catch up

Well, once again, it’s been a while. I actually had taken photos for a few posts in the past couple of weeks. I was going to tell you all about how my brown Give and Receive scarf was progressing:

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And how I’d finally cast-on for my harvest sleeve:

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But, in the meantime, I finished the scarf (just have to mail it off to the recipient now):

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And the sleeve is rocketing along:

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I’ve also started a new project, Chocolate & Vegetables. If you’re interested in food, or just what I’m cooking & eating these days, come by and check it out.

I’m also coming to realize that while I still love knitting, the “designer” part of me is definitely going on hiatus for a while. I’m still designing for myself, but finding the large chunks of time necessary to multi-size patterns is getting harder and harder. I’ve also had some problems with wrist pain over the past couple of years, and so it seems prudent to back off on making myself knit like crazy to meet magazine submission deadlines, etc. And, hey, it turns out that full-time employment is a bit more demanding than graduate school. Who’d have thought? I’m finding that my creative juices are flowing a little more slowly, and I don’t want to start churning out bland designs just for the sake of it. I do still have lots of patterns I’d like to put out, so don’t think this is the end of me. Just slowing down, not bowing out.

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diversions

I still haven’t found those few quiet moments I need to get started on my Harvest sleeve. Instead, I’ve started up a scarf for a friend who’s moving to colder climes soon:

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Look familiar? It’s a slight variant on my Give and Receive scarf, though I think I may have the cables slightly out of sync relative to the pattern. Still, it’s looking nice (yarn is Knitpicks Gloss, a merino/silk blend), and as the pattern is an easy one to get the rhythm of, it’s moving along quickly too. I should be back to Harvest in no time, maybe even this weekend!

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body down!

Once I got going on Harvest again, I realized that goshdarnit, I CAN do complex colorwork on the train. The result? One completed body:

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Isn’t it pretty, all folded up like that? Next item, second sleeve, then the real beastly work (wrestling the whole thing at once as I work through the yoke) begins. I’ve got the ribbing on the sleeve done, just need to find a few quiet moments to sit down and work out the first few rows of colorwork and then I can start a new round of colors-on-the-train! I’m really excited for this cardigan, I can just taste fall coming every time I work on it.

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Are you looking forward to cooler weather? Are you knitting anything in anticipation?

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bye-bye, 4-ply

Forgive the slightly rhyming nature of the post titles this week, we went to see a little Gilbert & Sullivan last weekend (Iolanthe, if anyone cares) and it’s kind of stuck. Last night M. and I agreed that everything in life should come with a fairy chorus. Anyway….
 
Today’s post is the real finale for the Rowan 4-ply soft that I’ve been using for months now. I sewed in the last ends on my little cloche:
 
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I have a rather alarming pile of un-properly photographed FOs developing now, and unfortunately no immediate prospect of rectifying the situation. So for now, here’s a quick selfie instead:
 
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It’s cute, right? Now I just need this little heat wave we’re in to end so I can wear it!

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one sleeve, two sleeve,

hemp sleeve, not-so-blue sleeve:
 
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It is ridiculous how quickly this hemp cardigan is working up, despite the size 4 needles and the lightweight yarn. I’ve only been working on it on the train, but it still seems to zip right along.
 
Unfortunately, progress is about to get stalled because a) it turns out hemp is hard on my hands, so I need to alternate with something else, and b) I still need to figure out a few small details on the body. One of these days, I will write out a pattern completely before I cast on…but not today.

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home front revival: harvest returns

Remember in my last post I mentioned that complex projects are pretty much impossible for me to manage with a train commute? Much as I love the speed of zipping through miles of stockinette in the round, the fact is that it can also be, well, you know…boring. I need some challenge somewhere. So, for my new “home” project, I dug a WIP out of the back of the closet and decided to see about making some progress.

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Yes, it’s my Harvest cardigan, still plugging away on the body. With my current copious amounts of evening free time (*cough* *cough*), I’ll probably be lucky to get through a row each night. Still, that’s better than nothing, and it’s good to have a reminder that, oh, right, complexity is still possible.

I’m also enjoying flipping the piece inside out and looking at the backside. Aren’t I doing a neat job of things?

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greening up: hemp cardi cast on

My swatching last week worked out, I spent some time crunching numbers in the spreadsheet, and today I was finally ready to cast on:

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A sleeve, mostly stockinette in the round, reasonably mindless and thus perfect for train knitting. I’m finding that on my commute, anything that requires looking at a chart or frequently referencing numbers is impossible. Small motifs that are easy to memorize, good, anything more complicated than that, bad. It does tend to encourage more of those “zen” moments of knitting, which I guess is nice when you’re on a train that seems to manage at least one major delay per month (not that I’m counting or anything…).

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gearing up

I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but I am really wanting to knit some cardigans, sweaters, you know….clothes. Hats and gloves are great, but I’m ready for a change (at least for a little while). I’ve had a few balls of yarn out on my desk shelf as “inspiration” for the past couple of months, and I think I might finally be getting somewhere with one of them:

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This yarn is a 100% hemp fingering weight that I picked up back in 2007 (Yikes!). I’ve wanted to do something with it for a while but most of my swatches have just been very…meh. I finally decided that this yarn would be best used for something simple, clean, and unfussy. All the stripes that are currently permeating women’s fashion have gotten to me and I decided to use that as the basis for the design, using texture instead of color to create the striping pattern–as it always takes a while to knit up a piece it pays not to be *too* on-trend!

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the hemp continued to show the striping pattern after blocking. I deliberately knit my swatch at a very loose gauge and was thinking the rows of purl stitching might just collapse into nothing in particular with the application of soap and water. But nope, the hemp works perfectly, creating a fabric that somehow manages to be loose and open while also very “defined”.

Now I just need to crunch a few more numbers and I can cast on…

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The End!

I feel like I’ve been knitting with dark red Rowan 4-ply soft foreeeeever by now. I bought a bag of 15 balls back in 2006 or 7, when it was being discontinued (who doesn’t love some high quality wool at less than $4/ball?). It languished in the stash for years, but now it is finally about to be all gone! If you’ve been reading along, you already know I’ve used it to make a cardigan, three gloves, and a tam. Now I’m using up the last ball with one more hat:

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This piece is knit from the top down, and finished off with a simple lace edging, of which I have just a few more inches to go. And then that will be the end of my bag of 4-ply soft. Just in time too, I think. I still love the yarn and the color, but I can feel a little voice starting to pick up with a whine of “still? again??? ENOUGH WITH THE RED ALREADY!“. So, next project will be aimed at satisfying that nagging inner voice–no more red for the forseeable future!

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Bay Area wanderings: Rosie the Riveter National Park

Last weekend we decided to make a little excursion over to the East Bay for some outdoors gear shopping (not pictured). Because it seems a little silly to spend close to an hour driving just to buy a few jackets and some baselayers, we decided to invite some friends (less gas per person == less guilt about contribution to global warming) and make a day of it by seeing what else was in the area.

We discovered that Richmond (CA) is home to it’s very own National Park, Rosie the Riveter. This park is one of a subset that is devoted to documenting and preserving information about the homefront during World War II. Richmond was the home of a major shipyard and many of the “victory” ships used during the war were built there, often with some lady riveters, or “Rosies” contributing.

The park visitor center and museum is located in an old Ford manufacturing plant, right on the water:

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Inside, the visitor center has a series of displays about Richmond during WWII. Some of my favorites included exhibits about the daycare centers that were set up to take care of the “eight-hour orphans” (children who’s mothers were working in the shipyard), and excerpts from interviews with women who had lived and worked in Richmond at the time. There was also a very sobering exhibit about the Port Chicago munitions explosion, in which several hundred (mostly African-American) servicemen were killed.

My absolute favorite single thing about the park though, was this awesome poster:

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(please pardon my bedraggled appearance, we’d been on the go for a while at this point and it was windy out!).

Verdict? This park is definitely still in its infancy and relatively small. If you are going to be in the area though, it’s definitely worth a visit. I am a bit of a WWII history buff and I am so happy to have found out that the NPS is working to preserve our knowledge of this era.

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