Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Journey of a Thousand Pins

A teaser: Madli's Shawl is blocking. You can skip down there, or you can keep reading my non-knitting related thoughts. Your choice. Warning: I only got three hours of sleep last night, so I'm tired and cranky. I apologize in advance if I don't make any sense (well, less than normal, anyway.)

Inauguration Bits

On Monday night, Inauguration Eve, we decided to go out to dinner. We thought, naively enough, that we'd head down to Old Town to go to our favorite Tex-Mex place. Bad idea. All those millions of people in town for the Inauguration had to go somewhere. When we got there, we saw a number of giant tour buses spitting forth hundreds of people. The tour companies, I gather, booked up a bunch of restaurants, even ones that normally don't take reservations. Our Tex-Mex place said they were expecting a party of 200, but that we could wait the hour and a half to hour and forty five minutes if we liked.

So we got back into the car, wondering what to do next. "We're near Crystal City," Mr. T said. "What's in Crystal City?" "Legal Seafoods is there, but remember that Crystal City is also hotel city, so all the restaurants are likely to be as full as they were in Old Town," I said. "Let's just check," he said. Famous last words. The restaurant was packed.

The Crystal City Legal Seafoods is right next to the Crystal City Hilton (formerly the Stouffer Hotel. Fun Fact: Mr. T and I lived in an apartment right over what is now that Legal Seafoods while we were in law school, and right afterward). Apparently, the hotel worker's union is striking against Hilton, so on one side of the street were happy inauguration visitors, and on the other were placard-wielding strikers. But the coolest part was that the strikers had somehow managed to project, bat signal-like, onto the side of the hotel under the main sign, the word "Boycott." It was dramatic and effective.

We ended up at a neighborhood joint called "Joe's Pasta and Pizza," where we had a lot of good food and ran into several friends with family. A good time was had by all in the end.

Like I said in my last post, we stayed home and watched the festivities on tv. I thought much of the day lived up to expectations, except for Chief Justice Roberts flubbing the oath of office. Tacky.

Obama looked his usual calm, cool self. Michelle looked beautiful in her yellow dress and coat. She is a woman who looks amazing in strong colors. Sasha and Malia are absolutely gorgeous little girls.

There is a part of me that regrets that we didn't make the effort to go downtown to be part of the crowd. We traded off the energy of the crowd for a good view. (I hate crowds. I don't do well in large crowds.)

But what I like best is that Obama has been acting swiftly to make his mark. I watched the swearing in ceremony held yesterday for the senior staff and was very impressed with the measures that Obama's taking to make government more open, responsive, and ethical. Plus, I loved Biden's little quip, when asked to administer the oath of office to the staff, that his memory wasn't as good as Chief Justice Roberts'. I'm very pleased that Obama's taking steps to close down Guantanamo and review the treatment of the prisoners there. It's nice to have a President who understands the Constitution and the need for the civil rights protections it affords.

Knitting Content

I finished the Twisted Tweed socks.

Unfortunately, I don't really like them. I may rip them out and reknit them into plain socks. I'll try them on again and make a decision soon.

I also started something new:

This is the "Ingeborg II" doily from Sonja Esbensen and Anna Rasmussen's Knitted Lace. That's some generic crochet cotton on size 0 needles. Not fun executing the slip 1, k 3 together, psso. Luckily there aren't too many of those. The finished doily will be square.

And the big news, finally, the blocking of Madli's Shawl. I had a little helper making sure I did it right:

First I pinned out the top and the bottom, to get the length right, and then I slowly worked my way up the sides, pinning them out to the right width. I'd work 2 inches on one side, then four on the other, then back over to the first side for four more, etc.

I used almost every pin in the house:

It's done, and I'm hungry. Here are some close up shots of the body pattern:

The nupps on the edging:

Where the edging and the body meet up:

And the Extreme Close Up of the nupps on the border:

Specs: Pattern: Madli's Shawl, from Knitted Lace of Estonia (it's too close to lunchtime for me to hunt down links for y'all). Yarn: Creme Brulee silk and wool laceweight from Yarn Chef. Color was a custom order that was originally called Parchment. It looks antiqued. My photos don't do it justice, as usual. Modifications: I added a row of eyelets in the middle of the rows of garter stitch in between the border and the main pattern, just for kicks. I added two repeats to the length. Otherwise, knit as directed. Very pleased with the result.

There was some talk amongst the commenters to the last post expressing amazement at the concept of grafting purlwise (which was how I grafted the top border to the body of the shawl). When you do kitchener stitch, you're essentially hand-sewing in a row of knit stitches uniting your two pieces. You do this by grafting with the right sides of the pieces out. But what is a purl stitch? A knit stitch made on the wrong side of the fabric, right? So I held my pieces with the wrong sides facing out. Now my grafting was knit on the wrong side, purl on the right side. Easy peasy. Well, not easy peasy, but conceptually simple.

OK -- time to have lunch!


Scott T. said...

doily is cool; cat is menacing; sorry about the Wolmeise

Sharon said...

Oh, Loren, the shawl is stunning. It is an heirloom piece--make sure your sons marry one day so you can pass it on to a daughter in law or a grandaughter!! I'm sure the actual (non-photo) version is even better. Truly a work of art.

Cat is not menacing--just sternly supervising.

I agree with you about the Obama comments. I've been thinking up all sort of unflattering reasons why Roberts flubbed the oath. I found it really strange. And, yes, I was very happy to see that one of Obama's first executive moves was to tighten up the ethics rules for lobbying, as well address Guantanamo right away. That latter one is going to be extremely difficult, for all the obvious legal and practical reasons, but we can no longer proclaim ourselves a democracy until it's tackled. I suspect watching Obama working will be even more inspiring than watching him politicking. I have great faith and high hopes.

Why so little sleep last night?

We ended up just walking over to Pasha's for dinner on Tuesday night. They have new management and a new menu, which made me sort of nervous (it's a good, solid neighborhood place), but it was yummy and empty (much to the chagrin of the owner who was hoping for inaugural overflow).

Get Scott to take some modeling pics of you in the shawl. I would love to see how it flows.

Loren T said...

Thanks, Sharon! I'm not ready to think of my boys getting married yet, though. Doesn't the cat look like she'll whap me on the knuckles if I get out of line?

Pasha's has new management and a new menu? I love that place. In fact, we talked about going there Monday night, but the littlest member of our family is picky and we didn't want to risk his wrath. I'll have to check out the new menu.

So far, yes, Obama seems to be doing almost everything right. I remember hearing that he had almost immediately called all the leaders of the Middle Eastern countries, which was, to me, a very important signal that he intends to engage, rather than attempt to dictate, where that region is concerned.

Sleep -- I woke up around 3 and couldn't get back to sleep. I hate when that happens, because it makes me feel like crap the next day.

kippi said...

Your shawl is gorgeous! I agree, we need modeling photos.

why is Scott still sorry about the Wollmeise? Did something else happen? I hope not. :-)

I tend to agree with you about the socks. They are pretty, but I'm not certain the pattern does the yarn justice.

Jeanne said...

The shawl is gorgeous - the edging is particularly lovely and I love the yarn you chose for this.