Friday, June 27, 2008

see a swallow?

I got the Swallowtail Shawl back on track (it only took frogging three rows!), and finished it up Wednesday night/Thursday morning. It feels terribly delicate, but I know how strong it is, as the unblocked dimensions were 28 by 15", and it easily expanded to the final 49 by 23" after a bath in Soak.

Look at the fantastic nupps! Such texture - I love them, now. I really like the final rows of the patterns, too - a knit row on the wrong side, then the cast off - as it gives the hem some heft.

The Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn Clark. Knit on size 4 needles, from 1.5 skeins of Morehouse Merino Laceweight. Done in less than a month, but surely could have gone faster if I didn't have fits of pique and let it sit on the sidelines for so long.

I don't wear shawls, but really love the lace knitting process. I'm going to bring my hardly-started and long-lingering Icarus Shawl on our roadtrip this weekend. I did find a sock pattern, by going to the garage and digging out some pattern books. It's hard to have my books removed from my living space, so I think that more and more will start making their way into the house. I might be getting back on the knitting track...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

berry blues

I’ve been feeling bad about my knitting. Things aren’t really going right, and I’ve got all this pent-up guilt about projects that have been lingering forever. These feelings are coming up because I’ve been trying to figure out what to bring on our California road trip this weekend. Do I bring old projects that need a jump-start? There is a possibility that I’ll still be disenchanted with them, not knit, and just stare out the window.

Or do I start more projects (more projects!) in yarn that I’ve got upstairs? I’ve been very, very good and not purchased yarn this year at all.* So do I go to any of the excellent yarn shops in Portland and get something new and fresh?

*OK, there was one skein, but it was to finish a sock made from stash yarn.

One thing is going right, though, and that’s berry season in Oregon. Look at these beauties! Nearly all of them are in the freezer for use as sauces and oatmeal toppings over the winter months. I originally had grand plans for picking all of the fruit myself, but at $3 a pint it seemed like a steal to let someone else bake in the sun and do all the work for me.

Little mustard collie-flower (they are about the size of my fist) for dinner tonight. They are too adorable.

Monday, June 23, 2008

two months in

Two months ago, at about 11pm, we landed in Portland. We've accomplished a lot in that time. We've gotten (relatively) settled into our new life, and learned a lot about this wacky city. There is a huge display of fireworks - boxed up - in the grocery store. And a big sign that says, "NO SMOKING." Um, right. Please, no smoking while I'm in the store. I'm now rather scared of what's going to happen on July 4th.

Our first foray into being tour guides for Portland went quite well this weekend. Hubby's parents were in town, and I think we gave them a good view of the city. Portland's weather did cooperate, and the rain did make a quick appearance. And then the weather changed 10 minutes later.

I have no knitting news to report. I've screwed up the Swallowtail Shawl (the final edging, too!) yet again, and I think that I need to rip all the way back. I also messed up a plain sock, if you can believe it. We've got a road trip planned for this weekend, with 18 hours in the car. What should I bring with me that's interesting, but I can't screw up?

Monday, June 16, 2008

my kind of town (i suppose)

Our trip to Chicago lasted 48 hours - including travel with stopovers in Minneapolis. In that very short amount of time, we packed in sightseeing (a river cruise from the Chicago Architecture Foundation), Claire's wedding party, and meals with two friends. One friend moved to Chicago from New York about 18 months ago, and another just happened to be in town from New York, too. Meeting in the middle! So easy!

Of course, we've learned that living in Portland means that you can't easily get many places on a direct flight. We had the option of flying to Newark on our way to Chicago, but declined.

It was very interesting to be in a big, big city again after nearly two months of Portland. There were taxis! mass transit everywhere! tourists! high style restaurants! a truly obnoxious waitress! people walking quickly! As a result of being back in a City, I found myself very impatient with people at the airport on the trip home, and I need to get back to a Portland equilibrium. One where I'm not tapping my foot when someone isn't ready to give their gelato order upon reaching the counter. (When at Alotto Gelato, I only tapped once or twice.)

Saturday was also Worldwide Knit in Public Day, and once again I found myself at a wedding or wedding-type event. I managed half a very short round of a sock (again!), and Hubby captured my contribution on the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

we're outtie

We are off in a few minutes for our 36 hour trip to Chicago. We will get our fill of big city things, like Chinese food, big mass transit, and cannoli. And celebrate the wedding of one of our nearest and dearest. More anon...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

one border, one heart

(Can you name the song this title comes from? It's from a very famous show.)

Although I professed my dislike of the nupps in the border of the Swallowtail Shawl, they make the pattern so elegant that I can't imagine not including them (now that I'm through the first border section). They are much easier after you've learned the trick of making them very, very loose - thus allowing more space for the dreaded purl-5 together. The nupps really capture the beauty of a lily of the valley's nodding head. There's another border section to go, and then the finishing points. I've very excited for the blocking of this shawl.

It also takes very little yarn. I'm still in the first ball of the Morehouse Merino laceweight, so I've used less than 220 yards of yarn. The final borders will take up a quite a bit, but there are no worries about running short, for a change.

I made some green tea cookies for the book club I joined, prompting one member to exclaim (rather loudly), "Are those things green?" Yes, my cookies are green, and they are very tasty. I got the recipe here, via Super Eggplant. I didn't make them as thick as recommended, but I didn't know how many people to expect at book club, and wanted to make sure that there were enough to go around. It wasn't a problem, because only one was eaten. The host assured me that club members never eat, and that her sons would love them. As long as they go to a good home...

The peony petals are falling like crazy, and they still look stunning, even spread all over the table.

Monday, June 09, 2008

it's a parade!

A parade that starts out with a gang of Segways is going to be good.

Since the parade was honoring the Rose Festival, there's a Rose Court of lovely young ladies (sitting in flower-covered Ikea chairs), wearing Rose dresses.

I love this hippo. The little frogs strain to lift the ballerina up in the air. I was sorry that I didn't capture the full grimace made by the froggies. This might have been my favorite float.
Local giant Fred Meyer had a wonderful gardening display... much like their stores. I didn't get any pictures, but there were marching bands, and a ton of rodeo queens on horses completely decked out in flowers, glitter, and hoof polish (seriously). We decided that we needed to find a rodeo to attend this summer, because, why not?

And to cap it all off, there were llamas. Some pulling little carts, and most just enjoying a stroll down the 4 mile parade route.
People start camping out to get good spots for parade viewing on Friday. This made me nervous. I never enjoyed the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade experience of being mushed in a sidewalk with thousands of others. Of course, I should have remembered that things are a little different in Portland. We got there about an hour before the start of the parade, and easily found a spot (for us and our chairs!) right on the route.

Friday, June 06, 2008

strange week

It's been odd being back at work for the same old company, but working out of my dining room across the country.  That's part of what's made it a strange week.  I took two pictures: one of the spot in my car where the air conditioning's freon leaked (in case it goes away before the appointment on Tuesday), and the other of the lovely peonies we got at the market last Saturday.  They drink tons of water, and look like they'll go for another week.  (I thought that picture should go up top.)

See the yellow-green colored splotch?  That's the dye they put in to see where it went.  Mission accomplished.  And so you can see how exciting this week has been.

But we did get to go see Pink Martini in concert, and that was rather awesome.  That was actually a bit of a plus for Portland, when we were doing a tally of the pros and cons; if a group that makes music that excellent calls this place home, then we'd probably like it too.

It's been cold here, so much so that we gave up last night and turned on the furnace.  In June!  65 never felt so heavenly.  It was below 50 this morning, so I think that we made the right decision.

There's not much new on the Swallowtail Shawl, as I screwed up the first border edging and needed to study the fix.  It's back on track now, but I need to be a lot more careful about dropping stitches.  It's such a drag to find a sad little stitch hanging out in midair.

Tonight is barbeque and beer, to celebrate the Big Apple BBQ fest, happening this weekend.  It's always completely insanely crowded, so I'm OK with not being there.  But the occasion must be acknowledged.  If you go, tell me how it is... inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, June 02, 2008

new lace

I wanted a little lacy project after all of the garter stitch on the Baby Surprise Jacket.  I've had the Swallowtail Shawl on my queue for quite a while, and heard from many sources that it was super-quick and satisfying.  I had two little skeins of Morehouse Merino Lace in my stash, and decided that the natural, undyed color would work well for the pattern.  It's been a lot of fun so far, and I've got three more repeats of these little leaves before the borders begin.  Even though it's a simple pattern, I can't knit it (successfully) while watching a movie.  I messed up the 10th repeat - when it really should have been in my head - but was able to fix it after some coffee this morning.  

We had a great weekend, and bought bicycles yesterday.  I love it, and have been thinking what errands I can create to get me out on the road this afternoon.  Pictures soon!