July 31, 2006

INSPECTION

On Saturday, I finished the last round of the vest I'm knitting for Level 2 of TKGA's Master Knitter program. The last half-round, actually, worked only across the front -- if one is very careful, one can have the exact center round of a motif show on the front of one's Fair Isle sweater, and it will serve as the center round for both the front and the back.

I was just laying out the vest for a photo op, when the resident Knitting Inspector came by:

KnittingInspector.jpg

Inspector Stormy took a good close look at those steeks. And if that was not enough, gave them a good sniffing, too:

KnittingInspection.jpg

She pondered:

KnittingInspectorPonders.jpg

The verdict:

InspectionVerdict.jpg

"Good job!"

StarsMatched.JPG

I got the stars to match up, this time, whereas on the protoype they were offset by 4 inches. Other minor improvements include back neck shaping (in the photo, the long steek in front is the center front steek for the V-neck, and the very short steek in back is for back neck shaping; the brown piece of yarn is holding live back neck stitches). On the prototype, I worked the decreases for the armhole shaping so that they slanted toward the body of the vest. Later, I read a fellow Pretty Posies blogger's account of a sweater she'd knitted with decreases slanting toward the armhole. That made me question my decision. I referred to Ann Feitelson's patterns, and discovered that she, too, works her decreases slanting toward the armhole. There is probably an argument to be made in favor of each method, but for this improved version of the vest, I chose to work the decreases slanting toward the armhole.

Staredown.jpg

Oh, excuse me -- this staredown is reminding me to get off the computer and get back to finishing off the vest! It still needs its armhole and neckband ribbings.

For Vanessa, who asked:

Yurt2.jpg
Inside of yurt, view 1.

Yurt3.jpg
Inside of yurt, view 2. The yurt is 18 feet in diameter.

Posted by Karen at 10:08 AM | Comments (8)

July 28, 2006

THE JOURNEY, THE DESTINATION

Along the way to our vacation in the San Juan Islands, I stopped at a little roadside stand to buy some fresh-picked strawberries, and to study this sign:

July 021.jpg

What is the significance of the direction arrows that point up, and that point down? I wondered. It's a pretty weatherbeaten directional marker, as you can tell, with much of the lettering fallen off -- but if Life is a Journey, I figure I'd do well to pay attention to whatever signs might show up.

Closer reading revealed that the arrows pointing up indicate the Moon, 238,607 miles, and ISS (International Space Station), 246 miles. Some typical destinations appear in the middle: Tokyo, 4766 miles;Seattle, 50 miles; LaConner. I couldn't imagine what the arrow pointing downward meant other than Hell, but laughed when I saw that it read: China, 7,000 miles.

Scott spent much of his two weeks on the island working on this:

YurtPlatform1.jpg

I see a big flat platform like this, set off a dip in the path, and I think: Outdoor theatre in the round -- let's do a little summer Shakespeare!

Jennie, as you can see, also thought this platform had natural staging possibilities:

YurtPlatform2.jpg

In truth, it's the platform for a yurt.

YurtPlatform3.jpg
What'll we do if we're in the yurt and Mom tells us to go sit in the corner? Jennie asked Allegra. So here they are, acting it out. (Just for the record, I've never in my life punished either kid by making her sit in the corner -- so I don't think this is an eventuality that they need to prepare for.)

CompletedYurtcopy.jpg

Allegra with a friend, in front of the completed yurt. That's an awning over the door, and a deck just large enough for about two chairs, in front.

We had a major Racoon Relocation Project going. At night, we sleep outside on the deck of our cabin, falling asleep to the lapping sound of the waves on the rocks below us; every night we were awakened by the scrabbling sounds of raccoons trying to break into the coolers where we keep our food -- or by our dog, Lady, barking and growling to protect us from the racoons. We managed to trap a couple of them in Havahart traps and relocate them elsewhere.

Raccoon.jpg

Such soulful eyes....

Jennie spent a lot of her time collecting beach glass. Here's Lady, posing with the collection:

LadyBeachGlass.jpg

I ripped back to the ribbing on my Level II vest, due to some gauge issues. Then I proceeded to knit it all back up again, and even further than what I'd ripped -- I'm on the very last round of the body, as of this writing. Knitting this vest has been it's own kind of a journey. And I coyly promise, Pictures later!

In Two Swans Yarns news: New items are arriving, perfect for how-hot-can-it-get, late summer knitting. Among other things, you'll find Regia Bamboo sock yarn, and easy shawl patterns from French Girl.

Posted by Karen at 12:01 PM | Comments (7)

July 01, 2006

PLAYING WITH YARN

On Wednesday, my dining room table looked like this:

MKOrganization.jpg

Lizabeth came over and she and I spread out our books, yarns, swatches, and binders. We strategized about tackling Level II of the Master Knitter program. The white piece of knitting you see at the top right of the photo is Lizabeth's vest-in-progress; you can see my vest-in-progress at the bottom left of the photo, and somewhere in between is the dreaded argyle sock that I have not been working on. Knit Great Basics has useful charts for figuring out stuff like how many stitches to bind off at an underarm, given your gauge and the size of the garment you're working on; Stitchionary Volume 2 comes in handy when you're deciding on cables to knit for the three required cable swatches for Level II.

Thursday evening, Jennie and I went to a reading by Lewis Buzbee for his book, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. In the past I've read books in this genre of books about books, and books about reading, and I've yet to find one that I didn't like. Lewis Buzbee's thesis in Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is that the bookstore is a retail establishment unlike any other -- you are welcome there to browse, sit and "try on" a book for as long as you like, undisturbed; and that the bookstore serves as a kind of social gathering place for discussing current events and the like.

This description reminds me of a yarn store. After his reading was over, I told him so while he signed the copy of his book that I was buying. In the retail establishment that is a yarn store, you can go in with your knitting project, even if it's one you've bought somewhere else, and sit and knit, undisturbed, for as long as you like. (Probably you can't sample the yarns the way you can read a book while in the bookstore, though.) Lewis Buzbee is from the Bay Area, and he said, "You know, we have yarn shops springing up all over the place down there. I even had a student who had to knit through class because it calmed her down."

I know I'm going to enjoy reading The Yellow-Lighted Bookstore next week while I'm on vacation. As usual, we'll have a pet- and house-sitter . . . if only I could train him to ship yarn while I'm away . . . .

Playing with yarn:

Flag-o-Yarn.jpg

Check out the Two Swans July specials!

Posted by Karen at 06:59 AM | Comments (4)