Monday, May 30, 2011

Cambridge part 1

What a trip! I traveled to Cambridge/Boston for a college reunion, the first time I've been there in 7+ years. Except for the strange profusion of burrito joints in Harvard Square, it seems pretty much the same. Also, thankfully,  one of my college friends started knitting, so went on a big yarn crawl! We started in Porter Square, at A Mind's Eye Yarns, located in this sweet pink house.
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The house looks huge, but there are only two smallish rooms in the shop. Fortunately they are filled to the gills with yarn.
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Some of the yarn is hand-dyed by the owner, and since my goal is to get "local" yarn wherever I go traveling,  I had to get some of this pretty merino/tencel blend in a sheen-y red:
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It'll make a super drapey scarf or shawl. This store is perfect for spinners--lots of fluffy roving
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and spinning wheels.
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Apparently, knitting is the gateway drug to spinning. So far I've resisted, but I almost caved in this store!

The next stop was gather here, near Central Square.
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It's predominantly a sewing shop, with good sewing machines available for hire by the hour, classes, and lots and lots of gorgeous fabric.
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More fabric!
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And cute dress patterns!
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The yarn was relatively lacking, just one big wall of cascade
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and some other scattered little bits here and there. Despite feeling flush because it was a birthday yarn-crawl, I ended up not getting any yarn, but did get some buttohs from this library-card-turned-button-organizer-wonderthing.
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Gather here is currently running a Joplin Tornado Relief Raffle. The crafting world is a small one!  Please visit and enter. There are a lot of awesome prizes in the raffle!

At this point, very little had been accomplished on the knit-along project for this reunion, and all of this was knitted on the plane there.
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Next time, the last and biggest stop on the yarn crawl, and the rest of the ivy league mitt!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Knitalong planning

It's been a bad season for Missouri. Joplin was utterly devastated yesterday by a tornado. All of my good thoughts are aimed in that direction today. A sizable number of my patients are from there, and two of my former colleagues are there now; one of them has no office/hospital to work in anymore! I cannot believe the pictures of the devastation. What a terrible tragedy. When will all of this weather madness end?

St Louis was spared from the tornado, although a severe thunderstorm with high winds hit today. My peonies, which were on their way to having their best year yet, were decimated. I had taken great pains a couple weeks ago to create a lattice of string so that the flowers would not droop to the ground. Well, that's that. It is a tiny and insignificant loss compared to what others have suffered recently, but it feels big and symbolic to me.
peony-thrashed

One peony survived, because it got tangled up in the lattice and didn't get completely thrashed.
peony
Here is hope.

Meanwhile, I'm readying for my 10th college reunion/birthday weekend extravaganza. What a combination of events to make one feel old! Of course, no trip-planning is complete without the knitting-planning. One of my college roommates, who is now a knitter, suggested we do a knitalong for the occasion. We were hemming and hawing about what pattern/yarn would be fun for both of us, not too huge of a project, and school/reunion-appropriate. Then we saw the fingerless mitts version of the Ivy League vest (by Eunny Jang, free here), which the ever-wonderful Julie posted as part of her "modification Mondays" series, and both loved it, so that's what we're gonna knit! I bummed a bunch of leftover yarn from Silvana, who knit the actual vest pattern, and added a few of my remnants, and so I'll be able to knit these mitts just from leftover yarns.
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Go Crimson!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For mushroom hunters

Is this mushroom edible?
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The mushrooms are thriving in the damp, cool weather. This looks like portobello, but a bit lumpier and bronzed. So, any old-and-wise mushroom hunters out there (for there is no other kind of mushroom hunter), is this edible? Because if it is, there are other ones nearby. [Zoom out.]
mushroom2
Gaah, I love the bright green of the leaves on the lower right!

Also, knitting content: The New York Times found out about yarn bombing, like 5 years late.

Monday, May 16, 2011

FO, and a whole lot of picot

Finally, a FO! Actually, two FOs! Woot woot!
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This is the first of several baby gifts in the next few months. I was aiming for late summer = ~3 months, and I hope the sizing works out. The sweater is my own Peachy Baby Sweater, knitted from Cascade Heritage Sock. The lace turned out very pretty and drapey with this yarn.
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Sweater is being modeled by Gourmet cookbook, the closest approximation of a 3 month old baby in the house.

The hat pattern is Sylvia Baby Hat, by  Tami Sheiffer, and I chose it because it has open lace and picot edging, to match the sweater. Also, it uses the same weight yarn (fingering) and is free--double bonus points!
purple-babyhat2

Hat is being modeled by balled-up hand towel, my hat-blocking method of choice.

Between these two wee FOs are three types of picot edging. The hat has the knitted hem type, where you k2tog-yo repeatedly on a row, and then fold along that row to get a jagged edge. It's double-thickness, so great for the edge of a hat, as it will stand away slightly from the baby's face.
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At the bottom of the lace hem and sleeves, I used a knitted picot bind-off. I like how this looks on the edge of lace, but it can be a pain to block, because each picot has to be pinned down.
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Along the neck and center edges, is a crochet picot stitch. It's slightly hole-y so I used it next to the blocks of stockinette. Hrmph, the hole-y-ness doesn't come through well in the photo, but it's there, I swear!
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I do love picot edging! It reminds me of beading, not putting beads into knitting (although that's fun too), but little circles along edges of plates, frames, spoons, whathaveyou. It's just a little embellishment that's not too froufrou girly.

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The ribbon is a braided ribbon leftover from wedding dress alterations from singleton days. I think I will end up knitting an i-cord though, as the ribbon is not washable. Also, the neck splays open or flops down, and I'm contemplating putting in a hook closure at the neck. Parents and anyone else with an opinon: Is that ok for a baby knit, or is that a huge safety concern?

So far the baby sweater has 45 project on Ravelry (yay!) so that's just over the limit, but the hat has only 33 projects as of today, so it's #6 for my 12 under 43 resolution!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mt. Washington

Yup, there's a lot of traveling this spring. The most recent trip was to a conference in Mt Washington, which is near/part of Baltimore. Sadly I didn't get to do any fun stuff in Baltimore like last time, as it was non-stop work-related conference activities. But never fear! I planned in advance for the only 45 minutes open on the schedule--I found the nearest yarn shop, called ahead to confirm hours of operation, printed out a walking map, and ran to change from 3.5" heels to to running shoes (no time to change clothes). And then I got a little bit lost, crossed over a highway, got honked at and almost run over by a moped and SUV (not at the same time), and gulped with fear when the sidewalk ended. Thankfully, exactly where the sidewalk ends on Falls Road, is this.
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Woolworks is in this cute little building.
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There's a lot of yarn, organized in the diagonal bins so popular among wine bars and yarn shops nowadays. (It absolutely boggles the mind that no yarn store is a combo wine and yarn bar. If I give up my day job that is what I'm going to do.)
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In addition to an all-round great yarn  selection, there was what is quite possibly the largest wall o' madelinetosh ever.
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Since I've never even seen one skein of madelinetosh for sale, anywhere, I was compelled to get a skein of this delicious red "Tart" colorway.
madelinetosh


There's a whole room of baby yarns and patterns I forgot to photograph. But I did get some boy baby appropriate yarns for gifts, Batika in a blue/brown colorway.
batika

I was super psyched to get some local yarn! The brand is Angel's Kiss--it's mostly alpaca with some merino for sproing--in a pretty robin's egg blue.
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This was a true yarn-and-dash visit--I sprinted back to my conference, a total 3-mile round-trip. Then I changed back into my heels and pretended like I was a normal, professional, academic neurologist, save the yarns peeking out from my purse.
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The conference was at the Mt Washington Conference Center, which is now owned by Hopkins but previously was a catholic girls' college/school, according to the priest in my super shuttle, and corroborated by the internets. The campus has gone through a few iterations, and is now a hotel/conference facility, but there are a couple vestiges of its long life. For ex, apparently the dry cleaning/laundry slips have not been updated in decades.
mtwashington-dryclean

I really regretted not bringing all of my drycleaning! A 2-piece suit for  $6.45! A cashmere overcoat for $12.95! If only I had a cashmere overcoat... Thank goodness I remembered my dry-clean only polyester jumpsuit. What a deal!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Slowest FO EVER

Gaaaah. All lace knitting done on the ASH hoodie cardi. Now it's taking its sweet time blocking (48 hours and counting).
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After it's dry, we shall endure the 1) seaming of the sleeves, 2) setting-in of the sleeves, 3) picking-up of a billion stitches around buttonband and hood, 4) knitting buttonband, 5) doing i-cord cast-off on big-ass buttonband, 6) buying matching separating zipper, 7) sewing in zipper, and 8) re-blocking. Le grand sigh.

On a happier note, I started a new project, a purple version of my Peachy baby sweater. Here is the wonderfully relaxing stockinette portion. Strangely enough, it's the same yarn (Cascade Heritage Sock) and needles as the ASH cardi!
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You'll be seeing scads of baby-related knitting projects in the next few months. Just so you don't have to ask...I'm not pregnant. But apparently it's breeding season for people I know! :)