Archive for November, 2010

aria delicato

Monday, November 29th, 2010

this week’s installment in the pre-christmas pattern flurry is a pretty lace scarf in a downy soft yarn with all-winter appeal. i won’t be bashful about it—i love the way this one turned out and enjoyed every minute of knitting it. the pattern is easy as can be, with just eight rows to keep track of, but what a beautiful effect those eight little rows have in this frosty lavender/blue colorway. the piece takes surprisingly little yardage for its length; if you have a precious skein lying around that is not quite enough for most scarves, it might work with this one.

this project is is truly a no-fuss traveler; once you’ve got the pattern set up, it’s a snap to add a few rows here or there, as your day allows and easy to find your place if interrupted. and if all that weren’t enough, it’s a great twin accessory for the delicato mitts—if they were a hit with a recipient at some earlier point, this would make an excellent follow-up gift.

shown here in slackford studio nimbus cloud, a heavenly alpaca/cashmere/silk blend, in colorway lilac frost

mmmm
the scarf is set off to perfection here with a celtic budding spiral pin from nicholas & felice

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

susan, owner and dyer of slackford studio, sent me a generous amount of this yarn, so i’ll be knitting a matching set of mitts next to go with it—thank you susan! susan offers some extremely pretty yarns of all weights in her online shop, on beautiful bases, too. go take a look while i add some more pictures . . .

all’s well that ends well . . .

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

it’s been a bit of a whirlwind here in montreal, but then, it often feels that way wherever i travel. i’m so glad we decided to make a bit of a holiday out of this trip; david and i are enjoying the city with relish.

while we love our new home in ohio, there are times that we feel a little nostalgic about our hometown city of new york, and having a holiday in a large city near the water proved to be very satisfying. we get our hit of lights, architecture, culture, and street life while having a bit of time away from work.

we arrived wednesday night after a beautiful day of driving, having crossed over the border and the st. lawrence river at 1,000 islands, which i’d never seen before (it’s beautiful; if you ever get a chance to go, you should).

we grabbed a quick, romantic dinner at a little bar restaurant near our hotel (we’re staying out in the suburbs) that proved to be excellent—deliciously crisp, light pizzas, hot from the oven and topped with yummy stuff.

for our anniversary, david presented me with a beautiful pair of glass earrings to match the bracelet i wear all the time, a gift he procured in secret from a shop in la jolla with the help of my friend kim (isn’t she the best friend?).

little did we suspect the adventures these earrings would take us on over the next couple of days . . .

on thursday we slept in for a while (a total luxury for me), then headed into the city for the afternoon and evening. first, we visited the centre canadien d’architecture, where we saw an excellent exhibit the effects of migration on the way we arrange our living environments. they also have a mind-blowing bookstore.

after that it was time for coffee and we stopped off at a steamy boulangerie/cafe to warm up. david tries the pain au chocolat wherever he goes and pronounced the one he had here to be very good (good enough to ensure another trip the next day, haha).

then we were off for more walking. we stopped by the musée des beaux-arts de montréal, but as it was late, we decided not to go in, even though the otto dix exhibit looked enticing. instead we headed to dinner—we were both famished by this time.

when i got myself unwrapped from coat, scarf, and hat, david noticed that one of my new earrings was missing, ACK! i hadn’t even had them on for a whole day—i was heartbroken and upset; it isn’t often that i lose something like that. arrghh.

the stupidest part? i was telling david over dinner about those handy rubber stoppers you can buy to keep earrings in place and that i should get some; when we got back to the hotel later on, i realized that the jeweler had actually included them in the box and i just hadn’t seen them. grrr.

i fretted about that earring all night, and in the morning i insisted that we try to find it, even though i knew i was sending us on a wild goose chase. i mean really, who could expect to find one little earring in a big city? i promised myself i wouldn’t let it get in the way of another nice day and off we went.

i wasn’t going to check at the architectural center because it was out of the way and i was pretty sure i had it after we’d been there. but then realized i’d be kicking myself afterward if we didn’t go. we scanned the sidewalk all the way there and saw nothing. we checked at the coat desk and the nice woman there said she didn’t have it, but she’d check with security. a quiet conversation in french with a few “no’s” ensued and my heart sank.

next thing we knew, the security guard came out and asked if the earring was a glass and silver triangle. i said yes! did he have it?
“no”, he said; he saw it, but he didn’t have it.
he’d found it right outside the front gate on the sidewalk and knowing he wouldn’t be able to find the owner, he set it on the stone bench near the entrance.

we ran outside to look

it was still there! i could hardly believe it.

am i a lucky ducky or WHAT??
i ran back in to thank the man profusely and tell him a babbling story about it being an anniversary gift, etc. i was so overcome with gratefulness that i forgot to take his picture for the blog.
he seemed very pleased to see the whole thing come together so well.

i’m still pinching myself that it worked as it did—phew.

we spent the rest of the day walking to the in the place des artes, where we enjoyed the architectural scenery and visited the musée d’art contemporain de montréal

we saw an installation by jon pylypchuk and an exhibit of work by the winners of the sobey art awards for 2010.

the weather was pretty raw on friday, so afterward we cozied up to some hot coffee and cake at M cafe and marveled once again over finding that darn earring (i still can’t believe our luck, haha).

then it was time to wend our way back to our hotel—we had a date with the delightful veronik avery for dinner at her home with robin melanson. i was excited to meet them, as i am an admirer of both their work.

it was a wonderful evening, full of good talk and getting to know each other—designers tend to be very happy to stay at home, working in solitude, but we do very much enjoy the odd night out with our kind to talk shop, talk books, talk music, etc., preferably over great food and wine.

which we did—veronik prepared a memorable meal that included homemade ravioli, which was so good, i can still smell and taste it, mmm. this was followed by another extraordinary dish of scallops, potatoes, and greens, and a dessert pudding that is a local specialty.

i could have talked with them into the wee hours, but i had to get up the next day to teach, so we left regretfully at a decent hour. i hope i get to see them both again soon . . .

yesterday and today were devoted to classes with the montreal knitting guild, where i was invited to teach a day of lace classes and a day of sweater fitness.

while friday had been rainy and sleety, we woke saturday to covering of snow, with more falling as we drove to class.

we had full classes on both days—there’s nothing like enthusiastic knitters who want to know more.

we were grateful though, when one special member of the class kept completely quiet on saturday

robyn is 36 weeks pregnant, but the baby was willing to wait at least one more day to appear. not that it wouldn’t have been exciting, or a good story to bring on a birth during class . . . but maybe not this weekend, heh.

robyn has a la novia scarf on the go, packed and ready to take to the hospital. a good choice—it’s an easy knit, but entertaining; she could run out the door in a hurry, leaving the pattern behind, and still have everything she needs to keep going on it. it’s keeping her company while she waits for the big day.

on saturday afternoon we did a bittersweet vines project class that proved a nice followup to the lace skills class that morning.

while no one managed to finish their neckwarmer in class, most participants got pretty far along and several finished pieces showed up at today’s sweater class.

after classes yesterday, a small group gathered at barbieO’s incredible home for a potluck dinner.

where we lounged, ate, and knitted the evening away. having gotten an early start, a lot of knitting was accomplished during this evening.

and a lot of fun was had—even david was rather animated throughout the evening, which leads me to believe that i should bring him along more often.

(how cute is this dog?? get this—it’s a kind of dog that is bred to love; it’s job is to cuddle and keep people from feeling bad. and just when i thought i’d heard everything . . .)

i’ve been knitting too, though not as much as i thought i would (we’re never home!). last night at barb’s, i worked on finishing up a legwarmer. i’m almost done with the back of the boy sweater

which i’m pretty sure i can finish up tonight. and i worked quite a bit on a secret project, during the drive from ohio. other than that, we’ve been on the go an awful lot so knitting time has been sparse, save for a bit of sock knitting on the bus and train around montreal.

tomorrow, we take off again for albany, where we’ll visit with my mom for a couple of days before heading back home. maybe there i’ll get some knitting done.

now i’m off to post the new scarf pattern . . . stay tuned.

now, where did we leave off?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

i’m working on quite a few projects at once here—almost too many to keep track of (and yet, i want to start more; what does that say about me?). i’m blaming it on christmas and my annual mad desire to knit lots of useful and amusing accessory items. sometimes, they actually make their way to appropriate recipients . . .

anyway, the fact that i have so many things going and so many that i’m very interested in working on, means that i have a big pile of travel knitting. and i don’t think i’m going to attempt to pare it down—we’ll be away for eight whole days and we’re traveling by car; it won’t matter, will it, if i have to bring two knitting bags??

i’ve got the boy jacket project, the legwarmers i’m knitting for my niece, my own warm cardigan project, wasp and rose, a new scarf-et project (more on that in a bit) a couple of secret projects, and two sock projects that have been languishing in my basket, each one nearly done (what is wrong with me that i’m letting them sit?).

at least i got a couple of things off the needles before i had to decide. the crossings mitts got crossed off my to-do list on saturday; after a bath and reshaping on sunday, the are looking mighty sleek and elegant.

we put them on with a bracelet over the cuff in class yesterday and wow—they’d make a great evening accessory in black or shimmering platinum.

the pattern is written and in proofing; i’ll release it sometime after we return, in december.

the other item that got blocked is aria delicato and it is looking lovely indeed—that nimbus cloud yarn is to die for, both the color and the fiber.

susan is stocking up her store as we speak to get ready for the pattern release on monday . . . she’s especially focusing on this lilac frost color. if you don’t have time to knit the scarf, the yarn and/or pattern would make a luscious gift, even for a non-knitter.

i should pack the leftover yarn and the delicato mitts pattern, too; you never know, i could run out . . .

while i was photographing the scarf on my dress form yesterday, i took some update photos of wasp and rose, because you hardly ever get to see that one in its entirety.

admittedly, between the crumpled lace yarn and the fact that is squished onto the needle, it’s hard to get a sense of how pretty it could be one day. but i’m making progress steadily now and it won’t be long til we can see a lot more of it. the top section is a victorian stripe of winding rosebuds, leading into a large rose trellis pattern with diagonal lines. i’m about one-third of the way through that trellis section

i’m debating about whether to take this on my trip; on the one hand, i am enjoying the knitting and look forward to spending time on it every night (thus making very good progress); i’m on a roll. on the other hand, i rarely pick up this sort of project while traveling, even if i have a whole evening free to work on it—i dunno why (lighting? distraction?). i guess it wouldn’t hurt to throw it in the bag; it won’t take up much space.

i don’t know if i mentioned this, but one of the reasons we are leaving so early for montreal (i don’t have to be there til saturday), is that david and i are celebrating our tenth anniversary on thanksgiving day. i can hardly believe that much time has passed since our wedding!

the anniversary socks are packed and tied with a bow to give to david on thursday morning (it’s our tradition; he gets his new winter socks on our anniversary each year. no pun intended, but thanksgiving sorta kicks off the wool sock season in our house.).

i had hoped to have one more pair to add to the pile; something special to mark our first decade. and actually i do have a fourth pair, you just can’t see ‘em—they were a secret project. suffice it to say that they are deLISH.

remember when i said i had received back a box of yarn shop samples that had several nice things in it? well, i was rooting through it the other day to sort the contents and found this scarf that i never wrote a pattern for

it’s cute right?? you can wear it several ways and it has a very appealing texture. the pass-through opening is a little larger than i would like, but that’s easily fixed. i dunno why i never wrote a pattern—my other criss cross scarves are very popular. but now i’m ready to do it.

i can’t even remember what yarn i used—obviously something lofty and soft. and i like it just as it is, in cream. after some searching in my stash, i decided on this morehouse merino three-strand worsted in natural soft white

i wound up a skein and put that in my knitting bag. maybe i’ll work that out on my trip; this is the kind of thing i do like to work on in hotel rooms—mindless knitting with a bit of problem solving to do; very entertaining.

this book by sherry ackerman arrived in the mail on tuesday and i decided to pack it along with everything else, so i can browse through and read it at odd moments over the next week.

the good life is about living simply and having more satisfaction. anyone who does anything useful with their hands should be able to appreciate the message. in fact, our endeavors often leave us wanting more of that feeling, in more parts of our lives. we might take up growing our own food, or riding a bike for local travel or getting out of the corporate rat-race to sell patterns (haha). i’m curious to find out how others may have experienced such transitions.

ok, i think i’m finally completely caught up with you now—we’ll be honeymooning for the next couple of days, but not out of touch entirely. i’m sure there’s a story or two to tell from montreal.

happy thanksgiving and safe travels, wherever you might be heading to.

a weekend worthy of the word

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

beckie and i started our weekend off right, with an evening of knitting and lounging about in our slippers and stretchy pants. it was great.

beckie’s been working on her jackie leisure jacket in briar rose fourth of july and finished the second front piece that evening.

it’s beautiful—i am engulfed in yarn envy over that colorway, a beautiful green/gold mix with turquoise highlights, which chris custom dyed for beckie. i am such a yarn ho.

(that reminds me—there is a hilarious yarn ho thread running in the knitspot ravelry group. i haven’t had such a fun read in a long time; i laugh out loud every time i check in. you should check it out—and by all means, add your own 2¢; you don’t have to be a member to be a yarn ho, hee-hee!)

ok, back to mature topics . . .

i worked on the sweater i’m knitting for my nephew amad. i got the left front done and it was looking kind of skimpy, considering the height that i think he is (i’ve only seen pictures this year, but he looks tall). so i started the right front and planned to add an inch in length and a few stitches across. not too much bigger . . . just enough so that he can wear it for a couple of years.

mmm, the fabric is yummy; perfect for the little man. i just know he’ll like this jacket. and it’s going so fast, i’m considering a matching one for his baby brother. i think they’d love that. and i certainly have enough yarn . . .

while we knit and chatted, we also watched the porch railings go up right outside the study windows. david is a late riser and likes to work at night. with the shortening days, he’s devised a system of outdoor floods for the porches, so his area looks like a lit-up stage. he cracks me up . . . but not enough to tell him to stop.

i got a few shots before the sky darkened and a few after the installation was done on this side of the house (he’s working on the other side now).

we have railings, finally.

and two smooth, new rubber roofs where there used to be peeling, leaky asphalt. david does great work; this should last us for as long as we’re in the house.

when beckie left, i put away the sweater project and worked on wasp and rose for a while, til it was time to watch TV.

i got more done as the weekend progressed—not quite to the halfway point of section b as i had hoped, but almost. the rows go a lot slower than those on a shawlette in fingering yarn, but i’m enjoying the work immensely; it’s been very relaxing so far. i’ve been listening to books by rose tremain, which makes it even nicer; the readers are quite soothing to listen to, while the stories are deeply engrossing. that woman can really write; i’m in awe.

boy, oh boy did i get a lot done over the weekend by NOT spending half my time in the kitchen this week. i mean, i love cooking, but i’ve forgotten what life can be like with saturday and sunday afternoon free. such is the life of a vegetable gardener, at least from june through october.

on saturday, i did my bookkeeping, then went over to knit with debby and susie for the whole afternoon. i worked on the new front for amad’s whitfield shorty and got almost all the way to the underarm.

then i finished it up that evening at home. i like the new one way better; it has the same size armhole and neck, but it’s a little longer and a little wider below the armhole. in class yesterday, i ripped back the first one to the underarm and reknit to match the new one.

in the meantime, i’ve started the back. if i could finish this up tonight, i’d be thrilled; then i can leave the body pieces at home and just pack the sleeves to knit on my trip. or pack enough to start a mini-shorty for micah, haha.

sunday morning our spinning class met to make up for not meeting tomorrow night. i’m still working away on this coopworth/nylon blend—there was a lot more fiber in that bag than it first appeared. i have three bobbins full and a fourth underway; i’m spinning for a three-ply yarn and i fins that a fourth bobbin with the extra singles is always a good thing when it comes time to ply.

barb showed up in rare form, wearing one of her aztec maze sweaters (barb knits multiples of everything, which is a constant source of envy for susan and linda).

she’s spinning with the same fiber i am; we purchased the fleece at our local wool show last year and had it blended at the mill to spin sock yarn. she proceeded to regale us for the next two hours with stories about what she did all week (a LOT; barb has the energy of a room full of 10-year-olds). one thing she did was refinish her woodwork and paint her bedroom.

yeah, we know—and that’s not even considering how much knitting she does. susan just looked over her glasses and kept on knitting the back of her ondule . . . which she started last year. barb has put her on a knitting schedule now, so it’s moving along much more quickly. of course, she often knits during spinning class to meet her weekly goals, but we’re ok with that.

susan is knitting her sweater with a beautiful batch of briar rose grandma’s blessing in plums, browns, and olive, with a touch of rose.

linda is following the same program as susan for getting her ondule done (they started at the same time last fall). she does more of her work at home, so she gets to spin most sundays.

she has a big bag of dark brown alpaca fleece she’s been working her way through. look at what a lovely job she’s making of it; that’s gonna be some nice yarn . . .

after class, i did some blocking—i had the aria delicato scarf to soak and stretch and the crossings mitts needed to be bathed and reshaped. then beckie picked me up and we went shopping for new walk/run shoes (mine are woefully worn out). PLUS, i gave myself a few hours of knitting time and a bike ride. it was heavenly.

but you know what? i’m going to tell you about all that in the next post, because i’ve got a bunch of stuff to get done this afternoon for tomorrow’s trip. i’ll finish up my knitting news in a second post that you can read tomorrow while we make our way to montreal.

adios; be back later . . .