Category Archives: travel

Vogue Knitting Cruise: Newport, RI and NYC

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.

People do play with this outdoor chess set!
Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport RI

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.

first class

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.

Whale Watch Cap and Cowl. See the Whale Tail?

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!

Closing gathering, with new stash!
Cruise knitters!
Verrazano Narrows Bridge

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.

Next stop: Portland, Maine

One night in NYC, pre-cruise

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.

Dinner at Ichiran

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.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Atlas at Rockefeller Center
above a doorway at Rockefeller Center
Window shopping on Fifth Avenue, love those animal prints
In the window at Bergdorf Goodman

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?

Me, in my $20 dress, ready to sail on the Norwegian Breakaway

Don’t forget, I’m giving away my Knit Fit kit on this post over here. Leave a comment there to enter!

Knitting on the go go go!

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.

Knit Fit kit

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.

Michelle of Knit Fit
And the walkers!

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 Norwegian Breakaway, home away from home, outside La Rochelle
Square piano in the parlor
You may play it, gently. I played a few arpeggios
Singer treadle sewing machine
Would love this cabinet!
Carpet sweeper, same brand as the one I grew up with
Dining room fireplace

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.

Strawberry Thief wallpaper on the entry staircase

This William Morris wallpaper is appropriate to the age of the house, but is not original. Gorgeous, though.

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!

Back from the east coast and knitting again

*Finally* knitting again!

Mystery project

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.

Shetland Wool Week’s Bonnie Isle Hat

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 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.

Trundle bag from Madder Root

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.)

Rising full Harvest Moon, Deer Isle, Maine

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.

Halfway through the East Coast swing

The Vogue Knitting Cruise was great fun; I met lots of knitters and also got to know my fellow teacher, Vogue Knitting Editor in Chief Norah Gaughan.

Norah Gaughan and me on the balconies
Hi Norah!

I met blogger Brenda Solman/Kingshearte in Halifax; we’ve been reading each other’s blogs and commenting back and forth for years. So nice to meet in person!

Lady Liberty welcomes us back to NY

I was thrilled to accidentally wake up early and see the Statue of Liberty as we returned to New York. So cool! The person in the next stateroom said that she had booked her portside cabin and set her alarm to get this view. Me? I lucked out at 5 am.

Bryant Park (ooh Empire State Building)

I’m spending a few days in NYC and then heading to Maine tomorrow for Knit Maine with Peacetree Fiber Adventures.

I’ll post more about the cruise, and Knit Maine, when I get back next week. Knit on!

Quick trip to Sisters

Summer and time is running so quickly!

I went to Sisters to visit fellow Pie Bird Becky and her family. We went to a concert and made some music. We even remembered how to play our instruments, easy for me (just basic guitar) but Becky plays guitar, mandolin, and banjo, and it’s been a while.

Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius
Backyard music accompaniment
Our audience was wild

Becky works at Pine Meadow Ranch, the home of the Roundhouse Foundation, which focuses on projects that work with and through the arts. Their four program areas: arts and culture, environmental stewardship, education, and social services. She gave us a tour of the ranch, which is a working ranch and also uses the restored ranch buildings for artists’ residencies.

The restored round barn
Interactive art installation that makes colored light and sound when you move under it. Note the tile mural across the way…

Sisters (the town) is named for the Three Sisters mountains in the Cascade Range. The town hosts a quilt festival each summer, and that’s reflected here.

Tile “quilt” on the greenhouse by Kathy Deggendorfer
This year’s quilt garden contest winner by June Jaeger. See the 3 Sisters?
Detail from the quilt; I love the birds, and music notes in the snow creases
Detail of detail!
And the garden inspired by the quilt. I wish you could see it from above!
A panel from a 7 panel tile mural, designed by Rochelle Schueler and Lynn Adamo
Another panel
Horse shoe gate to the garden
Pencil shaving…as you walk around it, it looks like it unfurls
More art, from 2 different artists

There’s a lot more art, and sheep and cattle, too. It’s a beautiful and inspiring setting.

I’m home now, setting up classes for fall, and getting ready for the Vogue Knitting cruise and Knit Maine. Time is racing by!

Cape Perpetua getaway

It’s was ridiculously hot here last week (90 to 100F), so a planned camping trip with the ladies was a welcome respite. We went to Cape Perpetua, near Yachats, on the central Oregon coast.

Looking south from Cape Perpetua

It was a cool and misty weekend, with highs in the mid-60s. The curtains of mist falling past the cape were ethereally lovely.

Banana slug

I brought my assigned pooling cowl, but didn’t do a lot of knitting. There was a whole world to explore.

Giant Spruce

This Sitka Spruce was here before Columbus arrived in the New World. Older than Henry VIII?!

View from the other side

The hollow underneath was formed as the tree grew out of a nurse log, which then rotted away, hundreds of years ago.

fauna growing from nurse log
What’s going to grow from this nurse log? Who will see it hundreds of years from now?
Stone shelter on Cape Perpetua

Stone shelter built by the CCC in the 1930s. Workers (young men) earned $30/month. They kept $5, and $25 went home to the family.

Note the temporarily blue sky!
Fungus among us
Looking at you, oxalis?

Cape Perpetua is on a pretty rocky part of the coast, but there are occasional sandy beaches. Tillicum Beach was wide and inviting.

Designer feathers on Tillicum Beach
Tide pools like moonscapes
The rise and fall in Thor’s Well is mesmerizing.
Spouting Horn blow hole
Cape Perpetua overlook
Farewell to our mascot, who stayed with us all weekend

Back in town, where it’s cooled off a bit. Time to work out my next design!

3 skeins of yarn: white speckle, gray, and yellow

I’ve gone through two design ideas so far. One would require an extra skein of speckled yarn, so no go on that one. It’s risky to order another and expect that the speckles will be the same (ask me how I know). Both this idea and the next idea involve working from the large end to the small end, in order to make the motif right side up. It’s a lot more planning and math, but it will be worth it. I hope. Onward!

Knit Maine this September

I’m looking forward to spending a beautiful long weekend in Maine, teaching at Knit Maine September 8-11 with PeaceTree Fiber Adventures. It’s at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. I’ll be teaching with five other teachers: Kristin Drysdale, Casey Ryder, Cal Patch, Shaina Bilow, and Louis Boria. Gaye Glasspie of GGMadeIt will be there to party with us, too! You get to choose your classes from these any/all of these teachers. It looks like there are only 3 spots left, so hurry!

I’m teaching Petite Brioche, Brioche Increases & Decreases (with my new Whale Watch hat and cowl pattern, I think), Thrumbelina thrummed slippers, YO? YO! Fancy stitches, and Planned Pooling. Currently plotting and planning the yarn with Keith Leonard (Knits All Done/YarnSnob) for the planned pooling class; it’s so gorgeous.

I’ve been to Maine once before, to Sebasco Harbor for one of DH’s work retreats. Such a beautiful place.

How far in advance are you planning your life? It’s weird to be planning things again, after Covid lockdowns. I know the virus is still out there, and I’m trying to strike a balance between caution and life. Knit on!

Crowning glory

I have crowns on my mind. More hat crowns.

For Better or Worsted MCN from Anzula Luxury Yarns, yum

I love a pretty crown on a hat. This one hits all the right notes. It’s for the hat and cowl pattern that I’m designing for the class I’m teaching on the Vogue Knitting Cruise in August. The class covers beginning 2 color brioche rib in the round, and brioche increases and decreases. Does this sound like Brioche Pastiche? Yes and no! This set includes a cowl, for non-hat wearers. An a nautical theme!

Malabrigo Rios, a favorite yarn for brioche

This crown is slightly simpler, but the overall effect is the same. I just sent the pattern off to my tech editor, and I’m looking forward to moving on with these designs.

There are a few spots left on this cruise. Do you have to cruise with us to knit this hat and/or cowl? Of course not. But it would be really fun! Here’s a list of the places we’re going.

I’ll show you the whole set soon, after tech editing. I love them!

Red Alder 2022 recap

This picture says it all. It was so wonderful to be back in a classroom with my knitters! This is my Brioche Pastiche class from Thursday morning. This was my first ”away” teaching since Red Alder in 2020. It’s been a long two years.

I taught 4 classes, and it was a joy. I brought my laptop and document camera, so it was the best of both worlds. Everyone could see the demonstration at the same time like a Zoom class, and then i could go around the room and fine tune with people.

The market was fun, and I had a great time signing books with the fun peeps from Northwest Yarns.

Melissa, Heather, Tristan, and Echo from Northwest Yarns
Thanks, Echo!
Karen and Donna
Nancy of Schmutzerella Yarns with her ravishing Oregon Sky
Dyers Jen of Matchmaker Yarns & Kalliope of Anzula Luxury Fibers
Test knitter Kris

I met Kris in person; she was so helpful test knitting for Brioche Knit Love. So nice to put faces with names!

Here’s what came home with me:

Sparkly fingering weight yarn from Schmutzerella, and beads from Bead Biz. I have a plan for this combination.

Sparkly DK weight yarn from Anzula Luxury Fibers. Apparently I was having a thing for all things sparkly. I think I have a plan for this, too.

And worsted weight yarn from Anzula, as a backup if the sparkles don’t work for what I was planning…

Red Alder is already planning for next year; mark your calendars for February 16-19, 2023!

Edited to add my weekend knitwear!

Here are more pictures from the weekend.

Chihuly art glass at the old Union Station
Love this reflection!
Union Station reflection on the Bridge of Glass
Mural. I’ve seen this expression on Bisquee
The mountain peeked out at sunset on Friday

Now hard at work (at home) trying to pare down the to-do list! It grew quite a bit these past two weeks. Onward!