Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feathering the nest

Aquila, she is done, re-blocked, and ready for her photo-op. While the locale is a little less grand than she deserves, I think she is lovely enough to dress up any occasion. I am infatuated with this shawl. I have worn it on dozens of occasions since I finished it in England and blocked it on the ugly carpet of my dorm room. She is the perfect size (except for blocking, which was difficult in our little hardwood cottage), weight and color. I humbly believe she is the best thing I have ever produced. In order to keep the needles clicking I have begun (and nearly finished) a pair of Pomatomus...see my Rav page for comments on these. I LOVE them, mostly because they fit my calves without mods; which is a pretty rare thing for all sock patterns and especially for Cookie A's.
Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet
Needles: US 2 circs
Knit using magic loop method

I also fell pretty hard for some incredible yarn at the Arden Fair yesterday. Gorgeous colors dyed by "Ewe Started It", who has a fantastic eye. I will show you the bounty that is the full haul later, but for now...feast your eyes on a very simple seafoam pattern scarf that (IMHO) shows off the yarn to its best advantage. It's peacocky goodness! Yarn: DK weight 50/50 silk/Rayon. Needles: US 7 circs.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

home again home again jiggety jig

Back in the states and hard at work again, but that doesn't mean that I can't show you some more photographs. The last days of our trip were spent at the Gladstone Pottery Museum and at Chatsworth (the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire) in the Peak District. The first is a preserved and restored historic pottery manufactory in the city of Stoke-on-Trent. Bottle ovens, so named for their distinctive shape, filled the 19th-century Staffordshire skies with belches of black smoke while, ironically, producing sparkling white bone china and decorated earthenware. You can see several in the photograph at left. Most of the manufacturers that remained in Stoke pulled down their bottle ovens in the first half of the twentieth century. While the skies are now much cleaner, I must admit to a small desire to see Staffordshire as it once was. Historic films can get you close....and a walk through Gladstone can put you right inside an oven or a startlingly noisy slip-making room, which may be as good as it gets. I loved this place with abandon and shot a ridiculous number of photographs. Above is the color mixing room in the decorating shop, with the bottle ovens in the courtyard just visible through the window. Below is a slip-casting mold for jug handles. It beguiled me.
Such images were for research and future teaching, of course! I also threw a pot..on a modern wheel, but in the same room where pots had been thrown for more than 100 years. It actually made it home with me, the poor ugly little thing. I can't fire it because I haven't a kiln, but it squats on my desk and murmurs to me of all thinks kaolin. A hollow imp. An inclaybus....ok, I'll stop now.
Saturday, which dawned rainy and cool but quickly became gloriously sunny, found us taking a series of buses and trains from Stoke up to the Peak District. We began at Buxton, where we were so early I actually managed to take photographs of architecture without mobs of people in the way. Witness: The Buxton Opera House. I have never seen anything to approximate the brilliant emerald of English fields. American grass and sunlight just can't achieve the same glory as a jewel-bright meadow encrusted with pearly sheep set in a granite bezel and nestled into the hill's bosom. There I have waxed poetic and it has removed the worst of my writerly stubble. What a lovely image. Moving right along....Once we arrived in yet another impossibly perfect small town, Chatsworth was only about a 20 minute walk from the bus stop. In some ways the journey proved more satisfying than the destination, as this stately matron of an English home was aswarm with rather shockingly rude tourists who threw themselves down staircases, into sacred spaces and across historic architecture in search of the perfect vacation snap. It infuriated me. This was someone's home! But once we moved outside into the soothing grounds I relaxed a bit. And managed to get the second sunburn of my trip. Quite a feat in England, or so I am told. The pond below was in the rock garden up the hill and to the right of the famous waterfall gravity-fed fountain.
The GF and I could not decide if we liked the modern silver balls that made up an installation sculpture floating in the pond. We thought the ducks weren't sure either. We shall not speak of our "last" day in the country, as it entailed much drama, tears, a bit of hair-pulling and unexpectedly large quantities of cash in order to make it on a plane home. But I'm here, I have Rowan yarn purchased in England, and I'm knitting something from Jane Sowerby...just for the symmetry of the thing. Next week my life changes as I begin the new fellowship and my dissertation becomes my job for the next nine months. While I'm sure I will be knitting on the train to and from Philly, that will be the extent of it for awhile, so my production will probably decrease rather sharply. But stay tuned, as I have the finished Aquila shawl to unveil (I finished her in England but need to block properly for her photoshoot);I'm hard at work on a pair of Pomatomus, and the aforementioned Sowerby in kidsilk haze. Tasty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cheers from the West Midlands

Hiya all! I thought you might enjoy seeing some shots of where I (and later we) have been for the past two enjoy!

This is the center of Chester...lovely on the surface but it's a bit Disneyfied..the black and whites are all 19th century and there actually is a Disney store in Chester Center. But the Roman walls were a blast to walk...
Yes, I know, that's a later addition and the entire wall was created in the 18th century, but there are some nifty Roman ruins about town....the garden, the amphitheater...
After Chester (where I was for a week-long marvelous course on Staffordshire Pots and Potters) I headed to Stoke-on-Trent for some research. The GF is with me this week, so while I'm working, she's off having fun...Tamworth Castle.....The Trentham Gardens....

and (of course)....Monkeys (The Trentham Monkey Garden...who knew?) We're headed to the Gladstone Pottery Museum and the Potteries Museum tomorrow and the Peak District (hello Chatsworth!!!) on Saturday...since, you know, the archives are closed then.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rustle cardigan

This cardigan has been rustling through my mind like autumn leaves for a long time. I wear it constantly, as the mostly cotton yarn makes this a three season sweater. This is a personal pattern I designed after seeing the leaf pattern on the Muscari socks (which I adore and will knit soon) and a couple of Norah Gaughan's fabulous patterns with similar collar reveals. The sweater is knit from the top down in the round, beginning at the collar. The collar stitches are knit on the reverse so they will appear right side out when worn. The same stitch appears in a single repeat row at the cuffs. Moss stitch button band. The waist is slightly fitted. I have been debating with myself about the number of buttons ever since I finished the sweater. I LOVE these buttons but they almost overwhelm the neutral tones of the sweater... but they also emphasize the leaf theme. Thoughts?
If there's enough interest (please comment if you are interested!!!), I'll publish the pattern. Those of you who have knit a top down cardi and done basic lace can complete this sweater with no problem. It's quite easy and quick. Big needles are good for that!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Walking with elves

43.05 miles down on the journey to Rivendell and I'm at the mark where Frodo and company meet up with the elves!!! I'm more than half-way to Buckleberry now. The gf thinks I should commission a "Buckleberry or Bust" bumpersticker. I'm liking this, but "Walking with Elves" is pretty tempting too. It's probably completely my imagination, but I think the shirt I wore yesterday actually fit a bit better. Wishful thinking is the best kind in my book!
Oh, 4 rows away from end of chart 2 on Aquila. With any luck it will be done next week. The same cannot be said for either of the two talks I'm working on, nor the chapter I'm writing. But....BSG 4.5 in mail soon!!!! Priorities, after all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Aquila in progress

I thought you might like to see some quick pics of the shawl in progress...

The pattern is here, but it's not translated.

The designer does provide charts, however, and they are really easy to follow if you’ve ever done a lace triangle from charts before. I cast on three stitches and built from there rather than the garter stitch tab method. The symbols follow the standardized system, so / is k2tog (or however you do a right-leaning decrease..I’m a combo knitter so mine are different from most folks) and \ is ssk (or left-leaning decrease) /\ is s1 k2tog bring slipped stitch over the k2tog. I like the look of that better than k3 tog, it has more of a pyramid appearance. I interpreted the * at the beginning as knit every row so it has a 2 stitch garter border. Purl on even numbered rows. I did 15 repeats of chart 1, since my needle size is probably smaller than the pattern calls for; then single repeats of the other charts.

Can’t remember name of yarn but it’s soooo gorgeous and a cross between mulberry and amethyst in color. 50/50 merino/silk…lustrous with just a little halo. perfect.
Thanks for the fantastic pattern Sari!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Woody End to the River--1st shield!

I'm wending my merry way along. As of today, the "road zig-zigs to top of a steep bank and goes down for the last time. Can see across Woody End to the River" 29.9 miles walked. And I did two more rows on Aquila. I've finished the repeats for chart 1 and have moved to the chevrons of chart 2...the end, she is far distant. But celebrate my mileage with know you want to...just a little happy dance, or maybe knit another row, but as the hobbits began to sing at this point, I think raising our voices is warranted.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not as close as you might think

When I originally checked the mileage charts for the journey from Bag End to Rivendell, I saw "Buckleberry Ferry" and thought that...for no reason I can now fathom...that it was 18 miles from Bag End to the Ferry. I chuckle at my poor map reading and distance calculation skills. Chuckle with despair. 18 miles was what Frodo and Sam covered in their first DAY. It has taken me a week to walk what they did before they had even warmed up. I am humbled. And daunted. Just a bit though mind you. I have now made it a grand total of 21.25 miles...the road is dipping up and down and I'm still 48.75 miles out from the ferry. Just the ferry. I still have 437 miles to go to see Eldrond. But that's motivation enough.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Walking to Rivendell

My welcome back from Chicago present from the gf was a treadmill. My dream workout in a foldable little package. perfection. I am such a joiner. I have decided to follow my favorite author in her walk to Rivendell and beyond. So far I am three miles out from Buckleberry Ferry. My geektastic knows no bounds. But it's fantastic incentive. You can log on daily to record your mileage, and there are support groups, etc. if you need them. I'm just in it for the mileage calculator...Right now I have reached Stock road and am about to break into song. I LOVE this. and my new toy. I'm averaging 3 miles per day in under an hour per day, which, given that I haven't worked out regularly in nearly a year, is a pretty good thing. I've been walking daily since I got back and I'm already noticing differences in my general happiness. *love*

oh, I have actually been knitting. really. Since I've last checked in with you, I have completed my brown cotton sweater (my own design...images soon), half a pair of socks, and am a good 2/3 of the way through the aquila shawl in my reward yarn...gorgeous 50/50 wool/silk laceweight purchased at Loopy Yarns in Chicago. Greatest yarn store (outside of my wonderful LYS Stitches with Style in Newark, DE) I have ever visited. Truth be told I have not yet been to Mecca (ie WEBS) as yet, so I may be lacking in perspective, but they were lovely people and their stock is every bit as good as Franklin says it is. This pattern is available only in Finnish, but there are charts, so it's totally possible. And gorgeous. The photos I took in my rental apt. in Chicago last week do not do it justice. Right now I'm 2 repeats away from chart #2. I can't wait to see this shawl blocked. I won't jinx it by saying any more.
And I got great material in Chicago....chapter 1 is golden now!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

blogclog now cleared, back to regularly scheduled nattering

So the article is about to come out. I gave the second paper. We are going to move soon, I still have research trips to complete, continue to insert fun yet time consuming projects here.... oh, and I've finished a couple of things. One of which I'm very proud of. I don't have much time to blog anymore, but I still love it and wanted to here goes, in no particular order:
Surface by the fabulous Norah Gaughan, knitty winter 2008. Yarn: berroco ultra alpaca lite. Needles: 5

love x 1,000,000,000. I have received so many compliments on this sweater already it's ridonkulous. and I adore it. I can't stop petting it. I find myself preening when I walk by mirrors. Which is exactly what clothing should do for us. Make us proud, happy, confident beings. Thanks Norah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next up: another pair of Monkeys, but rehabbed yarn from the forest canopy shoulderette I finished last year and never wore. This is much better. Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet. Needles: 0

I'm also working on several projects, most of which are so boring to photograph you might cry. But here's a taste of a pair of plain socks I'm working on for the gf, who has demanded them. She should get them sometime in June....perfect weather for wool...I call them "Urban Camo"
Yarn: Auracania. Needles: 0
Doesn't it look like the stitch marker is a little tongue? I love this photo.