Sunday, May 25, 2008

Knitting Break!

Knitting in Europe

So instead of moving on to the Venice recap, this is a cross-city (but still trip related) post about knitting, and shopping related to knitting. I was a little concerned before I left about the differing rules from country to country about bringing knitting needles through security, so I tried to bring tools and projects that wouldn't raise any red flags. Wood backup dpns, plastic stitch holders and darning needles, and no scissors. I did bring some metal Knitpicks Options to use on a lace project, so that if there was an objection I could just discard the tips without removing the yarn from the cable. I went through security in Seattle, Amsterdam, Prague, Paris-CDG, Venice-Treviso, Vienna, and again in Amsterdam, and had no problems, other than that my clogs kept setting off the metal detector, and I was yelled at for using too many bins in Paris instead of just piling my computer, toiletries, and coat into one tiny bin. Seriously--there was no shortage of bins, nobody else in line, and isn't the point of pulling the computer out of the case that it needs to be looked at by itself?

I brought along a barely-started Froot Loop sock, from the latest Knitty surprise, which I am knitting on wooden needles. Size 0, very sharp Knitpicks Harmony needles, but wood. The photo in the bottom right was on the train to Terezin (note: visiting a concentration camp isn't a great way to get in a happy mood for a wedding), and the top right is the view of the Stephansdom in Vienna outside our hotel window. By the time I arrived back in Seattle, the heel was turned and I was well into the foot--I'm still a little surprised that I didn't manage to snap those needles, but they've held up well. Normally, I find that bamboo needles get a little rough after use, but these are still totally smooth. The yarn that I'm using is Yarntini semi-solid (from the Loopy Ewe) that was in my stash, the colorway is (I think!) Designated Driver. I like the way that this pattern looks in the semi-solid yarn MUCH better than my discarded first attempt. Here's a closeup of the gusset:


I shortened the cuff by a couple of repeats, and I may end up making these for my mom because they seem a little on the small side. They stretch enough to get on my foot without a struggle, though, so maybe they WILL be for me!!!

I started a Myrtle Leaf Lace Shawl (Rav link) while in Prague, because I wanted to have a more challenging project going that I couldn't possibly finish on this trip. No danger there--there was not a lot of non-airplane knitting time. The yarn for this one is very fine 100% cashmere that I bought at Madrona earlier this year. It was a struggle to get this started, I ripped back a few times and I'm not thrilled with the pattern. Also, the colors of this yarn are so rich that I think a more solid pattern would show it off better, or maybe smaller needles would be best. I ripped it out yesterday. I'll probably return to an already started lace project before starting something new with this yarn.

What's that? You want to know about the yarns of Europe? Well, I hate to disappoint, but the yarn haul from the trip is very small. I didn't visit any yarn shops in Prague or Paris, except for a department store in Prague that had a lot of yarn that I can get in the US. In Venice, M___ and I went first to a store that appeared to be a yarn store, but was not--they had twisted beautiful silk and chenielle scarves into what looked like hanks. INCREDIBLE store, gorgeous scarves & textiles, but no yarn. Maybe 10 minutes later we stumbled across a yarn store, and I purchased two skeins of bright orange sock yarn, made in Italy--Principessa (Rav link). The color looks much more intense here in the grey Pacific Northwest than it did in the palette of Venice, and I can't wait to start knitting with it.

In Vienna, I carved out time to visit the only knitting store that I went to when I lived there--it's where I bought the supplies for this long-dormant project. The store is still a tiny little place, with pattern books and magazines piled high on the counter and yarn in every little crevice. I wanted some Austrian yarn, and although there was no sock yarn they did have local linen and shetland wool. I purchased two hanks of shetland wool, you can see the blue pretty clearly above, the dark heathery green is s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y overshadowed by the orange sock yarn. In June, I'm taking a design your own fair isle sweater class, and I'm hoping that I can incorporate at least one of these yarns into my sweater.

The yarn in both Venice and Vienna was very comparable in price to the US. Certainly not a bargain, but I think that the Pricipessa was about $15 for the two balls and the Shetland wool was about $18 per skein, for 100 g / 450m. The Vienna store had smaller skeins of the shetland, I should probably have gotten smaller amounts of more colors!

And now that I'm home, and no longer worried about hauling a heavy bag all over, I wish that I'd bought some of the linen as well as a few more colors of the wool. Next time!


angelarae said...

The socks look great! Ooooh! Lace! I am working on Orkney Pi now. I think if I finish it successfully, I'll feel I can knit anything. The yarn you are using for your shawl is lovely. I love my knitpicks nickel plated circulars. They are the best I've ever used. Glad you had a great trip and are home safe!


Ella said...

Your socks are beautiful, as are your pictures. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip - welcome home safe and sound!