These are the two yarns I used: Knit Picks Felici in Rustic Cabin and an Online Supersocke 100. Combined, they looked to me like handspun.
Fast-forward a few months, and I decided I wanted to get some more Felici in different colors for more double-stranded socks. I clicked over to the KnitPicks website... and discovered that Felici had been discontinued :-(
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.
Fast-forward another month or two, to the day I received an email from KP announcing a limited-time return of Felici. As you can imagine, I jumped on that with both feet. (See what I did there? Feet? Socks? Anyway...)
Yesterday this arrived in our mailbox.
Couldn't decide which colors to get... so I got one of each.
And since I was just a few bucks short of free shipping, I had to add another skein of sock yarn.
I foresee many pairs -- at least 8 -- of colorful double-stranded, quasi-handspun socks in my future!
After I spent Friday and Saturday in Ashland, I came home for a day and a half, then Smokey and I headed to a cabin on the North Shore for a few days. We had a couple packing accidents: Smokey's CPAP machine, in its own little black nylon suitcase, made it from upstairs to the front stoop but not from there into the car; my knitting, in its custom-designed box (more on that another time), never made it from the dining room table downstairs and into the car.
Unlike a diabetic forgetting his insulin, it is not life-threatening for him to forego the CPAP machine for a few days. On the other hand, knitting is essential to life itself, but I had my trusty Emergency Knitting bag with the brioche cowl inside. Tragically, I finished that before we had even reached Duluth. Happily, there is a lovely yarn store in Duluth that was happy to sell me some yarn for a new project.
EQUALS ANOTHER PAIR OF DOUBLE-STRANDED SOCKS.
The yarns are (variegated) Three Irish Girls Adorn sock and (dark red) Cascade Heritage. Both yarns are delightful to knit. The TOGirls color is Cooler By The Lake, which is a local phrase. The older part of Duluth is near the lake, the newer part is "on top of the hill." While it may be hot on the hill, it is always cooler by the lake.
The socks will ensure that my feet are never in that [cooler] condition.
Younger Son's new phone, a Sony something, does tricks. My phone did something similar, but for a much shorter time.
* * * * *
I don't think I ever showed you one of my adventures during the yarn-caking marathon. I had read on Ravelry that Zauberball was impossible to pull from the center without massive tangles, so I pulled from the outside.
It was not entirely successful, although by the third ball -- I think this one was the second -- I had figured out how to minimize the tangles.
* * * * *
I took a class on brioche stitch from Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark at Yarnover this year. Of the 20 or so people in class, nearly everyone had attempted brioche before ::raises hand:: but were unable to master it from a book/handout/pattern. ::nods sheepishly::
The class was an excellent idea for all of us. We found that brioche stitch is easy and that the knitter develops a rhythm with it after a bit, just like ribbing.
The two swatches I made during class.
On the way to Yarnover that morning, I suddenly remember that I had left the two balls of required worsted weight yarn on the seat of a different car. Oh well, I thought, I can probably mooch some yarn off someone else in the class. People always bring more yarn than they need.
When I walked into the Yarnover venue, which was filled with yarn vendors, I had a good chuckle at myself. Gee, do you suppose I can find some yarn here?
Actually, it was not as easy as I first thought. Most vendors bring lace- and fingering-weight yarn and/or fiber. I was more than halfway through the place before I found some worsted weight.
What you cannot see in the photos is the wonderfully woolly-but-soft-squishy texture of the yarn. 50% CVM/30% alpaca/20% angora, oh my!
I bought the one on the left first, but after the class I went back to buy the second, contrasting one. They are in the process of becoming a cowl that is a larger version of white and green swatch. The best way to cement a new stitch is to make something immediately to get the process into muscle memory.
I am currently in the midst of a yarn-caking drive. Every skein, no matter what kind, is gonna be wound into a center-pull cake.
Because I say so, that's why.
I prefer knitting from my own center-pull cakes to knitting from whatever configuration the yarn manufacturer uses. And, oddly enough, I enjoy playing with the stash almost as much as knitting it.
No before photos, but here are the sock yarn and the laceweight & fingering-but-not-necessarily-sock-yarn bins posing for their glamour shots after their respective winding binges were over.
Laceweight & fingering-but-not-necessarily-sock-yarn. Those are cedar balls resting atop the cakes, all the better to repel moths*. The other bins have blocks of cedar screwed to the underside of the cover (thanks, Smokey!) but I ran out of blocks before I ran out of bins.
* * * * *
I stayed at Younger Son's apartment a couple weekends ago when I went to Yarnover (someday I will blog about Yarnover, too). He was in the midst of moving from his basement apartment to a third-floor one in the same complex**. I noticed some odd-ish decor items scattered about.
Aha, methought, blog fodder!
On the kitchen wall.
(formerly) on the bedroom wall.
On the desk.
Also on the desk.
Last, but not least, the deer skull he found in the woods back in middle school, and which inspired the greatest Halloween costume ever in the history of Halloween costumes***.
* * * * *
Observed at the home of friend. Yes, Friend is a snorter when she laughs.
* * * * *
During one of the warm spells this spring -- they come and go quickly, interspersed with cold, rain, snow, and tornado warnings -- we put the top down on Smokey's convertible and took the dogs with us when we went out for lunch.
Lucy The Senior Dog enjoying the view.
Misha The Formerly Timid Dog letting her ears blow in the breeze.
* Another advantage of storing yarn in cakes rather than skeins is that it limits the surface area available to an invading moth larvae. Ask me how I know.
** When I say "apartment complex", do not picture one of those suburban ghettos with a pool and a game/party room. This is four, three-and-a-half story brick buildings built in the 1920s that share a tiny parking lot and are entirely studio and one-bedroom apartments. It is situated at the edge of downtown Minneapolis and inhabited almost entirely by singles. They have communal barbecues in the parking lot and bi-weekly movie nights and go out for brunch en masse on Saturday mornings.
Here is the view from his new living room. That tall building at the right edge is where Al and Frannie Franken live.
*** Not sure if I ever blogged this. He found a deer skeleton in the woods and brought home as many of the bones as he could. He strung several on a piece of twine as a necklace, dangled several rib bones from the top of a staff he made from a sapling, and had me make a black hooded robe like one of the ringwraithes in Lord of the Rings. (The actual movie robes each had 35 yards of material. The one I made used somewhat less.) Best costume EVAH.
Yarn: Schachenmayr Regia Jeans Style Color, color 04042 (left) and Schachenmayr Regia Colormania, color 04070 (right). Pattern:Wendy's Generic Toe-up Socks, knit on 48 st. Needles: US#2.5 (foot and ankle), US#4 (leg).
The resulting tweedy fabric is lovely, imo. If it would not be prohibitively warm -- and take roughly forever to knit! -- I would make a sweater out of combining these two yarns. As it is, I shall have to be content with the socks.
Socks The Second.
You have seen these before, when I had to rip out the second one because I was knitting it on the wrong size -- way too small! -- needle.
Most of these socks were knit with two strands of the brown Trekking; stripes were one strand of Trekking with one strand of the KP dark blue tweed. There is one stripe in the foot of the first sock made with brown Trekking and KP turquoise tweed (not distinguishable in the photos), but it seemed too bright for what I wanted, so I did not repeat that combination (nor did I rip it out). As you can see, the stripe pattern on the foot is different from the stripe pattern on the leg. And it looked like I was going to run out of the brown Trekking so the last 4-5” of the leg of the second sock are one strand of brown and one strand of dark blue, no stripes.
Normally I am anal about my socks being matchy-matchy, but these had exhausted my patience. Can you tell?
One day a couple weeks ago Smokey was taking a nap and I was doing crosswords on my iPad while keeping him company. As I figured out the three-letter word for a particular lyricist ("IRA"), my mind wandered to a yarny problem. What could I do with the remaining pink/orange/purple sock yarn now that I had used about half of it in fingerless gloves? The obvious answer, to me at least, was to overdye it. But with what color? Red? I had plenty of red yarns. Blue? Ditto purple yarn. Hmmm...
Well, if green and red make brown (and they do), I wonder if green and pink would make tan? (Hover over photos for additional comments.)
Lemon-lime Kool-Aid, here I come. (And let us rejoice that my Kool-Aid stash included lemon-lime.)
Pre-dye soaking. Kool-Aid is dissolved.
Dyebath is ready.
The dyeing begins.
Stopwatch shows 5:16. Dyebath not quite exhausted yet.
I took a photo of my kitchen counter as the iPhone lay there. As one does.
I forgot to show you the other ball of yarn I bought on Friday.
This will be another pair of fingerless gloves. The final library craft sale until next summer will be next Saturday. I will have eight more pairs to sell (FO pictures later this week), then I can go back to knitting other things.
* * * * *
One of the original Duncan Yo-Yo factories was in the next little town north of us. One night last week their historical society showed a movie about the factory, and Smokey and I went to see it. He has always been charmed by the fact that we live sort-of near the site of the Duncan Yo-Yo factory.
What we saw was not the movie you see above.
What we saw had been filmed by an amateur back in 1948 -- 1950. Silent, black & white, hand-held, unedited. Grainy, jumpy, occasionally unfocused. It was a fascinating 20-minute film that lasted an hour. Maybe it is our shorter attention spans now in the 21st century, but the film really could have used some editing when it was converted from 8mm to DVD.
Much of the film was devoted to building the original factory, and, two years later, adding on to it.
Construction techniques have really changed since the late 1940s.
The film followed the construction process right from the beginning: cutting down a tree for lumber.
Logs were cut into boards and planed onsite.
The factory was a one-story building of cinder blocks laid by hand. (Everything that passes for a factory nowadays around here is a metal building, aka a pole barn.)
When it was time to seal the flat roof, the tar went up one five-gallon bucket at a time, raised on a rope via a pulley.
When it was time to pour the concrete floor, the concrete got there by wheelbarrows.
Wheelbarrows of concrete were raised to the roof (no, I don't know exactly why there was concrete on the roof) on a platform jerry-rigged onto a front-end loader on a farm tractor. A workman had to ride along with it to hold the barrow in place because it was such a bumpy, jerky ride up to the roof.
Later on, a forklift was used to raise the platform. This ride was much, much smoother.
The workmen all looked like local farmers in their bib overalls and caps.
No one ever wore a hard hat.
None of the machines in the factory had any sort of guards over the spinning belts or whirling blades, nor did anyone ever wear any sort of breathing mask even when spray-painting.
No information in the film about the number of fingers/hands/arms/other limbs lost per workday. Nothing about respiratory ailments or lung cancer later in life, either.
Cigarette smoking was common, even when there were piles of sawdust everywhere.
All the cutting, planing, lathing, and spray-painting was done by men.
Assembly, attaching the string, and packing was done by women.
There were two yo-yo tricksters in the film showing their stuff.
People in the audience, many of whose parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and/or older siblings had worked in the factory, kept mentioning that one of the tricksters must be Tom Andersen.
Apparently Mr. Andersen was well-known locally for his yo-yo expertise.
In spite of my snarkiness above and the fact that the grainy, jumpy film gave me a headache that verged on nausea by the 45-minute mark, I did enjoy seeing this bit of local history. Many thanks to the historical society for preserving and sharing it.
Picked up a friend for lunch. She asked if I was up for A Drive, which of course I was, so we went to a fabulous Thai restaurant in White Bear Lake, MN, 53.5 miles from my house. Then we went across the street to a yarn shop where I indulged in a little retail therapy (above) . As soon as I find my camera (damn! I hate losing things in my house and it happens all the time) I will share my indulgences in their true colors, which are not exactly as pictured above, and their intended uses.
* This is not unusual when one lives in the sticks.
We all use the tools we are familiar with. Smokey uses a screwdriver to tighten a screw, I will sometimes use a knife. Real gardeners use a wooden or bamboo stake to keep a houseplant upright, I use a knitting needle. Others might have used string or twine to hang the political signs on their car in parades last summer, I used yarn.
Yarn is very handy.
The zipper tab broke off one of my fleece vests several years ago. Eventually I figured out that a coilless safety pin worked perfectly as a substitute tab.
But the appearance was makeshift and non-pleasing, although I did appreciate being able to zip up the vest again. I dug in my sock yarn stash and came up with some yarn that [almost] matched the vest.
Yarn to the rescue!
Nothing like a couple fuzzy photos to liven up a blog.
The other alternative use for yarn actually involved knitting. I have an oversized denim workshirt that I love because it is perfect for layering when a t-shirt isn't enough but a sweater is too much. Over the years, however, it had acquired a couple of rips.
This is the larger hole. The smaller one is smaller and unphotographed.
Those rips have been there for a l-o-n-g time and never really bothered me. But suddenly inspiration struck. I grabbed my needles and a crochet hook and...
So we celebrated. I got out our wedding album, and we and Younger Son looked at the pictures of the day. Then we listened to Billy Idol singing White Wedding while we ate our pancakes and bacon.
In the 20 seconds it took me to get the wedding album, Ser Percy found my yarn.
That's most of two skeins of Shibui Silk Cloud; 60/40 mohair/silk. Have you ever untangled Kid Silk Haze? This is the same, only silkier.
I am making a Multigrain scarf* as a Christmas present for Elder Son's next-door neighbor, who has been such a good friend and helper and welcomer to him in Sioux Falls. (I almost said "elderly neighbor", but then I remembered that she is only a couple years older than I. Oops.)
We cover the entire spectrum of music.
* I just rechecked the pattern. I think I may have only gotten 2 skeins of Pebble instead of 4 as required. Another order going in. Damn.
Although I have been on a yarn fast since January 1, 2013, that doesn't mean I have not slipped once or twice. Or more. There was that red Gedifra merino cotton for a sweater, still half done. A couple skeins from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. A few skeins of superwash Wool of the Andes for fingerless gloves.
That's 650 yards of laceweight mink yarn, folks. Sheer luxury.
Earlier this year I had a brainstorm about a scarf I needed to make, and I ordered this Blue Moon Fiber Arts silk laceweight.
Now that I have the yarn, I may make something entirely different with it. Or I may make the planned scarf and use the other 1,000 yards for the something different.
I found myself wanting to play with yarn -- instead of doing what I should be doing, which is knitting fingerless gloves -- so I started straightening my craft area. It was a complete and total mess, with yarn that had been piled on the table for a couple years. I sorted and caked and sorted and stowed.
Along the way I wound this yarn, purchased June 2012 and never stowed, into a cake.
Fingerlakes Soft Wool 2-ply in an unnamed, or possibly undyed, colorway.
Then I wound the Silk Thread II into a cake...
...and was struck by the size difference of the cakes.
That's 1,255 yards of fine laceweight silk sitting on 255 yards of worsted weight wool. Or, to put it another way, three months of knitting atop a couple evenings.
I decided earlier this year that I wanted to meet a couple imaginary friends. I have been reading each of their blogs -- two bloggers, one blog each -- for several years, and they have been reading and commenting here likewise. Time for a FtF.
First was Jocelyn, who lives in Duluth with her husband and two kids. We sat on their deck in various combinations, drank lattes, ate homemade chocolate-chip scones, exchanged life stories, drank horchatas that her husband had made (ours were cinnamon), and listened with great interest to her son and his cousin as they described their planned Halloween costumes (Link and Skull Kid from the Zelda series of video games and anime).
Jocelyn absorbing the intricacies of Zelda.
Elijah and Paco are experts in the subject. While they were enlightening us in the details of the characters, small clay figures of Link and his various accoutrements were baking in the oven.
It was a totally delightful visit. If I were a better blogger I would have photos of her yard (flowers everywhere!) and the tray of horchata drinks (refreshing and delicious!) and her husband (a cutie!) and their wall of board games (family fun!). But I am not so you must use your imagination.
A farewell selfie. Thanks for sharing your delightful self and your family with me, Jocelyn!
* * * * *
At the end of the afternoon I was off down the highway to Ashland, where I stayed overnight and anticipated my visit the next day with k.
My one-star motel had not been updated significantly since the 1950s; however...
...the view from the door of my room was fabulous.
The next morning I drove a few miles north to Coco's in Washburn, a village on the shore of Chequamegon Bay, where we had agreed to meet for breakfast. I was struck by a tragic case of camnesia, so there are no photos of k or her pancakes (or was it French toast?) or my bacon/asparagus/basil frittata. Suffice to say, all were most excellent.
Typical yarn store display in The Great White North.
I came away with a skein of Trekking in the artfully named colorway 552.
K, on the other hand, was finding skein after skein of fingering weight merino that captured her heart. She kept bringing them over to me, fondling them and saying, Look at this! Look at this! She finally settled on a skein of Colinette Jitterbug in a mysterious and lovely mix of browns and blacks and charcoals. It may have been this one, but the Rav photos do not do justice to its dark wonder.
We parted and I began the longish trek home. I kept thinking about that skein of Jitterbug that K had bought... and coveting it. Why didn't I look for something more intriguing? Why had I settled for the Trekking? Sure, it was nice, but nowhere near as stunning as that Jitterbug.
Then, as I drove through Spooner, what should catch my eye but... a yarn store!
Not just a yarn shop, but a book and yarn shop! O, frabjous day!
I pretty much ignored the bookstore part of the shop, since I get plenty of reading material through my local library, but the yarn! The yarn!
Elder Son had his last day of medical school on Friday. This was a red-letter day, one he has been waiting for for a l-o-n-g time. Finally he can escape the Evil Upper East Side Medical School Dedicated To Wealth And Prestige. When he went to retrieve his car from a friend's apartment parking lot in Jersey where it had been stored for two months, he found it had a flat tire. 3am call to me, asking for Smokey's phone number at work: always call Dad for car advice. He had planned to drive into Manhattan during the wee hours so as to avoid traffic as he picked up his stuff from the dorm. Didn't happen. He did manage to have the car towed to a tire place, get the tire fixed, drive into Manhattan with somewhat less traffic than on a weekday, get his stuff, and escape, all without any tickets or accidents. He is now back in Ann Arbor and is finishing his grad school thesis.
Graduation ceremonies for med school and grad school are both in early May. Which means, for us... road trip!
* * * * *
Younger Son is back from Las Vegas and here for the weekend. Ser Percy was very glad to see him. I haven't seen that dog's tail wag that fast ever before. The reunion reminded us of YouTube videos of returning vets being reunited with their dogs.
YS said that, yes, he did gamble while in LV -- one dollar into a slot machine. "I lost the whole thing!" he reported.
* * * * *
Both the back and sleeves of Fairfield are done to the armhole shaping. I haven't had the undisturbed time to knit that that will require so I started a mindless project.
The first six rows of a linen stitch scarf.
The knit get-together that would have taught three of us how to make a linen stitch scarf got postponed until later this month because of a blizzard. I had cast on the 600 st required for a long narrow scarf and had knit the first three rows from the pattern before the blizzard, but I decided my colors did not contrast enough with each other (yellow, pale blue, and pale green -- Easter egg colors). So I frogged and restarted yesterday with different colors. The new one will be a regular riot of color -- NOT! -- dark gray, light gray, and this:
Marks & Katten Fame.
of which I used the first half of the skein in my Daybreak scarf:
Right now I seem to be in the blackish part of the skein so it doesn't show up well, but that will change. Aside: 600 stitches takes a lot of yarn. This scarf may be narrower than I expected..
One of Smokey's former co-workers and former tenant of ours had a baby in November, and Smokey suggested that I knit something for the new arrival. I was deep into other projects right then, but I dug in the stash and came up with an idea. That idea is #3, below.
Smokey, however, thought I should give the new mom some yarn and color choices. More stash digging yielded four possibles.
Yarn is 500+ yards of some heavy fingering weight merino that I won a million years ago in Cara's give-away to raise money for Heifer International.
Yarn is all Lang Jawolle sock yarn, except for the green ball at back. I had a brainstorm to hold two strands together and blend the colors to create a rainbow.
Clearly, this is not a baby sweater, but I thought I could use the same idea, stripes of various shades and tints of red separated by narrow bands of black.
The new mom chose the sweater hiding behind door photo #2, saying she loved the mental image of Baby Abigail in those colors.
I will use Bev Galeska's Baby Brights pattern, which I have modified and used for two previous babysweaters. It is knit from the top down, all in one piece, with no finishing except to weave in the ends and sew on a button or three.
Thing 1. Smokey was scheduled for knee replacement surgery this coming Monday. But pre-op physical doc decided he needed a stress test first, and that appointment got screwed up. As a friend said upon hearing the news, "That's what [you guys] do, right? Reschedule surgeries?"
Surgery will be later in February. Now to reschedule the stress test. Good news is I can attend Library Legislative Day in Madison, which I had previously had to bow out of. Bad news is Smokey has to endure more days of pain.
One of Smokey's vans, untouched since last summer (bad brakes).
Thing 2. Our driveway has not been plowed out properly this winter AT ALL because Da Yeep was laid up. My all-wheel-drive car has allowed us to get in and out while Smokey and Younger Son and Kiera The Teenage Helper worked on the Da Yeep. Younger and Elder Sons have both partially cleared it with our smaller snowblower at various times, but we have had a lot of snow since then.
Wednesday night I had to go to a meeting. The ruts where we drive are packed solid, but apparently I got off a little too much to one side into the soft snow. Car was jammed against a tree. By driving back and forth ~5 feet at a time (exactly as YS had last Sunday when he got my car stuck in another spot in the driveway), eventually I was able to get the car out and continue to my meeting. I dreaded seeing what I had done to the passenger side door.
On the way my side view mirror on the passenger side suddenly started flapping in the breeze and flew off. I went back but couldn't find it in the dark. Happily, it was only the actual reflective mirror; the enclosure is almost perfectly intact.
Also happily, there is NO damage to the passenger door at all. The only casualty was the mirror and a tiny sapling that got broken off; the real tree, a pine ~6" in diameter, is unhurt.
Thing 3. After my meeting I went to knit at a friend's house. Called Smokey to tell him about getting stuck. He and Younger Son had pretty much gotten Da Yeep, our plowing vehicle, back to working order last weekend. He did the last little thing(s) and went out to plow so I would be able to drive in safely.
The snow in the ruts was so hard he had to make multiple passes, shaving off a little each time with the plow blade. On the third pass he got stuck. Or one of the back wheels fell off, we're not sure. (Seriously.)
Da Yeep was stuck at the entrance to our driveway. I left my car on the lane and waded through the snow to the house when I got home. I cannot tell you how glad I was for my Nantucket Bagg, which converts from a tote bag to a backpack in about 2 seconds. It is so much easier to balance with empty hands.
Thing 4. The next day (yesterday) Smokey went for the aforementioned stress test. I went along for the opportunity to knit in the car and in the waiting room and, more importantly, to have lunch at our local Indian restaurant. We both had to walk the ~300 yards uphill through the snow to where my car was parked at the lane, not an easy task.
Much frustration re: stress test (=irony), but a lovely lunch nevertheless. New iPhone came in handy. Called Lennie The Super Mechanic to send a tow truck to retrieve Da Yeep and bring it to his shop. Came home, parked my car in the lane again, and waded through the snow -- downhill this time, whew! -- back to the house.
Tow truck came a few hours later and loaded up Da Yeep. After they were gone I rashly decided to drive my car down to the house so Smokey would not have to walk up the hill again.
Guess what: I got stuck. Different place, other side of the driveway, bah humbug. Once again converted tote bag to backpack and stuggled down the hill, losing one brand-new fingerless mitt in the process.
Thing 4a. Today I emailed several friends who live nearby, asking for recommendation for a reliable snow plower. Got three so far -- yay, friends! Smokey has the list and numbers, will call.
Okay, that enough whining. Time for something fun!
Thing 5. I was on Twitter this morning and saw this.
Clicked over to Instagram and saw this:
The stars aligned! I have been on a yarn fast since 1/1/13 (bought exactly ONE skein of laceweight since then; was trying to make it to April so I could truly say I had not bought yarn for a year) but this was too good to pass up.
Cotton/merino blend: pure wool is too warm for me >90% of the time.
Red: I have been lamenting the lack of a red sweater in my wardrobe.
Aran weight, #9 needles: a sweater should go relatively fast, even at my speed.
And the price? Fabulous.
Comments on Ravelry seem to indicate that the yarn is splitty and may be closer to DK or worsted weight, but I can deal with that. Cara emailed me that she mailed the yarn today. Whee!
The stelae in the exhibit were casts of the originals. The Maya kings loved to raise stelae with pictographs and stuff.
Younger Son's comment when I showed him this photo: "Really? The Maya had projectors?"
Elder Son said he often saw women dressed in similar garments.
Yarn! Must photograph the yarn!
This hand-brocaded fabric was lovely, but my photos suck. No flash photography allowed.
A few things I learned about the Maya:
They had a base-20 numbering system. Andrew pointed out that they didn't wear shoes, so base-20 instead of base-10 makes sense.
The civilization comprised isolated city-states. There were no navigable rivers and settlements were separated by steep mountains, so each was isolated.
The carved stelae commemorate battles and various kings' conquests of other city-states, but no written record remains of day-to-day life.
The paucity of written records is due to the first Christian missionary to minister to the Maya. He burned all but four of their books because, clearly, they were the devil's work.
The Maya civilization appears to have crumbled because of severe drought and overpopulation, exacerbated by their deforestation of the hillsides to grow corn to feed that population.
They could only store one season's worth of corn because of the damp climate during half the year, hence, loss of one year's crop was devastating. Continued losses = time to leave their great cities and go somewhere else where there was rain.
Learning the history of the Maya is important to the indigenous people of the region because until now, they had no history. History, as taught in the schools, started with the Spanish conquest of Central and South America. Before that, there was nothing of importance.
As interesting as the history was, the part of the exhibit that attracted my attention was the textile section.
We ate dinner at Cossetta's in St Paul, then I went to knit with my buddies at Starbuck's on Grand while ES went to find a bookstore.
The youngest member of the knitting group.
* * * * *
This week's adventure occurred on Wednesday, when Smokey and I drove into Minneapolis to attend the grand opening open house at Younger Son's new employer.
There was yummy food and an open bar and did I mention the cherry cheesecake?
This is one of their server racks. I think. Okay, I have no idea what this is.
This may look like an ordinary tile floor, but It Is Special. It is an anti-static floor -- who knew? -- and the chair has special metal wheels to prevent static buildup and has a couple copper grounding straps besides. Apparently, static is a bigger no-no around electronics than I thought.
* * * * *
But we are not done yet. We left the open house to go to a concert at the Cedar Cultural Center.
The venue was only a couple doors down the street -- literally, two doors away -- from the storefront/apartment building that blew up on New Year's Day.
All that remained was a pile of rubble and a lot of ice.
The concert was delightful. We heard Zoe Keating, who has been one of my favorite artists for several years since I first heard her music on Radio Lab. I encourage you to click on the player at the link and listen to her latest album.
Once again, no flash photography, so sucky photo.
* Or, as he puts it, hea was a Volunteer Teacher In The Zapatista Army Of Liberation.
I decided to make a cowl for Kiera, our teenage helper, for Christmas. I emailed her mom for approval and to ask about colors. The cowl idea was ok-ed; a bright color preferred, and bright blue suggested.
Um, er, maybe this way...
Oh, yeah, now I remember how it goes.
Pattern:Tina-ease cowl, heavily modified. I ended up doing the main portion in stockinette instead of the purled and lacey rows. Yarn:Knit Picks Swish DK (100% superwash merino) in Whirlpool (color discontinued), about 1/2 skein and Araucania Atacama (100% alpaca), about 1/2 skein. Color is most accurate is the photo directly above. The garter stitch borders are the KP, the stockinette alternates one row of each. Needles: Knit Picks Options US#7 (top border), US#8 for the rest.
It took me five (5!) tries to get get this right.
First, I grabbed some bright blue Cascade 220 from the stash.
Here is my gauge swatch. No photos of the cowl in progress. I decided the Cascade was not soft enough for next-to-the-skin wear.
Second try, I used some delightfully soft red Black Bunny Bamberino fingering, the red that I overdyed with tea. It was still (kind of) a bright color, although clearly not blue.
(no photo, frogged because it didn't seem like it would lie properly)
Third, same yarn, different number of stitches. The pattern has the knitter cast on 90 stitches whether using worsted weight and US#7s or fingering weight and US#4s. WTF? For this try I measured my gauge in the Red Quadrant squares knit from it* and cast on what seemed like the right number of stitches for a cowl that hugged the neck a bit.
But as I worked I realized that I didn't want to give away this yarn. MINE! I might make the same cowl (but following the pattern) for myself, plus a pair of fingerless gloves but they will be MINEALLMINE!
Fourth time: part of the reason I allowed myself to keep the red yarn for myself was that, when I went to the small fridge in the laundry room to get a can of Coke Zero, I saw the bright blue Knit Picks yarn peeking from the plastic bin on top of the fridge.
I was not absolutely sure there was enough yarn in one skein -- all I had in that color -- for the cowl as written, so I grabbed the alpaca, too. It has been languishing in my stash since 2006 or so, left over from a pair of fingerless gloves. My plan was to use the KP yarn for the garter portions and alternate the yarns in the stockinette. However, I didn't like the way the pattern was turning out.
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the frog pond we go!
Five: frogged back to the garter stitch border, knitted a couple inches of stockinette. Guess what? Too dense on US#7s, not enough drapey smoosh.
Five, v2.: frogged back to the garter stitch border, changed the Options tips to #8s, knitted. Success at last!
Does everyone go through this much trial and error to get their desired result? Not that I minded it; this is a very small project and I was extremely pleased at how the two yarns combined.
I had a fair amount of yarn left over at the end. Enough for another cowl?
There is enough in total, but I would have to reverse the yarns, using the alpaca -- slightly itchy -- for the borders instead of the Swish -- soft. Not gonna work for me. They will go back into the stash bins.