On the Road Again

outdoorblogging

Today I write to you from my parents’ deck in New Jersey. I am in the middle of a two-week vacation to the east coast, visiting family and friends. It rained for basically the entire first week I was here; this is the first really nice day we’ve had so far!

On Friday I went to New York for one of my trademark over-booked whirlwind visits — but before meeting up with anyone, I steered myself directly to Purl Soho. It was smaller than I expected, given their large web presence, but it was stacked floor-to-ceiling with yarn and populated by friendly, helpful employees. They seem to have much much more in stock than they are able to display; I was looking for Addi Lace needles to help me with the crazy 3-into-9-star stitches that my Laminaria shawl requires, and they didn’t have any at all displayed. But when I asked, they seemed to have them in all sizes & lengths hidden away in their basement. Score. Here is what I picked up:

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Two skeins of Koigu KPM in a lovely orange-red that I was planning on making into socks until about three seconds ago, when I looked at that picture and realized that they may be exactly what one of my friends is looking for in a scarf. Matt, if you’re reading, note that they do look a little more orange and less red here than they do in real life. I’ll take some more pictures in different lighting and send them along!

juniperyarn

All right, I may have been a tiny bit influenced in my purchase of this yarn by the fact that it is apparently named after me. This is Alchemy Yarns’ Juniper, in the “Good Earth” colorway. It’s a machine-washable fingering weight yarn, which makes it ideal for socks, but I went and bought 3x as much as I would need for socks because I liked the colors so much. I have crazy ideas about making these into some kind of long-sleeved shrug. I want to make it from the top down because I have no idea how far this yarn will go, but I’m having trouble finding top-down shrug patterns written for fingering-weight yarn. I may adapt something written for a worsted, or try to figure out a way to add long sleeves to CanarySanctuary’s Hew pattern (Rav link). What I have sworn to NOT do is knit another Whisper Cardigan. If all else fails, maybe I’ll make these into a shawl. But by all means, if you know of a pattern that would work here, please let me know!

Later that evening, I was walking in the vicinity of Union Square with a friend when we came across this:

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Guerilla knitting! Here’s the explanatory sign:

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Apparently, this was in connection with a knitting-meets-science exhibit at the gallery inside, called Knit Theory — here is the website. The interior exhibit closed in May, otherwise I would have been sad to have missed it! However, no amount of googling has revealed to me how, exactly, this benefits Nepal.

The following day, I attended Figment, a large participatory-art festival out on Governor’s Island. The friend who was supposed to go with me had to cancel at the last minute, so I decided I needed something to do out there that would give me the opportunity to interact with people. I decided that I could write poems for people, but I needed a sign to advertise my wares. As I walked to the subway, I considered my options: should I dumpster-dive for cardboard? Should I pull a poster off a wall and write on the back? And where would I get a marker? I know the general layout of the city pretty well, but I don’t know where to find specific, everyday things like these. As I was contemplating these questions, I came across a street fair. Among the usual stands of people selling knick-knacks and pirated DVDs and jewelry, I discovered a stand where an 8-year-old boy was selling cardboard signs that he had clearly made himself, saying things like “Go Jets” and “Love God.” Bingo. I asked him if he could make me a custom sign, and he said yes. In about 10 minutes, he produced this masterpiece, for which I paid him five dollars:

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The whole incident left me pretty amazed at New York’s ability to give me exactly what I want. That’s me on Governor’s Island; note the man rocking back and forth on the human wibble-wobble in the background. The writing-poems thing went pretty darn well; I estimate that I wrote between 20 and 30 over the course of the afternoon, using a method whereby I’d have each person who requested one give me two words and I would write a poem using those words. I also ran into about a million people I knew, from the Burning Man community and elsewhere. Here is some other cool stuff from the festival:

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A dragon made out of chairs.

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A man made out of scrap metal.

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A room in a gallery where participants were encouraged to paint on the walls.

That’s all for now! The Laminaria is going swimmingly, and I’m optimistic about being done in time for that wedding in July. More pictures to come!

Whisper

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My Whisper Cardigan is finished and blocked and I love it! The yarn is Malabrigo Lace in Azul Profundo, and it was perfect for this project. It created a lovely, light, floaty, soft fabric, and the color is fantastic. And at $9 a skein, a project like this that takes about 1.5 skeins is a real bargain.

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I did not, however, love knitting this. Even with Hannah Fettig’s ingenious no-front construction, it seemed to take forever. Miles of stockinette in laceweight yarn will do that to you. As you can see, I added a minorly-ruffly garter stitch cuff to the sleeves to both make them a little longer and to prevent rolling.

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But even though it was a little boring to make, I’m very glad I did! This will match nearly everything in my wardrobe, and it will be great for chilly-but-not-quite-actually-cold southern california evenings. I was so eager to wear it that I took it out for a spin on Memorial Day before it was blocked, and it was that experience with the intense rolling of the bottom and sleeves that motivated me to pick up and knit that garter cuff. I also blocked the whole sweater pretty aggressively, to prevent the bottom from rolling — but I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts doing just that after a little while. I couldn’t bring myself to do a garter border on the bottom, because the idea of picking up the 160 or so stitches was too depressing.

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I also knitted the back about two inches longer than the pattern recommended, because I have a very long torso. I love it! (This pattern has been taking Ravelry by storm, but in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s in the spring 2009 issue of Interweave Knits.)

Now that this is done, I have dropped all my other knitting projects — including that geometric shawl that I was almost done with — in order to try to knit that silver-gray Laminaria that has been haunting my dreams since February. I suddenly decided that I wanted to do it nownownow because I want to try to get it done in time for a wedding in July. Here it is, so far:

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It looks a touch more lavender here than it is in real life, but I was pretty happy with how this picture came out. I’ve spent the past several months on a quest for a perfect light gray for this project, and I finally found it in Fleece Artist Suri Blue in the silver colorway. (Knitty Noddy was a great shop to order from, by the way — I got my yarn very quickly & the service was friendly!) So this is what I will be taking with me back to New Jersey, where I will be going to visit family and friends starting this evening. I suppose I’ll also bring along those Flaming Socks of Doom, in case a miracle occurs and I finish this in the next two weeks.

I also have for you a lovely shot of my Cairn hat in action. You may recall that I knit this for a friend who lost her boyfriend’s favorite hat, but previously I only had shots of me wearing it. Here it is on the intended recipient:

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I’m very pleased by how well it suits him!

U(nseasonal) FO

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I finished this hat weeks and weeks ago, but it wasn’t particularly in season then, either. In fact, a hat like this is basically never appropriate for the weather in southern California. I made it with the dancefloor in mind — the dancefloor of all-night dance parties out in the desert, where it can get quite chilly and where sometimes one wants to wear cat ears. P and I go to parties like this (Burning Man is only the largest & most famous example) a couple of times a year, so I decided I really ought to knit myself some appropriate headwear even if I wouldn’t wear it very often.

This is made with the Malabrigo Aquarella that I bought in San Francisco over spring break. It’s a thick-and-thin yarn, which accounts for that knobbly texture. I knocked this out in one afternoon, and I considered writing a pattern for it, but it would have been even more of a disgrace to the pattern-designing community than my previous patterns. The pattern would basically have gone like this: (1) Knit a gauge swatch. (2) Measure your head. (3) Knit a hat in an appropriate size for your head. (4) Do a single-crochet border to prevent your brim from curling. (5) Divide your lefover yarn in two (if you have a limited amount of yarn left), and use it to knit two triangles. (6) Fold those triangles in half and attach them to your hat, using a mirror, with safety pins, in the location that you want your ears. (7) Sew those ears on that sucker. (8) Weave in ends. (9) Look as ridiculous as you want to, baby.

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In other knitting news, I finished my Whisper Cardigan, but I won’t bother showing you pictures until I’ve blocked it. I’ve worn it a couple of times unblocked because I’m impatient, but I think it will look better once I get around to doing that. The problem is that P has moved in, and he has a bunch of unpacked boxes taking up my blocking space out in the living room. I’ve also been making strides on my geometric shawl:

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And I’ve cast on for Nadine, a tunic from the new French Girl Knits book:

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I’ll have more to say about this project later when it’s more fully underway, but for now I’d like to say that I’m so glad I held out for Be Sweet Bambino, the recommended yarn, instead of subsituting with something easier to get. (P and I made a whole side-trip to Oakland on our spring break San Francisco trip to a store that sells it, because I couldn’t find the color I wanted online.) The texture of this yarn is insanely great — the bamboo and cotton are in separate plies, which makes for a fabulously rustic texture, and its so, so soft. It’s also a relief to be working with a heavier yarn after all of these lace-weight projects lately!

Lastly, I have some more yarn porn for you:

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This is Caper Sock from String Theory Yarns. I was inspired to buy a skein of this after Anne Hanson posted pictures of her recent String Theory acquisitions, and the dye jobs were fantastic. This will become something from Sock Innovation, Cookie A’s new book, but I haven’t decided what yet. Plus I have to make myself finish those Flaming Socks of Doom first!

malva

This lovely ribbon yarn is Malva from Filatura di Crosa. I bought it with a gift certificate, given to me by my lovely friend Mia, to The Little Knittery, a very little but very cute LYS in Los Angeles. It will probably become some kind of light, airy summer scarf — but I’ve been also considering trying to design some kind of a mesh tank top with it, to wear over a camisole. We’ll see!