Archive for April 2010

Bird Photos

April 22, 2010

This April 26th (Monday) will be the 225 anniversary of the birth of the French-American ornithologist/painter John James Audubon. Additionally, 2010 has been declared the International year of Biodiversity. In honor of these events (or just because I feel like it), I’ve created a separate blog where I am planning to catalog photos I’ve taken of all the bird species I have ever seen.

There was an NPR story about Audubon a couple years ago–he sounds like such an interesting person. The illegitimate son of a French sea captain, he was born in Haiti in 1785. He apparently made up his own name (Audubon), and passed himself off as being the Louisiana-born son of a French admiral, before going on to paint hundreds of birds, and getting into knife vs. canoe-paddle fights. Whereas he cooked and ate most of the bird species he cataloged, I have eaten very few (if any) of these birds that I’ll be posting (he didn’t have a camera; and birds won’t hold still to be painted). So there will be no recipe section on the bird blog.

Did you know bird species outnumber mammals by about two to one?! I’ve been mildly into birding for a couple years, and I believe I’ve seen a couple hundred species of birds in my life–but I was never really keeping track before. There are around 23 species already up on my site. Maybe I can break a hundred species in photographs in the next year. That’ll be a tentative goal. My hyperlinked life-list-in-progress can be found here.

Goldfinch; Kanye Interrupts

April 3, 2010

focal length: 432mm, aperture: f/3.5, shutter: 1/640 sec., distance 2 meters, location: Groton, CT

Gold Finch and Kanye West (click image to view larger).

I saw this goldfinch (among other birds) at my in-laws’ feeder this morning. Kanye came out of nowhere and interrupted the moment. Note the transition from winter to summer plumage happening on the goldfinch; something’s going on with Kanye’s plumage, too.

Sage Aran Pullover

April 3, 2010

For my third pullover project, I thought I’d design my own Aran. I started out by measuring an Aran whose fit I liked. To get the same width using my selected yarn and needles, I swatched three cables, then¬† figured out some connective material to put in between the cables themselves. The whole process was surprisingly easy.

I’m knitting this in Harrisville Designs Orchid with Cashmere (70% wool, 25% mohair, 5% cashmere) in the Sage colorway. This is a single ply yarn, spun by a family owned and operated business in Harrisville, NH. I like it a lot. According to the Harrisville Designs website, “Woolen yarn has been spun in the water powered, brick mill town of Harrisville since 1794.” The historically preserved town also has water powered sawmills and gristmills. I might have to take a field trip to this place in the summer…

The cables I chose are A.) a figure eight knot cable, B.) A four strand braid, and C.) a fairly wide celtic knot pattern containing some closed loops. I got these cable patterns from TheGirlFromAuntie (which currently seems to have some dead links, but it sounds like they should be fixed soon). This is my first time knitting cables with closed loops in them. Alice Starmore describes the technique in her currently out of print book, Aran Knitting. Across the sweater I have:

*3 st. in seed stich, k1, p1, cable A, p1, k1, p1, cable B, p1, k1, p1, cable A,  p1, a 2 stitch twist, p2, *, cable C then repeat * to * but in reverse order.

I began the bottom of the back with some twisted k2 p2 ribbing, and finished my first pattern repeat in just a few days last March. I see that I wrote on my ravelry page for this project that thought I’d be finished with the back in just six or seven weeks.

If I’d kept working on it, I would probably have been done with the whole sweater several months ago, but sadly I am instead only this far along:

Hopefully, I’ll resume serious work on it now and finish it up quickly in time for next winter. Wish me luck.


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