Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not Noro Scarf: Knitting on the Road

Whenever it was my time to be the passenger on our road trip, and if there was enough light to see (it doesn't take much), I'd be knitting.

For four years I had wanted to knit the spectacular Jared Flood pattern, the Noro Scarf, and I was always too busy making things for my shop. The road trip was the perfect time to knit this simple design. It could easily be dropped in my lap at a moment's notice in order to grab a camera because of a buffalo sighting. It could just as easily be picked right back up without missing a stitch.

The only problem . . . as beautiful as Noro's colors are, the fiber is too scratchy for the skin on my neck. Yes, even Silk Garden.

Luckily there are other yarns on the market that have long color repeats, and I found a very interesting and sensitive-skin friendly one: Universal Yarn's, Classic Shades. It's 70% acrylic and 30% washable wool. My swatch had been washed by machine and lightly dried in a low heat setting in the drier. It didn't shrink a bit, and its halo had become even more beautiful.

For this scarf I used the Watermelon and the Reef color-ways.

Beside the fiber content, there is another change I made to this pattern. It was knit with each stitch twisted. All the knits and all the purls were worked through the back loop. 

Jared Flood says he likes the unblocked look of 1x1 ribbing which his pattern uses because it resembles stockinette. My preference is to see the ribbing in high relief, and I have a special love for twisted stitches because of the plaited look they create. Here's a close up:

Only one skein each in two different color-ways of this yarn make this timeless design a wallet-friendly project.

(Please don't think that I am disparaging Noro. I love their products and can knit with them, but I just can't wear them next to my neck.)

While in the beginning stages of this scarf, we passed through Missoula, Montana where there is a lovely yarn shop called Loopy knit/crochet. They have a wonderful selection of gourmet yarns arranged by weight and a very friendly staff.  While there, I purchased this book because of the marvelous tea cosy design in it.

See: Noro Love!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Little Western Town Full of Art

We were just one day out of the gate on our road trip when we come across this iconic little Western town. It's about the cutest town you could imagine. And there was art everywhere!

Welcome to Ennis, Montana. A cool little town with a big art scene.

This carved bear was the guardian for a shop on the main drag. I thought of Yogi and BooBoo and started getting exciting that we were getting closer to Yellowstone.

Here's another bear marvelously sculpted as though frozen in movement.

This Jim Dolan installation was my favorite.

The detail was unlike anything I've seen in metal sculpture.

The workmanship of these life-sized pieces just took my breath away.
If you're ever in the region, you've got to stop by this place.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wild Woman of the West

I used to think that if I were suddenly time warped back into the wild west, a bordello might be my chosen lifestyle. Better that than living on some god forsaken ranch in the middle of the wild nowhere looking after an ornery husband and a passel of kids.

Now that I have visited this museum in Wallace, Idaho, and have read a book on the "soiled doves" of the West, this doesn't seem a much more glamourous lifestyle than the ranch. It would be better to have been Annie Oakley and very good with guns.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Western States Road Trip or Where to Begin

When you haven't blogged for four months, and Google changes its blogging software interface while you're out on safari, it's a challenge to pick up again. I'm not even sure that this post will surface in the real world when I'm done writing it, because the whole look of the back side of Blogger is different from what I remember.

For many other reasons, too boring to enumerate, I've been gone for a while. You could suspect that family matters, too many hours of work at the day job, and general burn-out might factor in, and you would be correct. Let's back track.

After working grueling hours during the busy season at my day job, I got a new camera from sweet Mr. Cha Cha. It was used for those bangle styling photos in the last post back in April. Then I went to the Midwest to visit with my elderly mother for a while.

Return to Portland brought a round of brain fog, a bout of inertia, and a loss of momentum.

My memory of the month of May is a blur, except I do remember Mr. Cha Cha kept lobbying me to go on a road trip of the Western states. It was really annoying me. I didn't want to go. There was too much to do for my business, and I was too far behind schedule already. Why waste time traipsing around national parks?

"You could learn how to use your new camera better."

I'm mostly interested in product photography and wondered how a road trip would help me with that. He kept doggedly working on the itinerary on his own with no help from me. This is the route he developed:

Long story short, there are some cool photos I took along the way which will be surfacing in the next many posts. Also, there will be some specific recommendations for yarn stores along the route, and general recommendations in case you might want to make this trip yourself.

Also, I've missed my regular annual summer giveaway, so it will have to be an autumn one this year. Anything in particular that you'd like to see in the giveaway, leave me a comment here. Handspun yarn? Stash yarn? A scarf? A bangle bracelet?

It's good to be back. Now that the cool autumn breezes are returning, I feel energized!