Friday, August 29, 2014

More about the Harry Potter Tour


I have a few minutes with a computer again, so I thought I would try to add a post about the Harry Potter Studio Tour.

Moogie and I moved her into her dorm in Bloomsbury in Central London.  NYC London uses the campus of the University of Central London, and it is a great location.  In fact, today Moogie and I walked to the British Museum and spent time with the Rosetta Stone!  There is so much that is really easy walking distance for her.

But, the Warner Brothers Studio, London, was NOT walking distance.  We took a subway to an over ground train out to some end of London.  When we bought the tickets, the ticket seller said, "Going to the Harry Potter Tour?"  And when we asked how he knew, he said there is nothing else out there.  ha ha ha.

When we got off that train, there were double decker busses with Harry Potter photos all over them.  I think it cost another $2 (I don't have a pound symbol) each for that bus.  That took us right to the studio.  We met up with Teknosugar, MariaSamira and Jensta79 who are all in my Pride, the Sugar Quills, in Gryffindor.  Jensta79 brought her son who was an absolute doll.  We really took our time going through the tour.  Basically, they show you a short film, then just let you loose on the sound stages.  There are two large sound stages that have everything from props, sets and costumes
the mirror of erised
and you can just wander as long as you wish.  We didn't get the audio guides, but just read the cards in front of all of the items.

Between the two stages, there is an outdoor area with food, butterbeer (a lot like cream soda), and exterior sets.
The second sound stage is full of models.  They have scale models of the sets, as well as a lot of the animatronic robots that were used in the films.  It was really cool to see the robot part of the Monster Book of Monsters.  Then they have a complete Diagon Alley.
I wish the light were better because I could have taken a thousand photos.  The final room has the model of Hogwarts that they used for fly overs, etc. in the films.  It was just beautiful.

Also, I can't say enough how fun it was to meet my fellow Gryffindors in real life.  Moogie kept saying how nice my friends were.  She thought that I was meeting up with people from Bellevue, and just laughed at me when she realized that it was my HPKCHC friends that we were going on the tour with.

I tried to get photos of anything knit.  I think I got a decent one of the Weasley Blanket that is on Ron's bed in the Gryffindor Dorm.  I'm using Moogie's photos right now as I don't have a way to upload mine onto her computer.

When I get home, I will have about 1000000000000 photos to sort through.

We hope to hit a few more museums this afternoon.  If I get another chance at the computer, I'll try to update when I can.

shaping the planet from NYC London
O!  p.s. I finished the mittens and a hat for the Detroit Achievement Academy.  Well, finished all but weaving in the last ends as I hope to turn them in for WIP the first on Sept. 1 and the Fall Term of HPKCHC.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In London

Moogie and I met 3 of my Pridemates from the HPKCHC today at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.  It was a great day!

I need to get to bed, but I just had to post that.

shaping the planet in London

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Vienna, Day 2


We started our second day in Vienna at the National Library.  First we visited the Papyrus exhibit.
The regular parts of the library are closed to tourists so you don't disturb the students, but of course, Moogie and I snuck in just a bit for a look around.  We didn't take photos, though, as we wanted to pass as ... students.

This is the visitor part we were allowed into:

here are some of the stacks of books:
I couldn't help thinking of JulieMustKnit and wondering how the King County Library System compares.

Then we walked past the stables for the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions.  Really, they were beautiful.
Next we went to the Globe Museum, and by that I mean a museum of globes.  Our family loves maps of all kinds, and this was a very cool museum.
The globe above is of the stars.  The animals are depictions of the constellations.  So many of the globes came in pairs.  One would be of land, and the next of the "heavens."  The oldest globe did not have the Americas, just ocean.  And then some of the next ones had pretty weird drawings of the coastlines.  Africa and the east coast of Asia were also drawn in funny ways in the oldest globes as the map maker had to go on stories of what those coasts looked like.

Our next stop was at the History Museum.  Ha ha ha we thought we were going to the Natural History Museum and were eagerly anticipating seeing fossils, bones and lots of stuffed animals.  Instead, we saw some amazing automatons.  There was this Diana and a Centaur, and the centaur shot an arrow, and the other cool one was a ship that had a band play instruments, then it shot off cannons.  We didn't actually watch the automatons go, they had videos of them in motion, but just looking at the machines was really neat.
They also had a beautiful Vermeer and some paintings by Bruegel, including Children's Games which is one of my favorites.

Next we went through the crypt of the Kaisers.  When we got to the ticket booth, the man inside came out and shook our hands.  We thought he was just going to explain the rules to us, but he then said something about how happy he was to have us there, and there would be no charge for such a beautiful girl.  We were a bit freaked out, and when we went down the stairs, I kept thinking that we would somehow be trapped down there...
with all of the coffins, but we got out safely.  I admit that we kind of snuck past the ticket booth very quickly on the way out.

After lunch, we went to the palace and saw the silver and china, wow, then an exhibit on Sisi, the Empress Elizabeth, who lived in the 1850's ish.  The clothes were beautiful, she was a bit of a fashion plate for the era.  There was one knit shirt!  but no photos allowed of the fabrics, of course, for fear of fading them.

The last museum we hit today was the Modern Art Museum, the MUMOK.  It is not very large, and has only a small amount of permanent art, but it was very fun, and the special exhibits were suitably modern and weird.
We had coffees in the plaza by the MUMOK and people watched for a bit then went to dinner at this hole in the wall place that had amazing carrot/ginger soup and homemade ravioli.

One more day here tomorrow.  We hope to see the summer palace and this really interesting apartment building in the city.  O, forgot to say that we bought some chocolates and treated ourselves as we walked through the city.  YUM!

shaping the planet with Austrian chocolate

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vienna or as the Austrians call it, Wiens


We made it to Vienna yesterday.  It should have been the easiest leg of the trip, but since Moogie's knee was bothering her, we rode the second half of the day very very slowly.

We left Krems at about 10 am, and stopped in Tulln for lunch.

We wanted to make Vienna before dark, so we didn't stop to site see.  But, still, it took about 1.5 hours to find a place to eat, eat, and get back on the trail.

It was sunny most of the day, with wind.  The Murphy's Law of Biking held true, and we rode into the wind the whole way.  It alternated feeling cold and hot because of the sun.  I rode without a jacket and was a bit cold, but I liked it.  There aren't as many towns on this stretch of the trip, so we rode through forest with the river on our left  as we were on the south side of the river.  Moogie's knee started to hurt and we had to really slow down.  It was getting close to 5 pm and I was starting to worry about arriving before dark.  We had been smart and google.mapped the hotel in Vienna, then saved the directions on Moogie's phone.  We knew it was going to require quite a bit of riding through the city.  In fact it was about 6 km once we got to the city proper.

We got a bit lost, but not too bad, and some very nice people helped put us back on the right track.  Ok, I know the map above makes it look like a straight shot, but really, it wasn't and it is very tough to read street signs here.  Also, it says that it should take 2 hours, but it took us 4.  We did it though.  We rode bikes from Passau, Germany to Vienna, Austria.

Today, we slept in a bit, then took their subway, the UBahn into the city center.  First we visited a flea market.
We walked around quite a bit.  Moogie was amazed that most of the stuff looked like what you could get at a flea market in Brooklyn, NY.  Then we walked to St. Stephen's Cathedral.  This is just an amazing building.  I know I am Catholic, but when I see these cathedrals, I can't help thinking that the Catholics knew how to build a church.

We took a tour of the catacombs below the building where the bishops of Vienna as well as many of the royal family are buried.  There was also an open pit of bones from the last time the Plague swept through Vienna.  It was amazing and sad.  There was a mass going on in the church, so we went into a side nave and lit candles for my brother.

Then we went out for ice cream.  We deserved it!  We found this organic ice cream place called, Eis.  The ice cream was delicious.  Moogie had the cone with cream cheese and strawberry.  I had chocolate, caramel, and raspberry.

We then went to a butterfly museum and enjoyed the open flight of the beautiful butterflies.  We wanted to go to the Natural History Museum next, but it was closing in 1 hour, and the guy selling tickets said to come back tomorrow as we would not get out money's worth.  By then it was pouring.  Our raincoats are only water resistant, so even though they helped, we still got soaked, especially our shoes and pants.  We decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel.

It was a great day, though.  Tomorrow we will try to fit in 2 museums, the Library, and a palace!  Oh, also one more crypt, Moogie loves crypts and catacombs.

shaping the planet with organic raspberry ice cream in Vienna

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bike Trip from Passau to Vienna, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3


We have made it to the second and third hotels.  The 2nd hotel (the first night of biking) did not have internet.  The 3rd hotel had wifi but only on the ground floor, and we arrived so late (you can read about it below) that there was no time to try to post.  This hotel (4th and Day 3) has wifi in the room but it is so slow there will be no photos... sorry.  I hope to go back and post photos when I get some decent internet.

Day 1
The first day was a beautiful ride.  We didn't start riding until 11 am because we had to pick up the bikes first.  The weather was overcast and cool.  The river is beautiful, and you ride through these picturesque towns occasionally.  At one point, we had to take a small "ferry" across the river because our hotel was on the south side.  There are fair number of fellow bikers, couples, groups and some families on the trail.  It's weird, but other than the people with motorized bikes and some really fast guys, we pass everyone!  You should see the looks on their faces when we ride past, the cute little young lady and this fat old lady.  I guess all that training came in handy.  We arrived at this very nice hotel right on the bike path at about 6 pm and had dinner then walked around a bit looking at the river!  As if we hadn't seen enough of it.  But we wanted to walk instead of ride.

Day 2
The second day was very different.  It rained almost the entire day.  Thank goodness we had bought some raincoats Saturday morning before we left.  Smartest purchase.  It was not uncomfortable to ride through the rain, though, and we still had a lot of fun.  We left at 9 am, and made it to Linz where we pushed the bikes up through the old streets to the Schloss Museum where we spend about an hour touring 2 of the floors.  The armor and weapons were very cool.  When we got out, it had stopped raining, and we rode on to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.  We had to ride back and up a very steep hill, which meant getting off and pushing the bikes up about 1k but it was so worth it.  When we left it was almost 5:30 and we were a bit worried because we had quite a way to ride, about 20 miles.  We rode on through more rain, rarely seeing anyone else, just enjoying the peace and each other.  One funny thing, in this part of Austria, there are huge slugs, just like back home. And for some reason, they are all trying to cross the bike path, so we see squished slugs all along the route.  Really, slugs, stay on your side! The grass is not greener. We arrived in Grein at about 8 and were so happy, but we could not find the hotel, so we stopped at a restaurant, Schorgi, café-konditorei, where the incredibly nice woman working the cash register called the hotel, and they came and picked us up, well really, first she gave us directions, and told us that it was too far to continue, but we tried to ride on for about 30 minutes, but we realized that there was no way we would make it as it was inland and therefore uphill and there was no bike lane on the street and by now it was very dark, so we rode back along the busy main street to the restaurant, walked in soaked and tired, and she looked up and called for help.  Someone came with a truck and a trailer with lots of bike slots and he drove us up to the hotel.  Thank goodness. There was no way we could have done it.  we got to the hotel at about 9 pm just as the restaurant was closing, so we ordered, ran up to our room and changed into dry clothes, ran down and ate.  After dinner we went back to the room where we ate some pastries that we had bought at the café down in Grein.  So so so yummy!

The sun is out today, and we are looking forward to getting back on the road, but I'm not sure how we get back to the river.  I hope not down that scary hill.  We rode about 120 km yesterday.  Today should be about 90 km, so a much easier day.  We still hope to do some sightseeing, even if it puts us into the hotel late.  It is so worth it.  Hope the next hotel has internet, too.  The second one did not.

I hope to post a map and some photos at some point, but we have to get out luggage down to the "pick up" room, and eat breakfast and get back on the trail.

Day 3
ok, there was no time to post the day 1 and 2 so I am now adding day 3.  We had to ride down that super scary hill to get back to the Danau (Danube) Bike Trail.  It was 5km.  So, Moogie and I pushed our bikes up about 2 km before we got too wet and scared in the dark.  Then we rode down those 2km and back 1 km to the nice lady at the restaurant.  Anyway, today we started our ride by coasting down 5km of steep hill.  Then we rode until we reached Melk.  We ate lunch, then visited the Benedictine Abbey there.  It is now an art museum, with some amazing relics of Catholicism as well as general art.  We were able to visit their church which was covered with gold. I mean the altar pieces, and most of the statues. We spent about an hour walking around.  Then we got a bit lost trying to get back to the Danube, but we finally found the way, and rode across a bridge to the North side (Melk is on the South, and we crossed over on their power plant bridge) and continued on our way.  Today we rode through a lot of towns.  The trail will take you up a bit away from the river and suddenly you are in a small Austrian town riding down narrow cobbled streets between buildings.  You have to watch out for cars because those parts have no dedicated bike lane.  It was so fun.  These towns are just beautiful.  One of the towns is known for the stone age excavation done there.  Back in 1908 some one discovered a stone age site and found a "Venus" statuette.  There is a bit of a shrine where the venus was found.  Moogie and I searched 2 wrong towns, then finally found the right place, and walked up the stairs to the Venus.  The original statue was about 11 cm.  The replica is about 6 ft.  It was a bit funny, but still fun.  We made it to Melk by 7pm found our hotel, and walked down the street for dinner.  We totally splurged and had a wonderful meal.  I think we covered about 100 km.

Tomorrow we will make it to Vienna.  It should be the easiest day of riding, about 85 km or so.  Then we have 2 days to just see Vienna before flying to London.

Shaping the planet with a sunny day in Austria.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm in Germany!!

sorry no photos yet because the wifi at the first hotel in Passau is too slow.  we have had some funny adventures already, including this super old computer in the hotel's business center.  it has a keyboard with many unfamiliar symbols.  it took me forever to figure out how to type a @ because it is in the bottom right of the Q key and i couldn't figure out how to get a symbol in that spot to show up.  for further reference, there is a key named "Alt Gr" that seems to access those symbols.  also, the Y key and Z key are switched so i keep tzping z's when i want to tzpe y's.  see what i mean.

the weather is cool and a bit rainy, we could get soaked tomorrow.  moogie and i keep telling each other that is all part of the adventure.  germanz is beautiful.  we left seattle at 6, sorrz for no caps, but that is a bit different on this kezboard, too and it's a pain.  ha ha also the apostrophe is switched with this symbol ä  so i keep having to back space and put in the '

anyway, we left seattle at 6 am, arrived in newark, nj at about 2 pm.  left there at 530 pm and arrived in berlin at about 630 am.  the flight to newark was very bumpy, but the flight to germany was pretty smooth.

the computer wont let me show the flights part of the trip.  i hope the map embeds ok.

anyway, off to bed, we are riding 38 miles tomorrow!!

o! wanted to say that the woman behind me on the train to passau was knitting.  we chatted very briefly, mostly she was knitting a summer sweater in what looked like linen or cotton and silk, she looked at the mittens i was knitting and said, "very warm." then pointed to her sweater and said, "for summer."  i laughed, pointed to my mittens and said, "for winter."

shaping the planet from passau, germany!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014



Quick post because like the Prince in The Princess Bride, I have a wedding to attend, errands to run, a suitcase to pack and Pookie to pick up from the airport.  I'm swamped!

I finished the last row of the border for the Wedding Afghan for CJ and David last night around midnight.  I was falling asleep as I was hooking and as I jerked awake, I would think, JUST KEEP GOING!

But, I did manage to finish, and the afghan is beautiful.  Most importantly, it was made with love and will wrap the happy couple in our love and best wishes for a long happy life together.

Ok, I need to get back to folding laundry.  I hope to next post from Germany!
shaping the planet from Bellevue, WA, USA.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Last Wed Night with my Eastside Stitcher Buddies Until Sept.


I was going to name this post:  This is Why My Daughter, Allifer, Sucks, but, as it was a Wednesday night meet up of the Eastside Stitchers, and I am headed to Europe on Sunday to ride through Austria with Moogie and visit Hogwarts with my Gryffindor mates, I needed to make this post about the meet up and not about how while Allifer has finished her 2 rows of the Wedding Afghan, and dropped them off for me to attach, she

Her squares are lovely, but really..... ugh, the meanness of her to make me weave in for her!

Here is my part of the afghan:
When I get it all sewn together and the border finished (tomorrow night I hope) and THE ENDS WOVEN IN, I will take a finished photo to post.  Honestly, though I get sick and tired of using these three colors, they do combine into a beautiful afghan.  I am really proud of our work, and know the bride and groom are getting a piece of art.

Ok, on to Eastside Stitchers, and who made it to Crossroads for the Wednesday night meet up.  First I have to say that we are having the weirdest hottest weather.  Global Warming stinks.  We finally had some rain last night, and when I say rain, I mean not our usual Pacific Northwest drizzle.  It absolutely poured.  We got more rain in one night than we usually get for the entire month of August shattering the record set 32 years ago.  The rain helped with the wild fires that have been burning a huge part of our state east of the Cascades, but since there was a lot of lightning, there is a chance that more fires were also started... and in my city, Bellevue, there was flooding because of how much rain fell so fast.  Luckily, there was no flooding in my neighborhood, but then we are super hilly.

Anyway, because of all this weird weather, we had a small group at the round table in Crossroads near Half-Price Books and Starbucks.

Chockelet was at the table when I arrived.  She brought the most amazing cowl that she was casting on.  Honestly, I think she has to cast on over 400 stitches on one needle, knit for a while, then cast on another 400+ stitches on another needle, knit THAT, and then graft everything together.  Brave woman.
Chockelet also spent some time entertaining the beautiful Addie (or Addie spent time entertaining her...)

Wajio brought her second pair of navy mittens for the Detroit Achievement Academy.
She is wisely knitting these 2-at-a-time.  I need to get knitting as I am still on my first pair of navy mittens for the school!
ReadNitDream brought an afghan she is hooking.
Another brave woman to be working on an afghan in August.

The beautiful Addie did not come to knitting alone.  She brought her mom, GwenS, who was knitting a cowl in ... Malabrigo of course.
I worked with Addie on having "Malabrigo" for her first word.  She seemed more interested in singing.  Smart girl.

I woven in Allifer's ends, then got in another row on my navy mittens. Weaving in is relatively painless when you are chatting with friends and enjoying the lovely Addie.

shaping the planet with knitting buddies

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why is Counting to 8 So Difficult?


We keep getting these wisps of clouds that hint at rain... but then aren't rain.  On Friday, the sky over the Cascade Mountains looked like this:
 and I couldn't decide if those were clouds headed our way, or if that was smoke from the fire in Ellensburg.  We didn't get any rain, though, so maybe it was smoke.  It was hot all weekend, and is supposed to get back to 90 F (32.2 C) tomorrow.  I guess I should be happy that I am working until 5, and then tutoring 2 students at 6 and 7.  Ugh!  Well, I will have to hit the gym before I leave for work for a biking workout.

So, I have finished the 20 squares that make up the 4 rows of 5 for the wedding afghan.  The wedding is this coming Saturday, so we need to put this thing together and hook the border.  My rows are all put together.  I finished hooking the four rows together tonight as I watched The Killing, a Netflix original crime drama set in Seattle.  The show is pretty good, but the best part is watching how they portray Seattle, and looking for mistakes.  One funny thing is that it is always raining.  And, by raining, I mean it is pouring.  There are lots of scenes in the first few episodes with people standing under umbrellas.  Ha ha ha!  that is a big mistake.  Locals rarely use umbrellas.  Also, at one point, one of the characters tell another who is hungry to stop at Del Taco.  Ha ha ha we don't have Del Taco's here.  I know they have them in Southern California.  Also, the politics is all weird and wrong.  And you see people running, well some, but there are hardly any people riding bikes.  One other funny thing is that the woman detective is always wearing jeans and a yoke colorwork sweater, like a scandinavian design.  Also, she wears a raincoat most of the time.  I don't own a raincoat.

ok, Back to the afghan. 
I hooked the last two squares using my 99 Little Doilies book by Patricia Kristofferson.  In the above "square" you can see that in the VERY FIRST ROUND I miscounted and made 9 popcorns instead of 8.  This threw the whole square off without my noticing it until I was "squaring the circle."  Of course, instead of squaring the circle, it became a sort of oddly shaped star.  So, maybe I was "starring" the circle.  Anyway, I had to frog that back to the very beginning and re-hook it.

When I showed the finished square to Himes he said (I am not kidding), "I really like that stripe in the different color around the outside."

I responded, "you mean the simple round of double crochets in taupe?  that is your favorite part of this square?"

He looked at my wild eyes and backed quickly out of the kitchen.

The other square that I based on a doily pattern from the book is this one:
As this pattern was a round doily, I had to stop with the pattern earlier, and use my own stitches to square it, then make some interesting border.  I was just about out of the dark brown espresso yarn, so had to use it only in the final two rounds.

I also designed yet another type of "woven" crochet square.
This "weaving" uses front post triple crochets (and double triples).  It is more of an illusion of weaving that actual weaving like the other squares.

The last square I made is a very plain series of single crochet rounds in beige, followed by half-double crochet rounds in taupe, and some double crochet rounds in espresso, with the last framing double crochet round in beige (because I was running out of espresso).  If I gave this square a name, I would call it, "Jane."
As I was hooking the rows together, with the afghan draped across my lap, I was wondering why I am always making afghans in August... I don't have photos of my finished part, as it was too late to get decent ones, but wow, this afghan looks good.  I am really sick of these three colors (yes, Wireknitter, I might scream if I have to use them again soon) since this is the third afghan in a little over a year I have made with them, but they really go together nicely.  And, the afghan, with all the different squares, is very striking.

Ok, off to bed.  I need to make it to the gym tomorrow before heading out to Northgate.

shaping the planet with an afghan in August.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday Meet up for Eastside Stitchers

It was a bit of a quiet night at Crossroads for the regular Wednesday night meet up for Eastside Stitchers. It was super relaxing to just hang out and see what people are working on.

I arrived fairly early, but Wajio beat me to the round table near Starbucks and Half-Price Books.  She was working on her navy and white mittens for the Detroit Achievement Academy.  This time, I got a photo of her finished mitten.
She has started the second mitten, but right now it is mostly a pile of yarn.
There was some story about grabbing a set of the wrong size circular needles, and knitting up to the thumb gusset before she realized that she had the wrong size circular needles, and then having to frog the whole second mitten... Wajio found the right needles though, and cast on and was knitting away before she left for home.

CathieC was knitting her sample charted square.  She has designed her own pattern, made a chart, and is now knitting it.
CathieC is still working on her beautiful MacArthur Park Poncho, but at home.  Imagine knitting on that Poncho in this heat!

Guess what Tara1682 is knitting?  ha ha ha I think that Tara1682 and Puzan are the easiest members to "Guess the Project."  Well, Wireknitter might be in that group, too.  Just as Puzan is most likely to be knitting a cowl, and Wireknitter is most likely to be knitting a shawl, Tara is most likely to be knitting a...
Linen Stitch Scarf!

Speaking of Wireknitter and knitting shawls... she brought 2 in for show and tell.  The first is one she designed herself after taking a class at Madrona on designing lace shawls.

There were some excuses about how the center pattern repeats don't line up with the side section pattern repeats, blah blah blah, but you know how we are all our own worst critics.  The shawl is beautiful.

Wireknitter's next show and tell is another shawl.
This was a mystery kal by Susan Ashcroft and it is called the 3-3-1 Mystery KAL.  The construction is very interesting, and although the pattern has lace, it isn't overwhelmed by the beautiful Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock handpainted yarn.

The last thing Wireknitter brought tonight is her actual project, which is another shawl!
I brought afghan squares, the ones I showed you yesterday, and spent the evening hooking them together into rows.  I have 2 rows finished.

Right before we left for the evening, Caam704 (Colleen) arrived!  She did not bring her knitting, but we hope to see her back at the group with needles in hand, soon.

shaping the planet with regular buddies!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lots of Squares


My heart goes out to all the victims of wildfires this summer, but especially for those in my own state of Washington.  Our fires seem to start from lightning, so are no one's fault.  But, o! the people who have lost their homes, farms and businesses.  Just in case people are getting too sad, a bear cub was rescued the other day from the fire near Wenatchee with burned paws, etc, and flown to Lake Tahoe for care.

I am once again frantically cranking out blanket squares for a deadline.  My daughter, Allifer, and I are making an afghan for a wedding gift for her best friend since Second Grade.  We each agreed to make 15 squares, sew them into rows of 5, then we will sew the 6 rows together and hook a border.  Well, when I was down in So. California last week, I hooked 8 squares.  It was amazing.  But, we all know how good knitting/crochet is for stress relief.  So, I sat with my brother while he worked and hooked squares.  I sat with my brother and watched episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation, and hooked squares.  I spent time with my parents and hooked squares.  I went back to the quiet of my sister's house (she was in Chicago) and hooked squares.  When I wasn't riding her bike, I was hooking squares.  That is how I got 8 squares finished in 5 days.

 This first square is a version of one I made for the black and red afghan for my Godson, A.  It is based on a cable stitch from a hat pattern I got during the 2014 North Puget Sound Yarn Crawl at Serial Knitters, my most local yarn shop.  I made 2 versions of the hat, and really liked the cable.  I added some twist stitches, and of course, made a square rather than a hat.

 I just love the squishiness of this square.  It is made with sort of half puffs that are hooked at an angle with a dc behind.  In order to get the rows to lean in different directions, I worked on the back side for some of the rows.  This used a lot of yarn, 177 yds (162 m).

 I'm not sure you can see this clearly in the photo, but the square above alternates the blocks of dc with 2 rows of a lacy stitch.  I hooked the lace parts in the dark espresso color, and they don't show up very well.  I like how the open and more solid rows set each other off.  I don't often hook squares that are super lacy as I like warm afghans, but it's fun to make at least a few for a patchwork afghan like this one.

I love how the different heights of the rows of this afghan square give it a sort of optical illusion look.  It almost looks like the square bends.

 I made this square using a similar technique to the one used for the 16-Circles Square by Beatriz Medina.  I hooked the center beige flower, then with the taupe, I hooked the bottom half of the 8 taupe flowers.  It looked pretty weird at that point.  Then, I hooked the tops of all the taupe flowers.  It looks pretty cool.  The border uses a sort of flower motif as well, and although I hit the 12 in (30.5 cm) size pretty early, and had to do a simple single crochet final round, I love the border.

 The center beige section of this square was inspired by a stitch combination in one of my Japanese crochet stitch dictionaries.  It looked like cathedral windows.  It looks a bit different in the round, but I still really like it.  It opened up into a square pretty easily, too.

I just love this square.  Back when Redbird1 was a docent at our Bellevue Art Museum, I went to this amazing exhibition of woven baskets from Japan.  I was inspired to try to design a square that incorporated some elements of weaving.  I have tried for over a year to have this work, but it always looked mutant.  The tension wasn't perfect in this square, but I think you can clearly see the woven sections.
This square was just a sort of mishmash of different stitches.  I think if I ever write it up, I will name it "Busy."  For now I'm calling it something like "Icicles."

Since I returned, I have hooked the last of the 15 squares that are my part of the blanket.
I'm almost embarrassed to put this square on the blanket.  Don't get me wrong, I like how it looks.  As you can probably see, now that I have sort of figured out how to make a woven square, I was playing with more ways of weaving.  So the square is very very asymmetrical.   I hope they will think of it as design features (which it all was).

So, I talked to Allifer to see how her 15 squares were coming, and of course, she won't be able to make them all.  I wasn't surprised.  While I had tons of opportunity to hook in So. California, Allifer, who was also down in So. Calif. last week had no time at all.  She was there for Comicon, and was way too busy having an awesome time. I am mostly just working on mittens and hats for the Detroit Achievement Academy, Grade 3, so I have extra time to make more squares.  I am almost finished with one that was inspired by some doily patterns that I have from this wonderful old Leisure Arts book called 99 Little Doilies by Patricia Kristofferson.  No photos of this one yet, but I'll try to post one soon.

Ok, bedtime for me as I am working early every day for the next 2 weeks up in Northgate.  I hope I can bring my bike at least a few of the days and ride home.

shaping the planet with afghan squares.
close up of my first woven square