show and tell.

First:

Whoa. I stood outside, mug of locally brewed honey wheat beer in hand, staring at all of this for at least an hour on Tuesday night. We’re getting quite a bit of rain this monsoon season, and watching the storm clouds build is starting to rival knitting as my favorite Base Camp activity.

In the land of knitting, I have much to share — things both finished and received.

I received an unexpected gift this week in the form of this stunning merino-silk lace knit scarf. One of the parents I’ve met through work has become a dear friend, and in honor of my departure, she wrapped this up and gave it to me — and she didn’t even know that I am a knitter! This is absolutely gorgeous (second picture is truer to the color, first shows the detail a bit better) and I am overwhelmed by all of the love and effort that went into this.

This picture doesn’t quite do this super-cute cabled headband justice, but I love taking pictures on this quilt at the home of dear friends here in town. I taught one of our staff members to cable and together we puzzled out this pattern — intending to replicate a knit gift she had received — and then she made me one! There are several folks around Base Camp with their dirty hair fashionably accessorized/tamed by one of these cabled headbands. I’ve been wearing mine almost daily.

On to my super big news:

Can’t believe it took me 8 months to finish this — lost steam in the middle, but I picked this up again last week and it moved super quickly, perhaps because while I was knitting, I was daydreaming of wrapping myself in this while buried in grad school reading.

Pattern: You know the one.

Yarn: Brooks Farm Riata (2 large skeins)

Mods: Only one — I was nervous about having enough yarn, and at halfway through my supply, I noted how far along I was and decided to do one less repeat (11 instead of the 12) of the straight section. This turned out to be a brilliant move — I completed the shawl with a few yards leftover.

Thoughts: I love this — and despite how long it took me to complete it, I really enjoyed the process. I also learned quite a bit about dropping stitches, and way back in November, this pattern taught me how to purl into the front and back of a stitch.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of photos of my clapotis (and other recent FOs) in action come fall. An FO also means a new project — what could it be?

This is the beginning of sassymetrical, by gaysknits. I queued it awhile ago, but when I saw The Plucky Knitter’s version, I knew it needed to be next on the list. This pattern seems to be the perfect use for 3 skeins of Malabrigo in the cinnabar colorway. I’m excited about this, and a bit nervous because this is the first pattern I’ve modified to accommodate a yarn choice in a different weight. The pattern recipe is written for a dk weight, using size 6 needles, and thanks to gaysknits’ instructions, I’ve calculated my gauge, the number of inches I want my finished cardigan to be, and then made some guesses about proportions, particularly with respect to the sleeve stitches. Here’s what I’ve got:

The original is 28 inches around, made to fit a 32 inch bust (this makes sense for the way the cardigan hangs). I want to make mine to fit a 39.5 inch bust, so I want my finished sweater to be 36 inches around. My gauge in the Malabrigo using size 8 needles is 4 st/in, so 4 st x 36 inches = 144 stitches. I am unsure about how to determine the number of sleeve st to cast on when making a larger size, but I am hoping that I can just see how it feels as I go because of the top down raglan construction. I decided to cast on 36 for each front (because of the overlap, each front is the size of the back), 36 for the back, and 18 for each sleeve. Wish me luck!

Whew — lots of pictures and projects to share. In case you’ve been wondering about my houseguests*, I’ll leave you with this shot of them resting peacefully during the daytime (they’re out exploring when I am sleeping in my cabin, so I only see them when I return to grab things during the day):

* Please don’t worry about this — these bats are not aggressive, and the space they’re inhabiting is an open air structure — minimal risk for bites or disease transmission (which tends to occur, also rarely, in contained spaces without good air circulation). Additionally, the friends I’m staying with would like you all to know that I’m wearing my cross, eating garlic, and throwing salt over my shoulder. More soon!

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canyons.

Apologies for my silence over here — some sickness meant that I hit the road last week to spend a few days with one of our expeditions while their leader rested/recovered.

Don’t feel bad for me; it was a wonderful escape. My camera has begun acting up a bit — it doesn’t always turn on when I want it to, though once on, it seems to work fine. I’m glad to have been able to capture these images to share.

Though I’ve finished my Fad Classic (I actually finished it while in canyon country), this is the only image I have to share — once my camera agrees to turn on, I’ll take some pictures of the completed vest, which I am very happy with. I really like the way the variegation of the Araucania Nature Wool looks in this stitch pattern. Instead of casting on a new project, I’ve returned to my clapotis, and I am making good progress. Again, when the camera agrees, I’ll share more pictures!

treasure.

Someone quite dear gave me this set of needles on Saturday, as we sat by a fire under the red rocks. I have no idea how old they are or what exactly they are made of, but I will certainly use them and love them well. They are a gift from Gracie, a small, soft-spoken woman with incredible strength. Some of the best parts of my summers out here have been spent sitting on the back porch, listening to her stories. It makes me happy to think that they will remind me of her after I leave here next month. I’m tempted to cast on a new project in order to begin using them immediately…

blue button, purple project and a sweater’s worth…

Check out my sweet button! One of our interns at Base Camp surprised me with this after one of our weekly food-buying trips. The colors are a bit weird in this shot (in town, enjoying a bed, a ceiling fan and a leisurely morning, and the shades are still drawn) but let me assure you that the mustardy green of the sweater makes the blue button really stand out. Perfect. I am really proud of this sweater, but it may take a bit of wearing for me to feel like it is “me” enough to get someone to take some modeled pictures for me to post. (Also, it doesn’t *quite* fit with my Base Camp wardrobe…)

A fast internet connection and the ability to post in bed this fine holiday morning means I have a lot to share with you. In my last post, I mentioned a new project: Fad Classic by Wendy Bernard. I’m using Araucania Nature Wool in a purpley-grey color, and I really love how this stitch pattern looks with the subtle variegation of the yarn. I’m also feeling really good about the progress I’m making as a knitter. I tried to start this project last fall, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around the way the straps are knit — 2 at a time from the top shoulder seam, doing the front first, pulling out the cast on and knitting the straps down for the back before joining in the round. While it was a bit fiddly and I was slightly paranoid about twisting everything, it is clear to me that my knitterly abilities and confidence are growing with each project I tackle. (Yay!)

Alright, onto the yarn purchasing. As we’ve covered here before, yarn buying is a valid form of therapy. There’s lots going on over here with work, family and my upcoming cross-country move and transition to graduate school, and some of it is a bit overwhelming. In packing up my stash (and sneaking peaks at all of your stashes via ravelry), I realized that though I have plenty of yarn, I don’t have much in sweater quantities, and so I’ve been focusing on addressing that whenever I get stressed out. Also, as this is my first summer as a sweater knitter, I’m having a hard time saying no to all the beautiful fall/wintery yarn that seems to be on sale while the weather is hot. A quick look at some of my latest acquisitions:

Sooo, from the top: Queensland Kathmandu DK in light grey and rust, Malabrigo in Chestnut, Nashua Creative Focus Worsted in delphinium, and Nashua Creative Focus Superwash in Brite Orange, along with some discounted books I’ve had my eye on. (Full disclosure — there’s some Peace Fleece in the mail.) Though that orange is much “briter” than I expected, I think it will work nicely in something stripey. As you can see, there are many sweaters in my future.

In other news, the rains have begun. People always give me a funny look when I mention that the Southwest has a monsoon season, but it’s true — Right around the 4th of July, the afternoon thunderstorms increase in regularity, and sometimes we even get a full evening of gentle rain. Here are a few pictures of an approaching storm earlier this week:

And Wednesday’s (blurry) sunset:

Feels good to get all of this uploaded and shared. I’m way behind on comments, but I’m still here, and I’m almost caught up on blog-reading. Hope you have a lovely 4th of July — I’m spending mine at the rodeo!