Saturday, August 18, 2007

Alaska: The Final Installment

I will be sharing the last of the Alaskan vacation pictures in this post. Today will be Alaskan wildlife, starting with, um, my sisters. I just love the setting of this picture of my sisters. Most years there are lots of wildlife encounters, we almost always see a herd of reindeer or caribou - this one was mixed.
It's much more rare to see large cats, though. This year they had an opportunity to see a lynx up close! The photo is a bit blurry because the picture is taken through a car window, and since the roads are made of packed dirt there was a lot of dust in the air. I just love the way she's peeking out of the willows to see what the silly humans are doing in her haunt.

Finally, every fiber-enthusist's dream - a musk ox in summer. After seeing the beasts close up you can begin to understand why quivit is so expensive. My family saw 4 herds this year - that's a record. There were no moose or bears to report this year - we ususally do see those pretty frequently.

For those of you who have not already heard - I passed my qualifying exams this week. It still really hasn't sunk in for me yet, so it feels kind of. . . hollow to say it. I must have post-traumatic stress disorder about the whole thing! About 3 months ago, when I was really settling into the writing process, I made a promise to myself that when I finished my candidacy exam I would treat myself to my first big lace project. I ordered the yarn in early August from Sarah's Yarns. It is JaggerSpun's Zephyr Laceweight - a 50/50 wool/silk blend. I like the fact that it's a tussah silk (meaning no silkworms were killed in the making of this shawl). The color I chose is copper, and it does almost have a metallic sheen to it, especially in natural light. The light in my apartment however, is far from natural. All that "shine" you see is from the flash. I promise it's not that gaudy in person. :) The yarn slides against itself really well so I expect it will block beautifully!

The pattern I finally chose was the Swallowtail Lace Shawl from Interweave Knits (Fall 2006). I chose the pattern for several reasons. First, it's pretty. This is the very best reason to knit a shawl. Secondly, it has 3 different stitch motifs to keep me interested and challenged. Finally, it has a low yardage. I didn't want my first lace project to be epic. Honestly, I've been progresssing much more quickly than I anticipated. I've got 1200m of this yarn in sage green for my next lace project. It will be one of the many beautiful large stoles from Victorian Lace Today. I still haven't chosen which.
The lace pattern isn't difficult - there are really only 3 patterned rows. It's actaully quite relaxing to knit. I put in a lifeline just in case, but I probably won't be using them very frequently. I have finished repeat 7/14 of the main body so I still have a long way to go before I hit the acrobatics in the border. I intend to do the nupps because I can't get enough texture in my knitting. I knit pretty loosely so I think I'll be able to manage a p5tog, especially since I'm using nice pointy Knitpicks' Options needles.
Ah, it's good to knit again.


Gena said...

Ooo, a linx and musk ox! I once knew someone who had a bobcat as a pet. The big cats are so strange after being used to house cats. They (big cats) move with such a grace for being so large.

I really love your zephyr yarn; I'll have to make a purchase myself!

Ann Marie said...

Congratulations on passing your exams! You deserved a treat:) The shawl is going to be gorgeous!

Rebecca Jo said...

A few things...
First - p5tog - holy cow - I had to p3tog for the first time & had the worst time with it!

2nd- I love "Gaudy"! Its so much fun

3rd- that is going to be a beautiful lace shawl!

4th - am still amazed at the pics your family took

5th & finally - is that a HUGE skein of yarn attached or your shawl - its looks GIAGNORMOUS!