Sunday, August 19, 2007

Knitting on the Road

No, this isn't a post about the wonderful book of socks. Rather, it is about some of my knitting while traveling this summer. I didn't finish, or start, anything extraordinary. Rather, I just knit things I didn't have to concentrate on. We were on the road for three weeks exploring northern Idaho and Washington State, on our way to Seattle for the wedding celebration of my step-daughter.

In an earlier post, I showed you the not-lacey wedding shawl on the floor, being blocked. Here are two photos of the finished product.

This is daughter #2 (now 16 years old!!) modeling the shawl at the family gathering that celebrated the marriage of step-daughter #1 (now 40 years old!). You can see how sheer the shawl is. I used laceweight cotton. Never again.
And, here is the front. Pattern is the Landscape Shawl by Evelyn Clark, available through Fiber Trends.

And finally, the bride and groom, cutting the wedding cake, with the shawl draped around the bride's shoulders. I was very happy to participate in the wedding by making the shawl. And, I think that the bride truly loved the shawl. I hope she wears it frequently.

I knit a lot while in the car and on airplanes. For airplane knitting, I decided to take bamboo circular needles and not my 2.5mm circular needles on which socks-in-progress were dangling. On the way out of the door when we were leaving on vacation I grabbed three balls of variegated cotton yarn--I purchased the yarn last summer while in Barcelona, Spain, from a yarn shop owned by a knitting friend in Barcelona. She is American, her spouse is Catalan/Spanish. I didn't know what to do with the yarn at the time. But, I like bright colors. After I get home with bright yarn I question my sanity. However, I thought an airplane ride would be perfect for forcing me to make a decision.

After swatching (I tried the seafoam stitch--doesn't work well with cotton, I discovered) I decided to use the yarn for a fishnet lace scarf, from the Montego Bay Scharf pattern in Summer 2007 Interweave knits. Amy Singer wrote the pattern. It's not difficult at all. A simple four row pattern that is really a two row pattern. But, somehow I managed to get off track at the beginning. Maybe the airplane hit some turbulence. Or the man next needed to climb across me to get into the aisle. Do you see the problem??
I didn't see the problem right away. I just kept merrily knitting along. When I finally realized that my fishnet rows didn't line up in row 6 or so, I had three options:
1) rip out 12 inches of knitting to fix it
2) pretend there was not problem and that no one would ever notice
3) cut off the beginning and knit on a border.

I chose option #2. Denial. Belief that the knitting fairy could come one night and fix it. Pretend that the end of the scarf is supposed to be wonky.

So, I knitted and knitted. About 5 or six feet of knitting. Because I made a garter stitch border on the sides, at the end of the scarf I did 8 rows of garter stitch and bound off. Then, I looked at the beginning again. Option #2 was not the right option. I needed to implement Option #3. Cut it off!!!

By this time, I was in a long distance car ride and hubby was driving. Bless him.

I figured that I could use waste yarn (that I luckily had in my purse) to make a safety line. But, I couldn't seem to follow a straight line. The scarf is really on the bias. And I could not, for the life of me, seem to follow the pattern. So, after multiple false starts, I painstakingly used a needle to pick up the stitches, tugging on each stitch to find out where it led to the next stitch. Painstaking. Real painstaking. Did I mention that I was doing this in the car?

Well, it worked. I used the picked up stitches to do 8 rows of garter stitch, and then cast off! I didn't add the fringe that Amy Singer used. I decided to give this scarf to my Boulder, Co sister and she is only 5 feet 1 inch tall.

Why did I ever think that #2--denial of the problem--was ever an option? I would have been embarrassed to give the scarf to my sister, who would never have noticed the problem. But, I would have known. Why do I do this--pretend that a mistake will never be noticed, when I would notice--even if I never saw the item again in my lifetime??

Ah well, here are some photos from the road trip.
The first one is sunset over either Priest Lake or Pend d'Oreille lake in northern Idaho.

Next photo is not photoshopped! For some strange reason, there is a miniature statue of liberty at the beach in Sandpoint, Id. The sign did not explain.

We stayed one night in Leavenworth, WA. This was a dead or dying former lumber town back in the 1960's. Then, some civic minded citizens decided to save their town by turning it into a Bavarian village. They succeeded and it is now a tourist destination, complete with Bavarian style buildings all over, Bavarian dressed store clerks, and a production of Sound of Music every summer in an outdoor ampitheater near the ski hill.

Last week I attended the 40th high school graduation weekend of my small (33 graduates) girl's convent school. Here are some of us looking grey but happy!!
More of my on the road knitting later.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fabulous Sock Pal!

Do I have the best sock pal of all, or what?? Kathy of Vast Amount of Spare Time
used her sparse time to make me this delicious pair of "Rock and Weave" socks out of sumptuous Cherry Hill Supersock yarn in a color called Spanish moss.
Not only are the socks beautifully made, not only do they fit perfectly, not only are they a perfect color, but everything about them shows that Kathy read my blog carefully to determine what I like. What a woman!! I can't tell you how touched I was by her thoughtfulness. For example, she knew I lived in Spain and chose "Spanish Moss" as the colorway.
Cute of all cute things, she mailed the items in a ball winder box!!! Of course, my photo is upside down; she packed everything right side up. When I hit the turn arrow on the photo manager site, somehow the photo flipped twice and I didn't notice. Sorry, Kathy.

She also knows that I am making a blanket for my 16 year old (and now one for my 30 year old) out of leftover sock yarn. She knows even that I beg for leftover sock yarn. So, she included some of her leftover sock yarn, as well as the leftovers from the sock she made for me! What a woman!

Plus, she knows that I make a variety of knitted items for Christmas presents and put them in a basket from which family and friends can select an item. She thoughtfully added some very soft fleecy yarn that will make a great hat for Christmas 2007.

Moreover, she knows that I like Chocolate with spice in it. She noted that I liked a chocolate bar from Barcelona that had pepper in. What a blog-reader that woman is!! She sent me some made-in-Oregon chocolate bars with chili. I can't wait to try them. My 30 year old (who went to school in Eugene, OR and who lived in Portland for a while) is salivating over the bars and can't wait for me to open one.

And finally, she sent me some badger cream for cuticles. How did she know that I have hangnails and cuticle problems? Did she realize that Wisconsin is the Badger state and, thus, purchase some Badger cream for me???

Kathy, you are truly a thoughtful and caring person.

Thank you. Now, I need to read your blog more carefully. I know there was just a wedding in the family, and that you made an outstandingly fabulous shawl, and ties, and purses and more. And, I know that you lost your beloved cat. How sad, but how wonderful Tabby was in your life. We have a very beloved Cosmic, who follows the psychotic Molly (blessedly short-lived) and the most loved Pippin. Cats are such wonderful personalities and they are missed terribly when they go.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sockapalooza and deadlines

I met the deadline. Honest I did. I finished my Sockapalooza socks long before August 1. In fact, I finished them before July 3. I wrapped them up with a bar of chocolate from Barcelona, Spain, personally delivered by Betty who visited me from July 3 until July 13 and who attended Knitting Camp with me. I even wrapped them up with a little bag to hold sock knitting on my sock pal's wrist so that she can knit socks while walking. And, I included cookie cutters for making heart cookies of varying sizes. After all, don't all knitters love cookies???

But, did I take photos of all these delights and post them??? No! Why?? Well, to tell the truth, I wasn't organized enough. But, I did take photos of the socks (worn on my legs that show stubble! Ugh!!)

I made short spring, summer, early fall socks. I love the scalloped cuff made by the chevron design.
The chevron design makes the cotton/wool/nylon yarn hold a snug shape on the foot. And the terra cotta, brown, gold and peach-y colors went well, I hope, with my sock pal's home in New Mexico. I never make exact match socks with self striping yarn. I like the slight randomness given by not matching exactly. I figure if I wanted exact matching socks I would purchase them.

Oops, there's another photo of the socks. Look closely at the balls of the feet. Can you see htat I added two sections of short rows on the balls of the feet? This is to add more sock and more yarn where one needs it--on the blump of the ball of the foot where many of us wear out the socks. Adding a few more rows results in less stretch and stress on that part of the sock and no more holes!
I didn't take the chevron/lace pattern into the toe portion of the sock. I did that once on a pair of my socks and the lacy yarn overs quickly wore thin and I had to duplicate stitch the entire toe area.

My sock pal already received her socks and says they fit! Whew!! After knitting her socks, I became jealous of her receiving new cotton/wool/nylon shortie socks. I wear the shortie socks in the summer when the weather is a little cool or when going to air conditioned movie theaters and the like. So, I make myself a pair while travelling in Idaho and Washington the past three weeks. But, I wasn't yet organized to take a photo to post!
Truth be told, I haven't yet unpacked and I don't know where my camera is!!!!