Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bianca's Jacket, a repeat

It has not been the best knitting weather here. It has been a bit hot, especially for Colorado, especially for 7,000 feet up in the mountains. I went to knitting group, but there was only one other knitter (plus the shop clerk) there. It was in the 80s and I understand if the other members thought it was too hot to knit!

Yesterday, I saw a squirrel walking across my patio, his cheeks bulging with something, and I wondered where he was going. I looked out the door to see if he had just jumped over the fence and left, but I found him sprawled in the shade, eating the bird seed he had raided from my feeder and stuffed in his cheeks. I guess it was just too hot in the yard to eat there.

It is summer. In honor of that, I've decided to have a summer repeat. I knitted Bianca's Jacket last year, but since that was before I had this blog, I haven't discussed it here.

I did post this picture a few entries back, which prompted some to ask for more views. I'll oblige in this post, and start with the basics: the pattern appeared in the Fall '06 issue of Interweave Knits. I used 4 hanks of Artful Yarns Fable which I had in my stash. I had bought this yarn in a yarn shop in Fort Walton Beach the summer before, and finally decided it might be enough for this short, lace-yoked jacket. I really liked the Fable, especially in the golden-brown/green/teal colorway. I thought 4 hanks, with nearly 200 yards in a hank, would be enough for a crocheted tank top. It would have been, but I began knitting, and my choice of pattern changed accordingly. I looked at patterns for months before finding Bianca's Jacket and deciding

I would have enough yarn for it.  It was enough yarn, but barely enough--I had to go with 3/4 length sleeves instead of the long sleeves the pattern has. Actually, they end just past my elbow. I puzzled a bit about the length. As I read the pattern, the lack of shaping and the lace cuff would produce a bell-shaped sleeve. I didn't want a bell-shaped sleeve. I thought if I ended it at the elbow, the lack of shaping wouldn't matter. It is simply a straight sleeve, with a lace cuff.

The yoke and the shaping in the bodice work out well in the Fable, which has enough silk in it to enhance the drape. The pattern was written for 100% silk yarn. Fable is mostly cotton, with 15% silk. Despite the difference in fiber, it works well for this pattern. It was the right gauge, but I was in between sizes and decided to cast on for the smallest size to save yarn. Due to the stretchiness of the lace pattern, it does fit.

I wore this little jacket over a long sleeved shirt on the second day of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I didn't wear it to show it off. I really hadn't planned to wear any of my handknits to the festival--I was intimidated by the presence of tens of thousands of knitters. The thought of allowing them to see my knitting, to judge my knitting, was not appealing. However, it turned so cold, I was forced to layer whatever bits of clothing I had brought in order to keep warm. I was glad, in the end. I received compliment after compliment on it, from the woman who stopped her car in the parking area to tell me she knit it at the beach the summer before, to the exhibitor who asked me if I designed it. I'm proud of my little jacket. You see, my knitting ocasionally produces a wearable item. Not often, but sometimes.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Too much going on to knit

This was IT, the big weekend here. Here=Colorado small town. IT=rafting fest. I started out big, driving out to see the beginning of the first race on Thursday. This was a good decision, since it gave me a totally different perspective than I would have had if I had confined my activities to the main festival events downtown.

After scoping out the potential viewing spots in the morning,...

How about here?

We went back only to find mosquitoes by the swarms, and worried rafters begging for bug spray. We had none, so we kept the windows rolled up and watched from the car. It was both interesting and amusing.

First, they put the rafts in the river.
Then they took them out of the river. I didn't take a picture of the rafts coming back out. Once that started, I had no idea what was going on. What I found out, they have to take a running start, carrying their rafts. OK.

They put the rafts as far away as they could, against the fence at the back of the parking lot. I thought they'd run from there, but then the rafters were lined up on the road near the river, and told to run to their rafts. That is, "RUN!!!!!"

Then came the mad dash back with the rafts....

And the not-so-mad dash for the stragglers...

It was confusing, and a bit chaotic, and funny. To think, this was the race for the experts, who spend the summer guiding raft trips around the state.

Then we drove down the river to watch...

It was all quite impressive once they got going. However, rafts aren't really fast. We were able to go home, get on the bikes, and ride downtown just in time to cheer the winners as they arrived at the finish line.

Since then, I've been downtown a couple of times, where I watched kayakers flip and turn in the rapids, a parade, a bike race, a hill climb, and eaten lots of greasy, fat-filled food.
Tomorrow we are going downriver to picnic and watch the main event, a 26 mile river race. Then back downtown for the awards and the chili cookoff.

Be sure to click the pictures if you want to see a larger image!
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Although I finished the sleeve for my Loni cardigan, I don't know when I'll get it blocked. I think I'll bring Bonita to the big race tomorrow, though, so I'll get knitting done there. Maybe.