15 December 2008

mini-parade day 3: irish moss

(ok, so obviously this is a slow parade. the clowns must have tripped up the ROTC squad or something.)

pattern: irish moss in alice starmore's aran knitting. i redrew the cable charts so they'd scan easier, added selvedge stitches, and left the shoulder stitches live for a 3 needle bindoff with the saddles. otherwise the pattern was straightforward and error free.
in: knit picks wool of the andes, which is holding up well so far. no sagging, a little pilling.
irish moss cablesmade for chuck, mostly on sundays over the course of 10 months. kind of. i cast on sometime in august 2007, and finished knitting all the bits by may 2008. it could be called the month of sundays sweater, since that ends up being about 40 sundays of knitting. the last bits of it really dragged. suddenly i was sick to death of it (maybe because i wasn't switching between 5 other projects) in a "i can't believe this isn't done yet" kind of way. the last inches of the second sleeve and its saddle were done in a mental frenzy where i kept wishing my hands would knit faster so i could be Done.

i blocked it before seaming (which i don't always), and took it on our MA trip.block partythat was largely futile. seaming is one of those things i like time and quiet to focus on, which was in rather short supply this summer. i tried doing the saddles first as recommended, but they came out not quite right. the pattern doesn't specify the saddle length, and all the stretchy cables in the body made it hard to figure out just how long i needed. so i ended up doing them last, and they fit perfectly.saddle shouldersthe corners look so square and neat. i realized that this is only my third sweater, which may be enough of a reason for the amazed it-looks-just-like-a-real-sweater glee i have when it all fits together.irish moss completethis sweater was intended for chuck to wear last winter, and finishing it in july was a bit disappointing. i wanted to see him wear it right now right now. as it was, he did wear it the week i finished it, thanks to the chilly, rainy summer. i haven't managed to get a shot of him modeling it yet, but it fits and looks very good on him. hugs are extra cozy when he's wearing it, because i can snuggle up to him and the yarn.

06 December 2008

mini-parade day 2: massachusetts in may

my #5 brother jeremiah graduated college this spring and fulfilled his life-long dream of getting paid to wear camo and sneak around by joining the air force (which i did mention ever so quickly, when it happened). although he's in communications so that might limit his sneaking around sniping opportunities somewhat.

the ceremony was mercifully rather short, with about 20 ROTC graduates taking their oaths.
swearing inpinning the bars
my mom and dad got to pin the officer bars on jeremiah. after being sworn in and getting their new rank, each graduate could say a few words. many thanked family. my brother simply said "lock and load."

the last bit was the traditional silver dollar salute. the first enlisted person to salute a newly sworn-in officer is given a silver dollar. no one really said why, but it was kind of cool. jeremiah had asked his high school ROTC colonel to swear him in, and his high school ROTC commander gave him his first salute. chuck couldn't resist saluting him after as well - after 22 years in the navy i think that was the best way chuck knew to show jeremiah he respected his choice.

i was very proud of jeremiah for doing something so crazy as joining the air force, simply because that was his dream all these years.
LL and famwe also, not coincidentally, got to meet his girlfriend. she's the red head in the middle of my family (not my whole family, but it's some of us).

while in massachusetts we went to one of my favoritest places on earth: the windsor jambs at windsor state forest. our family vacations always consisted of camping for a week in july when the factory my dad worked at shut down for inventory. it was probably the cheapest vacation for a family with 8 kids, but we loved it. building fires, hiking, playing in mountain streams, and of course harassing each other. we never liked camping at windsor (the sites are small, close together and very dark) but we'd always drive there to hike the jambs. the offical site i linked to says one may not hike the jambs as dangerous conditions exist. um, oops. we never looked at that website.

the jambs were formed by some stream wearing through bedrock to create an (apparently) 80 foot gorge. there's a trail from the top of the jambs down to the bottom. normally we follow the trail to the bottom1. trail at top of bedrock to right, 2. a waterfall from above, 3. once this waterfall was low enough for me to climb up the middle of it, 4. bottom of the trail where the jambs flatten out

and then hike up through waterfalls, around fallen trees, clinging to rock ledges until we reach the top.as i've gone back over the years, i've wondered what my parents were smoking to let us climb that thing as kids. my dad just shrugged when i asked him. the first time i was maybe 10 with at least one younger brother trailing behind. it probably isn't the safest thing in the world to do (and this last time i realized how long it's been since i did something like that - my confidence isn't what it was, but we still made it), but man is it fun.

we can't ever resist taking tons of pictures. the water, the rocks, and the still sparkling pools (some shallow, some so deep you can't see the bottom) are mesmerizing, and never quite the same twice depending on what storms have blown through and how much meltwater the spring brought. but still we know it like the back of our hands, always looking for our special landmarks.
there's the mermaid's seat , in a pool we always say we'll stop and swim in, but never do,

and nature flipping the bird to the sky.

i love the huge bedrock slabs, slowly eroded down, the falling boulders that shift so slowly over the years

with the blog in mind i even took a shot of our hand and foot holds

i look at that and think: what was i smoking to go trusting my life to that narrow edge of stone? we put our fingers in the cracks and hope the mossy rock will hold as we pull ourselves up, and that our feet won't slip when we have to balance on that edge.

chuck did look as if he thought i was mad when i wanted to climb, but gamely followed me through the jambs. he must have seen the gleam in my eye and known i would have gone with or without him.

after the jambs we went driving around a bit, looking for another elusive waterfall we had vague memories of visiting near the jambs (which turned out to be bashbish falls and nowhere near the jambs), and passing some very small signs that said craft festival. i was entrigued, but lured by the waterfall and mindful of everyone else, i let it go. i sure wish i hadn't and that i'd been reading blogs on vacation. turns out we were driving through west cummington, the home of the MA fiber festival. arg! i could have went to my first fiber festival........

the last highlight of our trip was a jaunt over the border to new york with my dad and brother andy to watch some drag races. sadly, i have no photographic evidence of the awesome cars (or the sunburn we all got there) but it was loads of fun. my dad loves old cars, which has rubbed off on some of us. there was a mini-car show in the parking lot, and seeing those gems along with the pumped up race cars was great. if i still lived in the area, i would be tempted to race my 74 catalina some weekend just for fun. and speed without getting a ticket of course :)

04 December 2008

mini-parade: day 1

to keep things short and sweet, set apart so you'll know when i have (finally) finished reliving the past and moved onto the present, and yet still keep a sense of fun, i've decided to host a parade. a mini-parade, because when parades are too long everyone gets antsy, so this will be more like just a few floats going by (because i don't have the bands to march in between for relief). i don't think it'll go much longer than a week, assuming i post everyday. so not quite a december advent calender. although, (if only you speak swedish) there is a chocolate advent calender over at pickipicki, where you click through a photo to a quick chocolate recipe every day. how cool is that?

without further ado, leading off our parade is a knit shawl that survived mistakes, ripbacks, and running out of yarn at least twice to make its way to my mother's shoulders in may.

the length was exactly where i wanted it, and it took 3 skeins to get there (which the pattern utterly neglected to even hint at). the babyull impressed me so, (soft yet warm and light) that i still daydream of babyull sweaters for myself. it stood up well to ripping back, and there was no visible difference in the 3 dyelots used throughout the shawl. it blocked wonderfully from a lumpto beautiful lace. blocking was easier than i anticipated, all i really had to do was smooth out the shawl and pin out the points (which didn't take nearly as long as i expected). feather and fan is one of my favorite lace patterns. i couldn't resist a closeup of the lace itself. and the faroese shaping is something marvelous to behold. i test wore the shawl and it really does stay in place all by itself. so very very cool. i may have to make myself one.

03 December 2008

the other day someone mentioned stumbleupon in a blog post. being a bit bored (coughatworkcough) i checked it out and started wandering through random websites. it's very good for when you've read all the blog updates and just need a break for a few seconds.

yesterday, it turned up a website where i could get my very own hobbit name. what the heck. it had fields for first and last name, so for fun i did my maiden name first and then my married name. i got this:

Prisca Moss of Lake-By-Downs (which sounded faintly and pleasantly british due to the place name)


Prisca Chubb of Deephollow
(which sounds rather as if someone on that site knows a bit too much about the state of my waistline since i got married)

chuck laughed a good ten minutes or so over that.

(although i just tried his name, and he's Meriadoc Chubb of Deephollow. so at least we know the last name is his fault. nothing to do with my dress size. now if only i'd known marrying him would turn me into a chubb.......)

02 December 2008

i'm not dead yet - honest!

somehow my life this year was thrown for a loop, and not for any good reason really. but my life balance is definitely off. i feel like i've finally caught up on almost everything after working here and there and traveling this summer. now i'm just trying to stay caught up with dishes and laundry and bills and emails and fun and work, and i wouldn't claim to be very successful at that just yet. the small things are what pile up most (and then take ages to go through), so i try to take care of them as soon as i notice them. that helps. a lot.

my brain has calmed down enough that i'm writing blog posts in my head again (and wouldn't it be so cool to have an internet connection in my head, so i could visualize it all and post it without having to actually sit at a computer and type - but then who would get any sleep with the internet right there? and i can picture conversations with blank eyed people: are you online again while i'm talking to you? no, mom honest.). which means that i'm trying to squeeze that back in too. i've got stories of weddings (well, only one really) and beaches and snow and family and knitting and replacing ghetto house stuff and you know, life. with pictures even! i'm thinking blogging is like those small things: if i just do a little at a time (and maybe try to go on a little less) i'll get posts up more often.

sounds good anyway.