SF CA or Bust

I’m going on my first out-of-state business trip in… ever, it seems like. The last plane trip I took on business was from Mass. to N.C. sometime around 1984. I’m attending a two-day meeting in San Francisco, and Myr is coming along for the trip. We’ll extend it into the weekend, and spend a couple of days looking around SF (a city we’ve each visited only briefly), dining at wonderful restaurants, and visiting…. (wait for it)… yarn shops! I know you are shocked. So far we’ve a plan to go to Artfibers, and of course we are open to suggestions for other great shops. We’ll be staying in the financial district, so if you know of a must-visit LYS in the city, leave me a comment. I’m hoping that Myr will visit Britex Fabrics, which isn’t really my type of store but I may break down and visit just for the chance to look through their button selection, which is reputed to be amazing.

 

As for food, I’m hoping to have lunch on Friday somewhere in Chinatown, we have reservations that evening at The Slanted Door (near the SF Ferry Building), and we’ll probably be up near wine country north of the city on Saturday, so we’ll be likely eating out in a little town called Petaluma. I’m thinking of renting a car for the day and taking a drive along the coast

Finally done… or half done, anyway!

On Saturday I drove Myr to the January meeting of her local lace guild. This is always a great time for me to get some knitting done, and today was no exception. Other than a Lost Hour when I went off on a simple mission to get some Panera soup and sandwiches (and got lost), I spent several hours working on the thumb of my Deep in the Forest mittens. I cast on for these exactly 17 months ago, and this is just the first of the pair. Talk about your delayed gratification!

This pattern is by Tuulia Salmela, whose designs I like a lot.

Very rarely do I get though a knitting session without running into some sort of problem, and this time there were two of the little devils.

Devil One: Brittle Yarn

The yarn I used (Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift) is an established yarn from an old and well-loved maker, listed as a two-ply, but it looks like a single ply to me and nearly un-spun. I managed to get a ball of the black that is brittle. I’d gotten the tension under control enough that I hadn’t broken the yarn since the cuff, but on my last row, right at the tip of the thumb, the yarn parted. After some commiseration from the lace ladies, I took a break to get lunch, then came back determined to fix the thumb.

I first tinked back far enough to weave in the black again, and was knitting along toward the tip of the mitten for the second time when I became aware of the Second Demon…

Devil Two: Forgetting to Check the Fit

The lacer to my left looked over and commented that the thumb looked a bit long. I had Myr try it on, and sure enough, the thumb was about a half inch too long. After taking some measurements and making a couple of calculations, I decided that I needed to remove about 6 rows to get back to the right length. Since 6 rows was exactly the length of the decrease area, I would have to remove twelve rows to get the right length.

It was time to head to our next destination, so we packed up and drove from Matthews to Pineville, for a quick stop at our LYS. I had just enough time to rip back and pick up the stitches, and then off we went to Ballantyne. I had about an hour to wait, so I started working my way back to the tip of the thumb. The work was very fiddly with the fragile yarn and tiny 4-inch DPNs, but I got to the right length at long last.

At home I got out my dogtag instructions for Kitchener grafting and sealed everything up tight. I flipped the mitten inside out and wove in my yarn ends, then hemmed the cuff. At half past six I at last held the finished mitten…

Photo of a mitten made from the Deep in the Forest Mitten PatternPhoto of a mitten made from the Deep in the Forest Mitten Pattern

(I’m trying to stay enthusiastic about casting on for the second of the pair!)

Last look at Dashing

The pair of Dashing fingerless gloves that I finished recently is washed, blocked, and ready to send off to Massachusetts.

cabled fingerless gloves

I think that I blocked these a little too large. I’ll have to write up some directions for the recipient so that she can “smallify” them if she needs to.

Dashing fingerless mitts

I took the opportunity to experiment with my idea for a “top” gusset to add some flex and reduce strain in the web of the thumb. Here’s a closeup of the gusset. Sorry for the less-than-ideal lighting. I need to practice getting better closeups of knitted fabric.

Top gusset on thumb area

Instead of casting on a single stitch across the gap (after moving thumb stitches to waste yarn) I cast on 4 or 5 stitches, then gradually decreased them as I worked up the thumb and palm.