Sunday, April 6, 2014

Still working on Pando

I have not forgotten my blog or knitting. It has just been a crazy few weeks. I promise I have been knitting when I can, as evidenced by the above picture. It was taken in a hotel room in San Diego where I was presenting at the National Art Education Association Conference. Pando was my project of choice during all the sessions so I got a fair number of the leaves knit (a lot more than the four pictured). Now I just need to block and sew them together. I am trying to make a scarf that is about 6 feet long so I might have a few more leaves to go. But I am on the home stretch, I promise.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Utah Roundmouth Snail

I am still working on Pando but got sidetracked this week because my sister challenged me to design something for her. She wanted a small knitted snail to be used as a pin. This was a daunting task and took a lot of trial and error. I tried to make it from a traditional cable but it didn’t look right.

It really looks more like a snake to me. So I scrapped it and tried another tactic (although I might resurrect this pattern for something with a snake on it! It looks kind of like a rattler – we have tons of rattlesnakes around here).

My second try was for a more rounded concentric circle with just the hint of cables or twisted stitches. I also wanted to knit on a body to a shell to make it really look like a snail.

This is what I came up with:

I altered some things and here is the final idea, with embroidery and bead. It is basic and the cables are subtle but I think it is pretty cute. My sister is testing it now but I wanted to make it available to anyone else who wanted to try it. It’s free but let me know any mistakes because there might be some.

As I was researching what snails looked like, I came across an indigenous snail in Utah. The Utah roundmouth snail is a species of freshwater snail first described by Richard Ellsworth Call in 1884 from specimens collected at Utah Lake. Despite having lived in Utah for over 4 million years, today the unfortunate snail is now extirpated in the state. Except for this cute version that you can knit and wear to try and reintroduce it to your local area.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fallen Leaves

It’s starting to come together. I have joined the leaves randomly to make them look like they have naturally fallen. But my original burst of knitting is now on hold for a bit while I catch up at work. So, here is the scarf half done. Hopefully, soon-to-be all done.

My husband says that it just looks like joined circles. What does he know; I think they definitely look like leaves, maybe. I am a little unsure about this project since showing it to him. I think I need to ask a knitter like my sister.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Knit Leaves

There are many, many leaf patterns out there but none that quite looked squat enough for an aspen leaf, so I created my own pattern. Here is the Pando Aspen Leaf:

I have a vision in my head of all these leaves scattered on the ground as if an aspen tree has just shed them in October. A blanket or shawl, but that is a lot of leaves. Maybe a scarf first to see if it looks ok.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Color of Aspen Leaves

I still don’t quite know what I want to make for my Pando inspired knit but when I was last at my local yarn shop, I found some beautiful yarn on sale that reminded me of Aspen leaves; both the vibrant yellow of the fall and the deep green of the summer.

Here is the yellow. It is a linen/cotton blend so will drape nicely.

And the green is a lace weight silk/merino blend.

Of course I had to buy them, they are for Pando (even though I am sure I have lots of yellows and greens already in my stash! Here is evidence.)

As you can see I organize my stash by color. I tried organizing by weight or fiber content, but color seems to be how I envision projects and the weight comes later.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quaking Aspens

My childhood is filled with memories of camping trips around Utah: Moon Lake in the Uintas, Fish Lake in central Utah, Snow Canyon outside of St. George. One thing that united almost every camping trip was the presence of quaking aspens. Quakies are the ubiquitous tree in Utah. Seen as a scourge in the city because you never, NEVER, can get rid of them, they are nevertheless a beautiful tree.

In the summer, their brilliant green leaves shimmer and shake and tremble with the slightest breeze. In the fall, they have a blazing yellow circle of a leaf and the bare white and black bark stand out starkly against the snow in winter.

Despite their weed-like reputation, I have a soft spot for them, perhaps because of my childhood spent amongst them. But even now as I see my children run and play in the aspens during one of our camping trips, I am in awe of their beauty and tenacity.

One reason we see so many Quakies in Utah is their unique way of propagating. Quaking Aspens in a given colony are considered the same organism. They don’t produce seeds very often so they send up shoots through one massive root system.

One colony, named Pando, is considered the heaviest and oldest living organism in the world. It is six million kilograms and about 80,000 years old… and is located right in the middle of the state of Utah. It is my beloved aspen colony that has seen me grow up and now watches my kids play.

It is awe-inspiring to be around such an old and large organism. And I want to make something inspired by Pando. Not something massive and monumental, but small and intimate like my relationship with the quaking aspens of my youth.

Note: all these pictures were taken during our camping trips around Utah. See, they are everywhere!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Black Rock Hat

Here it is. My Black Rock Hat! Perfect for those January outings to the museum to see the Lambourne exhibition and all the Black Rocks he painted. The hat can be knit without the embroidery but I think it gives the hat a little surprise. The graffiti images can also be changed based on preference. I mimicked the graffiti that I found on the rock (sort of).

If I knit one without the embroidery, I may even get my husband to wear one (although he hates knitted things – oh the irony…)

And for your enjoyment, the inspiration for the hat.