Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting There

I was so, unbelievably thrilled to realize last week that we didn't have any plans for the three-day weekend.  I think this is the first weekend since we got back from our honeymoon when we didn't have ANYTHING going on, and we took full advantage of it.  On Saturday we slept in, had lunch, and just generally goofed around the house being lazy.  On Sunday after church, we went down to Old Town Alexandria and had brunch at Bilbo Baggins.  It's one of our favorite restaurants, although we don't get out that way very often, and brunch was delicious.  We shared some beignets and then I had a monte christo sandwich and CodeNinja had their stuffed French Toast.



Delicious.  Then we found a shady spot down by the waterfront and set ourselves up some chairs.  CodeNinja read while I knitted, and we just enjoyed the day.  It was really hot overall, but there was a nice breeze blowing from the river, and since we were in the shade, it was quite tolerable.


We sat for a few hours just enjoying the day, and then popped over to Fibre Space.  I picked up this from Astral Bath Yarns, a new-to-me dyer with a really cool name.


It's kind of a misty blue or green color (depending on the lighting and the beholder) that's just lovely.  This yarn is a falkland merino/silk blend that's not one of the dyer's normal bases, and it's gorgeous and oh, so soft.



The colorway is called "The Poetics of Space."  I love an elegant name.

Then we had gelato and cupcakes.


Sadly the cupcakes were eaten before I could photograph them.

Monday we had to do all the responsible stuff like laundry and all that jazz, but I still got some knitting in.  I finished Pulelehua on Thursday last week, and immediately cast on for Calliope's Odyssey.  Then I knit like a fiend all weekend.



I've come to think of this as my "cherries and strawberries" shawl because that's what the two colors remind me of.  This is Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock in Victorian Village (the light pink that looks like a strawberry milkshake) and a OOAK color that I can't remember the name of (the darker cherries garcia color).  I had been hoping (in that feverish, unrealistic way that knitters do) that I could finish this by today so that I could block it and deliver it to the recipient, but that's totally not going to happen.  I will definitely finish this weekend though.  The person I want to give this to is going to surgery on Monday and I really want to deliver it on Sunday morning at church if I can.  She is the sister of the lady to whom I plan to give Polyhymnia.

One of my goals this weekend was to finish getting all the "waiting to be blocked" shawls blocked, and I did succeed.  As you'll recall, I blocked Buttonwillow and Caliz last week, but I only showed Caliz on the pins, so here is a pic of it now that it is pin-free.



First up this weekend on the blocking -er, block, was Polyhymnia.


I put wires at the base of the MC triangle and then another set on the outer edge of the triangle just above the ruffle.  This is also Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock, picked up at the same time as the other two skeins.



The ruffle on this shawl is one of Romi's super clever little touches.  Most ruffles are made simply by increasing and the fabric ruffles naturally.  On this shawl, there is increasing to create the ruffle, but Romi also made use of little purl triangles between the ruffles to make it ruffle even more nicely and consistently.  Because stockinette comes forward and purl recedes, you get neat little wedge shaped ruffles.  I tried to take a picture but it didn't work very well one-handed.


The end result came out very nicely and turned out to be a good size.  I was a little worried this one would be small, but it blocked out well.



Then the only remaining shawl to be blocked was Pulelehua.  Take a deep breath while you can as you look at the unblocked picture, because this shawl is really breathtaking.


And then...


I actually ended up blocking this one more severely than I intended.  I pinned the top edges and the center motif, and then started pinning the upper right edge.  Then  I switched over to the upper left edge - and after a while I realized that, in order to get the same appearance on the left as on the right, I was pinning that side much tighter.  I ended up repinning the right side.  Then repinning, and repinning.  There was a lot of moving of pins, is what I'm saying.  I finally had to get CodeNinja to come down and stand there with a bird's eye view telling me what I needed to move to make it look right.  By the time I was done, the poor shawl was stretched within an inch of its life.



Look at the cresting waves on the border!


The blocking shots actually don't really do justice to the shawl because between the highly aggressive blocking and the grey blocking mats, the color gets really washed out. But, once I picked it up, well.





The color is just gorgeous.  Great depth, wonderful sheen - this is Spirit Trail Decima and I will definitely be using it again some day.  Just luscious. 

I feel like I'm back in my knitting groove.  I've made good progress on Calliope even since the pictures in this post were taken.  Meadowgold is next up...and rumors and hints abound that we might be seeing some new releases in the near future!  

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