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Hawt Galveston Sands

Riding the ferry to Galveston is a major nostalgia trigger for me.  I remember taking it to visit my older sister one summer after my mother passed away.  I didn’t realize how much I craved a little getaway, and staying with her in Galveston was exactly the retreat I needed.  I can so clearly recall how it was barely light outside and I stood at the front of the boat, letting sea spray hit my face.

There were also many, many summer trips to the coast in high school with either my brother or groups of kids, listening to loud music, with the windows down, the whole way.

Later I came with my own kids.  They were always excited to see dolphins keeping pace with the ferry, to play on the beach, or walk the seawall.

It’s a peaceful herald of summer.

The last time we were in Galveston with just our daughter was about 17 years ago, before my son was born, below.

I remember getting this low light photo developed and cherishing it because it was such a good day.

We had such a good time “swimming” Tuesday.  Everyone lays in the shallows, talking and getting pushed around by the waves, being silly.  Every time I realize I’m laughing these days, I feel such gratitude for the moment.

So, it was a good, overcast day at the beach, complete with lunch at Mosquito Cafe, a long run through the sand, some stunt kite flying, and lots of lazing about.

Hawt Sands is my third or fourth pattern to knit from Teresa Gregorio.  Every one has been a much-worn knit.  The thing that drew me to this design was the hood, the seahorse (of course), and imagining the seed stitch border in hempathy.

I’m a little out of my depth with hemp and intarsia, so there were a few challenges to getting this knit the way I wanted.  If I’d done this in a wool blend or cotton, it would’ve been such a snap.  But hemp felt all wrong in my hands. Knitting with it was like writing with my left hand, all jerky and weird.  But after all of that stockinette, I did get a feel for it.

For this top, I used Elsebeth Lavold’s Hempathy in beach white (8 skeins) and blue pine (1 skein) with size 0 needles.  I knit it to be fitted with the expectation of the hemp blooming and relaxing with washing.  Thankfully, it relaxed to just the right amount.

Keep in mind that I knit my top longer than the pattern sample, plus the hemp stretches.  That’s why I still needed more hempathy when I finished up the 6th ball in beach white.  I think I found two of the last balls of this color in existence at Abundant Yarn and was relieved to find that they looked the same as my other dye lot when dry.  When wet, you can see a color variation, but it looks like intentional color blocking, so I don’t really care.

I modified this be longer and to have fewer decreases because I wanted it a bit loose at the waist.  I don’t feel like the difference between my hip and waist measurements is as much as the average person’s.

Here are the mods.  They appear lengthy, but it’s just that changing the amount of decreases changed everything else.  I’m typing these out for me, should I want to knit another one some time:

Hem– I cast on for the second size and increased the amount of seed stitch hem by half an inch.

Decreases– My row count was off so I spread out the first set of waist decreases by two rows more.  I didn’t do the last two decreases either.  Because I was spreading my decreases out, I started my color work charts after three decreases.

Colorwork- I had more stitches on my needles than called for, so I just centered my color work for the front.  By the time I did the back, I realized I could have just added some “waves” to keep the color work almost continuous across the front and back, but I just didn’t have the heart to redo that much knitting to satisfy the anal perfectionist in my head.  I’m getting better at tuning her out.  I did, however, knit more waves across the back.  To balance things out between front and back, I added some waves to the front in duplicate stitch.  It was a compromise with the nitpicker.

I used a combination of fair isle and intarsia for the color work.  I used intarsia for the top and the bottom of the seahorse and carried the fair isle I was using for the waves across his middle section. By the time I got to the back, I had figured out that the hemp required a much easier tension for color work than I was used to.  To knit that way felt loose and sloppy but it turned out a lot better than the front when washed and blocked.  For the front, I had long strands of the blue yarn hanging from the inside, so I used the slack to loosen the color work up some.  It turned out okay, but not as nice as it could’ve been.  Next time I will know better.

Increases– For the bust increases I increased as directed but did one less increase.  Keep in mind that I had done less decreases, so I still had plenty of room there.

Sleeves/ shoulders– After casting on for sleeves, I had 119 sts, so I knit 3 extra stitches before working the left front placket, and made sure I had the same number to the right of it.  I also had 3 extra stitches to graft together for each shoulder.

Hood– When picking up stitches for the hood, I found that I needed to pick up an extra stitch at each shoulder gap to keep it from being “holey” there.  I knit the first one with the stitch before by slipping the a previously held stitch to my right needle, picking up one from the gap, then slipping both back to the left needle to knit together.  I then picked up another stitch from the gap and knit it with the following held stitch.  I did the same on the other side.

I really don’t know that these mods were necessary, but I knew I’d never regret making a coverup a little loose.  I would, however, be bummed if it was tight.  Things need to be free and flowy in the Texas heat.

Honestly, it wasn’t hot at all that day on the beach.  It was overcast and perfect, except for the crazy amount of seaweed.

Previous posts on this knit: swatching, getting the hang of colorwork, and halfway there.

All said, I love my coverup!  I’m so pleased I tried hemp and it came out okay.  I have a few more of Teresa’s knits lined up for this summer or fall:  Drift’s Ridge in lilac and grey in a wool/silk blend, because I’ve hi-jacked the purple bandwagon, and Ontario Skies, because I can wear it all year.  Teresa also has a podcast that has quickly became one of my favorites.  Listening to her voice and “podcast presence”, you’d never guess that she hasn’t been doing this for a long time.  There’s always some interesting aspect of life or crafting to consider.  I’m even clearing out my closet, somewhat, after listening to her Wardrobe Architect series.

Knitters and would-be- knitters, Teresa is hosting a Knitting Read-a-long in her Ravelry group, where we’ll read some of the knitting classics together.  The first book is one I’m ashamed to say I’ve had since way back in my early knitting years, and still haven’t read in it’s entirety: Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  It’s funny and smart, but I guess I need a little push to hold off on my knitting long enough to read about knitting.  There’s still plenty of time to join in and order the book.

This was a good day.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, flickr)

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  1. It's amazing how some things can transport us to the past like we were there again and no time has passed. You look so young in that old picture, almost a child. Thank you for sharing those sweet moments with us.

    I like how your seater came out, and I'm tempted of trying to work with hemp but I'm a bit afraid since I think it has more weight than cotton or wool and things can stretch out.

    I also became addicted to Teresa's podcast. I also share with her my sewing hobby, so it's very easy to see myself in the things she talks about. It's curious how you can feel so close to somebody living that far away.

  2. You two do have a lot in common..ahem…birds! Do you think you'll join in on the Knitting Book Read Along? I tend to read only the parts of these books that pertain to what I'm working on, so I'm excited to read some of them completely. Also, I have no one to talk about such things with except you guys online, so I love that there'll be an open forum to discuss them.

  3. Michelle, this looks great! I really love the hood. I imagine you'll get tons of use out of this one.

    What a special place for you & your family – so sweet! It's so neat how a place can bring back all those feelings and memories. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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