Flower Basket Road Trip

flower basket shawl

Well, we're back! The hellatiously long drive to Carlsbad (which yes, means we had to drive through LA, which means we sat in virtually standstill traffic for over an hour each way) has come and gone. We had a great time, assuming you understand that "great" means we had to more than once adjust our expectations to fit the realities of what it means to take such a trip and visit an amusement park with a four year old (and a 16-month old). We didn't get nearly as much done as we had thought. We never made it to the heated pool at the hotel. We never made it over the hill on the highway to see the ocean. We didn't ride most of the rides, even the really tame ones that we thought he'd love… the car driving school, the Knight's Joust horse ride, the jeep safari ride. We did walk what felt like miles each day, we did take hundreds of photos of the boys posed next to ever cool LEGO structure we passed, including great shots of him with Darth Vader, R2D2, the green Bionicle, Knight Jayko and Knight Rascus, and busts of Einstein, Washington, and Shakespeare. We did pan for King's Treasure, dig for dinosaur bones, fly rescue helicopters, fly planes, take a mini cruise, and compete in a firetruck race. We (adults) did spend a good bit of time sitting and watching Matthew build with LEGOs in one pavilion, building, or store or another and then buying more and more bricks (LEGOs) so he could continue building in the hotel room. Somehow, going into the trip, what we failed to realize was that what was going to entertain and interest him the most was the sense of communal building - of walking into a small pavilion where there were thousands of LEGOs and just building, often side by side with other kids - and of building "at" LEGOLAND. We (adults) also spent a lot of time each day sitting outside The Hideaways, a giant multi-level playground of tunnels and ramps and slides and shaky bridges, and frantically scanning the structure hoping for a reassuring sight of him until he'd emerge from one slide or another to run our direction. We also saw so many amazing and unbelievable things built out of LEGOs that we all left wishing we could be LEGO master builders. To say that MiniLand at LEGOLAND California is one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen is a huge understatement. It's simply amazing.

So, a very "creative" trip, for sure.

With the combination of long days in the sun and lots of walking, we ended up fairly exhausted each night, so not a lot of knitting happened. Mom made good headway on her Clapotis, however. I bought her Rayon/Silk yarn from Over the Rainbow for her birthday. It's a beautiful mix of turquoise with some pinks thrown in, and it's working up beautifully. We all took a Clapotis to work on. I made us little instruction packs and a chart of the rows so we could easily check them off. Mom is the only one who made much progress, however. By the time she left yesterday, she'd made her way to section 3 and had done two of the "drops." It's going to be very pretty.

I worked mostly on my Flower Basket Shawl out of the Golden Chai silk I bought on my birthday. I love the pattern, even though for some reason I seem to have messed up on it frequently and spent a lot of time trying to determine where I lost a stitch here and there. Before I left, I made a black and white copy of the pattern and also did some blog searching for any tips or trips or warnings on the pattern. I finished the first section/chart before we left, so I was really glad to have found this set of notes on the pattern when I sat down the first night in the hotel to get to work on the second chart. It definitely wasn't obvious to me by looking at my copy that I needed to repeat a chunk of the horizontal chart a certain number of times for each repeat of the 10-row chart. The notes I'd printed totally explained this, but I had to laugh when I read this: "You’d start row 1 and when you got to the pattern repeat outlined in red…"

Uh-oh. With a black and white copy in front of me, I had a moment of panic that I wasn't going to be able to work on the shawl until I got back home and had the color magazine in front of me. But, close inspection of my copy did show faint lines around a 10-stitch section of the pattern. I had to assume that was the section outlined in red. So, I'm moving along with it. The Chai Silk is really nice. It does run from extremely thick to extremely thin, but so far that's not a problem. I'm seeing a little bit of fuzzing on it, however, particularly on the back, which worries me. It almost looks like "wear," which makes me wonder how it will wear. And, I'm not seeing mine look dainty and elegant and light and Victorian the way the one I lusted over at the Yarn Harlot's site does. Maybe I'm just not getting the full effect with it bunched up on the needles here. And, maybe blocking it, or even ironing, as recommended, will make a huge difference.)

I'm in the fourth repeat of the 7 noted in the directions. However, I'm prepared to have to do more. I found the section on sizing interesting in the notes I had (it's at the bottom of the page). I haven't noticed a lot of discussion of how many repeats those of you who have made this have done, so I'll have to see where I'm at when I finish the seventh. I bought 3 skeins of the Chai Silk, so I have plenty to work with.

Oh, and I started Debbie Macomber's The Shop on Blossom Street, which Mom brought me. She was reading the sequel, A Good Yarn. Fun!

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