November 28, 2007

Ghetto Lightbox Fun

So I don’t usually so Work in Progress Wednesday but while I had the “lightbox” set up I took some pics of what was handy… here’s what I’ve been working on lately:

Mmmmmmalabrigo Irish Hiking Scarf:
Irish Hiking Scarf
About half way done. Love it.

Back to School U-neck:
Back to School U-Neck
So not done in time for Thanksgiving. Not even close. The front has been re-done, though and it fits. I love me some short row bust darts – those plus the vertical ones incorporated in the pattern and my boobs have a very custom made home.

Swirl Socks:
Swirl Socks
Swirl Socks
These have been my traveling sock for a while now. I cast on for them back on our mini-vaca to Detroit in July. Since we (finally) have no travel plans for awhile – until January at least – I’ve bumped them up to my daily bus knitting.

In other knitting related news - tonight I’m teaching my brother’s girlfriend how to knit! I don’t think he’s super-thrilled about it but we don’t care. He’ll realize how awesome it is to have a knitter for a significant other once she bribes him with some new handknits. Andy really appreciates the handknits:

I reused that photo from this post waaaaay back in Dec. 2005.

And also - I just wanted to give a shout out to Detroit. It rules. And not just because Kristin lives there. Like Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and many others it's a wonderful and interesting city with an unnecessarily bad rap. I hate it when people (or "studies") judge a city by reputation and not by actually going there and experiencing it. Yeah for the Rust Belt!!!

November 27, 2007

Spun out.

So I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Sorry the blog sortof disappeared there for awhile – Life in Cleveland has been a bit on the crazy side lately. Big long update post coming… no big news or anything just lots of celebrations and parties and out of town guests and travel and well… Life.
Dexter Bath
Dexter does not like all of this Life because it requires him to have a bath.
Dexter Bath
Dexter Bath
And yes, I used the pink towel to further embarass him. Heh.

So last night we spent recovering from the weekend of busy and for me that meant dusting off the spinning wheel and getting back at it. There is really nothing more zen and relaxing than spinning. I love it. I do not, however, love that it is dark when I leave in the morning and dark when I get home at night. That makes for some un-good pictures of the pretty new yarn. So I threw together a super-ghetto “lightbox” out of a sheet and a desk lamp so that I could at least show you this:
Fire Yarn Fire Yarn

That would be 2 entire bobbins full of the fire fiber. I probably have enough left to spin at least 2 more. And because I’m definitely improving I’m going to wait until I spin two more bobbins of singles to ply it together. I labled the yarn cakes “1” and “2” in the order that I spun them. Then eventually I will ply bobbin “1” with the future bobbin “4” and bobbin “2” with the future bobbin “3”. That way the last and theoretically best bobbin will be plyed with the first and theoretically worst bobbin. Hopefully that will even things out quite a bit.
Fire Yarn
Also this should result in a lot of yarn. I have some ideas for what I want to do with it… nothing completely concrete though, yet.
Fire Yarn
For now I’m just going to enjoy the spinning.

November 15, 2007


Yup. I got distracted by the Malabrigo:
Mod Cable Mitten

See I ‘effed up the short rows on the Back to School U-Neck and I’m going to have to rip some of it out... which I obviously couldn’t do while watching the premier of Project Runway (how come I didn’t know about that show until this season? It’s awesome!) So I did a little sketching and figuring and hopefully these will match my Mod Cables Hat perfectly.

Oh and since someone asked … yes, the hat is on Ravelry – Here’s the link. And can I just tell you guys how very, very excited I am that I’m now listed as a designer on Ravelry?

Ok if I put the mitten down now I totally could still have a cute new vest to wear to Thanksgiving dinner….It’s still possible… unlikely but possible...

November 14, 2007

Fast as fast can be

So last Thursday I cast on for the Back to School U-Neck (or on Ravelry) I’ve wanted to make for awhile:
Back to School U-Neck

Super-fast knit! I’m already to the waffle stitch part!

Back to School U-Neck

And it’s not like I’ve been doing nothing but work on this… To sum up or weekend: furniture shop, clear out the yard for winter, housewarming party, hangover, Panini’s for the big game (serious bummer right there - good thing my fantasy team won - that takes the edge off of it a little bit), grandparents for Sunday dinner. It was super-busy with not much of the knitting.

And yet somehow I’m already halfway done:

Back to School U-Neck

I think this proves that if I concentrate on one project and don’t let the malabrigio distract me I can make noticeable progress. Funny that.

Anyways now that I’ve said it’s a quick knit I have a feeling the rest of it is going to take for-ev-er… especially since I plan on adding short row bust shaping in addition to the vertical darts in the front. I have no idea how this is going to work with the waffle pattern but can’t be that hard to work around b/c 2 of the 3 rows are just knit. There’s got to be a way to do it…
Back to School U-Neck
Think there is any chance of me finishing by Thanksgiving?

November 12, 2007

The Sacred Valley

So during our stay in Cusco we spent one day wandering through the Sacred Valley. This area was considered sacred by the Inca because of the fertile farming areas made possible by the Urubama (Vilcanota) river. The river also runs in an north west direction which is the path of the sun. It is no coincidence that Machu Picchu was built at the end of this valley. This is the closest we have been to getting to Machu Picchu – what started this whole Peru dream in the first place - however we won’t actually be there for 5 more (very difficult) days. During this time we came to know the Urubamba well:
Sacred Valley
View of the Sacred Valley from the road between Cusco and Pisaq.

Our first stop was the Pisaq market. This was something I had been excited about because it is billed as being a market of traditional wares. I was sure to find knitting here! Two steps into the market I saw this:
Woman selling natural dyes for wool.

Now I was told that it is illegal to bring most of these dyes into the US because of their natural content… but look at how bright and colorful!!! But I am a law-abiding citizen and this is a public place so as far as the blog is concerned there is no way I would even consider bringing any of it home. Not at all.

Most of the rest of market was the typical tourist goods sold everywhere in Peru:
Pisaq Market
View of the market – I came home with one of those orange bags on the right.

But there were a few gems:
Matt and banjo guy
Matt with the guy who was selling traditional Peruvian musical instruments

Woman Weaving
Woman weaving belts

Chess Set
Handcarved Chess Set – Incas vs. Spanish! How fun is that! Matt brought one home.

Handpainted plates

Hand Knit Hats
Handknit hats (rare amoungst the piles of chepo machine knit ones). I bought one of these, too.

From Pisaq it was on to Yucay for lunch. Yucay is an extremely small town - also very beautiful:

And we ate lunch in a lovely garden complete with a watermelon tree:
Watermelon Tree?
We thought this was a Watermelon growing in a tree and were completely freaked out. Turns out it's just a type of cucumber. Because that makes so much more sense.


From there it was on to the town and complex of Incan ruins at Ollantaytambo. This town continuously inhabited since Incan times. And you know how I have a thing for towns built on top of other towns. Matt loved it because of its geography – it is built on a sliver of land where the Patacancha River flows into the Urubamba hugging the walls of a deep river valley. To him this was a very familiar layout! Ollantaytambo, like Pittsburgh, was an important military post controlling traffic along the river (presumably to Machu Picchu).

Olantaytambo was also an important agricultural center:
Incan agricultural terraces

And still is today. We were there during planting season – it seemed like every square inch that they could possibly cultivate through terracing was being cultivated!
Ollantaytambo was also an important religious center located in a strategic position relative to the sun. Many, many interesting things happen here:
Incan Stonework
The carvings on this wall are lined up perfectly so that on the soltice (I don't remeber if it is spring or fall) the top stones cast a shadow on the bottom stones. Crazy.
There is an Inca face carved into the side of this hill outside of Ollantaytambo. It is in the perfect position so that the sun hits it exactly on one of the Solestaces.

The Incas were amazing architects:
Incan Stonework
Tightly fit stones make up the walls of the Temple of the Sun

The large stones are set between smaller stones so that in an earthquake the small stones will allow the large stones to move and therefore not break. Matt’s an amazing architect too, btw.

I loved it there. And all of the stairs were a good warmup for the Inca Trail!
view of the whole complex

One of the storehouses - I love this pic!

Finally, we headed up into the mountains toward the town of Chinchero – stopping to admire the views along the way:
Sacred Valley

And I even saw a knitter in action (Actually I'd seen lots of kniters in Cusco but wasn't able to sneak a picture):
Sacred Valley
This girl was selling the typical alpaca wares to tourists who stopped at a lookout point. When she wasn't busy with the tourists she was knitting! I think it's a scarf and whatever it is is garter stitch with an occasional row of yarn overs.

Chinchero is another town built on Incan foundations.
They are known for their elaborate weavings and luckily (I planned it this way) we were there on their market day:
Chinchero Chinchero Market

I tried to talk to one of the women weaving but she spoke no English (only Quechua).
Woman weaving
So she went inside and got her granddaughter who I was able to kindof communicate with. In very broken Spanish I was able to get through that the “mother of my mother” is a weaver. She was really excited about this. Really excited. And she got through to me that she is a spinner and that her grandmother weaves with her handspun. Then she took me inside and showed me the natural dyes that she uses:
Natural dye
I ended up buying a beautiful shawl created by this family.

It was an awesome day. And there are even more pictures over on my flickr page! That night we had to get organized and repacked and make sure we had adequate rain gear because the next day we start the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

November 9, 2007

Sweet Corn

Ok I didn’t have time (once again) to finish a Peru post this week. So how about a completely random memory from the trip?

In Chinchero (town outside of Cusco that I’m just about finished with the actual post about) Matt bought this crazy corn:
Big corn
It had GIANT kernels. Like as big as a dime kernels. Well later in the trip our guide for the Inca Trail was telling us about how we were there at the wrong time of the year for corn. That in February their sweet corn is in season and that it is amazing. That we’ve never tasted corn so sweet or so wonderful.

My response? “I’m from Ohio. Believe me I know sweet corn.”

So then we had a big long conversation about sweet corn and whose was better and how I so wanted to try Peruvian sweet corn and how he so wanted to try Ohio sweet corn. And how weird it was to him that our corn was in season now (early Sept.) and how I was bummed I was missing sweet corn season this year and how strange it would be to eat it in February.

It's really the little similarities and differences that are the most interesting.

Anyways I’ll try to finish up the full-on post tomorrow – since we'll actually be in town this weekend for the first time in forever...

Have a great Friday!

November 6, 2007

Mod Cables Hat

I designed this hat to go with my Here and There Cables Scarf by Norah Gaughan. I wanted something snug so that it wouldn’t ride up but thick and bulky to keep me warm while waiting for the bus. And this time of year cables are a must.

After playing around with charts/swatches until it worked I ended up with a staggered cable pattern that reminds me of the graphic circles in the “mod” retro fabrics that Ikea has been selling lately:

Mod Cables Hat
I like it.

And I even figured out how to upload/host/make available the .pdf file of the pattern! Click here to download for your very own:

Mod Cable Hat Pattern

Very exciting. And yes, I did draft the included chart in AutoCAD...

Mod Cables Hat

Also - this hasn't exactly been test knit so if anyone finds any issues with the pattern please let me know!
Mod Cables Hat
The first line of the instructions was wrong… it should have read “Purl 3, Knit 3” and not “Knit 3, Purl 3.” I changed the file so it’s correct now I just wanted to warn everyone who may have already downloaded it. Sorry for the confusion! Oh and I’m working on a matching mitten pattern now so that should be available pretty soon…
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