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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quick Thursday update

I almost wrote "Wednesday" up there before I realized what day it was. Yesterday was a Puerto Rican holiday so unexpectedly I did not have to work. I read some papers and then spent the rest of the day playing with yarn. I plied some more lovelies and my wheel is all cleared off and ready for more fresh spinning but I'm not sure what to do next.

Knitting has caught my attention again anyway, so I pulled out the yarn I'm planning to use in my next project. I was going to do either a Stripe Study Shawl or a Celadon Shawl with this gray gradient and the glorious Madtosh Twist in Nassau. The more I think about it, the more likely I am to just take a stab at Quaker Lines using this instead, since it's a pattern I already own, but perhaps I should buy Celadon. We'll see what I feel like when the moment comes. I started hand winding the little mini skeins in the gradient kit and then I gave the madtosh twist a wash. It was already in a ball so that was probably a mistake, doing it without reskeining. I've left it in front of a fan and I hope it'll be recoverable and dry in a day or two. I also swatched for Myliu Lino which is what I'm turning my silver dk cotton into soon, but I think I should probably wash it before I measure the gauge, so it's waiting for that.

I'm deep into a slew of novels. I wanted to be a bit careful after my holiday and not lose myself for a week like I sometimes do. Before the family arrived for their vacation with me, I read a bunch of books, most notably finishing The Silent Tower, the first in one of Barbara Hambly's trilogies. Fortunately I was careful not to get into the next two otherwise I probably wouldn't have talked to the family at all while they were here! I did read The Last One, a short novel by Alexandra Oliva that my sister brought with her. It's a good read, and an interesting and human take on the end-of-the-world/epidemic sort of story; I liked it far more than I did Stephen King's the Stand, for example. But since then I've been sort of grazing through books. I re-read Chalice by Robin McKinley in an evening (it's a delight); picked up Tangled Up In Blue by Joan Vinge that I half read in late November and went through another chunk of it before putting it down again; read Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad and then started Lords and Ladies and promptly put it down to try Robin McKinley's Pegasus; then had to put that down before I got too lost in the interesting story. I finally seem to have settled on Pratchett's The Last Continent so maybe I'll finish that, but this morning I found the two other books in the Silent Tower trilogy and they are calling to me.

The problem is if I read too many books I stop paying attention to the real world and live only on whatever food I can scrounge from the fridge and don't go to work. so I have to balance things carefully.

I've made excellent progress on my current paper. All I need now is to churn through some IDL programming to get some numbers out of my data--particularly, absorption depth. this, theoretically, isn't too hard, but I have to sit down and really tune into it to get the program working because IDL has a tendency to stop running and quit if you walk away from it. Maybe I'll piece together a script to get me as far as I normally get before I get distracted, so I can run that all in one go whenever it quits and I don't have to start over from scratch. Yes, that's a good plan.

Oh and I spontaneously bought some seeds. I guess I'll take a stab at a windowbox of catnip, rosemary, and lemon balm again, though my perennial Thumb Of Doom is notorious in the plant underworld.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spinnin'

I had a lovely vacation with my family recently and then I promptly had to lock myself in a room for four days and be by myself. with cats. and yarn.

As a result, spinning happened. Lots of it.




okay. it doesn't look like a lot. but it was. I do love me some spinning


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Short n Sweet

Lots of knitting to keep me sane. Intersperse it with the calling of representatives and huddling under blankets to fight off the feelings of misery and doom.

It impresses me how quickly I can swing from All's Fine and Dandy to Wow This is the End Times.

Work proceeds, rather neatly. I continue on a paper on a SPACEOBJECT I won't name because, well, details. It's a short paper; I hope to finish it by my birthday next month.

As for knitting--the plan to start one long-awaited project a month last year was a good one, and I'm repeating it this year. Except mostly for shawls instead of socks (I am very much feeling like shawls lately). This month's pattern is Brickless (a gift from an internet friend!) out of my only skein of Hedgehog Fibres (a gift from my advisor for defending my dissertation!)

Check that out, isn't it lovely? It's quite well suite to the Martina Behm pattern as well.

I also greatly enjoyed spinning last year for the Spin the Bin 2016 sal. I'm participating again, with more devious fibery plans.


a pile of pretties! one of them got cut off on the end, though. that's six braids of Three Waters Farm and 5 balls of various other long-term fiber stash that I want to put a dent in.

Oh, and I signed up for the Three Waters Farm top of the month colorway. I've already got my first shipment but no pictures of it yet--it's really lovely. I like having surprises in the mailbox every month.

Finally, my current boss gave me a guitar that was taking up space in his office. I might try to learn. Maybe. at the very least it's fun for strumming on for a while.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

yarn destiny

Back in 2014 I got into swapping on Ravelry. In particular, I joined the Karma Yarn Swap group because I liked the prospect of claiming first and THEN offering, and because it is a really sweet group with kind friendly people.

they offer some gooooood stuff, ya'll. but the price point is in my range, too, so I didn't feel stressed about it. Swapping offered me the opportunity to do what my friend Monique calls "curating" the stash--going over it, giving it a toss, and finding the things that don't speak to me any more and getting rid of them.

In 2014 there was a lot of stash, and there was a lot of dross. Not yarn that was bad (I'd normally be of the opinion that no yarn can be bad yarn but I'm young yet and I suspect there's time to find bad yarn. I've used some really mediocre ones.) but yarn that ... was in my way. Yarn that I felt guilty about, or no love for--yarn that took up space and thought but didn't inspire me to joy.

Now don't get me wrong, love for a particular yarn usually waxes and wanes for me. I'm full of dreams when I buy it, but I rarely get to cast it on right away, and in fact there's been a bit of a long term trend going on where I don't get to cast it on for *years* after I purchase it, and affection fades, or often gets redirected towards new stash. But most yarns, when I pick them up again and give them a squeeze, they make me smile and inspire me to go rootling around on Ravelry for patterns.

But these dross yarns, these still did not speak to me. And I realized something about (most) of them--something about how I bought them. Often they were yarns that I'd gotten because they were "good enough". I'd been looking at something else at the LYS, something expensive or in insufficient quantity, and I'd decided that I couldn't really justify that big of a purchase or the price point was outrageous, and as I turned aside (or as I went to Michael's a week later), my eye caught on another yarn or the discount bin and decided "ooh, well this yarn is ALMOST the yarn I was dreaming of it, and it's much cheaper! it's good enough, let me get it."

It turns out that yarn I compromise on in this fashion isn't always what I want. It's not too surprising, because half the time when I'm contemplating buying an expensive yarn, I'm thinking about what I can make with it, not shopping for a purpose. That's the buying impulse, that says "oo, I want this pretty! what should I do with it? a cowl?" but there's no dedication behind that. occasionally the product gets made, with the impulse yarn or with the "good enough" yarn, but often enough the purpose behind the purchase is simple TO BE PURCHASING.

so, swapping was particularly fun because it helped me satisfy the "gimmee new!" urge, but also helped me get rid of a bunch of yarns I didn't want. And my habits changed (or were changing) while I was swapping--I had been a bit disgruntled about my stash, and I was more pronounced, more decisive with swapping (not right away, it took a while). After... I think 2 years, I had ended up with yarns I was happy with, that made me happy in my stash (mostly a lot of sock yarns--it turns out I have a "can always knit socks!" stash, which I don't mind at all), and most of the yarns I didn't like were gone.

but it wasn't all 100% easy, so I did end up with weird impulse claims/swaps now and again. usually I ended up swapping those away as well but a few remain, and one of those is the yarn going into this hat now.

It's 100% merino handspun pink bulky. it's lovely, and fluffy, and soft, but I've never remotely felt the urge to knit anything from it except vaguely in passing. I weaned myself off swapping earlier this year (it takes more time than I'd thought, and honestly my stash makes me pretty happy--there's little I'd want to claim that's worth giving something I love away), but I still check in now and again and like to hang out with the lovely KYS people. Anyway, I noticed one of the swap threads, someone had gotten a bit busy and was getting in a little trouble, and they offered some fiber that I'd be happy to spin, and I have 5 or 6 things I could offer up that people might like (you swap out your offer after a few days if no one claims it, to keep things fresh), so I claimed it. and I offered up this handspun, with knitting services included to sweeten the deal, and long story short it was a hit and I'm knitting a hat out of it. A hat I thought it would look good as, but that I'd never wear, and no one I know would wear--but I'm knitting it for someone anyway and you know what? it's extremely satisfying. like the yarn finally found its destiny.

I might have to rip it out tomorrow though, it might be a bit too small. We'll see how it looks once I finish the crown decreases. Meanwhile, here's what destiny looks like: