Spring Break: Uncharted Territory, Charted Handknits. Plus a Sonnet
April 3, 2013
Hello hello hello! A week away and I feel like I’ve been away for a YEAR. So much to tell, so little time.
We headed to California for a spring break ramble: seven nights, six hotels up the coast from LA to SF. It was great. I was packing and unpacking that suitcase like a Marine dismantling an M-1 rifle in the dark.
I’ll pass along my lone packing tip: bring one pair of shoes more than you think you need.
OK here’s another tip: four do not travel as cheaply as two. When traveling with two teenage boys, build in a budget line item for six times as much food as you think four humans can eat.
Pre-trip knitting planning was the normal chaotic scramble. Airplane knitting is the ultimate in sensory-deprivation knitting, and I hate to waste Golden Air Hours on anything but a perfect project. The ANGZIEDY!
Having just come off two giant sweater projects, I definitely did not want to do Fair isle, alpaca, or Fair Isle in alpaca. I zeroed in on Kirsten Johnstone‘s Hakusa scarflette thingie: “a magically light, airy scarf.” Zen! Palate cleanser! I scrounged the vault for some Habu Copper Bamboo yarn–surely to crimity I’d bought some of that somewhere along the way, right?
Remember, when Habu puts “copper” in a yarn name, they are not being metaphorical. I have at least three weird Habu yarns, but shockingly no Copper Bamboo.
I took a final peek at Ravelry to see how integral this Habu Copper Bamboo is to this scarflette, and concluded that it is in fact integral. Soon, Hakusa, soon.
Along the way, I was thunderstruck to see this in my queue:
Dianna Potter‘s Pine Bough Cowl.
Fair Isle. Sweet, sweet unending tube, only two yarn colors. It’s what Fair Isle is supposed to be. I overcame my Fair Isle overdose and went for it. A FEVER, and the only cure is more cowbell.
I had nothing even close to the specified HiKooTM Kenzie (50% New Zealand merino, 25% nylon, 10% angora, 10% alpaca, 5% silk noils). (Crazy blend!) But I did have exactly two skeins of Cascade 220, not nearly enough to finish a six-foot-long cowl. Who cares? I HAD TO START THIS THING.
It was as instantly addicting as I had figured it would be. It made me love Fair Isle all over again. The sad part is that the yarn labels disappeared in Las Vegas amid a dreadful weather delay. Not as sad as all those slot machines, though, I have to say. If those folks would just pick up some knitting needles, they’d turn those frowns upside down.
Here’s hoping I can track down some more of these six-year-old shades. My best guess is Yakima Heather and Bronzed Green. (By the way, when do we open our chain of yarn stores in airports?)
Scenic fotos to come. I finally found the connector cable in the bottom of my tote bag, under every single receipt and ticket stub of a week on the road.
PS Here’s a bonus for the day, a yarn discontinuance protest. JM, thanks for the idea of expressing deep grief via poetry.
The Indigo Blues: A Sonnet
A yarn to hate, we’ll grant you that for sure:
Its core is white; the dye outside is blue.
You’d never see this yarn in haute couture–
Who knits with twine like this? Someone askew.
Fifteen percent of what you make will shrink,
And wooden needles turn an inky shade.
Your fingers, too, will make folks think
Your dismal circulation needs first aid.
But Rowan Denim stands the test of time,
The prickly friend whose loyal ways you’d miss.
It wears like iron, yet washes up sublime.
Beloved jeans don’t feel as soft as this.
This shrinky, fadey, finger-tinting stuff
Is what we love to knit, can’t love enough.