Tuesday, September 30, 2008

30 Days Hath September

While I was documenting FOs around here, I suddenly realized that I never posted the Purple Passion Socks which I finished right before I left on vacation. So without further ado.

Purple Passion Socks
For La Violette, my sis-in-law


Begun: July 16, 2008
Completed: August 26, 2008

Yarn: Knit Picks Bare, dyed by me in a range of purples, 462 yd = 100g, 75% superwash wool/25% nylon. Used just over half the ball.
Needles: Clover Takumi 5” bamboo, 2mm

Pattern: Double Lace Ribbing from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I made the leg quite long and used Eye of Partridge heels.

Comments: This pattern is divisible by 6 so I needed to drop down to 60 sts to accommodate it. Her feet are quite narrow so they fit just fine. The Knit Picks Bare yarn is very soft and made in Peru. I have enough left for a pair for Princess Pink.

That’s a total of 12 pairs of socks this year so far. I knit 22 pairs last year but I’m pretty sure I don’t have time to do 10 more pairs before the end of December. Of course the 3 pairs of gloves I knit earlier this year and the fact that several of the socks were more complex instead of plain might explain the discrepancy. Both gloves and fancy socks obviously take more time to complete. No matter. It’s the process that counts, right?

Next I’ve been working on the Back Home Blues Socks for T-Man. I started them the day after his birthday but they are supposed to be his birthday socks for this year. I bought the Trekking XXL yarn on our vacation at the lovely little shop in Lincoln City, OR called Nestucca Bay Yarns. I’m on the legs at the moment.

There’s yet another item I forgot to post about, but I’ll save that one for later. I spent about 5 hours in the garden today and I’m pooped.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Busy Busy

The downside of coming home after such a long trip (the longest we’ve ever taken) is the catching up. There were piles of mail and newspapers, email and unread blogs, magazines and books that I bought while we were away, gardening and housework, plus family commitments to catch up on. I’m nowhere near caught up yet.

The weather promises to be sunny and unseasonably warm today so unless the grandkids show up later, I’ll be able to get some of the winterizing prep done in the garden. There’s still a few things left (tomatoes, onions, broccoli, greenhouse greens) and some that stay in all winter (parsley, leeks, Egyptian onions, purple broccoli) but the rest can come out. Then we can plant the fall rye that keeps the garden from washing away in the winter rains. I was really happy with the stones we put in the pathways. Not only did it make it much easier to get around the garden but it didn’t encourage the evil sowbugs and pillbugs to proliferate like the mulch we used to use. The stones might even help to warm the beds by radiating some residual heat from the sun. We could use a few more stones to complete the paths better but we can add them at any time in future.

I finished and blocked the Traveling Socks:

Oregon Socks
For my daughter-in-law, The White Lady


August 30, 2008
Completed: September 11, 2008

Yarn: Garnstudio’s Fabel Superwash, 75% superwash wool/25% polyamide, 205m = 50 g, 2 balls colour 522 (blues).
Needles: Clover Takumi 5” bamboo, 2mm

Pattern: Damselfly’s Standard Socks on 68 sts, leg 6” before heel flap, foot 7.75” before toe dec, to 24 sts, dog-ear reduction.

Comments: The first one of the Traveling Socks knitted on vacation while we were driving. This yarn had a very long repeat of very similar but multiple blue shades and it took me ages to figure out the sequence to make both socks the same. When I started knitting it didn’t repeat for 5”! So in one ball there’s only perhaps 3 repeats at most. Also there was a knot in one of the balls but it seemed to be pretty much in the correct spot because after re-knotting to give me longer ends (to darn in later) I was only less than half a round short. I was concerned that the knot wouldn’t continue the pattern in the correct sequence but it did. I hate knots in printed colour sequences! Sometimes they are even backwards or totally out of place and make it really difficult to match things up. The blues reminded me of all the blues of the sea and sky that we saw on the Oregon Coast.

California Socks
For Milady Daughter

Begun: September 11, 2008
Completed: September 25, 2008

Yarn: Schachenmayr’s Regia 4 fadig, 75% superwash wool/25% polyamide, 210m = 50 g, 2 balls colour 5375 (browns/navy/teal/white/pastels).
Needles: Clover Takumi 5” bamboo, 2mm

Pattern: Damselfly’s Standard Socks on 68 sts, leg 6” before heel flap, foot 7.75” before toe dec, to 28 sts, dog-ear reduction.

Comments: Another one of the Traveling Socks knitted on vacation while we were driving. I really like the colours in this yarn. It’s similar to a pair I made with greens instead of the browns. I like the way the spotted part includes more pastel colours of spots and not black and the way the plain colour sections are short so that they look more like hand-dyed yarns. I accidentally left out 2 rows at the end of the toes making them slightly more rounded. Plus I stupidly forgot to photograph them before gifting them to Milady Daughter. But this is the yarn:


You’ll just have to use your imagination. The colours remind me of the redwood forests and the rocky beaches in California.

Lastly I had a chance to block the Flower Basket Scarf:



Flower Basket Scarf
For me

Begun: September 6, 2008
Completed: September 16, 2008

Yarn: my handspun 2-ply wool laceweight, unknown breed (perhaps Shetland?), natural moorit overdyed with my madder, 566 yds = 100 g, used about 425 yds.
Needles: Addi Lace circulars, 4mm
Beads: Czech seed beads, size 6, transparent bronze AB
Crochet hook: steel 1.25mm

Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark, Interweave Knits, Fall 2004. Beads added using instructions in Knitting Lace Triangles also by Evelyn Clark, p50 edging 8C.

Comments: I knit this scarf-sized shawl while we were camping, beginning it at Salt Point State Park in California and finished the knitting ten days later at Carl Washburne State Park in Oregon. This is an easy pattern but very effective as are all of Evelyn’s shawl designs. I did not double the yarn as the pattern called for plus I used slightly smaller needles so I knit two extra repeats of the main basket lace pattern. The shawl still blocked out slightly smaller than the original at 22” deep by 54” wide. For some reason mine is as wide but not as deep but I didn’t want to force the issue with severe stretching when blocking. I really like the little 3-bead edges at the points. They were easy to do and show up nicely on both sides of the lace. This one will get lots of wearing. And I still have enough of this yarn left for something else!

In other crafty news, Milady Daughter and I used the last of the woad leaves for another dye session on Saturday. We got the light robin’s egg blue on 220 g of some of her wool fleece. We were a bit concerned that the leaves didn’t have much blue left in them when the first dip turned out very pale. But after adding more soda ash and thiox and letting it reduce for a bit longer, we got the fleece darker and more even with two more dips.

This is it for the woad this year. I’m going to leave the plants in until the spring when I’ll take out most of them, add compost and replant with new seedlings. I wisely didn’t use all of the seeds I got from Joybilee so I could have more for next year. Besides I only have just so much space to put the plants. Unless I dig up the public boulevard right next to my property! Don’t tempt me…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We're Home!

Here hot water comes out of taps, you don’t have to put coins (CA) or tokens (WA) in the machine to have a shower and you can adjust the temperature (not in all 3 states including OR) to your liking. You can get dressed in more than 2 square feet of space and even (gasp!) pee while sitting on a warm toilet seat in private! Actually we were home on Tuesday afternoon but I’ve been spending some time catching up with things around here. Still not completely there yet, but I decided this post has waited long enough. So, where to start?

We had a blast and got very relaxed, just like we planned. However we didn’t get as far south as we originally thought we would and Berkeley, CA was our turning-around point. It was getting more crowded on the roads and in the state park campgrounds the further south we went and we just decided that it wasn’t that important to get to Big Sur. Too populous besides the fact of the fires they had there this summer. No big deal. What we did see was lots of beaches, rocks, dunes, redwood forests, sunsets, twisty-windy two-lane highways, wildlife (animal and human), and some crafty shopping. We walked or rode our bikes or both every day. We even climbed a huge sand dune. The worst that happened was that it took us 3 hours in a lineup to get to the US border crossing and about 3 minutes to get through once we got to the booth. That was the first day and it was our own fault that we tried to leave town on the Saturday of a long weekend. Our impatience to be gone was quickly curbed!

Everything else worked out pretty well. We only got lost a few times, mostly on busy city freeways with confusing signs and inadequate maps, but we quickly got back on track. The weather was mostly very cooperative and we only had real rain on the third-to-last day. And even then it was only temporary. We did miss some of the coastal scenery due to fog but nowhere that we hadn’t seen before. Even the temperatures were moderate and although if we had power we used the little heater in the mornings to ward off the damp and chill, we were often too warm under our lightest sleeping bag at night. The advantage of heading south instead of north or east this time of year.

As for the shopping, I first tried a little yarn shop in Lincoln City, OR called Nestucca Bay Yarns and got a book and some sock yarn. The lady in the shop was very accommodating, especially when I needed to use the bathroom! On the return trip I went to the local Jo-Ann’s also in Lincoln City while T got the groceries. This time all I got was some WonderUnder fusible which I can probably get here but it’s really cheap there. Is it me or is Jo-Ann’s going downhill? They seemed to have much less stock and poorer quality stuff than last time.

While we were in CA camping not too far from San Rafael I went to Dharma Trading for the first time. I was a bit disappointed because the shop is mostly a regular knitting store, rather than a surface design supplier. I think I was expecting something more like Maiwa. Though they do have a whole room with clothing blanks and dyes and paints, that seemed to be rather less important. There was also a small room of dyeable and dischargeable fabrics which I definitely took advantage of. Dharma does most of their business with mail-order customers and they have a large warehouse facility in another location for that. So the retail store obviously caters more to what the local population wants which are knitting supplies. I got a couple of skeins of dyeable yarns as well as the fabric, though I might have gotten more if they were better stocked. It seemed like everything I was interested in only had one available.

A big treat was Lacis which we headed for right after we left Dharma, over a very long bridge and in and out of crazy freeway traffic. We’d been there before last time we were in CA but we were coming in the opposite direction so we were somewhat unsure of the way until we got off the freeway. Lacis is like an Aladdin’s Cave of lace treasures, some old and some new, and all the supplies to make any kind of lace or trim you can think of. I was getting tired by this point so I didn’t spend as much time as I would have preferred but still bought a few things including a bone nalbinding needle for Milady Daughter who was learning that technique. I also caught the boss, Jules Kliot, who generously allowed me to take photos of a new tape lace exhibit that hasn’t even opened yet. He’s quite a character!

BTW you can see the exhibit in slide show here.

That was all the shopping except for the inevitable Safeway in a number of places that we hit every couple of days for supplies. Until we were on our way home again when we went into Portland from the coast to go to Powell’s bookstore. We both went a little crazy in there! So easy to do with so many books in one place. Though we managed not to spend as much there as I did at Shipwreck! Silly me. I thought that I only needed a few bead supplies. That resolve only lasted until I got in there with so much to choose from.

If you’ve never been to Shipwreck I recommend that you check out the catalogue for a hint of how huge this place is. Isles and isles and more isles of beads, supplies, findings, tools and anything else you can think of that a beader would want. A whole room of books and magazines. Another whole room of stones which I wisely stayed out of. I still spent way too much there. Way. Too. Much. But, oh, it was fun!

Lastly we stopped at Weaving Works in Seattle. I was also a bit disappointed in that it also is mostly a knitting shop these days. I don’t know what I was expecting since I hadn’t been there for over 10 years but the weaving, spinning, basketry and dyeing supplies were pushed to the corners in favour of knitting yarns. In spite of myself I got more sock yarn. I figure I might as well get what I haven’t seen at home! The prices were quite high though so I didn’t go nuts. There’s tax in WA too, unlike OR.

Coming back across the border on a Tuesday afternoon was a piece o’cake. The wait was only about 4 cars and we breezed through. Though for some reason when the customs guy heard we’d been in CA he wanted to know if we’d been to Mexico. Berkeley isn’t exactly close to the Mexican border, now is it? No problem bringing our shopping across since we’d been gone 24 days.

Now I’m missing hearing the waves at night and being able to reach over and make the tea without even getting out of bed. But the weather has gotten rainy and cold so that makes me feel a bit better.

Today is T-Man’s birthday. He’s now officially older than I am – until I catch up in November. Happy Birthday, sweetie! (Yes, we are still speaking after 3+ weeks in a teeny-tiny van together.) Don't we look like we were having fun? Good thing this isn't smell-o-vision though! Our access to showers was sometimes a bit far apart for perfect hygiene.