Monday, June 21, 2010

Holiday: Part One

Well, the wireless gods are kind, so I get to update my blog! Greetings from NYC, faithful readers!

Disclaimer: This is probably not how New York City looks all of the time. This was the Coney Island Mermaid Parade...

The trip has awesome so far! It was a very long 24 hours getting to the States, but get there I did. Boston was lovely - a really nice place. It was a good way to start off the trip, I think, as the temperature wasn't too crazy-warm, and it's a similar size to Melbourne. So I got to adjust at a nice rate. I saw lots of things in the time that I was there - probably too many, as I seem to have crippled my feet something awful, which is not enhancing my NYC experience so far. Still, it's hard to feel too regretful about it.

Boston Common is so pretty. I also did the Freedom Trail walk, climbed the Bunker Hill monument, had a quick stint on the USS Constitution, wandered around the Fens, went to the Museum of Fine Art, sauntered around North End, ate chowder and sweets from Modern Pastry (as instructed!), squizzed at Harvard, and went to the Natural History Museum. I also met up with some lovely knitter type people and got taken to a gorgeous little local yarn shop. Not bad for only three days, right? The weather was gorgeous the entire time I was there too - sunny, with a nice breeze. And I loved the Boston subway system - so much clearer and better than Melbourne's trains (not that that is particularly difficult most of the time *grumble*)

On Friday it was time to head south. I was sad to leave, but the upside was that thanks to the assistance of a few generous knitting friends, I was escorted to WEBS on the way down. WEBS! I was a little overwhelmed at first, given it's probably at least five times the size of any yarn shop we have in Australia... but I got over it fairly quickly and got stuck in. It was great - and Northampton was a really lovely town as well.

After getting a generous ride down to New Haven, I plonked myself on the commuter train to NYC. I was really tired by the time I got there, so it was a little overwhelming at first, but once I'd found my hostel, dumped my bags and foraged for some food, I felt a lot better.

I had a very pleasant sleep in on my first day and then travelled down to Brooklyn to attend the aforementioned Mermaid Parade, though not before being fed bagels (real New York bagels - squee!) and mimosa by a friend. The parade itself was good fun - lots of outlandish costumes and floats, with a lot of commentary on the BP oil spill (somewhat unsurprisingly, I suppose).

I think this is my favourite picture, even though it isn't of a mermaid:

Today was a bit more low key, as my feet were sore and it was rather hot. But I got to walk around the Midtown area a bit (including around The Strand Bookstore, which was as awesome as you'd expect), and in the late afternoon I checked out part of Central Park, which was absolutely lovely.

Two more days in New York, and then it's down to DC! Whew!

Knitting has been slow, because I've been doing so much walking, but I am doing some (and not just hoarding yarn from WEBS). I cast on for an Annis shawl, and then promptly made a mess of the fifth row and had to begin again. But the second version is coming along. I also cast on for a second Wisp, as I wanted to have a mindless project that I could work on while chatting.

And that's about all I've got for the moment. I'm having a great time - if only my feet would heal up, it would be hard for this trip to have been any better so far!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Shrug and an Adventure

Whew! Essays are now officially finished! It nearly annihilated my brain - just the sheer stress of having them all due on consecutive days - but they're done now, so can turn my attention to more enjoyable things! Like long neglected shrugs!

You are looking at: The Kypria Shrug Without a Name, designed by yours truly. It's knitted from Sanguine Gryphon Kypria in 'The Deep Bosomed Earth' and Sundara Sock in 'Brambleberry' on 4.5mm needles.

Anna says: I am mostly happy with how this one came out. The yarns are really lovely, and I'm pretty keen on the way that the colours work together.

For all those playing along at home, this is just a basic top-down raglan, except without the front part. I wanted to make something really light, loose and drapey that I could just throw over my shoulders when it was slightly too cool for just a singlet. Kypria has a lovely drape at this gauge, so that part definitely worked out well. Honestly, it's a little bit too large for me, but thankfully this is the kind of garment where that doesn't matter a whole lot. It slips off of my shoulders occasionally, but that's okay.

One other thing: I'm not sure it was the best idea to try and do a picot cast off on the sleeves. The loose gauge makes it look kind of weird. Still, you live and learn, don't you? I like that I still make mistakes to learn from.

The other, more obvious thing that I'm turning my mind to now that essays are done is travelling! I'm off tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. Bright and early. It's going to be a hatefully long day: I get on the plane in Melbourne at 11am, and then it's a 15 hour flight to get to LA, at which point it's morning again. And then I hop on another plane to Boston and get there late in the evening. Urgh. But I'm still completely psyched! I have so many awesome plans, and hopefully plenty of awesome spur-of-the-moment things to look forward to as well. I just wish I had time to do more, and see more people while I'm there.

On the note of travelling, there might be blog silence for a while. I'm going to try and update while I'm away, but that will obviously depend on the internet gods smiling on me at the right time, and I am a big believer in Murphy's Law. But I'll try. Until then, take care all, and wish me a happy trip!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Open Minded Knitting

Yes, I'm still alive. Essays haven't destroyed me yet. And unsurprisingly, the forces of procrastination have seen me get a surprising amount of knitting done. I even tackled a mini scarf - a species of knitwear that I've always been profoundly skeptical about. I always thought cowls and neckwarmers and scarflettes to be something that I'd never really wear, for all that they looked seductively quick and easy to make when compared with normal length scarves. But then I saw the Bainbridge Scarf and it was just too cute to resist. I made it, and found that it definitely pays to be open-minded about what patterns you think you are "into", because I am very happy with the result.

Pattern: Bainbridge Scarf, by MintyFresh, made from Louisa Harding Grace (50/50 wool and silk blend), on 3.75mm needles.

The extended rambling: This is a really cute pattern! I modified (as some other Ravellers have done) it to have i-cord ties with leaves on the end, but the original pattern is just as lovely, and a little less precious looking. It was a fast knit too - I think I took about a week and a half to finish it, but you could do it in two days if you were pressed for time (and this would make a dreadfully cute gift). I have every intention of making more of these. I'm thinking perhaps with a couple of different variations on the ties, perhaps in red or gray... *muses*

I loved the yarn as well. I bought it last year, was gobsmacked by its gorgeousness, and then foolishly tried to turn it into a beret, a beret that ended up looking far too much like a showercap for me to be happy with it. So I frogged the misbegotten hat, and the poor yarn languished in a drawer until I picked it up for this. It's lovely though - the softness and sheen are amazing, and I would love to work with it again.

This pleasant little diversion having concluded, I am now back to working on that raglan shrug I've had going for the last while. It's nearing completion though - with a bit of luck, I might even knock it on the head this evening. I'm quite happy with how it's coming along, although if I make it again, I'll definitely make some alterations (note to self: picot bind offs and loose gauge are not good bedfellows).

When I'm not knitting, I'm fish gazing (I have guppies now, and they are cute as hell), essay writing, or travel planning. Particularly the latter: I'm off in a little over a week! This is terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I'm looking forward to it, obviously, but I've also never travelled overseas on my own before, so I'm a little nervous. Still, I am firmly of the opinion that it's does you good to push out of your comfort zone from time to time. Plus, my younger brother visited New York on his own last year, and if he can do it and not manage to drown or get eaten by squirrels, then surely I can too!

My rough itinerary is as follows: I'm spending some time in Boston, and then heading south to New York for a few days. Then it's down to Washington DC, where I'm meeting up with Rebecca (as made famous by last year's trip to Tasmania). Then we're heading back to her neck of the woods for some national park adventures (ignorant Australian that I am, I'm firmly convinced that I will be eaten by bears). I'll get to be in the US for the 4th of July - this will definitely be an experience, as nobody here really gets too excited about Australia Day (our closest equivalent).

After we're done letting off fireworks, drinking beer, or whatever else it is that you do on July 4th (hey, I'm sure I'll be educated), we're heading down to New Orleans for a bit (to hell with oil spills!), and then on to Texas. Then a very tired Anna will clamber back aboard a plane and head back to Melbourne, having effectively dodged nearly a month of vile winter weather. Win!

Hopefully I'll squeeze in at least another blog post before I leave though. After all, I have essays to write, so procrastination will definitely occur - I just have to channel it into blog form!