Monday, March 03, 2008

Can't Compete with the Yarn Harlot!

Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, has been posting wonderful photos of her isolated Canadian snowy retreat. I can't match that for isolation, but we also have snow here in the Midwest US. Here's a shot of non-isolated country side in New Glarus Wisconsin, a town settled by the Swiss and where you can find lots of wonderful Swiss chalets. Our local knitters' guild hosted a weekend of knitting (no lessons, just fellowship and knitting) in a chalet style motel. While we knitted blissfully and fearlessly away, Mother Nature did what she does best here, she snowed!

CNN today has an article about the top 10 places to ice skate.
I beg to differ with them about places to include. Here in Wisconsin we have lots and lots of ice skating ponds--all of them natural. None of these ice sheets poured in the middle of cities and tended by Zambonies. Of course, my favorite ice skating place was the lake in front of one of my childhood homes. The surface was never smooth (unless no snow had fallen after the lake froze and you could see through the clear black ice and watch fish swim underneath!). And we had to shovel the snow ourselves. But we would ice skate while my father ice fished. I don't know that he caught anything....we usually got cold way before the fish bit!
At any rate, Madison Wisconsin has a Currier and Ives style park called Tenney Park. In the winter, the lagoon freezes and the park shelter is given plywood walls to create a warming house and skate rental concession. Oh, you can also purchase hot chocolate. I couldn't find a photo of the skaters, but this photo gives you an idea. When the ice is sufficiently frozen, the parks department sends out a pick up truck with plow and some water hoses to add a smooth surface to the ice. Skaters and hockey players skate under the arched bridges and go into the shelter for hot chocolate. Great fun!! Especially when the shelter is not open and the flood light are not on and you can skate under the stars.

In my last post, I lamented my slow knitting progress, at least as it compares to Stephanie the Yarn Harlot. (Why do I feel such competition with her?? She's younger, driven, etc., etc. Get a grip, Gail!! Chill!!) I thought that maybe I could post photos of items I completed a while ago, to make it look like I've accomplished more than I have recently.

This is the scarf daughter #1 ordered for Christmas. I made the mistake of taking her to a yarn shop and telling her to select yarn for a scarf. She selected some gorgeous nearly cobweb lace weight yarn and said she wanted a wide scarf, about 6 feet long. I used size 2 needles and doubled the yarn. That said, I also used a wrap stitch to make faster progress. Here are some photos. I finished it in mid-January. It was a Christmas present.

I separated the wrap stitches with smaller and larger segments of garter stitch. And used both double and triple wrap segments.

It has a somewhat lacy texture--my daughter said, "Don't bother with lace, I won't notice it anyway." Here, I was thinking heirloom lace, exquisite knitting....

Another reason I can't compete with Stephanie is that I tend to do more stupid things than she does. Rather than stick to my basic sock "recipe", which is the same as her "recipe", although I did NOT copy her, I thought I'd try a short row heel in these socks for my father. I used Lucy Neatby's idea that one should take 60% of the stitches of the leg of the sock. But, I used stockinette instead of garter stitch, as she does, and I achieved a heel that would fit an elephant.

I will save the photo of the finished socks for another post. That way, it will look like I've been knitting like crazy and keeping up with Ms. Y. H. Stay tuned!!


kate said...

You've brought back memories of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa! Four winters there, and the highlight was always skating on the canal from town to Dow's Lake, having beavertails and hot chocolate on the ice. My husband could skate to work mid-winter. No artificial freezing, we all had to wait and wait and wait til the ice was deemed safe. Some grooming, but some areas were rough in the less traveled sections.

I love the scarf you made. Gorgeous.

YarnThrower said...

I LOVE driving by Tenney Park in the winter when there are skaters out there. It makes me think of what must have been simpler times, Norman Rockwell, etc....

Cindy G said...

Oh, I hope you got to the bakery while you were in New Glarus.
One of the things I liked best about being out on lake ice when I was a kid was finding a spot where the ice was nearly transparent (though thick). Looking down and seeing frozen bubbles and lake weed had something magic about it.