Posts Tagged ‘scarf’

Unapologetic

I was going to go to the Y for another murderous upper body weight lifting workout when I opened my bag and realized I had not swapped out yesterday’s cold weather running gear for clean, not soaking wet, short-sleeved, indoor appropriate anything to wear.

Rather than wear soaking wet, long-sleeved, outdoor, dirty clothes to lug around heavy weights, I bagged on my workout and decided to go for a walk. I headed east on Main Street and decided since I had my camera with me that today was as good as any day for another round of Photos Around Richmond. I think I only do this in January, when the city itself is not especially pretty, and when the weather is not especially fabulous, but then I am unlikely to waste a perfectly beautiful lunch hour trundling around with the camera.

As I headed east, I decided the top of the hill on Main Street where Rte. 5 and Main St. intersect would be my destination. Being a non-native Richmonder, I am not sure whether this is actually Church Hill or it is one of the other hills (I have also seen it labeled Union Hill on a map). Either way, this is where I was going. This is the hill I run up on my hill training days.


And this is how it looks from the runner’s perspective as you are just getting started going up.

Fortunately, today I was not running up the hill, just doing the aforementioned trundling (in 3 inch high wedge boots…my feet are very unhappy with this poor planning on my part). From almost the top, looking east, you can watch the James River drift lazily by.
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Looking back west, I could visually measure the almost exactly one mile between my current spot I was standing and the building I had walked from to get there.
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This gentleman is looking out over the City from atop his very tall pedestal.
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Everything below seems very tiny from my vantage point. I feel both insignificant and very large at the same time from up here. Cars look like Matchbox toys from up here and I can see all the way to the Chesterfield Power Station that is south of my house along the James River.
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And then I took this.

It is the first picture of myself since I turned 30. Unadulterated. Unaltered.
I got to the top of the hill feeling distinctly and intensely unapologetic about who I am. I did something silly today and wore some silly peacock feather earrings I bought for $2 last week. I like peacock feathers and I liked the earrings, and I didn’t care if they were fashionable enough to wear to work. I was feeling a bit rebellious and wore them.

Even more rebellious are the little stud earrings in my upper ear cartilage. I can’t remember the last time I wore earrings in those holes at home, much less to my rather conservative workplace.

I wear glasses. I have crows feet (too many years of playing outdoors in the sun without sunscreen). I have never intentionally plucked a hair out of my eyebrows. I don’t frequently wear makeup. The smile lines around my mouth have gotten very deep since I lost 120 pounds. My eyes can’t decide if they are blue or green, or gray. I do all kinds of unfashionable things, like wear my hair almost to my backside and only bother to color it once a year or so anymore. Or wear peacock feather earrings (actually, I think that is fashionable for the 13-17 year old age group right now…). I keep my toenails painted 100% of the time, but I have worn polish on my fingernails maybe 4 or 5 times in the past decade.

I run. I knit. I cook things my family likes to eat (we are having grilled Bessie Cow tonight!). I sing badly, but sometimes I do it out loud anyway. I sew poorly, but have enough basics to keep Byram and I at least somewhat decently garbbed in the SCA. I excel at washing dishes. I can plunge a toilet like no one’s business. I am either a horribly conservative democrat or a ridiculously liberal republican, depending on what day of the week it is when you ask me. Or maybe more accurately, I am a libertarian who appreciates some law and order, but really just wants to be left alone.

And you know what? I love all of those facts about me. I even like that self-portrait, taken at an odd angle with an odd, Mona Lisa-like look on my face. I love who I am and I don’t want to apologize for that.

Speaking of love…meet Melpomene.
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I am right at the half way mark with it and my progress has slowed (so typical of me). I came up a little short on yarn because I used larger needles than the pattern called for, but it worked out just fine. The first ball ran out just as I finished the last repeat of Chart B, so I just began the decreasing charts (Chart D) next and skipped over the middle point (Chart C). There should be no change in the effect on the shape of the scarf, just shortening its overall number of repeats.
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I adore the soft, solid texture the stitches create. I love the simplicity of the garter stitch short row sections, and enjoy the not too challenging, but not mindless twisted stitch patterns as well. I find the whole thing to be very soothing on my frayed nerves these days. The rich hue of the blue helps too. It’s a shame, but I couldn’t get a good true-to-color shot of the blue. Yesterday’s late afternoon sun threw off the color, and today’s lack of sun washes it out to gray when it really is an unapologetic sapphire blue.

12 in 2012

I have a goal to knit 12 projects in 2012 from my queue on Ravelry and from yarn in my current stash (which, I confess, was recently expanded between Christmas and Birthday gifts).

This month, I am knitting a recent addition to my queue, on yarn not so recently purchased, and if I had remembered the stupid camera (this is day 3 in which I have forgotten it again), I could show you some progress. Even if I had the camera, I have no decent light with which to take a photo anyway. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, I will show you a photo from the designer.
Copyright - Romi Hill
(Copyright- Romi Hill)

This is Melpomene by Romi Hill, from her 7 Small Shawls E-book that I got for my birthday last week. I am using Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn, in colorway Sapphire Heather and knitting on 4mm needles (US6).

It was the perfect birthday gift because it will keep giving. Only 2 of the 7 patterns are out, and the remaining 5 will post sometime between now and July if she is able to meet her challenge.

I almost cast on Kleio first because it has been on my list longer and I have the perfect yarns for it, but something about the description for Melpomene appealed to me.

Also in current progress is a pair of socks for my mother in law’s upcoming birthday. One is done and I have a toe done on the second, but it was hard to carry on a plain vanilla sock with the beautiful texture of Melpomene calling to me. When I get weary of twisted stitches and garter, I will go back to the Mother In Law Socks.

I haven’t yet decided what February’s project of the month will be. Rather than pre-schedule myself a monthly project like I did last year, and then ran into the problem of being uninspired by the project when it came time to knit it, I am going to go with the flow and pick up what I feel like doing each month. I had planned to knit a cowl this month and that changed when I got my Muses subscription.

Next month might be Percy which has been in my queue forever and looks challenging but fun, or it might be Saroyan, which I just ordered and received the intended yarn for last week if I happen to be in the mood for yet another crescent shaped blue scarf (in other words, doubtful, but when I get on a roll, sometimes it carries me for a while). Or, maybe I will get the gumption up to learn intarsia and knit these peacock themed armwarmers. I should have sufficient colors and yarn left over from the Corrie vest to tackle them.

Who can say what will wind up on the needles?

A Week Or So In Stitches

I have had precious little to say, or rather, precious little to say that anyone is lining up to hear. Cheyenne left us on Saturday, October 8th. I had the following week off so my Mom was able to stay in Suffolk and grieve in private. I was able to stay home and do the same.

I worked through it in yarn mostly (and some beer, I don’t deny it), and I talked about memories of her as a puppy and found old photos of her playing with me in the big snowstorm of 2000. I am mostly better now. No more crying jags. I still catch myself turning in the computer chair to look behind me where her bed used to be to check on her. I was looking for the gate to the backyard to be closed when we pulled in the driveway after work yesterday. I keep catching myself thinking “I wonder if I need to let Cheyenne out” from time to time.

Time, prayer, and knitting can do a lot for one’s soul.
Arroyo
I started with Arroyo.
Yarn: KnitPicks Chroma (New England colorway) (one ball and I had some leftover)
Needles: 5mm (US8)
No modifications. This knit up very fast and I loved the short row shaping. I especially love how the colors turned out. However, that said, I had real problems with that Chroma ball. 4 rows into the scarf, the yarn was broken. Not knotted, completely broken. Then there were 3 more places in the ball where the yarn had been knotted to a new yarn, and they didn’t even try to keep the colors together. Fortunately, the abrupt shifts in color were less noticeable in the finished product than I feared they would be. The colors were fabulous, but I gave the yarn only 2 stars on Ravelry because of the issues I had with this ball.
Arroyo
It was a very quick knit, but I was highly focused on it as well. Cast on on Friday morning and cast off Sunday night.

After that, still being hung up on half-moon scarflettes, I immediately cast on Annis.
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(Check out my model! She had been playing dress up just before.) Sadly, I have no decent pictures yet. I only have photos from blocking, and it was shockingly difficult to get any light on the shawl.
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I blocked it on my yoga mats over a thick carpet. That worked okay, but I really need to look into getting some of those interlocking foam floor pads like they use in kids’ playrooms.
Annis
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace (Lettuce colorway) (also did not use the whole ball)
Needles: 6mm (cast on only) and 5mm
The only modification was I used the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off since that had worked so well on Arroyo, but I think now I sort of regret it. I think a less stretchy bind off might have allowed for more curve. Or it might not have. It was very difficult to block it in the shape I wanted. I think I would be more in love with it except that it rolls up really badly. The curl did not block out. Stockinette is known for its tendency to curl and one of the things I loved about Arroyo was the garter stitch body, which patently does not curl. I almost modified the body of Annis with garter instead of stockinette stitch, but I thought it would look more elegant in stockinette.

It does, but curling is definitely not elegant. It is still very pretty, very light weight, and the yarn developed a nice halo that compliments the pattern nicely.
Annis
I hope to get some pretty, natural light photos soon.

I am pretty much half-moon scarfed out for a while. I was going to knit this third one for me (note, the blog is mostly in Russian, but there is an English translation of the pattern on Ravelry) with some recently finished handspun fingering weight wool, but I have a lot of Christmas knitting to catch up on. Probably by the time that is all finished, I will be ready for another scarflette. I really like the feather stitch pattern and in the peacock teal handspun, it will be a striking project, I think.

I have another project to cast on tonight though. Pictures soon, I hope.

Bombs Away

I think I am out of my “Blue Period.” Here is the evidence:
Green
From left to right, you have the second Vellamo sock, Serpentine Mitts (in positively divine Zitron Noblesse…yum), and Freya. I never go in by halvsies on anything. I was all blue. Now I am all green. I should cast on something orange, just to throw myself off.

Not that there isn’t still a *little* blue in my world.
Not Noro
That is Son of the Not-Noro Noro Striped Scarf. Yeah, it has been on the needles a long time. It isn’t like I am desperate for a scarf right now, and it is the perfect go-to project when I need something mindless to knit. Like this weekend, I added a foot and a half to it while watching Grace and other assorted SCAdian youngsters play in the nursery at the site we were at this past weekend. It wasn’t a good time for colorwork, so no Vellamo socks, and not a good time for un-charted lace work, so no Freya, and not the time to interpret cable charts, so no Serpentine mitts.

Speaking of Serpentine Mitts, I have been relatively blog-lite on them. I finished the first mitt WAY back in the first week of March while I was doing mental battle with the Charade socks from hell. I couldn’t get a decent picture of the finished product on my hand, and it looks a little pitiful if not stretched over a model. The Zitron Noblesse is one of the finest yarns I have knit with thus far, being very fine wool and silk, and I think it was positively a steal at only $8 a ball. If I was knitting a sweater, it would get a little pricey, but if I successfully get a pair of fingerless mitts out of its silken yardage, I would do a cartwheel for that bargain.

Running continues. I am trying to keep up with my training progress on my running blog at The Mud Dauber in Training. I don’t keep up enough like I should but I am going to try. Initially, I was just documenting my training goals and efforts for the Warrior Dash I signed up for in October, but since I have expanded my goals, I will try and expand my writing (just not at the expense of my training). I will try and include aside from the training details, stuff about nutrition, the mental aspect of training (which seems much harder at this stage than actually pounding the pavement), and stuff I am learning and loving about the culture of runners.

Finally, I leave you with a very poor, blurred photo, taken at some speed, with one hand, while driving my way towards a dentist’s appointment here in the Shockoe Slip area of Richmond.
Bombs Away
Richmond, we have been Yarn Bombed. I am practically giddy at the thought. (It’s crochet, so therefore I have proof that it couldn’t have been me.)

Catching Up

In spite of my best attempts to fail, I give you my completed February SCSC2011 contribution.
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I did not get a single decent picture of the pair, so please forgive me.
Yarn- Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight – Colorway – Lucy in the Sky
Pattern: Leyburn
Needles: 2.75 (US2)
Modifications: Knit toe-up and was a bit willy-nilly with my stitch count. Knit for a Women’s Size 10. 2×2 twisted rib cuff.

Leyburn is the first pattern I have repeated because I liked it so much. It works very well on busy yarns and does a great job breaking up some of the STR’s tendency to pool. I would even knit it again, just not right now.

So, in news of the sad and broken, the Tuesday before Ymir, my top left wisdom tooth gave way. It has been useless for years, broken and slowly going away, and of course, it picked the night 3 days before I left for North Carolina to finally raise my “pain quotient” over my “fear quotient” for a dentist visit. I held on until last Tuesday to schedule my appointment, on Wednesday, received lots of antibiotics and the biggest percocets I have ever gotten (double the dosage from the ones I was given after abdominal surgery!), and on Friday, under a heavy dose of nitrous gas, said goodbye that wisdom tooth.

I have been in a Percocet haze ever since, until today. I think that fact makes it even more impressive that I managed to finish February’s socks.

So last Wednesday, since I was half way to Powhatan anyway, I decided to drive the extra 15 minutes from my dentist to Holly Spring Homespun and celebrate the fact that this particular dental disaster was not going to cost me $3K like the one last summer did.
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Yes, I got more yarn for another Not Really Noro Scarf. Yes, I see the blue. Yes, I am aware it is an illness. To make up for yet more blue, and to try and cure my silk craving, I picked up:
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Zitron Noblesse.
Feels amazing. I foresee a pair of fingerless mitts for my chronically cold hands.

Also in the realm of “not blue,” here is a picture of one of the gifts I received at my Pelican ceremony. Photobucket
This is a handmade glass medieval-style rosary made by my glass-working friend Christine.

Further, not blue, and also a gift at my Pelican Ceremony:
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Black, silk and cashmere fingerless mitts made for me by Lady Cindel. This is the first hand knit gift I have been given since I was probably an infant, and they are divine.

And best of all, in the category of Not Blue:
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My first Lenten Rose has bloomed.

Spring is just around the corner.

What Is The Downside?

I cast off the Faux-oro Scarf today. I love it, even though by the 5.5 feet mark, I was finally tired of K1P1.
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I love this scarf.
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No. I love this scarf. I have been intending it for a co-worker who earned a promotion and left us back at the first of the year, moving up to bigger and better things a couple of floors below me. It would look nice with her black winter coat and I have been meaning to knit her something forever.

But…I love this scarf. I am having a little trouble parting with it at the moment, even though I have a perfectly wondrous cashmere scarf (Christmas gift!) and a beautiful handspun scarf in colors I strongly identify with (russet gold, brown, red, and cobalt blue; very Autumn colors), and the Traveling Woman scarf, and the ability to knit myself any other scarf I could possibly want.

I need to just bundle it up, stick the congratulatory note on it, and walk it downstairs to her, right now or this thing might glue itself to my neck. It’s not like I couldn’t wrangle up another $15 and go get the two balls of yarn I needed to make another one. I mean, really, it only took, what, 10 days of puttering around with it to get it done?

But I am just enamored with it.
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Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf
Size- 4.5 inches wide, about 5.5 feet long
Yarn: Universal Yarns Classic Shades (2 balls)
Colorway: Rainforest
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)
Modifications: I cast on 38 instead of 39 stitches by accident, and chose not to rip back and start over once I realized my “modification” 3 inches later.

Ms. Stephanie really deserves a scarf. Time to go hand deliver it before I simply cannot be parted from it.

(I’ll just have to get back out to Powhatan and get more yarn. I’ll be stimulating my local economy. There is no downside here. Right?)

Pilgrimage

Lucy in the Sky has been wound into a ball off 360 yards of squishy goodness, ready to cast on for a pair of Leyburn socks tomorrow, February 1st, the next sock in my SCSC2011 plan.

My skein had a lot less white in it that the one in the picture on BlueMoon’s page, but I understand the nature of handpainted yarns; you get what they dye. I think Mom’s Leyburns will be mostly navy blue socks with the trellis effect of the Leyburn pattern showing up in the grey/light blue. She wanted socks to go with blue or grey pants, so, hopefully, this will do the trick.

I have knit Leyburn before.
Grandma's Leyburns
This was my Grandmother’s Christmas gift this year; the yarn was Wisdom Yarns Marathon, Boston (not on the website anymore), but the purples, greens, and blues reminded me so much of the irises we used to have at my childhood home in Hampton, that I nicknamed them the Iris socks.

The Faux-oro scarf is over 4.5 feet long and on its way to completion. I had intended to just let the colors come together holistically, uninterrupted, and allow for natural high and low contrast stripes, but…I just couldn’t do it. There came a point where black on black stripes were about to line up, and beyond that, the greens and blues were going to line up, so I chose to snip one yarn and start pulling it from the opposite end of the ball, reordering the stripes. The adjustment is almost 100% invisible and my stripes continue to contrast nicely.
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I would never have believed that a 1×1 rib stitch could keep me so enchanted. I suppose it is the shifting colors. Still, it would be lovely if I could finish this today, so I am one less Work in Progress come tomorrow, when I cast on the February Socks of the Month.
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Speaking of WIPs, I managed to get some work done on Ishbel this weekend too. I have completed charts A and B, and now need to work another Chart A before moving into C, D, and finishing with E. The Kidsilk Haze is proving to be the Giving Ball. I still haven’t come close to finishing the first ball yet, though I am certain I will have to get into the second ball to finish this out. The beads are slowing this project down to a crawl, but I really believe they are worth it.

Byram’s Jayne hat still needs ear flaps and a pom pom, and February Lady sweater is sitting unloved and untouched in a box. Such is the life of a WiP in my house.

Now for my best and most beautiful Work in Progress:
Pre-pancake breakfast.
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Post-pancake breakfast (and visit with friends, trip to a museum, and a drive around a small college campus).
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Finally, if you are in the Richmond area, I highly recommend paying a visit to the University of Richmond’s Modlin Art Center, where they are running an exhibition in the Harnett Museum of Art called Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. With more than 75 objects from the three faiths on display, it was quite interesting. I was floored by just how beautiful the 12th-13th century Islamic ceramic tiles were. There was 15th century orphrey on display from a priest’s robes. It was awe-inspiring to get that close to the embroidery. There was stained glass from Canterbury that gave me goosebumps. But the two 12th century reliquary boxes just about sent me through the floor. There we were, Byram and I, looking at artifacts from the century that we have both studied so closely, within inches of items made by people who lived 800 years ago; things I have only gotten to see in books and on websites. Things people we have studied might have seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands. It was cool on a level that is hard to describe.

I realized just how badly I need to get myself to the Cloisters and the Met up in New York.

Anyway, the exhibition is free, it is small, and even with studied reading and a not-whiney 3 year old, it should take less than 30 minutes to go through it all, and I encourage Richmonders to pay it a visit and get a little perspective on 3 of the major faiths and their art and history. It was good stuff.