Friday, May 28, 2010

1+1 =1, Hrmph!

I lost my weekly knitting blog gusto last week and it nearly passed me by this week too! In the absence of blogging, I've discovered that it is going to be a busy summer filled with volunteer work and a heavy course load. Additionally, Anchorage has decided to have amazing weather and, as those who live in coastal regions know...the sunshine generally dictates when the fun outside time will be. Today the clouds rolled in and I decided it was time to stop by the blogosphere and share a project that has been driving me crazy since last December.

First, let me say that the majority of this creation was made with loving care by my sister. These two blankets were given to us as wedding gifts. One of my sisters many talents happens to be creating amazing and inspiring knitted goods. I just love the happy collection of colors she chose for us.

The pattern for this Bonnie blanket is from the RYC Classic Weekend Collection. It is a design by Martin Storey and was inspired by a weekend spent in a cottage by the sea.

The second blanket (my sisters design) was originally intended to be the backing for the Bonnie blanket, but alas my sister ran out of yarn. (Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Worsted to be exact.) As a young married couple living in Fairbanks, Alaska, two separate blankets were perfect for lounging around... However, the longer we have been together we find that Bonnie is definitely the favored blanket. As a way to protect the back of Bonnie, I decided it was time to seal the deal and join the blankets together. Guess who just happened to have a couple of Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Worsted skeins of red and earth heather in her stash???

Let me just say, this was a lot harder than I expected it to be. Figuring out how long and wide to make the border, invisibly attaching the front to the back, along with tedious blocking turned this seemingly painless project into a perplexing and down right difficult few months. Hrmph! Was it worth all the labor?

Yes, yes, yes it was worth it, just like joining forces with S was worth it, so worth it. Now, let's hope they both last a good long while.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wicked Sweater, Dude!

Coming to you live from Anchorage Alaska.

Well, shucks! I was hoping by today I could reveal a finished product that I'm determined to cast off before my classes start next week, alas. I've been having too much fun doing other things. Next week I will have something to share, guaranteed. So, this post will be about more of the same ravelings that are taking place in our spring filled lives.

The little otter that kept showing up this week. Otters have always reminded me of my Grandpa Root. I like when certain animals remind me of people. Then when I spot that animal it is like a part of that person has stopped by to say hello.

An upside down heart.

I'm happy to announce that the knitting gods have been at it again. On Tuesday I jaunted down to our mailbox only to find my first issue of Cast On. Yay! As a member of the knitting guild this means I will receive a year subscription of Cast On. I've been waiting to get this issue for a couple months and have been acting like Ralphy from the Christmas story when he was waiting to get his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin. However, Cast On is far from the disappointment of the Little Orphan Annie decoder! All of the patterns provide designer notes and technical tips. I think I will enjoy my subscription. This isn't the end of my story. You see, when I arrived at our box once again there was a pile of knitting magazines for the taking. I still haven't found out who is donating knitting magazines. Any ideas on how I might woo them into being my knitting friend? I was thinking of leaving a thank you note by our mailboxes. Are cookies too much?

In other news, S made his first outing wearing Gray Cascade 220 Take Two over the weekend. While we were walking along the coastal trail, a couple of yahoos stopped us and asked us to share our voices for clean energy. So, I let them videotape me. I've always been a bit camera shy not to mention people shy so I doubt that they'll use what I said. Anyway, while we were talking, one of the gents looked at Steve and said, "Wicked Sweater, Dude!" A hipster and a stranger complimented the sweater I made for S!

S in the clouds.

S at the market.

I also did a little shopping this week. My first stop was the Quilted Tree a well stocked fabric store with an okay yarn selection. This was my first visit. And now I'm wavering on whether I should divulge a secret that may determine my future readership. Ehem, well, in all honesty I have a love hate relationship with yarn stores, gasp! I'm not sure that I can articulate why that is because every knitter must love yarn stores, right? It is just that at times something makes me terribly uncomfortable in yarn and fabric stores and I can't put my finger on why exactly. The jury is still out on Quilted Tree. But, the sales clerk who helped me was really delightful and deeply understanding of knitters being tactile creatures. She filled our hands with alpaca as soon as we entered the knitting section. I left The Quilt Tree with a wonderful wool and silk blend. The sale clerk said it best: "This yarn is not displayed well but it knits up so fine."

Twisted Knitter has an elegant lace scarf pattern that will suit this yarn. Hopefully, I'll be casting on soon...

My shopping adventure was not done yet... We made our way over to Barnes and Noble. Another first since moving to Anchorage. Barnes and Noble is the place where I go when I'm homesick. On this day I wasn't homesick, but since I generally go when I am I had to do a mental check. "Am I home sick? No, you're fine. Carry on." Big chain stores are like the equivalent of a Latin Mass. You can go anywhere in the world and rest assured that the words will be the same and the church calendar is still intact. When I make my way through the doors of Barnes and Noble, I can instantly get my bearings and say, "Ah, this is something I know and expect." Anyway, I generally avoid big chain stores but Home Depot, Target and Barnes and Noble are the exception. I enter and I'm instantly in Duluth, Minnesota. Anyway, back to the knitting part of this excursion. Much to my surprise the B & N in Anchorage has a great knitting selection better than the local bookstore and Quilted Tree. Guess what I found hiding out on the sales rack? Classic Knits by Erika Knight. I'm not familiar with her work, but I like the classic style of her designs, and for six dollars-what a steal!

That's all for this week. Knit on.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Art of a Wasted Day.

My semester ended and it seems that the old battle between winter and spring has also come to a close. We've been having extraordinary weather, the ice along the lagoon is breaking up, the tulips and daffodils outside our building are blooming and I'm trying to take in as much of spring as I can before my summer session begins. Unfortunately I have developed this horrible anxiety over the last few years regarding time and trying to use every minute wisely. As a way to counter balance my bad habit, I scanned my bookshelf and pulled out this little gem.

The Art of a Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl

It's time for me to (re)learn the art of a wasted day. This book is a testament of artifice in that it was printed and bound by hand. Nomadic Press designed this limited edition with frankfurt text paper and handset metal types drafted by Frederic Goudy. And, I own number 529 of 725.

Kent Aldrich produced the marbaleized cover and three wood engravings inside...

My mom gave me this book and I've been carrying it around with me for years but have never actually sat down to read it. This week I finally did. Much of the contents are about friendship and I'm remembering that some of my closest friends are those that have shown me the art of deliciously frittering away time. I plan to pass this book onto one of them after I type out the following quote:

"One thing about the threadbare Socialist regime, grafted onto the old Czech bourgeois heritage: it supported a culture of time wasting, which is the essence of friendship. It felt old fashioned, deeply relaxing as little in contemporary life is. The country had been sustained by its relish for friendship, a life of little consolations--coffee and homemade berry coffee cakes baked in ancient woodstoves, served, crumbling, on chipped china. And the people you wasted time with were, by definition, people of your sort, not because of economic status or even profession. They had the same moral code, the same view of life, so akin it didn't need to be argued. It was as if during the Cold War, especially after 1968, they really did let themselves eat cake--and it helped."

As seen in the photos below, the mood for my brief holiday is about letting the events of the day unfold as they may...and hope that I can take part in the joy of a wasted day. So far it has involved time with S, walks along the coast, reading, listening to music from yesteryears, knitting and tonight baking lemon bars.

The beginnings of my master knitter squares.

This is what I call knitting smut.

A lace and cable cardigan design I'm trying to create.