Monday, August 27, 2007

ramblings and contest

Time has been slipping through my fingers. My mind is ablaze with the craziness of moving – we’re down to our last week in Vermont now – and I just haven’t been able to settle down enough to post. Accordingly, this post will jump around, but stay with me, because there’s a contest at the end!

The first thing I wanted to post about has to do with mountains and mountain art. Last week, Mountain Man and I celebrated our first anniversary by taking a lovely and strenuous hike up to Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire.

We arrived home from the hike, late in the evening, to find a gorgeous print of the very same ridge waiting on our coffee table. It was my mom’s anniversary gift to us, which she’d fortuitously bought without knowing that we’d be hiking there. It’s by a local artist, Matt Brown, who makes spectacular Japanese-style woodblock prints. Here’s his prints of the ridge (left) and the Lakes of the Clouds trail (right). They really capture the magic and mysticism of this landscape, and I’m so happy to be taking them to Arizona with us.

On the knitting front, I whipped off two tiny projects: a headband and a felted camera case. Both were satisfying because they were quick and used up yarn leftover bits of yarn.

For the headband, I used light worsted alpaca/wool and number 5 needles. I cast on 3 stitches, knit in I-cord for about 8 inches, increased to 5 stitches (k1, m1, k1, m1, k1), knit in garter stitch long enough to wrap from ear to ear, decreased back to 3 stitches (SSK, k1, k2tog), and knit another 8 inches. I tied a square knot at the nape of my neck.

For the double-knit camera case, I used Manos de Uruguay wool and number 6 needles. I cast on 24 stitches. For the main body, every row is just {k1, bring yarn to the front, slip 1, bring yarn to back} across. At the end of the row, turn your work, and do the same row across. It makes a cylinder, 3” wide, closed at the bottom. After 4.5” inches, I divided the work onto two needles, half for the front and half for the back. I cast off all the front stitches (plus one extra stitch on each end from the back needle), leaving me 10 stitches on the back to make a flap. I knit straight for a few rows, then decreased it sharply to a point, with a small buttonhole (K2tog, yo) somewhere in the middle. I sewed in the ends and plunged it into a sink of hot water and shampoo to felt it. And I added one button to the front.

And now the contest. I had two motivations: First, I packed up all my yarn and was truly disturbed by the mass of it all. I thought a contest would be a fun way to give some beloved but unlikely-to-be-knit-anytime-soon yarn to a good home. This soft and shockingly vermillion laceweight wool (from handpaintedyarn, aka the Malabrigo folks) will be the prize:

Second, for the content of the contest, I’m inspired by trying to plan our drive out west (probably up through Canada and down the spine of the Rockies). I’d love to hear YOUR road trip stories. How do you stay entertained on a long drive? What kind of projects do you like to bring along? Where was your favorite destination? How do you plan it – or not?! Leave a story in the comments, and I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday – September 5 – right before we move.


Amy said...

It's worth taking time to pack up your provisions with thought and care. During
a short road-trip through rural Peru, we didn't pass through a single village
for days and only had a handful of Luna bars, a bag of caramels, and an overly
ripe papaya (this was for four people, including two big college guys)! Feeling
hungry definitely detracted from the excitement of the trip.

Alisa said...

Having a road trip is all about two things: good company and kitschy,
entertaining stops. I drove down to Texas with my sister once, and we
had a blast at Graceland, diners, and sketchy roadside motels. There's a great book called "Eccentric America" that can help you find some interesting places.

cinnamint said...

The key is a cool pair of shades. My personal favorites are cat-eyes with white tiger stripes. I think a big black pair with rhinestones might go perfectly with that lace headscarf you modeled a while back! And of course a camera to document the adventure. I'd also encourage you to check the A/C - I was once on a roadtrip down south that was so hot we had to buy some Walmart fans that plugged into the cigarette lighter - which really just pushed the hot air into our faces.

By the way, your doggie is so cute, I'm not sure I want to steal that gorgeous yarn away from her, she looks like she's guarding it!

agent99 said...

Ooooh, I just saw Matt Brown's prints at the Lake Sunapee craft fair earlier this month. For those of you who haven't been (and are anywhere near New England) there are some truly exceptional artists, take a look

As far as road trips, I've only got one experience to share, which involved feeling stuck for very long periods of time in a poorly packed car with a then-boyfriend who couldn't read maps. So my advice would be to make sure you take a long enough time to go across country that you can take lots of breaks to get OUT of the car and explore. And don't force yourself to try to see all the "sites" along the way, it can be entirely too stressful. Part of the beauty of a roadtrip is meandering. Actually, the best thing about his inability to navigate was that we ended up on some pretty cool back roads, which I highly recommend. Halfway through we also invested in a styrofoam cooler that we planted in the back seat - best decision EVER. Stock it with popsicles, iced tea, and frozen grapes and it's all smooth sailing.

Rachael said...

Well, I"m not the best car traveler in the world, I get very antsy, very fast. My advice, is some good audio books you'll both like, music it's fun to sing outloud at the top of your lungs - some 20 questions, the license plate game, and lots of stockinette to knit! Oh & keep your camera in the front seat with you, all sorts of random things pop up that seem picture worthy after you're on the road for a little while.

Have fun with it!! Those prints are beautiful!

Anne said...

My experience is that there are the road trips where you really want to GET WHERE YOU'RE GOING--all interstates all the way--and those with time built in to see things along the way. If you are doing the 2nd kind & belong to AAA, try using their triptiks to get yourselves off the highway for a bit so you can experience some of the country you're going through. I do recommend them anyway because they have the most recent info about road construction etc. If you're leaving next week they probably can't do a custom triptik for you but if you go into an office someone might be able to talk to you about potential trouble spots along the way. We once hit major road closures in Indiana in the middle of the night and have been firm believers in this service ever since. Have fun!

Sheknits said...

I LOVE roadtrips- perfect excuse to do tons'o'knitting. I like to take with too much and especially a variety of things. Think about if it is going to make you motion sick if you need to look at your pattern or your knitting...if it does, take simple or easily memorized patterns. Enjoy your ttrip! Enjoy your knitting!

Rachel said...

Hmmm, I have a lot of road trip stories. The ones of my youth seemed to be dominated by barfing and getting loopy on dramamine with my sister (we were both incredibly prone to car-sickness - I still can't knit in the car, forget about reading). There was the time on Elba in Italy where I was trying to learn how to drive manual on the oldest car in Europe, stalled out in the middle of the road and got pulled over and yelled at at great length (in Italian) by some Italian cops, my wallet had been stolen months before and I never bothered to get a new license, I'm still not sure how I managed to sweet talk my way out of that one.
Anyway, I love NPR for road trips. Music is too boring, audiobooks require a little too much concentration, but weekend NPR is perfect, especially Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk.

Jen C said...

I haven't been on too many road trips by car, but I would say have plenty of snacks and beverages. They're also good for keeping a drowsy driver awake. Get your music playlist togeter, be it ipod or cds. While I haven't made many car trips I have been on extensive bus trips. My problem with knitting on buses or cars is the bouncing will knock stitches off my needles when I least expect it. I do best with mindless knitting such as something plain and in the round. circulars also help keep things compact.

mini-rex said...

There are so many ways to entertain yourselves when traveling long distances. Key for my husband and I was to be totally flexible, sometimes get off of the beaten path. We've taken some long driving trips - a 1325 one way trip to Graceland, where we did not plan any hotel stays except for the night at the Heartbreak Hotel. This allowed us to have some pretty tasty pulled pork in Bucksnort, TN, as well as other interesting stops. The following year, we drove 1500 miles one way to go to Wichita, KS. Destination was the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) convention, where I learned to be a "writer" at one of the judges tables. Another time, we took a quick trip across Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara Falls. Varied stops included a potato museum. All were spur of the moment, and the only reservation was at Niagara, so we could have a room overlooking the Falls. So, be flexible, bring good car snacks that aren't messy (beef jerky, Nutter Butters - no Cheetos!!), some good tunes, or even knitting podcasts on an mp3 player. And, explore!! If you don't get carsick, some basic knitting works well (I just do scarfs). A good book that's not too "heavy" can kill some time too.

That's it from me!


ikkinlala said...

I haven't been on any particularly long road trips. The longest is one I've made regularly - from my home in BC to visit family in Saskatchewan, which in my experience can take anywhere from 11 hours (in a car, when the road conditions are good and you don't hit any construction and the person who's driving tends to speed a bit) to 23 hours (on a bus, if you take the longer-but-cheaper route).

I'm somewhat prone to motion sickness, so if I'm going to knit it has to be something I don't have to look at much. Dishcloths are good. After I got too old to play kids' games but before I learned to knit, my primary form of entertainment was staring out the window. It's a lot of fun in the Rockies, but not so much once you hit flatter ground. I also like to roll the window down and listen to loud music. said...

Hi, I'm a lurker, really enjoy reading about your dyeing experiments - I can't get beyond koolaid myself! I had to comment because I looove handpaintedyarn's products!

My husband and I do a fair bit of roadtripping - most recently Toronto-Stowe-Halifax-PEI-Toronto. My hubby's a compulsive planner so we always have a route laid out and places to stay booked. Usually we camp along the way, but that doesn't work so well for moving...

I usually bring two projects; one that needs dedicated time without distractions, and something simple and mindless. This time I brought a fisherman knit and some dishcloth cotton. We like to play games too; the Minister's Cat and Horses, Cows & Cemeteries (Bury Your Horses)are our current favourites. A wide music selection and snacks are the only other pieces of advice I can offer!