Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Perfect Project

Hello everyone!

I'm back from Bali and have a lot to share with you all, but I still have thousands of pictures to sort through before I can put a blog post together, so you'll have to wait a couple more days.  I also have to figure out how to cram three weeks full of amazing experiences into one post, so there may be a series of photo-filled posts.  I hope you don't mind.

Just to give you a little taste of what Bali was like, here is a picture of my view from my hotel balcony:

I didn't mind waking up to see that every morning one bit.  I loved sitting out there in the early morning as the sun rose and shone over the rice fields.  I was in a corner room and looking out the front windows I saw what you see above, and through the other windows I saw rice fields:

I couldn't believe how verdant everything was.  I didn't tweak the color on any of these pictures and I can't get over how green everything was - and I'm colorblind!  Absolutely unbelievable.

So that's a little taste, with plenty more to come.

For now I have some knitting to show you.  After all, I had to have something to do on my 30-hour trips there and back.

I started with perhaps the most unbelievable yarn ever made.  This is Handmaiden Fine Yarn's 2-ply Cashmere, which actually looks like they don't carry it anymore, which is a shame.  It is the softest yarn I've ever felt (100% cashmere will do that), with a very pleasant spring and a halo that makes me giddy every time I see it.  It's a heavier laceweight and, if you haven't reached this conclusion yet, I love everything about it.  The color is gorgeous, too and although it appears as a solid, when you look up close you can see there there are very subtle changes in shading, which makes it that much more fascinating.  This is, hands down, the most pleasing yarn I have ever knit with.  I have to thank the wonderful Joan for sending this to me as a gift back in September.  Thanks, Joan!

(As an aside, she's having a stash sale right now and I can't even fathom the unbelievable things she's going to be selling, so check out her blog and be sure not to miss this event).

Such an unbelievable yarn had to be paired with an equally wonderful pattern and I knew just the one.

I've had my eye on the Aeolian Shawl ever since it was published in Knitty.com in the Spring of '09.  It is such a gorgeous and intriguing design, I knew instantly that I had to make it.  When I was planning what knitting to bring with me on my trip, I knew that I wanted it to be lace so that it wouldn't take up space in my luggage with the added benefit that a more complicated pattern would keep me interested and occupied during my long flights.

By the time I had reached Bali, I had finished knitting the smaller Yucca charts.  The smaller size called for four repeats of this pattern, while the larger size called for 12.  I did 6 because my yardage was in between these two sizes and I wanted to use as much of this yarn as possible.  I also chose not to include the beads because beads on an airplane didn't seem like a good idea, nor did a super pointy steel crochet hook...

While I was in Bali I didn't knit very much (which isn't surprising - there was so much else to do in Bali and I can knit at home whenever I want).  I also ran into a bit of an issue with the charts and had to wait a week until I was able to find an internet cafe in the nearby city to send a message to my sister and ask for her help.  I finally figured out what I was doing wrong a couple of days later with the help of Ravelry.  You see, there is both a k2tog and a k3tog, as well as ssk and sssk.  In the charts, the symbols used for each pair is the same aside from the fact that the triple decreases were in bold.  Silly me, I missed that very tiny difference in the symbols.

Once I got that figured out I was able to knit through the first transition chart, the Agave chart, and the final Agave chart.  (The small size only uses the transition and final Agave charts, but I threw in one repeat of the Agave chart for good measure).  I have to say, I'm not sure what the whole fuss about nupps is.  I didn't find them at all difficult or frustrating and I don't think they slowed down my pace any significant amount.  I'm sure that having to do thousands of them would be a bit tedious, but so far I've done less than 100.  No problems so far.

It's not in this picture, but I've completed the third nupp row and that means that I can now begin the edging.  This by no means signifies that I am almost done with the shawl - it is noted that the small size uses about 65% of the total yarn just for the edging.

I could have gotten a good portion of this done on my trip home, but I actually didn't do any knitting on the trip home!  I know!  I couldn't believe it either.  7 hours from Bali to Japan.  A 9 hours layover in Osaka.  11 hours from Japan to Seattle.  4 hours from Seattle to Minneapolis.  ...and no knitting.  I don't even have an excuse either, other than the fact that I spent most of the time trying to sleep.  That and the fact that the edging of this shawl requires one to juggle four different charts at any given time and that seemed a bit excessive for airplane knitting.

Once I get settled in at home again and take care of everything that has popped up while I've been gone, I hope to settle in with this shawl once again to get the rest of it finished up.  I'm sure it is going to be absolutely stunning when it's all finished and blocked.

Stay tuned for tales from Bali!  I have to get something written up in the next couple of days because on Saturday I head up to my cabin for a week and will once again be away from the internet.  Yes, more travel (and knitting time?).

(Also, I have to say, when I got back from Bali I had over 550 blog posts to read and as of right now, less than 48 hours since I returned, I have read them ALL.  No "mark as read" for me, no siree.  I didn't comment on very many though, sorry.)


  1. You are a braver man than me, taking on that many blog posts. Or maybe just one with more leisure time. ;-)

    Glad you're back and I can't wait to hear more about your trip.

  2. I just listened to your podcast last week when you were hinting at what project you were going to take and I knew you were speaking about Aeolian! Looking beautiful so far!

  3. I can't wait to see and read more about Bali, and your experience there.

    I'm so proud of you, that's my boy! You already know how much I love that pattern (one minor misunderstanding aside) and yes, nupps are NO BIG DEAL.

  4. Yay, you're back! The pictures here look amazing, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the rest of them. That cashmere looks divine.

  5. What a beautiful place! And beautiful yarn! I can't wait to see more trip pictures and the shawl when its finished :)

  6. Beautiful pictures...I'm looking forward to seeing more and reading more about your trip!! Welcome home!

  7. Glad you are home! Thanks for the picture preview.... now I can't wait to see more!

  8. WOW! That view is quite amazing. I'm jealous...

    Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful time and I can't wait to hear all about it.

    The shawl looks lovely so far. That yarn looks great knit up in that pattern and it sounds like a dream to work with...

  9. And I went to all that trouble of not blogging so you wouldn't be overwhelmed! :-)

    It's great to have you back again; I look forward to hearing more details!

  10. You're back! :D

    Joan and I were just talking about how lovely you are the other day and were wondering when you were returning.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip and I look forward to photos and stories of Bali! And your lace is just beautiful.


  11. You produce some extraordinarily beautiful knitting. The shawl will be wonderful when it's finished.
    One surprise, though: I thought airtravel security didn't allow you to bring knitting needles into the plane!? How did you manage to bring them?