Ottawa Locks

With three recently finished projects, I asked my bunkmate Patti if she wouldn't mind helping me with a little photo shoot. She was so gracious to say yes, and put up with my ceaseless direction, "This is about the knitting, not me, but I don't want to look like an idiot either." and "Here, step on this unsteady milk crate on a rolling ship to get better light."


Today we will highlight the ribbed/garter/cable project that I carried with me through Ontario, Canada a few weeks ago. I have decided to call it Ottawa Locks...

I joined it with a half twist. It was too short for a functional scarf after two pattern repeats and I was sure it would be much too huge after three pattern repeats. It is really wide at approximately 8". I thought the half twist would make it better to twist up on my neck, but that was wrong.

It doesn't seem to matter though, I do love it. I hope it blows and snows in Idaho for Thanksgiving so it can keep me warm and toasty without overheating, because you know, I'm gonna wear it no matter what.

So it is a background of garter stitch and the criss-crossing trellis-like pattern was accomplished in ribs so it is fully reversible. I think ribs are my new best friend.

Just as a little refresher, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, I'm not sure what the color was because it de-stashed from someone else. A personal pattern, I knit it on size 8mms, (it doesn't have a US size on these needles, they were also a de-stash from someone else).

Photo-bombed by our Chief Mate Joe Ferris. You may remember Joe was the recipient of a kickass green garter stitch hat that he later lost in the mountains of Patagonia. I would be mad, but he wore it and that's the highest compliment a knitter can get.


A Blog of It's Own


Information about my current cruise can be found here.

psst I have information that implies two of my own photos will be on the next post about the seismic deployment.



I travel. A lot. You would think that I would be a professional packer, but I'm not. Actually I'm fantastic at making things fit in my limited luggage space. What I fail at is remembering all the items that need to fit in said space.

I forgot several things I bring every scientific cruise.

- A swimsuit for the kick ass makeshift hot tub on board the R/V Melville.

- A head lamp and string of Christmas lights so I don't have to turn on the overhead lighting on my bunkmate while she is sleeping.

- My half liter Nalgene water bottle.

- A handkerchief, for hair, for sweat, for washclothes, for everything really.

That said, there are a few things that I almost never forget and I'm so glad i didn't this time. So here are a few of my travel tips, not just for Research Vessels.

1. Use a backpack, especially in foreign countries.

Yes you tend to stick out as a foreigner but if you think that is the only (or even first) thing giving you away, you are definitely not passing for a local.

The advice is the direct result of my time in Tokyo. Tokyo of all places. The heart, soul and Mecca of modern technology. When you see images all you see are Times Square like cross walks and you imagine being just fine with a 5th Ave style crocodile roller bag. Well it ain't true I tell you.

Transportation in Tokyo is fabulous. I stepped off the subway to discover about 100 stairs to the street above and a busted elevator. I had packed for my standard 6 weeks at sea (craft projects, foul weather gear, etc) in one large roller bag. Too heavy to carry, I had to drag it up the stairs. Between that and the return trip down when I left town, my luggage never recovered with a permanently damaged frame.

Let's also not forget the hideous sound of your wheels on the pavement, enough to drown out the cicadas in the parks. It will draw the eye of everyone within a block and then anyone who wouldn't have noticed you before is staring and tut-ing.

A good backpack is comfortable, quiet and it goes everywhere you do.

2. For the knitters Start with a brand new project the day of flight.

I have never (knocking on wooden dpns) had my needles confiscated at the security check point. But I always do the following, just in case, bring inexpensive clover bamboo or wooden needles, sticking to circulars, and cast on at the airport or the day before with a simple stitch pattern.

Wooden needles tend to be forgiven, especially stored with wooden pencils. Circulars are the least offensive to those around you ( shorter and no swinging ends) and minimizes the length of the actual needle keeping TSA happy.

If they are taken from you, you only just started and it is less painful to remove the needles and pick up dropped stitches or just frog and cast back on when reunited with needles in your checked bag (because you checked spares right?).

If for some reason you MUST carry on that heirloom laceweight shawl on the addi turbos you have spent the last year of your life on, throw in a lifeline before you go.

3. Zippered pillow cases.

A large bag with few pockets fits the most stuff, but makes organization more difficult. However, zippered pillow cases keep wool roving and yarn neatly separated from clothing and standard sizes are perfect for about a week's worth of folded clothes (at least in my case, but I'm not super stylish). When you reach that destination you can keep clean separated from dirty and if need be, you have a private laundry bag to head off to the laundromat.

Along the same thought, fabric bags in general make better purses. When you are souvenir shopping they are invaluable and an extra duffel bag never hurts if you plan to shopt (and I konw you do!).

4. Rubber budded earphones

Doubles as earplugs when necessary and when those noice cancelling headphones have to be turned off for taxi and take off.

5. A book. Real actual printed book.

Paper books never have to be turned off or put away. Same thing with your knitting.

Now, I'm sure I don't have to remind you kids to always know where your towel is.


Knits in the Wild

My mom recently took some pictures of two of my sisters and nephew at a Pumpkin Patch in Everett, WA.

One of my sisters is wearing a hat I completely forgot I had made. I was looking through the pictures thinking, "Wow, I love that red hat! where did she get it?"

It is in a bulky alpaca, knit in one day during my Christmas visit home last year. My youngest sister (not pictured) asked me specifically for a hat and I went to a Coeur d'Alene yarn shop and found a bulky alpaca in gray. It is knit in the round, with no shaping and the yarn is drawn through the top stitches. It came out so great another sister and I went to the same yarn shop and picked the same yarn up in red. Before you know it, there were twins.

The drape in the hat is mostly due to the super soft alpaca I used, it was just like a cloud. The warmth of the alpaca totally makes up for any coolness the big open lace would have produced.

It makes me feel so good to see my knitted gifts being used.

Now to find out what they were looking at...

Ontario in the Fall

I just returned from a couple of places in Ontario, Canada where the weather is brisk in the morning and you are peeling off layers in the afternoon.
Leaves are turning and piles of pumpkins are everywhere. I couldn't have been happier.
I stopped at a yarn store called Janie H Knits outside Perth and I was so happy I stopped. I wandered through the store with the two lovely ladies who worked there while my co-worker sat in the car. Two of us pulled out skein after skein after skein while she showed off locally produced yarns and we discussed patterns and where to eat in Ottawa. I think she was 10 seconds from blowing off the shop to join me in Ottawa for lunch.

I walked away with three balls of locally grown and spun alpaca, which is labelless, on tiny little ball of quiviuk, merino, silk blend because it's a souvenir and the cost is irrelevant (right?) and a locally carved button. I also picked up this journal, not for me, because organized journals have never worked for me (I'm a quadruled composition book or engineering pad kind of girl myself) but rather for my friend Krissy who contacted me after my last post to ask about my charting method.

This little journal has pockets, calendars, knitting abbreviations and most importantly of all, pages and pages of graphed paper. I am a little surprised however that the charts are square and not a little wider with stockinette stitches being squat and all, but I gave Krissy a heads up to pay attention to square charts.

My afternoon in Ottawa included a few hours in the Canada National Gallery. It was not nearly enough time. I walked away with a list of artists I am interested in learning more about, Frances Loring, Lawren S Harris and a few more that I had never seen before but really managed to float my boat.
I stopped and knit for a few minutes on a bench over looking the locks. It was so beautiful. I wish I had time at home to just sit with my fiber and dye pot and reflect on all the beautiful fall colors.

But alas. Today I am working and packing, tomorrow I leave for Costa Rica and another exciting adventure on the high seas. I'll keep you posted.


Third Time's a Chart

Much better! I've even started a chart. Maybe I'll share.

Chicago O'Hare Airport

It wouldn't be a layover if I didn't stop at a bookstore and pick up a Palahniuk novel. This trip, Pygmy.
Next stop, Ottawa.

Also, I began my second iteration of my new scarf.
I think I'm almost there. I'm gonna rip it out again, not because I'm not liking it, I really am. But I made a lot of mistakes, I'd like to change some cables and I need to either cast on 3 more stitches or two less. I think I'll go for three more.



So my cousin commented on the photo of my orange dyed roving I posted on Facebook. And the second I saw her name, inspiration struck me. I'm sure the second she sees the dark blue I dyed last night, she will know exactly what she inspired.I didn't have any dying planned last night (Jayne Hat, Yarn C is not ready to dye yet) so while I plied up Yarn C I figured it couldn't hurt to have the dye pot going on the stove.
The light blue was the second round through the dye pot and the green was the final, I added just a little yellow to the last round for no reason at all.

I'm packing for my next large trip and I loaded some gear on the ship today so it will be waiting for me when I meet it in Costa Rica. Things I don't want to carry. Besides work clothes, warm gear, toiletries, I added two spindles, one is my supported bowl project and another is an empty one ready for spinning the orange roving, all the orange I dyed and the yellow which was finished, and a large supply of dpns.

Now I leave town tonight to visit my aunt. I'll be bringing knitting and a little light blue and green to play around with on my spindle as I just finished plying Jayne Hat, Yarn C.


I may have just rolled around naked in orange wool. I may have just shoved it into my face and taken a deep breath. Both are equally likely.

Jayne Hat, Yarn B: Dyed though Unspun.

The dyeing project went well last night. It was my first attempt dyeing roving and I was scared. Nightmares of matted, felted sheets of wool were pervading my dreams. In the photo above the wool on the upper left is from the first round in the dye pot and hopefully the color I want. The colander on the stove is full have handfuls that I tossed into the dye pot to soak up some of the leftover dye and the top right is the last handful, so third round through the dye pot.

It was matted and so while I was drying I pulled it apart a little to make sure it wasn't felted anywhere and it appears to be so far so good. The long strands of roving ended up working better than the handfuls because I could hang them to dry, which I couldn't do with that second round of fiber.

I think I managed to get the right color orange which is more or less a miracle. I literally just shook some red in, then yellow, then yellow, then yellow and crossed my fingers. I'm very excited to get spinning on this, but I have a half bobbin of undyed whites (soon to be red) that I want to finish up first.



I am madly in love with Jared Flood's new pattern Wayfarer. It is such a simple concept and it makes me wonder what I can do with a combination of ribbing and garter stitch. Here is my first attempt to play with the combination. It's fun to play with, but I'm sure I'm gonna rip it out and play some more.

I'm playing around with spinning some blues and greens.

And finally, Jayne Hat, Yarn C has been dyed and is drying.

Jayne Hat, Yarn B

I currently have a very long strand of roving from my Mill Ends in my dye pot, going for Orange. I decided to dye this one up first because I can take it with me on a spindle if I have to.

I haven't even come close to removing it from the dye pot and I already see a massive mistake. I should have torn it into smaller handfuls. That way I can scoop it out with my giant colander spoon and allow it to cool in the sink before washing it. I don't wanna pour it out of my giant dye pot for two reasons, burning my fragile flesh and agitating hot, wet wool can result in felting.

Meanwhile, I continue to spin undyed roving on my wheel and I will dye that as soon as it is finished. I have Tonight, Wednesday, Thursday and next Friday to try to get it all dyed. Like I said, spinning can continue on a spindle away from home.

This will be an eventful evening.


Jayne hat, Yarn A

So it has begun.

Sheep shed studio mill ends, spun on my Fidelis, Navajo plied twice on my cheap bulky student spindle. It's about half a bobbin's worth and approximately 42.75 yards.

I would like to get all three colors spun and dyed by the end of the week. Wish me luck.


It's about Jayne time

I have a new project in the works. Well two actually but today you only get to hear about this one.

I was asked for a Jayne hat. I didn't ever wanna make a Jayne hat. But a few things have come together just right. I had started spinning some white Sheep Shed mill ends on my Heavenly Handspinning Fidelis without a project in mind. Just something to spin.

I received a Knit Picks dye kit for Christmas and it includes yellow. Which I really don't like as a color. So here is my chance to get rid of it.

Complications? The yarn is coming out DK weight. The original Jayne hat is bulky. Do I want to just knit it at a smaller gauge? or knit two strands held together? or ply it again and make a cabled 3x3.

Also, how much yarn do I dye for each section of the hat (A Google Image search for "Jayne hat" can help you if you don't know what hat I'm referring too)? I really don't want to end up with left over yellow.