We're back from a brief (but longer than we planned) road trip to Mendocino (coastal Northern CA). Here's what I learned:
- If you are not sure whether or not your kids are prone to carsickness, assume they are.
- If you think it might be a good idea to take the scenic route even though you know it might be longer and curvier, think again.
- If you are priding yourself on packing really lightly for an overnight, go back and add in an extra outfit for every member of the family and two for any members under two and under.
- If it sounds like fun to take a detour to visit a lighthouse along the way, make sure you read the sign carefully so that you realize the lighthouse is 21 miles down the road and not 2.1 miles away.
- Packing a handknit shawl is a good thing. Whether you wear it out as you stroll around or in over your pajamas in the evening, you'll feel "right" in your shawl. (I took my Flower Basket Shawl along, which hasn't gotten much use, and I loved having it with me. It just had the right "feel" for the getaway.)
- Take more LEGOs than you think you’ll need/want. If you’re taking pods, take a bunch!
- If it can be closed, it probably will be. (Okay, that's just our luck, probably not a rule of life!)
We had a good time, and it was nice to simply "be away" in a beautiful inn replete with their very own llamas, organic gardens, and tea trees in bloom. But, we did have quite the (carsick) trip getting there. And, the area was besieged by rains over the last three days. It poured the whole time we were there. Just poured.
I had debated about what knitting to take - and we were just going for one night. I swatched a yarn my Secret Pal gave me last year to see if I can get gauge for socks from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road. I keep wanting to make socks from that book, but the gauge always seems looser than the kinds of sock yarn I have. So, I did a swatch, but I ended up out of time and didn’t even get it measured and sorted out in the final rushed hours before we left.
I also considered taking a skein of Koigu from my coveted Koigu stash and making myself a Ninja Ropes hat (see free pattern link in list at right). I made the boys’ theirs last year, and it’s a hat I just love. They’ve worn them often, and every time I put one of them on them, I think what a pretty hat. So, while making myself one wasn’t on my original list of things to make for this year, I really do think I might have to have one sooner rather than later. It’s a great-weight basic hat--and I can't resist Koigu colors. In fact, while I have a bunch of Koigu stashed away, I'm guilty of holding onto it waiting for the perfect project, so I haven't used much of what I've bought. I do have a sweater in mind for some of it, and another Charlotte would be obvious, as well as a second set of fingerless mitts (which is on this year's list). So, I considered taking a skein and casting on my own Ninja Ropes hat, but I kept thinking “this is silly. I’m only going to be gone overnight. How much knitting will I really do? Do I need to start something new just because I’m on a trip?”
So, I talked myself out of starting something new.
Instead, I took my Shoalwater Shawl (taking a break from Kiri). It was a good choice, and it was nice to pick it back up and knock out a few rows. It’s a much denser shawl than Kiri, so I’ve actually worked far more rows on this shawl (far more) and still have a bunch to go (somewhere around 80). Given that there are 350+ stitches on the needles now, the rows are slow going, but it’s a rhythmic pattern, and each row flows along nicely. I got in a bunch of knitting (surprisingly) in between stopping the little one from opening and closing all the doors and drawers in the suite and after building a set of LEGO pod creations. I sat by the fire the first night and knitted (and wore my shawl), and it felt so peaceful.
Then we decided to stay and extra night, so there was more time to knit, and I did sort of wish I’d brought that skein of Koigu! I’m such a sentimental sap. I love having associations of “place” with my knitting. The only other time we were in Mendocino (at this same Inn), I made one of my favorite Rowan hats. It’s a bulky pink seed stitch hat from Kim Hargreaves, and I love it. Every time I wear it, I flash back on that first stay at the Inn (it’s a place that holds special significance for our family), and it’s nice. I like my knitting being tied to milestones and moments in my life. So, I sort of wish I’d had yarn with me to work on a Ninja Ropes hat for myself.
But, I didn’t.
I was glad, however, that I’d thought to take along a hat. We hadn’t planned on the winter storm (rain) and the drop in temperatures, but expecting general coolness and windiness by the coast, I’d tossed the two-tone green hat I made last December into my bag (along with my Koigu fingerless mits). I don’t think I ever showed this hat off. I used leftover yarn from my Ribby Cardi. The hat is a “bit” big (and a tad tall—I wear it folded up a little), so the gauge obviously wasn’t perfect for the pattern, but I think it turned out beautifully.
The pattern is “Make It Mosaic Hats” by Ellyn Wheeler from Creative Knitting Magazine (November 2005). Mom had the magazine when she was here last fall, and I thought it was a cool hat, and I really loved the look of the fair isle-esque diamond patterning. It’s actually a slip stitch pattern, so it’s very easy to work, and it has a wonderful Celtic resonance to it. The picture in the magazine shows up much more distinctly than mine. The two greens I used are so tonally close, I guess, that I got a very subtle effect, but I really like it.
We got back home a day later than planned, and I dutifully picked up Kiri again last night. I will finish the 10th repeat tonight. I’m not sure how to “tell” how big it really is unless I string it onto a string and lay it out. I hate to have to do that because I find it really painstaking to get a shawl back on the needles off of a string. But, I might do it just to see if it really will be big enough this way or not. I’d go for the 11th repeat, but I’d really be kicking myself later if I ended up without enough yarn left for the edging!