On the Move

Ah, here we are… this post comes to you from Scottsdale, Arizona, where I am working poolside in the sunshine, while Joe does likewise. We made our way here from the Grand Canyon, a quick stopover between Vegas and here, and I gotta tell you, I’ve felt ridiculously lucky these last several days. Joe’s relationships have really worked out for me. I’ve managed to fit in work and (most of) the things I need to do as we go from event to event and place to place, and every day I’ve seen something amazing. I saw The Valley of Fire again (still a favourite, and the only hiking we had time to do in Vegas) and I saw Elton John live (just as amazing as you’re imagining right now.)  I watched the sun set and rise  during 20 glorious hours at the Grand Canyon.  I walked on the top of the Bright Angel Trail that leads to the bottom, and I hiked seven kilometres around the southern rim.

grand canyon 2017-02-10

I saw elk, I had lunch in Sedona, I saw cactus in the desert, and we looked longingly at San Francisco Peaks as we drove by. We took the scenic route every time we could. We’ve eaten good food, we’ve enjoyed the company of great people, and I have knit, and knit, and knit. I’ve knit in the car, at dinner, during social events, at concerts… I finished a pair of socks…

finished kama3 2017-02-10

Yarn: Muststash Kama Sutra. (Well look at that. I looked it up to get you a link, and it’s actually a colourway you can order. it’s a miracle! Usually stuff’s been kicking around the stash so long that’s not a thing.) Pattern: I faked it, but Smooth Operator is really similar. Needles: 2.25mm.

finished kama 2017-02-10

They fit like a dream, and I adore them. I’m so glad that I recognized up front that I wanted these to be mine and knit them in my size. I’d be really hard pressed to give them up.

finished kama2 2017-02-10

I finished my Bermuda shawl, and it’s drying in the sun right this very minute – pictures of that beauty when it’s dry – but best yet, I made my swatch for the beginning of Impending Grandson’s blanket.

swatch done 2017-02-10

I took a few of the suggestions in the comments – though I’m keeping most of the symbolism quiet until the right time. I went down a needle size after a few rows, finding the work too open – and I did my best to block it, considering how limited my resources were in the hotel room (I’ll be adding a wee container of pins to my travel kit) but I’m pretty sure I like what I’ve got now. The yarn is Juniper Moon Findley – 50/50 merino/silk, and it’s a perfect choice. I did the math for the middle part, cast on provisionally yesterday (in the car, somewhere around Flagstaff) and this afternoon when it’s quiet, I’ll get my first few rows in. It’s full speed ahead to blankieville and I’m practically giddy with excitement.*

*Thanks for being the people that I can say that to. I’m here with non-knitters, and while they’re quite lovely about it, it would be safe to say that if I told them that I was giddy with excitement about a blanket centre, I’d certainly be misunderstood as an artist.

108 thoughts on “On the Move

  1. Are those nupps I see all over that tiny swatch? You’re a knitting saint if you’re really going to work all those nupps for your grandson. It’s gonna be a beautiful blanket, but I wouldn’t have the stamina to get it done. Just sayin…

  2. I have made that drive many, many times – lived in the Valley of the Sun for 20 years. My second favorite place in the world (next to my hometown in Ohio). Enjoy the lovely February weather!

  3. Ms. Harlot, you ARE an artist. While I understand your sentiment, own your “artist”-ness. ☺ Love your socks! Can’t wait for blankie!

    If you can, drive through Jerome, Arizona.

    • That drive to Jerome is scary as hell…. at least when you are coming from the Chino Valley side… But it is a really cool town.

      • Yes, they have a very lovely yarn shop, wonderful rusty things which turned out to be mine thing-a-ma-jigs and a very rare siren (that one in is town). Do look at all the rusty things because they are beautiful and seasoned.

        • Jerome! My grandfather got his first job at the Jerome hospital, and my father was born there. Eventually Grandfather became a pediatrician in Phoenix. I lived in Phoenix, but never visited Jerome.

          • if you go to Jerome, stop at Nellie Bly’s if they are still there. The most wonderful collection of kaleidoscopes imaginable.
            Socks are great and like everyone else in blogville, looking forward to seeing the blankie and hearing the stories of symbolism.

      • I think she closed a while back. If it’s the Yarn/Bead store just down the steps from Haunted Hamburger.

        But I HIGHLY recommend Purl in the Pines in Flagstaff. Unassuming yarn store in a boring strip mall, but lovely yarns (local, indie dyers, and commercial) and even better staff. I was there on a trip with a friend and the owner was the only one in the shop. She let us browse without pressure, gave us suggestions, helped us find stuff, and even was willing to ship stuff back to us in LA so we didn’t have to haul it in our suitcases. It wasn’t until we were checking out that we found out she was supposed to have closed 45 minutes earlier! Fabulous store, and I recommended it to friends all the time.

  4. NUPPS! Beautiful blanket! I’m still practicing for a Queen Silvia Shawl. (And we’ve got about 10 inches of snow here in New Hampshire while you are in Arizona.)

    • That’s what I thought too! And I immediately thought of my dear grandma who always used Yardley’s lily of the valley perfume for ‘special occasions’. The Christmas I turned 13 she gave me a lily of the valley gift pack because I ‘was a young lady’ now. Grandma was 87 and it was her last Christmas.

      I really love the idea that another grandma will be linked to her grandchild by lily of the valley.

  5. I’m just down the road in Chandler. Looks like you’re here for the best February weather! Love the socks! And I’m also very excited for the blanket swatch. Our first grandchild is two months old and his mommy uses the blanket I made him all the time.

  6. Oh, that little swatch is just beautiful! I can’t wait to see this blanket as it evolves.

    The socks are so fun. It’s so wild to think of you sitting by the pool here in the US while we in the northeast are gearing up for another winter storm (from a weird rain/ice non-winter to all of winter in one week for us!). Good thing I love snow. Hoping tit stays light and fluffy so I can do some cross country skiing.

    Enjoy your giddy excitement and pay no mind to those who know not the meaning of yarn happines. 🙂

  7. That heirloom blanket is going to be magnificent–all of your baby blankets are, and you’ll be particularly inspired for this one. But. . .assuming you finish it in good time–have you considered also knitting a tougher blanket, a colorful “blankie” that the wondrous grandchild can drag around, get jelly on, etc., a blanket that can recover from almost anything with a trip to the washing machine?

  8. I was thinking you didn’t know the sex of the grandchild;; did I miss the big reveal or was I mistaken, or are you guessing?? Anyhow, beautiful blanket and beautiful yarn.

  9. Ooh, I love that stitch pattern. It’s one of my favorites. As I’ve said before, once you’ve done a few thousand nupps, it’s just another stitch 😉 Looks like you’ll get a few thousand in with just this project (not that you haven’t already done a few thousand before).

    Good call on the smaller needle. We wouldn’t want to see his widdle fingers caught in the holes.

  10. Darn the timing! I was just in Scottsdale last week! Oh well! I hope you have fun! And there’s a lovely yarn shop there called Jessica Knits (but you probably knew that…)

  11. Love the socks. I’m knitting myself a colourful pair right now and I can hardly wait until they’re finished. Next time you visit the Grand Canyon you should try to go while the North Rim is open. It is higher in altitude than the south rim so it is closed in the winter. The sunsets there are amazing!

  12. It will be difficult to wait until the blanket is done, and the symbols explained! I find it strange sometimes that not everyone is as excited about a new pattern, or some yarn, as I am. 🙂 Glad to be among knitters some of the time. They get it. LOL

  13. The trip sounds amazing, and the stripey socks are great. Stop tempting me to become a sock-knitter, Steph!

    As I thought about you “revealing” the significance of each element of the blanket, I thought “must read that blog entry somewhere I can cry without embarassing myself”. I ALWAYS cry at your blanket reveals. Thank goodness for other knit-devotees who don’t find that concept totally crazy.

  14. Ah, they look like Lilies of the Valley my childhood favorite flower. I told my son a story about how they were fairy cups hung on a blade of grass. Lovely choice!

    • Oh, I like that! My grandpa had a big patch we were allowed to pick from for our mother. Now I’m cultivating two patches around our house just in memory of them. Still one of my favorites.

  15. Oh, I’m strangely thrilled you are in Arizona! I only wish you were teaching a class or something at my local library. Enjoy the weather!

  16. Love those socks and I’m happy to hear that you’re keeping them for yourself! Thank you for posting pictures of the great sights you’re seeing on this trip. I love that part of the U.S. and I feel like an armchair tourist seeing your beautiful shots.

  17. Is that lily of the valley I see in your swatch pattern? Such a reminiscent flower for me. Of grandmothers’ gardens and things past….

  18. We’re giddy with you. The socks are just gorgeous. I can’t wait to see the Bermuda shawl. I have the pattern but haven’t started it yet. Your timing for being away is good too, as you missed both the ice storm and the inordinate amount of snow that arrived today, despite the fact it’s supposed to be 7 tomorrow.

  19. So much in this post; where to start?
    First: The socks are great. Enjoy them now before one of The Ladies permanently “borrows” them.
    Second: Can’t wait to see the shawl.
    Third: OK, so this is the “formal” blankie. I agree with the post above that he needs a toddler-proof one for when he starts sucking his thumb and hanging out with a kid named Charlie Brown.
    Last: All the great artists have been misunderstood: Shakespeare, Van Gogh, Nureyev, Kubrick, Jagger, etc. Just don’t change your name to an unpronouncable glyph.

  20. You have many fans in Sedona! Where did you eat?
    I moved from there to San Diego last year.
    Enjoy Scottsdale and if you have a chance go to Jessica Knits!

  21. Oh this will be exciting! Will this be the baby that waits until their blankie is done? *claps hands in excitement*
    Can’t wait to see what you’ve designed for this precious one-each of your creations is an epic masterpiece.
    Don’t know about traveling with pins but if you do, include a small magnet for spills (& keep the magnet away from your electronics)…or…there are these handy wee clips that knitters allocated from quilters. They work great!
    (Clover Wonder Clips..50 ea for about $25USD)

  22. Thank you, again, for loving the U.S. Southwest!

    On a sadder note, you have my condolences on the tragic murders at the mosque in Quebec. May light perpetual shine upon their souls, and may their loved ones know that we think of them and send condolences.

  23. I live in Tucson (about 90 min from Phoenix) and if you can find time to visit the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, you totally should. It is part botanic garden, part zoo, and part museum. It’s on the west side of Tucson (closest to Phoenix). This area has the highest biodiversity of anywhere in the US, and that museum is an amazing showcase. There is a hummingbird aviary, a rattlesnake and gila monster show (with real creatures out of cages — obviously no touching), and they just added a sting ray touch tank. (The Sea of Cortez is part of the desert geographically.)

    Tucson is more outdoorsy than Phoenix anyway, so if not this trip, you should stop by sometime. Plus we have good yarn shops.

    Enjoy your trip to this beautiful and totally strange part of the world.

  24. “Somewhere around Flagstaff” is a really good place to cast on for something so important. Good vibes, piney beauty and all that. Happy travels!

  25. What a fabulous time you seem to be having and knitting included win, win I’d say and working thrown in too. II’m intrigued with the baby blanket but have to say it looks good with the little bit you have shown to us.

  26. I love the Findley yarn. I made a shawl thingy with it and can attest to the fact that this lovely, gossamer looking fiber is as tough as nails. You can wrap it violently around your neck, drop it in puddles, shut it in the car door, and then wash it (by hand in Euclan) and all the abuse is forgiven and it looks just lovely again. This is a really good quality in yarn for a baby blanket!

    • Completely agree about Findley! Wonderful yarn ~ beautiful and durable. Used two skeins for a 72″ bridal shawl and looking forward to using it again whenever baby comes along!

      • I loved it, too, but noticed that my lace shawl fuzzed and pilled horribly. Comments about the yarn on Ravelry confirm this for some projects but not others. Perhaps it’s just certain dyed colors? I would subject a swatch to friction and washing before committing to a big project!

  27. Lordy, have you got enough nupps in that blanket? That’s going to eat up the yarn!

    Beautiful work of course. But heavy duty, hope baby appreciates this when he grows up.

  28. Thank you fro sharing this special blanket with us. I am so looking forward to seeing it grow! I was so inspired by picture of those socks a few posts back that I ordered myself a beautiful skein of Must Stash (I got the Martian Rainbow!) to make a pair for myself.

  29. If you and Joe want to go for a nice hike Scottsdale has done a nice job with the preserve. The Granite Moutain trail at Brown’s Ranch takes you to a lookout where you see the Superstition Mountains, Weaver’s Needle and, if you time it right, the fountain goes up at Fountain Hills. Today is a great day for a hike. You share the trail with horsebackriders and bikers but everyone is usually agreeable.

  30. *sneaks into The Blog* I’ve been lurking, but I’m daring to come inside now that I’ve read all the way through the archives and know all the code words (like Joe’s gansey). Besides, it’s cold outside and I hear there’s a bottomless pot of coffee available.

    I’ve only been knitting about 4 months, and never even considered making socks until I started reading your blog. I really need to give in to the urge and give them a try–those are adorable! I can’t wait to see how the blanket turns out, either.

    As for Joe’s gansey, I think it’s like my dad’s vintage Jeepster. He swore he’d have it restored and ready for me to drive when I got my first driver’s license. I’ve renewed my license several (we won’t say how many) times now, and it’s still sitting in his basement garage in pieces.

    • A thought. Knit a Christmas/holiday stocking for someone you know who celebrates the season in that way. Learning the sock architecture is less intimidating (especially when you get to the heel) you only have to knit one, and if your gauge is way off and it’s bigger than planned, the recipient is thrilled. 🙂

      Knitting two holiday stockings first made me really comfy with attemptin socks that actually fit feet.

  31. Nupps! I see…nuppes! Yeah! It’s kind of what I had in mind along with your doing Shetland patterning! Yeah! The socks are a wonder. I am not a stripes person but those colors could get me to change my mind…


  32. The first time I saw the Grand Canyon (as an adult, when pregnant with my older daughter)(who is now almost 19, come to think of it – where did the time go?), I was so gobsmacked, I really couldn’t think of what to say. My husband asked me what I’d expected, and I realized I’d sort of expected just a great big box canyon. The complexity and texture of the Grand Canyon was so far beyond what I’d ever imagined, I just couldn’t think of how to grasp it. I still feel that way.

    Looking forward to seeing the blanket as it progresses!

  33. I hope you got to see the mules that go down the Bright Angel Trail. I love staying in a cabin there and getting up early in the summer before the crowds show up. I am glad you got to see and enjoy the Grand Canyon. I love it also.

  34. I love your socks, and think I see Lily of the Valley in your blanket beginnings. My husband and I visited Arizona in October a few years ago, and loved it. Our favorite thing was the sunset tour in Monument Valley, so when You get a chance….
    We brought home a dog, Shay, named after Canyon de Chelly where we found him, injured, and a beautiful Navaho rug that was way too expensive until you consider the amount of work that went into it.

  35. The blanket already looks special! Are those little lilies of the valley.
    If you’re going to be moseying to south Scottsdale or west into Phoenix, there is a super awesome vegan restaurant called Green. They have po’boys with fries and super yummy noodle bowls and these things called tsoynamis which are basically like Dairy Queen blizzards but dairy and gluten free.
    I’m not a vegan, but oh my gosh how I love Green.

  36. I totally understand your blankie love. Last fall I knitted my newest granddaughter Nancy Bush’s Crown Prince Shawl (with a galaxy of nupps). And I love Muststash! And have you seen Caterpillargreen Yarns shawl stripes? They have some that have short color runs for the narrow part of the shawl, gradually expanding so that all your stripes stay the same width. And they’re Canadian. And. It’s today’s word.

  37. I’m “giddy with excitement” over “impending grandson”! I’m a relatively new grandma, myself having been blessed with three grandchildren in two years via two daughters. With age 30 being the “new” 20, we wondered if we would even see grandchildren in our lifetime. Suddenly, here they are!

    Looking forward to seeing all the love you are about to put into every stitch!

  38. Those socks make me smile and the blanket is going to be breathtaking (as all of yours are), I can just tell. Hope you’re enjoying your vacation and sunshine that comes with it.

  39. I laughed so hard at the last paragraph that tears came out of my eyes. I know exactly what you mean. I’m grateful for my knitting group for the same reason. I swear I knit only for the thrill of it. Love what you’ve shared of the baby blanket.

  40. Hi Steph! A little while ago you talked about knitting while you read. Can you explain? I’ve got the multitasking down, but I can’t figure out how to hold the book open. Help! I’m addicted to both!

    • I love knitting and reading. Sometimes (for a book that does not matter to me so much in terms of physical condition) I’ve used a binder clip to keep the book open… or you can choose books with bindings that tend to stay open by themselves. Another option is an e-reader or iPad, or you can try LibriVox (free public domain audiobooks).

    • I swear by leather bookweights – Google them. Use mine all the time – I don’t read while I knit, but many other times, including while brushing my teeth!

    • I agree about the leather bookweight. My husband gave me one several years ago – it’s great. Also, if I can’t find that, something like a TV remote with the buttons turned toward the book (so they grab the page) works pretty well without damaging the book.

    • Woah! That’s cool! I’ve never seen a leather book weight before. I’m going to have to check that out. I have a bookstand, but it only works for certian types of books and you have to sit at a table to use it. This seems better!

  41. The blanket will be beautiful, and full of love. I can entirely understand about being giddy with excitement over it… why not? I am very far off from having grandchildren (20 years at least) but already I catch myself thinking about knitting for them!

  42. You too. My parents are in the Brittish Virgin Islands. My brother is everywhere, and now you, in the midst of February, the most depressing of all months, have gone and reminded me the warm. Not only that, but more than I want to go somewhere tropical, I want to go to the desert. I have spent all month dreaming of camping outside of the San Fransisco Peaks. And now you’ve been there and described it. Sigh. Someday I’ll get back out there. Someday. I’m just glad someone with as good of taste as you loves that area of the country as much as I do.

  43. When I see all those nupps in that blankie swatch I am inspired to keep going on my daughters christening blanket which is now officially less than one month away and well over half way finished. I am knitting this beautiful Aldara Shawl (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/aldara-shawl) by Fyberspates – but oh the nupps. I’m not going to lie, I switched from 7 to 5 stich nupps for the edges. The baptism is March 12th. If I can finish by the 10th then there will be plenty of time for blocking and drying, right?

  44. After seeing the socks, I might have to give socks a go this year since I have lots of sock yarn (no idea why since I really hate knitting thin yarn). This year starts year 5 of knitting and each year I’ve tried to do something new. Last year was the Trailing Ivy shawl by Alan Dakos – cables and charts. I’m a lefty knitter so things don’t always work quite like they do for righties.

    Good friends suggested a last minute trip to Vegas to see Elton John late last year so off we went. It was a crazy two days of running (we opted to go to Hoover Dam the 1st day) but oh so much fun and it was an amazing concert! I think he’s better in concert now than he was 25 years ago. Future trips to Vegas will only be if we’re able to do something outside of Vegas – if you’ve seen it once, you’ve pretty much seen it! There were far more people and it was much more expensive than I remember (skipping the New Year’s trip we planned for our anniversary not knowing it was the centenial celebration for Vegas. I think there were more people there than NY. Never again!).

    I can’t wait to see the baby blanket progress. It always amazes me when I see pics posted – so much work in what seems to be a short amount of time. Thank you for sharing!

  45. Wonderful pictures, that must be a great trip!

    My husband went to school in AZ, and drove through Sedona “by accident” and loved it. Our first vacation together, we road tripped from Toronto to Sedona for a couple weeks, it was so nice that we went back for our honeymoon. Sedona’s one of our favourite places!

  46. Stephanie, may I throw you an out and out compliment? What I really enjoy about such a post is your ability to appreciate the moment, the here and now, when you are right smack in the middle of it. (Those were also gorgeous photos.) I looked up from that post thinking, “There’s woman who knows how to live wisely.”

  47. Oh dear, I just saw this. I hope you got to Jessica Knits in Scottsdale, a very nice yarn store where you could find some knitting peeps. If not, maybe next time!

  48. Well I just saw others suggested Jessica Knits to you in a more timely manner:-). Hope you got to go! Arizona is the coolest, isn’t it?

  49. I am so glad to see the nupps. You always make and style them beautifully! Can hardly wait to see the blanket as it grows and read of its symbolism. For this babe there seems to be a great deal of rich material from which to draw.

    Love the socks!

  50. Love Love Love that Findlay yarn. We are going to be using Findlay Dappled & the Pierpoint shawl pattern to do a lace knitting class at my shop ( The Wool & Silk Co., in Shelburne, ON). Beautiful colourways.

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