My dear friend Stephanie came to our house for an afternoon early in the week. Our friendship goes back to our grad school days, when we were both heavily involved in volunteering for the teaching assistants' union - specifically, the spring of 2004 when the union went on strike. That was an adventure, let me tell you. I met some pretty amazing people that semester, a few of whom I still keep up with periodically. Stephanie is one of the only people I still see on a regular basis since I had kids. For one thing, she doesn't act like a woman falls off the face of the planet after motherhood. For another, she really likes hanging out with my kids, especially Daniel, who she babysat quite a lot off and on while I was finishing up my doctorate.
That seems like a million years ago, suddenly.
Anyway, we had a wonderful afternoon and evening together. She even called it "restorative," which isn't often a word I use when describing the effect of spending 7 solid hours with my children...but then, I can always use the reminder that other perspectives provide. We were outside basically the entire day, and she took some beautiful pictures I'd like to share.*
Stephanie is an educator, an organizer, and a naturalist through and through. She brought some awesome plants from her own garden to share with me (I gave her some in return). She taught Daniel how to identify and pull up garlic mustard, an invasive weed that is everywhere. I actually think it's kind of pretty, but the city is trying (however futilely) to eradicate it. By the way, if you've ever wondered why it's called "garlic mustard," give it a little sniff, and you'll understand immediately.
Here is Daniel demonstrating how one identifies and eliminates garlic mustard:
"Make sure you get the roots!"
Anya did a balancing act on the railroad tie bordering the front garden:
Daniel joined in to form a mini-conga line:
Both kids spent some time examining the many bumper stickers on the back of Stephanie's pick-up truck. (There were actually some better shots of this, but they show the license plate, and I didn't feel entirely comfortable putting those up on a public blog.)
We had such a big day that Daniel fell asleep while eating his supper:
*Full credit for the photos of Daniel and Anya goes to Stephanie Eastwood.
Oh, right. This is a knitting blog...
So I made Stephanie a hat.
Sometime I'll get some pictures of her wearing it. I finished it after she left on Monday, so I haven't given it to her yet, but I showed it to her in its half-finished state, and she liked it then, so I'm feeling pretty confident about it.
In fact, she and I worked together to choose a pattern. I sent her links to a whole bunch of patterns I found online and told her to choose one and tell me what color she'd like. We looked at several, but in the end settled with a simple one: the "last-minute" purled beret from Wendy Bernard at Knit and Tonic. When I had her look at it on Monday, I asked which she liked better, the knit side or the purl side. After considering this for a minute, Stephanie settled on the purl side. I wove in the ends discreetly enough she could wear it either way. Aren't I clever? (ha)
Pattern: last-minute purled beret by Wendy Bernard (link to pdf)
Yarn: Artesanal by Aslan Trends (40% cotton, 30% alpaca, 30% polyamide). There are 218 yds per skein, and I used maybe half of one skein. I could possibly squeeze another one of these out of what's left for myself. I like it enough that I just might. The yarn is very soft, like a pair of blue jeans that has been through the wash dozens of times. In fact, I knit the beret twice, once on size 9 needles before deciding it was too loose and limp, then again on size 8s. It worked much better the second time, though she may want to weave some elastic thread through the brim if she likes a snug fit.
Gauge: ??? Are you kidding? I never do gauge swatches for hats (see above about knitting it twice...) The label suggests 4 st/inch, and I'm guessing that's about what I got, if not slightly tighter.
Designer Post: Fine Kettle
4 hours ago