Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When You Actually Knit

I'm not sure if I've mentioned that I've switched back to working full time. It's been good, except that I miss my mid-morning naps (do you think anyone would notice if I napped under my desk?), and my knitting time.

With less time to knit, it feels like I've been working on the same 3 projects forever.

1. Clapotis (for those keeping track at home, this is Clapotis #4, although it's been maybe 5 years since #3)

The yarn is a light (laceweight? light fingering? who knows!), single ply handspun--a mix of seasilk and wool, as I recall. It's the first yarn I ever left as a single, and seems balanced enough for a piece with a tendency to bias anyway. (I have 2 sweaters knit in the round from commercial yarn, and I'm convinced they bias. No one notices but me--I've asked, and let me point out that non-knitters think "Do you see the lines in my sweater? No, not that, that's lace. And that's garter stitch. The vertical lines. Here. All over. See? Do you think they twist? Well, do you think it looks different if I pull it like this?" is a very strange conversation--but it drives me crazy.) I waffled about leaving it as a single, because I didn't spin it meaning to make a single, but I'm glad I did, because I love the stripes!

2. A pink cotton cardigan (imagine a pink cotton rectangle in stockinette stitch, slightly squished by a circular needle). It's basically this sweater, but I think I'm going to add a tiny bit of sleeve, and possibly make the shirred sections a little narrower. There's something a little droopy about some of the versions of the sweaters on Ravelry, and I think it's the result of a tall yoke.

3. A lap blanket for Schaefer Yarns, using 4 different yarn bases in related colorways. After some waffling, it's going to be garter stitch wedges, knit together as you go, in different directions. You'd think it would go quickly--size 10 needles, correspondingly thick yarn--or at least feel like it was moving ahead (I get to change yarns pretty frequently), but because I expected it to feel quick, but haven't really been working on it, it feels slow.

I also have a lurking baby blanket, which I'm making with three friends, but I've decided not to count it, since having more than 3 projects makes me antsy. At the same time, I've been wondering whether the importance of having sock in progress might trump the antsiness of more than 3 projects, but given how little progress I'm already making, I suspect it wouldn't.

I brought the shawl and cardigan to Lake Placid this weekend for my triathlon club's annual training camp (in which people do as much or as little of the LP Ironman course as they want to, over the course of a weekend) and made all kinds of progress in between workouts and on the drive back. Amazing how knitting progresses when you actually knit!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I've been conducting a scientific study (sample size = 1), and it turns out that no matter how much you ignore it, your blog will not blog itself.

You, however, will generate a lot of content. Kevin and I went to the UK--the first time I've been there, outside of a layover at Heathrow (which predisposed me to like the entire country--there was air conditioning, potable tap water, and chocolate. What more does a country need?).

Kevin had a meeting at the University of Hull, so we flew to London, spent about 2 days there, then went to Hull for 3.5 days, then went to West Yorkshire (or possibly just western Yorkshire... given what a time we had navigating I don't want to make any firm statements about what might or might not be West Yorkshire) for 2 days, then drove up to Glasgow to fly home.

We did squeeze a lot in though. In London, we went on a running tour along the Thames (alarmingly, I nearly just typed Seine), ending up in time to watch the start of the Bupa 10K race, which is the UK championship at that distance.

We also marveled at the view from our hotel window:

(It turned out that with some roads closed for the race, buses were diverted past our hotel.)

I managed not to take any pictures in Hull, but I visited some interesting museums while we were there (even though people kept saying "oh... Hull..." in much the same tone they say "oh... New Haven..."). Hull was a big center for fishing, so there was a retired trawler with tours by former fishermen (who told the story about identifying bodies that washed ashore based on the cable design in their sweaters). And there was an endearing city museum with a cool display of historic sketches of the city paired with new photos taken from the same spot. Since I work in a museum-adjacent field, and spend a fair amount of time working with staff and volunteers of local history collections, I'm easily amused by slightly threadbare local museums (sadly, this does not extend to art museums, because I'm an uncultured barbarian). Plus they were free.

I took a bus out into the countryside one day to visit Burton Constable Hall, an country estate that's now partially open to the public (the family still live in one wing).

The name Burton Constable had seemed vaguely familiar, and when I got there the guidebook reminded me why: there used to be a whale skeleton there which Herman Melville visited when he was researching Moby Dick. I was briefly excited to see the skeleton, but it's been moved. Indoors, I hope, as it was outside when Melville saw it.

Then we had a series of mishaps--beginning with needing to buy a GPS/sat nav because the rental car we'd reserved turned out not to have one, including a visit to the right street address in the wrong city in a failed attempt to visit a yarn and fiber store, and ending with managing to find our guesthouse, despite not being 100% sure what town it was in... but we knew it was near a school!--which took us to Grassington (or possibly Threshfield) for the Wharfedale Half Marathon. (The important thing to see there is the elevation map, especially that gentle uphill slope between miles 5 and 7. And remember how much I hate hills.)

I lived through the race and I bought some celebratory yarn (from unusual breeds of local sheep!), we had some dinner, then drove further north in the direction of Glasgow.

On the last morning, we stopped at Hadrian's Wall for an embarrassingly short time, and made it to the Glasgow Airport (with only one unplanned visit to the wrong airport, Glasgow-Prestwick International Airport... handy tip, if you're trying to figure out which airport to go to with no information: if the airport says "International" right in the name, do not overlook the possibility that the airport PR people are trying to make it sound more impressive than it is).

We flew on Iceland Air, and stopped in Reykjavik (ok, Keflavik) in both directions. On the way back I realized why getting married in Iceland was such a great idea:

Knitting magazines in the airport.