Category Archives: travel

Sophie’s Rose in Paris

Well, I haven’t been to Paris recently, but Sophie’s Rose has! I taught a Sophie’s Rose class last month at For Yarn’s Sake, and Theresa was in my class. From there she headed to Paris, and took her project with her. Here are some pictures she sent me…

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Montmartre

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Place de la Concorde

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Musee d’Orsay

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Notre Dame

I love it when knitters send me pictures of their PDXKnitterati projects. Continuing the Parisian theme, Leigh Anne sent me a picture of of her Ooh La Lace shawlette.

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Thanks for the pictures!

I went traveling last week, but not that far afield. A friend and I met up in Edmonds, Washington for a quick overnight visit with another friend. We spent some time at Sky Nursery, which is the most lovely huge place. I love hydrangeas, and this one was calling my name, loudly. More on that in a bit.

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We spent happy hour down by the waterfront, watching the ferries come and go. We had a great time laughing and catching up.

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Oh, the hydrangea. I didn’t buy it, and then saw another lovely one this week.

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This picture doesn’t do it justice. It has white outer blooms, and small inner blooms that turn yellow as they age. (This one’s called Golden Crane, and was developed from seeds brought back from China.) I’m thinking I want a hydrangea bed next to the house in the back yard. There’s an ancient blue one there already. It needs friends! And not this poor abandoned toe-up sock project from 2008…

sockie

I just finished knitting the first version of a fall/winter design for September, and I still need to finish the fuchsia colored summery Bling project, too. No idle hands here! What are you knitting this week? Does the change of seasons make you change your knitting?

Oregon coast weekend, symmetry, and more

I went to the coast for a retreat this weekend. It rained torrentially, except for about an hour after dinner on Friday. I hadn’t been to the beach in Gearhart before, so I took a quick walk to see what there was to see…

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a gorgeous sunset

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Tillamook Head, to the south

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Interestingly textured seaweed

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And these very interesting things. They look like tubes of tapioca. I had never seen them before, so I put the picture up on Facebook and appealed to the power of the interwebs. The answer came back quickly, from the 9 year old daughter of a friend. (Concidentally, the very same kiddo who was the recipient of the Gryffindor sweater that needed a new home a few months ago.)

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They’re squid egg sacs. More info here, if you’d like. I love science…

We did a little cardboard loom weaving on retreat.

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My piece says a lot about me. I like symmetry. I like a plan. I’m currently designing a knit piece, and symmetry plays a lot into what I find appealing. Is this the sign of a tidy mind? It’s not a sign of a tidy house!

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My friend’s piece was a lot more free-form than mine. That says a lot about her, too. The fact that there’s room for both in this group? That says a lot about the world!

There were 15 of us; the Lodge can house up to 26. If you’re looking for a group getaway spot on the Oregon Coast, I highly recommend The Lodge at Gearheart’s Little Beach. It overlooks an inlet, but beach access is a short walk down the road.

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Another week of the Aloha KAL done, and it’s time to pick the next winner. This week’s prize?

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These totally fun wine glass coasters. Very aloha! It’s not to late to join the KAL. I’m guessing it will run at least 2 more weeks. More info here.

How was your weekend? I frogged a design prototype, and figured out how to make it better. Symmetrically, of course…

Over the Cascades, again

Last Friday I headed over the Cascades again, but this time in Oregon. It was a music getaway weekend with friends, but before everyone arrived, I had a trunk show at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters.

Stitchin Post (photo by Sarah Peery)

We had a great time! It’s always fun to meet knitters in person, and see hand knits up close. The Stitchin’ Post is starting a KAL of my Garland shawl today, so I left a couple samples for the week.

On to music! My new guitar made her debut with my fellow Pie Birds, Claudia and Becky. We played and sang and laughed, a perfect weekend.

The kids dyed eggs while we played more music.

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And what does any good yarnie do with that leftover egg dye?

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Of course. I bought a skein of white yarn at the Stitchin’ Post. It’s Juniper Moon Farm Sabine, 30% Royal Llama, 30% Merino wool, and 40% cotton. I was hoping for all animal fiber, but this was luscious. I wound off yarn in approximately 25 yard hanks (around my arm, one uses the tools at hand!). We dip dyed it, squeezing out excess dye after each dip, and then microwaved the yarn for 2 minutes to set the color. A quick rinse after it cooled, and then dried overnight. I was going to wind it into balls after they dried, but decided to leave them as mini-skeins to preserve the color runs. Aren’t they sweet?

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On Sunday, Claudia and I walked along Whychus Creek. This creek has been restored, and was the subject of the Two Rivers, Three Sisters quilt exhibit that we saw in Portland last year. This panel was my favorite. (Just had to show you, because it took me a while to find this picture in my archives!)

Whychus quilt

Here it is in real life…

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Whychus Creek, near Sisters, Oregon

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On the way home, we stopped at Black Butte Ranch so I could get a proper picture of the mountains we saw while driving.

Mt. Washington Mt. Washington

image Three Sisters (Middle Sister is not visible from this viewpoint) and Belknap Crater in foreground

The sight of a snowcapped volcano always takes my breath away. Such beauty in this world, and we get to live in it. :sigh:

In knitting news, I’ve started my Aloha Shawlette for the KAL. It’s going pretty quickly!

aloha kal day 1

How was your weekend? And what are you knitting?

Road trip over the Cascades, part 1

Sorry for the radio silence last week; I took two road trips totalling about 850 miles. Both trips went to the other side of the Cascade Mountains, the sunnier, drier side, with a stopover at home in between.

The beginning of the week took me to Ellensburg in Central Washington. I went to help Vickie celebrate her birthday; we had a grand time. We caught a bit of the lunar eclipse on Monday, but it clouded over before totality, so no blood moon for us.

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On Tuesday we visited a wind farm. The wind was blowing at a constant 35 miles per hour, the perfect speed for generating electricity! These turbines transform that wind into power for 80,000 homes. I love how these look; they are stark and somehow mesmerizing.

Each blade is 129 feet long.

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I know wind farms are controversial in some places, but there’s a lot of wind and not many neighbors in this part of the state, so it seems to make sense to have this kind of renewable energy here.

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We hiked a trail at Cave B Resort. It’s above the Columbia River next to the Gorge Amphitheater. The views are spectacular. Keep going down the gorge, and you’ll make it to the river. We turned around here due to time limitations.

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I nearly stepped on a snake. Whoops!

We made a quick stop (it was really windy!) at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park above the Columbia River to check out the petroglyphs. These were relocated here to save them from the rising water after the Wanapum Dam was built four miles downstream.

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Sheep?

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The next morning we took a stroll on the banks of the Yakima River. The river takes a wide turn here.

We saw this truck remnant in the woods.

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I headed home Wednesday afternoon to get ready for the next trip on Friday. More on that in the next post. For now, it’s time to cast on for the Aloha Shawlette KAL! Are you knitting along with me? Come check out the chatter on Ravelry.

Trillium season, and knitting

I’ve spent the past week continuing the big studio project, purging what used to be the kids’ closet. Twenty years of kids’ schoolwork…buh-bye. Rock and magnet collections? Gone! The best stuff went to friends’ kids, so that was fun to curate. Now it’s time to get back to work.

But first, a walk in the park…Forest Park. I went on a hike there yesterday with friends. It’s 5,157 acres inside the city of Portland, which makes it the largest urban forest in the United States. I’d never been there before, and I’m a native Portlander!

It’s trillium season in the Pacific Northwest.

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image These are one of my favorite wildflowers.

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image I love these fungi taking over this log.

Now I’m back to my knitting, working on a design to use the leftover yarn from my Aloha Shawl. And planning the Aloha Shawlette and Shawl KAL! Sharon (Stitchjones) and I are excited to be working on this KAL together. You can use her gorgeous Pai Mei Sock yarn in Rainbow Shave Ice and Warm Sand, or you can use your own yarn. The pattern is still $2 off through April 10; use the coupon code ALOHA to purchase. And swing by the KAL thread on Ravelry!

Is it spring in your neck of the woods yet?

Crafty Moms 12.0, a guitar, and a Tauriel winner

Yes, the 12th annual Crafty Moms weekend! I looked back in my Shutterfly albums, and the very first crafty spring beach trip was in 2003. There were four of us moms then, and we took our 4th graders and our spouses with us. The next year we ditched the kids and spouses. The group has waxed and waned in the following years; this year we had 15 moms.

I love this time away so I can reconnect with friends, and also work intensively on projects. This year, I knit most of the second version of a shawl that will be published at the end of the month.

mimosa

I can’t really show you what it looks like, but here are several other things I’ve designed during past Crafty Moms weekends.

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Pacific Shawl

breezy
Breezy Market Tote

2 way rockaway
Rockaway 2-way Beach Beanie/Cowl

I loved this group of young adults hanging out on the beach.

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It was a pretty rainy weekend, with a few sunbreaks.

seagulls

rainbow

lone seagull

I’ve done some songwriting on previous Crafty Moms weekends, too. Not this time, although I was hoping my new travel guitar would arrive before I left. Missed me by 4 hours! And I had too much knitting on deadline, anyway. But this is what I found when I got home.

Taki and Minnie

It’s the Limited Edition Holden Village Taylor GS Mini Guitar on the right. I’ve named her Minerva (Minnie for short), and she has a huge sound for such a little thing! The top is old-growth Engelmann Spruce from near Holden Village in the North Cascade Mountains in Washington. The trees were harvested as part of a mine remediation project that will clean up the creek there. Part of the proceeds from the sale of each of these guitars will go to El Porvenir and Living Waters for the World. El Porvenir has a special place in my heart since I worked on a service trip with them in Nicaragua in 2012. You can read more about the guitars here and here. The combination of a fundraiser for El Porvenir plus tonewood from Holden Village (a place I’ve never been, but a place that inspired Marty Haugen to write Holden Evening Prayer, a gorgeous piece of liturgical music that we’ve sung on Women’s Retreat and at church) pushed me to order this guitar.

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Larry Breedlove designed a beautiful 12th fret inlay that portrays water flowing from between two mountains. There’s a lot of inspiration in this little package, and a lot of win for everyone.

Speaking of win: We have a Tauriel winner. There were 195 comments, wow! The winner is Lynne Phelps; I have sent her an email to get her info to Bonne Marie. Thanks all, for reading and commenting. And I hope all the rest of you download and knit this wonderful pattern!

How was your weekend?

Happy new year hike

A perfect time to blow out the cobwebs! We went hiking in the Columbia River Gorge on Saturday. Drove out from under the fog bank to see Mt. Hood in the distance:

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We took the same hike we did last July. There’s more water now, but the snowpack is way below normal, so still not overwhelming.

Upper McCord Creek Falls:

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On the way up, we looked down on Elowah Falls:

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Same falls, from ground level. I love the snow ledge. Lots of people out this weekend!

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I’ve decided that 2014 will be the year of the purge. There’s too much stuff in the house. DH found these items in the back of a closet.

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A Gryffindor sweater I knit for Kid2, maybe a dozen years ago. I’m sending it to a friend who will love it. And here’s a lone mitten from 1991.

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I knit 8 pairs of these, as birthday party favors. Knit flat (I didn’t know how to use dpns back then), seamed up the side. Bugs Bunny buttons, of course.

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Oddly enough, I knew exactly where the mate was. These won’t be purged, though. I may have to frame them. Or at least keep them in my sample box.

I have big plans for painting my knitting studio, and then organizing all my crafty stuff in it. Right now my organizer bins are in the room off our bedroom, but it’s coming in to my studio, along with my sewing machine. I love these IKEA bins. They’re not this tidy right now…

ikea

What are your crafty plans for 2014? And don’t forget, I’m picking the winner of the Under 100 Knit Collection ebook tonight. More lovely things to knit!

A little more aloha

Besides the moonsets, what else captivated us in Hawaii? More nature! More science!

We visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes, and you never forget that you’re on them. Halema’uma’u Crater in the center of Kilauea Caldera continues to smoke.

Halema'uma'u Crater

And the edge of caldera continues to steam. The heat under the ground makes the rainwater in the cracks steam.

Caldera steam

We had a pretty ambitious day planned, and got to do most of it. We took a short (2.5 mile) hike that took us around the edge of the caldera, and down to the caldera floor.

Kilauea Caldera

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Cairns mark the trail. I love how little plants have sprouted in the cracks on the floor, tiny attempts at new life. There’s actually a trail that crosses the caldera, but it’s been closed for years because it’s not safe.

We took a stroll through the Thurston Lava Tube. It was actually underwhelming, but out of the oncoming rain! No pic; it was over almost before it began.

We drove to the end of the Chain of Craters Road. Why is it the end? Lava overran the road in 2003. So cool that nature has her way.

lava road
Looking west back towards the usable road…

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Looking east. Road closed, indeed.

Hōlei Sea Arch is here, too. You’re 90 feet above the water; don’t lean too far out over the edge to see it!

Holei sea arch

I’m not sure why there’s a lone stand of palm trees near here; I tried googling but didn’t come up with a definitive answer.

end of road palms

I wanted to visit the petroglyphs at Pu’u Loa, but it was near dark when we left the end of the road. And it gets really dark. No lights on the road, and it was raining, too. My biggest regret? I forgot that I wanted to see Halema’uma’u Crater glowing in the dark! I guess I’ll have to go back, soon.

We went snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach the next day. This is the easiest snorkel spot, ever. You can walk into the water and see fish, but they really look better if you put your mask on. Lots of honu (sea turtles) visit here, too.

honu kiss

They’ve named this fellow Rocky. Maybe he’s the same one I saw in January.

rocky

We toured a chocolate farm, Original Hawaiian Chocolate. This is the first chocolate venture to go from farm to chocolate bar in Hawaii. Single origin Hawaiian chocolate, mmmmm. Cacao pods form from tiny flowers on the wood of the trees.

green cacao

cacao

They come in different colors, but they all make chocolate. Inside the pod, the beans are covered with a white sticky substance. Geckos find it delicious.

geckos

We like the part from the inside!

chocolate vat

We also visited Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, or Place of Refuge. In olden times, if you had broken the strict kapu laws, you could be put to death…unless you made it to the pu’uhonua first. My family thought of it as “base,” and they felt a need to visit. Feeling guilty?

Base!

Safe!

Last sunset…

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And remember how I said that you never forget that you’re sitting on a volcano? Our last evening there we felt a disturbance, unnerving enough that I checked with the US Geological Survey’s site. A 3.2 earthquake, off the coast. Just a little rumble.

earthquake

Back home, and back to knitting!

Chasing the moonset, and Korknisse aloha!

Our vacation in Hawaii last week coincided with the full moon. I love watching the moon set over the water, and this time I was prepared! The moon set later each successive morning, so my pictures were different every day.

Monday, the 16th, 5:24 a.m. HST.
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By 5:51, things were looking distinctly reddish!
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Tuesday, 6:23 a.m. The moon was full last night at 11 p.m., so this is the full moon setting. The sky is a lot lighter, closer to dawn.
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Wednesday, 6:25 a.m. The moon is a lot higher than yesterday’s pic at this time.
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By 6:51, the sky was pretty light. No more lovely moonlight on the water, but I do like the puppy-shaped cloud.
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At that point, I wasn’t planning to wake early for any more moon pics, but on Thursday, I woke up early by accident, and saw Jupiter, below and to the right of the moon. 6:25 a.m.

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I learned a lot about my new camera, and have a lot more to learn. Looking forward to it!

On Friday and Saturday, the surf was unusually high, and the beaches on the west side of the Big Island were closed. This meant less beach time for us, but we enjoyed watching the waves from our lanai. All the comforts of home, and surfers to entertain us, too.

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I’ll tell you about our close encounter with a volcano in another post…

Have you finished your gift knitting? I don’t like scheduled gift knitting; it’s too much pressure for me. But I do like a little knitting for a personal touch. Do you remember the Korknisse I knit a couple years ago? (Pattern: Korknisse by Manne)

korkies

I decided to knit a few on vacation. But my gauge was a lot looser this time around (a little too much aloha?), so I had to dress up champagne corks instead of regular corks.

chunky korknisse

L’il chunkies wishing you a merry Christmas Eve!

One holiday at a time…

That’s my motto. No Christmas before Thanksgiving. Heck, no Christmas before Halloween!

A couple weekends ago, it couldn’t be helped. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided, so we had to do both at the same time. My sister-in-law made a menurkey. I can’t find the picture of her with it, so here’s DH.

menurkey

We came home and celebrated the rest of Hanukkah.

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(Playing with depth of field and my menorah collection)

Now I’m ready to prepare for Christmas.

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We had a little snow here to put me in the right frame of mind.
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I found Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for a reasonable price at Costco, so I’m making some vanilla extracts. Two are made with vodka, and two are made with bourbon. I gues that would make the latter…Bourbon Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract! A week later, the vodka version is nearly as dark as the bourbon version. But don’t let that fool you; it won’t be ready to use for about a month or so. Here’s a recipe; it’s crazy simple. I love these flip top bottles, but I wish they came in a smaller version! These are 8 ounces, which is a lot of vanilla extract.

More merry-making: Here’s a group from Westlake High School singing at the Rotunda in the Texas Capitol in Austin Texas.

Yes, Austin! We had a quick getaway this week. Here’s a better view up into the dome. The star up there measures 8 feet across.

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This is a beautiful building. So much detail!

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Even the door hinges are beautiful.

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Texas State Representatives meet here.

We also toured the LBJ Library and Museum, and saw lots of bands play. Favorite meal: breakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. Cheap hipster slacker breakfast.

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We got around via Car2Go. Very cool!

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Cheaper than a cab, and pretty convenient. You only pay for the time you drive, 41 cents/minute, and you can park in any legal parking lot in their service area. We have these in Portland, too, and use them occasionally when we need a second car. Do you have Car2Go where you live?

Are you ready for Christmas? Not me, not yet!