Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Break

I couldn't wait to see the ocean. For my spring break we drove down along the central coast of California. We started at Half Moon Bay and drove down Hwy 1. Stopped at Santa Cruz for one day, then drove through Big Sur. Next day we stayed at San Luis Obispo. Santa Barabara was the last stop of the trip. Along the way we checked out some Missions, the one in Carmel, then Santa Ines in Solvang, then the one at Santa Barbara. I love the sunny weather and miss the ocean smell.

I was getting claustrophobic at Santa Cruz. I cannot believe how crowded and built up it has become since I moved away from it 18 years ago. It has changed so much. The spill over from SF/Silicon Valley has dramatically changed the character of the town. The money, the sense of entitlement, the self congratulatory feeling was getting to us. We couldn't wait to get out of there after just one day.

We drove through 17 miles. It was the first time for both of us. It was a surreal combination of amazing seascape with the ultra-rich golf community. I was so happy to walk through some tidepools.

Big Sur was as dramatic as I'd imagined. Crazy as it sounds, I love the ocean, and I lived in California for 15 years of my life but I'd never been near Big Sur. The coastline was just breathtaking. Fortunately Paul was doing the driving so I got to enjoy the view.

Both San Luis Obispo and Santa Babara are such livable towns. The weather was gorgeous, the pace somewhat slower than big cities, yet not lacking in things to do. But of course totally unaffordable for most people. We had some amazing food in Santa Barbara, probably the best on our trip.

The hightlights of the trip was the beaches and visiting the missions. The history the work that went into to first building them and then to restore them. One couldn't help but tried to imagine what the landscape was like back then.

Here are some pictures from the first two days. Then I ran out of memory on my camera card.

Two Jackets For The Winter

There has been more drama than I cared for at work in the past weeks. I've been so exhausted from all the dramas other people created hence my absence from blogging.

For the last few months, I got into making jackets. Well, I guess that's what you'd do in the winter. Here are two jackets that I finished in the February and March.

This black jacket was finished in February.
Yarn: Elann Limite Edition Finesse
Needles: #6
I was pretty proud that I figured out a way to do rounded/peter pan collars.
I really wanted a little classic black jacket and this yarn was great for it because its luster from tencel blended with merino.

The stitch used was Rosette Stitch from the 2nd Treasury of Stitches by Barbara Walker. I really love the texture it creates. I think the stitches might have tightened up the fabric overall. I'm not sure if it's that or the yarn. The sweater shrunk somewhat after wet blocking. I didn't block my swatch until I was half way through knitting (I know, I know.... that's just no excuse for being lazy.) So I added on the button band in the end along the front. I knitted into the edge to avoid sewing.

I must say it's a pretty wearable sweater.

The second one, finished over 2 weeks ago, made me very happy. It came out pretty close to what I had hoped.

But honestly most of the time when I design a sweater I have pretty fuzzy picture in my head how it will look when finished. I mean I have a general idea but I'm not a tyrant of how exactly things should finish. I enjoy some improvisations. I welcome better ideas as they come along while I knit. I guess that's why I enjoy knitting because it is slow so it allows time and chances of new inspirations along the way, kinda like the way I paint.

I knew I wanted a folded over collar with asymmetrical closure jacket when I first designed the motif. After swatching, I went ahead and started the jacket with some but not fully considered calculations. There was quite a few improvisations along the way to align motifs at armhole area.

Oh, again, it was knitted in one piece from bottom up. The sleeves were knitted and joined at the armpit area and continued in raglan lines. If I were to knit it again (highly doubt it as I rarely like to make the same thing twice unless it's a quick knit,) I'd probably knit the collars separately then sew onto the body to give it a bit more firmness at the joint.

Yarn: Elann Limited Edition Cantata (colors: persimmon, clear sky.)
Needles: #3 (and #2 only for the solid color borders.)

The collars did not stand up as much as I envisioned so I sewed the front closed all the way down to the lowest button area. It did make the collar stand up and flattened out the front. But it now wears like a pullover. I love the colors, the orange is such a happy color.