Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stash Diving

My knitting group is planning a yarn swap, so I decided that this weekend would be a good time to do a thorough review of the stash.    I tend to think of myself as not having an extremely large stash, but I was forced to admit as I ferreted out all the bags, bins, boxes and canisters that it may be threatening to get a little out of hand.

That's the lot of it- less one box which turned up a bit later.    I was forced to exercise a great deal of willpower as I went, because at every turn I was reminded of projects that I wanted to do and wanted to stop then and there to cast on.   Particularly as I went through the rather surprising amount of yarn that I have in sweater quantities.  Clearly I have to devote some more time to sweaters, as the current rate of one or two a year is not moving this very quickly.  This is the wools and acrylics for warm winter knits.

 And this is the cotton, linen and lightweight coned yarn for summer tops and other projects.

Naturally, I was not obliged to tackle this chore solo.  Cookie was unwilling to interrupt his regularly scheduled naptime to assist, but Biscuit proved more than willing.   He helped to sort yarn:

And he was especially keen on frogging a couple of WIPs that came along with gift yarn.  (Don't let the sleepy look fool you.  He was quite ready to bite that ribbing if it were to try anything.)

At the end of it, I had selected a large bag of yarn to go away.   The remaining yarn was sorted by weight and fiber content and moved into useful containers.  Here we have sport weight acrylic, sock yarn, and the wool bucket.   Various random cones were moved into the cone-and-lightweight bin.  I'm quite low on worsted, so that's in a smaller canister that isn't in the photo.

And then as it turned out, the yarn swap was postponed.   Any guesses?

If your guess was "yet more snow", you win the prize.   Fortunately the knitting group still met, so I was able to pass off the yarn I'd selected to someone who will be there on the rescheduled date. And really?  I think I can manage without it. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Shake It Up

So, it occurred to me that I had gotten into a bit of a knitting rut- plain sweater, plain socks, plain mittens.  And what I really needed to get my interest back up was to do some new things.  So- I cast on the Herringbone Rib Socks, which I had tried to knit once before.   The last time, I was traveling, and after knitting and unknitting the first few rows a few dozen times, I said, "Definitely not travel knitting!" and went on to something else.   This time I cast them on at home.  And after the third time I knit and unknit the first two rows, I got smart and went to see what other people had to say about the pattern on Ravelry.    The gist was- the socks work up slowly but the result is worth it.  And.  Around six hundred other knitters had made the socks. 

Well, that stung my pride.  If 600 other knitters can do it, it can't be that hard.  So I put markers in between the pattern repeats, and kept careful count and after I got an inch or so of the pattern on the needles I started to be able to read the pattern and could lose the markers.  And I really do like it.

It does knit slowly, because there's a lot of passing stitches back and forth, but it's a pattern that works very well with variegated yarns and breaks up pooling.   I'm knitting it in a skein of beautiful yarn my sister gave me from Deep Water Dye Works, the colorway is Black Prince.  Definitely not your plain vanilla socks.

But clearly that wasn't enough.  More is better.  So I also cast on for the Wasabi Hat, out of the one remaining skein of lambswool left from my mother-in-law's tulip scarf.  I asked her if she might like a hat to match the scarf and she said yes, very much and so, lace:

I'm really liking this pattern.  The emerging pattern holds my interest and I think the hat will be gorgeous.

And as if that weren't enough, a friend passed on to me a box full of yarn that had been her mother's.    Biscuit was fascinated.  Actually both cats had to sniff the box thoroughly, since it was both new and came from another house with cats.  But Biscuit wanted to get his little paws on the fiber.

And what the box actually had in it was a lot of coned yarn, cotton, linen, some acrylic and several skeins of a lovely fine alpaca.  Definitely I'm going to have a lot of fun with this.

Now, you might be wondering about the big snowstorm that was all over the news last week.  Well.  It was kind of a big deal along the coast due to storm surges and power outages.  But here?
"Snow?  Forget that.  What about dinner?"
We did get a couple of feet of snow.   We did do a lot of shoveling.  We especially did a lot of cursing the city, who appears to have suddenly got religion (or perhaps a budget) for plowing.  They have a perfect genius for waiting until we shovel out a plow curl- we'd be inside taking off our boots and they'd plow another three feet of snow into the driveway.   But the most notable thing about it was not so much the snow and wind, but the frenzy in the media and in the stores. 
The bread aisle of the grocery store, the day before the storm.


As it was, we never lost power, we just got a lot of snow.  Gave the place a properly wintry look, we thought.  And made the idea of cuddling up in a pile of yarn exceedingly appealing.  Which is largely what I did today, having the day off for President's Day.

And tomorrow is back to work, and whatever time I can snatch for my exciting new projects.  And then there's the lace socks,  I haven't even mentioned them yet.  Later!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Back on the Wagon

I'm currently entertaining the hypothesis that I get more knitting done when I'm away from home.   Certainly this past weekend supports that.  I spent the whole weekend away; traveling as a passenger in the car, visiting, socializing and listening to music.  All eminently knit-friendly activities.  Evidence in point:

1.  Cable-cuff mitts- done.

2.  Socks- done.   This is more of the Lang Jawol yarn.  Very nice.  I like the patterns.  (Note that I cast on the toe of the second sock on Friday night and was halfway through the cast off of the cuff when we pulled back in on Sunday.   Not the fastest ever, but pretty expeditious.)

3.  Alpaca sweater- not done, but after visualizing the design for several days,  I reluctantly concluded that I really didn't like the transition between the two colors at the ribbing.   The colors aren't close enough to blend, and they don't have enough contrast to make a good design element.   So I ripped the rest of the ribbing and cast on again in the lighter color.  I'm still going to have to deal with a transition, of course, but I have a plan for that.  
"Mmm, alpaca!"
 As you can see in the photo above, Biscuit is still all about helping me with whatever I'm doing.

 Cookie, on the other hand, has discovered bird videos.   They don't actually distract him from eating, probably because they stimulate his appetite.   It's funny to watch because he paws at the screen, and then goes around to the back to try and figure out where the birds are.    It's clearly not as interesting as real birds, but it's got a certain something. 
"Hey!  There's birds in there!"
"Are they back here?"
"Well, how about here?"
Needless to say, he was a bit miffed with us being away all weekend.  No thumbs (crucial to the opening of cat food cans), no cat toys, no bird videos.  Life is so harsh.  (The part where one of our friends stopped by, topped off the food and played with them he somehow forgot to mention.)

And now it's time for some hot cider, yarn, and Midsomer Murders on video.  Pretty much the perfect trio for a winter evening.