Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vitamin D

Is done!  I finished the second sleeve on Friday night, in time to throw the sweater into a bowl of water, press it dry-ish, and lay it out to block.  It wasn't even close to dry when I woke up on Saturday, and I knew that I wanted to wear it Saturday evening to go out, so I set it out in the sun (some vitamin D for Vitamin D?), and it was dry in a jiffy.  We had to go to a midday party, but when we came home, I wove the ends in, stitched up the itsy-bitsy seams under the arms (I do love things that are knitted in the round), and it was good to go in time for us to go out to dinner before Cirque du Soleil on Saturday night.  I have worn it every day since then.  (Heh.)

On Mother's Day, I managed to get a few modelling shots.  Both of my girls (and my husband) took me to the beach for a walk at low tide.  I love the way the beach changes with the changing seasons.  At this time of the year, much of the sand that covers the beach by the fall has washed away, laying bare rocks that we don't normally get to see.
 Not to mention the anemones that live on those rocks.
In the spring, seaweeds and grasses begin to wash in from the beds just off-shore.
There is something wonderful about seeing the small, subtle, slow changes that a landscape undergoes from day to day, week to week, throughout the circle of the year.  It's the kind of thing that only comes with going to the same place time and again, season upon season, an intimate relationship with place that depends on time.
 The girls (all of them) were willing to get in on some of the Vitamin D modelling shots with me.
 But since, beautiful as the girls are, they blocked the sweater, Rick also took a few with more of a focus on the knitting.
Although Younger Daughter (and Tilly) still got in on the action (see all that seaweed there?  Tilly thought it smelled just marvelous).
I am not kidding when I say I've worn the sweater every day since finishing it.  This one is going to be a staple in my wardrobe, no doubt in my mind.  It's the perfect weight, it fits beautifully, it hangs nicely, and I like the bracelet-length sleeves (making a virtue of necessity, as I was afraid I'd run out of yarn - but the fact is that if the sleeves were longer, I'd just spend all my time pushing them up).  Even better, this was knitted out of yarn that I had in stash.  Hooray!

Some details:  The pattern is Vitamin D, I used the recommended needle size (which I think was a six, but I can't remember right now).  I knitted it out of Mirasol Nuna, which is 40% Merino, 40% silk, and 20% bamboo (shade 1002).  It's a fabulous combination, both in terms of drape and weight for San Diego. 

A walk on the beach is my idea of a perfect way to spend Mother's Day, especially since all of my very favorite people were there.
(Younger Daughter wants you to know that she took that picture.)

And to make things even better, the afternoon was devoted (aside from doing laundry, which doesn't stop, even for Mother's Day) to knitting.  So next time, I can share one new project OTN (using yarn from stash), and one renewed WIP.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Done, and almost done

Well, the knitting part of the shawl is done, and it has been blocked.  Tonight I weave the ends in, and then it can go to my friend in time to take it up to Berkeley for her daughter's graduation this weekend.  Whew!

I really love the fact that, when laid out, this shawl makes a circle.
Isn't it fun?  And not only is it in ocean colors, but there are waves.
They're almost the same shape as the edges of the water as we walked along the beach (during that lovely low tide during the super moon) last weekend.

 The Pediboo yarn drapes beautifully, and gives this shawl a weight that, along with the shape, helps it to stay in place.  This is the second time I've knitted this one, and I'm not tired of it yet, which is saying something (since I rarely knit the same pattern multiple times).  I guess that means I'd recommend it.

I have also finished the first sleeve on Vitamin D (no pictures, because sleeve pictures aren't particularly inspiring), and will pick up the stitches for the second sleeve tonight.  That went fast, so with luck, I'll be blocking that sweater this weekend.  Maybe (just maybe), I'll even be able to finish and block it on Friday, so I can wear it on Saturday (which is when we're doing most of our Mother's Day stuff - read: going to Cirque du Soleil, because they're in town and the timing was too good to pass up).

Last night was my last night class of the semester (once every two years I teach an evening class), and tomorrow I'll teach my last sections of my other class.  And then it's on to grading.  My evening class is the field methods class that I've talked about in the past, where a patient guinea pig speaker of a language that none of us knows comes to class every week so that we can ask her to say things in that language.  Then it's the job of the students to analyse that data to discover the grammatical rules of the language.  This semester, it was Tigrina, a Semitic language spoken by millions of people in Eritrea and Ethiopia.  The speaker was fabulously patient with us, and the students did an amazing job.  It's hard when this class ends, because it's such an intense experience; I miss seeing everybody each week.  (As an aside, I spent nearly two years trying to convince our budget committee that when I said I needed money to pay a language speaker in order to teach this class, I was not talking about needing a guest speaker in my class - "But we'd all like to have guest speakers" was the chorus - until I finally turned to the faculty member from Psych and said, "You get lab rats.  I need a lab rat.  Except language lives in the brains of humans, so I need a human brain.  With a mouth attached."  That did it.)

And tomorrow night I teach the second half of my spindling class, where we talk about plying, the whys and wherefores.  So after tomorrow night, things really will have wound down.  At least, all of these things will have wound down - the To Do list that I've been putting off for quite some time now still lurks, menacingly, in the background.  So one set of things is done, or almost done (hence the post title), but then more will start.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A little leeway

I'm plugging away on the shawl for my friend's daughter.  I had in my head that her graduation was this weekend, and I was thinking that there was no way it would be done in time for my friend to take with her to Berkeley, but was consoling myself that at least it would be here when they came back.  So I checked in with my friend today, and it turns out that the graduation is a week from this weekend.  Hooray!  It suddenly seems like I have all the time in the world.
The colors aren't quite right in these photos; they're taken with my phone in my office.  As it's a gray day here, the light is very diffuse and (as always with gray days) surprisingly bright, in a dim sort of way.  The lighter color is much closer to a sea-foam green than anything, and I think between that and the pale gray (not to mention the wave at the edge, once it's cast off), it meets the specified liking for ocean colors.
This is moving along fairly quickly.  It helps that I love the yarn (Frog Tree Pediboo), and that most of the rows are stockinette, so I can read while I'm knitting (which I did this last weekend; Nook finally has my favorite Bujold books available, so I got a couple, along with Reich's latest ebook release, which I highly recommend, if anyone is looking for something that will make them think, and perhaps foam at the mouth, in a good sort of way).  It's not a difficult or mind-consuming knit, but a fun one.  I'm done with the striping, so now it's only the gray border to go.  And I have a two-hour Senate meeting this afternoon, which should translate to some progress.

In fact, here you can see the meeting prep corner of my office.
Usually, it's just the spindle (for quiet moments in my office - rare, but nice), and the bag on the left (with an endless stockinette scarf); the Whippoorwill is in the bag to the right, which I'm pleased I remembered today.  (I actually took a few more office pictures today; perhaps a virtual office tour may be forthcoming at some point...)

And speaking of spindling, tomorrow night and next Thursday, I get to teach another spindling class at my LYS!  I always look forward to these classes - I just wish that there was some always-good time to offer them.  Whether I do the two-part series on Thursday nights or Saturday mornings, there's someone who was hoping to take it who can't make it at that time (scheduling college classes is the same way, alas).  But if there's anyone local who is interested and available, there are still spots left.  Not only is it a fun class, but I happen to know that we still have some fiber from DesigKnit, and I'll be bringing the yarn I spun from a combination of her BFL and Polwarth, for petting and inspiration.