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A Slow Sleeve

This week has been a family week for me, with a long overdue trip to DC with my second son. I really enjoyed the old photos of Presidents' wives knitting in the early 1900s at the Newseum. And all of the beautiful views in the city.

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Not much knitting happened although I did get far enough along with the Two Track sweater to experience it's interesting construction, adding in the front left and front back simultaneously with an exposed side seam and knitting the ribbed lower edge of the sleeve.

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The directions were confusing to me so I followed them literally and it seemed to work out. I've started the second sleeve so I can repeat the process for the right side before I forget how I did it the first time.

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After this, it's just me and miles of stockinette for a long time so this should be a great counterpoint to my fairisle sweater.

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Vacation Knitting — A Wrap Up

Knitting on vacation is a joy.  And an agony, when you don't have the right tools.  Midway into our trek through Glacier National Park, with nary a yarn store in sight, I realized that the 6" DPNs I have brought along to knit Vitsippa, my fairisle hat, on, were going to be too short to accommodate all the stitches once I finished up the ribbing and added additional stitches called for in the pattern to begin the stranded portion of the hat.

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So here I am, rather unattractively sweating and knitting away, trying to recover from the hike up the Highline Trail, whilst coming to the sad realization I'm going to have to put Vitsippa away until our return to civilization.  The view was compensation (and if you've read my earlier post, the knitting really liked the view too).

Next, I pulled out my Oak Park, renamed Glacier Park in honor of the trip.  Oak Park is a triangular shawl, knit in a devious pattern that is constantly shifting.  I had been looking for a pattern for my three skeins of The Plucky Knitter's Cachet (aran weight cashmere) in Slumber, my most prized yarn, for a really long time and was so happy when a friend suggested this pattern.  I was one repeat in when we emerged from hiking the Swift Current Trail in Many Glacier and made our way on up to the Prince of Wales Lodge on the Canadian side of the park, only to discover that they served a very nice tea.

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I knit away on Oak Park/Glacier Park for the rest of our hiking time, and ended up just shy of three repeats in at the end.  It's an absolutely lovely pattern and precisely what this yarn wanted to become.  I'm going to be so happy with it as soon as it isn't 90` that feels like 100` degrees with the humidity in Alabama.  (Let me digress and say it was 40` when we flew out of Kalispell, Montana, and I really wish I was still there!)

Amazingly, there was a yarn store when we made it to Whitefish, Montana, our last stop.  And, a day of rain that was perfect for exploring town, eating some delicious crepes, watching the huge logging trucks roll in filled with freshly cut timber, and stoping by the local yarn store, Knit 'n Needle where the lovely proprietress encouraged me to pick out a circular rather than longer DPNs. I fell in love with the store yarn, Polka Dot Sheep, and engaged in a little stash addition.  And we discovered that the fabulous Huckleberries we had been picking and eating along the trails were used for all sort of pastries in town.  What a wonderful place to end our trip!

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Armed with my new 16" circular needle, I returned to Vitsippa on the flight home.  After picking up a few stitches that had dropped off the overloaded DPNs, I was back in business. Sorry about the bad airplane lighting on the picture, but I'm so excited about the colorwork on this one that I can't wait to share it.  That's The Plucky Knitter's Oxford in Waxing Poetic (the gold) and Bedrock (the gray).  I love knitting fairisle and am really enjoying this one!

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Truth be told, I love my day job and our life in Birmingham, but there is a little part of me that would love to remain under Montana's Big Sky, knitting and hiking.  It was a wonderful vacation and it reminded me of decades ago trips with my grandparents, which not too surprisingly, featured hiking and knitting, along with some fishing.  It's fun to come full circle like that.

I can't end this post without a few trip pictures.  First off, this lousy camera phone picture of a BEAR who was swimming casually across a LAKE about 40 feet away from us as we drove to the trailhead to hike Bertha Lake in Canada.  It was a moment — we could see him skimming through the water, magnificent and large.

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Hiking in the alpine meadows was spectacularly beautiful.

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And being able to see the waterfalls and lakes, as well as the animals and flowers, made it worth several of the more challenging, steep portions of the trails.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, knitting and all!

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My Life: The Edge of Chaos

It's been a busy few weeks here.  Work has been crazy.  Family has been crazy.  Life has been crazy.  All in a very good way, but still, CRAZY TOWN.  So it only seemed appropriate when I got on the elevator for a meeting I was scheduled to attend late last week, and the floor where I was headed had been renamed.

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That more or less summs up how my days have been going.  So, with huge apologies for not blogging and doing a horrible job of staying in touch with all of my favorite knitters the past couple of weeks, I'm back.  Back with my %$#@& KAL sock.  I love this sock.  Love the pattern.  Love the way the colors are laying down.  It practically knit itself with all of the flying I've been doing.

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Is there some trauma associated with the Kitchener stitch and late nights?  If there isn't, I must be cursed.  I love knitting top down socks, and a big part of the reason is that I enjoy Kitchener stitch.  It's like magic — you weave a little and the toes line up perfectly.  There was no magic with this sock.  It looked awful when I finished.  I ripped it out, and you'll never guess, but that bad 1:00 am lighting in my living room combined with tiny size one needle stitches was really not a thing.  I sort of got them back on the needles.  I tried it again while driving (I was the passenger, not the driver — I'm not that close to the edge) on an overcast day with bad lighting, and it came out even worse.  And ripping it out made me sad because, as you all know, sometimes, you're loose track of where you are when all those tiny size one stitches pop right off the needles as you go over a bump.

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My stitches are on, but not in the right order or on the right needles.  It's going to take some sorting out to figure when I am, so I'm going to gently and lovingly place this sock in time out, and cast on for its mate.  I'm pretty sure my Kitchener mojo will come back, but it's going to require a serious combination of all of my favorite comfort foods — and some bright lighting.

While I was out of town and away from the blog, some really exciting things happened.

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I visited my College, which I hadn't done in over a decade, and found out that all of the things I loved about it were still there, but even better.  Sometimes, you actually can go back.  Even better, on the return drive to the airport, I discovered a B&B/Alpaca Farm.  I was concerned about being the crazy lady who stopped on the middle of the road to take pictures of the Alpacas, so you just get this one sneak peek, but it's definitely on my shortlist.  The online reviews say to make sure you visit with Brutus, who is a very friendly Alpaca. Oh my heavens!

The sense that I was living in a surreal fantasy world where all of my dreams came true continued when I got home and realized that for my husband's birthday, I could order his favorite cake.  It's a day long adventure to make it, so I was delighted to reduce it to a 15 minute pick up detail.  Although we had friends over, there were leftovers.  The cat with the cake is Bob.  I was definitely much more restrained and lady like than that.

And finally, the square of concrete is my long awaited fire pit.  We have a small, urban yard with a strong down hill slant, but as we've lived through our six months of hell deck reconstruction and landscaping, I've persistently insisted that we include a fire pit in the project.  In anticipation, I dragged kids out to World Market, and snagged some fabulous outdoor chairs on sale last weekend.  As soon as the pit is dry, I'm christening it with S'mores.  But, I'll make sure I leave my socks and needles behind.  Because It's been that kind of month!

 

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Knitting Catch Up

With apologies — my long lovely weekend with this child

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kept me from blogging.  But, not knitting.  In addition to reporting that she thoroughly enjoyed visiting Georgetown and had a great time auditioning at the Washington Ballet, I have some knitting progress to share.

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One thing I have come to accept about myself is that although I can pack a week's worth of clothing in a carry on bag, my "personal item" — the second carry on airlines allow — is exclusively devoted to knitting.  For this four day trip, I had four projects along with me.

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Top to bottom you can see my newly cast on Tipperary Shawl, the French Laundry colorway  portion of my Sugarloaf Cowl peeking out, a wee bit of my Vodka Lemonade sweater in the bag with the green zipper, and Olivia, which grew a lot on this trip.

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I'm indulging my inner geek here, and sharing my Da Vinci drawing style Dr. Who meets the Daleks project bag, which is Olivia's home.  

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My big knitting news is finally finishing the fisherman's rib portion of Olivia, and moving on to the short rows.  For some reason, short rows and I have never been friends before, but we are getting along famously this time.

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There was, however, the predictable knitting disaster without which no trip would be complete.  Forgive the late night/hotel room/bad lighting photo, but it portrays the exact moment at which my lurking suspicion that the game of yarn chicken I was playing with my third skein of Plucky Primo Aran was going to end badly.  See the little bit of yarn that trails across the right front side of Olivia?  That would be the 12" of yarn left from my last skein.  And, at this point, I still have 50 short rows left before I get to the lengthy cast off row.

This was the first project I cast on with Plucky yarn, and I didn't stop to realize that the yardage for the pattern yarn, Plucky Traveler Aran, is different than the yardage for the Primo Aran that I substituted. Several other knitters noted the need to shorten the rib when knitting in Primo to conserve yarn for the garter portion of the pattern, but apparently oblivious, this girl knit a fulsome seven inches of rib and then came up short on the garter.

Thankfully, a kind knitter has already put one of her precious skeins in the mail to me.  I'm hoping for a good match and a bit of time this weekend, as I'm ready to wrap Olivia's squishy goodness around my neck. Love, love, love this pattern.

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Iceland, The End of Malabrigo March, And, Of Course, Knitting

This is where I spent the last week of March.

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Iceland was beautiful and our time there was everything we hoped it would be.  I will surely have more to say about that later, but in the meantime, if you are thinking about traveling there, do.

Iceland was a good place to knit because it was cold but not frigid. Average temperatures were in the 30's unless you got into wind chill.  So I finished off Malabrigo March with two hats you've seen in progress before.

This is Lutz Jump, one of the Salchow Trio of Hat patterns.

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And this is Fuego.  I had a hard time getting a photo of this colorway, Fuschia, that didn't bounce light back in an overbright way, but in reality this hat is just the perfect very intense pink color.  I may go ahead and add a pom pom to it now that we're back home, because it is begging to be just a bit silly.

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I also finished another square for the infernal Barn Raising Quilt that I will be working on for  the rest of my natural life awhile longer.

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I finished Fuego while we were out hiking between waterfalls and driving back to visit the Alafoss Yarn Store on the outskirts of Reyjkavik, which seemed particularly appropriate.  Who says you can't knit while wearing four layers of clothing, which is what I resored to that day for both the chill and the wet.

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I was amused when I saw the photo my daughter snapped of me knitting between waterfalls to notice I was wearing my Douglas Fir Hat and my Simple Cowl (this was one of the colder days), while knitting Fuego.  A perfect ending to Malabrigo March.