Steaming into Port

My knitting has taken a hiatus while we prepare for shore. Which turns out is tomorrow. I lose track of time out here the days all blend together. I hear a lot of people counting down, but I am most definitely not one of those.

For starters, the last few days of the trip involve a lot of packing for me and my counterpart. I really hate packing. I would rather sail another two months, eating canned peaches, than do this packing.

This trip is a particular pain in the ass, because the containers that we want to ship so San Diego are leaving while we are still in port. We have to be completely offloaded into two containers in two days. This means I am not looking forward to port. Hot, tired, sweaty and sore is all I see in port.

The ship crew and science party on the other hand are really looking forward to it. They crew takes turns taking a day off, where they go explore and the science party only has a few pieces to ship so they will be off enjoying themselves, while I and the other technicians are here, all day, every day, loading.

This morning, is my last morning at sea and the calm before the storm. I am going to pour a hot, strong cup of coffee, fold up my laptop and sit out on deck. Soaking up the last bit of peace and concentrate on the Thanksgiving holiday right on the other side of all the crazy. I'll survive this, but this morning, I just need a little wind on my face.


Knitting Haiku

Yesterday, The Yarn Harlot had a giveaway on her blog and in order to enter you had to write a knitting haiku in her comments.

I did, but it turns out her blog crashed when THOUSANDS of haiku showed up on her blog. When I went back today to look for mine, it wasn't there. I think the crashing eated it and she never saw it.

But I was so proud of it, so I am rewriting it for you, even though it won't win me a Franklin Habit nor One Skein book.

Binding off. Again.
I'm done. I mean it. I swear.
Won't fix it no more.

I however love the idea of Knitting Haiku and while I don't have a history of writing any sort of poetry, this could become a habit.

Cast on another
One project is not enough
I never finish.

Oh yes, there is science too...

I haven't talked much about the science we are doing this cruise and now we are almost completed. So maybe I should get talking.

I believe the focus of this study is sediment focusing and erosion off the coast of Central America, specifically near Cocos Ridge, Carnegie Ridge and Peru Basin. First we would do some surveying with our seismic system and multi-beam. Then we would pick a few sites from that survey to take samples of the sediment using either piston cores, gravity cores or multi-cores. There was some water sampling done too.

For the most part everything has run pretty smoothly. Seismic for a few days, stop and do a few cores for a few days. Do a water cast. This last site gave us a few problems. We had lots and lots of mammals for a change which requires shutting down.

This is me, running my deck and deploying my seismic gear...
We also had some problems with fishing gear in the water. They create a threat to the gear we tow in a seismic survey. However, the fishing gear was probably a good indication for what would happen later that night. Around two A. M. in the middle of coring, we were completely surrounded by mahi tuna.

It led to a little of this...
and a little of that...
and eventually, as the sun started to come up, some of...
Yesterday we spent stuck in the mud. A core proved difficult to pull out of the sediment and for about 21 hours were were stuck. We moved the boat a little and pulled on the wire, the moved the boat a little and pulled on the wire, in four different directions. Then we centered ourselves over it again and tried to pull straight out. There was nothing we could do, after maintaining a tension of 22,000 lbs most of the evening, the wire finally snapped around 30,000 lbs.

This happened while I was sleeping. I remember waking up at some point in the night, I don't know if it was a noise or a rocking or what, but I thought to myself, "We must be unstuck." And when right back to sleep. It must have been the wire breaking and whipping around the deck because the coring takes place right above my room.

We are surveying for two more days, then hauling gear and heading for Arrica, Chile. Along the way, these 'wogs on board will pay for their transgression, violating the realm of King Neptune.

Let the fun begin!


Hand Spun Ear Flap

The last time I was in Boise (September?), I was working on a cowl from my own hand spun. Sheep Shed Studio Mill Ends three ply with two strands of black and one strand of white. I spun a ton of this and lost my enthusiasm for whatever I originally had in mind. I gave skein of it to a knitting friend of mine in Oregon and then tried a cowl for myself.

But it wasn't working out. I couldn't find a stitch pattern that worked well with the yarn. I was pretty much limited to stockinette. I ripped it out about 4 times. Then, on the fourth time, knitting in Boise, a friend asked what I was knitting. A friend who doesn't really care to hear about what I'm knitting usually.

I followed up with "Why do you ask? Do you need something."

"Oh no, I don't need anything, but I would wear an ear flap hat."

And we all know how a knitter responds to something like that. It was as if the Knit Signal was thrown into the sky. My brain said, "You hate this cowl, knit a hat. His head is freezing and his ears might fall off if you don't knit this man a hat!"

I told him I would start him a hat, to which he asked if he could pick the colors. My internal monologue flared up with rage.

"Of course you can't, I'm going to knit this with my own handspun, as a gift, for you, something I want to knit and you are going to like it!"

But instead I said, "Depends on what color you choose."

"I was thinking black and white."

"...okay..." So I cast this hat on three times. I think I was knitting it on 5s. I never really measured the gauge of the finished hand spun. Didn't measure the yardage or weight before I started giving it away. But after two tries, I decided I didn't like the tiny little gauge. It was moving much too slowly. So I said to hell with that and cast on doubled up.

I have had problems with ear flap hats in the past, stockinette curls, but there really wasn't a stitch pattern I liked with this yarn, I had tried on the cowl. I didn't really consider double knitting it until after I had finished the flaps (but that is my game plan next ear flap hat, except Jayne which needs to curl a little, just like in the movie).
So in order to fix it, I tried some duplicate stitching on the inside of the ear flaps and it did make it much flatter. I think when I get home I might try to steam block it out a little as well. I added some yarn braids to the ends of the ear flaps and a little one on the top. Because something belonged there and neither the recipient nor I are big on pom poms.
So that's done. I think I want to go on an ear flap hat study. I need to do some research about them. To me, they seem much more like cheek flaps. Or did I start them too low? Or knit the hat too high? Do they really function as anything? Ever? Besides looking sweet? What is the "best" method for knitting ear flaps? I have a feeling double knitting them is gonna be the way to go.

Also, much ado has been made about Joe's brimmed hat. Folks love it. Joe loves it. He went fishing in it. I'm getting knitting requests every day. The thing is, I only have so much yarn with me (and believe me I have way more yarn/wool than I do clothes this trip) and it takes time and work. I don't mind making things for people I know will really appreciate it but I can't just make something for everyone right now. Right this second. Oh well, I suppose saying no a few times can only up the value of my work right? Put it in demand? That's just simple economics right there.

So to all those people I love enough to knit for, to have knit more than once for, I hope you are appreciating it. If you ever don't love something anymore, I will not be offended for it to be returned to me so I can enjoy it, rather than having it languish in a drawer or closet to be hidden. I only want to make things that are loved and it isn't so much about "You don't like what I made for you? You hurt my feelings." It's more about fitting the right knitted item to the right person. You don't have to love something just because I made it; I knit all kinds of things and styles, and I know there is someone else who will, or maybe even I could keep something once in a while. You know, just... sometimes.


Brioche Cabled Hat

Mastering two colored cabled brioche, knit flat, made me really proud of myself. But I had to bump it up a notch.

The person it is going to be gifted to, has requested a brimmed knit hat. So of course, I figured I should make a matching set. Deciding to knit it in the round, I tried to measure my gauge flat, but the initial cast on in the round came out like a tent from the bottom up.

Trying to work out the numbers again, I had a hard time working out a duplicate cabled pattern in the number of stitches I needed for a noggin. My next attempt came out with a stretchy enough brim, but the cables made it much too small for any adult human head.

This brings me to my current attempt. I cast on the same amount of stitches, but hopefully will have altered the cable pattern enough to fit.
I wanted to take this picture for you however to brag a litle I guess. Right there between my thumb and index finger is the beginning of the round. While, yes, it is offset ever so slightly, I think that is as seamless a join you could get. I am so proud that it isn't a glaringly obvious mess.

uh oh

24" Ashford Rigid Heddle table loom

Yeah, I might be a weaver soon. Because I don't have enough hobbies.


Brioche Cabled Cowl

I grabbed a few balls of Paton's Classic Wool Merino to bring with me. One in New Denim, specifically for repairing the Cabled Newsboy Cap I recently patched and the other because when I had an entire skein of the blue leftover, what was I gonna do with it all by itself? So I purchased another in Mulberry or something like that (someone threw my label away, grumble).
I have been itching to learn brioche because, well, look at it. It looks so complicated, there is so much depth. I had heard how smooshy the fabric was. And because it was a little scary. I had to master and intimidate other knitters with my prowess, mwhahahahahah.

Sorry, I'm back. Well in the browsing the web for brioche instructions (this website was super helpful) I came across a cabled brioche scarf pattern and I figured if I could make my brioche a little more intimidating, I was gonna. And in reality, I figured adding cables would really help me get to know the brioche stitch in depth and it's resulting fabric properties.
I decided I wanted it to be a cowl (because that is apparently the word of the season) and I had to figure out how to stitch it together nearly seamlessly. I laid it onto the table and stared. And stared. And stared. I maybe drew a few stitches in my notebook. The final result is this...
I'm sure an experienced (or even not so experienced) knitter can spot the seam. It wasn't a provisional cast on or anything so I expect it to be visible. But if you ask me, that is a pretty damn fine seam in my first cabled brioche project.

The cables were really not much more complicated than any other ribbed cable once you got the hang of the brioche stitch. Ribbed cables are beautiful, completely reversible and let's not forget beautiful. I believe I did mention that they were possibly my new best friends right?

The final result is a super squishy, super warm, super soft and super thick little neck warmer and I foresee a few more of these little cuties in my future. Possibly with a proper provisional cast on for a better seam. Maybe some crazier cables.

This one will be gifted at Christmas time (and she knows who she is), but I was so proud of myself I couldn't keep it a secret. Thanks again to Patti for my FO pics!


A Fair Trade

Another finished object at sea. Years ago I saw one of our crewmen, Joe, wearing a sweet ring. It was a stainless steel nut which had screws tapped into the side, then it was drilled out smooth in the center. When I asked him about it, he told me he made it himself. You know how I appreciate a handcraft, I loved it. Immediately. We struck a deal, he wanted a hat, I wanted a ring, we thought it sounded like a fair trade.

Anyway, time passed and we both forgot and didn't sail together much after then. Fast forward to last week.

Joe looks at me "Hey, didn't you promise me a hat?"
"Hey, didn't you promise me a ring?"

So we both got to work.
It is a little heavier than your standard decorative ring, but I love the weight of it. It feels good in my hand and it fits perfectly.
Don't let the lack of smiles fool you, he loves it. I was just being a bossy art director. The hat is leftover Wool of the Andes Bulky from the Ottawa Locks that I recently finished. I also had some of the plastic mesh sheeting I used to patch the Cabled Newsboy Cap so I was able to add a brim. The bulky stitches stretched quite a bit when I added the plastic sheet so I used a whip stitch in left over yarn around the edge to keep the plastic from sticking out.
Thank you Joe! I love my ring. It totally kicks butt and makes me feel like punching people.


Patch Job

A Christmas or so ago, I made one of my sisters the Cabled Newsboy Cap out of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation (one for my dad as well, they seemed to be a big hit). Her dog Oakley, who is the energetic sort, got a hold of it and chewed an entire corner of the brim. Sister got pregnant and they decided they couldn't handle two dogs any more and Oakley was found a new home. Now if you ask her, the reason was the upcoming baby. In actuality, she really loved that hat.

I brought it with me and patched it the other day. It was knit in Paton's Classic Wool Merino in Denim and I had to patch it with Paton's Classic Wool Merino in New Denim which is much more solid in color. I didn't have the right size dpns for the job either. So the gauge is a little tighter and the blue is just a little off, but it is most definitely patched.

Thanks again to Patti for the photoshoot.


So before getting back to my other Underway FOs, I'm going to interrupt here to post something I should have posted weeks ago, but just didn't have the time to sit down and write you.

Remember the Gray Sweater I cast on back in August? I had roughly a month to complete it before the friend it was intended for trekked all the way from Bristol, UK to San Diego for a conference to retrieve it. Believe it or not, I finished it on time. Even I was surprised.
It fit great. It required some creative steam blocking in the shoulders, but overall I am super satisfied with how it turned out. I (and my knitting group, where he stopped and modeled it for the girls) think he looks quite dashing. Now it just needs to get cold enough in the UK to wear this beast. Bulky 100% wool.