I am having serious commitment issues — though not about knitting. I’m planning a honeymoon to Costa Rica and I am having the absolute hardest time choosing where to go, where to stay, what to see. I’ve read no less than 790 pages of travel guides in the last 3 weeks and have spent countless hours browsing hotel websites and I think I know where I want to go, but two things are stopping me: 1) thinking about all the lovely things that I’m NOT going to get to see in different parts of the country since I can’t be everywhere in one week and, 2) the cost. Oooooooh, the cost. Pulling the trigger and committing to spending that much money on one trip all at once — oooh boy, is that hard. (Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful to have this “problem”, but this will be the first big trip I’ve ever planned/taken so it’s kind of scary! I want to get it right! Costa Rica-related travel tips appreciated, if you have them!) Anyway, when it comes to my knitting, I’ve actually been extraordinarily committed. Remember my recent failures? Well, I resolved one of them.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that my two previously not-matching socks, now match. I frogged back the heel and shifted it over three stitches in order to get the purl columns to occur at the edges of the instep next to the gusset, like they did on the first sock. It wasn’t a big fix, just time-consuming and a little bit face-palmy, but thanks to three hours of Monday meetings the fix hardly set me back time-wise at all. Onwards!
My Kelpie shawl is progressing nicely, as well. The Loft yarn is probably not for everybody, it’s not “scratchy” but since it’s woolen-spun, it has an unusual “spongy” texture while knitting and the finished fabric is very matte. It feels a bit like pebbly velvet… sort of. Hard to describe, but very interesting!
Stitch Block Blues:
To reward myself for so much committed knitting, I started a new project: Purl Soho’s Stitch Block Cowl. What you see above is my swatch, to test out how my lovely new yarn from Maine would look in the pattern, and the very beginnings of the cowl. This project is a great example of why you should always swatch, even for a simple garment. [Cue mini swatch lesson!]
The pattern is written to produce a cowl that is 12.75″ wide with a 51 stitch cast on and a gauge of 4 sts/inch using worsted weight yarn on size US 7 needles. I know that I personally like knitting worsted weight yarn on size US 8 needles, especially a thicker, nearly-aran weight yarn like Osprey (which I am now madly in love with,by the way. Delightful stuff!). So I swatched, measured, washed, let dry, and measured again. My gauge was 3.24 sts/inch before blocking (5.25″ wide swatch divided by 17 sts that I cast on for the swatch) but it stretched a bit width-wise after blocking (to 5.5″) giving me a blocked gauge of 3.01 sts/inch. Now, if I had cast on the ‘required’ 51 sts at my gauge, my cowl would have turned out to be nearly 17″ wide! Since this is a simple pattern that just requires an odd number of stitches, it is easily customizable. Therefore, I cast on only 35 stitches so my final cowl should be about 11.6″ wide (35 sts / 3.01 sts per inch = 11.6 — plenty wide enough for me). In summation: always swatch, if you care about the look/feel/proportions/size of your final project!
StB #1: Alpaca for Mom:
And finally, here’s some solid progress on my first Spin the Bin challenge for 2014. Those bobbins hold 6 oz of lovely alpaca fiber, waiting for plying (my favorite part). My goal is to do finish by Friday so I can gift the skein to my mom when I go visit this weekend. (We are going wedding dress shopping. I’ve been dreading this experience for a long time solely because I hate dresses and I hate shopping, so if I never blog again, you will know I did not survive. [Cut dramatics.])
Well, I’d say that’s more than enough out of me this week! Hope you’ve been making good progress on all of your projects this week, as well. Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis!
Well, of all the commitment issues to have, it’s good that you’re having them about the honeymoon,and not the fiance!
My advice for the honeymoon planning: if you’re leaving for the honeymoon right after the wedding, let your first day or two be relaxing beachtime/downtime. After the hectic whirlwind of a wedding, a little beach time can be great to recharge!
Good luck in the planning! I always have commitment issues when making travel plans too. 🙂
(And that cowl looks really neat!)
Thanks for the advice! We decided to wait a couple of weeks between the wedding day and the honeymoon, I think this was a good idea for us so there’s only one big thin to focus on at a time.
Ahh, that sounds smart. And you also get another big thing to look forward to!
Oooo. Your stitch and block cowl is looking especially lovely! The colors work well with the pattern.
Good luck with the honeymoon planning! I’m certain that it will be amazing, regardless where you stay and what you do!
Thank you! I deliberated about those colors for a loooooong time, there were so many nice ones to choose from.
I think you are secret twins. I also hate shopping and dresses. (And by hate dresses, I mean that I’ve never found one that fit me right, so I decided to try and make myself one, but that hasn’t gone well either.) I wish you luck. And if you don’t make it, can I have your stash?
hahaha! I think you’d be an extremely worthy stash-recipient, as you know how to appreciate lovely yarns so… why not? 😉
I have the exact same issue of ‘if I choose this then I’ll miss out on this’ when making decisions. It can make ordering in a restaurant with a great menu kind of tough ; ) I would say that when it comes to planning a trip, try to find a few things that you know you absolutely want to do and get those set. Then have a few options for the other things you might do and let yourself go with the flow and whatever you feel like doing when you’re there. You don’t want to miss out on anything, but you also don’t want to miss out on the actual vacation part of it by trying to cram too much in. And also know that it is kind of like my menu problem, because no matter what you choose it will still be great, Costa Rica sounds like so much fun no matter how you spend your time there!
Thanks for the advice, I know exactly where you are coming from! I ended up focusing on two general areas (even though there were at least 4 or 5 I would’ve liked to see) and planning our activities around those. Half the trip will be all relaxing-by-the-Caribbean and the other half will be more rainforest-adventure-y. In short, I wish I was there right now!