over the square frame to dry. It's a little bit squicky, especially if you don't like insects, but they're dead already anyway and it was too cool not to try. Each hanky is comprised of layer upon layer of these stretched out cocoons, it's really neat.
So many layers!
There's another pair of mittens I'm really excited about, as well. This obsession is particularly strange because I'm really not into knitting mittens, I've yet to complete a pair, I'm easily confused by cables and am usually not interested in 8 page patterns or fussy knitting, but I saw these mittens and just had to make them ASAP :
Copyright Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood
Those are the Flint pattern by Jared Flood. I love the cables, the texture, the colorwork braid. LOVE. As soon as my Mawata mittens are finished, I will be casting on those lovely, fussy little things, and it will be glorious!   :-D

Friday, January 6, 2012

What A Week

This week wiped me out. I've been trying to get myself off my horrendous 3am bedtime, 9am wake time schedule all week with variable success. Since that's only 6 hours a night, it's no wonder I'm exhausted right now. I was really looking forward to the weekend to relax, too, but turns out I've got a few thousand lines of data I need to sort through and a few hundred calculations to make before I can get any sort of break. Boo on that. I love Excel, my passion for its number-crunching ways has been established, but sometimes I just need some space in our relationship, some time to see other people (like my poor neglected Fiasco). Sigh.

In happier news, I finished another hat!
Malabrigo Chunky, colorway Vaa
I made this up as I went along, I like how it turned out well enough. It's difficult to know where that line between "This is my design" and "I made this up" is. This hat is simple and anybody could do it, but I did fudge the heck out of the decreases at the top, 65 stitches decreased down to 9 outside of the cable panel, so I don't know if it would be easily reproducible and it's probably not helpful to have directions that say "Now just decrease where it makes sense to until there aren't any stitches left..." Regardless, nothing says "instant gratification" better than a hat knit with bulky yarn. Yay! One holiday hat left to go...

I was all set to cast on my Cotty socks last night when I realized that the needles I like using with STR Mediumweight were already occupied by this pretty thing:
STR Mediumweight, colorway Puck's Mischief
This is the wonderfully addicting South Fork Socks pattern that I truly love. I started these in October and they were moving along nicely until I put them down at one point and forgot on which row I was crossing my cables. I am morally opposed to row counters (ok, not really, they just annoy me) and prefer to simply read my knitting but I have a much harder time reading cabled fabric than plain or lace fabric and I got all confused. Was I crossing the cables 4 rows after the slipped stitches? 5? I can't remember, I can't tell, ahhhhhh! So the dreaded Cable Confusion stalled these socks. Then I got over it, gave some things a try, wrote down the right answer so I wouldn't forget, and decided to finish these socks before I start my Cotty's. The Cotty KAL goes until March so I have plenty of time to get to those. But I still want to cast on a new sock for myself in January, so I'm going to knit Blathnat, the January Mystery sock pattern designed by Irishgirlieknits for the Sock Knitter's Anonymous group on Ravelry. I think I'll use some Bugga for it.

So, revised sock goals for January:
  1. finish X-mas Rocks socks (75% done)
  2. finish South Fork socks (40% done)
  3. start Blathnat socks
  4. start secret Valentine's Day socks
That will do for now, I think! I also have plans for mittens, oh boy do I have plans for mittens. I've been knitting for about 4 years now and I have yet to make myself a pair of mittens. I have fingerless gloves out the wazoo, but no mittens. However, I think I'll talk about those tomorrow. :-) Happy Friday! Someone go have fun for me while I fight with my dataset, please!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Toys

Here's another better-late-than-never Christmas gift hat:
Malabrigo Chunky, colorway Bobby Blue
The pattern is the free and lovely Robin's Egg Blue Hat that I modified slightly. I know I like my Mal chunky hats knit on size 10 needles to be 60 stitches around to fit right, so I cast off more stitches on the seed stitch flap to end up with 60 for the body of the hat. It's a very simple pattern with stylish results. This hat is for my cousin, Megan, to match the neckwarmer I made for her. Perfect set for a teenager, I think.

I received a new digital camera for Christmas (because my old one went swimming in a river while I was kayaking) and it has some really fun settings, like this:

Where has all the color gone?!
As you're taking the photo you can choose the color you want to keep (bright green) and the rest of the photo will be B&W. You can see that parts of the candle in the background still show up green. Pretty neat, huh? So you can expect the photo quality on this blog to vastly improve now from the cell phone shots that I was managing to make look halfway-decent before. While I was at it, I figured I'd show off my mini-skein collection:
As an aside: that candle? $1 at a yard sale. I love it. It is the candle we will use when the Fiasco and I finally tie the knot.
The top left container holds my STR Lightweight minis. The top right container is all Bugga. The bottom one is a mix of STR Mediumweight leftovers, large Bugga minis, and the tiny "emergency skeins" that come with the BMFA Rockin' Sock Club shipments. I like having my minis on display. I found the containers for something like $8 each at Michael's, not too bad. Someday, these minis will grow up to be a mitered square sock yarn blanket. I have almost 60 squares done, but I started in June, so at this rate it will take forever to finish. I'm hoping to get back into the habit of working on it regularly in the near future. As soon as I get to a nice stopping point I'll take a picture and post it here. I'm excited to start the middle portion of it, for which I have an interesting (read: hope it works) plan.

Finally, check out this little gal:
My future mother-in-law gave me it for Christmas, and I think it's just too adorable. I've started reading an an interesting book called "Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet" by Catherine Friend on my Kindle (another new toy I'm addicted to). The book is sort of a sequel to a memoir about a city couple who start a farm and encounter wacky setbacks along the way. I haven't read the first book but I'm still enjoying this one. The author is clearly not entirely enamored of farming or sheep and she refers to people who really love wool/yarn/the fiber arts as "fiber freaks" but I'm only in the beginnings of the book and I feel a conversion to our woolly ways might be in the works for her later. This book might be dangerous for me to read, as I'm already a fiber freak and have pipe dreams of quitting this whole academia thing and getting some land somewhere remote and becoming self-sufficient. Just me, the Fiasco, and a bunch of livestock and crops in our own little happy place working hard, outdoors year-round... it's difficult to resist, even though we would have to start from scratch, both of us growing up in suburbia. But I'm not writing it off entirely, yet. What are dreams for, right?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This Is How I Roll

If you know me well, then you probably know at least these three things about me:
  1. I like thinking about knitting
  2. I am prone to fits of weirdly productive procrastination
  3. I'm a big giant dork
This is my way of warning you about what you are about to see. I cannot be held accountable, it was bound to happen, this is just how I roll. I give you (wait for it)...

(you curious yet?)...

KNITTING DATA!!! Complete with tables and graphs. Microsoft Excel, how I love thee. Also, you're welcome, world. These needed to exist.

Table 1. This table displays Shoelaceswitcher's knitting projects broken down by project type and status as follows:  projects finished in 2011 or 2010 (FOs), works in progress started sometime in 2011 (Current WIPs), or works in progress started earlier than 2011 (Ancient WIPs). The most knitted project type was hats (total=23) with shawls and socks tied for a close second (total each=22). The total number of projects analyzed both on and off the needles was 108.

Figure 1. This figure displays the same information as Table 1 in bar chart form. It is clear that hats and shawls were the most numerous projects completed in 2010 while hats alone were most numerous in 2011, with socks a close second. It is interesting to note that the same number of projects were completed in both 2010 and 2011 in the mitts and items for tiny humans categories. An increasing trend in sock knitting is anticipated as there is the same number of pairs of socks currently on the needles (Current WIPs) as there were finished in 2010.

There you have it, folks, a grad-student-style knitting recap. Please note that I did stop myself before trying to total the amounts of yarn used for each of those projects in each year and before attempting any sort of statistical analysis. I'm not totally off my rocker, sheesh!