It's been such a leisurely weekend.
sunday morning breakfast
I've spent most of it close to home, cooking simple meals, wandering around the backyard picking flowers for bouquets, working on a knitting project, and goofing off with HWWLLB and with friends.
Saturday it was going to be 90-something degrees and sunny, and the menfolk were going to be off doing their manly duties someplace, so Ileana and I decided to go for a paddle in the canoe. Being near the water seemed like a cooler place to be than in either of our backyards on such a hot day, so we packed some PBJ's and took off for the Eno River, just at the point where it flows into Falls Lake.
I don't think it was any cooler there. But you could stick your feet in the water or get splashed by a paddle, so options for cooling down were perhaps more interesting than at home. We saw lots of birds - herons, egrets, kingfishers, warblers, and a huge nest with a big papa osprey on top and two baby ospreys inside, squawking at us. There weren't many other boaters out -- too hot I guess -- so it was pretty peaceful. There was definitely some energetic paddling, but we spent the bulk of the trip floating in a shady spot munching snacks and sticking our feet in the water.
It was a good learning experience for me, because I've never paddled from the back of the boat before. HWWLLB is always back there, and I'm always up front goofing off and causing steerage trouble. Our canoe did a lot of zig-zagging while I figured out how to use the paddle as a rudder, and I never quite got down the J-stroke that's supposed to keep the canoe going straight. But we got the hang of it eventually, and luckily for me, Ileana is extremely good-natured. Next time we'll bring the Mr.'s, another boat, and perhaps a larger beverage cooler.
The other big weekend haps is learning how to maintain a fancy stitch pattern across seams. I know, stop the presses. I have been hankering to make a top for myself that's both knitted top-down, and that has a fancy stitch pattern. I have been puzzled by how to keep on top of a stitch pattern when there are increasing stitches coming in from four different points around the thing. I read Barbara Walker's instructions over and over, but she's so breezy in her assurances and it seemed unlikely that it would be as easy for me as she makes it out to be.
So, I dove in, being conservative in my choice of stitch patterns in order to minimize mathematical challenges. I picked a twist stitch called purl-twist knot that is only a 4-stitch repeat and decided to use a whole lot of stitch markers to help me along. You know, it seems to be working out fine. I love the texture -- it's a great old-fashioned stitch that you've seen on lovely vintage sweaters. My new rule of thumb is only one operation per stitch. If you're increasing into that stitch for a seam, don't be thinking you're also going to twist that stitch and purl it too. No sir. That's asking for trouble. You just wait for the next repeat and perform your little operation then. Once I got that down, it became easy.
So not only did I goof off a lot this weekend, I learned something too. If Monday is even 1/10th this good, it will be pretty darn good.