Tag Archives: waterfront blues festival

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


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.


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!

Blues Roundup: music, skies, berries

Not much knitting here last weekend, but lots of music, and blueberries, too. The Waterfront Blues Festival ran from Thursday through Sunday, and the weather was perfect. Sunny and warm, but not hot. Portland knows how to throw a party! And it was for a good cause: The festival raised $1.3 million for the Oregon Food Bank, well in excess of their goal of $1 million, plus tons of canned food. (Admission most days is a suggested donation of $10 plus 2 cans of food.)


The music was great all weekend. My favorites?


Nikki HIll, a great big voice in a sassy package. Yes, those are sequined cowboys on her skirt, as well as sequined slide pumps on her feet.


MarchFourth Marching Band, with stilt walker/dancer/acrobats! I think this is every band kid’s dream of a band afterlife. But even cooler and funkier.


John Hiatt, an oldie but goodie. He’s written tons of stuff that others have sung, but I also like his own whiskey voice.

I don’t know that I’d classify all the music I heard as the blues, but the variety made the festival much more enjoyable. There was also a lot of zydeco music, which is always fun.

I missed Sunday, which featured Mavis Staples and Robert Plant. I was at the Oregon Zoo, enjoying the Go-Go’s and the B-52’s. Definitely a smaller venue than Waterfront Park, but still a sizeable crowd.


Zoo concerts are great; you can picnic on the lawn before the show. Go with a group of friends, and it’s a potluck miracle. I made a blueberry cobbler, as requested.


It’s great picnic fare, especially with a side of spray whipped cream. I’d prefer ice cream, but that doesn’t travel well.


I’m coming to the end of my blueberry harvest. It’s my last chance to use my own berries for a blueberry cream pie in a gingersnap crust which requires fresh berries, so that was last night’s dessert.


Lorajean saw my pie pic on Facebook, and then I saw her at Twisted when I was delivering patterns yesterday. She was hoping that the pie was for tonight’s knit nite, but sadly, no.

But I came home and did the last picking, and there are just enough berries to eke out one more pie. Let the rejoicing begin…

Passiflora update

Well, these are really clematis, not passion flowers, but I love them passionately.

clematis 4

They’re growing on this spring’s new trellis. I love how the leaves and buds echo the metal ones.

trellis update

But that’s not what you’re really here for, is it?


Here’s Passiflora. I’m ready to start the detail at the front and back neck. Gauge has been an issue for me on this piece; I went down two needle sizes, and it’s still a little wider than I anticipated. The second needle you see there is me starting over with the next smaller size needle, just to see what would happen. It’s too small, so I’ll just soldier on with the first piece. I think I’m now knitting more tightly, and that may take care of it.

detail side

What else is new? The Teen decided to brew some ginger beer (non-alcoholic). He likes the spicier varieties like Fentiman’s, which we don’t get very often. He got champagne yeast and these cool re-sealable bottles at FH Steinbart here in town. They were very helpful there.

ginger bottles

We did a tasting on Sunday, and it was pretty good! Great ginger flavor, but he realized that he had put in too much water, so it was more dilute than he expected, and less fizzy, too. Round two will happen after we finish drinking round one…we don’t have more bottles!

ginger chef

The kitchen has been humming. CollegeGrad made dinner that same day, fried rice with Chinese sausage. It’s nice to have someone else make dinner sometimes! He’s hard at work, looking for work.

rice chef

And the sun finally came out of hiding, just in time for the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, an annual event here. Saturday was glorious, and fun. How was your weekend?


Super Chikan with his gui-jo made from a ceiling fan and a guitar neck/headstock, and lots of bling.


Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble


Sunshine means party time!