Monday, December 31, 2007

Less knitting, more doing

I didn't get to post this past weekend, because we've been doing a bit more running around. Saturday was mostly about going to the farmer's market, and seeing some friends, and having family over to dinner (a great big ruby chard and wild mushroom lasagna was made, and was enjoyed by all).

Yesterday, we got up early and headed for the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The girls and I had gone up there last spring with a friend, but Rick had never been. He and I had both been to the Getty Villa in Malibu, back when it was just The Getty, because there wasn't anywhere else, but the Center is new since we lived in L.A. The architecture is absolutely amazing; it's all made of travertine marble, which is not only a very warm color, but also has the impressions of fossils in it, which greatly pleased my entire family (they joys of being married to a hydrogeologist). Currently, there is a beautiful exhibit of illuminated manuscripts, which I loved, and was glad to see again. And, of course, we had to go see the Impressionist collection, which includes one of Monet's paintings from Giverny, as well as Van Gogh's The Irises. I sat with the girls and looked at them for a while; it's always nice to be reminded that great art is considered great because it is truly something beautiful, rather than because of some passing fad. I asked Older Daughter what she though was going on with the lone white iris in the painting, and she said to me, "It's like Pandora's box." My "huh" must have showed on my face, because she went on, "It's like the hope that was put in the bottom of the box. The one good thing among all the dark and evil." I thought that was an interesting understanding of the work.

They also had an exhibit of medieval armor, and an armorer giving a demonstration. He's done armor for all kinds of movies (this was L.A., after all), including Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as the armor for one of the tasks on The Amazing Race, and had brought some of his pieces for folks to play with while he pounded away. Rick and the kids thought this was great fun. Rick asked Younger Daughter to take a picture of him wearing gauntlets. Here is a six-year-old's perspective on a very tall man in scary gloves.
Snort. Younger Daughter and Older Daughter both tried on helmets.

I am declining to show the picture of me in a gauntlet, which they all insisted on taking to prove that I do, indeed, rule the family with an iron fist. Rick amused himself by playing with the option to call in to a cell phone number to get information about the sculptures in the garden. He thought that was pretty nifty.
And we left around sunset.
We went to Little Ethiopia, which is nearby, and found a place to have dinner. The food was wonderful, and we left very full, and very happy. (We are huge fans of Ethiopian food, and the only place in San Diego is a solid 30-40 minutes away, so we take it where we can find it.)

I got some knitting time in on the drive up (Rick kindly did that leg of the trip). See? There is fiber content in this blog, truly. The problem is that I'm currently working on The Endless Blob. It won't be a blob forever, but at the moment, it's totally unphotogenic, and is boring me to tears. It's Cat Bordhi's Calla Lily Bag, from The Knitter's Book of Yarn. I'm knitting it in Malabrigo, worsted weight, on size 11 needles, and it will be felted. I'm sticking with it because I really love the way the finished bag looks, and I could use a new shoulder bag. But it's a slog. It's a slog for a lot of reasons. First, it's all stockinette, all the time. This is to be expected, but that's not too much fun. Second, it's on very big needles, which does means that you get more fabric per stitch, but since I knit much more slowly on big needles, it's a wash. Third, I must admit to being very cranky with the way the design starts off. There's this small part of me that feels that it was made unnecessarily complicated; there are simpler ways to create a double-layered rectangle than to knit six inches in the round, then do a three-needle bind-off of the live stitches to create a line down the middle which then becomes one of the side edges of the bottom; then one must pick up stitches from the middle of one of the rectangles, but not both. Seriously. I mean, do you ever get the feeling that some people become so enamored of doing things differently that they do so for the sake of being different? I'm not accusing her in particular of doing this, I know linguists who do the same thing in theorizing problems, but it does occasionally occur to me that doing things simply is not inherently bad.

Aside from that crankiness, though, I must say again that I love the way this finished bag looks, so I will not hold it against the pattern. But it's bad blog fodder, because of the aforementioned miles of stockinette (in dark blue, no less), so I also won't be posting a picture for a while. I will say, though, that I absolutely adore the Malabrigo -- this yarn is like knitting with a very soft and happy cloud. I have also just ordered some alpaca yarn from the store that I went to the other day (I'll tell that whole story later), and have a plan for its use, which is spurring me on to get this thing done before that yarn comes. A bribe for myself, as it were.

I hope that you all have a very happy New Year's eve, with much merriment of whatever sort makes you merriest!


Marianne said...

Another great outing! I rather like Older Daughter's thoughts on The Irises...

Oh yeah... knitting bags to be felted... HUGE before felting... I've made some but my hands start in with the pissing and moaning, then groaning and spazzing... they don't care for large needles at all! but you do get some fabulous bags in the end!
(Thanks for taking us along.. next time? photos of the food maybe?)

Rachael said...

ooh, armour, what fun!

Carrie K said...

Gauntlets! Sounds like a fun outing, when you can dress up as a knight. Partially.

Maybe the slog bag was made slightly more complicated because of the inherent dullness of the project. It's hard to start a project of unending drudgery w/o a little fun with it.

Tracy at said...

Sounds like you had a great trip! What fun to be had--and Ethiopian food at the end of it. My absolute favorite. (I miss Ethiopian food--there were a few places to go in Boston, but I doubt there are any here in the Finger Lakes....)

I know what you mean about the miles and miles of stockinette. I felt the same way when I made the French Market bag. I was knitting on great big needles but still felt like I was going nowhere. But it all turned out all right in the end!

Just so you know, I've decided not to update my blog on Blogger, but I am updating the one on Wordpress. I just didn't want to announce the move too publicly on the blog.

Helen said...

No, you're not allowed to complain about knitting with Malabrigo, no matter how convoluted and wrong the project is. Especially blue Malabrigo. I want a photo.

I remember a happy day at the old Getty villa. I was particularly recommended by a cowboy I met on the train (yes, really, a cowboy) that I go to the pool which has the statues around it, and that I try the soup in the café, so I did. And I remember the Irises too. Happy New Year :)