Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trials and Travels

I guess I took another unintentional break from blogging. I didn't realize that going back to a schedule of working every day would interfere so much with important things like blogging...and knitting. Well, I wasn't knitting even before I started working, so I can't blame the job for that one. Since my last update, we've had some sad news. My father-in-law passed away from cancer earlier this month. It was a very difficult time for Joe, who had to wait until finals were over before he could fly back to Chicago. By that time, his father had already slipped into a coma. I flew back to Chicago for the funeral and met my in-laws for the first time. All in all, a very difficult trip, but it was good to finally meet the family.

The day after the funeral, we took a quick whirlwind tour of Chicago where Joe hasn't lived for over 20 years. So, we were both tourists, really. I took some truly mediocre photos (hey, I was lucky Joe stopped the car long enough for me to take any pictures at all).


It was amazing to see a lake so large. I've flown into Chicago many, many times, but I've never seen the lake that close. I actually walked right up to the edge of it. Frankly, it might as well have been the ocean it was so huge.


I was truly impressed by Chicago - what a great city! I love the way the Chicago River runs through it. Gorgeous. Naturally I have no photos of the river. But take my word for it - there's something very European about it.



I believe the black skyscraper is the Sears Tower, but don't quote me. We had some trouble identifying it for sure. You think it would be simple, wouldn't you?


This is an outdoor venue where they have free concerts in the summer at lunch. I noticed that it was a city that appreciates summer weather, like a lot of cold-weather type places. People in San Diego just take it for granted, so it was nice seeing everybody outside grabbing some rays.


Like I mentioned, I've started my new job and I'll post about that later this week or over the weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Row 51 of WRS was knit this morning. There are 62 rows to each repeat, so I am nearly there... There being the end of the first repeat, not the whole thing. :-)

I have mentioned several times that I am working on my second Rhiannon sock. This is the project that rides the bus with me. It went to PA and went hiking with me, and it went to San Diego too. I haven't posted any photos of it because it is identical to the first sock. Today, though, I am posting a photo.
Just a reminder this is a cabled knee high sock. I am knitting it on size 0 needles. I expect that this will take quite awhile to finish. Since it is summer and not wool knee-high weather, I am not bothered by the time that this is taking.

I am blocking my Flower Basket Shawl today. Hopefully by the time i come home it will be dry, otherwise I am not sure how I will move it, but move it I will because my bed is serving as my blocking surface.
I hope you have a good day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lace & Stash

I have one more large vacation planned for this summer. I will be going to France in early August, for that reason I am not buying any yarn, at least not until I come back from that trip.

While I am on this yarn diet I will probably mostly be working on lace projects. This is because I seem to have accumulated a decent amount of lace weight yarn, and because I have a lace shawl on the needles that was started about 2 years ago. The Wedding Ring Shawl (WRS). 2 summers ago this was going to be my Amazing Lace project, I was going to make kick ass progress on it. I think I knit a whopping 20 rows then put it aside. Last fall I picked it up again. I was ready to whip it into submission, but it won the battle. My gossamer silk was a tangled mess, a long section somehow fell of the cone and knotted. I tried to get the knot out, but the knot got the better of me, and I broke the fine strand of silk. In despair I set the cone and the shawl aside again.
This year is going to be different, though. This year my desire to not buy yarn is going to win over the teeny tiny stitches. This year all of the socks that I have been knitting have gotten my fingers more accustomed to small needles, including size 0 needles. This year the bump in my inox join isn't going to frustrate me. This year I am not going to knit one row then set it aside for an unknown time frame (each time I set it aside I had to deal with the Inox join again). This past weekend, I knit over 10 rows of WRS. This morning I knit a row before getting ready for work. I can feel it, WRS's momentum is swinging! WRS probably won't get done this summer, but it will be worked on, that is my commitment to this project.
Among the other lace that I will be showing is my finished Flower Basket Shawl. The knitting on this is done, but it isn't blocked, so it hasn't been FO photo'ed yet. I still have plenty more of the yarn left, so it will be resurfacing in yet another shawl, probably some time relatively soon.
My Rhiannon socks are progressing. They are my commuting project so they regularly get worked on, though their progress isn't terribly exciting.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Get Away

This summer I am being quite the explorer/traveler. This past weekend I left Boston, which was experiencing relatively cool temperatures for my parent's in PA. Seeing my parents wasn't the ultimate goal though, the goal was to hike the Appalachian Trail (see the white blaze on the tree above?) from PA 309 to Delaware Water Gap (near the PA/NJ border). The planned distance was about 50 miles over 4 days. I knew that the temperature would be soaring in Boston, but I hoped that being in the Poconos and in the woods would keep the hiking temps lower.
While we were in the woods we saw tiny frogs, a bright orange newt, a furious wild bird (a turkey perhaps?), a gazillion gypsy moth caterpillars, butterflies (or maybe moths), and lots of other insects. As we hiked along the temperature began to rise. The heat grew harsher and harsher, we crossed a treeless expanse early on the second morning. To reach that expanse we had to climb about a six hundred feet ascent that was, essentially, rock climbing. The photo below was taken as I looked down at what I had just climbed up.

After 2 full days of hiking and receiving word that the temps in the area were expected to reach 96 degrees on Sunday and 98 degrees on Monday, the hike was cut short. The rescue team (aka Mom) was called in, and only 6 miles were hiked on Sunday (including the trip to the spring) before my mom, driving a convertible with the top down, arrived in Wind Gap to bring me back to their place. A total of about 37 miles was hiked over the 3 day span.

All of the above is basically meant to distract you from the fact that I haven't gotten much knitting done lately. I did finish the second Ornette, but I had basically finished that before the last post. I have been making some progress on the second knee sock, but that isn't really photo worthy. I also started a Flower Basket Shawl using the Elann Baby Lace merino that I used last summer for the Mystery Stole.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

VK Cardigan FO

After several weeks of knitting and re-knitting the VK cardigan, I finally have an FO to share. I don't think I have blogged about this project yet. I used a yarn that I've never used before - Somerset by Bristol Yarns. , which is a cotton/silk blend. I didn't have the pattern with me when I purchased the yarn, so I didn't realize that I was buying yarn in the wrong gauge. I really wanted to use it, so I had to redo the entire pattern to work with my yarn. I didn't take any notes, so when it came to repeat the instructions for the other pieces, there were some glitches. I had to reknit the left front FOUR times before I got it right. Needless to say, I was happy to finally get this one off the needles and on my back! So much so, that I took an FO photo yesterday before I cleaned up for the day:


Overall, I'm very happy with how this came out. It fit perfectly when I finished it, which considering how much I winged it is rather shocking, but being silk yarn, it stretched out rather quickly. By the end of the day, it was fairly baggy and falling off my shoulders. I really enjoyed the pattern and recommend it to anyone who likes the design. Unlike most VK patterns, it was error-free. J told me that I look unhappy in this photo, but the truth is, I wasn't. I was running late to meet my mom for lunch, so I was just rushing.

Earlier this week, I took my niece to Seaport Village, a quaint but touristy shopping area near the harbor in downtown San Diego. They have an historic carousel there that was handcarved in 1895, so I took Savannah on it for a couple of rides. Here she is waving to my mom as we pass by and there I am. The reason I'm showing this photo is the skirt I'm wearing. That's my Indigo Ripples skirt, in case anyone was curious about it. I knitted it about a year ago, and it's one of my favorite FO's. You can't see me very well in the photo since I'm mostly obscured by the horse, but you can see the skirt.


Now, I'm working on a Tahki sleeveless cardigan pattern using a stash cotton/acrylic blend yarn, and I placed an order to Knitpicks for their Comfy yarn in Fedora to make the Nantucket Jacket. I was going to use Cotton-Ease in one of their new colors, Hazelnut, but I was informed that the color is a more of a green/brown than a rich, espresso color. When it arrives, I'll do a little stash flashing.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another Skirt

My crafting time in CA was very skirt oriented. In addition to the sewn skirt that I showed off previously I mostly knit a skirt while there. I traveled to CA with my 6 skeins of Hemp for Knitting Hempton in pewter, and cast on for the Lacy Skirt with bows while K and I drove to San Luis Obispo. I managed to finish 99% of the skirt while I was there. I returned home with only a small amount of yarn left and with only the drawstring left to crochet.
I made some modifications to the pattern. The first and most significant modification was that the pattern was meant to be knit flat, I didn't see the point to that, so I knit the skirt in the round. I created faux seems on either side of the skirt though use of a purl stitch. The next mod dealt with gauge differences. The pattern called for a sport weight yarn, I used a DK weight, so I recalculated my decreases to create a fit that would work for me. I eliminated the bows and did not use a contrasting yarn for the draw string. I made my drawstring by holding to strands of Hempton together and doing a crochet chain until I ran out of yarn, my drawstring may not be as long as specified, but it is long enough to go around my waist and tie-which is all that matters.
Post vacation I have picked up Ornette again and finished the left toe, here it is:

That wraps it up for now.