A place for me to share photos, trips and projects with my friends, mostly about knitting,kayaking, and quilting.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Almost OXO

I'm about 3 rounds short of completing the OXO on my Mara vest, but that's close enough to take a photo. I'm about to leave for the weekend and won't get back to this until Sunday night or Monday morning. I'll be knitting and yarn shop hopping with Denise in NC!

Happy knitting (or kayaking) weekend!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's Spring!

I'm not going to write much today. It's nice outside and I keep wandering around out there. The bluets, dandelions, daffodils are all calling. And I saw the first rose breasted grosbeak today - it was a female, but the flock will most likely arrive soon and visit for a couple of weeks before moving on. Their friends, the indigo buntings, will be here soon, too.

I'll probably post an updated photo of Mara when I get the OXO completed. That might be tomorrow and it might be next week. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you how my dining table is only marginally available for dining - especially when I'm working on a charted design that I worked out myself. The pink thing is full of Shetland wool for Mara. I have another one with the gansey in it.

Oh, and here's the current state of the gansey.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I Can't Think When I'm Sleepy

OK, maybe I just can't think about numbers and stitch counts when I'm sleepy. Late last evening I began the OXO pattern on my Mara vest, got to the first side seam stitch, looked at my chart, and was convinced that I had really messed things up. The patterns just weren't going to work out right. I recounted, looked at my charts, re-recounted. It wasn't going to work and I couldn't figure out why. Since I had early appointments in the big city today (2 hours of driving each way), I had to go to bed and leave the problem.

During the drive home, I started thinking about my problem. I had a "duh" moment. I'm just supposed to hit the side seam stitch and head back across the chart in the opposite direction. I knew that all along. Why wasn't it evident to me last night? I couldn't wait to get home and check my chart to make certain. Sure 'nuff, no problem! Sleepy induced hallucinations last night, maybe?

As I was knitting across my first pattern round this afternoon, I tripped myself up again with thinking about the numbers - surely I would be one stitch off again. I had forgotten to consider that the front has one stitch fewer than the back! But when I got to the end, everything was fine, so maybe I considered it after all. I can't wait to get all three patterns knitted once and see that they really do look as I planned them on paper. I'll rest easy then. But I won't try to fix perceived mistakes at 11:00 pm, and that might help me rest easy, too.

Today in my mailbox I found this! It's a "simple" gansey kit from Flamborough Marine. I'm excited about it. There are 10 skeins of the lovely blue gansey yarn, and the pattern is simple but elegant (Staithes).

But I'm going to stay focused. My first gansey gets finished before I start this one. The book wasn't part of the kit, but I enjoyed designing the first one, and I've learned some things in the process. So I will use the book as a reference for future designs. I WILL stay focused - first gansey and Mara done before this one begun!

Tomorrow I have to pack for my weekend out of town. I'll be visiting a friend in North Carolina. I taught her to knit over the Christmas holiday, and on Saturday she wants to go on a yarn shop hop. Then she wants to learn seed stitch and get comfortable seeing the difference between knits and purls. I don't think I'll have to worry about charts and stitch counts any more complicated than "use an odd number of stitches for seed stitch."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ribbing Complete!

I'm finally done with the ribbing on my Mara vest. I've also completed the first row of the peerie, increased and changed to my 2.5 mm needles. I'm ready to start my chart. The ribbing is measuring just under 3 inches, so I think that will work for me.

It took me a while to get my stride back for corrugated ribbing, and I have some uneven purl columns. On the second half they're much better. I also don't particularly like the cable cast on, but this was an experiment and I got the information I needed!

Sunday, March 26, 2006


We've all seen those bumper stickers that proclaim the driver "would rather be ______". I thought about that when I was coming up with a name for my blog. I realized I couldn't decide whether my bumper sticker would say "I'd rather be knitting" or "I'd rather be kayaking." Thus the blog name.

I also realized that one of my weak points in both activities has to do with my focus. It's one of the fundamentals of whitewater kayaking that is never automatic for me; I must always be conscious of the need to stay focused on what I'm doing. It's something I work at.

With knitting, I flit from project to project. I'm often not sure if it's an inability to stay focused, or just that something else catches my attention and I just can't wait to check it out. I know I'm not alone in this behavior. But it certainly makes finished projects few and far between. I've been gratified lately to learn that something has helped me keep focused on the project(s) at hand - namely, the fact that I have been doing something other than following a pattern. I've been taking a more active role in the garment's development. It amazes me that I designed and began the gansey and until our company arrived last week, I knitted on it almost every day. I've just begun the Mara fair isle vest, but I can already tell it will be a similar story. But I don't for one minute think I'm "cured" of the lack of focus thing! So perhaps my blog will be one of the tools I employ to help me along, just as I employ certain tools and tricks to maintain my focus when I'm on the river.

I'm on the downhill side of the ribbing on Mara. Like someone on the list commented earlier, the purl blips bother me. But I can live with them if they're all dark. So I knew I'd eliminate the light yarns from the peerie in the ribbing. I wasn't certain about using the claret, but since I liked the color, I decided to try. I have to tell you I wasn't really happy with that choice at first, but now that all the colors are in, I'm quite pleased. I'm certain it isn't what the designer intended, but it definitely makes me happy. Here it is so far:

The image is a little fuzzy because I got too close. I have an inexpensive camera. But in this case it's the colors that are important. I hope I'm as happy with my choices and directions on the rest of this vest!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

How to Begin

I never imagined I'd create a blog. But times change, and this seems to be the easiest way for me to share photos and talk about my projects with my friends. I'm still uncertain how well it will work, but I can only try and find out. There's going to be a definite learning curve here!

Today I'm "tinking" a fair isle vest, almost before I've begun. I got two yarns out of color sequence very early in my ribbing. Fortunately it's only 3 rounds - unfortunately, there are 300+ stitches in each one. But my good friend Nancy assures me that Mercury is in alignment and things will go better now. So off I go with my tinking, soon to become knitting again.

I'm also just about finished with the body of my first gansey, which I designed after taking a workshop with Beth Brown-Reinsel in January. This has been a fun experience, and a learning process that's given me the confidence to proceed with other self-designed projects and ideas. Of course, the ideas are always way ahead of the execution. Once the front of the gansey is finished, I must design the sleeves.

This is what it looks like now.