Sunday, November 15, 2009


I finished the second Feather and Fan Cardigan for my daughter and have started on a new project for myself—Cheadle from Rowan Magazine No. 46. I was intrigued by the design and wondered how they put it together. I was also tired of working with small needles and skinny yarn. I wanted to worked with something big and chunky for a change.

Cheadle is knit with Rowan's Cocoon yarn. A blend of merino wool and kid mohair, it is soft and warm and does make you feel like burying yourself in it. It is even softer after blocking. But it is a one-ply yarn so you have to be careful not to split it as you knit. The required needles are US sizes 10 and 10.5. But the UK sizes are 6 and 7mm. The US 10.5 does not translate to 7mm. It is smaller (6.5mm). Fortunately, KnitPicks has a size 10.75 which is a true 7mm and I purchased a pair to go with my set of interchangeable needles. I still did not get gauge, though, and worried about the outcome. But most of the projects from Rowan that I have knit so far have ended up being a little too big. Small is their smallest and I must be an Extra Small. So I decided not to use even bigger needles and hope for the best.

You start from the bottom of the front or back in the usual way with a ribbing and stockinette stitch which widens out to include the sleeves. But then comes the fun part. The middle section is knit in three strips which are then braided.

This is what they look like before blocking.

Then the braid is attached to the completed bodice bottom. Stitches are picked up at the top of the braid and you continue up to the neck and shoulders. The sleeve ribbing and cowl-like collar are added last.

This is definitely a block as you go project. Picking up stitches is much easier if you block all the parts first. I blocked the strips straight before braiding them. They still curled a bit anyway but only enough to give it a nice soft look. In this photo, I have just finished picking up stitches along the top.

The whole thing is going very fast. I am about to start the strips for the front (back? I haven't decided which yet. I am waiting to see how the second one comes out. Then I will do the shoulder and neck shaping.) The two halves are sewn together at the shoulders and underarms and that's all the sewing that will be required. Looks complicated but is really pretty easy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Trip to the Cove

My new camera, the Canon 7D which was just released in September, arrived last Friday so I really wanted to go out and take some pictures somewhere. I decided to head down to the tidepools at Abalone Cove. While not super low, the tide was going to be pretty low at 0.32 ft. on Saturday afternoon and I discovered that that is low enough.

It was beautiful and quiet. There were hardly any people at all—a few fishermen way out on the rocks, another couple taking photos like me, and one man painting. Because there was nobody to disturb them, some interesting shorebirds showed up including a Spotted Sandpiper. I haven't seen one of those in a long time, but they are unmistakable because of the way they bob up and down as they walk along. I took pictures of him, but I did not have my super telephoto lens with me so the photos are not great but are good enough for an ID.

As I was hiking back up the cliff, I looked up at the Wayfarers Chapel and noticed that the bell tower was completely encased in scaffolding. I hope it has not been damaged. The famous chapel, built by Lloyd Wright, is right next to the Portuguese Bend landslide area. Indeed, the chaple lost its original Visitors' Center in 1982 due to landslide damage. I couldn't find any mention of current problems on the web, but I did find this interesting piece of information:

In 1954 Wright designed the soaring Hallelujah Tower that goes down two stories into the soil and locks in solidly to anchor the sanctuary to the hillside. At night the tower with its lighted cross is visible for many miles out to sea. Sailors passing through the Catalina Channel call it God's candle. A chime of sixteen bells in the tower proclaims each quarter hour, peals forth at the end of wedding celebrations, and plays for special events and services.

Driving back on Palos Verdes Drive South, I did notice that a small slide had occurred along the road just beneath the structure.