Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

The trend of knitting shawlettes continues...and this time I even designed one and published the pattern on Ravelry.

So last one first: Winterberry Shawlette

This is available on Ravelry.

Before that, I also knit Skywaves.

This is made of lovely camel and silk and is really great to wrap around your neck.

And I made Garter Love, from the Sock Yarn Shawls book.

And I still wasn't done! From the same book, I made Timpani.

And now I'm chugging away on Citron, which has been in my queue forever.

So let's just say that my neck will be nice and warm.

Sadly, my feet will be chilly--two pairs of socks developed hole sin the bottom of the heels, including one pair that is only 2 months old. 100% for socks? I hate you!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Even here in California, October feels a little like a turning point. School is in full swing, and rain becomes a possibility. The urge to knit grows stronger.

Here's what I've been knitting:

The yarn is fingering weight, 100% mink! Yes, mink. It is lovely and soft, and is somehow sheared from the minks without harming them, and spun into a beautiful yarn. The pattern is Herringbone, and it is the simplest of lace, with only 2 rows to the instructions. But it has all the qualities that tend to drive me crazy--simply a rectangle, so once you cast on and start, every inch is exactly the same as every previous inch, and a scarf is a lot of inches! Plus, although the pattern is very simple, it's not completely mindless, so i kept making mistakes and having to frog it. I finally put stitch markers in, and although I had to move them on every other row, since the stitch count changes, that was still faster than mistakes!

It turned out lovely, and I will be giving it to a person who did me a big favor.

I also made these beauties:

This was my first time trying mosaic knitting, which is a kind of magic whereby you create detailed patterns while only ever using one yarn at a time. They're called Ugly Duckling Socks, since they turn ugly yarn into something much prettier.

On the needles at the moment are two shawls: Skywave and Garter Love. Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Family Road Trip

We decided to take what may be one last family vacation, before Kristen starts business school. Our plan worked out better than we dared imagine. With an 11-year-old car, we weren't sure it would be safe to drive through so much desolation, and first thought about renting a car or flying part of the way, but finances finally dictated otherwise, so with an oil change and 2 new tires, we set out.

Day 1: Drive from LA to Las Vegas. The road there is mostly sheer nothingness--no people, no trees, no interesting rock formations, just nothing. And then suddenly, Las Vegas!  It was as tacky as we expected, and gambling doesn't really seem like fun and it's kind of intimidating to a beginner, so we only lost about $50, and called it a day. I did order my first martini! (I've led a sheltered life.) And the rooms there are crazy cheap.

Day 2: Long drive--Las Vegas, across all of Utah, and into Colorado, to Grand Junction. Amazing scenery the whole way. Grand Junction is a kind of Shangri-la, a town of artsy shops and sophisticated restaurants in the middle of nowhere. We ate Nepali food there!

Day 3: Begin re-tracing our steps homeward, at a slower pace, with stops to see national parks. Colorado National Monument is far more interesting than the name implies. Utah Route 128, a scenic byway, was phenomenal, more picturesque than many national parks I've seen. We stopped for lunch at Red Cliffs Lodge and also got some wine at the winery (Castle Creek Winery). Boatloads of raft-ers were also having lunch there, as the road follows right alongside the Colorado River. Then Arches National Park, where you can't actually see many arches from the road, and we are not hikers. But still, some beautiful sights.

Day 4: Spent the night in Richfield, Utah, and drove to Boulder, Nevada. Drove through  Bryce Canyon National Park, which has rock formations called hoodoos, that look like they must be ancient weathered human statues,  and Zion National Park, one of the most amazing roads--a mile long tunnel through the middle of a high mountain, with occasional windows where you can catch a glimpse of vistas out the side, and then you are out in a canyon surrounded by enormous red mountains everywhere. Then on to Boulder City, Nevada.

Day 5: Boulder City is right next to the Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel, now overlooked by a bridge named for Pat Tillman that connects the NAFTA road from Mexico to Canada.
And then home, 1800 miles in all, and the only traffic jams were on isolated stretches of road not far from Las Vegas, for no apparent reason. It was a wonderful experience, and this is an amazing country!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Garter Stitch Forever!

I didn't like garter stitch at first, but it's growing on me! Especially with pretty yarns. And none of that darned rolling to try to counter-act.

How many shawls does a person in Southern California need, anyhow? I don't know, but I enjoy making them.

The first is Savina, alternating two rows of a solid dark blue and 4 rows of a yarn that has long stretches of light blue to dark blue.  (Called gradient yarn. from Knitcircus.)

And this is Wingspan knit with a single skein of sock yarn from Twist, called Zauberball.

After all that garter stitch and neck wrapping, I cast on 550 or more stitches to begin a sweater called Coat of Many Colors, but after 7 rows of 550+ stitches, I found that I had a twist in the cast on.

I was so disheartened that I had to put that project in a time-out, and I started yet one more garter stitch shawl, this one done with a cast on of just 4 stitches! It's my own pattern, Deep Blue Seas Shawl, but the colors are shadings of light green and purple. So rather than the deep blue seas, I like to think it will look like fields of lavender in Provence....maybe?

My Coat of Many Colors will in fact only have browns and black, and it will have to wait till fall to re-enter the line-up. Really, it was never meant to be summer knitting!

I might go for some actual lace next. Or maybe just more garter stitch....I do have a couple more balls of nice sock yarn that need to be a simple shawl....

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Things We Knit

I have been knitting a lot of items that consist of either lots of stockinette or lots of garter stitch. Very restful, or possibly just boring. But detailed things can only be done under just the right circumstances.

Well, all right, let's start with the lacy bits. A February Baby Sweater for Katie's baby (Emily Paige Elwell-Thomas, born Saturday, May 10, 2013.)

And here's Emily herself in the Greenleaf Hat I designed and knit.

And a cowl for myself.

Gingko shawlette

And then the time-sucks...an alpaca garter-stitch shawl

My favorite sweater yet, Swing Pullover, also in alpaca
 A sort of kimono-style in mohair, silk and linen paper!
And Vitamin D.

And I am currently working on Wingspan.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


No, we don't have real winter in Los Angeles. But I take a trip to *visit* winter almost every year. So here are some images of winter in central Maine.

The fuzzy-looking ones are not due to bad photography--they're due to snow.