Tuesday, 31 May 2011

FO: Juneberry Shawl

Well now. It's been quite the eventful past couple months. City life means you very infrequently get a little time to yourself, and when you do, I find myself just thrilled to be able to sit down and have a couple minutes of quiet time to myself.

So we had a weird spring where it was either cold or raining, and just when I started to get into the asparagus that was crowding the markets, it becomes unbearably hot and humid. I really had to convince myself that turning the oven on is a great, fabulous idea and I've paid good money all winter for the privilege to sit in a sauna and a steam room, so now I get it for free.


Asparagus did eventually get cooked and eaten. It was a trial though.

In my attempt to keep my stash in check, I dug up 4 skeins of Shelter. The color is "Almanac".

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I cast on for the Juneberry Shawl a couple months ago. I fell in love with the textured lace. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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The knitting of the actual body of the shawl hummed around at a nice pace. I honestly thought this would be done in two weeks. The pattern was so well-written and charted, I zipped through it with no problems at all.

Then I came to the knitted edging. It was much bigger shawl than I anticipated, and I spent a couple of weeks plugging away at the edging. It wasn't hard at all, but the pattern was complicated enough to require my full attention.

I got to the halfway point and to my dismay, I realized I was pretty much out of yarn. Not doing a gauge swatch will cause that to happen. In the end, I was about 25 yards short. Sad face.

I was about to buy a new skein when Ravelry came to my rescue. I found another knitter who had leftovers of the same color, and they were willing to send it along to me. Brilliant! I groveled quite a bit and thanked them profusely, and I promise to do the same with any leftover yarn I have from future projects.

It only took me another hour to finish it up. I blocked it on my bed, where it took up the entire bed and I had to hinge it over the edge of the mattress to get the lace to open up.





It's enormous! I love the textured lace and how it transitions from one theme to another.



I really should have gone down a needle size and ended up with a smaller shawl (and no issue of running out of yarn).


It's so dramatic and lovely.


I feel that this shawl has ceased to be an accessory. It's the main event.


Props to Jared Flood for another impeccable pattern.


The specs:

The Juneberry Triangle by Jared Flood. I used 4.5 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn and US size 9 needles. The bouncy targhee-columbia yarn blend made for great lace stitch definition.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Superstition Mountains

At the south west edge of Tonto National Forest is an area called the Superstitions. They rise up out of the desert dramatically.

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It's a gorgeous wild place.

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We went for a nice hike in a section that is part of the Lost Dutchman State Park.

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The views, of course, were spectacular.

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Monday, 23 May 2011

More Sedona

Sedona is absolutely breathtaking. You're driving along in the desert and quite suddenly the landscape changes dramatically to huge red-rock canyons.

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It's the backdrop for every Western movie you've ever seen.

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We stopped for a post-hike lunch in downtown Sedona. It was really the last place on earth I wanted to be: the main street was lined with nothing but T-shirt shops and psychics (apparently there's a lot of psychic energy and mystical spirts here). They really cashed in on the area's beauty.

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Thankfully, just a quick hike outside of town and you can ignore all that. Pretty much everywhere you went promised a spectacular view.

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We took a trip up into the mountains north into Sedona. It was such a pretty ride.

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It was actually surprisingly chilly. After being baked by 100 degree heat it was a bit of a surprise as I didn't really pack cool-weather gear. Plus, we couldn't find anything on the road to buy much heavier than a t-shirt.

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We stopped at Montezuma's Castle, a national monument. Centuries ago, native farmers build their homes up in the limestone cliffs. They mysteriously disappeared in the 14th century, but these amazing cliff-homes still exist.

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They made their way up into the layered apartments with a series of ladders. No one knows exactly why they built vertically and precariously on these cliffs, but they took advantage of the natural caves already in the limestone to expand their dwellings.

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Along with pottery and bronze-age tools, archeologist have found drop spindles on site.

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People living vertically in tiny vertiginous dwellings who spun their own yarns. It seemed a bit like home to me.

We made it to Sedona just as these gorgeous dramatic clouds rolled in:

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Wow. Just wow.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Desert Gardens

We spent an afternoon in the Botanic Gardens in Phoenix.

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There were tons of cacti, of course, but also quite a bit of wildflowers, which attracted lots of hummingbirds and butterflies. Even in the intense mid-day heat, there were all sorts of wonderful critters scurrying around.

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That's a roadrunner! He was hiding in a dense tree, chatting up some ladies nearby.

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This guy found some shade and didn't look like he was about to move.

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