Ah, here we are… this post comes to you from Scottsdale, Arizona, where I am working poolside in the sunshine, while Joe does likewise. We made our way here from the Grand Canyon, a quick stopover between Vegas and here, and I gotta tell you, I’ve felt ridiculously lucky these last several days. Joe’s relationships have really worked out for me. I’ve managed to fit in work and (most of) the things I need to do as we go from event to event and place to place, and every day I’ve seen something amazing. I saw The Valley of Fire again (still a favourite, and the only hiking we had time to do in Vegas) and I saw Elton John live (just as amazing as you’re imagining right now.) I watched the sun set and rise during 20 glorious hours at the Grand Canyon. I walked on the top of the Bright Angel Trail that leads to the bottom, and I hiked seven kilometres around the southern rim.
I saw elk, I had lunch in Sedona, I saw cactus in the desert, and we looked longingly at San Francisco Peaks as we drove by. We took the scenic route every time we could. We’ve eaten good food, we’ve enjoyed the company of great people, and I have knit, and knit, and knit. I’ve knit in the car, at dinner, during social events, at concerts… I finished a pair of socks…
Yarn: Muststash Kama Sutra. (Well look at that. I looked it up to get you a link, and it’s actually a colourway you can order. it’s a miracle! Usually stuff’s been kicking around the stash so long that’s not a thing.) Pattern: I faked it, but Smooth Operator is really similar. Needles: 2.25mm.
They fit like a dream, and I adore them. I’m so glad that I recognized up front that I wanted these to be mine and knit them in my size. I’d be really hard pressed to give them up.
I finished my Bermuda shawl, and it’s drying in the sun right this very minute – pictures of that beauty when it’s dry – but best yet, I made my swatch for the beginning of Impending Grandson’s blanket.
I took a few of the suggestions in the comments – though I’m keeping most of the symbolism quiet until the right time. I went down a needle size after a few rows, finding the work too open – and I did my best to block it, considering how limited my resources were in the hotel room (I’ll be adding a wee container of pins to my travel kit) but I’m pretty sure I like what I’ve got now. The yarn is Juniper Moon Findley – 50/50 merino/silk, and it’s a perfect choice. I did the math for the middle part, cast on provisionally yesterday (in the car, somewhere around Flagstaff) and this afternoon when it’s quiet, I’ll get my first few rows in. It’s full speed ahead to blankieville and I’m practically giddy with excitement.*
*Thanks for being the people that I can say that to. I’m here with non-knitters, and while they’re quite lovely about it, it would be safe to say that if I told them that I was giddy with excitement about a blanket centre, I’d certainly be misunderstood as an artist.
My Favourite Articles and Links This Week This virtual tour of a French butter factory is amazing. Trust me. Yes, planning for travel can be hard work and a bit of pain. But the happiness is worth it. Self-care during a season of negativity. You know those raccoon fur pom poms that are suddenly everywhere?
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If your stash is anything like mine, you have a lot of fingering weight skeins. They are easy to buy and easy to stash, so it comes as little surprise when you eventually realize you have a whole bunch of lonely, single skeins of fingering weight and sock yarn. I recently found two skeins in
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Through a pretty amazing set of events in October, I wound up in in Las Vegas, and realized about 46 seconds later that it really wasn’t my bag. It’s very interesting, and everyone should see it once (if only to believe it) but I’m not a Vegas strip kinda gal. The flashing lights and mobs of people drive me wild, we don’t gamble, and Joe and I quickly discovered that though the strip was not built for us, the area around Las Vegas is absolutely ridiculously gorgeous and totally our bag, and we’d visit that a thousand times. That’s what I was thinking about when I found out that Joe’s trip was planned for here and yesterday I got my wish. We straggled out of our hotel and drove an hour away, and really had a good hike through Valley of Fire State Park. It’s a really amazing place, with petroglyphs and rocks all the colours of the rainbow, and we saw a big horn sheep, which got me so excited that I’m reasonably sure that the couple that we brought along with us now think that I’m a complete lunatic. We liked it even better than we did last time, and I think that’s because it wasn’t as hot as Satan’s armpit outside. It’s winter here, which is a term I feel this part of Nevada shouldn’t even be allowed to use, considering that we hiked very comfortably in jeans and tee shirts.
I even finished my cowl in the car on the way there.
Pattern: Grus Yarn: Woolfolk Far (colours are as suggested, #01, 02, 03, 04 and 05) Needle: 6mm.
I’m as in love with this project now as I was when I started, and despite wanting off the needles so I could start something else, I’m a little sad to see it go. The yarn is spectacularly elastic, soft, and entertaining, so much so that It was a pleasure to weave in all the ends, and that’s not my normal feeling about the task. It’s a shame that this thing is done just in time for it to be not needed. (Hang in there a few days though, there’s a change of venue planned – this trip has three legs.)
Today’s been a work day, Joe’s busy with his stuff, and I’ve been in the hotel room, busy with mine – but the yarn for the baby blanket arrived, and tomorrow, my petals, is swatching day – though I’m still trying to figure out what stitches I’ll swatch. Let’s think about it tomorrow.
In the meantime, we’ve just opened registration for the April Retreat at Port Ludlow. Our theme this time is “Around the world in three days” and it’s a retreat for knitters and spinners (you don’t need to be good at either.) There’s details on the retreat page, and we’d love to have you. If you wanna talk about it, you can email us at email@example.com
Original Pattern: The Choice Knitter Extraordinaire: Timea (Ravelry ID) Mods: Significantly shortened the length of the cardigan. Details and more photos are on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Never underestimate the power of a simple modification for big impact. Timea shortened the length of this pretty top-down cabled cardigan, and it makes
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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week A happiness lesson from the movie Ground Hog Day. Iceland figured out to solve the problem of teenagers drinking and doing drugs, and it’s amazing. Deep winter can often feel pretty blah- how about getting some awesome low-maintenance house plants to beautify and add serenity to your home?
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Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to tidy up. Not the house, that’s madness – I mean, I worked out a long time ago that most housework is pointless. I tidy up, someone (usually me, which is really disappointing) trashes it, and I do it again. Now that I’m a woman of mature years, I’ve largely consigned my hopes for a pristine house to the abyss. No, I’ve been trying to tidy up the knitting. The time draws near for me to start a baby blanket, and so I’m looking to get a few projects off the needles, so that not so much is lurking about. There’s a pair of socks to finish – though I’m not really fussed about that. The blanket will be tricksy, and so I’ll need something simple with me so that I can knit dark places, or places where people need to think I’m listening, and the Bermuda Shawl is pretty simple too, but I’d still like to finish it before I start the blanket. Mostly, I want this one off the needles:
It’s the Grus Cowl, Knit from Woolfolk Far (colours are as suggested, #01, 02, 03, 04 and 05 – one skein of each.) There’s not much left to go, and the next few days should be perfect for getting lots of knitting done. In what I would like noted as a serious display of Marital Goodwill, I’ve agreed to go with Joe on a work trip over the next while – and I’m having the blanket yarn meet me at our hotel – I aim to get this (and maybe the shawl and maybe the socks) done before that. Joe leaves tomorrow, but I’m staying behind for a day – Most of you will recall that Ken had a cycling accident quite some time ago, and his shoulder didn’t heal properly. He’s having it fixed tomorrow, and this family sticks together for stuff like that, so I’ll have hours tomorrow while I wait at hospital for him, and see him safely home, where Amanda will take over Ken care, and I’ll jump on a plane the next morning to join Joe. Between hospital waiting and the plane, there should be buckets of time. It’s just one of the many benefits of being a knitter. What other people might see as wait time… we see as opportunity.
Tonight I’m perusing all my stitch dictionaries (doing a little actual tidying) packing my bag, and getting together all I need for a blanket epic. 10 weeks till impending Grandson, and he deserves a blanket designed to be all his own. I like these blankets to have stories, to use stitch patterns that reflect who they are, and where they come from, to be specific to the child. Myrie’s had pines, for the camping her parents love, and waves, because they both come from islands, and Luis’ had snowflakes for his Canadian mum, and Spanish lace for his Spanish dad… and my grandson? No ideas yet. I’ve got until Saturday (or Monday, if the mail is its usually jerk to me) to come up with a plan.
I’m totally open to suggestions. The yarn is a laceweight, and I have A. Lot. There’s no way I’m running out this time.
Well, it turns out that I could indeed take knitting into the courthouse, and it turns out that I was not even the only one. I thought that I’d been so proper and good, bringing in a project on wooden circulars, and I passed through security with no trouble at all, only to settle myself in the courtroom, heave a sigh of relief, and look over to see the lady in front of me beavering away on a green sweater back (front?) with nice big, straight metal needles, not a care in the world. She made good progress too, by the time the judge came in and we had to put everything away to “give the judge our complete attention”, she had at least 10cm of rib and a chunk of garter. Me, I had this:
A goodly piece of a simple top down shawl, knit with January’s installment of the CaterpillarGreen Yarn club. (I joined two short term clubs this year – I swear I’m committed to knitting them both up as soon as they arrive. I’ve already fallen behind on the other one, so this has to get done.) I grabbed a needle I thought would work, and headed out the door. By the end of the day I had this, which is… well. It’s nothing, because it took a swift trip to the frog pond. I knew right away that the gauge wasn’t right, but I didn’t have any other knitting with me, so I just kept on going, hoping that it was going to improve. (Shocking bit of knitterly delusion, that.) It didn’t. (It never does.)
Now, somewhere, a knitter reading this just thought “Balls to that. It’s a shawl. The gauge isn’t that important. I’d have never ripped back. You’re a lunatic.” To them I say that they may have a point with the latter, but not the former. Gauge always matters. It’s not just how big something comes out – it’s got to do with the quality of the fabric, and see this?
It failed my number one test. If I put my finger beneath, and wiggle it upwards, the strands of yarn move out of the way to let my finger poke through. It’s not being able to get your finger through that’s bad though (but it ain’t good) it’s that when the fabric is mobile like that, when it’s knit loosely enough that you can move everything around, then I know that everything is going to move around in the finished piece. It won’t keep it shape, it will look bedraggled sooner. Gauge matters to how things hold up, and it matters to quality. I’m a very tidy knitter and I knit pretty evenly, but at that gauge, everyone’s work looks uneven and a little shoddy, and I’m not going to work that hard to produce something that doesn’t look as good as my work is. So, to the frogpond it went.
Luckily, I was called back for a second day, and I was just going to start over with a smaller needle, until I was cruising Ravelry and decided to copy someone else’s better idea. (jtremblay74’s to be precise. Thanks for the good thinking.)
So now I have something else. A decent start at the Bermuda Scarf (though I think it will be properly shawl-ified by the time I’m done.) Knit on a 3.5mm needle, and looking much nicer than the first.
I think it looks like water and wind and everything the yarn reminds me of, and Jury duty is over.
Original Pattern: #10 Round Yoke Tunic Knitter Extraordinaire: Alina (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: Loads! Lengthened the body from A-line tunic to a dress, changed gauge to fingering weight, machine knit the stockinette, hand knit the lace, adjusted the neckline to be a boat neck, eliminated the sleeves. Details can be found on her project page and
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