Category Archives: travel

July: Tour de Fleece, Blues Festival, Chicago

July means Tour de France, which means Tour de Fleece! I participated last year, but that’s pretty much the last time I picked up my spindle. I had started spinning this pretty BFL from Knitted Wit

image

but when I picked it up on Saturday to start again, I was pretty confused! First I had to figure out which direction I was spinning (easy), and then I couldn’t get it drafting. Why not? I couldn’t remember which hand I used for drafting! That’s definitely a hint that it’s been way too long.

bfl spinning

I don’t think my poorly wound cop was helping at all (wobbly spinning), so I wound it on my niddy noddy (thank goodness I eventually remembered how to do that) and started over. Let’s see how much spinning I get done this time! And if I can get something fairly consistent. I want a fingering to sport weight singles, to use as a single ply yarn for a simple triangle shawl. I want the colors to be the star of this project.

What else? Oh, the beginning of July means it’s time for Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival. It’s been egregiously hot here (mid-90’s), so I wasn’t interested in spending much time listening to music outdoors, but I did go with DH on Saturday evening for a couple hours. Portland really knows how to throw a party.

blues festivalClick the picture for a closer look: Thousands in the park, the Hawthorne Bridge, and Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones on stage.

The weekend before, DH and I flew to Chicago to visit a friend who moved away last year. We were joined by two other friends who had also moved away from Portland. Reunion tour!

Lincoln Park group shot

We had a great time. 72 hours was enough to get a taste of Chicago, and make us want to go back. Here’s the whirlwind. We did an architecture tour by boat. Highly recommended.

chicago architecture

postmodern chicago

chicago architecture

Chicago has many beautiful parks, which feature free activities, including the zoo. Lots of public art:

chicago beanThe Bean in Millennium Park

Jaume Plensa Awilda

This is the back of “Looking into My Dreams, Awilda” in Millennium Park by Jaume Plensa, which is very similar to his “Echo” that I saw at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle in May.

daily bride and AwildaAwilda snuck into this picture, too.

At first I thought this was another bride at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park, but it was a fashion photo shoot.

Caldwell Lily Pool Chicago

lily pool photo shootGorgeous.

chagall mural chicago

This Marc Chagall mural is in the plaza at the Chase building (which is a cool looking building itself). I didn’t realize until I looked at this picture that there’s a Ferris wheel in it. I saw it as an echo of this, which I took to be a rose window from a cathedral.

chagall mural chicago 3

Chagall mural Chicago 2

Love this signature.

And I love that there’s a beach in this city! Lake Michigan is huge.

Chicago beach

We got around by trains, cabs, Uber, and Divvy.

Divvy

And ate and drank our way through town. Sometimes simple is best: This avocado toast at Le Pain Quotidien

avocado toast

inspired this when I got back home.

avocado toast breakfastToasted English muffin, avocado, sea salt, cumin, chia seeds. Simple and delicious.

lox and latke Diner food!

Eataly Chicago is two floors of fabulous shopping and eating. The cheese counter is impressive. They have the same for meat, and bread. And the pasta selection is out of this world. Or this country, at least.

eataly cheese counter

Of course I took my knitting, which seems to echo the antennae on the Sears Tower.

knitting sears tower

Good friends, good times. I wish you the same for your summer!

So, so close, yarn chicken!

19 said yes, 19 said no. Ever the optimist, I forged on. And this is how close I got:

pdxknitterati yarn chicken

I made it! With 3 inches to spare. Just enough to sew in the end. It wasn’t really high stakes, because I would have just moved to the next color a little early, but I love a good game of yarn chicken. At least when I WIN.

Speaking of win, I did the random number thingy with the yes voters, and the winner is the 5th yes, Lindarumsey. I’m sending her an email to figure out what to send her, yarn, pattern, or other. Thanks to all for playing, and congrats to Linda!

Congrats also to pdxknitter, who won her own game of yarn chicken with 18 inches to spare. Woot! And sending good vibes to the Yarn Harlot, who is playing a much higher stakes game of yarn chicken

Sunriver getaway

After the busyness of TNNA and Ryan’s graduation, I headed to Sunriver in Central Oregon for a mid-week rendezvous with friends. I stopped at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters to drop off a look book, and chatted with Paula, Nancy, and Ivy, but forgot to take a picture. Oops!

I had two full days in Sunriver. They were both gorgeous. We kayaked on Wednesday.

kayak Hosmer South SisterSouth Sister from Hosmer Lake

Hosmer Lake is gorgeous. Tons of birds, including red winged blackbirds, yellow headed blackbirds, and a magnificent bald eagle that flew right over our kayaks. I didn’t bring a zoom camera, just my phone, so no bird pix!

Bachelor and lenticular cloud

I watched this lenticular cloud develop all day next to Mt. Bachelor.

kayak hosmer lake

South Sister Hosmer Lake

I love the way the wind distorts the once straight jet trails. You can see that the water is pretty shallow here at the upper end of the lake. We couldn’t paddle up the creek; it was too shallow and muddy. It’s been a pretty dry winter, which isn’t good.

Hosmer Lake panoramaSouth Sister, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor is hiding on the right

damselflies

Lots of blue damselflies, but it’s hard to catch a picture from a drifting kayak!

We hiked along the Deschutes River near Benham Falls on Thursday.

deschutes river

Deschutes River

This turn in the river is an awesomely beautiful spot.

It sounds great, too.

But it wasn’t all play. I brought my knitting. Of course!

knitting

On Thursday night I sat in the hot tub under a canopy of stars. And I saw two shooting stars (meteors). Lucky? I think so.

Friday I came home and picked my first ripe raspberries. These are from the two new shrubs the kids planted for Mother’s Day.

raspberry blueberry

I also see that the birds have been busy while I’ve been away!

bird strike

Guess I should have picked more before I left. Oh, well. It’s been busy around here!

How is your summer so far?

Music, knits, food, yarn: a quick Seattle trip

I made a quick trip to Seattle at the beginning of the week to meet up with the Piano Babes. We met (mostly) in 2000 at Sonata Piano Camp, and have been friends ever since.

We went to a very interesting concert by the Nord Trio at the Nordic Heritage Museum: Piano, violin, accordion. Yes, accordion. The concert opened with selections from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, and the accordion was beautifully expressive. This is not polka music!

Before the show, we briefly poked around in the Finnish design exhibit, and of course I went looking for fiber fun in the Norwegian folk art rooms. I was not disappointed.

spinning wheels and carding benchspinning wheels and a carding bench

drop spindlesdrop spindles, and a stone whorl from the Iron Age

Selbu mittensSelbu mittens

embroidered mittensembroidered mittens

bobbin lace bobbin lace

And my favorite thing: A man’s folk costume from the Setesdal region, 1920.

norwegian folk costume There is a very traditional sweater under the vest.

sleeve detailsleeve detail

norwegian steeked sleeve You know this sleeve is steeked! Beautiful.

The weeekend also included a beautiful full moonrise,

full moon rising

a windy walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park and along the shoreline of Elliott Bay (downtown Seattle)

EchoEcho

Elliott Bay

Elvis sighting at the PIElvis sighting (see him?)

windy!Windy!

and lots of beautiful food. I won’t post it all, but if you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of it. (I’m pdxknitterati over there, too.)

beet salad at lola

I’m lucky to know this group of very smart, talented women.

On my way home, I stopped at Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation. It is a beautiful shop.

Tolt Yarn

I came home with some souvenirs.

tolt yarn souvenirs

The white yarn is sourced locally in the Snoqualmie Valley and spun at Green Mountain Spinnery. The purple yarn is from Green Mountain Spinnery, so they’re cousins. It’s called Mewesic, so it fits the theme of the Piano Babes weekend. Both are DK weight. I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but they look and feel good together, a little rustic but wooly. I bought the mug for DH; he gets a souvenir, too.

So that was the weekend. Now knitting, knitting, knitting, trying to finish a design sample. Soon!

How was your weekend?

History Unwound, the first

Earlier this month, I spent a weekend across the continent in Colonial Williamsburg, VA, for the very first History Unwound retreat. History and textiles? Definitely up my alley! It was an amazing weekend from start to finish. (Super long post, but worth it.)

It began with check in, and an incredible goodie bag.

history unwound goodie bag

I had an hour to make a quick zip through Colonial Williamsburg, so I went to see the textiles in the museum. They were having a special hour where you could look in the drawers at the textiles not usually on display. The sampler collection was in this room.

colonial sampler

I asked if they had any knitting, but alas, no. Lots of samplers and quilts. But lo and behold, look what I found in one of the drawers? Probably the only knitting in the museum! (The lights are kept very low in this room; sorry for the dark pictures.)

needlework sampler book

This is in a needlework sampler book from Ireland. Let’s look a little closer:

knitted lace edgingsSome knitted lace edgings, and a tiny baby bootie made for a china doll.

needlework sampler bookA tiny hat sample, and some double knitting and elastic knitting (ribbing). Cool!

Then it was time to head back for the opening dinner and lecture with Franklin Habit. His lecture was titled “B is for Purl: A Brief History of the Knitting Pattern.” Really interesting. Apparently knitting patterns as we know them didn’t really exist before the 1800’s. The talk was so engaging, I swapped my Saturday afternoon class. More on that later.

On Saturday my day started with brunch with Anna Zilboorg. I think more people had signed up than actually came, so it ended up like this.

breakfast with Anna Zilboorg

Sweet deal! She talked about the history of Women’s Work, and making the necessary beautiful.

My morning class was with Franklin Habit: History, Methods and Styles of Lace Knitting. He gave us a knitting tour of Russia, the Shetland Islands, and Estonia, and had many gorgeous samples, including this Estonian beauty.

Estonian Lace Shawl

We knit samplers while we listened. My first nupps! Not scary at all.

my first nupps

Rohn Strong talked about the role of knitting in the Civil War during a brown bag lunch. Good history, good knitting!

I was supposed to learn Double Knitting with Annie Modesitt in the afternoon, but I was so intrigued by Franklin’s presentation the night before, I asked if I could transfer to his Working with Antique and Vintage Knitting Patterns class. Yes! And it was great. Part lecture, part hands on, all perfect. There were only 7 students in class, and we worked in teams to try to figure out how several objects were made. This was my team’s puzzle:

pence jug

pence jug bottom

I won’t tell you where it starts and ends, in case you take this class yourself. But if you want to make this treasure from 1843, you can find instructions here. Franklin writes a column, Stitches in Time, for Knitty.com, and all the samples he brought have been in Knitty. I went back and read them all. He’s good!

The other class project was a mystery knit. We translated the instructions from 1870’s format to modern day, and knit. It turned out to be something recognizable, thankfully. No picture, so you can take this class and be surprised. I have an idea to make something with this little thing; we’ll see if it happens.

After class there was a lecture on Balkan socks by Donna Druchunas. (The fun never stops! So much activity. So much to learn!)

Balkan socks Donna Druchunas

She had a lot of samples, which we passed around the room. Look at the toe on this one!

toe detail balkan sock

Then it was time for the pizza and pajama party. I was too tired to go back to my room for pj’s, so I just winged it. That’s a lot of activity (six events) in one day after flying a red-eye the day before. And there was more to come on Sunday.

I started Sunday morning in a class with Anna Zilboorg, Embroidery Enhanced Sweaters. So much beauty in this pile. These are in her upcoming book, Splendid Apparel. We’ll be receiving copies of the book as a treat from History Unwound. Looking forward to it!

Anna Zilboorg sweaters

Embroidery can make already beautiful textures really sing.

Anna Zilboorg embroidered sweater

Anna Zilboorg embroidered sweater

Here’s my sampler:

knit embroidery sampler

I’m looking forward to embellishing some knits, but don’t know that I will be able to put it into design work. It would be a lot to explain…we’ll see.

After class was a brunch where Anna talked about Socks Throughout History. And in the afternoon I attended Franklin’s lecture, Impractical Oddities and Curiosities of Weldon’s Practical Needlework. Franklin is a wonderful lecturer and teacher, the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve taken a LOT of classes. Go see him if you ever have the opportunity. I took his photography class at Sock Summit II, and was very impressed. I took a class with Anna Zilboorg at a Stitches event in the 1990’s, and she changed my color knitting life. For these two teachers alone, I took this cross country jaunt. Everything else was a bonus.

But wait! It wasn’t over yet. Donna Druchunas gave the final closing lecture. She shared her collection of Lithuanian mittens. These are just a few.

Lithuanian Mittens

What a weekend! On top of that, I met friends old and new in person.

vtknitboy chris and pdxknitteratiChris

fibretown emilyEmily

Donna Druchunas and nekomichDonna and Mich

michelleMichelle

franklin habit pdxknitteratiFranklin

anna zilboorg pdxknitteratiAnna

And I won a boatload of door prizes, too.

Lion Yarn Book
Lion Brand Collection Silk Mohair, very similar to Kidsilk Haze. Yum. And this reprint of the 1916 Lion Yarn Book. Now I have vintage patterns to decipher, too. And I know how.

door prizeMore yarn, and doily patterns.

Ken McNeill art

Ken McNeill art

Original artwork from Ken McNeill. He was at the market, and was both talented and charming. Oh, I didn’t mention there was a market? Carefully curated, and full of temptation. I held myself to this pretty single ply fingering yarn from Knit Wits. It’s Periwinkle Sheep, color Stones Dancing in the Fog.

stones dancing in the fog

Also from Knit Wits, screw on buttons from Jul Designs. I’m thinking of using them for shawl pins, but I don’t know yet.

Jul button

A lot of activity packed into one weekend! History Unwound was developed by Kimberly and Christopher Villareal. It was delightful, if not restful. I loved every moment, and would do it again. Have I made you want to go on retreat? Or did I just make you tired? I’m guessing a little of both!

Knitting in time out…

on the way to the frog pond.

I took some knitting to our annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast last week. I had 5 skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo in Purpuras that I bought to knit a sweater, and realized I would never get around to the sweater. I only needed 3 skeins for the second sample knit of my new design (coming soon). I had knit through one skein of Arroyo, and started the second skein. These yarns aren’t the same color. Rookie Malabrigo mistake; I should have checked more closely when I bought them.

Mal mismatch

So I opened the skens and compared colors, and chose the next one to knit. And that’s when I realized…these yarns aren’t even the same weight. I think some Rios (worsted weight) got tagged as Arroyo (sport weight). I have 3 skeins of the heavier, and two skeins of the lighter. Unfortunately, I need 3 skeins for this project, and I started with one of the lighter skeins, which means…

No go. Rats.

Malabrigo Rastita Sabiduria

After coming home, I consoled myself by picking up some Malabrigo Rastita at Wool ‘n’ Wares during my trunk show for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. Very similar color, and I checked color AND weight before purchasing!

What did I do at Crafty Moms weekend, without this project? I worked on my Fern Shawlette for the XOXOKAL,
pdxknitterati fern shawlette

enjoyed some magnificent sunsets,

beach sunset 2

Twin Rocks sunset

walked on the beach with friends,

crafty shadows

ring around the sun(ring around the sun, and Twin Rocks)

pelagic gooseneck barnacles(pelagic gooseneck barnacles on driftwood)

pelagic gooseneck barnacles(gooseneck barnacles and acorn barnacles)

gooseneck barnacles on driftwood

and played with beads. I was very pleased with this beaded, knotted necklace and earrings,

bead play

and these earrings, too.

earrings

Carole made these sweet necklaces and earrings.

necklaces

And Lisa made a bracelet and necklace at her first Crafty Moms weekend.

Lisa's necklace

We had 14 moms at the beach, and all had a good time! This was the 13th year for some of us. It’s always nice to spend some time away with friends. How was your weekend?

Kilauea Iki volcano hike, beaches

A little more aloha: On our trip to the Big Island last month, we made a day trip to Kilauea to hike the Kilauea Iki (small Kilauea) crater. This was the site of a huge 1959 eruption. All is calm now.

fern forest

The 4 mile hike starts off at the edge of the crater, going though a beautiful forest with glimpses of the crater below.

kilauea iki crater hawaii

CollegeKid noted that the floor of the crater looks like “a giant brownie pan.” Why yes it does.

kilauea iki crater hawaii

But it’s not as smooth as it looks when you get down in the crater. These brownies are cracked!

kilauea iki and halema'uma'u

You can see the steam rising from Halema’uma’u, the crater inside the larger Kilauea caldera, on the other side of the Byron Ledge. You definitely know that you’re standing on an active volcano. Science rocks!

Pu'u Pua'i and Halema'uma'u

The blown out cinder cone between Kilauea Iki and the larger Kilauea caldera is Pu’u Pua’i (gushing hill). It doesn’t look that big from the edge of the crater, but when you get down into the crater, it’s a different story.

Pu'u Pua'i Kilauea

The kids decided to see what it looked like up top.

Kilauea Iki crater Hawaii

The second half of the hike crosses the crater floor. It was pretty windy the day we were there. The floor is mostly barren, but little bits of vegetation are making their way back. Steam rises from vents in the floor. After crossing the floor, there’s a climb back up to the crater’s rim. The trail is forested again, and the birds do a great job of singing but keeping out of sight. This is a great hike! I liked it even more than the one we did last year, and that was good, too.

punalu'u black sand beach

On our way back from Kilauea, we stopped at Punalu’u, a black sand beach. Yes, the volcanic sand really is black! And the water looks very blue by comparison.

punalu'u honu

Hawaiian green turtles (honu) come hang out here. It was pretty late in the afternoon, so we didn’t stay long. We wanted to get poké from Da Poké Shack on the way home, and watch the sunset from our lanai.

kona sunset

We made it with 15 minutes to spare.

We spent time on two other beaches on this trip. We visited Kahalu’u in Kailua-Kona, twice (second time because it beat sitting in traffic trying to go somewhere else). This is very civilized with a parking lot, concessions, and the easiest snorkeling ever.

convict tang hawaii convict tang

urchins urchins

pencil urchin hawaii pencil urchin

You can even just walk around on the rocks and see fish in the water, but that was so tempting that we had to get in and snorkel anyway.

K4 honu Kahalu'u

K8 honu Kahalu'u

Apparently this year they’ve started numbering the honu. I’m curious if it’s always the same one up on the beach. Guess I’ll have to go back to find out.

manini'owali kua bay

The other very fun beach is Manini’owali at Kua Bay. The water is spectacularly pretty here, as is the white sand beach. The waves are pretty strong in the winter, and the ocean pulls the sand offshore. Next month there will be a lot less beach. It all comes back in the summer.

santa hats kua bay

I dubbed these guys the Santa Society. There were three of them; I’m not sure how they kept their hats!

We came home just before Christmas, for a whirlwind of Hanukkah and Christmas parties. I’m happy to be home, but I do miss the warm sunshine.

yellow billed cardinal

And these guys. Yellow billed cardinal. They’d come after breakfast and pick up any crumbs we left on the lanai. Tidy is as tidy does!

Desperately seeking sea arch (Hawaii edition)

We made a return trip to the Big Island just before Christmas to get a little sunshine and warmth.

kona sunset

We wanted to do a hike south of Kona that promised a number of sea arches. Having seen Holei Sea Arch at the end of the Chain of Craters Road last year, I was pretty excited.

Holei sea arch

Either we missed the trailhead, or the directions were wrong, but it was going to be a long hike over uneven lava rock gravel down to the shore. No thanks. We opted to go to another beach, Ho’okena, which was supposed to have one nice arch.

shingle urchins hawaii

We wandered the pahoehoe lava shore for a while, and found these.

shingle urchins hawaii

A consultation with Facebook friends later determined that they are shingle urchins. They’re about the size of a quarter, and look like purple leather buttons with flower petals under them. Cool!

sea arch ho'okena beach hawaii

Heading back, we found what we think is the aforementioned arch. It’s over an opening in the rock, so water pushes up through the hole behind the arch when the waves come in.

It wasn’t overwhelming, but at that point we were just trying to declare victory.

When the kids came to join us a couple days later, I told them of our quest. CollegeKid pointed out that there was an arch right below our condo’s lanai. Much easier to get to, and much more interesting!

sea arch kanaloa at kona hawaii

hawaii big island waves

This isn’t as terrifying as it looks; there is a lot of rock in front of/below them.

But it wasn’t all beach and waves. I got some knitting done! Malabrigo worsted + champagne corks = Korknisse!

korknisse hawaii

Volcano hike and more aloha in a later post…for now happy new year’s eve!

Astoria StitchFest: Check!

Last weekend’s first ever Astoria StitchFest was a delight. It was a small event, but very nice. The weekend began with a delightful Stitch Feast at the Baked Alaska, right on the river. We had a little show-and-tell fashion show after dinner.

The classes were held in the light and bright rooms above the Liberty Theater, across from the historic Hotel Elliott. Mary Scott Huff and I taught knitting, and Laurinda Reddig taught crochet. I taught Cast On Bind Off, Slip Stitch Cowl Design, and Blocking: It’s Magic. I think everyone went home with new skills.

blocking with pdxknitterati

I had a free afternoon, so I sat in on Mary Scott Huff’s Sassy Selbuvotter class. She is a fabulous teacher, and also fun to hang out with! Here’s the beginning of my mitten.

selbuvotter

Classic Selbuvotter (mittens in the traditional style of the town of Selbu, Norway) have a gusset thumb, but these sassy mitts will only have a slot thumb. I was curious about Norwegian mittens, because I had knit these many years ago.

selbu mitten

These are the Selbu Mittens from Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski. The have a fake gusset (no increases, just patterning to look like a gusset) and a slot thumb. They’re kind of a mix of thumb techniques. My next Selbuvotter will have a traditional, real thumb gusset, because I like the way they fit!

Astoria sits at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a fun mix of the old and the new. I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but I popped on down to Coffee Girl for lunch on Saturday because my singing buddy Claudia loves it, and used to sing there.

image

I didn’t realize that Coffee Girl is right on a pier that houses the West’s oldest cannery building.

bumble bee logo

I worked at a salmon cannery on Kodiak Island for five summers to pay for college. We even canned for Bumble Bee. This brought back all sorts of memories.

cannery workers

We didn’t look quite like this, but aprons, hair nets, and steel toed rubber boots were the uniform!

pier 39 astoria

Canneries were a big part of Astoria’s history. Even the waste baskets on the streets downtown acknowledge this.

astoria

Mary and I had rooms at the Grandview Bed & Breakfast, a very interesting Victorian house. My room was breathtakingly gorgeous, with lace draperies around the bed, and at the entrance to my sitting room

grandview b & b

which was a great place to relax.

Grandview b&b

The sitting room had a view of the Columbia River, and the bridge that crosses to Washington.

image

Many thanks to Bonnie Lively and LeAnn Meyer, the organizers of Astoria StitchFest. I had a fabulous time, and hope that all the participants did, too. I’d love to do this again next year, and you should come, too!

Horsetail Falls Loop Hike

I took a favorite hike with a friend last week; it’s the Horsetail Falls Loop Hike, 2.6 easy miles. You’ve seen it before on this blog, here and here. Same same, but different. At the end of summer, the water flow is much lighter, but still pretty. We’ve had a hot, dry summer, and it shows in the reduced waterflow. Still pretty, though.

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls, which is right on the Old Columbia River Highway.

Ponytail Falls

Ponytail Falls, which feeds into Horsetail Falls.

Ponytail Falls

I love that you can go behind it; that’s the reason I chose this hike for this particular friend.

Middle Oneonta Falls

Middle Oneonta Falls.

image

Looking down at the top of Lower Oneonta Falls. There’s a big logjam, and then it goes over the edge. You can’t see this waterfall from the trail, but you can hear it!

image

Coming off the trail, you walk back along the Old Columbia River Highway, and pass Oneonta Gorge, which is where Oneonta Creek ends up after the waterfalls. You can hike up the creek, but we were not prepared for wet feet, so we just went a little way. I love how big the rocks are here, and how narrow the canyon is.

image

It looks like a knitter was leaving a trail marker for someone.

image

My favorite picture of the day is in the creek under the old highway. The sun was shining through the very clear water, and the shadows of the water striders really showed why they can walk on water.

Multnomah Falls

On the way back home, we stopped at Multnomah Falls, because it’s right there. It’s the 100th anniversary of the Benson Bridge. I think I’ll have to do the hike to the top of Multnomah Falls this autumn. Soon!