Monday, June 18, 2012

Seaside Inspirations


The beaches at Sullivan's Island present loads of natural beauty--I love to walk them early in the morning, when dogs and their
owners frolic in the surf. 

 "The Sea air and Sea Bathing together were nearly infallible, one or the other of them being a match for every Disorder. . . ." Jane Austen, Sanditon

This past weekend, my husband and I drove down to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.  It took us roughly three-and-a-half hours to find ourselves out of our typical suburban subdivision and amidst palm trees, ocean breezes, and historical charm.  Mount Pleasant is situated a few miles from both Charleston and Sullivan’s Island—two of my favorite places—so it’s a convenient location to stay, and there is some cheap, albeit not luxurious, lodging available for the budget conscious.  Since we are struggling to economize, we not only eschewed charming Charleston inns and upscale beachfront resorts but also stayed in our modest and musty motel for only one night, but, despite these penny-pinching measures, we were still able to savor the beach, restaurants, and Charleston a bit. 
In this historic marker, knitting is listed as one of many
mundane household chores. 

The Lowcountry's Spanish Moss provides artistic
inspiration--maybe for a floaty cape?  The building
here is Saint Andrew's Anglican Church in Mount
 Pleasant.


As I have morphed from a normal human being to an obsessed knitter in the past few years, it is amazing how I look at my surroundings in a new way.  While I was unable to visit Knit, a well-stocked yarn shop in Charleston I’ve gone to before, as it is closed on Sundays (the day we were in town) and didn’t have time to stop in Summerville at The Village Knittery, another store I’ve visited, I still had knitting on my mind some, and found some inspiration for designs.  As I am still an “embryo” knitter (and can't even yet call myself a designer), I can’t say that I ran home and was able to quickly write up a pattern for the idea I came away with from my travels, but I’m getting there.  Of course, by the time that I actually execute the design (and face the frightening prospect of calculating increases for a shawl), I probably won’t have a finished pattern (or garment) for several months, probably around Christmastime when a light ocean inspired shawl won’t be on anyone’s to-do or Christmas lists.  But, actually, maybe I’m wise starting this endeavor now, as I can post the design next spring, thereby allowing myself a whole needed year to frustrate myself with math.
The blues of the sky and sea inspired me to begin to design my "Sullivan's Island
Shawl." I ran to Michael's craft store today to buy the beads, with hues reminiscent of sea glass.

I bought this 50% cotton, 50% wool yarn in Italy
last summer. I was able to go to an amazing yarn
outlet, where yarn was practically given away.
  (I stuffed a bunch into my suitcase at the expense of
 toiletries, clothes, and shoes I left behind,
 but the sacrifices were worth it.)   I plan to use
this yarn to make my shawl. 

I am determined, however, to work up this pattern.  If I have troubles, I know that Craftsy has an online lace shawl designing class available, but, for now, I think I’ll forge ahead on my own—I seem to be a glutton for punishment.
This pink house in Charleston reminded me of the Louisa Harding Willow Tweed yarn I'm using
 to make a lacey cardigan found in her book Little Cake.  I brought this project with me to the
beach, but was a bit too busy and tired to knit more than a couple of rows. 

As someone who must enjoy inflicting unpleasant challenges on myself, I have also been involved in planning a small knitting/office area in my house.  As my children are now in their tween and teen years and I embark on a new ambition to pursue knitting design, it seems a fitting time to rearrange, repaint, and ultimately end up with a space where I can easily access my ever-expanding stash of knitting, not to mention sewing, supplies.  Today, I have been doggedly painting and have walked away with sore shoulders and much dribbled paint on the carpet.  I plan to post photos of my finished area soon, after I’ve sewn the window treatment, hung the shelves, and, of course, finished painting.  Naturally, as I began to paint this moderately small bathroom-sized nook in my home, the filthy walls of the adjoining hallway and staircase began to stand out in their glaring ugliness, so I’ve started painting them, too.  I cannot comprehend how we have lived with ugly contractor’s grade paint stained with 14 years of children’s smears and dings for so long.  The problem now is that the living room, which adjoins the staircase looks pretty grubby.  .  .  .  At this rate, my  Sullivan’s Island Shawl (the name of my design) should be completed in time to give as a present to my now fifteen-year-old son’s wife someday. 

Of course, the carpet on the steps, the cheapest grade sold by our wonderful builders (a now-defunct company whose homeowner-company liaison quit, explaining to us that he “just couldn’t do this to people anymore”), look absolutely ungodly, but I’m going to have to wait on that project.  There are still quite a few years of spilled sports drinks and juice and ground in potato chips before my house is ready for a complete overhaul. Besides, I need to sit and knit a bit before contemplating any future projects.   
I bought this fabric the other day to use to make a window treatment for my
mini knitting studio/office.  The paint for the walls is a pale green, but I wasn't
able to capture its hue properly (from my paint samples) with my camera. 

I had to include a few more photos of my favorite place (and me enjoying it).  I'm sitting outside at Sullivan's Restaurant on Sullivan's Island.  The wildflowers are on the beach at Sullivan's  Island.  Poogan's Porch is a restaurant in Charleston, where I had She Crab Soup ( a popular Lowcountry dish).  The arched arbor leads to a house in Mount Pleasant. 

9 comments:

  1. Your blog is sooo romantic and dreamy, I always feel like I'm travelling when I read it! What beautiful photos. Shawl shaping sure is intimidating to me too (I am scared of it!)...but I know you will come up with a beautiful design, I just love the yarn :). That Paris fabric is fabulous, want some!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I've been away from the computer for quite some time, busy working on the house.

      Delete
  2. Lovely pictures :) and I enjoyed reading it very much! I am sure that your design is going to be wonderful. I look forward to seeing your finished Knitting Nook. I am supposed to get what we are calling a Krafthaus in a few months (a little building out back to do my crafts in). I need to start coming up with ideas for it :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your nice compliments. I look forward to seeing your Krafthaus take shape.

      Delete
  3. Great photos! My brother lives in Charleston, he is so lucky because he gets to see all of that lovely architecture and seaside charm every single day! I'm glad to hear that your trip was such a success (except for the lack of yarn store visits : ( ). I also love, love, love that Italian yarn, it is such a great color!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a fabulously atmospheric post! I am a great believer in ideas benefitting from a bit of time to ripen and mature below the surface before they necessarily see the unclouded light of day so enjoy the planning of your ocean shawl - it will be absolutely beautiful looking at glimpses of your thinking behind it. You made me laugh about your Italian yarn haul evicting other inhabitants from your suitcase! I have been known to purchase additional suitcasery for such purposes on occasion and come home with several more bags than I left with! I love the pink house in Charleston - I've always wanted to live in a pink house ever since I was very small - haven't managed it yet but one day!! Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog about it evoking an England that one might think has gone. It hasn't quite gone yet despite attempts on it! E x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and I do have a lot in common. I have always liked the idea of pink houses, too. There used to be a cute Victorian one in a town near where I live. Now, I'm curious and need to drive by to see if it's still there. I've been away from the computer for a while, busy working on home projects.

      Delete
  5. I really love the window treatment fabric you choose!
    I also love your blue yarns for the upcoming shawl....so lovely

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the compliments. I've been busy working on the shawl, and plan to post pictures and instructions when I'm done.

      Delete