Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summertime, when the knitting is easy

Hello, strangers! Summer has been hot here, and it has me longing for autumn, but I haven't stopped knitting!

A trip to the Pacific Northwest afforded me a chance to do some travel knitting, which is a bit different from stay-at-home knitting. I've been cranking out a sweater as much as possible, but there was no way I was going to bring that across the country.  Instead, I found myself bringing a few established projects and a few balls of yarn that lent themselves to improvisation.

Bottle cozies proved to be great travel knitting, and I managed to knit one up in just over a day. The orange one kept me company during a walking tour of Vancouver. See it in my hand? A ball of Koigu rides very nicely in one's pocket or in the water bottle pouch on a backpack.

On the ferry ride from Washington to Victoria, BC, the chill wind made me wish I had something to keep my ears warm. Temperatures were pleasant for the entire trip, but the ferry rides were a bit nippy.

 The following morning we traveled up Vancouver Island to Nanaimo to catch the ferry to the mainland. Knowing I'd want a hat, I decided to improvise a hat... and to my delight, I finished early in the ferry ride! I got a lot of use out of this hat during the remainder of the trip.

While there was the obligatory yarn shop visitation, I didn't go too crazy with yarn purchases (except the day of the SCOTUS decision's announcement). I think I even stumbled upon a men's knitting group in Seattle, but being the end of a long day of travel, my partner and I opted out of crashing their fun. It was nice to see it happening, all the same.

A couple days in Seattle afforded me the chance to dream a bit at the Dusty Strings shop. My current harp comes from there, and I'd love to get a full-sized one some day.

By the way, the lovely Google revealed that just up the block from the harp shop is a shop called Pie, where I felt it necessary to sample their wares. There is also a lovely place around the corner the other direction from the harp shop called Schilling Cider House, where hard cider is the order of the day. I really think I found my people!

 Also worth a stop is the Chihuly Gardens and Glass exhibit near the Space Needle. So much fun with a camera!

This scarf has turned out to be excellent travel knitting. The chevron stitch offers a pleasant and easy-to-work rhythm, while the delicious color changes of the handspun yarn kept it interesting and reasonably compact (as opposed to switching colors).  Stick around to see it finished...

 That didn't take long, did it?

As it turned out, I started knitting this scarf almost exactly a year before I finished it. I had only two days to spare!

The pattern is adapted from Debbie Orr's Zig and Zag Sock Yarn pram baby blanket. My biggest modification was adding the garter ridges near the ends, just to play up the texture of the handspun yarn.

Since it's been over a year, I'll remind you of of the process that led to the colors in the yarn. I spun separately and plied together two rather different braids of Finn wool, one from Dan at Gnomespun Yarns and one I picked up at Maryland Sheep and Wool labeled Dizzy Lizzie's.

While there are a few parts I am not fond of the colors, I am overall delighted by the resulting project. I managed to use close to 1000 yards of it. I can't wait to wear it in the cooler weather!

I seem to have been taking on projects that take longer to finish, or maybe I just haven't been able to accomplish as much, or maybe I am doing more activities that are not knitting (like a harp therapy internship?). Whatever the reason, I noticed I had not knit a shawl in a while, and decided to expand my wardrobe with a bit of lace. Knowing this pushes boundaries, and mostly just wanting something that would match my more subdued outfits, I broke out a lovely grey/brown skein of Wollmeise.

(Side note: this was the best pie experience of the pies I sampled during the trip. If you go to North Vancouver, you must shell out the bucks to try some.)

Evelyn Clark's Shetland Triangle is straightforward and versatile - just what I needed. During the knitting I considered giving it away, but once I got to wear it, I decided I had to keep it after all. The extra yardage in the Wollmeise skein gave me a bit of extra length, resulting in a scarf that stays on fairly well. Score.

I hope you enjoyed this show-and-tell.  If you'd like to see a little more from my trip, hop over to Girls in Sheep Clothing...and a few boys, too!