Sunday, December 14, 2008
Second, Norah Gaughan's Sunflower Tam, yarn: Terra Acorn. Needles: 7. I love everything about this pattern. I had to add a drawcord because I cannot seem to knit tight 1x1 ribbing. I actually like the effect though.
I've also been spinning the silk/merino blend and started Ice Queen (without the beads). Pics later. I'm hating feather and fan but love the idea of a wimple. Ok, off to finish book reviews and other fun things. Like cleaning the house for our Solstice celebration next week. You would not believe the cobwebs!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sunrise circle jacket by Kate Gilbert. Yarn: Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool. Needles: 7 circular. Took approximately a month, with big gaps of not working on it, but I finally have a sweater that 1) I like; 2) I didn't screw up in any major way; and 3) will wear regularly. Yay! Thanks to friends and gf for helping with button placement on Thanksgiving day. This one is wear-to-work-able.
Zokni socks by Mintyfresh. Yarn: my own handspun 2-ply superwash merino, kettle dyed by me. I finished these on the plane back from Eugene. I realized that I had forgotten to bring a tapestry needle with me. I had to finish the socks. I ended up binding off with an extra stretchy regular bind-off rather than a sewn bind-off, so I'm not perfectly thrilled with these. I also turned the heel on #2 as we were crossing the Colorado Rockies. I'm using that as an excuse as to why heel #2 is a bit bigger than heel #1. Jetlag anyone? Also, note to self: when planning knitting for trip, make sure you bring extra needles for toe-up cast on. That was a royal bitch without a 3rd needle. They are warm, comfy, wear around the house socks that I love because they are mine from start to finish.
Sunflower beret by Norah Gaughan. Yarn: Terra knits acorn, blend of silk, mohair and merino. Sorry no pics, I left it at work. I'll shoot it soon. This was a great knit with a lovely-looking yarn that does not quite match gauge. Thus it looks more like a toque than a beret. Lesson learned. I still love it and will probably make another one.
I also started a baby sweater for my sister-in-law, due in July. Pattern: based on Cosmicpluto's topdown raglan cardi but sized for a newborn. Yarn: Auracania's Patagonia Nature Cotton in yellow green. Major difference in two skeins so I'm alternating. This is my first baby project. I'm not (truth be told) one who favors the anklebiters, but knitting for them is certainly rewarding. We picked out a phenomenally cute button too, which you'll see on the finished sweater later.
So, back to work but with a very satisfied smile on my face. Wish me luck on the Dec. 8 deadline!!!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Ruffina, Berroco free pattern in Ultra Alpaca. Yum. I love this sweater, even though the pattern was a bit difficult to follow....how, exactly, do those peplums work with picked up stitches? anyone? She looks a bit weird in the photo. The front is actually drapey and falls down lower than the body of the sweater. I also wear it pinned at my waist, as shown in the photo. The collar is a bit fuller than the pattern called for, but I like it.
Began (again) Sunrise circle jacket (gods, I've been waiting more than a year to do this pattern). LOVE (1,000,000,000) in Mountain Weavers Wool, Redtail Hawk colorway. Yarn was an anniversary present.
Finished !!!! The Weasley sweater for the gf, in time for our anniversary! In Silky Tweed. Remember, this took me almost a year to finish. Most of that it languished in the "I am a poor yarn planner" pile. One sleeve and the neck are a different colorway, but hey, it's a Weasley.
Began (again, how long have I been waiting to try this pattern??) Vinnland by Becca Compton in Dream in Color Smooshy.
Finished back in August for my sister's b-day: Spring Forward Socks, in Plymouth Happy Feet. What a great pattern and yarn. I might make another pair of these someday. Pics for these on my Ravelry page.
Also finished, but no pics, a quick scarf in the elm leaf pattern from the remainers of the Ultra Alpaca. Can you tell I'm in a purple phase right now? ok, that's it for now. Maybe I'll check in again when I finish the Sunrise circle. That won't be soon, though, despite its quick knitability, so hasta luego, chiquitos!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
View from the fortress tower, Alhambra, Granada
Hasta dos semanas que llegó en Sevilla y ahora es possible a decir que estoy viviendo en Sevilla [It´s been two weeks since I arrived in Seville and now it´s possible to say that I´m living in Seville]. I´m a local at the supermarket down the street. I can actually understand most of what the sportscasters are saying on the TV (watching the Olympics from a Spanish perspective is certainly one of the oddest memories I will have of this trip). I have regular routes to and from the Archives, the best cafés, and I am no longer afraid to wander around on my own. Provided it´s daylight, that is. I have already found some amazing things at the Archives...but, boy, it´s a tough slog. My eyes start to cross after about 5 hours. They claim to be open from 8 to 3, but, really, they don´t like it if you arrive at 8 promptly and they chase us all out at 2, which means I have an effective work day of 8:30 to 2. Not a lot of time. At all. I wish I could show you pictures of the documents I´m working with, but I´m not allowed to bring a camera into the Sala de Invesitgaciones. I also forgot to copy the images I have of the Archives main building...Those will have to go in the next post, probably my last before I leave on Saturday. There is an incredible exhibit up at the Archives right now, called Hilo de la Memoria [Thread of Memory], that includes all of the most important documents related to Spain´s long history with its American colonies. Maps I´ve never seen in English publications...the originals of Luna´s, de Soto´s, and Coronado´s journals, among many others. It brought tears to my eyes. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience above and beyond the incredible thrill of handling the brothers and sisters of these treasures in the building next door. After some rough starts that were due to a lack of instructions and some linguistic difficulties, I am at last working smoothly there. At least I was, until Friday. I lost an entire work day to an unkown (to me, stupid Americana) Spanish national holiday: Dia de la Virgen. I was headed down to the Archives, wondering idly why )I kept passing so many well-dressed Sevillanos on the street. I NEVER see that many locals down near the touristy Cathedral area; especially not at 8 am. And then I rounded the corner and ran smack dab into a wall of people. La Virgen, who is installed in the so-called Silver Altar of the Cathedral, was on promenade, carried with all due pomp and circumstance through the streets of Sevilla. Of course, I was out without my camera, but I did manage to capture some shots of her on my cell phone. Once I don´t have to pay an exorbitant international rate to send the photos to myself, I will post them here. The crowd surrounding me, up until her arrival, were idly smoking, chatting, and catching up on local gossip. Once we heard the chant to La Virgen in lovely male descant a hush spread across the hundreds of people pressed against me. The sun had risen and shimmered on her silver brocade and gilt crown as incense and prayers sipraled into the azure sky. An unforgettable moment...easier to savor because it came upon me so unexpectedly. Until I can show you those shots, content yourselves with an image of her in her permanent location inside the Cathedral:The entire altar, from candlesticks to awning pillars were covered in beaten silver...mined, I´m quite sure, from Nueva España using Indio labor.
The gf and I toured the entire Cathedral last Saturday. The guidebooks all claim that it is the largest gothic building in existence...I´m not sure about that, but it is certainly overwhelming.
A shot down the main aisle toward the Choir screen
The main altar itself, encrusted with gilt and painted carvings that detail the hierarchy of the Church and all Christianity
And, as an added bonus, the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Can you imagine a more fitting encounter for an American researchers working on the history of contact between Spaniards and Native Americans? I can´t. It was splendid.
After we toured the church we took a climb up the Giralda, or belltower, that was once the watchtower during the Moorish occupation of Sevilla. Built to accommodate horses, the entire tower ascent is by ramp, rather than stairs, which made for a lovely climb punctuated at regular intervals with exquisite views of the city and even more breathtaking panoramas from the top. Here´s the Barrio Santa Cruz, that I walk through every day to get to the Archives. Note the rooftop swimming pools. I´m not sure why, but that really amuses me.
Once you get back down the Giralda you exit through the Corte de Naranjas, or Court of the Orange Trees, also built by the Moors...as the excellently engineered watering channels for each tree would indicate.
Here´s a closeup of the intricate, and well-used door handle to the Court´s gate.
I´m in love with this object. It´s a perfect combination of craftsmanship...utilitarian and beautiful, full of poetry and prayer. The next day (Sunday) we toured the Alhambra. As I´m sure you know, the Alhambra is a city/fortress on a hill overlooking Granada (about 3 hours from Seville). It´s a world heritage site, and it´s easy to see why once you´re there. My study of this building (up until then) was limited to the Arabic periods of occupation, so I was unprepared for the many building campaigns we toured...everything from the original fortress with remains of soldier´s houses:
To the various cooling gardens
to a palace built by Charles V
Until we got to what I was waiting for, the Arabic-period palaces
Unfortunately, the famous fountain of 12 lions was undergoing conservation, but I still got to see some marvelous plaster and tile...this is colored plaster, formed with wooden molds pressed into the wall while the plaster is still wet
Not to mention fountains, some leaping for joy
Others proffering tranquility in the afternoon heat
I took over 150 photos that day, which was quite a feat given the speed at which our excellent guide was moving us through the many venues. I´m eternally grateful to the gf for arranging the bus tour and guide. It would have been frustrating and exponentially more difficult to make that trip on our own. Unlike the trip to Jerez de la Frontera. Jerez was a charming place full of delightful breezes and a hint of the nearby ocean. We loved coming out there. And of course, there was the Escuela Real del Artes Equestrianas...Royal Riding School...the reason for our visit. While we were not allowed to take pictures during the show (a little over an hour of some of the most amazing ridign I´ve ever seen), I did get a few shots of the grounds and riders who were warming up:
As I´m sure you all know, this school, while founded only relatively recently, reflects centuries old riding traditions with their origins deep in the countryside of Andalusia. Before going into the show ring, we toured the grounds, which are set in a 19th century estate, complete with palace:
Jerez is famous for its sherry (jerez is Spanish for sherry) and the Escuela was surrounded by sherry bodegas, which we didn´t have time to tour unfortunately, as we went to the carriage museum after the show. The museum maintains carriages from the 18th century to the present, including the coach used in the most recent royal wedding, as well as continuing the tradition of carriage-training horses. The gf even got to pat a carriage horse´s velvety nose as we toured the stables. It was a good day.
This, my last weekend here, I spent playing tourist in areas of the city I had not yet visited, including the Torre de Oro (once covered entirely in gold leaf, now long gone) on the edge of the Guadalquivir River
with lovely little plazas inside the walls like this one
The weekends are for exploring, the weeks for work. I have one more all-too short week here. I will be madly requesting folios and filling out copy request sheets. I hate that I won´t even be able to see the copies I´ve requested...they will send them to me. I have to trust that they will give me what I requested. I don´t have time to transcribe everything I´m here to see and that fact is driving me a bit batty. I only have time to take quick notes, fill out the copy requests for the entire document, and then move on. It reallyis a commando raid on the AGI, but is already yielding some very interesting results. I must say (and I´m surprising myself a bit here) that I think I really do love Sevilla, despite the difficulties, sewer stench, and persistent gypsies. I am enternally grateful for this unparalleled opportunity. Thank you University of Delaware, especially the History Department, the Graduate School and the Center for International Studies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ceiling of the third palace, Alhambra
Thursday, August 7, 2008
We´re here, we´re safe and we are having a blast!!! Between geckos in the bidet, some of the best coffee I´ve ever had, and opening my first document at the Archivos General de Indias, I´m pretty darn happy. We have taken only a day off to play tourist, but it was a good one. We visited the Alcázar, a large 12th century fortress in the center of town. Most of the design is in the muejadar style and I LOVE it. But it continues to this day as a royal residence whenever they are in Sevilla, thus it has endured building campaigns from the 12th century to the 19th, with some incredible garden work in the 18th century....I took 285 photos on Wednesday, but I´m only uploading a few, given my (expensive) time at the internet cafe. Other than touristy things, I´ve started work at the AGI and am looking forward to every single moment I can spend there soaking up relevant material. The 2 weeks I have left seem so very very short...I hate that I can´t work there for more than 6 hours (they chased me out...literally...at 2.30 today) but at least I got in. It wasn´t easy. Ok, gotta run and get some dinner at a local tapas place. Enjoy and look for photos of the gecko, our apt. courtyard, the dancing horses of Jerez and the Alhambra sometime next week.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I got so close. So very close to my goal. I only had little dribs and drabs of fiber, bits of it I had stashed with my spindles, chunks I had removed from the rovings in order to add decorative touches to a felted project, just tidbits really, that's all that was left. Yet tufts of brown, green and orange merino were suddenly peeking at me from all the corners of my apartment. I gathered them together and realized, at 10 pm, that there was no way I would finish. I had started knitting the vest instead of spinning and I paid for it. So there's a red jersey for me....and the start of this:
I'm calling her Andalusia Celtica. She was inspired by my trip to Andalusia (we leave on Monday!!!), she's covered with celtic knotwork in the central panel--totally ripped off from the Fall 07 Dickinson Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman--but worked in the round in stockinette except for the front panel, and made up into a v-neck vest rather than a long-sleeved pullover. Most of all she makes me think of my favorite band: Salsa Celtica...tweedy, sunny, complex, happy. Like sangria in Dublin maybe...or Strongbow in Cadiz. Maybe it's just my Sevilla state of mind. She's my first big cabled project and my hands are paying for it. But I think she's worth every ache. Now keep your fingers crossed that I spun up enough for her...
I will be posting all of my trip photos on this blog, so stay tuned...it will totally depend on my ability to get internet access over there. Hasta luego mis amigos!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I have also frogged the cardi....and this was the result. I'm estimating it's about 600 yards or so of worsted weight.
It will (I think) become this, or something close to it. I haven't swatched yet. I also managed to finish the February in June sweater. I was quite pleased with it, until I saw a photograph of myself wearing said sweater. It.was.not.good. Far, far from good in fact. I deleted all evidence and shot this version instead. Not pretty, but functional. I really, really hope I look better in it than the camera tells me I do. I want to love this sweater. It ate a month of my life. I deserve for it to look better than it does. oh well, you judge for yourselves:I rest my case. Now, back to our regularly scheduled spinning.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Yeah, I know. I think so too. But the second skein will be better. A bit thicker. And hopefully more consistent. I promise. The first bobbin is almost full. But that brings me to hairpin curve #2 in this little tale of fiber woe: I'm not going to have enough. Yep. I only have maybe a couple of ounces of roving left. I will, if I'm lucky, get another 150 yards or so out of this. I'll finish the Tour, but with a distinct lack of necessary yardage. Not nearly enough for the cardi. Which leaves me with two choices: frog the cardi or make it stripy on the bottom half. I hate both options. I'm praying that Isis, Athena, Amaterasu and Frigg take pity on me and a miracle occurs. Because otherwise it's a trip to the frog pond. And no one likes to see a grown knitter crying into her yarn.
On the knitted object/crazy joiner front, I'm making sloooow progress on February in June. Observe:
I had cast-off the hem and picked up the stitches for the first sleeve while sitting in the airport waiting for her plane to board. Naturally it was the emotion of the moment that made me completely screw up a pattern I've had memorized for weeks. There's nothing like frogging in public to remind you how ridiculous you can look. I was sitting in an uncomfortable airport chair, covered in kelly green yarnbarf, trying not to cry. For the kid, not the sweater. I swear. I finally fixed it and am moving along nicely now. I think I'll have just enough yarn and may actually be done in time for Spain. Also, this will NOT make me look pregnant. I refuse to allow such an injustice. Refuse I say!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
While I'm not a huge Picasso fan, I definitely appreciate his vision. Making us see things from different perspectives is necessary. Forcing us to see several perspectives at once: genius. I do not find this particular brand of genius aesthetically pleasing, but since when are aesthetics a prerequisite here? I mention this for several reasons. First, our house guest. We have a young visitor with us for the next couple of weeks. This weekend we took her to see some of the "highlights" of our region. Among them: the new silver show at Winterthur, the Philadelphia Zoo, and Dolphin watching at Cape May, NJ. She is 13 going on 25 and thinks she is brazilliant in all things. In some areas I don't disagree. The kid's damn skippy smart. But she's also a nascent teenager and prone to those fits and starts of teenage angst that (I'm quite sure) make otherwise well-balanced, sane parents everywhere want to rip their hair out and throw things. I spent hours and hours touring her all over Winterthur, inside and out, trying to show her why I do what I do and why I think it deserves the years of my life I have devoted to it. What was her response: "kewel, but I liked the Enchanted Woods best. "Now, don't get me wrong, when I was 13 I would have said exactly the same thing. exactly. I would have resented all attempts to push me out of my carefully chosen and well-polished shell. At least something connected, right? But it made me want to scream. She went through the silver exhibit and the period rooms so fast it made my head spin. meh. But she saw the magic in the woods, so I really can't argue too much. It's all in your point of view. We went to the zoo, spent umpty-ump dollars to wander around and peer through cages at poor, pacing creatures who deserve so much more than flash bulbs exploding in their sensitive faces, saw gorgeous birds, pro-simians, frolicking river otters, and what does she like best? the vampire bats feeding. yep. teenage angst in bucket loads. In all fairness, the bats were pretty cool. I can't post my pics here because I didn't get permission from the zoo to do so, but I did get a fabulous shot of a bat, snout raised from it's petrie dish of blood, baring its wee fangs at me. I won't even discuss the day at Cape May because I'm already sick of myself whining about this. I LOVE this kid. She's creative, smart, funny and full of it. I'm so happy she's out here with us for awhile, but is it so very much to ask for just one little "thank you?" My rational self is now screaming "but the look on her face IS that thank you, you idiot!" and rational self is right. It is. We had a great fourth of july weekend, watched dolphins peer up at us from a steel grey ocean as pale poufs of jellyfish burbled by, sat in the evenmist as the sky flamed orange, gold and green, and gorged on pizza while playing Harry Potter trivia. I hope you and yours had half as much fun. Alter the gaze, bend your mind, accept and enjoy; these were my mantras this weekend. Thanks Picasso! Oh, and there was spinning: my first day of the Tour de Fleece. Sorry about the graininess, I'm blogging at midnight. Hard to get natural light at this time of day. *snorg* I have no idea what the wpi is on this. I spun it long draw and was gauging it by feel. Alden Amos would be so very mad at me. I'm not sure it will match what I already have. I sure hope so. From what I remember about this fiber (I really need to start keeping a spinning journal..oh, wait, that's why I started the blog. right.) it fluffs a great deal with a good whacking. Half a bobbin that reminded me why I put this roving down again and again. My hands hurt. Merino shouldn't make yer paws ache, my friends. But I'm reasonably pleased with the consistency. Reasonably. I really wish I could go to SOAR this autumn and take Abby Franquemont's workshop. *drool* That woman is a master. Just looking at her yarn makes me want to weep. Especially when I then examine what's sitting on my own bobbin. I'll try to re-orient my thinking: this is inspiration! Soak in the genius. Soak it I say! In this case, I think her yarn begs to differ with Picasso. Silk that fine is truth and art, my dear woolly friends. There's simply no way to hide a lie in good spinning. At least not that I've been able to find. And now, sweet readers, good night.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
So here's the cardi as she now stands:
And here's the remaining wool, ready to be spun:
Is that not the most unappealing pile of...wool (yes, we'll call it that for now)...that you've ever seen? But it really does make pretty yarn, I promise.
I WILL wear that yellow jersey!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Pero, mira, soy un "joiner" porque esto tejiendo la February Lady y me encanta este patrón!
Hilo: Valley Yarns Noho in Teal Green
Aguja: Addi Turbo 36" size 7
Patron: February Lady Sweater by flintknits
Y mis zoknis son casi media completo:
Esto es mi merino hilo y tinto de mano.
Y ahora en ingles. So I've been thinking a lot about blogging, writing, sharing my work. This all began with an innocent conversation over, what else, knitting. A friend and I were discussing the pros and cons of knit-alongs. They can be quite useful, especially if you run into problems, are trying new mods or yarn substitutions, etc. but they also foster competition, envy, and a host of other very unknitterly behavior. So where do blogs fit into this? Are these an attempt to connect with a wider knitting community, to share our work in hopes that we increase awareness of handcrafts everywhere, that we return knitting to its rightful position in the handcraft pantheon; or are we vain creatures, measuring our worth by the number of site hits, comments left, links created? Are we trying to fan the flames of our own popularity? Am I really that shallow? And then I realized that while I do appreciate the visitors and friends who leave kind remarks, I'm really doing this to forge connections, to track my own progress as a crafter, and to try out new ideas in an admittedly tiny public forum. I am doing this for myself. But I sincerely hope that others may join me on this journey. Clearly I'm no yarnharlot, I know I don't have the wit of a franklin, but I don't want to be them. I may not be prolific, I may not have mad yarn skillz, but I love all things fiber and certainly enjoy discussing them ad nauseum. I want to make a little leafy home for myself in this electronic jungle. Please pull up a tree stump, open your knitting bag, grab a cuppa and settle in. I'd love to chat!