Atlantic Beach

birds in the sky over the beachIt seems like every year that I’ve know Mr. Turtle, his family goes to Atlantic Beach over Martin Luther King Weekend.  I am told, that once upon a time, the family also went in the summer time, but with adult schedules being what they are, it seems that the off-season is the time we all make it work.

textures in the sand

patterns in the sand at Atlantic Beach

I like Atlantic Beach in the off season. The pace is slow: there is time to spend hours on a puzzle, a book, or a piece of handwork.  The tone has some things in common with the farm: we unplug, play games, and rest.  But there are things about the beach that are different than the farm: most notably, there’s always something to fix or do at the farm.  At the beach it is quiet and lazy.  There is time to bundle up and take long, multiple mile walks along the shoreline.  Most of the time you don’t have to share your space with anyone else; there might be a native with her dog, or a couple walking hand-and-hand, but these events are few and far between.

There’s time to sit on the balcony with binoculars and look for dolphins, fishing vessels, and “german u-boats.”  We look for shells, take artsy beach photographs, and spend time with family.  In the evening we cook in, or go to the Channel Marker, where we eat delicious, delicious seafood.  Seriously, if you’re ever in Emerald Isle, this is the place to go.

swatching in hairpin crochet

swatching in hairpin crochet

I made the choice not to bring anything with a pressing deadline with me, and managed to carve out some time for play – fooling around with shapes and textures and swatching for future things.  Since the pregnancy seems to make me always tired, I’d fall asleep on the couch to the sounds of the family working through a puzzle or playing a game.

I made a small hat as a class sample that’ll be for Kiwi afterward.  I caught up (a little) on my darning, and plotted for my next piece in Piecework.  It was lovely, and quiet and fun.

Me with all my tools, taking over the couch. My big crafting bag at my feet, my tin of stitch markers, my pile of scraps, and my scissors.

Me with all my tools, taking over the couch. My big crafting bag at my feet, my tin of stitch markers, my pile of scraps, and my scissors.

Is there an Atlantic Beach in your life?  A place to unwind and take the time for things you normally don’t get to do?

Inspiration for Totem

I am a liberal arts major, and was a straight A student throughout high school.  This was  not because I love to get good grades, but rather because I love to learn (grades were just a bonus).  I like knowing about things I had no knowledge of.

Totem has the genesis in several different ideas.  I was on the train home from one of Michael’s and my many journeys , and I had just finished Totoro, a slipped stitch pattern idea I had been playing with.  I was proud of the design, but I knew that this slipped stitch technique could be pushed father; that I could do more with it.

So I started noodling around with the leftover yarn I had from Totoro.  Because it was a highly varigated yarn, I knew I wanted a design that did a good job breaking up pooling.  The first idea wasn’t quite right, so I pulled out some more yarn and made this first swatch.

Okay, that pattern was pretty cool.  And the slipped stitches looked pretty neat.  But I didn’t think it was enough.  Was this really that different from what I did in Totoro?  I’d already done slipped stitches once, and a new pattern had to be interesting enough not only for me to knit the swatch, but different enough to be accepted as a unique pattern submission.  What else could I do?

I thought maybe I could add a cable, but I get frustrated when cables vanish in highly varigated yarns, and I wanted this to work with yarns like the one I was using.  I’d just finished reading through The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, and I remembered that she had used another type of slipped stitch – a wrapped stitch.  Wrapped stitches would be perfect – not only would the necklace around the stitches stand out because of the yarn’s highly varigated nature, it would break up any pooling that could occur.  Sweet.

So I swatched some more, and I thought the pattern was doing well – but it was getting awfully repetitive.  Was there any way I could break it up periodically with something else?  I went back to my pinterest board to look at stitch patterns I had favorited – nothing.  So I went on Ravelry hoping that if I gave my brain a break something would pop up.

I came across a post that thesexyknitter (otherwise known as Sarah Wilson) on raverly posted about her pattern, Jon’s Sweater.  It uses slipped stitches and the lateral braid to create a wonderfully subtle texture.  I’d never heard of the lateral braid, but it looked so cool.

How hard could it be?

So I learned how to do it, using this video.

And then I added it to the pattern.

So now I had the pattern that you see here.  It has the lateral braid, the slipped stitches, the wrapped stitches, and it’s the picture that I sent to Sockupied for my proposal.

What do you think? Have you ever done a lateral braid?  How about wrapped stitches?