Friday, July 30, 2010

Signing off for now...

I know what you're thinking. "She never usually TELLS us when she's going to stop blogging for two or three weeks." But I guess I will this time, since I know about the pause in advance, rather than the absence being due to sheer laziness.

We had this week off work to wrap up last-minute details, see out-of-town family, and chill out a bit. I've been working on the Bernhart cardigan, which has been flying along. I decided on a whim to knit the edging before starting the sleeves, which is totally backwards for me. I'm doing this because I've had my eye on one or two cap-sleeved cardigan patterns (Redhook by Jared Flood comes to mind), and I want to visualize how this would look on me before I start daydreaming about those projects.

Muir Woods

We also took a hike in Muir Woods to get away from everything.

Muir Woods

The significant other had a moment of recognition, as he knew some people from Troop 80 (he was in Troop 12 back in his boy scouting days).

Muir Woods

This hike was the best idea ever.

Muir Woods

We took a slightly more strenuous trail than we would usually pick, which was very rewarding. It was just sunny enough for us to work up a sweat, and we sat on a rock in a tiny meadow at our destination before returning (rather quickly, going downhill) back to civilization.

Muir Woods

It gave us space to be peaceful, to think, and to process the fact that we'll be married on Saturday. I'll be back in August with more pictures of Hawaii than I'll know what to do with.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Beginning of the End

That's what this past week has felt like. We have canceled or otherwise bowed out of most of our regular extracurricular social activities from now until the wedding, which is now two weeks from Saturday. This was partly to accommodate some larger wedding-related things, and partly to leave ourselves time to have a freak-out should either of us require.

The weekend before the wedding is the guy's birthday and his bachelor party, and this weekend I am going on a completely mysterious trip that happens to be in Las Vegas (!). Last weekend was the first of our month-long wedding activities, with delicious dim sum on Saturday morning (our favorite place is this one) and then brunch on Sunday with my lovely knitter friends from Purl Jam and beyond. We had tasty food and I showed off my Aphrodite shawl:

Knitter's Wedding Brunch

Knitter's Wedding Brunch

Along with coffee, tea, salads, There were some incredibly adorable handmade fruit tarts:

Knitter's Wedding Brunch

I was under the impression that my friends had organized this brunch in order to

a) spend more time knitting together,
b) see my shawl before the wedding (what can I say? I have a bit of an ego when it comes to this thing),
c) make me feel not so bad for missing other fabulous knitting activities while I was busy getting married.

Little did I know that they had something else in mind, something they'd been planning with my other knitting friends near and far for MORE than a YEAR.

Knitter's Wedding Brunch

Wedding Blanket!

I was completely shocked and amazed. It's one of the most gorgeous things I've ever laid my hands on. And it's insta-warming, as well. The guy and the cat took an instant liking to the blanket as well. And they all kept the secret from me for such a long time it's embarrassing (no, really, I was clueless for so long it's funny).

So, thank you my knitter friends. The blanket is amazing, it's keeping us warm in the San Francisco July fog, and inspiring me to seam up my mitered squares all at once. You are all amazing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

3 Years, 48 Colors, and 6,156 yards

The blanket squares are done.

Light Leaf Green Square #35

This last batch, 7 squares in all, were completed during this most recent spring-and-summer bout of finish-it-up-itis. After the most recent update in June, I realized how close I was to the finish line and swore to be faithful to the project until the squares were complete. I was on the home stretch, I could see a light at the end of this unpredictably long tunnel. I mostly stuck to my guns (except a little pair of socks. But they only put me out for five days, and besides, it was my birthday).

Light Purple/Orange Square #33

While working on the squares this time, I started envisioning the blanket as a finished object. It's exciting and daunting to think of all the sewing, but I still feel that this is a significant turning point.

Medium Leaf Green Square #32

I uploaded the first set of photos in March of 2008. At the time I'd been working on the blanket on and off for about a year, and had 15 squares. I thought that would be half the finished blanket, and estimated it would take another 6 months to finish knitting (ha!). I uploaded 2 more in April and May of that year, then 4 more in March of 2009, 2 in October, 3 more in November, and 3 more in June. I've shown many blocks before, and blogged a bit about the project here in case you're feeling nostalgic.

Pale Green Square #34

In that post, I speculated that it might take another two years to finish the blanket. Thankfully, sewing the squares together into their blocks of 4 will still be highly portable. I will almost certainly sew all the blocks together before I decide on the final layout of the blanket, and I have my photos of each block to remind me of the placement I like best for each square.

Dark Orange Square #36

Cara, my inspiration for this project, blocked all her squares and tucked in the ends before photographing them. As you've probably noticed from my photos, I'm nowhere near that neat. I still love reading through her journey with that blanket. I think we were both driven to this crazypants project by a love of colors and their interplay, but executed things so differently. She finished her squares in 46 days, whereas I took about 38 months to get everything off the needles.

Light Green Square #30

Now, I'm more worried about the knitting of the border. By my calculations, if I'm picking up stitch-for-stitch around the edge of this massive thing, I'll have 1,728 stitches in one round of blanket. Numbers like this make me gasp for breath. I'm thinking about single crochet edges. But I really love to imagine using this blanket. It'll be huge, and machine washable because of the mercerized cotton yarn. I have fantasies about sewing a fabric lining to the back, so we can use it as a beach blanket (and to hide the wrong side).

Dark Green Square #31

I gave up keeping track of the squares by spreadsheet about two-thirds of the way through. I suspect that allowed me to finish sooner than otherwise. As it is, I ended up with more leftover yarn than I thought.

Mitered Square Leftovers

There's probably 5 or 6 skeins' worth of yarn there. I'm going to save it for sewing and knitting the border. The funniest thing to me about all this is that skein of white. I bought that in the first batch of yarn, and never ended up using it. I might still save it. It's bright bleached white, and I guess I think it would end up dingy-looking after some harsh use. For now, I'm giving the blanket a break for a few days. That's about how long it will take me to decide which of the five projects screaming for attention in my break to cast on (one of them, I kid you not, is another blanket). In the meantime, flickr will have to keep my humongous blanket fantasies satisfied: