Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Progress with Elegant Empire

So, I got Paige, my busy college student, to slow down enough to model my elegant empire sweater for me.  It has been moving along nicely after several missteps. It's one thing messing up a sock and unraveling it, and quite another messing up and having to unravel twenty rows of almost two hundred stitches, but I'm hanging in there. The construction is really different, knitting the left side, sleeve and back; and then the right side, sleeve, and back. I'm not entirely sure that I see where this is going, but I think I get it.

As happens every year, knitting has become all the more attractive to me since my time for it is dwindling away. I have a nice schedule at school, but have greedily agreed to teach two online college course again, so I have a lot of grading to do each week. I'm OK as long as I don't get sick. Come to think of it, my throat is a little scratchy. Better go take a couple of Vitamin C and go to bed...after one more row.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Something New!

I have always loved browsing through the Garn Studio website. I love all of the free patterns they have available there, like the little baby jacket  I was working on in June. Russ, Paige, and I drove over to the coast to get apples yesterday and decided that since Kai wasn't along to insist on a carnivorous restaurant that we would eat at Big Sky in San Luis Obispo. It's on Broad St., but there weren't any parking places right by the restaurant, so we headed to our favorite place to park behind the Mission on Monterey St. I noticed a new store straight ahead of us that said Nordic Mart and told Russ and Paige that I wanted to go check it out after we had eaten, thinking I'd be browsing through some quaint "Solvang-y" type shop. I was happily wrong! It's a knit shop, and not just any knit shop. It's the Nordic Mart website retail shop, and it's wonderful. Famous mantra of all knitters - "I didn't need any yarn, but..." I bought some purple alpaca yarn because....it's purple alpaca yarn! And I bought some cotton to make a baby hat for a friend who just adopted a baby a couple of weeks ago.
The owner is from Sweden and is as nice as they come. I had a little stilted conversation with her in Danish. I usually jump at the chance to speak to someone in Danish. Why? To show off, of course. That's not exactly it, but I love having those little conversations. I think I've shared before that I must have a pretty good accent because I'll say a couple of simple things to a Dane, and they take off jabbering to me, and then I'm lost. I used to be fairly fluent, but I'm back to the basics now. Fortunately, we just had a short conversation which covered that she liked Danes and Denmark and how I had come to know Danish, so I didn't embarrass myself....I think. At least, I don't think I said something like, "This pig is a lovely color," or something like that.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just a Little Knitting

I always have a hard time getting motivated in August. It's always mercilessly hot, and I know that there's really no chance for a break for at least another month. That means that I usually don't accomplish much knitting during August. I'm running true to form pretty much this year. I did knit this pair of fingerless gloves on the long trip home from Humboldt County a couple of weeks ago. It's a free pattern from The Giving Flower. I'd kind of forgotten about it. I think she posted it like three years ago. I altered the cable a little bit, but I really like her directions for the thumb gusset. I also loved this yarn.  I got it from Rani last spring. I think it was from Woolgirl yarns, and I really liked working with it. I may even have enough to make another pair.

Yawn! It' just after seven o'clock, and I'm about ready for bed. I've been trying to go to bed early all of this week since I started school on Monday, but I'm still pretty wiped out. Oh well, I'll adjust.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Actual Knitting Narrative

Gingerbread Mansion on Berding St. in Ferndale
I remember reading somewhere that Meg Swanson had written something to the effect that she was envious of new knitters beginning their "knitting adventure." For some reason, I thought it seemed like a silly comment at the time,  but as I've gotten older, I've really understood what she was saying as far as the big picture goes and, of course, with knitting. It is exciting to discover something new, and that exciting feeling of "newness" can't be replicated. On the other hand, I still love traditions and going back to old haunts, remembering past experiences there.
Fleener Creek Trail, down to the beach which is less than a mile south of Centerville.

Visiting the town of Ferndale is one of those things for me. We always have to drive by the Gingerbread Mansion, walk the cemetery hill, buy a Moo Bar at Sweetness and Light Candy Company, drive out to Centerville Beach, and I, of course, have to visit Foggy Bottom Yarns.  The shop has moved to a to a "sunnier" location on Main St., and the owner, Jacquie Ramirez only sells knitting items instead of antiques as she has for years. She is always helpful and attentive although you think that she might remember me since I've been going there every year for at least the last fifteen years. I bought a couple of skeins of Cascade yarn there, not that I needed any yarn at all or that Cascade isn't one of the most ubiquitous brands around. It just wasn't quite enough for me  simply to browse even though I've had a pretty solid moratorium on yarn buying for most of this year.
I plied Kai with Mt. Dew so that Paige and I could go and yarn shop while Russ dozed in the car.

I'm not over the excited feeling I get if I found out about a new yarn shop during our travels, but I'm also willing to forgo going to every single one since family resistance can be quite extreme at times. Yesterday, however, I couldn't resist stopping at a shop that practically landed right in my lap. We're were walking down 2nd Street in Eureka on our way for our perfunctory once-a-year lunch at Hurricane Kate's when I passed by a sign that said Knittery. I figured that I would finagle a little time there after we ate. So, we walked on to Hurricane Kate's, and had a delicious lunch, complete with French press coffee.
We were a little disappointed that they didn't include  brown sugar-sugar cubes as they have every other year, but still heavenly

I've been to a lot of knitting shops, but this one seemed a little different, lots of higher end yarns, not super expensive, just nice! I repeat: I've been on a yarn diet, and haven't even felt tempted to buy any yarn for months and month. I started out by picking up a pastel skein of Louisa Harding angora yarn to knit some baby booties for a friend at work who's having a baby, but then I saw a cardigan sweater sample that was too good to pass up; and, of course, I had to buy the suggested yarn to knit it with, soooo, I had a bit of a splurge. Strike that. I had a splurge and a half.

The pattern is called Elegant Empire, and I don't think the picture does the pattern justice.  Hempwol comes in so many pretty colors, and I'm slightly apprehensive about the color I chose, not like blue isn't appealing. I'm just not sure it was the best choice. I would have preferred plum, but they didn't have enough of it. As I was checking out, I saw their  flyer for upcoming knitting workshops. There was man in a photo who looked very familiar. It was Franklin Habit, author of The Panoptican, which I don't read regularly but enjoy when I do. Then I had to do a double-take because the guy helping me looked an awful lot like Franklin Habit. "OMG! Franklin Habit has moved to the North Coast and I'm buying yarn from him!" Glad I didn't say anything stupid, because I suddenly had the realization that middle-aged white women might just think that all bald, gay, yarn-loving guys look alike.The nice man helping me didn't look like Franklin that much after all. Anyway, I think it's very exciting that they're having Franklin Habit come to their store, and I felt just a little more hip for having bought stuff there, and I wish I could be there this fall to take a class.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Last Hurrah

For as long we've had kids, we've always waited until the end of summer vacation to go up to my parents' home in Northern California. The main reason was to make sure that we would be able to go to the Humboldt County Fair at least one time. That tradition has been railroaded, however, by my school schedule, which has been set back a week earlier, so that my first day back at work coincides with the first day of the fair. I see on the website that Guy Fieri will be at the fair on the opening day, which also makes me just a tiny bit sad. He's not my favorite T.V. food personality, but I'd still go see him, and he is from Ferndale, which is kind of cool. (That he's from Ferndale, not  that Ferndale is kind of cool; Ferndale is way cool!)
So, this is our second year of missing the fair, but we're managing to enjoy the North Coast, ha, ha. There are just a few other things to enjoy up here. We had an array of de rigueur activities, but this year we  strayed from tradition and made a stop in Fort Bragg, where my runner partner , Diane and her husband, just happened to be staying there for a week of abalone diving and relaxing with her extended in-laws. We splurged and stayed at a hotel right on the beach and then met Aron and Diane for breakfast at Eggheads in Fort Bragg. It was a tiny place, but really, really good. Russ's egg benedict with tequila lime hollandaise sauce probably took a few years off of his life, but he would say it was worth it. Delicious!

View out our hotel window.

Not great a great picture, but the scenery itself is perfect.
We hadn't been to Fort Bragg with the kids that I can remember. It's 20 miles off of the hwy we take to get to Fortuna--20 miles that takes a good hour to cover. Usually, by the time we get to the turn off for Fort Bragg, we've been driving for nine or ten hours, and have no desire to add onto our time. But, we're glad we did it this time. If you like overcast weather with beautiful coastlines, which we do; it's perfect.