Saturday, September 23, 2006

Totally Portland

Vaux Swifts
Originally uploaded by oregon.
Jim and I have been in Portland for eight years now. Before living here, I lived in New Jersey and Denver, and Jim had lived in Colorado and Wyoming. In all that time, neither one of us can remember something happening -- something organic and moving and almost other-worldly -- that we would describe as "Very Colorado" or "Very New Jersey." (Well, I can think of a lot of things that were very New Jersey but most of them were neither organic nor moving.)

At least once a week here in Portland we find ourselves in the midst of an experience here that can only be described as "A Portland moment." Last week it was the female gas station attendant (yep, we pump our own out here) who was extremely cheery and chatty and giddy over the arrival of Portland's first rainy day of the season. In the 3 minutes it took to fill my $53 tank, she told me her entire life story.

Tonight, it was the swifts and the crowd who came to watch them. Each year since we have lived here, a flock of migrating Vaux Swifts has stopped in Portland for awhile on its journey south. I don't know whether they stay for days or weeks, but each night while they're here they shack up in the chimney stack of a local elementary school.

And each night, about a thousand people gather on the lawn of the elementary school to say goodnight to the swifts. This is Portland's idea of spectator sport. In fact, I bet more people show up to watch the swifts than the Blazers.

Families bring picnic dinners. Kids play kickball and slide down the hill on cardboard boxes. The crowd murmers as the swarm of birds finally appears. People ooh and ahh as the birds swoop for an hour or so around the chimeny's mouth. They cheer when the flock gangs up to chase away a predator falcon who's hanging around looking for dinner. (In the end, the falcon got what he was after.)

And finally, just as the last rays of sunlight fade from the sky, the birds nosedive into the smokestack -- THOUSANDS of them. It's impossible to imagine how they all fit. It's magic to watch. And when the last bird is tucked away for the night, the crowd applauds and makes its way home.

Totally Portland.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My name is Carolyn...

Stash Gone Wild
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
.... and I'm a yarnaholic.

This is only the stuff that gets 5 - 6 sts/inch. You should SEE the pile of sock yarn.

It's time to overhaul the stash. I know this because I realized a couple of days ago that I couldn't find two nearly-finished baby sweaters. One was knit on size 3 needles -- not something thrown together over a few evenings of TV.

So, I threw everything on the floor. Now I don't feel like putting it back, especially since I found the lost sweaters. (They were together! Maybe I'm more organized than I thought!) Better go work on at least one... the wee recipient is just days from making her big entrance.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Deep End of the Spool

Fairly Fun
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
Cast-on fever and Christmas on the horizon are a dangerous combination. I have plenty to do around the house. I have a plethora of other knitting projects in midstream. But while working on one of those, THIS pattern caught my eye. (Interweave Knits, Winter 2004, p. 92ish)

Now I am obsessed. I am staying up way too late willing my clumsy fingers to pick and throw simultaneously. I am going blind, and loving it.

This is my first attempt at Fair Isle, and when you look up close it shows. But I'm getting better as I go. And I'm already thinking about what complicated colorful thing to cast-on next. (How's THAT for alliteration!)

BTW, I won the Bartlett on e-bay! Hah! Should be arriving any day so I can finish the aforementioned big red gansey.

Friday, September 08, 2006

e-Bartlett or Bust

I Gansey Clearly Now
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
I was all set to write about how my great friend Laura had spotted some Bartlett on e-Bay in the exact color I need to finish this Gansey. Dyelot be damned, I placed my bid. It went unchallenged for two days and I figured I was home free. Then... whammo. Two more bids. Grrr. May the knitting Gods poke those other bidders with sharp pointy sticks.

So, I suppose I'll just order some from the factory and hope it gets here in the next millenium. In the meantime I have WAYYYYY too many projects on needles. So many that I'm running out of needles, in fact. Here's a list of the ones with pressing deadlines:

1. Oregon Vest - needs a zipper pronto -- for shop
2. Baby sweater - for friend about to pop
3. Cardigan for Dad's 75th birthday - need by Thanksgiving
4. Big Red Gansey - need by Christmas
5. Little white Gansey Hoodie - need by Christmas
6. Fair Isle Insanity Stocking Cap - need by Christmas
7. Entrelac scarf - need by Christmas
8. Baby sweater #2 - for friend who is popping in a few weeks

And the ones in the queue that aren't on the needles yet:
9. Touch me scarf - needed by Christmas
10. Noro Kuryeon Tea Cozy from Knitty - needed by Christmas
11. Mosaic Mittens for Winter shop class

Plus I still have another sweater meant for the daughter of my Philly friends who told me about the Bartlett. It just needs buttons. I have the buttons, I just hate to sew. She's probably grown out of it by now. I'm such a delinquent.

And finally, some lacy Kitchen curtains for ME. I think the sun's going be in my eyes in there for awhile.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Doggone Funny

What is she thinking?
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
So, the Yarn Harlot gave a fantastic talk in Portland tonight. I don't know how many people were there, but it was WAY more than the bookstore planned on having, and they (the bookstore people) seemed a little put out by the end. They should learn to knit. It might help them relax.

Anyway, we all busted a gut about 700 times listening to Stephanie talk about nothing and everything. She's like the Seinfeld of knitting. One hilarious bit talked about bloggers posing knitting in silly places for photos.

Here's one such ridiculous attempt. "Still Life With Labrador and Cascade Fixation." This is my beautiful dog, Emma, lying on a couch that used to be beautiful too, until she decided to make it her daybed. You can tell from this picture that Emma thinks I'm an idiot.

I'm sure I chose Emma for this picture because at the time my yard was the blight of the block. We've since had it relandscaped, so maybe I'll try a couple of nature shots... inspired by the Harlot... and see if I can prompt an of my neighbors to question my sanity. Just for kicks.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Gansey Sick

Poorly Armed
Originally uploaded by littlekidd.
Jim -- Avert your eyes! (I know Jim gets this blog as an RSS feed without pictures, so I'm SURE he won't peek. Right, Jim?)

Here's the "Old Way" Gansey I've been working on for Jim's Christmas present. I started early this year, since the last sweater took three Christmases to complete. This one was ticking along beautifully, until...

Look closely. The yarn you see is the yarn I have left to complete the sweater. If you could see my husband one of the things you might notice about him is that he has two arms. This sweater has only one so far. I bought the amount the pattern suggested, and maybe a skein more... and I came up short.

It's Bartlett 2-ply, Rangely "Mountain Berry," dyelot #824. Based on an exhaustive search, I have concluded that here is no more of this yarn in this dyelot in the known universe. I'm sure the stress of knowing this is making me knit that second sleeve more tightly, which will use up the little yarn I have left even sooner than I'd like. Grrrr.

I know this is a crappy picture. Though you can't see it here, the stitches are pretty and the yarn is great for ganseys. Yes, this sweater is huge on purpose. It will be "fulled" (aka lightly felted) when it's done... a reasonably terrifying thing to do on purpose to a handknit sweater. I hope I'm doing it right -- I matched the "before fulling" measurements in the pattern (from Interweave Knits Winter 2004) but then I also bought the amount of yarn the pattern told me to, and we all know how well that worked out. Stay tuned.