Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Update

Feeling pretty lazy and busy at the same time.

It seems that everyone in Chicago is ready to take the summer off. Maybe it was the long, cold winter. Maybe it is the economy. Maybe it is the summer doldrums.

All is fine here, and I'll be back with pictures and some writing later in the week.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sangha Hats

The next round of sangha hats. At my most recent training, we added another list of folks who would like one, including several members of the staff of the retreat center. This is my new favorite. Green and pink are so good together, to wit:
The pea vines in the back garden. Before the 100 degree weather that we had this week. The flowers never made it all the way to life as peas, but they were pretty to look at, while I was waiting for the end result.
Pattern: Turn a Square
Designer: Jared Flood
Yarn: Tahki Donegal Tweed and Noro Silk Garden
Needles: size 5 for ribbing, size 7 for hat
Number of stitches cast on: 82, incr to 90 in first round of stockinette stitch
Size: closer to a woman's Medium than a Small
If I had it to Do Over: I'd cast on fewer stitches. The Tahki is heavier than the Cascade 220, plus I went up a needle size to accomodate the bulk of the yarn. The hat is okay - but I prefer a snugger fit.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Spidery Beginning

The beginning of the Spidery Tank from Interweave Knits Summer 2009.
Working on a size 34 in Maggi's Linen, a cotton-linen blend made up of three individual strands. As always, I knit so loosely that I'm using a size 5 needle for the ribbing and then going up to a size 7 for the lace. The pattern specifies working the lace with all purl stitches and notes that the stockinette part will be reverse stockinette. Is there any reason that I can't convert the lace chart to knit stitches, work the reverse stockinette as regular old plain stockinette, and then turn the whole thing inside out? I've emailed two knitters at Ravelry who've made the top, so I'm hoping for some guidance by the time that I've finished the ribbing.

And today I relearned Rule Number One of Replacing Your Driver's License: when you have knitting with you that you want to work on, there will be little to no wait. I was in and out of the Secretary of State place in ten minutes, and that's counting the seven times (I am not kidding, and H., I guess we now know where you get it from) that the photo guy retook the picture because I had blinked. Must be the new administration: the last time that I had a driver's license photo taken, I am sure that they took the picture, purposely, when you were not ready.

Still, they have the signs warning against cussing and swearing (and I am quoting) posted everywhere you look, with dire warnings that such behavior may call for ejection from the premises. And you could come up with seventeen plots for a novel just by sitting a few minutes in the molded plastic chairs from the 60s, waiting for your turn. My favorite was the quavery-voiced little old lady who came in to report that her friend had borrowed her driver's permit after she, the little old lady, had failed her driver's test, and she and the government employee had a long conversation in which they each repeated themselves several times... "and she stilll has my perrmitt" and then, "but you just need to ask for it back, it's your permit." The upshot was that the government employee assured the little old lady that all she needed to drive, even if she'd failed the test, was the permit...and I thought, oh, I hope there will be a large banner on her car that states "Driven by Someone who has Failed her Driving Test."

Monday, June 08, 2009


Nellie, love of my life. An uncanny cat, who even more than most cats, seems to know just what you need.

On a very difficult day while I was at my yoga retreat, when I very much needed solace, she came into my room, nestled down into my lap, and purred. She stayed there until I had to go down for lunch, then came back when I returned, laid down on the foot of my bed, and stayed there until I had to go back to class. I felt so much better after her visit.

Interestingly, she had not visited me prior to this very sad day nor did she return during the remaining days of the two-week retreat.

I am home now and very glad to be back. Knitting a sock out of Socks that Rock Medium Weight, working on my Moriah's Wildflower Cardigan, reading The Language of Bees, the new Mary Russell mystery by Laurie R. King, and resting.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A Workhorse of a Sweater

The sweater that I am knitting is many things. Solid. Dependable. In the lineage of Elizabeth Zimmerman. Both the pattern -- Moriah's Wildflower Cardigan from Green Mountain Spinnery -- and the yarn -- Cascade Eco Wool -- are reassuring. They speak to the things knitting is about: creating beauty from nature as well as providing a way to make beauty a vital yet practical part of our every day.

And my knitting is a new adventure as well. I'm taking on the steek. And buttonholes. Here's a closeup:
I'm knitting the size 38, which should be comfy; I'm imagining the go-to sweater for when winter returns to Chicago. Round and round I go, row by row, in a pattern that has just enough intricacy (a wildflower row every fourth row, all else is stockinette) to keep my mind engaged at the same time as it becomes quiet. Below, a better view of the wildflower detail. It's a purl 3 together, yarnover, purl the three together again, and then knit for five stitches.
And lastly, the skein of yarn alongside the knitting. Solid, again. Very, very affordable. As straight from the sheep as I've knitted with, not being a spinner, and the feel and soft gray color also make me happy. Rewound so well by someone at my yarn shop that I can pull straight from the center of the cone and know that the strand will come out easily, without snarls or knots, just spooling out at the tension that I need. Another tiny detail that is reminding me that it is the very little details that accrue into this thing that we call life.