Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cape Cod Vacation: Part II

Lots more fun was to be had during our vacation to Cape Cod!  If you missed the first part, go here.

Of course there was more eating…017 018

Mmmmm…..Arnold’s in Eastham.  Great fishwich’s, crabcake sandwiches and onion rings.  (We went here twice….)

We also took a bike ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail:photo (9)

Another day was a drive up to the very tip of Cape Cod, Race Point.  Gorgeous views: 039  046

We also went to the Wellfleet Drive-In!  So fun.  A double feature for only $9 each.  Of course, me being my usual hyper-about-getting-to the-movies-and-getting-a-good-seat-but-in-this-case-parking-spot self, I insisted we get there before the 7:00 box-office opening time (movie started at 7:50).  We got there at ten minutes to 7:00 and they were already letting people in.  So, of course I panicked more, thinking everyone else but us knew this and now there would be no good spots.  However, we spoke to the nice parking attendant who told us where the best place to park was, and we got a great spot!  The weather was nice, we brought sandwiches for dinner, and knitting of course, for while we waited:035

And the movies were funny:  We’re The Millers and The Heat.

So, that’s my Ecuador sweater that I mentioned starting in my last post.   Except you can’t really see it because it was getting dark and it’s curling up.  So here is a pinned out, further along version:013

This picture makes the colors look more stark and contrasting than I think it looks in real life.  And I know, it looks weird.  It is a very interesting construction.  The rectangle is the “back”, which actually is the upper back.   The part sticking out of the top is actually the left front.  Stay tuned.

The next day, there was a flea market at the drive-in, which we of course attended and of course did not leave empty-handed:075

1950’s step stool: $10    books: $8      socks: $5      paintbrushes: $1

And every day we went here:069

Every.  Day.  For my favorite Dirt Bombs (a plain donut tasting muffin, dipped in butter, then cinnamon/sugar ---- o.m.g.) and a danish for Paul.  Yes, the last post had a place for breakfast that we went to (twice) which would imply that some days we had two breakfasts, since we went to this bakery every day.  Not really.  Sometimes these were for breakfast dessert (or you may call it a midmorning snack) and sometimes they were for dinner dessert.   Everything at this bakery is yummy.  Everything.

You are probably saying, “You went to Cape Cod. Did you even go to the beach????”  We did.  On the morning we left.  We rode our bikes and sat with no one else there:056

Watched the waves:060

Looked for rocks and shells for our shelf at home:055 067

(You may now be saying, “Hey, that looks like Liz’s blocking towel." And you would be right.)

…and took the obligatory you-stand-in-front-of-the-pretty-water-and-clouds picture:


It was a great vacation…

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cape Cod Vacation: Part I

Our last vacation of the summer, we were off to Cape Cod for four days.  We crammed in a lot of activities  - which is why this is in two parts - and took a lot of naps.  Who knew we’d have time for naps?

Ok, but first, before we left, we had the usual hour-long how-the-heck-do-we-get-these-bikes-on-the-bike-rack session.  Ugh.  So frustrating.  We use the bike rack once or twice a year and we can NEVER remember how we did it.  Which bike went on first?  In which direction?  What position does the bike rack go in? Why is this pedal hitting the car?  It didn’t hit before.  How many bungee cords did we use? Where is the key to the bike lock?  Well, after this year’s hour-long session, Paul got smart and took a picture!  Then when we came home?


Easy peasy.

On the ride to the Cape there was, of course, knitting.  I worked on my basic socks (with my newly awesome knitting needle obsessions: Knitter’s Pride Karbonz) and got to the heel on both:


Next up for these is the new-to-me Sweet Tomato Heel, a short row heel designed by Cat Bordhi.  That was it for exciting stuff on the drive.

We had a gorgeous view from 2 sides of our room.


And from the deck outside of our room:


Where we sat and read and knit and had beverages:


We walked a lot.  And what do you know? One of the walks ended at A Stitch in Thyme Yarn Shop!  I’ve been there before and already had it in my mind that I wanted to go there to get some fingering weight yarn to start a new project (shocker), Ecuador, which is a swingy, drapey, sorta lacey, short sleeve cardi-type thing (click on that link to see the pattern picture).  So, I found this:


You’ll see my progress on it in the next post.  Ha!  How’s that for a hook to get you to read the next post?

Another one of our walks was to Rock Harbor and we walked out on “the flats” at low tide.  First, here is a picture at high tide:

049 050

And at low tide:


And we walked waaaaaaaaaay out there.  Here is the view looking back from where we went:


And this one is even further out – so far that we got to where the ocean actually started again:


On the way out we saw:

Thos things in the lower right corner are things that grow oysters.  They can only be checked on/harvested at low tide!  At high tide they are under many feet of water.

Oh, and there was breakfast:


The yummiest corned beef hash eggs benedict:


I kept it healthy with the fruit instead of hash browns.  (Ha!)  I’ve been on a benedict kick lately.  I also had eggs benedict on a cheesey bacon biscuit.  O.M.G.

Enough pretty pictures for today?  The rest of the trip will be in the next post.  You know you want to see how my Ecuador is coming…. (it’s actually not that far along, but don’t you want to see how that yarn is knitting up?)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What the Heck is a Fourchette?

I was knitting my Treads (free pattern on Ravelry!) and got to the semi-fingers when the pattern said to cast on 3 fourchette stitches.  What the heck is a fourchette???!?  Actually, let me back up.  I got to the semi-fingers and, dreading the tediousness of this part of the glove, put it down for a while.  I have avoided knitting gloves or tipless gloves for a very long time, because I thought that knitting the fingers would take forever and be very fussy.  And....I was partially right.  It is very fussy.  But it didn't take forever.  Probably because they are tipless gloves and only four rows high.

Back to what the heck is a fourchette???..... Apparently, in addition being the French word for "fork" and a part of the female anatomy, fourchettes are also the stitches that bridge the front and back of the glove at the finger, and are very easily created by using the backwards loop cast on.

Here is the glove with a couple of fingers done:

And here are a couple of pictures of the fourchettes:

 Each finger has between 11 and 17 stitches - different for each finger; who knew? - and involved making fourchettes as well as picking up stitches from the fourchettes of the previous finger.  UGH.  VERY fussy.

HOWEVER.  I love how it turned out:
Love the design.  Love how they fit.  Love the snugness of each of the fingers. LOVE!
In addition, knitting all of the fingers and the thumb took about an hour and a half.  Not too bad.

HOWEVER (again).......
It took me about another hour and a half to weave in all those ends.

Next post:  Our latest vacation!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Documenting the Potential

This is how bad it has gotten:  I see that I'm about to do something potentially stupid, so I go get the camera to document said potential stupidity on this blog.

Getting a knitting project ready for vacation, I found this great pattern:  Windward
It calls for 560 yards of fingering weight yarn.  Of course, I only have balls of fingering weight that add up to 450 or so, which is the typical amount for a pair of socks or a small shawl, which is why I only have one ball of each.  However, I did find a great big skein of 1120 yards of fingering weight, way in the back of a cube.

After hemming and hawing... "Do I want to break up this skein?" "what if I find a project that needs 1120yards?"  "Yes, I know you bought this 4 years ago, and haven't found a project yet, but you just never know.".... I decided to split the skein in half, figuring 650 yards for each of two projects was still a lot of yardage.  Plus I'd have some leftover from one half since this project only uses 560.

So, onto the swift I pop the skein and start winding.  Aha.  You've probably already seen the problem.
How do I know when I've wound half?  I pondered the idea of eyeballing it and quickly realized there was no way to see if half the skein was wound onto the ball winder, in a ball, while the rest was spread out on the swift.  I couldn't wind the whole skein onto the ball winder, and then put the ball on the scale and wind half the weight off, because 1120 yards would not fit onto my ball winder.

The next logical (?) idea was to take the skein off the swift when I thought I was halfway, and weigh it.  The potentially disastrous problem with this is the skein becoming horrendously tangled, requiring hours (trust me, I've done it) of un-tangling.  Once you put it on the swift and cut the ties that keep it neatly in a skein, you really should just wind the whole thing.   And no, I couldn't take the ball off the ball winder, as I would never get it back on to resume winding because the center would collapse.  So I decided to semi-tie it again to help keep in in place....
Then I took it off and weighed what was left on the swift:
177 grams.

Which led me to the label to see how much the whole skein weighed:
Ha!  It doesn't say.  What skein of yarn doesn't say how much it weighs?????

So, I did some math.  A typical ball of fingering weight sock yarn is about 400-ish yards and weighs 100grams.  So, given that this ball of yarn was 1120 yards, which is approximately three times a typical ball of fingering weight, I deduced that this skein started out at 300 grams.  Half would be 150 grams.  Good.  I could move on.

This meant that the yarn already on the ball winder was approximately 130 grams and I needed to wind off 20 more grams to get each side to be 150 grams.  My next attempt at weighing the skein?:
Ha!  147 grams!  Not bad.  So, I unwound a few grams from the ball winder to make it a little more even, popped that yarn off the ball winder, wound the rest of the yarn on the skein into a second ball.
So, that left the rest of the second ball weighing:
149grams.... as we thought.  And the first part of the skein weighing:
102 grams.  Sigh.  Apparently the skein weighed 250 grams.  See? All nice and documented.  WEIGH THE SKEIN BEFORE YOU START!  (or, look at the fricking label first)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Knitting Contest with Myself

I started my second Mystic Spiral hat on Monday night.  It was going really well, and seemingly quickly - it starts with 8 stitches and then you increase from there, so you cross off the first rounds really fast since they don't have many stitches.  Since this will be for an upcoming class, I wanted to get it to The Spinning Room as quickly as possible.  So I decided to have a contest with myself to see if I could finish it and block it in time to bring it to knit night tonight.  Wednesday. Two days later.
Here is what I had by yesterday, mid-naptime:
I knitted all during nap-time, then when I got home and then I finished binding off during Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood this morning! Ran home this afternoon after babysitting, put it in a quick bath and got it ready to block using my color coordinated fiesta plate:

and blocked/dried it using my impatient method:
Luckily, this yarn is a superwash merino, so I could use a little heat in the dryer and it was ready to go by the time I left for knit night.  Then, got a nice picture of it on a head at the shop:
Speaking of the yarn I used.... love. Love. LOVE. IT.  This is Kestrel,100% superwash merino wool, handpainted by Liz at Peace Love & YARN in the Still Waters Run Deep colorway.  Merino is so nice to work with because it is so soft, and I just love Liz's color combinations.  You should get some.  The Spinning Room sells it.

At any rate... mission accomplished.  Contest done.  I win.  Blue ribbon for me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Knitting Overload....Again.

My brain is on knitting overload again.  I'm knitting a lot.  While I'm knitting, I'm thinking a lot about knitting.  And thinking about knitting a lot of things.  What I'm going to knit next, with what yarn.  What things that I'm going to knit that I can teach in a class.  How much time I have to knit.  How much time I don't have to knit and how I can change that to more time to knit.

Remember that post where I said I loved the Knitter's Pride Karbonz needles and I was going to go out and buy more?  I did and I now have a second sock going:
...which I worked on when I visited my family in Connecticut this weekend and got up early:
Can you even see that???
I will say it again.  I. LOVE. THESE. NEEDLES.  The tips are pointy but not too pointy that they hurt the tips of your fingers.  The join to the rest of the needle is smooth and the rest of the needle is made of I'm-not-sure-what but it  is smooth but not slippery.  A nice combination of needle attributes.  You should get some.  If you knit.  Ooh, and I think I'm going to try a new kind of heel on these socks.  But, I'll tell you about that when i get to them...

I also bought them in a larger size so I could start the Treads tipless gloves:
...and I still love them.  However, I didn't love the yarn for this project.   To clarify, I love the yarn.  Just not for this project.  Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca is 100% alpaca.  But it was a little too dark and too fuzzy.  Too dark to see the braid and linen stitch pattern, and too fuzzy for the same reason.  I also thought it would be difficult when it came time to do the tips - lots of picking up of stitches in a small area.  So I switched to Cascade 220 and it looks much better.  See?:
Cascade 220 on the right. (ok, the light could have been
And now I'm cruising along, having just finished the thumb gusset:
Better light.  That happens in the daytime.
Look at this cool sideways stitch:

It is a braid and involves all kinds of acrobatics with the needles.  But, it's worth the effort because it's pretty.

And I finally finished my Cozy wrap, AND blocked it:
Blocking.  Yes, I know it's uneven, but it won't be worn
so you can see the whole thing like that and know
it's uneven....see pics below...

It turned out to be about 80 inches long and 22 inches wide.  A really nice size for wearing it like the model above.

I also finally got some good pictures (on a foam head) of my Mystic Spiral Hat:

I've got to get one of these.  So handy for pictures, and blocking too.  And then I started another one:

I'm sure you were wondering about the garden.....  Tomatoes galore.  And an eggplant.

Still no books to tell you about, but hopefully soon.  Loving the one I'm reading and I also started listening to another good one.  I mostly listen in the car, and now I'm trying to think of reasons to get in the car! Never mind that I can just listen with earphones on my phone, but for some reason that never happens in the house, what with The Food Channel and HGTV and all.