Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saartje's Booties and World Wide Knit In Public Day

The booties have begun. I've finished the first bootie, and have the second bootie underway. They do knit up fairly quickly, and as others have noted, there are a lot of ends to darn in at the end. I thought about doing the Fleegle method, but I have only four dpns in the appropriate size, having lost one of my set of 5. Sigh. I did find a helpful tutorial on making button loops over at My Fashionable Life which made doing the button loops managable. I've made the requisite trip to the local button store appropriately named Button Button, and now I just need to finish bootie number 2 and attach the buttons. In the meantime, here is the first bootie:

Yesterday I went to one of our local World Wide Knit in Public Day events, held at Kits Beach, one of our local urban beaches. By the time I left there were 18 knitters and crocheters in attendance. A number were Ravelers, and it's always nice to meet people from Ravelry in real life. I'll try and hunt up everyone's blogs for a future post connecting to local knitters. Raveler Chrissythegreat has a podcast available on itunes. Kim Werker, editor of Interweave Crochet was there as well, working on a lovely scarf of Malabrigo laceweight in bright pinks. Seeing a number of cool crochet projects that were on the go further strengthened my resolve to learn to crochet this summer. There were a number of lovely people attending, some of whom I will have to try to identify later, as I didn't get their names. A big thank you to Rachel for organizing the event. 

The sun even made an appearance from time to time, which made sitting on the lawn a lot more pleasant! It was a real treat to meet new fiber people, and see what everyone was making. Only one of my close friends knits, so most of the time I don't talk about knitting. I hadn't realized how much I missed it. Due to my crazy schedule I haven't been to a stitch and bitch in ages, so this get together was really welcome. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Seattle, and Yarn, Luscious Yarn....

Sweetie and I are back from Seattle. It was my first time in the city, and I really enjoyed it. We visited the famous (justifiably!) Pike Place Market, and had delicious chowder and a crab roll. What a delicious lunch! We wandered the market, ogling fresh seafood and the work of local artisans of all kinds.

We followed this up with some wonderful mini doughnuts.

Both of us love exploring new cities on foot, and we traversed downtown Seattle in every direction. Some of the highlights for me were the Elliot Bay Book Company. The truly great independent bookstore is a disappearing breed; this only makes me appreciate places like the Elliot Bay Book Co. even more. It is spacious, with high ceilings and cedar shelves reaching high overhead. The selection of books is incredible, and both Sweetie and I found a few novels. They also had a great selection of craft books, including knitting books. It was a struggle not to have a financial hemorrhage, but I managed it.

It was a pleasure to visit So Much Yarn as well, but I learned something I should probably have figured out in advance: don't bring your sweetie to the yarn store with you. I didn't really have enough time to do justice to the store, but it was a lovely place and the people working there seemed very friendly. It's definitely worth a visit.

We both really enjoyed the Capital Hill neighbourhood, and wound up there a few times during our trip. You can walk there from downtown in about 20-25 minutes, but be warned that there is a large hill involved! Alternatively, you could catch the bus (the 10 runs from First Avenue up to Capital Hill). The buses in the downtown core are free until 7 pm, which is pretty great. Capital Hill is outside the free zone, but only barely. You could easily walk from the last free stop if you wanted.

We had a fantastic lunch at Pho Cyclo (406 Broadway East), which we'd scoped out the previous night and which was the most delicious Vietnamese food I've ever eaten. Everything was incredibly fresh. I had pineapple-marinated shrimp on vermicelli and it was amazing. A lot of Vietnamese food I've eaten in Vancouver tends to be on the greasy side, with lackluster sprouts acting as filler. Both Sweetie and I agreed the food at Pho Cyclo was head and shoulders above any Vietnamese food we'd eaten at home. The one complaint we had was that the service, while prompt, was totally unsmiling. The food more than makes up for it though.

There is great service at Edie's Shoes though. The very pleasant salesperson put up with me admirably while I debated over two pairs of sneakers. One was a British Racing Green pair of Campers, which made me imagine myself as a gal in the 1950's riding my bicycle in a skirt and cardigan, and the other was a pair of Asics Tigers in olive green with orange accents, which had more of a 1970's track star feel. Here is the pair I chose:

Apparently I would prefer to adopt the persona of a 1950's college girl. Well, I did just reread Franny and Zooey...

Velouria is a great little store in Ballard which features the work of local designers, and which boasts a charming proprietress. One of my friends recommended Ballard to me, and Sweetie and I stopped there this morning on our way out of town. There are a number of cute shops and cafes only a few blocks away from a stretch of industrial waterfront. I wish I'd had a bit more time to explore the area, and would definitely return on another visit.

The one big downside to our trip was the weather. Both Vancouver and Seattle have been experiencing unseasonably cold weather this month. It rained almost all day Monday, and then became extremely windy in the evening. On Tuesday, it rained and was grey. Today was.... grey. And cold. I really hope that summer decides to arrive sometime soon, preferably this week while I'm still on holiday!

I've decided to start the Saartje's Booties. I'm using this yarn, which is Dream in Color Smooshy in a colourway called Beach Fog. It's a lovely mix of aquas and greens, which should be perfect for a baby of either gender. I do know that one of the fall arrivals is a boy, so this is a good thing.

Also, now that she's received her package, I can share the picture of the yarn I bought from local dyer Yummy Yarns and sent to my swap partner as part of our Neil Gaiman swap on Ravelry. That wasn't my original plan for this yarn, but I was late getting my package out, and decided my swap recipient's patience should be rewarded with some lovely yarn. The colourway is called Ravage Me. Wowza! However, like an idiot I forgot to take a picture of the Emerald Green Handwarmers I knit her using Berrocco Ultra Alpaca in a burgandy. This pattern is a a lovely one, and only had to be modified slightly to accommodate the thickness of the Ultra Alpaca. I love knitting with Ultra Alpaca. It combines the softness of alpaca with the pricepoint of wool.

Next post: Saartje's Booties!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Wow, that took longer than I thought!

Hello friends, if you're still out there after another long hiatus. I've finished my Neil Gaiman swap knitting and mailed it off. I have pictures of some lovely wool content but I have had to include it in my swap package in an attempt to make up for my knitting tardiness. Until my poor recipient has the package in her hot little hands, I have to refrain from posting anything that will ruin the surprise.

At around every time this year, I have to battle my instincts to abandon knitting in favour of a more summery craft like embroidery. This has resulted in a number of summery knitting UFOs. There is the partially completed Sizzle, which is a currently half a front in chocolate brown Butterfly cotton. There is the Clementine stole, which might be one-tenth complete. I also have a ball of Cherry Hill sock yarn waiting to be made into Monkeys or something equally wonderful. There are other UFOs of the fall variety as well, but I'm not ready for full disclosure yet.

This year the impetus to knit through the summer is even stronger though, as there are some small humans coming this fall. My cousin is expecting a little boy in September, and my friend is expecting a tiny person in November. This means I need to keep the needles clicking over the summer. I have Saartje's Booties in my queue, as well as the Baby Surprise jacket. I have purchased some lovely Dream in Colour Smooshy in an aqua colour for the booties.

In addition to the baby stuff, there is also the lure of crochet, which I've wanted to explore for a while now. Will this be the year?

ARRGH! This all sounds very scattered. If anyone reading this can offer me some advice on how to proceed, I would welcome it! Do I try and get something done on a UFO? Start a new pair of socks? Knit some booties? Pick up a hook? Blog readers, I need some help over here.