I just got back from five days in West Texas and boy was it inspiring. If you've been, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, here's hoping some of the pictures here will prompt you to plan a trip soon. Hard to describe the incredible beauty out there. I'm not one who easily understands which colors work together when it comes to picking yarn-- which probably is why I prefer to knit projects in solid colors or using self-striping yarn. I do know a lot of designers turn to nature when deciding on what dyes to use. While I was out in the desert, where the cacti happen to be in bloom and the sunrises and sunsets are so magnificent, and the huge blue sky goes on forever-- well, I did have moments where I started to get it. And I think I might just try to get up my nerve one of these days and pick out some different yarns to use together, taking the big hints Mother Nature so readily supplies.
Some of these photos were taken by my sidekick, Warren. He makes fun of me for always bringing knitting along, even on strenuous hikes. To each his own-- I often tease him for bringing a four hundred pound camera along. He did take a few shots of me working on my latest obsession-- right before I left I stopped by the shop and, with Kathy's help, settled on the perfect vacation project. I picked up some of that new Alchemy I was telling you about, which is so incredible I want to cry every time I touch it/look at it/work with it. Kathy got me going on a Lacey Stole-- you can get a free copy of the pattern at the store.
This pattern is a Feather and Fan. When I was at the knitting retreat hosted by Robin last week, someone was wearing a finished Lacey Stole, and I just loved it. Here's a pic of a F&F in progress:
Everyone at the retreat insisted this was a really simple pattern. Lace is not my strong suit, but after hearing over and over that this lace is totally doable, I decided to give it a shot. They weren't kidding. Once you do your set up rows (mostly garter) you follow a very basic pattern-- worked 18 stitches at a time in 4 rows-- you can make it as wide and as long as you want. It goes like this:
1st row: Knit
2nd row: Purl
3rd row: K2 *(K2tog) 3x, (YO, K1) 6x, (K2tog) 3x, repeat from * 5x, K2
4th row: P2, Knit across, P2
I had it memorized by the second set of four rows, and am hap-hap-happily knitting away on it. There's something about sitting in a stunning canyon, looking out for miles and miles, that adds to the fun so, like I said, you might consider a trip out West as an ideal way to work this project.
Suzanne made one of these in linen-- another lovely option, and good for summer knitting. You can see the sample on display when you go pick up your copy of the pattern. Here are trip pics-- I even spotted some recently shorn sheep (thank you sheep, for all the wool...):