I spent most of 2010 getting to know my new city and today I’m in quite a different place than last December. This year I’ve explored downtown Denver, surrounding suburbs, the I-70 corridor and its ski resorts, Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park.
After meeting lots of great people, taking up the ukulele, and rediscovering the joy of a bicycle, I realized this has been a great year in Colorado and I feel very comfortable here. And with this new found comfort and ease, I decided to take the plunge and become a homeowner.
Last month we moved into a lovely bungalow built in 1921 in a multi-cultural neighborhood in Denver. While the world around us seemed focused on Christmas preparations, we’ve had a busy month of unpacking and getting settled in. The house appears to be one of those kit bungalows that were so popular in the early 1900s. I keep envisioning that the original builders ordered the kit from Sears and worked through the summer to build it. It has very basic bungalow features like a low roof line with a small dormer window, hardwood floors, simplistic wood frames around windows and doors along with a few arched doorways. I’ve fallen for the charm of the bungalow, so I’ve been reading about bungalows as much as possible during the past month and making plans for little bungalow “updates” here and there like adding stenciled details and Arts & Crafts light fixtures.
Over the next year or so I’d like to learn how to build a beautiful garden in this dry landscape and to do hand embroidery. Meanwhile, Pauline would like to be able to explore the house’s cellar and crawlspaces and Izak wants to find pretty places to nap.
December 25th, 2010 in
Today we planned to spend the day in Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking and picnic-ing. After G packed our picnic and I donned my newly-knit tee, we headed out. As soon as we drove up the street to the top of the ridge, I saw smoke, lots and lots of it!
A fire had just started about 15 miles northwest of us in Four Mile Canyon (Boulder). At our home, the air is clean and crisp with a bright blue sky over head. Just a mile up the road, over the other side of the ridge, the atmosphere is thick with warm, grey smoke.
The fire is heading north towards Hwy 36, the road to the National Park. I have a fear of house fires and besides, my cats were at home alone with the windows open, so we decided to eat our picnic at home.
Did I mention that I’m wearing my newly knit tee? I finished it first thing this morning before eating breakfast.
The pattern is nothin but a t-shirt. The pattern calls for a cotton/acrylic blend yarn, but I decided to use a bamboo and nylon blend yarn, Berocco Bonsai. This yarn has great drape. The two color ways are Tofu and Raku Brown.
The main part of the top uses the tofu colorway, about 600 yds worth. The neckline and sleeve hems use the chocolate brown color, about 50 yds. I love this deep, rich brown trim. If I find this brown colorway again, I will get more.
This ribbon yarn is classified as a worsted weight, but I think it’s more sport weight. I love the texture of it in stockinette stitch.
When knitting this pattern I decided to modify it slightly by knitting in the round because it would be faster. I added extra increases in the bust for a FBA. Seaming this t-shirt was a straight-forward and quick job.
This project was a great way to finish off the summer season. Next up: warm, woolen knits!
September 6th, 2010 in
Don’t you love the summers of seeing new places, meeting new people, and trying new things? I had forgotten how much fun it is to spend a whole summer exploring an discovering. My main weekend passion has been my impromptu wildflower photo collection. It started accidentally, during a walk through a beautiful wildflower field in Vail, and became my weekend obsession for my summer weekend. I spent most of my weekends exploring Rocky Mountain National Park and looking for wildflowers at various elevations.
Here are my 2 favorite flowers of the summer, the Scarlet Gilia and the Colorado Sego Lily:
In honor of Robert Burns Day, I’ve pulled out my Burns Modern tartan. I purchased this fabric in the summer of 2008 when I learned that the mill would no longer be weaving the double-width (54″) fabric.
This tartan is only made by House of Edgar and is part of their “Old and Rare” tartan line. It is not an old tartan (designed in the 1930s), but is rather rare since most Burns wear the Burns Check tartan or the Campbell Clan tartan, as the Burns family is an associated family of the Campbell Clan.
My Tartan Search
When my parents visited Burns country during the mid-1990s, they brought me a Campbell Clan tam as a souvenir. They were unable to find the Burns tartan even within Burns country. Later, in the summer of 2005, after being inspired by a Scottish festival, I began searching for the mysterious Burns tartan.
I found an American importer of Scottish tartans in 2008 who informed me that the mill had only 3 pieces of fabric left in the double-width, one piece was 1.7 yds and the other two pieces were 1.2 yds each. After purchasing the largest piece, my family tartan has been carefully stored in a very special, safe place, thereby preventing anyone from actually appreciate it.
I want to wear it and appreciate it, but I am terrified of cutting it.
What’s it really like, this tartan?
This tartan is a mediumweight 100% Pure New Wool kilting cloth. The tartan itself is 4 colors – red, blue, yellow, green – woven in an even plaid. An even plaid has the same woven striped sequence running in both horizontal and vertical directions, so I have a small advantage with this tartan since even plaids are easier to work with OR SO THEY SAY.
When folded diagonally, an even plaid will line up perfectly.
My Pattern Selection
Today, on the 201st anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth, I declare that I will use and appreciate this tartan this year. I’m thinking of a pencil skirt, with bias-cut side panels. The current (February 2010) issue of Burda has a skirt that just might work. I’ll work on cutting out the pattern tissue and muslin now.
Some knitters chose a pattern, then select the yarn. I’m the other knitter, the one who buys yarn, then looks for a project. Since buying the Mountain Colors River Twist mottled yarn in November, I can’t stop thinking about what project it’s best suited for.
When the latest issue of knitty was published, I saw the perfect sweater, Spoke. I love circular things, especially circular motifs in sweaters. It was the Annie Modesitt twisted float shrug that convinced me to buy my first knitting magazine and I’ve been hooked on circular knits ever since.
Also, I’m proud to tell you that today I even understand what “twisted float” means.
This Mountain Colors yarn could look very beautiful in a twisted float knit, but I decided to go with the newly published Spoke pattern because it looks interesting to knit, flattering to wear, and practical for the everyday wardrobe.
Swatch? No. I jumped in using a US5 needle. I do love swatching, but the back of the sweater starts with stockinette, then moves into 1×1 ribbing, so… that’s good enough for a swatch when you’re ready to jump into a knit. After I had knit about 10 or 12 inches worth, I stopped to take a look at my work. At that point I was knitting with my local knitting group, so, as usual, I got to borrow someone’s tape measure to have an official inspection. OK, I guess it’s no surprise here that my gut was right. The gauge was completely wrong for the pattern. The fabric was lovely, the colors didn’t pool strangely and I liked the thickness and tension. But I couldn’t continue to pretend that it would work because this sweater would be way too small. Say it with me:
B A R B I E . S W E A T E R.
I did what all strong knitters do, I calmly and simply pulled out the needle, ripped out my work to the knitterly chorus of “NO!!”, and created a new, round ball of yarn.
I decided that a US8 needle would be the best size to produce the necessary gauge. After I knit the first stockinette portion, I measured. The gauge was close enough for government work; I could definitely block it to the right size. I quickly knit up the whole back piece. While knitting, it suddenly occured to me that this yarn would be perfect for a skirt in my queue, Norah Gaughan’s Snapping Turtle Skirt. Was this yarn made for the Snapping Turtle Skirt? With it’s lovely shades of green and autumn colors, it looks like a turtle sunning itself on a branch in an autumn pond.
I remeasured the gauge. The stockinette is 19st=4in. The pattern calls for 16st=4in. I could block it to the appropriate size, but I don’t like how loose the tension is. It’s almost floppy and sagging. Also in this gauge, I don’t like the color pooling along the upper back.
Will I be happy with this sweater? Will I be proud of wearing it in public?
I realized that today was my day to officially become an experienced knitter, to use my previous experiences and knitting knowledge to make a good decision about my project plan. My previous experiences told me that I wouldn’t be happy with this sweater and I wouldn’t wear it much. This beautiful yarn needs to be displayed in a way that highlights its interestingness and colorful beauty.
So I’ve frogged it. It could be a great Snapping Turtle Skirt.