Monday, March 30, 2009

Warp speed

Wow, the whole time warp thing isn't slowing down at all. And I'm not the only one commenting on it, either -- the space/time continuum is obviously skewed. (Now that I think about it, The New Policeman -- a wonderful book recommended by Sheepish Annie -- talks about the same thing. I wonder if the main character's solution would work...) I thought we were supposed to be slowing down, not speeding up? The practical upshot of this is that the weekend is gone (where? who knows?), and I've hardly done any knitting, or read any blogs, let alone doing anything practical like vacuuming the house (laundry did happen, though). However, we did manage to celebrate Older Daughter's birthday in style, and I blocked the wisteria scarf, so that's something.

Saturday was Older Daughter's actual birthday, and we had a lovely quiet day for the most part. She got to go to the bookstore to spend a gift card -- her favorite kind of birthday present -- so we did that. Alas, the poor kid also had a piano recital to play at (they both did), but she did very well, and we came straight home to her dinner of choice: Dad's homemade ("baked" she insists upon adding) macaroni and cheese, peas, and Mom's carrot cake. Mmm...

Sunday was the big day. Her present this year was to go to SeaWorld and to take a friend. We've done this a number of years (this is the time of year when SeaWorld starts offering their "pay for a day and get in the rest of the year free" special), although we've never taken a friend along, and we always go on one behind-the-scenes tour while we're there. This year, she chose the penguin tour, which we hadn't done before (clearly, her experiences among the penguins in New Zealand last summer made an impression). It was a blast. First, we got to meet and pet an actual, real, live penguin. She was very polite about the whole thing (the penguin, that is).
The aviculturist later showed us the trick to encouraging the penguin to stay on that towel in the middle of the table -- ice packs tucked underneath it. (That's a macaroni penguin, by the way, so called because those feathers on her head look like the feathers that the Macaronis used to identify themselves in early American history -- yes, like Yankee Doodle). We were all amazed by how soft a penguin is -- I mean really, really soft. Their feathers are packed incredibly densely - about 70-100 per square inch, as opposed to a chicken's 12-20. Crazy. Her feet and wings were cold though.

And we got to find out why. The next step was to actually go into the exhibit (stepping in a disinfectant bath on the way so we wouldn't contaminate it), and to stand there in the 23-degree weather (we were wearing jeans and jackets and hiking shoes; some of the others on the tour were wearing shorts and flip-flops -- brrr!). Can I just mention that penguins are loud?
In watching them actually call to one another, I realized that they call not only on the exhale, but also ingressively, on the inhale, which means that they can make noise almost continuously. And they do. (Thank goodness my kids haven't figured that one out yet.) The lighting in the exhibit is dimmer than outside, since they keep the penguins on a southern hemisphere lighting schedule, which facilitates their breeding program; since it's going into fall in the southern hemisphere, these guys are heading into fall, too. In the summer here, the exhibit is dark or dim almost all the time. Very cool.

Of course, with three kids along, it wasn't all animals and education. (Although we did see the Shamu show -- we always see the Shamu show. Tess' friend: what's that orca's name? Us: Shamu. TF: Well, what about that one? Us: Shamu. TF: Are they all named Shamu? Us: Yes. TF: That's dumb. We know, kid, we know.) There were also roller coaster rides.
Younger Daughter gathered up all of her courage in both hands and we went on the ride once. Then the others went again while we stood and cheered them on. Older Daughter declared her day a success, and we all went home satisfied.

So all of that took up a lot of time. And we also had to get ready for these next two weeks, which involve Rick being out of town from early today until late Wednesday, me being out of town from Thursday morning until late Saturday, and all of us heading out of town early Sunday morning for a week. I did manage to block the wisteria scarf though. All in all, I'm tolerably happy with the way it turned out, although I think using smaller needles might have been even better. I completely forgot to take shots of it on the blocking mats, but here it is, in its milieu.
See what I mean about the wisteria? Same colors, exactly. No wonder I liked this yarn.
I blocked it very wide, rather than long, because the yarn is 100% silk, and in my experience, silk rectangles tend to stretch lengthwise in the wearing. I think that was the right thing to do, although I might try it differently next time. My goal was a not-overly-long scarf that would be wide enough to cover my shoulders if it's chilly, but light enough to wear as a smaller scarf.
I'm having trouble getting the colors to really show up accurately on the screen. They are much richer and less washed-out than this -- very much like the wisteria.
So, to recap. This scarf is knitted from Kaalund Yarns Enchante in the Lavender colorway. I used a stitch motif from the third Barbara Walker (I can't remember the name of the motif right offhand) and size six needles. The ball of yarn was 30g and 300 m; I used most but not all of it -- the scarf was long enough and I didn't want to sacrifice wearability in the name of finishing up all the yarn. I'll save the rest to pat in the dark of winter when I'm missing my wisteria most.


Miss 376 said...

I know what you mean about time, the last two days have gone in a blink of the eye! Looks like you had a great weekend. The colour of that yarn is beautiful, can't believe how it blends in with the wisteria


OMG penguins! So cool to get that tour.

Excellent scarf. Love the shot with the wisteria. Or as I call it, Mysteria.

knitspot anne said...

oh that scarf is SO pretty! i love the stitch pattern . . .

Willow said...

Fun and busy weekend! And penguins too! Wow!

I am totally in love with the wisteria scarf! Amazing!

AlisonH said...

Love the scarf and colors. But that penguin steals the show! I had one penguin at Monterey choose me as its person, and then it imitated every movement of mine for five minutes till I had to go; it was very cool. But I had glass between me and it, I didn't get to pet it. Wow.

twinsetellen said...

Ah, when a weekend is as well spent as that, it isn't so sad that it went quickly.

Lovely scarf, very true to it's name.

EGunn said...

Definitely understand the time warp. How is April here already??

Looks like a great weekend, especially hanging out with the penguins. They're so funny looking!

Wisteria are beautiful, aren't they? I didn't really see the color similarity until you put the scarf in with the blossoms. Definitely the right colors!

Hope your time gets a little less warped this week. =)

Anonymous said...

As another mother of a March 28th daughter, I wanted to de-lurk and say how lovely your wisteria scarf is. I have a very old, established wisteria vine in the front of our house that blooms regularly multiple times a year. Both the yarn and stitch pattern captured the essence of that beautiful plant.

Diane in Northern CA
aka Northside Knitter

twinsetjan said...

I LOVE penguins...and wisteria...and lace!!! What a great post for me. Thanks!

And as for my trip from Seattle to Denver via Sacramento -- yes, insanity. This is what your tax dollars are spent on with the Defense Travel System.

Bea said...

I know what you mean about time just being gone. What happened to the last couple of weeks??

Oh my gosh the penguin thing is so cool! Such a fun birthday. Maybe I need to get Chris to take me to do that for my birthday...

I LOVE your scarf. Now I'm trying to think if I have good yarn to make one like that. If you remember the stitch pattern or would kindly look it up I would SO appreciate it. Gorgeous.

Good luck with all the being out of townness going on!

Gwen said...

It is definitely a wisteria scarf. Wear it and stick a bloom on your hat, and you'll be set in spring finery! (I have hats on the brain. Just noticed now.)

A Macaroni Penguin!

Good travels for all of you.

Helen said...

You mean you have wisteria actually in bloom just now? In March? We think we're lucky to have a few crocuses; we write gushing prose about a handful of daffodils or a clutch of tulips. Pathetic, really.

The scarf is quite beautiful. The yarn is very tempting, but fortunately they seem to have sold out on the website. Phew!

Mary Lou said...

Oh I wish we could grow wisteria here! The scarf and the wisteria are lovely.

Stell said...

Thanks for unpacking the macaroni, i always wondered and figured then didn't really have pata in their hats. Yup - time is collapsing at this end as well.

Carrie K said...

The penguins!! How cool! Sounds like a fabulous birthday.

Gorgeous scarf, exactly wisteria colored. Nice stitch pattern too.

It's shocking how fast time is flying by lately.

Lynne said...

Gorgeous scarf!

Rachael said...

what a fun day for your daughter! the scarf is gorgeous, I can imagine how lovely the colors look in real life - why is that the camera steals beauty from yarn? I can't figure out which setting to use to give it real life colors again.