Knitting on Long Beach, NY
After being stalled on the train home from Montauk last weekend, my husband wasn’t up for making the trek out to the beach. Instead we went to Long Beach which is about an hour from New York City. This still allows us to get out of the city and experience the sandy beaches of Long Island without the 3+ hour train ride. The downside of Long Beach which is a short few block walk from the train station is that there is no delightful yarn store in the middle of town like Purl by the Sea.
Since the Heirloom Lace Doily Placemats are a gift, I am on a deadline to finish them. While I set myself lots of deadlines with my knitting, I don’t like to feel pressured to knit something. Life’s too full of pressures to add to them voluntarily!
Despite this, I’m knitting like a fiend to finish these mats. I think that the second sleeve of sweaters and the second socks are boring…with this set of placemats there are 4 of them!
Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor in Chief
Sunny & Chilly on Fair Harbor Beach
Beach knitting is one of my favorite forms of knitting in public (KIP). Unlike subway knitting where I’m filling time that would otherwise be unproductive, I enjoy being on the beach where the constant sound of the ocean kissing the shore is reassuring and peaceful. With knitting in hand, I combine two of my favorite activities enhancing my relaxation.
Unlike swimming, the benefit of having knitting on the beach doesn’t require specific weather conditions (although I am not a fan of knitting in the rain). The cooler than average June weather actually enhanced the experience since it kept the beach relatively deserted. Due to the slight wind (which was great for my husband’s windsurfing), I had to knit with a thicker yarn which translated to lots of progress on my Hemlock Ring Blankie.
As with any large project, I find that the beginning goes quickly since there’s the sense of adventure and I haven’t had time to get bored with the project or an uninteresting repeat. With the Hemlock Ring Blanket, the number of stitches per row increases significantly which means that progress is REALLY slow.
Center pattern of Hemlock Ring Blankie
- Green & Lavender Feather & Fan Rings on Hemlock Ring Blankie
Despite bringing two sets of 10.5 needles, I still ran out of room to keep knitting. It became work to squeeze the stitches onto the needle. Thankfully, I have a set of interchangeable Denise needles at home so that I can extend the length.
Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief
Jaeger Sienna Cotton in Beige from Webs
C is for cotton, a wonderful fiber for knitting. (While an ABC along should only have one entry per letter I couldn’t resist.) For me, knitting with cotton symbolizes the beginning of summer and the rich vibrant colors that accompany it.
Like any fiber, cotton has its pros and cons. From my perspective, they are:
- It’s a natural fiber.
- It’s relatively inexpensive.
- It’s light weight and good for spring and summer knitting (although I’ve found that it can absorb humidity when knitting on the beach.)
- It has good stitch definition which is great for patterned stitches.
- It tends to be hypo-allergenic so that most people can wear it (unlike many types of wool.)
- It stretches downward so that garments grow out of shape.
- It doesn’t have a lot of give which can be an issue for some knitters.
Cotton and cotton blends, which use wool or another fiber to overcome some of the negative effects of knitting with cotton, are a mainstay of my summer knitting. In particular, I like Egyptian cotton since it has a wonderful sheen. It’s great for all sorts of garments and makes a great beach knitting.
Pink cotton sweater & Periwinkle Cotton After Dark Nightie on Fire Island Beach
Last year, my cotton knitting included the Woodstock Sweater (as a sleeveless top), the Saffron Tunic, a Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono and a warshrag.
We managed to get one more weekend on the beach to get away from New York City and enjoy the lapping waves. September is a great time to go to Fire Island since the beach is empty except for the few brave souls enjoying the peaceful rhythm of the sands. Of course, since I’m always cold, it means layers of clothes and coverings! It makes knitting with wool a welcome pleasure.
Fair Harbor, Fire Island in September
Fair Harbor Beach on Fire Island - September 2008
Koigu and Tess' Yarns Projects Protected on Fair Harbor Beach
Huddled beneath my layers of warmth (no swimsuits needed!), I worked on two projects, the Koigu Lace Ribbon Scarf and my Purple Chevron Sweater. It’s wonderful to work outside in natural sunlight which brings out the fullness of the colors. Here are some Yarn Harlot inspired photos.
Tess' Twinkle Yarn in Purple on Fair Harbor Beach
Purple Chevron Sweater on Fair Harbor Beach
Koigu Ribbon Lace Scarf Stretches on Fair Harbor Beach
From a creative perspective, the beach and environs are great sources of knitting inspiration from the undulating sands to the wild grasses.
Untouched Sands - Textured Knitting Inspiration
Wild Grasses as Textile Inspiration
Since our Bonaire vacation is a birthday celebration for my finance who is an avid windsurfer, I spent most of the time on the shore with the Windsurfing Widows, a crowded area with lounge chairs and brightly painted wooden chairs that are hard on your butt. While the water is a beautiful blue-green and waist-deep for a long distance, Jibe City focuses on windsurfing so that the water is cluttered with surfers who go back and forth preventing any other water activities.
What I overlooked is that it can be windy on the shore. So I found myself seating on a bench with a balcony view where I could wrap up (since I didn’t think to bring sweats) and knit. My Woodstock Sweater is making progress while I sip pina coladas.
Due to the freedom to knit something unwedding-related, I am making quick progress despite needing to rip out an occassional few rows since I misread the pattern.
So far this year, I haven’t been knitting at my usual knitting output. I attribute this to my upcoming wedding and the fact that I have tried to knit things for my wedding and honeymoon. Several of which have taken time in terms of swatching and abadon projests. I think that the emotional stress of the wedding is seeping into my knitting. I gave myself permission to take a vacation for knitting white and wedding things.
For spring break, we’re headed to Bonaire which is north of Venezuela for my finance’s birthday where he can windsurf and I will sit on the beach and knit and read. Since Bonaire tends to be less tourist oriented unless you dive, snorkel or windsurf, it requires multiple planes and long connection times which translates more knitting time!
For my vacation project, I’ve chosen the Woodstock Sweater from Jean Moss’ Sculptured Knits. It is a cropped short sleeve top. The pattern calls for mercerized cotton and luckily I have sufficient amount in my stash in a pink sand color acquired last year at Silk City Fibers.
The Woodstock Sweater is great for it’s wave pattern that’s knit in a combination of stocking knit, reverse stocking knit and K1P1 rib with some yarn overs for decoration. This gives the knitting a three dimensional look. Since my gauge is larger, I am making the top longer which I think that I will like better.
With the warm fall weather, bordering on summery, we decided to sneak in a couple of last days of sun on the beach in Fire Island. Despite the warm weather, the town was closed tight except for the restaurant when we arrived in the late afternoon.
Here’s the beach house awaiting our arrival:
Fortunately, the weather was warm so that we could sit by the deserted ocean’s edge and take in nature. Of course, I brought my knitting along. The beach was peaceful and deserted until mid-afternoon when the fog burned off so I continued to make progress on my Lace-Front Sweater and Souvenir Socks.
Unlike in peak season, the town was quiet except for a few others who like us wanted another view of the ocean before its winter cold. It was good to be able to quietly knit and sit while the rhythmically water lapped the shore.