Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Stash

Just a quick post to catch up today.  I have some finished stuff....

The hand towel is finished.  I like it a lot but it will be a gift not a keeper.  They say that the best gifts are the ones that you want to keep.  This must be a great gift!  The cotton is so soft and thick; it was a pleasure to knit up.  And easy, too.

I have a shawl just starting. I am using the pattern for Annis which is doubly fitting because it is for Anne.  She chose the yarn from Paradise Fibers but I got to choose the pattern.  It's an alpaca/wool blend and I think it will be toasty warm as a scarf worn on a cold, windy day.  Winter will come back.

And, I'm going round and round on this skirt which has been on the needles for wa-a-ay too long.  It's about half-way there and I'm determined to finish it.  Actually, a simple pattern with a bit of lace at the bottom.  I'm not positive of the exact fiber but it is wool of some sort. I quite like the b/w tweedy look and suspect it is two different fibers plied together.   I have have knit up, washed and dyed a swatch.  It fluffs up and softens quite well with a soak and takes dye, too.  Knitting it is like working with mountain goat yarn...or what I imagine that to be like.  I'm not sure whether I should dye it when it's finished.  I didn't even contemplate dyeing it before casting on.  Can you see the gigantic cone of this stuff?  Too much skeining for me and my niddy-noddy.  So, as add rows around the perimeter, I keep wondering: should I dye it or not?  What do you think?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fifty Fridays # 42

Sort of a day late with this one.  Oh yes, it is Friday but the day I want to remember was yesterday.  It was my Mom's birthday and she would have been 91.  I find that just amazing to think of.

This is one of the few photos I have of Mom at her own birthday celebration...her 60th.  She is standing with her first three grand-children - there would be 4 more that she wouldn't meet.  And as you can see, she was a proud Gran.  Now the little boy has 4 - almost 5 - kids of his own and the younger girl has two. She would have been an even prouder great-Gran. 

When I was growing up, Mom and I had the typical mother-daughter relationship: ups and downs.  Sometimes, the downs were very low, indeed.  But as I matured and she mellowed, we came to understand each other better.  There was nothing Mom liked better than a natter and since we didn't live close to each other, a natter was the first order of business when we came to visit.  My Mom liked to read, she loved to learn new things and I know she enjoyed a challenge.  Her drawing skills always made me jealous. And she always had a great sense of style - even if I didn't think so with my youthful style-consciousness..    She had a wicked sense of humor and, even when younger, tended to be a tad absent-minded.  She was shy and didn't really do parties or big social gatherings happily.   I think Mom would have made a good interior designer.  I have lots of  memories of her (frequently) changing the furniture arrangement, re-painting furniture or cupboards or poring over magazines and library books for ideas.  She sewed all our clothes when we were kids; was a great knitter and baked the best oatmeal bread in the world.

Her most memorable advice to me?  If I was feeling down it was time for a new hat! 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, August 12, 2013


I know, we're actually finished the travelling part.  Back at home, we look at all the photos and decide that we really did have a good time.  It seemed like a lot of driving - and it was.  I'm going to start at the end and work backwards for a few posts.  It'll take that long, I think.   So, this is just my version of the home movies from our holiday.  Sit back and relax!

My last photo of Port Townsend on the Olympic peninsula in Washington State.  This is also the first view we had since it was the same ferry.  I'm pretty sure it was even the same fog.

Then, the fog lifted and, suddenly, it's not so cool.  It's turning into a hot day.  

A perfect day for sailing with Mount Baker in the background. 

These ducks are sunning themselves at Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park.  This is right in the middle of the urban landscape: behind the McDonald's and next door to a big  Safeway.  Lots of opportunity to pick up something to eat and take a walk around the lagoon. 

We wandered around the old section of town (those photos are on the other camera - later!) appreciating the old brick buildings and the ornate architecture of the late 1800's.  Apparently, Port Townsend was meant to be an Important City, but history got in the way.  Now, it's a pretty laid-back place for tourists, boat-building and a lot of opportunities to enjoy nature. 

After visiting a yarn shop housed in one of these buildings, we were hungry for some dinner.  Most of the choices offered were pretty run-of-the-mill fare.  But I spotted a chalkboard on the sidewalk offering "risotto with green tomato, leeks and smoked salmon".  They had me at 'risotto' which is one of my favorite ways to eat rice.   It was called the Cellar Door - and they didn't lie.  This is the entrance.  No sign...just yellow arrows.

Through the door and the ambience was definitely subterranean - yet ornate.  Dark wood, exposed brick and heavy furniture including some furnishings that we couldn't figure out at all.  The menu is a delightful mix of their signature cocktails with amazing ingredients put together AND fresh, local tapas offerings.  The darkness is well lit up by the cheerful young servers and, of course, a glass of Pike Brewing Company's Naughty Nellie ale.  And, yes, that risotto was delicious with big slices of fried green tomato!  So were the lamb sliders and the baked mushrooms.  The best meal on our trip.

For today, I'll leave you with this piece of the local street scene.  It was near the waterfront in part of what seemed to be a vacant lot used for parking, vehicle repair, delivery area and other stuff.  There was a lot of driftwood and other weathered wooden structures mixed in with flowers.  The bottles were $2 each according to the scrawl on the box - just take your pick and leave the money.  I think it's been here for a long time.   Port Townsend had that same kind of sleeping-in-the-sun feeling to me.  Not a bad thing at all.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Stash

I know...I know.  I missed last week's report but, trust me, this week will be more interesting.  I've been on holiday for a couple of weeks.  Driven almost 3000 kilometers and seen lots of good stuff.  We also visited with family and did a lot of eating - and knitting.

I'm stretching the definition of 'stash' ever so slightly today.  This beautiful organic cotton yarn was gifted to me from another knitter's stash.  It was destined for afghan squares but my dil and I couldn't let that happen.  So, I swapped a bag of acrylic worsted for a bag full of cotton.  There was only one pattern choice for me and it was this one by Lois Young.  The bag of yarn went in the car and I knit while we visited.  Actually, the first stop was so hot I just wanted to sit in the air-conditioned house.  What else to do but knit and talk?  I love how it turned out but it's still too warm here to actually wear it long enough for a photo shoot.

One of the cities we visited was Spokane.  There, we adventured on to a bus - hotel parking spaces were too precious to give up - and trekked off to Paradise Fibers.  Hundreds and hundreds of square feet of yarn before my eyes.  And in touching distance.  Truly paradise.  This is the first of the products made from yarn bought there.  Just a pair of socks, right?  And plain, too.  But, wait....

They had two whole walls covered in needle choices.  I had always wanted to try the Kollage square needles so I bought a set of sock needles in my favorite size.  The blue sock is being knit on these needles.  But, I needed to do a controlled experiment to see if any of the maker's claims were true.

The results are in!  One of the claims is more even stitches:  I'm not convinced about that, are you?  The fabric is firmer but the stitches look the same.  The bamboo needles create a softer and very slightly looser stitch.  Maybe that's what they mean?  Every time I look at the square needles, I think: masculine.  The needle itself looks like an Allen key to me with  very aggressive points and sharp 90 degree angles.  Strangely, the angles are not uncomfortable at all.   I can tell that I don't knit as fast with these needles as I can with the bamboo.  And the bamboo is just warmer and softer to me.  Another claim is that they are less stressful on the hands than round needles.  Well!  For me, knitting is least stressful thing I can do with my hands.  However, I don't have arthritis or stiffness issues in my fingers so I'm not the best judge.  

My last item on the needles for this week is a hand towel.  I'm using this pattern and more yarn from the big bag of cotton.  This is a brighter avocado color and a heavier weight.  I've had this pattern in my favorites for a long time.  I must have known that something appropriate would drift by.

So, now, I'm home and the holidays are over.  My plan is to get the travel photos up in the coming week.  And, I hope, to show up more often on blogger.  Not a resolution...just a plan. 


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