Category Archives: travel

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2013

Mark your calendars! The Rose City Yarn Crawl is coming. This year’s crawl will feature 18 shops in the Portland metro area February 28-March 3.


Each of the 18 shops will have a prize basket with goodies donated by sponsors, plus something from the shop. You can enter to win a basket in each of the shops. If you make it to all the shops and fill out your shop passport, you can enter to win the grand prize basket.

Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit and I are teaming up and donating a fun little project for this year’s baskets.

gumballs glass

These are my new Daffy Taffy Twists, knit with Knitted Wit’s Gumballs, mini-skeins of fingering weight superwash merino. I wrote the pattern especially for this event, and it will be available here on the blog soon. I just need to reformat it so it’s not a postcard! It ties in with Lorajean’s theme: Treat yourself!

Check out the yarn crawl buzz on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow the fun on the Rose City Yarn Crawl Facebook page, or on twitter. You’ll find the full shop list and more information on the Rose City Yarn Crawl website.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s crawl; I missed last year’s because I was in Nicaragua. See you soon!

Paris, je t’aime

My favorite city in the world. We’d been there once before, nine years ago. This time we rented a tiny apartment in the Marais. On our first walk out, we found ourselves at the Pompidou Center, just a few blocks away.

That evening, we went for a walk and saw these dancers at the Hotel de Ville. Tango?

We crossed the Seine, and found ourselves at Notre Dame.

I love Paris. It’s ancient and modern at the same time. And I have a weakness for cathedrals, palaces, and iconic monuments like Les Invalides and the Arc de Triomphe. Why don’t we have more monuments here? (Um, because Napoleon’s not around to build monuments to his own glory?) My favorite:

Especially at night.

Or any time.

We took a side trip to Reims to visit Champagne caves and the cathedral there. Notre Dame de Reims is even more airy gothic than Notre Dame de Paris. What a difference a century made, as they were figuring out the engineering in the 12th and 13th centuries.

So different from the Romanesque St. Germain des Pres in Paris, dating from about 1014.

Check out these bottles at Taittinger. A normal champagne bottle is second from the right.

95,000 bottles of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.

Back in Paris, behind Notre Dame, we saw this bridge that was covered with locks. Apparently couples commemorate their love this way.

We even saw locks on the statues on the Pont Alexandre III. (This bridge is another over-the-top monument to past glory.)

Fabrice Risi runs an excellent ice cream cart at the north end of the bridge. I really only wanted a bottle of water, but he gave us a sample of his mango ice cream and I was hooked. It tasted like fresh mangoes! But I opted for chocolate instead. Divine.

I enjoyed the charm of circular staircases. This one is at end of 284 steps at the Arc de Triomphe, looking down…

And this one is at Taittinger, looking up.

We loved the Rodin Museum. Of course, I had to do this:

Don’t miss my post on yarn shopping at La Droguerie! I didn’t see anyone knitting in public, but local mass transit wasn’t really optimal for it. I did knit on trains between cities, finishing a shawlette that I ripped out when I came home. (It’s done now, and I love it. I’m knitting version B now. Post soon.)

Travel note: I loved having apartments in Amsterdam and Paris, and would highly recommend this if you’re staying more than two nights. We had wireless internet in both, and a washing machine/dryer in Paris. It’s so nice to be able to have breakfast (and sometimes happy hour) at “home” instead of having to go out for every meal. It was also less expensive than a hotel for us in both cities.

It was fun to be a part of a neighborhood. I had my favorite boulangerie, wine shop, cheese shop, and produce stand. I had a little game going with myself. The object was to go in, greet the shopkeeper, have a little interaction/conversation and keep it all in French from beginning to end. Most of the time I was successful, but on my third visit to the wine shop, I thought I had counted exact change, but I wasn’t quite right. I stood there, befuddled, with a handful of coins. The shopkeeper helpfully plucked the correct change from my palm, and said, “thank you.” Busted!

Fashion note: Animal prints are everywhere, and I love them. First of all, my boots from Bruges.

One print item is usually enough, but the woman in front of me in the passport control line had a leopard print bag AND zebra print shoes.

This huge billboard at Histoire d’Or on Rue de Rivoli intrigued me enough that I went in to price the watch.

He didn’t have any in stock, but they were due in the next week, and cost 199 euro. Too rich for me! He gave me a card so I could call him back…in French.

September in the rear view mirror

DH and I went to Europe last month to celebrate our 30th anniversary. We started in Amsterdam, where we rented an apartment on the Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal).

It was across the canal about two blocks north of Westerkerk, the church in the picture, and the Anne Frank House. The churchbells ring every 15 minutes, 24/7, which is tough on the jet-lagged. But they were a comfort to Anne Frank, reminding her there was a world outside her hiding place. The Anne Frank House was a very sobering, moving exhibit.

We had a great time in Amsterdam. It has a laid-back, Portland kind of vibe. I love the mix of old and new; many of the houses are from the 17th century. Our apartment was in a canal house on the edge of the Jordaan district, and there was always something fun going on nearby. We stumbled on the Rock Arkiv our first night in town. It’s actually a gallery that sells pictures, but this was going on outside.

What else is Amsterdam/the Netherlands known for?

Delicious cheese.

Bikes as real transportation. These are parked at Centraal Station (train station), and don’t include the 3 story bike parking garage I’m standing on.

Tulips. I wanted to bring some of these ice cream tulip bulbs home, but they’re not cleared for export to the USA yet. The shop owner said I’d have to smuggle them in. Um, no thanks. I’d look too guilty!

I accidentally found a yarn shop when I was walking around the neighborhood. This is De Afstap, a cute little shop. Lots of Rowan yarns, but nothing I can’t get at home. No one tried to chat me up there, so I just made a quick tour and went on my way.

From Amsterdam we went to Bruges/Brugge, Belgium via train.

Unfortunately, DH had a mishap getting off the train in Antwerp, so he ended up on crutches for a few days. (Socialized medicine was pretty efficient. And I went to the pharmacy and pantomimed crutches. It worked!) We didn’t climb the bell tower, which was the one thing we really wanted to do (366 steps). The tower dates back to the 1300’s.

But we did tour the town by carriage. I left DH in the hotel room to rest while I took a quick look around.

Just another beautiful canal view, with the bell tower. (Thanks to Rick Steves, who notes this picture perfect view in his guidebook.)

I love this alley, which reminds me of scenes from the Tudors.

I went to Dumon for chocolates. These were my favorite of this trip. Leonidas was a close second. I think I need a larger sample size, though.

I bought some boots to celebrate that DH’s foot wasn’t broken. (Picture in next post; this one is getting too long…)

Next stop, Paris!

I bought yarn I didn’t need

But wait, I can explain! I did it for the experience. Yes, the experience!

I went to La Droguerie, in Paris. I had read about them online, and it’s a very different experience than visiting a US shop.


This shop is located at 9 and 11 Rue du Jour, just off Rue Rambuteau, right next to Les Halles. It’s a 15 minute walk from our apartment in le Marais. Pictures are not allowed inside, but here’s a view from across the street.


You can see that the yarn hangs in hanks along the walls, but these are just samples of the yarn by type and color. I decided I wanted linen, which they carry in about DK weight, in a deep purple (violet, but I think of it as eggplant). I asked for it in French, 200 grams. The clerk went to the back wall, climbed a ladder, brought down a cone, and wound off the required amount.


It’s really not this blue; I can’t get the camera to capture the eggplant-iness of it.

The rest of the store is lovely, too. There’s a wall of buttons, and if you want some, they get them out of wooden boxes and drawers for you. There are jars of beads, and you have to ask for them; they’ll get those out for you, too. Definitely not US do-it-yourself, but a fun experience. And now I have some lovely French linen to play with!

Still one at a time…

I’m trying to work on more than one project at a time, but so far it’s just not in me.

I re-finished the sleeves on the Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and they’re perfect. It was worth ripping them both back. I took the lazy way out and only re-blocked the sleeve ends. Modeled shot later, when there’s a photographer around. And see the freshly washed roving in the bag? It’s in the queue.


I’m knitting almost exclusively on the Blueberry half Pi shawl. I was going to knit this on my beloved Lantern Moon ebony circulars, but I quickly found that I needed a pointier tip to work with laceweight yarn. Lorajean let me borrow her HiyaHiya sharps, and that seemed to do the trick, so I bought my own.


But metal needles are soooooo slippery for this loose knitter! After tinking 600 stitches because I kept messing up the tink, I am back on track. I wonder if I’d have a better time with sharp wooden or bamboo needles to reduce the slip factor, but I don’t want to switch now in case it changes my gauge. I’m 100 rows in and not going back, thank you very much.


This isn’t really much to look at yet, but I know that blocking will transform this duckling into a beautiful swan.

I do need to set this down and get a few other things going, but I’m not very good at juggling projects. We shall see…

What else is going on? Summer has arrived, today, threatening to hit 100 degrees. It’s the first time we’ve been over 90 this year. I’m hanging out inside, in the A/C. But yesterday I took a jaunt down the Old Columbia River Highway with a friend, and we stopped at several waterfalls. All except Ponytail Falls are right on the highway, so it’s a very scenic drive.

Wahkeena Falls:


Multnomah Falls:


Oneonta Gorge. No photo; the end of the gorge isn’t particularly picturesque.

Horsetail Falls (I hiked there last month, too):


Ponytail Falls (see Pattie under the rock overhang?):


We heard rustling in the foliage, and saw this little guy:


For all of you baking in the heat across North America, here’s a little refreshment at Wahkeena Fails!

And I am finally (!) sending out my handmade pay-it-forward goodies. I made them last night, and liked them so much I made one for myself, too. I hope that Susan, Rebecca, and Denise enjoy their handmade gifts, and wonder if they were more timely in mailing theirs out than I was! I haven’t received mine from Mimi yet, so I know that I’m not the only one falling behind.

How are you keeping cool? Can you stand to knit with wool?

Hedging my bets

I finished knitting my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and the entire time I was knitting the sleeves, I wondered if I had made it too small. I tend to second-guess myself when I’m nearing the end of something, and it takes all my will-power to push through. Thoughts of completely frogging the piece, or even just abandoning it, dance through my head as I knit on and on.

I’ve learned my lesson about ease in sweaters; too much ease just makes it look like my sweater is wearing me. But I was afraid that I might have gone overboard this time in my quest for a flattering fit with zero or minimal ease. I’m hoping that the seed stitch bands will relax a bit and cover just a bit more in the front.

VL blocking

Which they did. Now I’m just waiting for it to dry so I can try it on again. But you’ll notice that I haven’t sewn in my ends yet…in case I have to frog! But look how delicious all the subtle color shadings are in this Damson colored Luminous DK (85/15 Polwarth wool/Tussah silk) from Sincere Sheep.

While I’m waiting, I’ll show you pictures from our Tuesday hike. We did the Horsetail Falls Loop hike in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s an easy 2.6 mile hike with views of 3 waterfalls. It begins and ends at Horsetail Falls, which is 192 feet high and right off the Historic Columbia River Highway.


There’s a trail that wanders up to Ponytail Falls, which feeds Horsetail Falls.


This part of the trail goes behind the falls, which lends a great perspective.


The third waterfall on this hike is Middle Oneonta Falls. (There are three: Upper, Middle, and Lower)


Lots of greenery along the way…


…as well as some not as green things.



I like how the drops of sap look like beads on knitting. (It always comes back to knitting, doesn’t it?)

The end of the hike loops back to Horsetail Falls, where we spent some time hanging by the splash pool. I used to bring the kids here on hot summer days, a long time ago.


It was nice to get re-acquainted with the falls, and to do something completely different!

I’ll let you know about the Vodka Lemonade after I try it on…

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

Oh! I was so excited about TNNA and my new iPad, I forgot to tell you about last week’s little jaunt to the Emerald City. I went up for a piano friend’s birthday dinner, and had the afternoon to myself beforehand. I ended up at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center, a stunning new exhibit right next to the Space Needle.


I love the Space Needle. It’s so iconic, much like my beloved Eiffel Tower. This is the view from the Glasshouse, a large area with these glass flowers suspended from the ceiling. Wouldn’t this be a great place for a party? The exhibit has both indoor and outdoor elements. One of the first things you see indoors is this towering piece.


A closer look reveals that it’s an incredibly detailed seascape.


There’s a room with glass pieces in the ceiling, much like the Chihuly Bridge of Glass at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.



The room leads to this view through a doorway.


Which draws you in to this:



My favorite piece is below. It’s two boats, one filled with round balls like Japanese fishing floats, and the other…well, you tell me what they are. I love the way the boats are reflected in the floor. They’re bigger than they appear in the picture, maybe 8 or 9 feet long, each?


There’s a beautiful garden outside, too. I love how the Space Needle is reflected by so many shiny surfaces.



It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Birthday dinner was fun, too. A very nice quick getaway. OK, back to TNNA prep!

How hot was it?

Maybe a little *too* hot to be knitting with worsted. 96 degrees, and the humidity was right up there. But I tried!


We went to St. Louis to celebrate my father-in-law’s big birthday (no numbers, per his request). It’s definitely summer in St. Louis! While we were there, we took in a Cardinals game. Cards won against the Phillies, 3-8.

Dad (Neil) had a birthday greeting on the scoreboard, which was pretty cool. (As I said, no numbers. It was his ??th birthday.)


I played with the picture a bit. Maybe not exactly how it happened, but this sums up the event:


And when I came home, look what was waiting for me!


3 skeins of polwarth/silk dk weight yarn from Sincere Sheep. I bought a subscription in the {Among Friends} yarn/pattern club that she’s doing with Knitted Wit, but I didn’t need to knit yet another version of my Pointer Hat and Mitts (my design is the first offering in this club). I have a hankering to knit a sweet little cardigan for me, and this should give me enough to do so. I’m thinking of Thea Colman’s Vodka Lemonade, Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s Goodale, or Jennifer Thompson’s Garden Cardigan. Goodale is the KAL at JimmyBeansWool right now, but I’m not sure I’d like the shape on me. The Garden Cardi has leaves, and I always love botanical elements. Currently the Vodka Lemonade is winning my affection, but I’m not sure I love the collar. I do love that it’s top down and very customizable for length and shaping. What do you like? What I really like right now is that everything is possible! Beginnings are always fun.

But first, I need to finish the worsted project! Luckily, the Portland weather is a bit more cooperative for this.


And this! Someone yarn bombed the stop sign by the school. It wasn’t me, but I like it. Looks to be at least a size 15 needle…

Did you knit over the weekend? What’s on your needles?

Road trips, and swatching

The week has flown by! The weekend is here and I’m still on last weekend, which I began at Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, in the Columbia Gorge. This is spring on my side of the mountains…damp and cool.



I always walk the labyrinth at Menucha. It helps me quiet my busy mind, and focus. A meditation and a revelation, perfect.


I don’t remember ever seeing this much color in the mosaic stones before. I guess all that moisture can have its advantages.


And Diane became a new spinner! I’ll pass along a spindle to her; I have more than I need.


I went home Saturday night, and on Sunday morning I headed to the other side of the Cascade Mountains with my friend Vickie. We went to Kahneeta to hang out with her mom in her mom’s new RV. Nice digs.


The landscape is completely different over there, sunny and dry.




The cattails reminded me of spindles, with their loads of fluff.


The cottonwoods were shedding their loads of fluff, too, and it made me think I should try to spin that…


With all that fluff going on, you may ask if there was any knitting. Yes, a bit.


I’m going to call this swatching, mostly because I’ve completely frogged it. I’ve started and ripped three times now, as I hone in on what I want from this piece. There have been a lot of “aha!” moments. I’m about to start my last (I hope) rip, because now I think I know exactly what this needs. This time. Real swatching would be smart, but I get so excited about getting started, I just jump right in. Oops. We’ll just call them “very large swatches.” At least this yarn can put up with repeated froggings. I may be impetuous and lazy, but I’m stubborn, too, and I will prevail…


The original colors, below. It turned out that the pale green in the variegated didn’t pop against the gray, so I had to choose a new background. It’s Violetas, also in Malabrigo worsted.


On our way back over the mountains, we stopped up at Timberline Lodge for the view. Here’s Mt. Jefferson from the parking lot:

(Love that sky!)


And Mt. Hood out the back window of the lodge, near the bar.


The bar window is pretty cool looking, too.

bar glass

And now mama bird is home, for a while.


What’s up for you this weekend? I think the boys (young men) are going to help me whip the back yard into shape. It’s Mother’s Day, and that means they’ll do it, even if it’s not their favorite thing to do! Don’t worry; I’m making a fabulous dinner as their reward…

On the road again…

Where have I been? Not knitting much. I took a trip to Orlando last week to see CollegeGuy. DH was in Orlando working on a project, so I thought I’d just go use his hotel room. I left on Tuesday, but got stuck in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport while waiting for a connecting flight, due to some tornados. I kid you not. At first they asked us to move away from the windows. Then to move to the center of the terminal. And then the sirens went off and they put us in the storm shelters (bathrooms).


I was slightly amused by this, thinking it was a great bloggable moment, but then the storm came through (no tornado at the airport, thank goodness). The sky was really dark, the wind was howling, there was lightning, thunder, and golfball-sized hail bouncing off the windows. And that shut everything down for the night. No flights. When I saw the video of tractor trailers flying through the air, I realized it was way more serious than I had thought.

After a sleepless night in a hotel, more canceled flights, three re-bookings, and three standby lines, I was lucky to make it to Orlando Wednesday night, due to the kindness of an excellent ticket agent. I was flying first class on an award ticket, and she found a first class seat through Miami. I was too fried to knit, but at least it was a nice flight.


I had 2 instead of 3 days to see the Kiddo, but we made the most of it. I took him to Cocoa Beach, because it’s the end of his freshman year and he still hadn’t been to a Florida beach.


It was great to visit with Dee while Kiddo was in class. Look at the UCF Knights snowman she made for me. With beads!


And the trip home was smooth and uneventful. Thank goodness. I knit an entire something, which I can’t show you until the next post. But soon!

How was *your* week?