Monday, August 7, 2017

summer was fast

My summer has flown by, probably because I've been so busy. Teaching a summer student, doing research/trying to finish a paper, and a series of presentations kept me busy around travel at the beginning and middle of May and the middle of July. I'm home again, and thoroughly unsettled still. The house is a disaster, I need to go grocery shopping, the cats need to be brushed and won't stop snuggling me (3 weeks away is apparently too much time for them, even if it's too hot to snuggle. I don't mind the love).

So the days passed, and now August is here, and frankly I haven't crafted much at all. I'll barely scrape up 3km for stash dash, and it's all from finishing stuff that I'd started earlier in the year. The bulk of my travel/vacation crafting was this:

A cute cross stitch pattern from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. The rest of my time was spent relaxing or writing or both, and very pleasantly.

I just need a couple of days to get my head screwed back down. Right now I'm off floating in the ether between worlds, unbalanced.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stash Dash Glee

I do so love the Stash Dash event. So far I've finished a shawl, a cowl, a pair of socks, and a baby sweater. I'm on the verge of polishing off another pair of socks and a hat as well, and I cast on a new pair of socks to keep my WIP quota high enough to keep my attention. I also need to hunt up some spinning time.

My laptop seems to have bitten it for good--last time I logged on it had decided the date was Jan 1 2000 which is usually a motherboard sort of error, and then it decided that my password no longer worked. Which, I mean, I would expect to have been hacked, except I've had the wireless turned off for months because there's no internet at home. I'm debating getting another macbook of the same type--pricey, but it will make the transfer of my data and programs pretty easy, and it would mean I could still use the power cord I just purchased, which was 80 bucks--or getting some different sort of machine--cheaper, but more effort in terms of figuring out what I need for work and if I can dual load an OS that will allow me to play some games as well. And overall, both options suck, cuz I wanted to pay down some bills, not add to them. But I really need a remote work machine, and the phone does not cut it.

Meanwhile, this afternoon's plans involved going swimming at the pool but there's a thunderstorm here pissing on my day, so blehhhhh.

Friday, May 26, 2017

busybee again

Making graphs. Graphs are nice. IDL is behaving itself for once (maybe I've tamed it? I suspect only this little corner of it. and it'll probably bite me for saying that).

I had my graduation ceremony for last year's Ph.D. completion. It was delightful and I got to see some of the best people. Also had hangings out with my friends who have produced a smaller version of themselves. This visit means I ripped out half the baby sweater as it needs to be both wider and longer. No problem, I've got the yarn. I also almost finished the shawl, made it even a couple rows longer to try and use up more yarn.

All in all, things are pretty good here. And Stash Dash is coming!

Stash Dash is an event hosted by The Knit Girls podcast, my absolute favorite knitting video podcast to watch. They talk a lot about yarn and projects and spinning and crafts, and a little about books and life, and they are funny and delightful. Every year as Lala gets the summer off (she works in the US school system), they have this event where you try to meet certain goals for yourself and if you do you can enter to win a few prizes. The point is to use up stash, and you get to count the yardage from any project you complete between May 27 and August 13 (or something like that, whatever Lala's summer vacation is).

The reason I love this event so much? It's very much open to interpretation. You can aim for a slew of different, achievable goals; you can knit what you want; you can use free patterns or paid for patterns, patterns from stash or new patterns, any sort of pattern you desire; and WIPs you get to count the whole yardage if you make them into a FO, even if 90% of the knitting was done three years ago. This motivates me to polish off lingering UFOs and to tackle at least one big WIP that I would normally ignore for tiny things like socks. I don't always meet my own goal (usually I aim for 5km worth of finished-up yarn) but I always like trying.

This year, I have a whole pile of WIPs from the past 6 months that have sort of been malingering and that I intend to finish:

1. Ashburn shawl, which is 2.5 skeins of different colors of yarn in a fun pattern. Right now I'm maybe 10, 20 rows from the bindoff, so it's quite feasible, even though they are long
2. Yellow-gray striped socks. These just need an afterthought heel, but I've been avoiding that last one like the plague
3. The little socks for mom. I blew through the 50g ball of yarn and these both just need toes in an alternative color
4. Night Sky stripey cowl. I started this two or three years ago; got the yarn in 2014 at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It's a tube cowl that I'm going to graft so it'll be a long skinny stripey thing that I can wrap around my neck twice, but I've bogged down on it occasionally because it's not eating up the colored yarn as fast as I thought it would. I think, though, that I've figured out the last two combinations of stripes I want to do before I finish with the gray and do the fancy kitchener in the round
5. Orange baby sweater. I want weePatrick to have this for fall, so I had better work on it, but both the body and the sleeves need to be lengthened so it's a bit of a slog. Not too hard, though, a good weekend should do it
6. Flowers in Her Hair hat. Started this for fun and Robin likes the colors so she's getting a hat and maybe mitts if I have enough leftovers (maybe I can make mittens with an alternative color for the cuff and use the whole ball up. That would be nice). The hat is nearing its decreases (slightly slouchy, extra long so you can fold it up over your ears) but the mittens are a twinkle in my eye
7. Vibrant purple mitts. I got this incredibly violet yarn a long time ago, a single 50g skein. Not enough for socks or anything, and it's 100% merino so it's soft but wouldn't hold up well anyway. I finally cast it on into a pair of little mitts with, perhaps, a lace pattern over the knuckles if I feel like it. These are both started but not anywhere near finished
8. Myliu Lino--the linen tunic. I've mentioned this one before because I've really fallen for it and think I would wear it a lot. It's been ripped out twice since I started it and I don't know if I can handle it if I have to rip it a third time, but hopefully the measurements are correct now. We'll see how it goes. This is the big project for the summer and I have no idea if I'll be able to finish it or now, but if I do I'll be very happy
9. Handspun: 2ply falkland combo spin. I have 2 braids of Falkland seconds from Three Waters Farm, one of my very favorite indie fiber dyers. I decided to spin them up into singles, each braid, and then ply them together as a 2ply and use that to make a baby sweater for weePatrick if there's enough yardage. First ply is 2/3 done but I haven't touched the wheel in quite some time
10. Handspun: Snake Agate. This'll be, like the one above, a 2ply from 2 separate braids from TWF, one merino and one BFL (hopefully they play nicely together; the colors certainly do). I am hoping this will be a nice tonal gray-brown when I'm done with it that I can use for a contrast color with any other handspun to make a bigger shawl, but we'll see, it might be its own thing
11. Handspun: Lingering Light. I have 2 skeins of this colorway on Targhee from TWF. Not sure yet how I should spin this. I would like a 3 ply but I want to maximize yardage, too. hmm.


That's all I'm sure I want to work on and would love to finish, though I have no idea of the yardage this would produce. But I certainly have an exciting summer planned!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

Reading:
I started (again) The Shadow of the Wind. We'll see if it catches me this time. I also still have Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear half read, and I did a few chapters of Garth Nix's Ragwitch. I also have an inch tall stack of papers I want to go through.

Working:
Still making graphs for the short paper. Meanwhile, I got surprise!telescope time so I've put some decent time into preparing for that and I get to screw up my schedule by observing at 8pm  and 1am for several consecutive days. ah, well, a learning experience. Then I need to reduce that data, as well as the data from the observations in fall, but only after finishing the data for the shortpaper. and then I need to get back into the data from the lirgpaper and the data from the clusteringpaper. AAAGH DATA EVERYWHERE. Wait, that's a good thing, I suppose.

Spinning: I finished 2/3 of the first 4oz braid for my falkland combo spin (where I ply together two different colorways). changed my mind, I no longer want a three ply. Instead I'll do a 2ply, 1 ply all the first braid, 1 ply all the second, and see how nicely they play. It won't be as round/bouncy but it'll also be thinner, and there'll be more yardage.

Knitting: I cast on a hat, too. so much for plans. *shakes head*. Next week I am travelling again so I need some good travel knitting. I think I will definitely take the Ashburn that's in progress; before I leave I'll probably be all the way through the second section and into the third section. And I finished knitting the baby sweater but I have no good understanding of sizing so I should probably bring the needles and yarn with in case it needs adjustment, even though I have absolutely zero desire to work on it any more. My instinct says that that is a bad project and therefore doesn't count, so I need another second project (ie, a third project). Maybe I'll get some sock yarn and 1.5s and start a new pair of twinsocks in slightly looser stretchier fabric (the newer stiffer fabric is less forgiving and I don't know how necessary it is). That's not a bad idea.

Also I started a tunic (the Myliu Lino) and had to rip it out because sizing and gauge and messing up the math. redid the math, recast it on, still screwed up (this time in terms of inches instead of stitches, thus proving that while I can learn from my mistakes, that doesn't prevent further mistakes), and I need to rip it out and recast it on again cuz it's my big summer project. except I'm still mad at it, of course.

Other things:
politics are fucked up, my brain is fucked up, my sleep schedule is fucked up, and the house is a fucking mess. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

xD

so I just cast on November's socks and gave serious consideration to starting the August project too.

*shrug* apparently I'm not even the boss of me.

Monday, April 17, 2017

What should I knit next?

I finished a large epic shawl. I even won at yarn chicken with it, although there are a few rows of hasty extra decreases.

It is stockinette. it curls. I am going to block it, and then I am going to come to terms with it continuing to curl, because I'm not ripping back 1000 yards of fingering to do the whole thing in garter stitch.

I am moving along on my grellow sock.

so the question, then, is what to knit next? I feel like my 2017plan is not nearly as clear as my 2016plan was. which, I mean... it isn't. so perhaps I shall clarify it, then.

My 2016plan involved using up specific yarns to make socks and other particular patterns, but especially hinged around starting a pair of socks every month. Aside from the two or three months where I made shawls instead, it was a really great plan

My 2017plan is just a list of yarns I wanted to use, or use up, or get to. Unfortunately it was really freaking long:

1) Madelinetosh Twist Light in nassau
2) Swannanoa Sock in slate 2
3) Afton Mountain Sock in slate 4
4) Ella Rae lace merino fingering in chartreuse
5) Hedgehog Fibers sock in hurricane
6) Deb Norville Serenity Sock in aquamarine
7) Opal Vincent Van Gogh in starry night
8) Rowan Felted Tweed DK in brown, green, and purple
9) Plucky Knitter Trusty in lonely heart
10) Regia Design Line Jazz in 6453 and 4ply Galaxy in 1556
11) Handspun #7: Purple Calvados
12) Handspun #39: Cheerful Play
13) Pagewood Farm sock yarn in prism and meadow
14) Koigu sock in blue jean
15) Claudia Hand Painted Fingering in thistle
16) Three Irish Girls Adorn sock in fresh earth
17) Knit Picks Imagination in treasure
18) Karabella Softig in gold and lavender
19) Lily Sugar and Cream in speckled cream
20) Malabrigo Sock in blue-purple
21) Shibui Knits Staccato in red and gold
22) Colinette Jitterbug in oyster blush
23) Three Waters Farm Sock in foliage
24) Frolicking Feet sock in canary yellow
25) Puff the Magic Rabbit sock in gray
26) String Theory Colorworks sport in Galactic Ghoul and Sock in latarious projecte heavy bombardment
27) Sweet Georgia gradient set in gray
28) Suzi sock yarn in red

I mean.. what the hell was I thinking? I could barely finish 12 skeins of yarn last year for the plan (ok I just went and counted and I finished maybe 22 skeins all told, not counting the plan). What made me think that a total of 34 skeins (some of the entry up there has more than 1 skein, cuz colors, and typing) would be a good year 2017 plan?

so. I need something a bit more concrete. Concrete plans worked really nicely last year. let's try them again.

Things I want to knit in 2017:

1) January: **done** Hedgehog Fibers sock yarn into some sort of shawl
2) February: **done** Yellow Geilsk into some sort of shawl (but I recently found a third skein. wTF?)
3) March: **done** Nassau + gradient kit into shawl
4) April: *started* Swannanoa, Afton Mountain, and Ella Rae into a shawl
5) May: Opal in Starry Night into socks
6) June: Koigu blue jeans into mitts
7) July: handspun (either #7 or #49) into a shawl
8) August: Sugar and Cream OR softig into cute washcloths
9) September: string theory sport into socks
10) October: string theory sock into socks
11) November: Regia Design Line into socks (for mom)
12) December: Suzi sock yarn into shawl (sunwalker)

There. that's a thing every month that I should at the least start, and a good mix of socks and shawls. If I get extra time around there I can also start:
Rowan Felted Tweed DK mitts
Pagewood Farm Meadow hat (and maybe mitts? printer mishap?)
Plucky mitts
Deb Norville socks for twin
Knit Picks Imagination into CAT

and of course come october I'll be knitting more bats and pumpkins and eyeballs for the garland I'm making.

...and I'll be spinning all along as well. whew. I need more time to craft.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Weekly checking in

Except I'm not much good at checking in every week.

Science is happening, slowly and steadily. I hit one of my mileposts last night so that was exciting; now I just need to take the Number I made and turn it into a bunch of other things

Knitting is going nicely. It's been very knitty around here for the past two weeks. I cast on the quaker lines/celadon shawl mashup and I'm plowing through it, am already in the decreasing section. The stockinette curls, but since neither pattern calls for stockinette and that was all my choice, it's my own fault. I don't mind it too much. I am getting the littlest bit bored with the purl back rows, but now it's decreased enough that it's not that big of a deal any more, so I will survive it. I also finished my first yellow-and-gray striped sock and am an inch or two into the second one. The second one is always tricky, because I never write anything down so I am trying to "match" the sock to the first one. So far it's going well but I have to stop and check every few rounds, which annoys me and slows progress. I didn't cast on my Myliu Lino yet (I need to wash and block my swatch because cotton stretches a lot), but I did do some work on my mom's poncho. I am abandoning it again--I need to do some thinking about yarn and size and frankly I think it's too wide which is going to make it very difficult to make it long enough with only 1000 yards of worsted. so I might have to rip out both of the things I started as fronts, which is just annoying because this is the second full-rip out I'll need to do. And I went ahead and cast on my Ashburn out of the yarn I'd prepared and selected for it. We're staring with light blue, then chartreuse, then the darker blue. I only did an inch or two of work on it but it was delightfully garter stitch. Maybe this will be my travel knitting for May. I also found a pair of mitts I'd started out of my precious skein of Claudia Fingering in the most violet-violetty color ever, and I went ahead and cast on the second one from the inside of the cake because it's only a 50g ball and the color is un-replicable. so I'll get a pair of something out of it, even if they're mere wristwarmers.

I also had some quality stash time this morning, where I got to dig through everything and take a look at it (at least, the indeterminate stash. the sweater bin I didn't touch). My sock yarn feels like a hoard, to me--none of the skeins are calling me to knit them, I just feel so happy to have them. Once I get the yellow-and-gray socks done I'll have to maybe do some random selecting just to get something else on the needles. And I realized I have a lot of worsted/dk yarn that isn't getting the least amount of attention right now. Here in Casa DrAstroknot it's sock yarn 24/7. I probably need to go ahead and make some DK weight plans because I've got a lot of it still. It'd be nice to do a hat, maybe.

Spinning is mostly at a standstill, but I did pull a braid of merino-silk from stash and do a little bit of it onto two bobbins. I'll ply them up, and then chain ply the leftovers, and we'll see what I like better, 2 or 3 ply.