Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"responsible"

cast on the secret/test knit for a friend. It's cute, I think--as long as I choose the colors correctly. We'll see how it turns out and if I want to share pictures.

Here's a pic of the blanket I'm making for my girlfriend. it's more neon than it appears.




The last day of sweet freedom

Between finishing classes, visiting the family, and the beginning of my new teaching duties for fall, I've had a wee nubbin of time to myself. I got back Friday afternoon, gave a public lecture Friday night, and then spent some hours with a good friend at his going away party (until 2am). Saturday I had time to myself; slept in, and went to the knitting group, and tried to piece my life back together. Sunday my free time got eaten by a ridiculous headache so I spent most of it asleep, and a wee bit of it on the internets with my twin, and saw my going away friend for one last dinner and a hug. Monday and Tuesday I saw my girlfriend for the first time in seven weeks... ngh. too long. We had a great time: we hung out with her family, went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, had a fancy dinner, played Diablo III, got to snuggle--all the good stuff. Also I got to meet one of her friends who was super sweet--and also a knitter! glee! we geeked out a bit (though I was somewhat zoned out--if the TV is on it really mindcontrols me and I don't pay attention to other things).

So, today is the last of it. And it's not really a full day of freedom because I have a meeting at 1pm and then some telescope training in the evening, but I'm going to take the time to finish getting my life back together rather than spending the full 12 hours at the office. I'm going to do laundry, vacuum my bedroom, try to clean out my bags and my car, and move my stuff to my new desk, plus do some care-time with the poor abandoned kitties. and maybe try to do some cooking and grocery shopping and mailing things... eep. it's gonna be busy.

Anyway, I picked up knitting for joy and pleasure on Saturday for the first time in a long time. The Stash Dash is over, and I hit the 5km goal, totalling 5600 yards of completed work. That doesn't count how much I put into other shiny things I didn't complete (I would've added those up if I hadn't met it otherwise). I'm very pleased with the outcome--the event served as a motivator for forcing myself to work on some big projects that have been lingering on the needles for a couple of years. I've two new shawls (quite large ones, too), and a throw-blanket that I've been wanting. I also got a head start on a gift for my girlfriend, and used up quite a bit of deep stash, and worked on some socks and hats and mitts (my usual pleasures).

I think I've finally come to the conclusion that I want and need a spinning wheel. Right now I'm looking at the Ladybug and the Sidekick but I want to test more wheels out first. I've had a very fun time spinning on my spindles and making yarn--I made three beautiful skeins during the Stash Dash--but I am feeling the need for speed. and quantity. I want to make a lot of things into yarn now that my fiber stash has grown. Additionally, I'm beginning to have goals for the fiber I acquire. Not nebulous "make a skinny three-ply" and "make a skinnier two ply" and "make this one skinny and then chain ply it" goals, but really specific goals like "try to get at least 350 yards of a sock-weight yarn from this one and don't mute the colors too much because I have a shawl or pair of socks in mind for it". I think the wheel helps with the goals--not in the least because it's fast rather than dreadfully slow and requiring patience.

After Stash Dash finished I threw myself into other projects. I'm feeling a bit of ennui, though--I think I need to start something simple and gratifying that I can carry with me. The socks would be all right, but only for another 2 inches before I have to shape and do the heel; the other socks and shawls and hats are all patterned, and the simple wristwarmer mitts require free drafting of mawata silk--not exactly portable, though the color depth is stunning. And the big crochet blanket is too big to carry around and the other secret project--oh... I should get stared on that.

But I think I'll cast on a Hitchhiker scarf/shawl in some handspun instead, and watch knitting podcasts while I do laundry until my meeting.

What are you dreaming about knitting now that fall is so darn close?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Teaching is kicking my butt

My daily schedule consists of: waking up exhausted, hurrying into the office, trying to get a lecture together before 1pm, often without having remembered lunch, running short on material at about 2:40, scraping class along until 3:00 or 3:05, turning into a vegetable and scarfing down food while staring numbly at email until about 5pm, trying to grade until 9pm, frantically trying to balance grading and making a new homework with the need to prep lecture + the desire for some in class activity, and passing out at midnight.


one night this week I skipped the grading thing and just knitted. Now I'm behind 2 assignments (for only 6 students, agh, what do people with 20 students or 400 students do??) and I haven't had more than 6 hours of sleep since.

plus side: only 4 days left of class, the blanket is finished, and I"m onto the beaded bindoff of my shawl. So when I finish this, stash dash'll be met!

down side: wellllllll 5 days. Hopefully I can scrape enough time out of them to hit this point.

After I'm done teaching I imagine I'll just melt into a puddle for a few days. Hah. But on the knitting plate is:

1) a shop sample hat
2) finishing up some 3 ply spinning
3) starting the next part of the test blanket
4) starting mom's holiday gift
5) working on socks for the twin
6) secret for the other sister (hmmm...)

and a million other things I want to cast on all at once because they're shiny. *sigh*

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stash Dash 2014 update

Shipwreck is finished! I need to take a weekend to block it and get good pictures.
Lightning on Quaker Ridge is now 2/3 done.
I am working on the last square of my Mock Cornerstone blanket (Rothko blanket? that's what I think of it as...), but I will have to attach them all and then pick up to do the border.

Those are probably the only major things I'll finish for StashDash14. My class starts tomorrow and I've got a lot of work left to do. freaking out a bit. ngh. let me make a list.

1) draft the first lecture or two/edit H's lectures into mine (1st one: modern, modern way of thinking, scientific method, testability, etc; 2nd one: chinese, greek, roman, medieval way of thinking, understanding the universe)
2) come up with actual in class assignments for students to do for 1 hour out of the 2 hours.
3) figure out point distribution and intended assignments throughout class
4) finish polishing syllabus: set office hours and online-help hours, lay out the intended class work for each day/week, lay out the intended assignments and duedates
5) figure out what final project will really be??? or at least write it up so it sounds reasonable.
6) figure out first week of readings: from book, from articles, from other sources. make copies
7) panic

must absolutely do 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 today. great.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

of course of course

now that I did all that thinking and convincing, I went on Ravelry and read a lot of peoples' notes. EVERYBODY seems to have done the increase row, even when they cut a few rounds off.

I bet it helps the bindoff be nice and drapey and not tight.

of course

I've spent 2 years knitting a very large shawl. It's taken a lot of patience because it involves beading. I am not patient, and more often than not the project was stuffed in a bag and ignored. But I am determined to finish it this summer for Stash Dash, and so I have been working on it with a vengeance this past spring.

And of course, I am now ~13 rounds from the end of it, and I really, really, reallyreallyreally don't think I'm going to have enough yarn.

So, a shawl like this, a circular or pi-shawl, is created by doubling the number of stitches every time the radius doubles. Because the circumference of a circle = 2pir. The pattern, Shipwreck Shawl from Knitty, requires me to knit 12 rows, do an increase round where the number of stitches is doubled (yo, k1, essentially, all the way around), and then bind off loosely. My question is--if I trim the number of rows I do (down to say, three, because that might be all the yarn I've got), do I still need to increase before I bind off? or because I haven't hit the important radius yet, will it not matter?

Part of me says "if the number of rows has doubled (the radius), then increase. since I won't be quite doubled the number of rows, then I shouldn't increase."

The other part of me says that the radius has certainly increased a great deal since the last time I doubled the stitches, and that it's really *close* to having been doubled, so I should increase.

....
now that I type it out, though, I begin to think of it a bit more. when you do this type of shawl, there's a sort of jog or jump on the increase rows. If you spread it out in a half circle, you'll see that jog. that comes from adding a whole bunch of fabric at once to your garment/object/whatever you wanna call it. Adding those stitches *prepares* the project for the knitting that comes *after* it. It doesn't have an influence on the knitting that came before it. In that case, since I'm not prepping for anything to come after the doubled radius, but am instead just working on the stuff that came after the last doubling, still, even if I end it early--then I shouldn't increase.

and I don't think I will. thanks blog. Now I just need to figure out how many more rounds I can get through before I need to save the rest of the yarn for binding off.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Stash Dash 2014 Begins!

Not with a bang, as it were--an entire day of knitting. Quite the opposite; I don't think I got so much as a stitch done on Friday. Too busy with work (but much work progress! glee!)

Still, Saturday is my day off, so I spent the morning knitting on the Shipwreck Shawl that is my first major goal for the stash dash. I finally broke into the third ball and got started on the size 10 needles at about the same time. So I've... 20 or so rows to go. Of course there are some odd 400 stitches per row... so it's not quick going. But I am enjoying it again. The next question is, of course, whether I should endeavor to use up the whole third ball or if I should end the pattern where it tells me to end it.

We'll see how it looks when I get to the bindoff. I think I want to add beads to the bind off so I'll have to look into it.

Other than that, not much knitting has happened. I've had a few great evenings with friends that have taken up my non-work time.

Instead, I'm finishing up (nnnghaflkjakljfl) the First Paper and doing data reduction and programming and writing for the Second Paper and working on a fellowship application, wee. so, as always, work is keeping me busy.

Oh! but, a pretty yarn (or yarn-to-be) picture for ya'll. When I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool I got some crazy batts as a gift from a friend. These are Hobbledehoy Compost Batts, which are amazing and textured and crazy and beautiful. I can't wait to spin some art yarn out of these suckers. They're 2.5 ounces so I don't expect a lot of yardage but the texture and color are gonna make them POP.

I'll try to post some more MDSW pics at another time