Monday, June 20, 2016

Sumer Icummin

Happy Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)! Every year when summer rolls around I find myself craving a smart new straw tote bag. The trusty old and worn canvas tote bags that got me through the fall and winter just won't do. I'd not considered make-your-own, but inspired by knitcole's Rafia Tote Bag, this year desire became a weaving project, with raffia and citrus-y colors and pirates. I must admit the project came together when I saw the whimsical fabric I picked for the bag lining, Robert Kauffman Message in a Bottle, designed by Suzy Ultman.

Pirate-y lining fabric

For the warp I used Just Our Yarn Aziza, 5/2 100% Tencel, in pretty variegated lemonade and limeade tones, part of my MDS&W loot. It's lovely stuff, also very slinky. I didn't attempt to wind it into a ball, but dressed the loom with the yarn still as a hank, which is why the remainder pictured below is in a (now much smaller) hank.

Warp and weft yarns

Dressing the loom took me three days and about 367 yds (336 m) of warp. There were the usual sorts of interruptions and delays, not to mention I find the process tedious in the extreme. Some people say it's meditative. After the dreadful news last week I needed something meditative, but for me this wasn't it. Strange that I'm a process knitter, but an impatient weaver. I tend to think of my woven FOs as intermediate items, precursors for sewing projects. Maybe that's why I don't think to take many pix of my loom or weaving-in-progress (sorry).

For the weft I used Morex Ribbon 100% Rayon raffia. The entire spool, 110 yds (100 m), fit on my stick shuttle in a loose rustling mass. There was lots of aural stimulation, unusual for fiber projects! I wove a few inches before realizing the raffia is a skinny cord when it comes off the spool...

Skinny raffia cord

... but it can be spread into a broad flat ribbon.

Broad raffia ribbon

The fabric looks and drapes much better with the raffia woven in the form of a spread ribbon rather than an unspread cord – the cord is stiff and unstable as weft while the ribbon scrunches down nicely when beaten lightly. I thought about unwinding the shuttle, spreading the raffia, then re-winding the shuttle, but decided it worked better to keep the shuttle wound with rustling raffia cord and to spread only enough for a pic at a time. More tedium. Oh well, I'm happy with the results.

Raffia fabric

The straw bag is shaping well! To be continued....

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bridge of Sighs

This evening I attended a community vigil for victims of the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub. It was quietly moving, thoughtfully inclusive, and carefully apolitical. The mayor was one of the speakers, but there was no speechifying. There were prayers and singing (not "We Shall Overcome," thank goodness), and many sighs too deep for words.

More Love, Less Hate

This is not to say there isn't a lot that could be said and should be said and must be said, and much to do. It's simply this was a time and a place for condolences and mourning and gathering with people of my town, and I'm glad I went.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NJ Primary Election Day 2016

Today is Primary Election Day in the Garden State. NJ polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Find voter information here.

Howabout some patriotic irises from the Presby Iris Garden in honor of the day.

Red iris   White iris   Blue iris

Most presidential election years the NJ primary falls so late in the season that it's a dullish affair, of interest only to pols and wonks, but this is no ordinary year. As I've said many times off the blog in real life, one year ago when so many hopefuls were traipsing around Iowa, I never would have predicted what has indeed come to pass.

I plan to add to this post as the day proceeds. Back in a bit.

Noon-ish: When I voted, the poll workers told me turnout so far was heavy. I like that. That AP has essentially declared the primary irrelevant, not so much.

Dinner-ish: Judging from how feverishly the TV pundits are chattering, it's going to be a long night. The big prize of the day delegate-wise is California but NJ votes first.

Close of polls in NJ: Or possibly not, at least not in NJ.

Close of polls in California: It is going to be a long night, I'm going to bed.

Next day: It turns out not a lot changed while I slept. Indeed, the primary results don't seem to have mattered in certain respects. Ah well, at least I exercised my right to vote and got some knitting done.

3 Color Cashmere Cowl wip

Rather like the political season, the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl has reached the endless tube o' doom stage. But onward.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Calm Seas

After all that fussing, 3 Color Cashmere Cowl would seem to be working.

3 Color Cashmere Cowl in progress

It's of no importance that the yarn is not cashmere and there's only two colors at the moment. What is important is the project is finally tranquil and progress is occurring. Tranquil is good. Progress is good. knitknitknitknit

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Cast Aways

No sooner did I set sail for destination Lace Lagoon for Camp Loopy 2016 (pirate edition) than I was beset with gauge issues. It was a double whammy.Camp Loopy 2016 button

The yarn I selected, Manos del Uruguay Serena, says it's sportweight on the label but for me knits closer to fingering gauge. The pattern I selected, Chilkat Cowl, specifies sportweight yarn knit at DK gauge. When the mismatch became clear there may have been some bad language, frogging and reknitting, and staying up past my bedtime. Finally the conundrum was solved by sticking with the yarn, consigning the pattern to Davy Jones' locker, and starting 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli. I hope this works. Pix to follow.

DH put in his oar by disputing the logic of the term "casting on." He opines it properly should be "casting off" and no amount of appeal to the authority of Generally Accepted Knitting Nomenclature can budge him. However that may be, the turn of the month meant the end of the One Sock KAL, and the end of progress on my second second sock, By the Seine River by Dona Knits. When last seen, the wip was a singleton. Without the KAL, I would tend to imagine the lonely only still would be biding its time on a desert island somewhere. Thanks to the KAL – to Ann and Kay and the fabulous moderators of the discussion on Ravelry – the second sock progressed to the beginning of the heel flap before being set aside in favor of cowls.

By the Seine River wip as of May 31

Meanwhile in the real world, various dedicated advocates of various worthy causes have been exhorting ordinary citizens to show their support by wearing various colors on Thursdays, and also tinting their avatars. Today is my first conflict: wear black for #ThursdaysinBlack to reject sexual and gender-based violence and #WearOrange today, Thursday, June 2, for National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Another conundrum. Sigh.