Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cliff Dweller Chalk Bag

I don't know how many other knitter-climbers there are in the world ... but this pattern's for you! It's a densely cabled chalk bag, inspired by the sinuously layered sandstone spires of Sedona.

It has a rigid rim, constructed by sewing in a circle of tubing underneath a turned hem.

And a fleece lining, which closes snugly with a hidden internal drawstring. You can see it pinned in here, in preparation for the hand-sewing (basic, I promise!). Makes it a great bag for carrying anything small and precious.

The hemp-blend yarn is pretty tough-wearing, especially when knit up at such a tight and sturdy gauge, though I still probably wouldn't take it into any crazy off-width granite action! :)

The pattern has both charted and written knitting directions, with a detailed tutorial (lots of photos!) to walk you through the sewing and construction.

For more details or to buy the pattern, check out its Ravelry page:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

collection of colors

Colors collected on a weekend trip to Northern Arizona ...

Red rocks of Sedona, reflected in Oak Creek

Cathedral Rocks at sunset, with shadow of a tree

Golden sunset over Oak Creek

The Grand Canyon.

Such a breathtaking landscape, in color and texture. Happy to be here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

white lotus shawl

Delicious yarn, copious knitting time, and a desire to finish a pattern (inspired largely by all your lovely comments!) meant that I was able to knit, knit like the wind, and finish the second lotus shawl.

Do you like the lace stitch that I used for the body of the shawl? I wanted to find patterns that would evoke different elements of a lotus pond. For the first one, I picked a subtle wave pattern. For this one, I was trying to create a sense of lotus pods. I played around with different eyelet arrangements until I found one that popped the way I wanted.

I tried out a different fiber and texture, too. This one is knit in the heavenly woolen-spun laceweight cormo from the Elsa Wool Company, which I picked up at the Taos Wool Festival a couple of years ago.

As much as I love the drape and luster of the silk-wool yarn, I think that this bouncy, lightweight wool shows off the lotus flowers even better. It has a lot of energy to it.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

red rocks & chalk bag

I finished my secret red Sedona project. Want to see?

Ha, it's probably still a mystery to most folks!

It's a chalk bag, made to hold the chalk that rock climbers use to dust their fingers. The bag has a rigid opening so that your hand can easily find the way in and a drawstring closing the lining so that your chalk doesn't fall out when you're not using it.

I took careful notes and careful progress photos. Pattern to come someday ...

Friday, August 12, 2011


I have been in heaven. Sedona. Land of red rocks and rainbows.

Studying sandstone. Textural input.

Knitting cables. Textural output.

Lovely, lovely. A landscape to nourish the soul.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Lavender Lotus Shawl

I finally finished my shawl. Finished it on the long drive back to Phoenix, bound off in time to photograph in the backyard in the late, low-angle setting sun.

There's always a slightly disheartening moment when you bind off , trembling with excitement, and see how sad and crumpled those stitches look before blocking. The waves look like awkward puckers. The lotus blossoms, still yet to bloom.

I gave it a quick soak and pinned it out on a cotton rug that I'd pulled onto the grass. (The curious kitty cat needed to come and check it out. It's cat fashion to walk all over whatever it is you're paying attention to, naturally.)

And at the end of such a long journey with a project -- yarn purchased five years ago for my wedding shawl and naturally dyed when I was still living in Vermont, project sketched out over the past year when I passed time in boring meetings, knitting done on plane rides and climbing trips from one coast to another -- what a relief it is to unpin it and see that it's all come together!

I'm especially delighted by how the flowers bloomed so gloriously. The magic of blocking.

Plan is to knit up a slight variation, probably in a lightweight wool, and then to write up the pattern. Hopefully I'll have it out by the fall, though you know that probably means winter ... heh heh ...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

granite and silk

After my knittingless backpacking trip to the Sierra, I was briefly back in Phoenix, and then it was back to Southern California, retracing my tracks across the Mohave on I-10, this time for a very knittingful climbing trip !

Here we are, reclining in the shade -- him resting, me knitting -- after a hot and sunny climb up to the summit of Tahquitz.

Nothing as lovely and peaceful as sitting in the shade of a pine tree, muscles well worked, and getting in a few rows of lace knitting.

I love the incongruity of these textures. The roughness of the granite against the lovely, luxe softness of the silk-merino yarn ....

The yarn, by the way, is a fingering weight silk/wool from Henry's Attic (used to be called "Silk and Ivory"). I dyed it with cochineal waaay back in 2007. It was one of my early natural dyeing experiments, back when I was living in Vermont. How time flies!