Thursday, 29 July 2010

FO- Travelling Woman Shawl

I cast on for this shawl because it was another easy, fairly mindless knit. It goes on for a bit and then a simple lace pattern starts and then it's done. Messing with charts and complicated lace while on the road is not something I'm good at, since usually a wee bit of alcohol is consumed with lunch.

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I continued my A-Z stashdown challenge with yet another skein of BMFA Socks that Rock lightweight. This time the color is "Footzy Foo". It a very spingtime colorway- lots of fresh pale greens. I usually don't like to pair lace patterns with complicated hand painted yarn, but these were all similar enough greens to not be too busy (the dreaded "clown barf" effect). These small shawls are a perfect way to quickly use up a skein of sock yarn. Socks usually take me a couple weeks to make, but shawls like this will take me a week or less.

I cast on somewhere over the Atlantic while fending off a chatty Canadian gentleman, who right away took out his Iphone to show me pictures of his girlfriend who worked at Hooters. I figured pretending to sleep for the next few hours was probably my best move in this situation, so the shawl got put down for a bit.

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The shawl went to Locarno and took in the amazing Alpine air with me, and then it got a few hits of rather stale smoke-filled air.

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It always makes my mother so proud to have raised such a classy daughter.

Travelling Woman Shawl
It went for a hike with me up √úetliberg.

By the time I got home, all that was left to do was block.

Travelling Woman Shawl

Travelling Woman Shawl

Travelling Woman Shawl

The bind-off row is a bit curled up in the pictures, but another blocking should take care of it.

This is a gift for a friend Dagmar, who lives in Germany.

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She has the most amazing curly red hair and super fair skin. I think the green will look amazing on her.

The specs: The Travelling Woman shawl by Liz Abinante. I made the pattern exactly as written. I used a size 7 needles and ran out of yarn at the bind-off, so I found another skein of STR that had the same colors, snipped out anything I didn't need, and bound-off in 1 foot increments. Total pain in my ass, but it worked. Should have used size 6 needles and ended up with a slightly smaller shawl, but ah well. I used one entire skein of the STR lightweight yarn, which is 360 yards.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Zurich

I was in Zurich during the World Cup, which was kind of fun, if only too see a lot of Swiss people out partying in the squares.

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Too bad they lost. They can console themselves with their amazing scenery.


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When the weather is beautiful in Zurich, it's amazing- green and lush with the high alps looking over you. When it's dreary and gray (which seems to be unusually frequently) the city becomes leaden. I switched my camera over to B&W because I couldn't get any color saturation at all against the flat, gray sky.

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It's just so story-book pretty.

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I love any city that has swans. We don't have them in New York- just Canadian Geese. The swans are prettier.

One day when the sun threated to come out, I went for a hike up Uetliberg, the small mountain just outside downtown Zurich. You can take a train or a funicular, but I opted to hike up a steep trail. The trailhead is right near a tram stop, but as soon as you get there you're in the middle of the countryside.

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This is the cutest slug I've ever seen.

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The view from the top is stunning- it was too cloudy out to really see the Alps, but you could see their shadowy outline on the horizon.

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There were hang gliders everywhere up there! You could see them work their way back and forth along the ridge line. It looked like so much fun.

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There were also these hawks everywhere. They would just catch an updraft and float motionless.

I set out and walked along the ridge. It got countrified instantly. This is just a couple of miles outside downtown Zurich:

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but it felt a world away. It was a nice, wide footpath and you could take it for several kilometers past farms and cows and lots of dark cool forest before hiking or taking a funicular back down to a train station. How easy is that?

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These people were sitting out on their picnic table, looking over the Alps. I hate them so.

When I finally got a full-on sunshine day, I went to the beach.
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In New York, you don't swim anywhere near the city. The Hudson, the East River, LI sound, Coney Island. All these are off limits. Well, some people swim at Coney Island, but I've seen enough condoms washed up on the sand to know better. So it's completely novel and amusing to me to have a city around a body of water that is clean enough for people to swim in. Hell, it was downright enjoyable to swim there. It was cold, but having a diving board helped. You just have to go for it headfirst sometimes.

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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

FO: Lavalette shawl

I love little scarves and shawls. Working in an office that is frequently over-cooled year round makes me even more prone to collect them. They keep you just warm enough and they tend to make you look much more fabulous than you already do.



I put on a scarf and voila! Suddenly I am racing around Monaco in a pimp car with an over-tanned Cary Grant flirting with me. It's magic, I tell you.

When I was picking out projects for my travels, the Lavalette shawl jumped out at me. It's a simple stitch pattern ideal for paying attention only halfway. I paired up this yarn:

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It's 360 yards of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock lightweight in "Sunkissed Sands" colorway. Onward, my A-Z stashdown marches. I'm slowly chipping away at the stash.

The shawl made its rounds in Cathar Country up in the Pyrenees:

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and we had ourselves a nice time in the salty marshland of the Camargue in Provence:

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By the time I got home, it just needed to be bound off and blocked.

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I just kept knitting until I ran out of yarn, did a couple of plain rows and ended the whole thing.

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ahem. You would think Grace Kelly would comb her hair on the weekends. Sheesh!

Lavallette


It was super easy to the point of boredom. No counting involved and no lace charts. Great for watching the scenery go by while keeping yourself occupied.

This is going to be gifted, but I'm not saying to whom. I'm hoping it goes on some good adventures with the recipient in the future.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Making the most of it. I hope.

I'm trying to leave Chicago, but the weather is not cooperating. Lots of delays and planes aren't landing. Instead of stressing, I'm going to reminisce about nice, fun vacations that doesn't involve sitting on the airport floor watching an enormous thunderstorm roll by.

While we were hiking around Locarno, we came across these people:

From Ticino, Switzerland


This was pure class. We heard these people coming down the mountain singing at the top of their lungs well before we could see them. The one woman lost her shoe and couldn't get up, and they were laughing too hard to help. Good times.

We went to Ascona. It's a small village on the lake right next to Locarno.

From Ticino, Switzerland


From Ticino, Switzerland


More picture-perfection, lots of stairs to climb and alleys to explore. Safe, clean, non-threatening Swiss alleys.

From Ticino, Switzerland


From Ticino, Switzerland


The scenery was so amazing, it made me almost forget that you can buy nice fat Cuban cigars there.

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From Ticino, Switzerland


While meandering around, I found this:

From Ticino, Switzerland


It was an abandoned church and tower (filled with generations of pigeons)with a vineyard and a garden. It was on a steep hill that overlooked the lake. I was about to pay cash for it right then and there.

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What a great little fixer-upper.

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Well, the sun just came out, which nicely illuminated the oncoming thunderstorms. Miles of them. Simply fabulous. I feel better now.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Ticino

I have a whole arm-chair of knitwear that I've finished but I've been too busy to show off. I'm in Chicago this week (if you are ever here, check out Loopy Yarns) so I'll talk about some recent travels instead.

I started out in Zurich.

From Zurich June 2010


Zurich was so gray and dreary that I switched my camera over to take black and white photos. I couldn't get any color in my photos at all, and the constant cold drizzle was getting me down.

The Man with the Plan had the idea to outrun this depressing weather, so we took a train to the Ticino canton. Ticino is a part of Switzerland that dips down into Italy. It's in the Alps, but situated so that it gets sunny, Mediterranean weather complete with palm trees and balmy weather.

We stepped off the train in Locarno and were instantly charmed by the quaint village, steep hillsides and snowy alps.

From Ticino, Switzerland


It was clean and neat and orderly, as Switzerland tends to be, but more relaxed and friendly, as Italy is.

From Ticino, Switzerland


Instead of climbing up and down the nearby hills on a winding road they had staircases that got you there a bit quicker, passing quaint houses and taking in views of the nearby Alps. You could climb staircase to an ancient church.

From Ticino, Switzerland


From a height, you can see into Italy and far up the valley where there are (surprise!) more Alps.

From Ticino, Switzerland


From Ticino, Switzerland


Naturally, there was knitting involved.

From Ticino, Switzerland


The Travelling Woman shawl came along for some fun. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight in the Footzy Foo colorway. This is part of my A-Z stashdown challenge, a gift, and some super-easy mindless knitting.

More to come- I am in meetings and the internet is too slow to get anything done. I hope my boss finds my blog so he can be informed exactly what I'm doing right now.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

FO- Manly Wanida Socks

I knit for my man quite a bit. He doesn't seem to mind. Two keys to getting a successful garment in the end: Let him pick the pattern. Let him pick the color. You'll end up knitting a lot in navy, brown and gray but he will wear all of it.

So I was a little surprised when he chose socks that were, um, lace. But manly lace. Not grandma-doily lace, but faux cables kind of lace. The butch kind of lace. Which is nice because cables can make a sock a bit bulky and heavy, and lace will do nothing but add some air conditioning. And it's only eyelets, it's not frilly at all.

The yarn:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight. The colorway is "Obsidian". It's 100% superwash merino. I used almost the entire skein for the pair.

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It's a heavy fingering weight, which makes for fast knitting and dense, cushy socks. Comfort socks.

Here is the original pattern:



I did Cookie A's "Wanida" socks from "Sock Innovation", but modified them to be toe-up. Also, I did them two at a time. I also made the foot plain. It's hard to cram a patterned sock into a shoe, so I tend to make my foots plain, and leave the patterned part to where it can be seen on the cuff. Once I turned the heel, I started the lace charts as written. I finished these while we were on the road and I didn't have a darning needle for a stretchy sewn bind-off, so I taught myself the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off and now I don't need to do a sewn bind-off anymore.

FOs- Wanida Socks

These didn't take long at all to make- They were finished within two weeks. They will get tucked away for fall.

Ugh, excuse the crap pictures. I know I can do much better. I get super-lazy when it's sweltering out. I like to knit socks in summer since not a whole lot of wool will spill over and smother your lap with its warm wooliness. Trying to squeeze my sweaty pieds into them was a whole 'nother issue.

FO Wanida

This is part of my A-Z stashdown challenge. Never you mind that I've moved on to the letter B before I finished spinning and knitting up some Alpaca. B is for Blue Moon Fiber Arts.