Saturday, August 31, 2013

round white blanket

Knitting projects are of utmost importance when packing for a journey.  In fact, I used to keep a category on my blog ("travelogue") devoted to travel knitting.  I knit socks in India, a shawl in Bhutan, socks in Taos, a scarf in Nepal. For our southwestern road trip this summer, it was a circular blanket in cream Malabrigo. 

This blanket -- which is of my own design -- starts in the center with eight stitches and increases as you knit outwards. The center stockinette body is knit in the round.  The outer lace edging is knit back and forth and then sewn together. This seam is what makes it look "seamless," actually, in the sense that there's no jog in the lace fabric.  So this is what it looks like when it comes off the needles ...

And this is what it looks like when it's sewn together and given a sturdy wet blocking.  It's on the floor with my toes for scale ... though the photo at the top really shows it much better. It's a generous lap blanket

This blanket may look familiar if you're a long-time reader of my blog with an abnormally keen memory.  Back in 2010, I knit the first version of this blanket in sportweight cotton. That took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to knit.  Truth be told, I knit it as a baby blanket for a friend of mine and then kept it because I'd spent so many hours on it.  I thought I wanted to wrap my own baby in it someday. Nevermind that my dissertation turned out to be the only baby on the way! 

Anyways, that's the sportweight cotton one on the right and the worsted wool one on the left.  Both beautiful.  The sportweight one is crisp and fine, the worsted one is lush and warm and quicker to knit. I love them both. 

I still dream of getting the pattern out someday ... but apparently I've been thinking of that since 2010 so don't hold your breath!  If anyone wants to test knit something, let me know.  Might help me get it out faster. 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

summer roadtrip to remember

How fast the summer is slipping past.  It seems like just last week that I was beginning my exhausted, end-of-the-semester exhale and looking forward to recuperation. But in fact that was a couple of months ago. Where have the summer months gone?  Disappeared in the blink of an eye.

It hasn't been nearly as relaxing as I'd hoped. But one thing I do want to remember is the June roadtrip that Mountain Man and I took through the four corners area.  We headed north out of Phoenix, up past Flagstaff ....

Watched the late afternoon light play across Monument Valley. Sun-baked. Surreally beautiful. 

And camped that first night in the Goosenecks State Park in Utah.  As the sun went down, the desert cooled off.  It was a glorious place to sit with a glass of wine, letting the relaxation of vacation sink in.

From there we headed further north in Utah for a brief bit of climbing in Indian Creek and camping outside of Canyonlands state park. But it was HOT. Too hot to enjoy ourselves. So we tossed our plans aside and headed east into Colorado.  Stopped en route to see Mesa Verde, which was absolutely incredible ...

And then wound our way up to Telluride. We spent almost a week there, rejoicing in the cool mountain air and spending our days on the hiking trails.  I really fell for Telluride.

So did Isis.  She was in heaven, really.  Rolling in the snow, chasing marmots, and curling up in camp at night.

When the vacation days were winding down, we got back on the road. Spent a couple of days exploring Ouray and Silverton, then kept on southward into New Mexico.  Our last real destination was Chaco Canyon.

What a long, dusty, dirt road to reach it.  We arrived in the late afternoon feeling parched and tired. Pitched our tent in the campground, filled our water jugs at the visitor center, and went off to explore the ruins. We were not disappointed!  It was magical. The drive through the canyon was beautiful, with the afternoon light casting long, warm shadows, and the ruins were stunning against the rock cliffs.

The next day was our last day, with a long drive back into the Arizona low desert.  We made one stop along the way at Shiprock -- which I'd seen from an airplane several years earlier and had been wanting to see in person -- but didn't stick around long.  It was thoroughly unhospitable. Beating sun. Broken glass everywhere. Only sound was an old beer can being blown across the sandy earth. We clambered up to the dike for a better view and then hightailed it out of there.