Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vacations and catching up

After a very long absence, I am finally back to blogging. Last fall, I had it all planned out. I was going to purchase a new ipad and take it with me on vacation so I could keep the blog updated with all of my fabulous adventured in South America (herinafter, SA), and would also be able to take a full complement of patterns along for the ride. Well, needless to say, things did not quite work out that way.

But let's back up to those dilemmas from late October, since I feel like I kind of left everything hanging.

Dilemma 1: I had just satisfied myself that it was not worth paying double what I originally paid to ship one more skein of Bremont from the UK or Germany, and that I would live with my almost-knee socks. Then a wonderful thing happened: a friend of mine from the international swap I participate in offered to get one and send it as part of a swap package. So I am eagerly anticipating it, and will re-do my socks yet again once it arrived.

Dilemma 2: I decided to start fresh on Umaro with one skein each of the 2 new colors held together. I have not yet done it, but I swear I will.

Dilemma 3: In the end, I caved and bought more yarn. It went something like this: LL offered a limited edition colorway through Jimmy Bean's Wool called Christmas at Downton. I love all things Downton Abbey, so I was all over that, and ordered, well, let's say a few. As long as I was ordering and getting free shipping, I figured I should see if there was anything else I "needed" and 2 skeins of BSA cotton in pink materialized in my cart. I also started researching Japanese stitch patterns as I had envisioned a lotus-inspired edging. After much hunting and studying and several failed tries of edgings that looked wonderful in lace weight but failed to translate to a heavier gauge, I took the best elements of several different patterns, and put them all together to make an edging I am very proud of. Really, I could not be more thrilled without this turned out, and I think the edging really elevates the project to something really special. I am so proud of it, in fact, that I am writing it up as a pattern. I improvise all the time, but I usually hesitate to call something completely original. But this time, I think I earned it. Look for an upcoming post called "Hey, I wrote a pattern" or something along those lines.

Dilemma 4: What can I say? The answer is always Rhinebeck! I went, I saw, I shopped, I had a good time. I love what I bought, don't feel I overspent, and enjoyed myself despite the rain.

Then came the vacation of all vacations. Just as I was preparing to blow town, a little storm called Sandy started heading our way. I priased my foresight (or was it luck?) in having decided to head to Peru a day early, as the airport in Boston closed about 6 hours after I left. I ended up taking my trip electronics-free--no computer, no ipad, and only occasional data service on the smart phone. There is simply not enough time and space to write about all my adventures, but I will try to summarize briefly, as I expect no one will read a post this long.

It was fabulous beyond belief.

I am in love with Peru.
Macchu Pichu is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Learned colorwork and dyeing techniques. Made many wonderful new friends. One word: ceviche!

The Chilean Fjords are among the most spectacularly beautiful things I have ever experienced. Patagonia, icebergs, and walking with Penguins at the end of the world.

Argentine beef, Argentine olive oil, and Argentine yarn all make me very, very, happy. Buenos Aires is a city not to be missed. I can now be counted among a relatively small group of people who have navigated Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego, and the Beagle Channel and I can truly say I have been to the end of the world and back.

Uruguay: The best yarn experience of my life. Abuelita, Malabrigo, and Manos all in one day, and a beautiful art deco-inspired city.

The only thing better than experiencing SA was doing it from a fiber perspective. Andean colorwork techniques, 17 micron merino, natural dyes, Chilean cotton, and wonderful people were the hallmarks of this trip.

I am sure I will be referring to my adventures in SA for a long time to come. I know I would not do it justice trying to summarize quickly--there was just too much. But here are a few pics.

Cuzco, Peru

Macchu Pichu, Peru

Jessica and her lamb, Juanita
Knitters in Sallac, Peru working on my Hamantaschen socks

New friends in Chinchero, Peru

Barba del Viejo waterfall, Patagonia, Chile
Walking with penguins at the Punto Tombo reserve, Chile

Iceberg alley, Chilean Fjords

A beautiful day in Puerto Varas, Chile

Fresh fish market in Puerto Montt, Chile
Cormorants, penguins, and sea lions sunbathing in the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia, Argentina

Colors of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

The tip of Cape Horn
Floralis Generalis, Buenos Aires, Argentina