knitting!

Well, hello there.  Two in a row.  Don’t get used to it, that’s all I’ve got to say.

more stripes

Last week, before the cold set in, I had the chance to celebrate Friday with a lovely walk along the South Bank in the sunshine with the GreenPea.  She was a fabulous guide to a part of town I most likely wouldn’t have visited otherwise: pointing out all the interesting sights across bridges, museums, and the throngs of people out enjoying the weather with us.  We finished up with elderflower cordials (also new to me and very yummy) at a cozy bar with flocked wall paper and cushy seats.  It was a wonderful afternoon out.  Thanks, Pea!

more stripes

As you see, despite the afternoons out and about and the cold, I finally managed to photograph a little knitting progress.  As you might also see, conditions were not ideal: it was later in the evening, light was fading, and this apartment — though safe, quiet, convenient, and comfy — has a pronounced lack of blue IKEA tables.  So I went with dim light and a white background.

The photos are decidedly blurry.

more stripes

more stripes

But sweet relief!  I’m almost there … or very, very close to almost there.  What you see is stripe number 14 in progress.  The rows are long and knitting back across the wrap and turn is — I won’t lie — a little tedious at this point.  But I’m close enough to the end that I’m hanging on.

more stripes

And it does indeed look like I’ll have enough yarn for maybe one or two more stripes.  Maybe?  I went with Malabrigo lace (not sock), but on US9 needles — it’s making a really lovely open fabric that is super light and so, so soft.  I kind of want to only use Malabrigo lace for every project from now on forever.  Or something like that.  I can certainly see on or two of those wispy, breezy, lacey cardigans in my future.

stripes!

Finally– greetings from London!  It’s a bit early here and I’m not quite ready to go, but papers (and letters and documents, oh my!)  await!  The library is very swanky, very centrally located, and has pretty comfy chairs.  Their scanner is amazing.  I haven’t ruined anything yet, which is always my fear when working with old stuff.

London is wonderful, though I have seen very very little of it.  Though I do feel master of the few blocks I wander with regularity.

As for knitting, there hasn’t been much to see.  Just a few more stripes …

more stripes

more stripes

I try to fit in a row here and there, at lunch or whenever.  Makes for slow progress.

Part of last week’s wandering brought me to a very packed used book store where I found some very pretty books.  I didn’t realize I had an interest in gardening (or reading about gardening), but one never knows …

pretty books

i think i might be knitting a lakers jersey

That really says it all.

diff'rent strokes

I was thinking that these two colors (sunset and hollyhock) would make a mighty kicky combo.  Turns out, the Lakers hit upon the same idea in 1967.

Ah well.  These stripes are highly addictive — so addictive, in fact, thatI’ve also started the yellow on yellow study (though the photos have yet to turn out).

diff'rent strokes

diff'rent strokes

Good airplane knitting as well.  I plan to keep going and embrace the wild color scheme, while listening to some form of detective fiction (yet to be determined), all the way to London.  Tomorrow I arrive and head straight to the library (!!).  That’s the best case scenario anyway … somehow, I have a feeling I’ll end up wandering a bit aimlessly, get lost, then collapse at the nearest cafe before until heading out to find my host’s apartment.

But I’m telling myself I’ll be working away at the library.  Now, I have to pack.

Inspector Clouseau trousseau; or, vesna in Paris

“Where is my Surété-Scotland-Yard-type mackintosh?”

mais oui

This is no mackintosh, but let’s take a closer look, shall we? …

mais oui

mais oui

Finally, the Inspector Clouseau trousseau meets vesna in Paris is finished!  And not a moment too soon … this has to go in the mail on Monday, so as not to languish in shawl purgatory (i.e., my apartment) until I return.  After all, Alice has shown no interest in making deliveries in the 5 years I’ve known her.  (Though she does faithfully stand sentry over whatever damp wool happens to be pinned out blocking on the floor.)

The shawl had to come together rather quickly — like everything this summer — and I’m quite pleased with the result.  I did have some moments of doubt when working the vesna border, but in the end I don’t think the pairing looks odd at all.  Just that little bit of added something that I was hoping for.

mais oui

I grabbed a moment of sunshine this morning (oh, stormy Nashville) for a few photos.  The sundara silky merino blocked out wonderfully, so silky and soft and very forgiving of any wonky stitches.  In the end, I kinda fell in love with the color: not too pink, a just-right mellow shade of lilac.  I hope the recipient feels the same way.

Details here.

mais oui

And now onto travel knitting!

nope.

Summer is here.  And I have once again confirmed that I am one of those people who does not deal well with changes to routine.  I’m cranky like a fussy baby with a dissertation to write.  Also, it’s hot here.

Let’s just say I’m glad to be leaving next week.  The trip is nerve-racking — so much to accomplish, so little time! — but someone reminded me yesterday evening that it’s supposed to be exciting! and fantastic!  I’m trying to stay with that enthusiasm.  Because it will be awesome.  And nerve-racking.

So, welcome.

nope.

In knitting news, the sunset/ frank ochre stripe study was a bust.  It’s just not right somehow — too much orange, too much contrast, too much bright … something is off.  As Eileen mentioned, “a lot of look” and that pretty much describes it.  Too much look.  So I ripped.

To remedy the problem, I ordered another shade of Malabrigo: sauterne.  This is the look I was going for: yellow on yellow.  And the pattern really is lovely to knit.  So lovely that I bought different lines as well … perfect travel knitting.  Without a doubt.

nope.

nope.

If the yarn arrives in time, of course.

socks and shawls

Thanks to a Friday night spent watching movies — The Mummy Returns, Harlem Nights, and Why Did I Get Married if you’re curious — this guy now almost has a mate.

Almost.

toddler socks

I had to reknit the heel at least three times because of funky stitch counts, foggy memories of what I’d engineered the first time around, and margaritas.  But now I’m really, really good at the yarn-over short row.  (Quite a nice method, methinks.  I prefer the join it makes with the instep stitches — very smooth and invisible thanks to that extra yarn over just begging to be k2tog-ed or ssk-ed into oblivion.)

Anyway, as it turns out, toddler socks are quite a bit more knitting than baby socks.  Amazing how much more work 8 extra stitches and a quite a few extra inches adds.  I’m not complaining, just revising strategy: in the future older siblings will receive a book.

In other news, I’m trying to figure out some travel knitting.  I’ll be gone for a bit more than 5 weeks and am trying to pack as lightly as possible.  So lace seems like the right choice: I’ve already got plans to take along Ms. Beauregarde — currently stuck in an especially boring and repetitive section with about 358 gazillion rows to go — but what else?  Since this is a working trip, complex charts (or, boring charts) might not be the best choice for public transportation or tired evenings.

The current frontrunner is Veera’s Stripe Study because it is both awesome and relatively portable, meditative but hopefully not tediously mindless.  Here’s where I’m getting stuck: color choice.  At first, I thought of grey and yellow … it didn’t look quite right.  So I went for less contrast: yellow on yellow.

hmmm ...

What say you, internets?  Is this just going to make me look like I’m wrapped in a traffic cone?

I feel that there is potential for this to look either deeply awesome or deeply horrible.  The orange would be the contrast stripe on the ochre background, I think: would this be the good kind of obnoxious color overload that I love so much?

The more I look at it, the more I think it just might work.  It would certainly be eye catching …

Alice is not convinced.  Or maybe she is.

Alice agrees.

mash up

Or, the Inspector Clouseau Trousseau meets Vesna in Paris.

inspector clouseau

I don’t know why I’m so married to the French names at the moment — there is nothing actually French about this project.  It’s all feuled by the insistence on a rather silly Pink Panther reference, very far removed from any kind of intrinsic knitting logic.

But isn’t the yarn pretty?

inspector clouseau

At first, I was afraid it would be too too pink.  But I’m mellowing to it … after all, pink is the color of the heart and what is a wedding (or at least this one) if not a matter for hearts?

Besides, it is most certainly also lilac.  And lilacs are lovely.

inspector clouseau

Onto the modifications.

This is solely personal opinion, but I feel that a wedding shawl should have some flair.  It needs to go out with a bang.  Which, in knitting terms, I translate into some kind of fabulous border pattern.  Now, trousseau is a lovely, flowy shawl … without a great punch line.  It’s an all-rounder, not a show pony.

So, I decided to see if I couldn’t put it together with the fantasticly large and swooping border of vesna.  It took a little fancy footwork (and modification down to a 20-stitch repeat), but I think it might just work.

inspector clouseau

Considering that lately I’ve been in the throes of planning an all too last minute research trip (a whirlwind tour of some very nice libraries in very expensive cities), thinking about stitch counts — and not where in the world I’ll find a place to sleep in London — has been quite relaxing.  And now that the sleeping situation has been taken care of … I just have to get the knitting finished in time.

inspector clouseau

gloomy Tuesday

silky

Well, better than a gloomy Sunday, I guess.  And it’s just the rain lending a gloom to this particular Tuesday — a very stormy, humid start to spring here in Nashville.  I’m feeling cheery anyway, since yesterday was my last day of teaching: goodbye intermeidate German!  Hello, dissertation.

Honestly, I’m freaking out a little bit about the prospect of a rather unstructured summer — I still don’t know where I’ll be when, which means I can’t really make any plans — and the amount of work that needs to be done.

Instead of panicking, I’m concentrating on the wedding shawl.

silky

silky

Or, the Inspector Clouseau Trousseau, as I’ve dubbed it.  It’s kinda pink after all.  And according to one especially crushing internet application, one of my celebrity lookalikes is Peter Sellers.  In addition to Elvis Costello, Steven Soderbergh, Larry King, and Yves Saint Laurent.  Without the glasses, it’s Mikhail Baryshnikov.  A superfecta I was sure never to guess.

So I’ve got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

silky

silky

But to get to the knitting.

So far, so good.  The silky merino is knitting up like a silky dream and it looks like the variegated colors will add a bit of interest without overwhelming the lace pattern.  As for the pattern, it promises maximum effect with minimum effort: straightforward and easy to follow, just repetitive enough to memorize easily and just varied enough to keep it interesting.

“Yes, well, life is not all shoot-shoot, bang-bang, you know.”

silky

Time to get to work.  Kurosawa!

i finally bought some coffee.

That’s the good news.  It had been a very sad coffee-less existence around here … all because I was
alternately too busy or too lazy or too reluctant to sit in traffic to get to the grocery store.  So dining hall coffee it was.

Dining hall coffee is not happy coffee.

Rainbow baby sweaters, however, are very happy.

stripes are nice

Very happy, indeed.  I finished up the sleeves last weekend, and now it’s just waiting for blocking and buttons.  The rainbow Boku is so cheery — I just hope the weather doesn’t turn too warm too quickly for this to get at least a little bit of use.

So I should probably get on those buttons.

stripes are nice

stripes are nice

My other project at the moment is a wedding shawl.  I love knitting wedding shawls — and this one looks like it will be no exception.  For a while, I was thinking of going the Rock Island route, but then after some further consideration, I decided that Trousseau was just too perfect to pass up.  I mean, trousseau?  Perfect.

And this Sundara silky merino (in orchid) is beyond magical.  So soft and silky.  And I think the color — pinky lavender purple — will be a nice contrast to the bride’s blue shoes.  Practical lady that she is, the color is also just neutral enough to work with a lot of different wardrobe staples … at least, that’s my hope.

silky magic

silky magic

Finally, we’re obviously a wool-loving household around here.  It still tickles me that Alice loves her kitty Kureyon blanket.  Obviously the perfect spot for a morning bath.

Alice!

And now, time to get back to work.  The semester is almost over and I think I might just make it.  There’s a lot to be done this summer …