Progress at sea

Today, I start a baby sweater for my nephew. I purchased four skeins of Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting in the color Stone while I was in Alexandria a few weeks back and a pair of size 7 Addi Turbos for the job.

I have been working at sea again. This time on a mapping project near the Galapagos. For an area of such scientific interest, you would think it would be well documented by now, but not so much. It is a nature preserve, there's no fishing, lots of shallow places and full of tiny islands that are not well charted.

My job has been to massage the bathymetric data as we collect it and we have been collecting it fast. Every day has been a marathon computer stint. I have spent very little time enjoying the calms seas, sunsets, full moon or the breeze. Instead, I have been sitting here, working on carpal tunnel in an over air conditioned lab space.

The good news is, it has provided me with a lot of time to knit. While the computer loads new data, auto saves every 30 minutes and numerous other little minute or so pauses I have to make. I have completed the 5 skein baby blanket I was working on for my nephew. I even managed to find a steam iron on board to block the mostly acrylic yarn and have taken to sleeping with it myself.

Maybe my nephew will know me one day by my smell. The smell of his blankie.

I have also been spinning. If you recall on the trip to Alexandria I also bought a blend of 50% Merino, 30% Bamboo and 20% Tussah silk dyed in the colorway Persimmon by Miss Babs Hand-dyed Yarns and Fibers. I have nearly completed spinning the whole thing.

However, there has been some interest in the spinning. At least one person has asked me to teach him (yes, HIM!) how to do it. I have set aside a small portion of the wool and figured I would have him learn on some string because if there is one thing we have plenty of on board the ship, it is line. I told him if he is serious, to build a spindle and we will get started learning on string (we can over twist it, then ply it) and then I will save a little of my wool for him and we can move on to that.

I would love to have brought more, and planned on it actually, however, I just completely ran out of packing room. So I guess I will be sharing the good stuff. But how could I say no to someone so genuinely interested he was willing to build his own spindle? Impossible.

I will try to get some pictures. In the meantime, while I wait for my computer to load, I am going to pull out my shiny brand new pair of Addi Turbo's straight from the package, cast on about 10 times trying to figure out the best way to get started on a sweater to which I really haven't thought out a pattern.


Alexandria, coming to a close

I return to San Diego this evening after a heavy week of multibeam (swath bathymetry) data processing. I feel educated. Exhausted, but educated. Last night I took the Metro to Silver Spring, MD to meet a friend of mine. I was too late to visit his offices at NOAA, which I wanted to see, but it was a great night anyway.

Because I didn't have any opportunities to head to the capitol and learn something, my friend took me on a whirlwind evening tour in his jeep. So, few issues with the following pics, forgot my camera, my phone was dying, and we never actually stopped if a red light didn't make us. However, I still felt like these images told a story, so here you go.

I checked out of my hotel room this morning, which meant repacking. I did too much fiber shopping.


Alexandria, VA

I have found myself on the road again. This time I'm in Alexandria, VA for the week doing some software training. Unfortunately I don't have the time to vacation, so I just find myself with the evenings free. It doesn't mean I don't have anything to say.

My hotel room at the Sheraton Suites Old Town is stunning. I love it. I have two TVs. I had the option of not having my room cleaned and receiving a $5 voucher in exchange. That was a pleasant surprise. I usually leave the Do Not Disturb sign up so they don't clean it everyday. I don't like cleaning up every morning so they can clean around me and I don't need anything refilled because I haven't used anything but handsoap and coffee creamer.
The first night, I managed to sleep at a reasonable hour and wake up extra early (un-heard of in any time zone really) and hit the fitness room this morning. I can exercise, when it is convenient and believe me, here it is convenient. I look forward to a trip on the elliptical every morning. Also the pool spa seems amazing and I look forward to a relaxing soak one of these nights.
So far, walking around Old Town Alexandria, I love it. Reminds me a lot of Boston. The narrow streets that are so indicative of older cities are so charming and townhouses on every block that while being so identical can be so different. So many of the buildings have historical plaques on them. I just love it. Often older cities have difficult to navigate streets, laid out in weird directions, Old Town Alexandria on the other hand is a perfect grid. All the charm, none of the nightmare.
The humidity is killing me, but in the evening its been comfortable and breezy. The thunderstorms have been beautiful. The rain smells great. Like crushed rose hips or something.
On my walks around town Monday, I stopped for ice cream before dinner because I wasn't going to travel in that direction again (frozen custard sold to me from a re-located San Diegan). There were two Irish pubs in my travels and I passed on the first one for dinner because I couldn't find any corned beef on the menu. My experience at the second one, Pat Troy's really made my meal an evening.
So I asked for a table for one and she seated me at a huge table with two other people sitting there. She said it was her singles table. Uh. Little weird but it could be cool so I took a seat near the other two and figured I'd take full advantage of being seated by strangers. I was introduced to Kevin a high school physics teacher and Larry, retired for 17 years. Had some great conversations about Reagan, black holes and life expectancy. It was beautiful. When I asked why they made such a long drive to eat here, I was told "For tonight's event."
When I asked what this event happening was (the place had slowly filled to near capacity while we were talking) turns out the restaurant/pub sponsors a regular event called Theology On Tap. Those who know me, know I'm a staunch atheist. But they also know, that I have an overwhelming curiosity and a desire to learn what others believe. Not for mocking purposes, but so we understand each other better. So I decided to stick it out and learn about Spiritual Direction. Now I have been to Pentecostal, Babtist, Quaker, Methodist, various non denominational services and of course World Wide Church of God, but this was my first Catholic anything, outside of that one roommate I had who smudged her forehead for ash wednesday and had a St. Christopher (I think) medallion. It really wasn't all that different.
Tuesday night I was joined by a friend of mine who lives up in Silver Spring, Maryland. We wandered Old Town which he hadn't been to in years and found ourselves eating dinner at a place called Gadsby's Tavern. I'm not entirely sure what the story here is, but the serving staff wear traditional colonial garb and supposedly George Washington ate there. I am not ashamed of being a tourist and so I was all about it. I'm happy to inform you the Gentleman's Pye was delicious and Ben Franklin's Spruce ale was fantastic.

Monday, I found a delightful yarn store called Fibre Space wherein I did a little shopping (I'm traveling, so it don't count). I picked up some merino/bamboo/tussah silk top, drop spindle and some spinning books.

Tuesday, I discovered another yarn shop called Knit Happens. I was worried because there is a poor google review of it online. The floor was in bad shape, clearly indicative of a pet friendly environment, however, it most definitely did not smell of animals, substantial stock and plenty of old stock was on sale. The staff was very friendly and helpful and I would definitely go back. I purchased 4 skeins of Sirdar Snuggly DK in Stone at 35% off to make a baby sweater for my nephew baking in the oven right now. There was 6 skeins of Noro Maiko for 50% off as well in the color Hunter and a shared dye lot. Well I couldn't turn that down either. And I picked up a spare set of knitting needles in case I run out of yarn for the baby blanket I brought with me.

So I brought a baby blanket for knitting this trip, but didn't figure I would have the time to knit more than two skeins (it's a garter stitch blanket in Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Pines). I haven't run out yet, but the first went so fast, I started to panic.


FO, Twice Re-Vamped Sweater

So once upon a time I bought this sweater at a garage sale. It was perfect actually. My car was totalled the day before and I was depressed. So my former room-mate took me garage hoppin', my family's term for shopping yard sales.

Anyway, this sweater was hideous. So I decided it was perfect for reinvention and recycling the yarn. I blogged about it a few times (here and here) in the process of knitting it into a pullover. Somehow I managed to completely forget to ever post it as a finished object. Not even on Ravelry (slacker).

It doesn't fit well. The sleeves are a little baggy, I added way too much room in the bust. The neck is a little snug for my head. With all of these issues it is still one of my most worn sweaters. Largely due to the poor fit and recycled yarn I didn't mind wearing it to sea and for work. It's machine washable so I will wear it gardening.

However, it was a pullover. And it's not often I wear a sweater all day and I don't like pulling it over my head over and over again. So I started wishing it was a cardigan, then I decided I wished it was a cardigan I could take to Costa Rica (as my heavy sea sweater). The other night, I found the leftover ball of yarn and before you know it, continuing along with the wardrobe re-vamp, I got me a new cardigan, however you see fit.
There are not many places someone can run in San Diego first thing on a Saturday morning looking for buttons. And you know I had to have buttons at 1 AM. So I found myself at Beverly's this morning. I took the only buttons I could find big enough, however, these things will have to be replaced. Possibly with travel buttons from either Virginia this week, or Costa Rica.