Thursday, April 17, 2014

Forty Percent

Despite a dusting of snow the other day, I'd say Branch Brook Park is finally at 40 percent trees blooming. The early bloomers are at peak bloom, but the majority of trees are only just starting to flush. I'm guessing peak bloom will happen on Easter Sunday or Monday. If gentle readers can't be there in person, there's always Cherry Blossom Cam.

Branch Brook Park at 40%

Meanwhile, I've started a project which is also at about 40 percent.

Also at 40%

Oh, so many ends! No matter how charming, modular projects always have so many ends!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

No Fooling

April is Tsunami Awareness Month and yesterday's 8.2 magnitude Chilean earthquake has started things off with a bang.



Today in Hawai'i, small tsunami have been reported. Hanauma Bay is closed due to expected sloshing, which could be hazardous to swimmers and shore walkers. Stay safe, everyone!

In other news, I finished my Brucie socks. I'm inordinately fond of the clever Sock Madness pattern by Amy Rapp.

Brucie FO

The previously mentioned gauge mismatch between the first sock and the second sock continued – in the Scales section the first sock has 15 sets of scales while the second has 14 sets, and in the Great Gansey section the first sock has 9 diamonds while the second has 8½. I shrugged and knit on. I didn't even notice a couple gansey diamonds on the second sock got merged together.

Merged diamonds

Ordinarily that would bother me enough to frog back. I'm leaving the error. It's been that kind of winter. At least spring is indisputably on the way. Proof positive: the skunk cabbages are finally up. They seem more petite and less stinky than some years, which makes me wonder if this is a second flushing and the first got buried by snow. It will be interesting to see if the leaves are normal-sized when they unfurl.

Skunk cabbages in April

Instead of starting the next Sock Madness pattern, I think I'll finish a Sock of Shame. Maybe Hanauma Bay, since it's in the news. Although it must be said, the SKA challenge this month looks tempting, too. That way danger lies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

FO or Go for Lent

Continuing to catch up: There are a multiplicity of Lenten practices one could adopt, but this season I wanted simple,40 Bags in 40 Days button so I've been trying 40 Bags in 40 Days, an idea that's been in the wind. I heard about it from a friend, then found Ann Marie's blog. I think she and others are on to something spiritually vital, even if some expressions at times devolve into busy fondness for things like charts and stickers and ::cough:: blog buttons. The aim is to reduce clutter, including negative attachments. From the outside it may look a lot like housecleaning, and that's actually not a bad description of the interior process. After all, the divide between mind, body, and spirit is largely arbitrary, and there's nothing wrong or bad about tending to all three at once.

Amid those deep thoughts I crocheted an Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf by Tamara Kelly in Noro Sarubia, a beautiful rustic 50/50 silk and mohair yarn. It's a quick and easy project, the work of a weekend if one keeps at it. I just crocheted until I ran out of yarn, ending up with a somewhat narrower infinity scarf than specified in the pattern, but that suits me.

Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf detail

Of course the Noro had knots, which I ignored. I know, that's completely out of character. I've had the yarn in stash for ages and figured it was FO or go time. I'm glad it's an FO.

Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf FO

I've been wearing the infinity scarf doubled up as a cowl. The lustrous fibers give the half-mourning colors and exaggerated texture just the right touch of refinement, and it's warmer and much softer than it looks. I'd consider making more in the wider width, but I don't need more for myself and it does seem to be the sort of statement piece that may not be suitable for gifting. No matter, I love mine and have been enjoying it immensely.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ravellenics 2014 Recap

Continuing the catch-up: Last month there was a modest amount of Ravellenic crafting roundabout Exit 151. I crocheted three pinky granny hearts to use as hotpads because I was getting sick of all the snow. Which only seemed to encourage more snow to fall the day before Valentine's Day.

Three granny hearts

I picked at my old Scar socks, which were cast on in ::cough:: September 2007. Since then, there have been many, many attempts to complete them and many, many appearances with the year-end Socks of Shame. Here's where I started this time.

Scar sock resumes

And here's where I finished. One pair = one less UFO, one less Sock of Shame!

Scar socks complete

That left me contemplating my almost-finished Betty's Tee (front view).

Betty's Tee, front

I love the pattern and the yarns, but the combination just wasn't working (back view).

Betty's Tee, back

So there was nothing else to do but frog (frogged view).

Betty's Tee, frogged

Thus Ravellenic glory was mine in three events. I claimed my event medals, but didn't bother with the technique medals available. The giant kerfuffle over human rights before the games made me realize I'm on Team Simplify rather than on Team Many Rules. From my perspective the stakes in a knit-along pale in comparison to the stakes in real life geopolitical crises, such as the crisis in Ukraine. Although I do enjoy seeing a Bobicus or three on my blog.

Alpine Abode Enhancement badge WIPs Dancing badge Aerial Unwind badge

I ordered the 2014 Ravellenics pin, delivery pending. When it arrives, my Games will be complete.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tensions

Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.
-- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Despite the blog post drought, I have indeed been knitting on, and now I'm catching up.
Sock Madness Forever button
This month I started knitting along with Sock Madness, with high hopes of doing better than last year and placing on a team. Then a trip to Washington intervened. There was plenty of time during actual travel on Amtrak to knit, not so much in between. So although my Round 1 socks, the wonderfully whimsical Brucie by Amy Rapp, made significant progress while getting there...

Brucie heading to Washington

... and while coming back...

Brucie returning from Washington

... the net result was I qualified for patterns, but not for competition. Ah well. I posted the requisite singleton photo and knit on. Sorry about the blinding glare from my winter pale (and hairy) leg. Notice anything else glaring about it?

Brucie one and a bit

Somehow the singleton photo got flipped. I'm knitting with Trekking yarn, not Gnikkert. Sigh. I thought about un-flipping it, but decided against and knit on with confidence etc.

The trip included a setback, but overall was about as positive as could be hoped, which meant I could relax a bit. I did, but there were consequences: my row gauge for Brucie 1 and Brucie 2 is different. In the Shark section, Brucie 1 has eight sets of fins and Brucie 2 has seven.

Brucie 1 and Brucie 2 have different row gauge

Sigh. It's been a year of making decisions, most more grave than this. I decided to match the socks in length rather than in sets of fins, and knit on with confidence etc.