boh reads, while i knit and eat cake.

I took a break from my work on Friday night to make another cup of tea, and I returned to find that Boh had decided to sit, and then lay, with my book. If only he could help with the reading. I alternated reading chapters with knitting increase rows on my snowbird cardigan, and now I’m working on the first sleeve.

This is the first pattern I’ve knit that calls for knitting the sleeves before the body, and I think I like this approach: after knitting the longest rows — the raglan increases — I get to knit the shortest rows!

Also, the birthday celebration continued on Saturday. Boh’s favorite people and his best dog friend Coltrane came over with a full-on triple-decker coconut cake! (Which, by the way, is every bit as delicious as it looks. I might eat part of this piece for breakfast.) We ate cake, and then took a nice wintry walk. Boh snored, with his head on my lap, for the rest of the afternoon.

The combination of the cold weather and my need to feel extra cozy means I’ve been wearing a lot of handknits lately. I snapped this picture yesterday morning before heading out to a nearby coffee shop to get some reading done. (With some books, I just need a bit more din to stay focused.)

Yesterday I was looking for an extra layer, and dug out my sassymetrical, which provided just the right amount of warmth under my slouchy navy (store-bought) wear-all-the-time cardigan. And that’s today’s handknit-in-action.

(I feel sort of weird taking pictures of my outfits in the mirror, but these are the photos that I really like to see on other people’s blogs and on ravelry — how they actually wear the stuff they make. Sometimes seeing a handknit incorporated into someone else’s wardrobe convinces me that I could/would wear said handknit.)

Alright, enough of that. Happy weekend, folks. I’m off to curl up with my (canine) valentine to knit a bit/read a lot.

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!