Monday, March 31, 2008

A Visit to the Forest

Mountain Man and I went up to Flagstaff last weekend. It was breathtaking, both figuratively (the mountain scenery is gorgeous) and literally (we hiked to 9000 feet!).

I brought along a hat I recently finished, a delicately striped cap that's meant to evoke tree rings. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas sportweight in two of their natural browns. It's knit in the round using a nifty little technique so that the stripes match up without jogs.

We spent Saturday rock climbing and Sunday hiking, and we came home happy and well-exercised. Isis was probably the happiest of us all - I wish I had a photo of her bounding along the trail and rolling in the snow. She finally got a taste of winter! But all I have is a photo of us on the hike, with me doing my best to smile in the intense wind and Isis intent on the next adventure:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Here's a precious little something to "awww..." about:

The patterns are Lacy Bonnet, from Knitting for Two, and Saartje's Booties. I love these patterns. They feel fancy and girly, but they're also quick and uncomplicated to knit. I used this combination for the white set with hearts, and I will probably come back to it again, although I have my doubts about the appeal of tie-under-the-neck bonnets compared to caps. (Any thoughts from moms or dads out there?)

The tie of the bonnet is a lovely silk ribbon. The yarn is a soft and bouncy worsted merino (label fell off) that I kettle dyed with cochineal last summer. It really, truly is the shocking pink that you see in the picture. I loved it all so much I almost didn't want to send it off to the intended baby!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

feeling springy!

Blogging from Connecticut now, courtesy of free airport wireless (yay!).

I came back East on a last minute trip this week. I was feeling nostalgic for familiar people and places -- it was just my birthday on St. Patrick's Day -- and it was also time to reconnect with graduate school.

It was super to be home!! Here I am in my parents' garden, enjoying the hopeful sunlight and cool freshness of a New England spring.

You can see that I brought my Forecast along for the visit, and I was also wearing my birthday present to myself: a Perl Grey stick pin via One Planet Yarn & Fibers.

I spent a few days in Cambridge before I came down to Connecticut. I had the grand fortune of having a cup of tea with Ellen of Knit Sisters. No photo, alas.

But I do have a photo of some excellent yarn that my friend Gustavo (inspiration for the Cambridge Watchcap, author of the Dinner Bell food blog) brought for me from South America. He's been in Paraguay all year for his PhD research, though I think this particular yarn came from Chile.

It's soft, handspun, and beautifully colored: soft, mossy green with flecks of gold. Perfectly coordinates with the andromeda shrub :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

camping with yarn

I spent a couple of days this week camping, hiking, and birdwatching with a dear friend. We were primarily in Madera Canyon, a birdwatching hotspot south of Tucson. It's at reasonably high elevation, so it's forested, cool, even a bit snowy in places. Such a breath of fresh air!

I mostly was just getting in a few rows by the campfire in the evenings (all my yarn has a woodsmoke aroma now!). The last morning, though, I let my friend go on a birding walk alone, and I took the hour by a pond to just listen to the morning birds and catch up on some fiber arts. Here's what my backpack looked like:

The pink is a new hat I'm working on in Nature's Palette organic worsted wool, colorway 'Owl's Clover.' The camel-colored fiber is a lovely, straight-off-the-animal alpaca fleece that I got from a local alpaca farm. I'm spinning it up into a fingering-weight 2 ply on that there spindle.

The hat was meditative. Stockinette stitch in the round. I don't even have to look at it while I knit, so it was the perfect accompaniment to bird-watching...

Monday, March 10, 2008

impulsive knits

Isis (our doggie) and I go on nice, long walks every day. When we go up into the desert, we pack a backpack with water, doggie bowl, and biscuits. When we walk in our neighborhood, though, all I need is a little pouch for cell phone, ipod, and keys. I realized the other day that I didn't have such a pouch. It's always such a delight when you get ignore your ten other WIPs and instantaneously cast on for a little, easily finishable project.

I started it at the Stitch & Bitch last Thursday, where I talked so much and was so indecisive about which stitch pattern to use that I hardly made progress. But it was quick to finish the next day. Basically, I knit a long, thin rectangle and then picked up three stitches on the side. I knit a strip of garter stitch perpendicular to the main rectangle, picking up other side stitches as I went. This forced the rectangle to turn into 3-D, with a bottom of 3 stitches' width. I knit a garter stitch strap, and then when it was long enough, I attached it to the other side of the rectangle in the same manner.

I don't know if my off-the-cuff description makes sense. Sometime I may make another pouch with some improvements and post the pattern here.

It's soft and stretchy, knit in SWTC's 'Craft,' which is an organic cotton and milk protein (!!) mix. And I knit another kerchief to match. I brought it along rock climbing yesterday, and it was perfect for keeping my hair out of my eyes.

Whee! Impulse knits are good for the soul!