Latest Activity

Knitting:  Wandering the Moor shawl

Yarn:  Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. Had to unwind the pull-skein I’d made of it and ball it up because it kept getting tangled.

eBay Purchase: I think I got a bigger kick knowing that it came from a small town practically at the northernmost tip of Scotland.

Movie:  Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides (3-D).  I actually liked this more than #2 and #3 Pirates movies. My knitting companion was Wandering the Moor. Why is it I always take dark knitting projects to work on in a movie theater?

Internet Find:  London Fruit & Herb Company Green Tea & Blackcurrant.  Love this stuff!  I first bought this tea in Canada and had been meting it out carefully over 4 years until I found it available at Mark T. Wendell Tea Company.

Eating:  Gluten-free pão de queijo (pronounced something like “pow d’ kayju”) from the local Brazilian espresso/soccer-viewing joint.  I’ve been gluten-free for about 3 months now and this cheesy tapioca bread has become my guilty pleasure, and it’s “guilty” because I’m also allergic to dairy, but no where near as much as I am to wheat. Recently discovered I’m also allergic to potatoes, corn and chocolate, but I ignore those allergies for obvious reasons.  I’ll get around to trying to bake my own once I get over my funk.

Happiness: My new bright red Fermob (I think it’s pronounced sort of like, “fayr-moe”) French bistro table and chairs; even on a dark rainy day they bring me joy.

Favorite Sight: Mount Rainier from Interstate 90 floating bridge in Seattle (I wasn’t driving).

Smelling: Lilacs at the kitchen window.

Planning: A quick trip to Los Angeles for a cousin’s June wedding.

Juicy Red Melon

Despite my frequent bouts with blogger’s-block I’ve been hard at work finishing projects that have been hanging-on longer than they should.  In fact, I’ve been quite the monogamous knitter of late and it’s paying-off.  I present Red Melon using Melon Pattern from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.

Corners got a bit wonky because I had a hard time getting around the bend.

I started Red Melon at the end of March 2010, and I think I just mentally assigned to the same category as other big shawl projects, most notably Bird’s Eye Shawl (too boring and too big) and Grand Duchess (too complicated and too big), both of which remain in Hibernation Hell. By which that translated in my mind that this will get done—never, but with Jacob’s Delight done I felt like revisiting some things that have been lurking in dark corners of the house looking at me with big doleful eyes. You know, sometimes you just need a confidence-building project, and Jacob’s Delight was that.

Melon Pattern is really very enjoyable, especially for a lace project, and despite the repetition of the same two stitch patterns for so long, the rows were short enough, the stitch patterns are easy enough to memorize, and the progress fast enough that it made for a pretty good knit, when I actually gave it a chance.  The yarn is a dream—so soft.

Details
Pattern: Melon Pattern for a Shawl or Scarf from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca Wool Fingering (four skeins)
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm)
Finished Dimensions: 21” (53 cm) x 82” (2.1 m)

Many of the pictures in this post would not have been possible if it weren’t for my new photographic assistant, Joby Gorillapod Magnetic Flexible Tripod. What a wondrous thing!

Fair Isle workshop follow-up

Well, it’s been a month since I last posted. What can I say? Except that my blogging is at an all-time low. I’ve just lost the zeal for blathering on about stuff as often as I have in the past, and I guess the writer in me is all worn out. This sounds like a break-up: “It’s not you, it me.” I’m not hanging it up yet, but blogging is definitely taking a backseat these days as my knitting time continues to get further reduced and as I work with the doctor to figure out what’s up with my health issues, and of course, there are my sweet kids and their needs. Because my knitting opportunities have been cut back I have to ask myself everyday, With the time available, would I rather blog or knit? Hands down: it’s knitting. I will still blog, but it’s looking pretty spotty these days.

Hard to believe it’s been a month since I took the 2-day workshop taught by Janine Bajus, a.k.a. Feral Knitter on Bainbridge Island and I thought I’d report on my doings there, but first, some iPhone pictures around Bainbridge.

The torrential rains I’d experienced the day before gave way to a dry, mild weekend, and even some blue skies.

When I was a kid Bainbridge was a sweet little island that didn’t have a whole lot going on.  These days the old island charm has been replaced with nice restaurants, lots of big designer houses, and the old stores one might expect to find in a small community, such as the appliance store, the mercantile, and the hardware store are long gone.  In the town of Winslow (more or less “downtown” Bainbridge) the houses are tightly squeezed together for every inch of real estate and shoreline available.  So many people have moved here from other places.   Speaking of people from other places, during my visit to Bainbridge, I discovered during a trip to the market that the worst boss I’ve ever worked for now lives on the island it seems—creepy, and it makes the place suddenly less appealing to me.

Some recent additions to the marina I noticed were these curious rock sculptures, and there were a lot of them.  Not my taste and it kind of ruins the view, in my opinion.

I guess this is T-Rex giving chase.

Looking at the sculptures I realized that people have a habit of putting everything along a shoreline in just about many of the places I can think of, and I don’t know why we can’t just leave the shoreline alone.  If we’re not putting a building right on the shore, then there has to be sculpture, because heaven forbid we have nature to look at.  Of course, in this instance, nature is all but gone anyway with the marina there, but personally, I’d rather look at the boats in a marina than someone’s artwork cluttering my view.

About the workshop:  it was wonderful and I’m really happy I went. It was such a great class, I don’t think I can even give it justice here, but I’ll give it a shot.

What I had planned to be a simple workshop on Fair Isle knitting turned-out to be a therapeutic course in self-discovery about my creativity…along with a lot of wonderful guidance into the world of colorwork creation. Janine brought her bin of over 200 different colorways of Jameson Spindrift (fingering/jumper weight) for us to play with as we learned about working with colors and creating the eye-pleasing stranded colorwork that is Fair Isle. With so many colors to choose from I found it really hard to narrow down my choices and realized that when I’m given such artistic freedom, I get lost and have difficulty getting out of the starting gate.

I so loved this bin of yarn! So much fun to be had.

Janine asked us all to bring a photo as a source of inspiration and mine was a photo I took of cherry blossoms against the backdrop of the cherry tree trunk.

With that in mind, we selected yarns that represented the overall feel of the photo and made speed swatches. Here are mine.

Colors I selected.

Speed swatch.

From there we selected a Fair Isle motif from one of two of Janine’s patterns to use to put the colors in a pattern stitch swatch.  I’d show you mine, but it’s somewhere around here and I don’t know where, but if I find it, I’ll let you know.

It was a fun opportunity to just play with color, and I made many visits to the yarn bin when I decided a certain color just wasn’t working for the swatch.  What a great opportunity that was!

Will I do any stranded colorwork design? Maybe, if I can find the time. Do I feel more comfortable about using swatches? Yes, and I’ve never liked swatching before, but I now have a greater appreciation of it now that I’ve experienced firsthand how the creative process depends on it. What was the key thing I learned from the class? That I have an highly critical inner voice that hinders my creativity.

Finally, and totally unrelated, while watching scenes from Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding a few days ago, I was struck by how amazing this scene was.

I snapped it on my iPad while watching via Slingbox.  I don’t ever remember The Mall looking that spectacular for the few occasions I’ve watched on TV.  I’m not sure if it’s any different from Charles & Diana’s wedding day, but it seems to me as if the flags are bigger.  Having said that, looking online I see that those flags are always there, but somehow it just seemed so special this particular day, I had to capture the scene.  I love the contrasts of spring green against the black of the uniforms, with the splash of blue, white and red, and soft mauve of the pavement.  I wonder how this scene would swatch?