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Archive for June, 2008

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I’ve done this shawl before, in gray Jaggerspun Zephyr, on size 5 US needles. This time it’s in peacock, on US 4s. This one is about 8 inches smaller from tip to tip.

 

DSCN0038Supposedly, a shawl that “fits” is the same length tip-to-tip as the length between your outstretched fingers, or your “wingspan.” This shawl hits my wingspan almost exactly, but for some reason feels a bit small on me. I’ve liked much better the shawls which I’ve made that are larger – for example, the Peacock Feathers shawl, which was 88″ across, or those that were quite a bit smaller and fit more like a triangular scarf.DSCN00351

After I finished my last shawl, I decided that I would no longer promise to make anyone any more shawls. It is a big commitment, and quite easy to get in over my head; if I promise 3 friends that I will make them all shawls, I’ve just tied up my lace knitting for the  next 5 or 6 months! I haven’t kept a single piece of lace that I’ve made in over a year. Therefore, even though I’m not totally happy with the “fit” of this shawl, and I can think of at least 3 women whom I would love to give this shawl to, I’m going to keep it… at least until I finish the next one! It’s time to enjoy some of my own lace.

 

In other news, one of my caladiums has bloomed. I had no idea that caladiums could bloom! It must be happy.

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Camping trip

No knitting today, sorry. I thought that I’d share some photos from my camping trip, instead! (I did knit a lot while I was camping…)

Some time ago, I found out that there is a 17 mile hike-and-bike trail linking the 4 Spanish missions in San Antonio. Since we were planning to camp relatively close to SA, I took my bike along and did the bike trail.

Now, I grew up in Ohio. I know a lot about Ohio history. Texas history, not so much. I knew about the battle of the Alamo, of course – that is well into mainstream American history. What I did not learn until much later was that the Alamo was one of 5 missions built in what is now San Antonio by Franciscans 0605081231during the Spanish colonial period, in the 18th century. While the Alamo is now a shrine and tourist attraction (with an amazing garden!) the other 4 missions are active Catholic parishes. They are also part of the National Park System, which runs several visitor centers and provides historical interpretation.

The bike path linking the missions is very nice. I did not have to deal with any stoplights or traffic – a big change from my normal cycling here in Austin!

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The first mission that I visited was the Mission San José. This mission has been extensively reconstructed, including the wall running 0605081324 around the grounds which enclose several acres of green space. Many of the converts who came to live at the mission lived in homes that were a part of the outside walls.

 

 

 

 

 

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On the way to my second stop, I passed by the Espada Dam, which was constructed around the same time as the missions as part of the local 0605081243aqueduct system. It was impressive to note that even though we are in a drought period and many of the water tables, lakes and streams are low, the aqueduct was full to the brim! I saw several cranes out fishing along parts of  the dam and aqueduct.

 

 

 

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My second stop was at the Mission San Francisco de la Espada. This photograph is deceptive, because from the outside, it looks like the church is partially in ruin. It is in fact still an active church with a lovely interior. I saw an awesome container garden in back of the residence – there were hundreds of plants!

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Stop three was the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My last stop was at the mission Concepción. They also have a very nice prayer garden out front.

After riding 17 miles in the wind and the heat, I decided to skip going up to the Alamo (which I’ve already seen several times) and head for our campsite. picture0002Because of the drought, there is a ban on campfires, so I took along a little charcoal grill to cook with. After supper, I took everything containing food back to the car. I did not, however, take the bag of charcoal – I closed it up and left it under the picnic table. No animal was going to invade our camp for the charcoal, right?

Well, in the middle of the night, I started hearing thumping and crunching sounds. I stuck my flashlight out of the tent door to look around, and saw a raccoon sitting on the picnic table. He was munching on a lump of charcoal with one hand and rummaging around for more with his other! Raccoons eat charcoal. Who would have thunk it? 

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This is the Roped Shell, by Angela Hahn, out of the Summer 2008 issue of Interweave Knits. (If it looks familiar, it’s because this is the pattern from the cover photo.) Some of her patterns are really cute – it might not be long before I do another!

I knit this with 2 skeins of Claudia’s Handpainted 100% linen, which is the green yarn, and 1 skein of Louet Sales Euroflax, which is the blue. I have a lot of linen in my summer wardrobe already, so I was happy to add another piece! Linen is so great for the climate here; I can wear it for at least 8 months out of the year.

The pattern was straightforward and easy enough. The colorwork uses a technique called “slip-stitch” or “mosaic” knitting. Basically, you do a round with one color, and then do the next round with the other color. If you want the color that you are working with to show, you knit that stitch. If you want the other color to show, you slip the stitch you are working. It makes for a really neat effect; it’s hard to see in the photo, but the pattern is charted and knit as a square, but the slipped stitched stress the fabric such that they turn into little hexagons!

I should have added some more waist shaping; the pattern shaping only draws the waist in an inch or so, while my actual waist goes in about 7 or 8 inches. Still, it looks nice. I did add a loop and snap to each shoulder, to help hide my bra strap. I might still add a second set of loops to keep them more secure.

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The linen yarn is quite slippery, so I used bamboo needles for this project. I normally use metal needles for everything, but the bamboo is “stickier” and doesn’t let the yarn slide around quite so much, making a slippery yarn such as linen much more manageable. This is the second sweater I’ve knit using size 2 needles. For such a fine gauge, it went by quite quickly.

You can see in the bottom of this photo that I’ve started my garden up again. I have lots of deep shade, so I picked out 7 different kinds of caladiums, along with a few other things. I’ll post some garden photos soon. In the meantime, let’s hope that the caladiums work out!

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