Friday, August 31, 2007

On Hold

Because of the incredible waves Ravelry is making, and because I did not have the foresight to see that it is going to change the world of knitting as we know it (there are 11352 people in front of me on the waiting list), I am putting my knitting blogs research on hold. The social networking aspect of Ravelry is going to become the primary networking and community building space for all knit bloggers very soon. The interest that it has generated and the groups that have already formed is incredible. I'd hate to do all this research on blogs only to have another community forming right under my nose.

If I felt like I had the time, I'd contact the Ravelry folks and talk to them about the phenomenon they have created. That would be the cutting-edge research I should be thinking of conducting. But with all my life changes and preparations for those changes (like moving in a month, packing, selling my condo, starting a job, finishing the fieldwork I'm currently doing, buying a car, learning to live in the desert, and so on), I just don't have the time to be at the forefront of research.

Thank you to everyone who answered my questions. I will save them for when I get back to this research. I am so grateful to you for taking the time to participate. I may not have started a blog of my own if it weren't for the research, and now blogging has become an important part of my knitting. I am so pleased to have made some blog friends and to feel a part of this community. I am especially thankful to those of you who have included my blog on their reading list, and I'm glad I've added so many interesting blogs to my reading list. Thank you.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Birthday Bench

I'm back in Chicago. Only one month before I head to Nevada. I'm giving away some of my furniture tonight, including my bed. It's going to be a long month.

Here are a few pictures from my latest UP trip. It was a great time. We hiked at Pictured Rocks, ate delicious food--including Jilberts ice cream every day, and enjoyed the views. I finished a pair of socks for one friend and started another pair for the other friend. They are both quite happy with the socks. I'll post a picture of the second pair when I've finished the second sock (it's cast on, to avoid Second Sock Syndrome, and I'm just past the toe).

These were done toe-up in Fortissima Cotton with a 2x2 rib cuff. I had plenty of yarn left over--I probably could have made knee highs.

This is a view of Miner's Castle, at Pictured Rocks.

This is the bench that I built with one of my friends. We did this on my birthday so I'm calling it the Birthday Bench, though I'll be the only one who does.

We built the bench to protect the trees to the left of this picture. They block the view of the lake from one of the sleeping cabins, so we figured a bench with a view might protect the trees from the chainsaw.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Campfire Stories

For the last time this summer, I'm headed to the UP. This is my annual UP trip. I'm delighted to be able to do this so easily this year, and to have been in the UP so much this summer. I'm looking forward to spending my birthday with people I love, in the woods.

I've been thinking a lot about my parents. My mom seems to be watching over my shoulder all the time these days, and I'm dreaming of her often. I've had to make some hard decisions lately, ones that require moving across country, to Nevada, and selling my condo. It's all been a little easier when I think about the support that my parents always gave during times like these. I'll be celebrating and thanking them on my birthday, in the woods.

Every summer our family vacation was spent camping in the UP. We had a favorite campground that had a lot of trees and dunes and was right on Lake Michigan. On the drive up we would watch for hawks and eagles, and my dad was always so quick to spot them, leaning over the steering wheel, looking up instead of at the road. We'd always stop and eat at the Pizza Hut in St. Ignace, and then we'd swim where the highway runs along the lake. At some point in the trip we'd head up to Seney, to see more birds. I can remember exploring the woods and dunes with my sister, eating steak and onions (pre-vegetarian days, obviously) that my dad had made over the fire, and swimming longer than my sister because she always got cold. Just so I could stay in, my mom would stay in the water, floating on a tube, reading. The waves always seemed so big.

After my parents died, we siblings talked a lot about where this campground was. None of us could remember exactly where it was, though Stefan was almost right (there, I said it). It was special to all of us, mostly because my parents took us there, but also because it's a special place.

On my trip in July, Dan was kind enough to explore the various beaches along route 2 on our way to the Lower Peninsula. We explored a few that just weren't right. I remembered what the road into the campground looked like, I remembered what the campsites were like (even though it was car camping, there was a lot of privacy because of the trees and dunes), and I remembered the beach exactly. I was sure we'd missed it, that we were too close to the bridge, but Dan suggested we try one last spot. I cried the moment we pulled in to the park. My heart just knew it was the place we'd lost.

This is the beach where we used to go as a family.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Last FO

I'm on to longer projects. I've got socks on the needles (though, frankly, I'm getting a bit bored with socks) and a unique masterpiece in my mind and swatched. I need a nice, lacy edge with dramatic points that I can pick up from a provisional cast on and work down to the points. It should have a leaf theme. Any suggestions will be helpful. My pattern books just aren't giving the inspiration I need. At any rate, I'm going to be in WIP mode for some time, unless something quick screams at me with desperation I can't refuse. I'm going to try and stick to these two projects until they are both at least three-quarters finished.

To get in the lace mood, and to prove I could work a yarn over in the right place every time, I made the Everlasting Bagstopper from Knitty. It's for Dan, of course. It was quick (and it screamed at me with desperation). I'm still not sure I love the stretchy garter stitch bottom (wouldn't a seed stitch have been sturdier?), and I did ten rounds of stockinette at the top instead of garter by happy mistake. The hemp didn't hurt my hands much and the color--Deep Sea--is great. I used some heavy woven trim for the straps. I left off the drawstring. I love it. I feel accomplished, even with the one mistake. There's nothing about this bag that was wrong. Finally. I needed to feel good about knitting again, especially since I've got a masterpiece in the queue (yes, it's secret. This is the last I'll mention it, I promise).

Empty bag

Bag full of two books and approximately fifteen balls of yarn

Tomorrow I'm headed to the Great Lakes Folk Festival. Folk festivals are always a good time, so come on by East Lansing if you can.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


One more FO for your viewing pleasure. This doll is for Renée's first birthday, which is long past. I didn't want to rush so the doll would be perfect. Of course, as is typical with my knitting, there are a couple things that are just a little wonky. The heart is a little lopsided and one of the arms turns back in a funny way.

The doll is from Kath Dalmeny's World of Knitted Toys. I only used stash yarn, which is why the doll color isn't ideal (though it's quite hard to find an appropriate doll color in today's yarns).

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Nothing like a February Sweater to make it through the hottest days of summer.

This is for a friend who is due in August. She's a knitter and will surely see my obvious mistakes. I'm hoping she understands that I'd already finished the sleeves--they were cumbersome but I got the lace right--and could not, would not go back and rip it all out. I hope she sees it as an improvement in my lace knitting skills. The bottom of the sweater is perfect. Except that I forgot to put in button holes, so this will only button at the top, along the garter section. I think it will be cute with the right buttons.

Bad lace section

Good lace section

By the way, I followed the advice at Brooklyn Tweed so my sweater was absolutely seamless. Now if I could only get my pictures to look as good as his.

I loved the yarn, O-Wool Balance. There were a few twigs and things, but they were easily picked out. I had about a foot of yarn left over from two skeins after weaving in the ends. I used a size 7 needle to get gauge, so the sweater was a quick knit. The Options needles were great for this, since they have pointy tips. Getting into those SSKs was a lot harder with the Addis I used for the sleeves.

I have one more skein of this yarn in purple. I may pick up another and see if I can't get the lace pattern right yet.