My swatching last week worked out, I spent some time crunching numbers in the spreadsheet, and today I was finally ready to cast on:
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…).
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:
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…
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:
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!
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:
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:
(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.
Our tomato harvest is in full swing here, all four plants are sporting ripe tomatoes, and I’ve been enjoying being able to wander out and bring a haul like this into the kitchen whenever I like:
As I’ve mentioned before, we’re tracking our harvest as it comes in, the pickings above bumped us up quite a bit, largely thanks to the 11 oz Brandywine:
And what are we doing with our tomatoes? Eating them, of course! My new favorite thing is grilled cheese and tomatoes. We’ve been experimenting with a gluten-free diet around here, so I decided to see what happened if I simply left the bread out of our usual tomato and cheese on toast.
I sliced up a couple of tomatoes and put them on a baking sheet, then grated sharp cheddar over the top and sprinkled liberally with cracked black pepper:
Next, I popped the tray under the broiler in the oven for about 3 minutes, until the cheese began to brown and bubble:
And then, we ate it!
Also pictured, a little sauteed kale and cabbage, and a sweet potato latke. Yum.
Happy belated 4th of July, to all of you in the US (and to the rest of you, happy Friday!). I was lucky enough to snag both the 4th AND the 5th off this year, so I’m enjoying a long and lazy weekend. I’ve been puttering around with the tomato plants, wandering around town, and putting the finishing touches on a few things, namely, the thumb on my glove:
Just a few more rounds and then the finishing to go!! We’re having movie night here tonight and I’m hoping to wrap it up then so I can spend the “real” weekend getting started on a new project.
Remember how I was working on these lacy little gloves earlier in the year? And remember how one of them went missing? I still haven’t found the missing glove, so I resigned myself to knitting a third glove. Sigh.
That’s the new one there on the right. Fortunately, it seems to be coming along very quickly, maybe because I’m so desperate to get it done and have this project out of my hair. I do love the gloves, but there’s only so often I wanted to make them, you know?
Funnily, when I first got the idea for these gloves, I had a lot of Downton Abbey on the brain, and was thinking about elegant ladies gloves with little button closures. Which these are. But off the hand, they really remind me of something a little more Elizabethan. Proof, I suppose, that either I know very little about historical fashion trends, or that there really is nothing new under the sun.
This past weekend I made a small enhancement to our little patio garden:
One basil plant from Trader Joe’s. Buying a bunch of basil alone is $1.00, buying a plant is $2.99. So if we use basil on three occasions, we’ll break even! Also, it smells like basil every time I step outside now, which is surely worth something. I’ve already nipped off a few leaves and mixed them in with a big medley of bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant…even if I’m not growing much this year, I’m still enjoying the fruits of the season to the max!
Meanwhile, the tomatoes continue to ripen:
We’re up to just a little over a pound actually harvested, but I expect that number to start skyrocketing up any day now!
Unlike some crafters, I don’t maintain a very large collection of buttons. I do love buttons, but it seems that one always runs the risk of purchasing the wrong number if there isn’t a specific project in mind. And if I’m ever browsing buttons and see ones I just like because, there are usually only two or three of them left, or they cost $5 each, or both. All of which is a very long winded way of saying that whenever I buy a button, there is a specific project that they are attached to. Most recently, I purchased twelve buttons:
Naturally, I always seem to gravitate to the pricier stuff…my mother used to complain that I took the same approach to clothes shopping. These aren’t your usual wood or plastic, but “genuine leather”. Oooohlala, no?
And what is it that these dozen pieces of genuine leather will be adorning? Why, my recently completed infinity cable cardigan:
Don’t they go well together? This was one of the last pieces I wrapped up before running off to India, and it is *perfect*. As soon as the buttons are on I can sense it’s going to become my go-to cardigan for days when the fog is especially persistent.
One of the things I wrapped up last month and didn’t have a chance to post about…this new baby cardigan:
There were a few instances of ripping with this cardigan, but as is often the case, they were worth it. I am in LOVE with the finished product. So in love I’m wondering how an adult version might look. Even an adult version complete with little sunshine buttons:
For the moment though, I’m contenting myself with working up the pattern of the baby version, hopefully ready for release sometime in July…
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Glace, purchased at Yarns Etc.
Size: in theory, 12 months
Needles: US 5 for the body, 4 for the trim