Traveling and knitting...great combination!

Some people hate long drives. I look at that time as the perfect opportunity for uninterrupted knitting and podcast listening time. Of course, I do some of the driving, however Chris tends to do most of it, leaving me free to knit! This time around, we had a 9 hour drive to Yachats, on the Oregon Coast. We decided to break it up into two days so we could go through the Umpqua Valley between the interstate and the coast where there are tons of wineries. We love drinking wine, and wineries are always such fun places to visit so we managed to work three of them (TeSóAriaReustle Vineyards, River's Edge) into our trip. In between stops I was furiously knitting away on my twisted flower socks and as a result by the time we got to the coast I had finished the leg and heel flap of the first sock. We camped near Chris' parents house so over the next few days I worked in enough time to turn the heel and start the foot. Each evening we had a few hours to ourselves by the campfire which is when I managed to sneak in a few rows.

The day before we left Oregon we decided to take a trip up to the Tillamook cheese factory in Tillamook, OR. This was a solid 2 hour journey from where we were and Chris drove the whole way, so by the time we got back I had just finished grafting the toe. Talk about perfect timing! I quickly wove in the ends and my first Cookie A. sock was complete! I was so excited to get the second one done that I cast on that evening, and then during the drive back to Reno I worked my way through the first half of chart B.

We had a couple days in Reno and then we headed down to Las Vegas for a conference called The Amazing Meeting 9 (TAM 9). It is a conference based on science, skepticism and critical thinking and consists of 3 days packed full of fascinating presentations, panels and discussions. I really enjoyed all of the speakers, and as a bonus I had 6-7 hours of uninterrupted knitting time each day. Needless to say, by halfway through the second day of the conference the second sock was done! Although I was super excited to finish the twisted flower socks, it unfortunately meant that I did no more knitting while at the conference. The other yarn I brought was uninspiring and the only other project I had on the needles was my wedding shawl, which is far too complicated for knitting in public....

You may be wondering what is going on with my wedding shawl since the wedding is less than 2 month away. Well as with everything else wedding related, I am dragging my feet on it. It is partly because beading is not good travel knitting, and partly because I just don't feel like working on it. I seemed incapable of putting down the socks while I was knitting them, but now that they are finished, hopefully I can focus on my shawl for a while.

I am back at work right now working extremely long hours out in the middle of the desert, but with a lot of downtime during the day that I am of course using for knitting. Sock Summit is coming up next weekend and I am taking three classes. Two of them have homework (just a little swatching) which I should be able to finish in the next few days. Most of my classes are geared toward learning to design patterns which is a direction I would like to go with my knitting and I am already getting inspired just from the swatches. Chris is driving me and my girls STItCHA and gypsynit to Portland and I absolutely can't wait!

Twisted flowers twisted wrong!

I haven't been knitting nearly as much as I would like lately, which is partly because work has been really tough and also because I ran into a snag with one of my projects. My company works 10 hours each day of an 8-day session and that means that some days I end up hiking 7 or 8 miles. As you can imagine, I am usually quite exhausted in the evening. I always try and get at least a bit of knitting time in though! I was moving right along with my twisted flower socks from Knit. Sock. Love. and then disaster struck. I cruised through the first half of the pattern repeat and then a couple rows into the twisted stitch section I miss-crossed a cable somewhere. I honestly don't even know exactly what I did wrong, however I do know that I made fixing it as complicated as possible! When I realized that I had gone wrong somewhere I decided to drop the affected stitches and then pick them back up correctly. I thought this would be easier than tinking back several rows to fix the problem...I was soooooo wrong. Correctly twisting the stitches that I had purposely dropped proved to be nearly impossible and though I finally fixed it, it was incredibly frustrating and took over an hour. I was so focused on correctly crossing the cables that I didn't twist some of the knit stitches. Fortunately it really isn't that noticeable. I just finished the first repeat and I am hoping not to have any mistakes the second time around. And if I do, I now know that tinking back is a much better way to fix it!

My wedding shawl has been taking a backseat to the socks for the last few days, but I have every intention of focusing on it for the rest of my time in Eureka, Nevada. Tonight, I am not going to bed until I knit at least one repeat!

The other thing that has been taking away time from my knitting is the novel Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I heard it was a good movie so I bought the ebook for my iPad and promptly devoured it in just a few days. It is a truly excellent book, and I highly recommend it! It takes place partially in the present with the main character Jacob, an old man in a nursing home. The rest of the story consists of flashbacks to when Jacob was a young man working on a circus in the 1930's. It is well written and the story is very engaging with surprising twists, heart breaking loss and, of course, a love story. If your looking for something to read I definitely suggest this novel!

Well I am off to work on my shawl...hopefully I reach my goal!

Knitting on the Road

Yesterday, I left Reno at about 7:30 am, heading for a small town in central Nevada called Eureka. I will be working on an archaeological survey near that town for the next eight days, and then I will return to Reno for a two week vacation. Normally the schedule would be to work eight days in a row and then have 6 days off before returning to work. My fiancé Chris and I have some vacation plans to go first to the Oregon coast and then to Las Vegas so we are taking an extended break between work sessions. All of this means that I won't be spending much time at home over the next few weeks so of course I have to plan my knitting accordingly. Fortunately after we get back from Eureka we will have a day at home, and then another day in between the next two trips. This way I only have to plan for one trip at a time. For me, planning for travel knitting is not extremely difficult, however it does require some forethought.

Generally speaking, I like to have one large and/or complicated project on the needles and several smaller projects, with at least one that is largely stockinette for those days when I just don't have the brain space for something more complicated. Right now I am working on my Wedding Aeolian which certainly fits the large and complicated bill! I am really loving it, however, it is NOT good for car knitting. The beading makes it just a little too difficult! For an evening sitting around after work it is perfect. My wedding is September 17th and I would like to be done by early September so I better get a move on since I am still on the first (yucca) chart!

I am also working on Cookie A.'s Twisted Flower from Knit. Sock. Love. Can I just say I. Love. This. Pattern. It is complicated, but intuitive. My Twisted Flower is in hot pink malabrigo sock yarn so it is pure awesomeness! Unfortunately, it is not ideal for knitting on bumpy, curvy roads because the twisted stitches sections are a little complicated, but I worked through it slowly but surely.

I don't currently have any other projects on the needles, however, when I was packing I threw in a few extra fingering weight/sock yarn skeins. I have found that if I have my knit picks interchangeable needles set, a skein of fingering weight yarn and access to the internet I can almost always find something that strikes my fancy if my current projects aren't doing it for me. I also have some yarn that was supposed to be socks for my fiancé. I knit the first one and it went horribly wrong. He has very wide feet, and somehow I made the width for my size foot (women's 7). Oops! This was a few months ago and I haven't had the heart to rip back yet, but I think I am just about ready to give these another try. They are easy toe up vanilla socks so once I get my gauge straightened out it should be easy going and finally I will have a good car project on the needles!

Well these projects (and possible future projects!) should get me through the next 8 days, after that we will see what grabs my attention for our trip to the Oregon coast!