I’ve just signed on to teach aboard the Zodiac, a schooner that sails out of Bellingham, Washington. This is in conjunction with Northwest Yarns of Bellingham. The 3 day cruise is July 31-August 2. It’s a nautical knitting cruise! And you get to learn to help sail the ship, too.
(photo from the Zodiac website, used with permission, copyright Taylor Hodges)
The trip includes 4 knitting classes. Two of them will be brioche! We’ll use my Whale Watch Cap and Cowl pattern to introduce brioche and then learn increases and decreases.
Our other two classes will explore fancy stitches and herringbone braids (and simple stranded colorwork).
The news that Mauna Loa was erupting when we already had plans to be on Hawaii kicked my planning instinct into high gear. Kīlauea has been erupting since September 2021 (it stopped in 2018, and started up again), so we hoped to see Kīlauea and a distant glow from Mauna Loa if we drove from Kona over to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and stayed overnight.
I booked an AirBnB in Volcano (the town) for Saturday night so we could drive over on Saturday, bask in the glow Saturday night, and come home on Sunday.
We scoped out the overlook on the Crater Rim Trail so we’d know where we were going to go after dark, planning a viewpoint that would include both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Halema’uma’u (the crater inside Kīlauea) was smoking that afternoon
and looked beautiful at sunset from Volcano House. (Although suspiciously less steamy?)
I spoke with a park ranger, and she pointed out Mauna Loa’s steam in the distance, but said that things had quieted down quite a bit. (Steam from Kīlauea’s Wahinekapu steam vents in left foreground.)
We went down Crater Rim Trail to the overlook after dinner, and this is what we saw. Yep, nothing. No lava glow from either Kīlauea or Mauna Loa. Too dark to see steam (the moon wasn’t up yet). I guess Madame Pele (Pelehonuamea, the volcano goddess) has her own timetable, which didn’t coincide with ours! But I have to say that the sky was stunning, with more stars than I’ve ever seen at once.
We rose before dawn to see the sunrise (in the rain) over Halema’uma’u from the Kīlauea Overlook. (We picked a different overlook, because there was no need to try to get Mauna Loa in the same view.)
No lava glow, but it was beautiful anyway. It looks like both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are now taking a break. I think Pele is laughing at us! (If you’d like to see more glow from a previous visit in 2015, see this post.)
Of course I took a picture of my knitting with the volcano. I didn’t actually knit…it was rainy, windy, and cold. This is the little sample I’d be using the next day to review increases and decreases for the Brioche Buddies cast on party.
The nice thing about getting up before dawn is that there was nobody on the Chain of Craters Road, and we were the only people looking at the Hōlei Sea Arch before 8 a.m.
The arch in 2013 and 2022. It’s 90 feet tall, and was formed 550 years ago. You can see by the angle that they’ve moved the viewing overlook; heavy surf in July made the cliff less stable. The heavy surf also took some chunks out of the arch leg; at some point it will fall into the sea.
It was a beautiful, quiet, windy morning.
I’m glad we took this road trip, even if we didn’t get to see hot lava!
Sometimes you just have to chill out and go with the flow…
After the Vogue Knitting Cruise and a few days in New York, DH headed for Portland, Oregon and I headed for Portland, Maine. Knit Maine (from Peacetree Fiber Adventures) was held at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, a 3 hour drive from Portland. It was like going to camp! North Coast Maine is a magical place.
It’s probably good that I didn’t know beforehand that I’d be taking my suitcases (2!) down these stairs to my room.
And back up again at the end of our stay. And that I’d be up and down them repeatedly every day. I got my 10,000 steps every day, and a stairmaster workout, to boot!
Happy to be settling in!
My classes? In the wood studio. I taught Petite Brioche and Whale Watch/Brioche Increases & Decreases, as well as 3 other classes.
Jacquie didn’t love making the thrummed butterflies, and I mentioned that some people use the roving as a carry-along strip. Worth a try! As long as you get the result you want, you’re doing it right.
The days were packed with classes, but we also had time to shop in the market that was set up in the clay studio. Casey Ryder from Port Fiber had some beautiful yarns from Cashmere People, Spin Cycle and Harrisville Designs (and more?).
Madder Root had beautiful bags. I couldn’t resist this one. You know I love the night sky!
and Sven from North Light Fibers brought beautiful yarn, including Water Street, a DK weight 40/60 cashmere/merino blend that is making me dream of cushy brioche accessories. There was more, the offerings changed from day to day. I’m sure I didn’t see everything.
The weather was perfect, and there was time to explore the campus.
Louis Boria, me, Shaina Bilow, Kristin Drysdale, Casey Ryder, Christine Walker (Peacetree Fiber Adventures), and Cal Patch. Knit Maine featured classes in knitting, drop spindling, embroidery, sewing, needle felting…a nice mix of fiber arts.
Christine is such an excellent organizer. She had Knit Maine tote bags ready for each participant, with supplies for their classes. Also in the bags? These mugs, and a center pull ball winder from Katrinkles. ETA: T-shirts, and a copy of Taproot magazine. (I had partially unpacked, and things got separated!) A skein of yarn from Moss Fibers, specially dyed as The Maine Event colorway, was the parting gift. I’m looking forward to making something special with it.
The fun didn’t stop when we left Haystack; we still had to get back to Portland.
That’s a wrap on my epic east coast adventure! I’m so happy I had the opportunity to teach in such a variety of settings. What a great way to start autumn knitting. Now I’m gearing up for virtual and in-person teaching. Looking forward to a fiber-filled fall!
I only had 3 days between the Vogue Knitting Cruise before heading to Maine. Going home would have turned two of those days into travel days, so I made a plan to stay in NYC instead. It was also my birthday, so DH came out to celebrate with me.
We took walks, explored parks, relaxed, and saw Hamilton and Six. Six is the story of the wives of Henry VIII, reimagined as a sing off in which each wife tells why her lot was the worst. I love Tudor history, so that was very fun. The music is very catchy, and I’m still listening to it and singing along with the soundtrack.
Hamilton was all that fun and more! It’s a masterpiece. I hadn’t seen Hamilton or listened to the soundtrack before attending, but it wasn’t a problem. Also, I recognized many main characters from Outlander, haha! Washington, Lee, LaFayette. The Battle of Monmouth (and General Lee’s retreat). No Jamie Fraser in the musical, though.
I loved knitting in Bryant Park; it was just the relaxing afternoon I needed. Bryant Park is right behind the flagship New York Public Library.
A couple days before I left for my epic East Coast adventures, DH came to me and said that he had been planning a surprise for our anniversary, but had been persuaded to make it not a surprise. Confusing? He wanted us to renew our vows, and had been talking to my pastor. (He doesn’t do church, but he’d met her once a few weeks before.) She recommended that he ask me, because vows should be consensual and not a surprise. Makes sense! So we had a phone chat with her while we were in New York, planning for a small ceremony in a favorite park in Portland on our anniversary, the day after I’d get home from Maine. (Nonstop fun, right?) We didn’t want a big to-do; my September was full enough!
Since we were in New York, I got a wild hair to see if the jeweler that made my anniversary band (7th anniversary a very long time ago) was still in business. (We lived in Queens back then.) He had passed away, but his grandson now runs the business. We had a nice visit, and ordered white gold bands, each with a single tiny diamond. They wouldn’t be ready for the ceremony, but we borrowed their ring sizers as stand-ins.
It all worked out. The kids came to help us celebrate. DH and I had lovely tributes for each other. (I called him a romantic hidden inside a curmudgeon.) We renewed our vows with updated versions of the original ones. It was a small and perfect event!
But that happened after Knit Maine, so I’ll head back to the east coast…in the next post.
We had two stops in Canada: St John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
St. John had two yarn shops in walking distance from the port. First stop? Cricket Cove, in Brunswick Square.
So much beautiful yarn, a lot of it Canadian-dyed. This Hand Maiden Yarns display was gorgeous! It had several interesting kits set up, some for thrumming and some for color pooling, both of which I’d be teaching in Maine the next week. But I already had yarns for those classes, so I didn’t indulge. (I like my yarn acquisitions to have a plan.)
Our second stop was Good Fibrations, which had a good selection of hand-dyed yarns, and spinning and weaving supplies.
And goodie bags for us, including this sweet notebook set and hand balm.
I bought this skein of hand-dyed super bulky; I need a new demo yarn for my Brioche Entrée scarf. I’ve been using the same bit of yarn for years, and it’s time for a refresh. This will be perfect against my white demo needles.
I also bought a new circular for my Petite Brioche class; I wanted a metal needle that would contrast better than my dark wooden needle against my dark demo yarn. No 16” circulars in sight! LYS owner Elizabeth Miller told me that she likes 20” (who am I kidding, 50 cm because we’re in Canada) circulars for hats, so that’s what she carries. I didn’t even know that Hiya Hiya stainless circulars came in 20” lengths. I bought one, and it’s perfect.
On to Halifax!
I met up with fellow blogger Brenda Solman. We walked the boardwalk and visited The Loop yarn shop, where I finally bought yarn that didn’t have a plan. Oops.
Can you blame me? This is Flyss from Hand Maiden Yarns. It’s 65% silk, 35% linen. I don’t know what it wants to be, but it’s stunning.
Our Vogue Knitting Cruise also made a stop in Portland, Maine.
Unlike Newport, Rhode Island, and Bar Harbor, which involved a tender (small boat to get from cruise ship to port), Portland has a deep water harbor that accommodates cruise ships. We could just walk on and walk off! With proper documentation, of course.
We had a trolley tour of Portland, which ended at Port Fiber yarn shop. Port Fiber is owned by Casey Ryder, with whom I’d meet up again the following week at Knit Maine.
Designers Mary Jane Mucklestone and Bristol Ivy came to show samples and talk about knitting in Maine. Seeing and touching samples in real life is always so compelling!
Selfies were taken, of course.
You know I’m not much of a yarn stasher. But I love a yarn with a story, and couldn’t resist this.
Casey imports and distributes yarn for Cashmere People Yarns. These yarns are ethically sourced, handspun and hand-dyed by women in Tajikstan and Afghanistan.
Each skein has a picture and bio of the spinner, which I find charming. My skein is a two ply fingering weight cashgora, which isn’t a blend of cashmere and angora fiber. It’s actually from cashgora animals, which are a cross between Russian fiber goats and cashmere-type goats in Tajikstan. My skein is in the Atlantic colorway, which I thought was appropriate for this cruise souvenir. I’m planning to knit a Zephyr shawlette, which starts at the skinny end and I can knit til I run out of yarn. Or if I get wild, I’ll design a new thing that’s similar. (If you want your LYS to carry this luscious yarn, have them contact Casey Ryder at Port Fiber.)
I also took the opportunity to meet a longtime friend from my piano forum. I’ve met up with other piano and knitting friends after knowing them online. It’s fun to meet in real life; you just pick up the chat where you left off. (The first time I ever did this, DH was worried that I was meeting up with an axe murderer. Hasn’t happened yet!)
We went to Gritty’s so I could fulfill the lobster roll on my bucket list. It was delicious! But spendy. I think I enjoyed my unphotographed lobster Cobb salad at Stewman’s in Bar Harbor even more. Less guilt…it’s a salad, right? (And split with a friend…with fries…)
Don’t forget I’m giving away my Knit Fit kit; see this blog post for details on how to enter to win! We got these in Bar Harbor, which I previously posted about in order to get this party underway. My next post: O Canada! Two more ports…
The Norwegian Breakaway was huge! Lots of indoor and outdoor places to explore; it’s like a floating city with lots of restaurants, lounges, pools, and hot tubs. And a casino, if that’s your thing. You get to visit lots of places on and off the ship, and your hotel room just moves along with you. Tidy.
So many charming lighthouses on this trip! This one greeted us at our first stop, in Newport, Rhode Island.
We visited Knitting Needles, a sweet shop not too far from the tender dock. She was ready for us with goodie bags, and a visit with the dyers behind Hugs With Shrugs, a charity that supports moms that have children with pediatric cancer.
I bought a couple mini skeins that are Newport-themed. I’ll find a use for them with another worsted. A little brioche accent, maybe?
I met John Brennan, author and pirate. He came to chat about his book, Newport Live, which is a history of Newport.
I taught my first brioche class that afternoon; we had fun! I taught beginning 2 color brioche in the round, with the option to learn increases and decreases to knit my Whale Watch Cap and Cowl. I designed these accessories especially for this cruise! And I also used them the following week at Knit Maine.
The other half of our group had class with Vogue Knitting’s editor-in-chief Norah Gaughan; they learned techniques from Norah’s new book, Knit Fold Pleat Repeat. We swapped groups at the end of the week, so everyone had a chance to take both classes.
I’m adding miscellaneous cruise pictures to this post; this blog is my pictorial journal, too!
I woke up early on our return day; the lights of this bridge were reflecting in my mirror! Apple Maps told me that it was the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and that the Statue of Liberty was coming right up. Which it did.
I flew into NYC the day before boarding for the Vogue Knitting Cruise. On the non-stop Portland to JFK flight, I inhaled a book called The Boys by Katie Hafner. It’s about relationships, pandemic isolation, parenthood, and more…with a great twist that I never saw coming. This is Katie Hafner’s fiction debut; she’s the author of several non-fiction books, and when I met her at Sonata piano camp in 2002 she was writing for the NY Times. I loved this book, and I highly recommend it.
Late in the book, the protagonist has dinner in New York city at a ramen restaurant that is known for solo dining. I was alone, so I googled and found Ichiran. The restaurant has long counters with folding side panels, so you are alone at a booth with your food. If you’re with a friend, you can fold the panel back and be side by side, together. The curtain goes up, you place your order (written), and never see the server’s face. The ramen shows up, and the curtain goes back down. The idea is to concentrate on your food, but I think for introverts and solo diners, the point is to be alone without feeling like a weirdo! At least it was for me. And the tonkotsu ramen was delicious.
I had time for a bit of a walkabout on Sunday morning before boarding, so I’ll share some favorite sights.
I loved this dress. I want it. Dolce & Gabbana. $7800. I don’t want it that badly, and it would have to be shortened, anyway. Nope. But isn’t it gorgeous?
It’s true, as knitters we tend to sit a lot. Have you ever thought about walking and knitting at the same time? It’s possible, given a simple enough project and the tools to handle it.
This is the premise behind the Knit Fit kit. These were a gift from Michelle McCann of Knit Fit LLC. The kit includes a ball of yarn and needles to practice knitting while walking, a hat pattern and 3 balls of yarn to knit the hat, and various tools (snips, stitch holder, stitch markers). The lining of the bag is printed with tape measures.
We met Michelle in Bar Harbor, Maine, a stop on our Vogue Knitting Cruise. She told us all about Knit Fit, and then we walked, knitting, to La Rochelle for a tour of this lovely mansion.
I’d love to share my kit with one of you! Are you ready to walk and knit? At the same time? Willing to give it a try? Leave a comment and tell me why I should pick you! I do need to limit this to USA addresses due to shipping costs. And note that my sample knitting is still on the needles, so the kit is not perfectly pristine! I’ll choose a winner after September 30.
I’m going to be posting bits and bobs from my travels as I catch up. It’s too much for a giant post; you wouldn’t hear from me until next month if I waited to put it all together! More soon. Miscellaneous photos from La Rochelle below.
The surrounds on the fireplaces are most ornate in the public rooms. The bedrooms, a bit less so. The servants’ quarters? Minimal. Same for the crown moldings and baseboards.
Bar Harbor was one of my favorite stops on this trip; the town is touristy but cute. There’s a great bookstore with some good craft supplies, Sherman’s, where I found a small quad ruled flip notebook. So helpful for charting knitting on the go! Nice selection of pens, games, and books.
Including this! But not my book or Norah’s book. We checked. Of course.
Remember to leave a comment here if you’d like a chance to win my Knit Fit kit. Onward!
I finished knitting this project while in Maine. Some of you may have seen it at Knit Maine (couldn’t not try it out!). I mostly love it, but there are some tweaks I want to do as I write the pattern. I don’t want to frog this, so I’ve ordered more yarn for the reknit.
It took a week to catch up enough that I could cast on a new project. This is Bonnie Isle, this year’s free pattern from Shetland Wool Week. It’s fun to knit. I wasn’t sure about the colors when I pulled them out of the kit bag from For Yarn’s Sake (it was the Lipstick that made me say hmmmm), but with the white background it all tones down into a harmonious symphony of color. (The kits come in several colorways, in case this pink is not your style.)
My gauge is way off; I knew it would be because I’ve knit with the same yarn for the past two Shetland Wool Week keps. Which means my previous hats are perfect gauge swatches! I don’t want to use smaller needles (these are US 3/3.25 mm) because I like the fabric. So I’ve done some math, and I’m knitting happily and getting the size I want.
I’m teaching a stranded colorwork class via Zoom for For Yarn’s Sake on November 6, using this hat as a jumping off point. I’ll give you all my best pointers on stranded colorwork knitting, and also resizing if you’re interested in that, too. Register here.
My Bonnie Isle project is in a new bag from Madder Root; I bought this bag at Knit Maine.
When I saw the lining I had to have it as my Maine souvenir. (Shown here with my class materials from my Thrumbelina slippers class.)
Because the moon made a big Maine impression on me over the weekend! So orange, so full, so gorgeous.
I’m going to be posting bits and bobs from my travels as I catch up. It’s too much for a giant post; you wouldn’t hear from me until next month if I waited to put it all together! More soon.