Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finished Knit: Leaf Yoke Top

Leaf Yoke Top Leaf Yoke Top in Progress

The Leaf Yoke Top by Angela Hahn from Knit.1, Spring/Summer 2009 (incidentally the last issue ever made, though I'm still holding out hope that this magazine comes back some day.) Went into my queue on Raverly as soon as I got this issue. It already calls for a vegan yarn, Tahki Nova. On top of that, the yarn has sparkle to it, and I'm a sucker for that. So I'd long ago decided that I would make this, and I would do it in the yarn the pattern calls for. When I found the yarn marked down at elann, I couldn't help myself.

So I just knit two brown lace tank tops, one after the other. That's okay I like brown. I do remember telling myself while I was trying to decide on colors that green might make more sense since I just finished the lotus top. I don't know what happened, I guess I was just more drawn to the brown.

I am not quite as thrilled with how this turned out, but I knit it up very quickly. It turned out a bit big, for some reason, even though I had gauge. The arm holes, especially, turned out large, which makes it too awkward to wear on its own. That's okay, I suppose, since I intend to mostly wear it over a shirt, like the one pictured above. But it does make me tempted to try this pattern again one day to get the right fit. The more I knit, the more I understand about gauge, sizing, ease, and all that good stuff.

The lace yoke is really fun to knit up. After that it's just plain stockinette, which is a bit boring, but I always get really focused on it, trying to plow my way through to the end.

Anyway, I've got two more projects to post about, socks, and a work in progress that should be finished soon, before I'm caught up with blogging about my latest projects. I also signed up to do the Vegan Mofo again this year, which means there should be lots of blogging in the month of October! Which starts this weekend? Yeesh, how did October get here so soon!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wildllife: Vaux's Swifts

I agree that bird watching is exciting, however, we were not expecting a crowd this large:

Of course, it was a really lovely evening, with a very pretty sunset and a view of Mt. St. Helen's. And what a pleasant thing to do with your evening. This turns out to be a pretty significant bird watching event. Every September Vaux's Swifts come by the thousands to roost in the chimney of Chapman Elementary School before they migrate for the winter.

It was impressive and neat to watch. Apparently a few years ago some predatory birds figured out this would be a nice place to grab a snack. While we watched, a falcon picked off at least two of the swifts. It happened a little too quickly to catch with my camera, but it definitely added to the excitement. The swifts will continue to perform at dusk through roughly the end of September before moving on for the winter.

Additional Reading:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Favorite Episodes: Fraggle Rock

It would have been Jim Henson's 75th birthday today, which you might already know because of the google doodle. I am a big fan of pretty much everything he did, but especially The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Storyteller, & Fraggle Rock. I found out two things last year that lead to re-watching the whole Fraggle rock series with Chuck: Chuck had not watched much of it (he didn't have cable. I think I watched it in obessively re-runs on TNT since we didn't have HBO, which is where it first aired.) And it was all available streaming on Netflix (still is, if you haven't abandoned ship due to their recent changes.) Even as an adult with no kids I still love the show to pieces. I even remember the lyrics to most of the songs, although I hadn't watched it for years. Here are a few of my favorite episodes, although I'm sure if I watched again this list might change. There were many great episodes!:

Season 1 Episode 18 - The Minstrels
I basically think Jim Henson is Cantus, the wandering minstrel. He does do the voice. In this episode he helps Red, who is more athletically inclined, find her song.

Season 1 Episode 19 - The Great Radish Famine
For the Knitting Song, in the video above, mainly. The Doozers are just so neat. In later episodes a girl doozer, Cotterpin, wants to be an architect. That plays out over several episodes in season 3.

Season 3 Episode 8 - Believe it or Not
I was so impressed with the ambition of this episode, there's a character that required four or five different, very large puppets in a flooded basement. We watched some extras and the writer of this episode talked about how she thought the script asked too much and they wouldn't be able to do it, but it was a good story so they did it. 

Season 5 Episode 6 - Beyond the Pond
Red, trying to kill off some weeds in her pond, ends up following the roots to find a new kind of fraggle who are dependent on the roots for survival.

Season 5 Episode 13 - Change of Address
The last episode. Everything the last episode of the show needed to be. I didn't really remember it from my childhood viewing so it caught me off guard.

Happy Birthday Jim! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Non-Specific Dates & Hats

Sometime around early June marked our tenth anniversary together. (We've never kept track of the specific day.) And sometime mid-August marked the one year anniversary of moving to Portland. So we have some new hats. Everyone in Portland has a hat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finished Knit: Lotus Blossom Tank

Okay, okay, I've heard that there have been some complaints about the fact that I haven't been blogging at all for a few months now...which is something that I never really intended to happen. It was hot, lots was happening and I got a bit overwhelmed with where to start once I fell behind.

Knitting seems like the most natural place to start since I'm now at least 3 finished objects (F.O.s) behind in posting about it here. Starting chronologically with my Lotus Blossom Tank, which I'm thrilled about:

The pattern is the Lotus Blosson Tank by Sharon Shoji from The Best of Interweave Knits. The yarn is what the pattern called for: Southwest Trading Company Bamboo, in Chocolate. I picked it up years ago at a sale at the Fiber Gallery in Seattle, with this project in mind. However it took me a few years, and a few false starts, before I actually felt up to a lace this fancy. I am really happy with the yarn/pattern combination too. With that much effort in lace, it turns in to something with a really lovely drape, that feels fancy to wear. Plus, for some reason, it smells amazing. It was always my favorite yarn in my stash for that reason, and I'm glad it still smells as good now that it's a garment! 

I added repeats of the lace pattern because I didn't really want something cropped. The pattern only calls for 4, and I knit 6. This was no problem; once I was used to the lace pattern it wasn't hard at all. My main issues in previous attempts involved it being my first in-the-round lace work and the fact that that lace pattern was a full ten rows before a repeat. But that seems like nothing now! Bring on more lace!

Anyway, I will be posting more often again, though I'm not sure how often yet...I've got at 3 more posts about knitting, and I may do some about what we've been up to over the blogging break. 

To quickly name a few of the major things we've been doing: Rose Festival,Vegan Iron Chef, Ecotrust concerts, Parents visited, Cannon Beach, Pickathon, Seaside, OR, Knit Picks Warehouse Sale, and MusicFestNW. 

Oh and Portlandia was filming right down the street from where we live! I came pretty close to Fred & Carrie in matching red vests heading toward their trailers while I was coming back from a Farmer's Market...but I just smiled at them like a fool. Should I have yelled "Put a bird on it" ?  (I'm sure they get that too much.) As I recall I was wearing something handmade (probably knit) that did not have a bird on it...maybe I should have pointed that out. Next time...I will probably react the same way.