Friday, July 16, 2010

We're baaaackkk!!

Home at last, and home for quite a while, yay! Only two short weekend trips, in-state, before the summer is over, and lots of weeks between now and then (three, but don't burst my bubble). Although I should be honest and mention that when I say "we" are home, I mean "me and Rick"; the girls are still in Maryland with their grandparents.

Rick commented this morning that he doesn't think their rooms have ever stayed clean for this long. But it is really quiet around here. Just sayin'.

Washington, D.C. is such a fun city to spend time in. I only wish that it hadn't been 106 degrees on our first day there (not to mention 102 on our first night). We spent more time indoors than I generally like on a vacation, and the girls were heard to remark on a number of occasions (in tones of horror) that they were sweating. We pointed out that they actually sweat here, too, it just usually evaporates a little more quickly. Perhaps this picture of us waiting in line outside the Archives can convey how they felt about an east coast scorcher.

I suggested that they wouldn't know hot until they'd tried to sleep through a night like those in a third-story bedroom under the eaves of an old house with no air conditioning, with only one window per room (cross-breeze? we don't need no stinking cross-breeze). (Why yes, I have done that, why do you ask?) They were not amused.

We all really did have a wonderful time, though, and I'll share pictures of some of the many things we did (by my count: sculpture garden (ten minutes -- it was hot), American Indian Museum, Air and Space Museum, Textile Museum, National Archives, Spy Museum, Capitol, Library of Congress (fifteen minutes before we were driven out by a fire drill), Old Post Office, Eastern Market, Smithsonian, National Mall). In four days.

Rick and I have actually been home for a few days, but I'm in recovery. This means that I've done some knitting, and I've done some spinning. The spinning has, in my opinion, been rather more successful than the knitting, about which I need some opinions. I knitted a beaded tam for Younger Daughter, which looks absolutely lovely, but which is as limp as a wilted cabbage.
I'm going to try reblocking it on a smaller plate, with the brim pulled in tighter, but I think that this may be a bad yarn match. This is knitted out of a merino singles which was stretched during the spinning, making it silky and beautiful, but leaving it with no spring. I didn't really think about it, having never knitted with this particular yarn before, but I'm starting to wonder whether this is something that isn't going to work for a hat, and if so, whether to attempt to save it with some elastic in the brim (my best thought) or to frog it and try something else (if the singles would survive the frogging). Thoughts?

The other project I need an opinion on is the lovely bamboo lace I finished just before I left. This is Anne's pattern Les Abeilles, with some modifications at the end because I'd run out of yarn. It's the modifications that I'm not sure about. I haven't woven the ends in yet, so this could easily be frogged, and I could figure out something else to do with the yarn (or I could just throw it in the stash for a time-out). Basically, I had to bind off along the top, rather than decreasing away all the stitches. This has left it with a rather odd shape, and I can't tell whether I really like it, or really don't. This matters a bit more than usual, since I was thinking that I would give this to a friend of mine who is due at the end of the summer (people always give hand-knits to new babies; I figure mothers should get hand-knits, too, right?).
It does not in any way close. One could not tie it shut, or use a pin on it. But it does stay put, and it makes a rather nice shoulder cover, I think. I'm torn.
I would like to make it very clear that this is not a pattern issue; you should see Anne's photos of her finished shawlet. This is a problem of my own making, as I thought I'd have more yarn left after finishing my socks, but I didn't.
See? It does a reasonable job of covering the back of one's neck and shoulders. But I wouldn't want to saddle someone with something dorky.

So, opinions? Is this little thing due a visit to the frog pond? Or is it an interesting design choice? You decide...


Allison said...

I'm jealous of your trip... all places I want to go... not in that heat of course. Of that I'm not jealous in the slightest.

I vote "design choice." Add a pin or a clasp and call it a capelet.

EGunn said...

Welcome back, and congratulations on having some time "off"!

I don't know what to do about the tam, short of reknitting. That said, I've seen people wear them made out of lacy cotton that had no hope of ever springing, and they looked pretty good. So maybe just a band around the inside to keep it on her head?

On the shawlette, I think it needs a closure of some kind to make it intentional. How about a ribbon or a beaded clasp? I would think that something short like that would be really good with a little one around...fewer ends to get caught on things or stuffed into little mouths.

Willow said...

Yay! Welcome back! I've been gone too--and am also in recovery. Tired, tired, tired.

The capelet looks good to go with a pin--I agree with Bitter Knitter.

Elizabeth said...

I love the shawlette. The color of the yarn is gorgeous. It would be hard to frog it, if it were mine. But I see what you mean. It's so close to being just right. Can you get another skein, maybe?

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

You have just invented the shawlette for nursing mothers!

Mary Lou said...

Glad you had a good trip. And as someone who spent NJ summers under the eaves, I think your daughters should try it to truly appreciate San Diego weather for sleeping. Re. the shawlette - since it won't close, how about reframing it as something to cover up with while nursing? Otherwise, not dorky but not practical. IMO

Suzanne said...

I think some kind of closure would be perfect for the shawlette. It's very pretty and would be a shame to wrip it all out now.


No opinions, no nothing. Just welcome back.

Nana Sadie said...

I will venture no opinion on the hat.

But I can see exactly what you're concerned about with the shawlette. I agree about a pin. And I think a nursing mother's shawlette is an inspired suggestion.

Pin it and forget it! (and it'll stretch a bit with blocking, no?)

I'm so glad you had a good time in DC, it was totally horrid that week - living 4 hours away, I can say that honestly. But I can't help but snicker at your description of sleeping w/o a/c in the humidity, and the girls faces are PRICELESS!

I had a gabled room at the top of our house, thank heavens we had cross breeze and a huge window fan that my mom knew how to use, and it was still GASTLY growing up in this humidity without a/c.

Stell said...

I love the teeny shawl, and think it perfect for midnight feeds... Of which there are many with new babes. I am not sur about the tam .... Wouldl replacing the brim /cuff / rib be possible? With something more elastic? And I envy the break/trip ... Follollowed by child free days. Magic and strangely quiet as you say.

Bea said...

Sorry about the heat. I'd suggest you don't come to Texas either in the summer months if you'd like to avoid that sort of thing :) I think the shawl is interesting. It could be pinned nearer the neck as more of a wrap around cowl rather then a shawl, but I suppose you wouldn't really be able to see the patterning as well. hmmm...

Gwen said...

Lightly handfelting the tam? Go with the floopy look? (I'll leave the typo. It's a good one!) Turn it over, line it, add a drawstring closure?

Sounds like a fun busy busy trip! My sympathies on the heat wave. Ick.

We went to the Russian River yesterday. I eventually managed to submerge myself, after being there 3 hours, muttering about missing Alabama heat if we're getting into the damned ice water. I didn't remember the monster mosquitos until sometime last night. Nostalgia is a funny thing!

Laurie said...

Glad you enjoyed your vacation...and sorry you had to put up with the wretched heat. could snow tomorrow, and I'd be happy!

I hope you are able to rescue the tam - it is lovely! I also like your idea of knitting for new mothers as well as babies. My stepdaughter is having her first in late January, and I know what I'm making for baby...but am looking for something special for mom.

Does the shawl-turned-shawlette stay on your shoulders well? If it does, I wouldn't see any reason to change it. I like the way it looks. :-)

RobinH said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip...not sorry I went at the end of March though! It's been quite hot and humid enough in New England for me! (90+ F) (And I have no AC at home. And I cannot knit in the pool. Alas.)

I'd vote elastic for the tam- I think that tams with drape look good.

As for the capelet...hmm. It's very pretty. Have you ever seen sweater clasps? They're meant for cardigans that hang open, and have a clip or pin on each end connected with a small decorative chain. That would be just perfect for this.

Lori said...

That DC heat and humidity is a killer; I lived in that area for 5 years, and it's the main thing I recall about that period. That, and the slugs. :)

If you're still in the market for opinions, I'll offer mine: the tam is a bit too floopy, as one of your funny commenters said, and I happen to like the shawlette as it is, from a practical 'new mom' position. I can see it getting a lot of use, at home. As it is, though, I think it would look a little strange if worn out of the house; it would need a pin or something.

Having grown up in rural Texas, I know what you mean about the ways we used to live in the heat because that's what people did. When the heat would be REALLY bad, now and then we'd all load up in the car (the unairconditioned car) and drive on the highway with the windows down, just to fee a bit of breeze. Hot breeze, but still. Breeze. I love the photo of your daughters in the heat, though -- the girl in the front, especially. Doesn't her face say it all? :)

twinsetjan said...

Sorry I missed you in DC...could've at least offered easy access to ice water! I'm just catching up on weeks of blogs (having been somewhat under water of late!)

Regards the "shawlette" -- as soon as I saw it, I immediately thought, 'that's no shawlette! That's a fichu!' -- the Victorian collar that women wore to spice up the variety of their dress and to keep their shoulders warm. Add a means to secure it and declare it so. If you think fichu, it's plenty big and oh, so lovely!

Carrie #K said...

It does make a lovely fichu! RobinH's sweater clasp is another idea - it looks like it's way too short for a pin but it does look quite nice on.

Your DC trip sounds fun! Minus the heat/humidity. We did mostly all that (the Spy Museum wasn't there yet) in 4 days but OTOH, it was 10/1 (after 9/11) and you could park an RV and drive from entrance to entrance it was so deserted.