Sunday, June 24, 2007

Leaf Lace Shawl done

I had 3 3/4 skeins of Elsebeth's Lavold's Silky Wool in green left over from the the top down raglan project. I thought I needed 7, then got 8 for good measure. Silly me wound them all up so I could not exchange them at the LYS, so I got the last one they had in the same dyelot for a total of 9, figuring it would be enough for something else. This is a Fiber Trends design by Evelyn A. Clark, the same designer as the Leaf Lace sock I made as a sample. I'm really impressed by this designer. Her instructions are the best I have found. This pattern offers size options, so I decided to go until I ran out of yarn.

I guessed on how many repeats of the leaves to do before starting the edging and I guessed wrong. I had 6 more rows to go plus binding off when it was obvious there would not be enough. Although the LYS had more, the dyelot was different and quite noticeable. I debated whether to rip out a lace repeat, but then consulted the very clear photo, noting the edging didn't have pronounced points, so I stopped and bound off with about 10 yards of yarn to spare. Looks okay to me.

This is my 1st shawl with an all over lace design rather than just a border. I'm methodically progressing in my lace knitting. Next will be an all over design in lace weight yarn.

This shawl also brought home the TRUE FACT that if it's midnight and you are sleepy, do NOT allow yourself to forge ahead and finish the row. I spent an hour and a half the next morning repairing a lace section I'd goofed up. I refused to tink the 357 stitches and stuck with it until I could "see" where the problem was.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Reclaimed yarn transformed

The triangle shawl I had been working on during last week's road and train trip is done. Of the 359 grams I reclaimed from the sleeves knit up from alpaca yarn, I had 11 grams left. I was so relieved I guessed right about the amount of yarn needed for the knitted on edging. The final blocked measurements are 78 inches wide and 41 inches deep - a perfect size.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm Baaack!!

Bob and I had a wonderful road trip from San Diego up to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado returning via Laughlin, Nevada. Our driving days were 6 to 8 hours long, so I got lots of knitting done. I finished the leaf lace sock sample for the class I'm teaching in July and made great progress on the two shawls. I'll finish at least one, if not both within the next week, depending on sewing adventures.

We started our trip by stopping overnight in Camp Verde, Arizona where we ducked into Montezuma's Castle National Monument. It was an appetizer for the way more extensive cliff dwellings up in Colorado. For dinner we ventured into a small restaurant, The Salt Cellar. Once inside, it looked like someone's basement rec room, including pool table. Amazingly, the pizza and burgers were outstanding. As a New Yorker, I must say I'm a pizza snob. I like it plain cheese and am often disappointed because the sauce and cheese blend has to be just right or it's quite noticeable. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

We stayed 3 nights in Cortez, Colorado where the temps were moderate, between 50 and 80 degrees. The hotel had a nice indoor jacuzzi and there were several restaurants within walking distance in its Old Town area. Our favorite was the Main Street Brewery with its yummy microbrews.

Mesa Verde with all its cliff dwellings was mind boggling. Estimates are that in the area's heyday, there were over 30,000 inhabitants, more than in present day. Since the Pueblo indians had no written language, no one knows why they abruptly left in the late 1200's over 200 years before Columbus 'discovered' America. As I climbed around Cliff Palace, I marveled how they scampered around the rocks in such high altitudes. I wouldn't even attempt Balcony House since access was through a 12 foot tunnel that was 18 inches wide. The visitor's center had a wooden replica like they do at airports for carry on luggage. Basically, if your butt doesn't fit here, don't even think about it. Even if it had, I couldn't handle the confined space.

The next day we drove to Durango where Bob had planned we ride an old train up to Silverton. He thought we'd take a bus for one way, so I luckily grabbed my knitting. Since he loves planning our trips, I literally ask what's on the agenda for any given day. We opted to take the train both ways, but I was mightedly surprised to learn it was a 3 1/2 hour trip EACH WAY. The scenery was stupendous, but without my knitting, I would have gone crazy!

Silverton is an old mining town with barely 500 inhabitants. Its current livelihood is totally dependent on the tourists who mostly arrive on the 3 daily trains. It's at about 9300 feet, so there was still snow on the mountains. I had packed my white sweater for the mountain chill, but then learned the train ride was sooty, so I wore 3 shirts instead.

Here's Bob taking a photo of a wooden statue wearing pretty much the same outfit he is. Notice the snow at the top of the picture.

There were rain showers on our last night in Cortez. Since it rained less than 4 inches in the past year in San Diego, I went outside to watch and was gifted with rainbows.

The last 3 days of our trip were spent in Laughlin, Nevada. With temps hitting 112 degrees, we spent most of the time indoors except for early morning jacuzzis in the outdoor pool area. The slots were not too cooperative, so I have no big winnings to report. It's good to be home, but we're looking forward to our next trip, Vegas, baby, next month.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Projects update

I've been reading everyone's blog, but have neglected updating my own. We are leaving for a week's road trip in the morning, so it's time.. Here is the top down raglan I've been playing around with since January. It's a workshop project using Barbara Walker's Top Down book. I am very pleased with it, although it's the 1st thing I've ever made that itches a bit. I have already washed it, but will wash it again and throw in some conditioner. I better, since I've been buying up all kinds of this Elsebeth Silky Wool.

This is my first crochet project, except for hats and scarves, since the 70's. It's the Short and Sweet cardigan from Deb Stoller's Happy Hooker. I wanted to use this Yarn Pirate Yarn I got as a gift, so I worked it very loosely to get the required gauge since the pattern was meant for DK or worsted weight and the Yarn Pirate wool and tencel blend is a fingering weight. I did a different front treatment and added a button. I am beyond happy with it.

I caught yet another cold last week, which just totally pissed me off since it's the 3rd or 4th this season and I rarely get more than one a year. I took to my couch coddling myself in hopes of getting better for some long standing commitments last weekend and going to my last workshop class of the semester to say goodbye to Charlie. While 'being sick' I did my 7th [yep, SEVENTH] Sitcom Chic cardigan. I needed a white sweater and since I can literally knit a lot of this with my eyes closed, it was a perfect project for my headachy, stuffy self. One week from start to finish. I tried it on with a Shapely Tank [White Lies] I made a couple of years ago and was really happy to see the colors still matched and could be worn as a twin set. Both are made from Vanilla Cotton Ease.

It was sad going to my last workshop session to say goodbye to Charlie who's moving to Missouri after teaching Knitting, Crochet and Needlepoint at the Foothills Adult Center in El Cajon since 1983. I've only been with her for 3 years and I've learned so much. Athena's been her assistant for 17 years and will be taking over. In addition to continuing with my Knitting workshop on Friday afternoons, I'm going to start with the Crochet group on Wednesday mornings.

Charlie's still getting rid of bits of her stash before moving next week. On Monday she gave me a bag with one small ball of yarn and 2 knitted sleeves from some long ago project. She said it was alpaca and mine if I wanted to reclaim it. When I ripped it all out and balled it up, I ended up with 357 grams of this yummy sport weight yarn. I immediately started the shawl Athena had as a spring workshop project that none of my yarns really wanted to become. The 1st photo was Tuesday night and the other last night. I'm bringing this shawl and another [Leaf Shawl from Fiber Trends] along on our road trip to Colorado, along with a sample sock for a class I'm teaching in July.