Category Archives: travel

Santa Barbara getaway

Earlier this month, I took a gal pals trip to Santa Barbara. We were celebrating a birthday (not mine).

Santa Barbara is a cute town! It’s the county seat for Santa Barbara County. The county courthouse is gorgeous.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

There are 360 degree views from the clock tower, and a view into the clock fromt the inside, too.

I meant to share this last week. Inside the clock tower. Time flies!

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

 

This mural depicting the history of the area is in the meeting room. Click to embiggen; it’s worth it.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The Santa Barbara Mission is also beautiful, and is next to a rose garden.

Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara Mission and Rose Garden

Santa Barbara is right on the water. We watched surfers, paddle boarders, and dolphins? Porpoises?

Another from last week. Dolphins or porpoises? Very cool, either way.

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

 

pelican

Pelicans are bigger than I thought.

poppies and Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are right across the water. These are not the islands of Channel Island cast on fame.

We spent a day on the beach at Carpinteria. The fog rolled in during the afternoon, so it was warm and cool at the same time. The water was cold! I re-designed this knitting project three times on this trip. It’s finally done, pictures in an upcoming post.

Carpinteria beach knitting

There are a lot of wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley on the other side of the mountains behind Santa Barbara. We took the opportunity to sample the local offerings. But first, aebelskivers (pancake balls) in Solvang, a Danish-themed town.

solvang windmill

aebelskivers

old gringo boots

And these boots were quite tempting, too. But on to the wine!

Deep Sea Winery

Figgie at Brander Winery

Too much wine for Figgie?

Millie at Brander Winery

Millie reminded me of my Mookie.

J Ludlow Winery

While we were tasting at J Ludlow in Los Olivos, we met fellow tasters Lori and Bob. Bob makes his own moonshine, distilled from merlot. He shared some moonshine with us; this one was cinnamon flavored. It was DELICIOUS. Thanks, Bob!

moonshine!

A very fun trip.

knit leaf coasters

I came home and knit these coasters as a gift for our hosts, and will get them into the mail this coming week. Onward!

Crafty Moms Weekend catch up

The weekend before the yarn crawl was the 13th annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast. That’s a lot of tradition!

The Beanstalk Poncho that I wore Sunday?

Terri, me, M

I seamed it at Crafty Moms weekend.

beanstalk seam

I was going to use mattress stitch, but my blocking wires left a loopier and rufflier than expected edge, and I didn’t want to take up even more fabric in the seam allowance. Those holes ended up being perfect for slip stitch crochet. I didn’t have an appropriately sized crochet hook, but I had this little repair hook, and that did the trick.

Twin Leaf at Crafty Moms

I almost finished my Twin Leaf Crescent for the Black Trillium KAL, which wraps up at the end of this month on Ravelry. The view beyond the window was pretty, too.

wrap bracelets

Carole made the bracelet on the left for me with beads we bought at Shipwreck Beads on the way home from Madrona. The middle one is hers. And I made the one on the right, but I don’t love it. The orange beads with the brown leather don’t make me happy. So I’ll frog it and do it again, later.

It was rainy and not rainy, as is customary on the Oregon Coast. So there was walking and not walking!

rope and sea creatures

The ocean likes beading, too. I think these beads may be anemones?

Here’s a little live action…

Crafty Moms weekend at the #oregoncoast. Sometimes you have to go outside.

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

sunset

It was a very relaxing weekend with 16 Crafty Moms!

Madrona, fun and games edition

Madrona was, as always, a magical experience. This was my first time teaching there. My blocking class was full, and my students came ready to learn about swatching, washing, and blocking all the knits. It was fun!

I took two classes, but I’ll write about them in a later post because I’m using new knowledge from both classes on a little project, and I want to put all of it together for you. Curious? Watch this space! This post is about everything else. To tide you over, here’s a link to the class I took with Evelyn Clark last year.

Last Wednesday I was packing for Madrona, and I caught myself thinking, “Don’t buy any more fingering weight yarn.” (The bin is full.) And then I heard myself say out loud, “Unless it’s gradient!”

Sincere Sheep

So apparently I had to buy some gradient yarn. This is from Sincere Sheep. I bought just the gradient on Thursday, and the next day went back for a coordinating solid. And two days later I found myself buying beads from Bead Biz to go with them! This will be a fun design project.

Janine Bajus FeralKnitter

Janine Bajus was our speaker on Friday night. Very inspiring. As she wrapped up her talk, I was compelled to write down these 3 ideas, plus the big question.

You get to do what YOU want.
There is no one right way to do it.
You won’t know if it will work until you swatch.

What is holding you back?

I chatted with her on Saturday about her strikingly beautiful shawl, which actually isn’t finished yet. She wore it on Friday, the steek cut but not edged. Holding just fine! Now that I think about it, it would be cool to leave it that way, as a representation of the journey.

Carol Milne

I met glass artist Carol Milne. She’s well known for her knitted glass sculptures. Her current project is a glass entrelac dress. Glass entrelac? Yes. She knits the squares with wax cord, and makes a clay molds which are used to make the glass pieces.

knit wax for glass carol milne

pamela

New buddy Pamela Grossman tried on the beginnings of the dress. Pretty cool! You can sponsor a glass entrelac square, and when the June exhibit is over, Carol will send it to you. I want one! Check out her Facebook page for details. (It’s not up on her website yet.)

GS Mini

What else? I had a fabulous hotel room with a great view. And a fainting couch! I brought Minerva, my GS Mini, as a diversion. Last week when my #BangOutASweater gauge swatch lied to me, I started writing lyrics in my head. It’s to the tune of Blowing in the Wind. I’m sharing them with you here. If you use them anywhere, please credit them to me. And yes, I used the singular “they.”

Knitter’s Lament
Michele Lee Bernstein, PDXKnitterati

How many times must a knitter cast on
Before the swatch doesn’t lie?
How many swatches must one knitter frog
Before they break down and cry?
How many swear words will one knitter say
While knitting the umpteenth try?

The answer my friend, it’s all about the gauge
The answer is all about the gauge

How many binges must one knitter watch
On Netflix, to finish a sleeve?
Second sleeve, second sock, second mitt, second cuff
Our boredom must be relieved
How many times do we itch to cast on
Before our ends have been weaved?

The question my friend: What’s next in the queue?
What project is next in the queue?

How many times have you given a gift
And were told, “But wool makes me itch”?
How many gifts have been tossed in the wash
To felt, and shrink each precious stitch
Yes, but how many times have you given a gift
And seen the lives you enrich?

The answer my friend: It’s for the love of yarn
We do it for the love of yarn.

How many ways can a knitter make socks?
Up from the toe… Or down from the cuff?
How many ways can we learn to cast on
Before we know all the stuff
How many classes will we knitters take
Before we call it enough?

The answer my friend: It’s time to confess
At Madrona, we are obsessed.

As you can see, I had a fun time at Madrona! I’m knitting away on the little project I want to show you, using Latvian braids (from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s class) and speed swatching and proportions (from Franklin Habit’s class). Stay tuned for a class review! Here are a couple peeks out my window while you’re waiting…

Friday sunrise

Rainier peeking Friday

Goodbye 2015; Hello 2016!

We had a great vacation in December, and coming back to rain was tough! Missing this:

mauna kea sunset

But we brought a little aloha home with us.

spam mac nuts

It seems like looking back on 2015 is the thing to do this week, so here’s mine.

2015 design collage

I published 12 designs in 2015 (up from 9 in 2014). I began the year playing with a fun stitch pattern, and designed 4 accessories with them: The Criss Cross hat, beret, mitts, and cowl. It was also the year of the poncho, and I had two, Tilt Shift and Summertime Blues. Snowy Woods came back as a hat, and there’s more Snowy Woods in my future. I ended the year going down the gradient rabbit hole with Lobelia (Knit Circus yarns) and the Twin Leaf Crescent for Black Trillium Fibres.

There’s more in the pipeline, and lots of ideas rolling around in my head!

Are you on Instagram? You can find me there under the name pdxknitterati. There’s a cool end of year thing going on over there, #2015bestnine where you can see your nine most liked pictures. And everyone else’s, too. Here are mine:

2015bestnine

All knitting related except for a lone camellia, seen on a walk. The Rose City Yarn Crawl is represented twice, and my lovely Edin Cardigan (design by Bonne Marie Burns) is also there twice.

I hope your 2015 was good to you, and that 2016 is even sweeter! Cheers!

hau tree cocktails

Knitting with a volcano

Last week I went to knit with Pelehonuamea. Pele, the fire goddess. Her home is in the Halema’uma’u Crater in the Kilauea Caldera. I was afraid that we wouldn’t see the volcano at all; it was rainy and misty when we arrived. We were encouraged by occasional glimpses that afternoon.

Kilauea

yarn chicken with Pele

I lost this game of yarn chicken, and I didn’t even care. The view was worth it! We booked just one night at the Volcano House, because we’ve visited the volcano several times, but never at night. (Previous visits here and here, if you like scenery.)

Halema'uma'u at Kilauea

The clouds eventually cleared, and we watched the quarter moon set over Kilauea.

moonset at kilauea

moonset over kilauea 2

The morning glow just before dawn was stunningly beautiful, but hard to photograph. Don’t try to focus on the glow; it’s vapor.

kilauea morning

Morning brought more rain, and a double rainbow.

double rainbow

The Meditation Room at the Volcano House was a great place to knit!

meditation room volcano house

Ripping and re-knitting. I want this piece to be knittable with 1 skein each of 3 colors, not 1.2 skeins. Plotting and planning.

volcano knitting

How’s your knitting? Where’s the most unusual place you’ve knit?I know I said I don’t gift knit, but I have one tiny thing to finish before Christmas. Onward!

Class spotlight: iPad/iPhone photography and editing, Athena entrelac

I just got home from teaching a new class at Twisted. It’s Photographing and Editing Your Knits (and more!) with iPad and iPhone. I use my iPad to edit photos from my camera, iPhone, and iPad for all my pattern pictures. People have asked me how I do this, and that’s how this class was born. The class is not just for knitters; it’s perfect for anyone taking or editing pictures with an iDevice.

We talked about how to use your phone (and there are always new tricks that you didn’t know), and basic rules of photography. Then we practiced editing with Snapseed and Instagram. It was really fun and I’m looking forward to teaching this class again soon!

Speaking of which: I’m scheduled to teach at Stash in Corvallis next Saturday. One of the classes is this photography class, and the other is Athena, my entrelac-in-the-round cowl.

athena

Sign up for one or both! I’m also bringing a trunk show so you can see my newest designs. We need a few more people to sign up for classes, especially for Athena, to make this road trip happen. I’m really hoping it works!

If you’re local to Portland, I’m also teaching Athena this coming Monday evening at Twisted. Contact them to register there.

And now for your amusement, Athena! This statue of Athena is at the Parthenon in Nashville, TN. Who knew there was a Parthenon in Nashville? Who knew it was right by our hotel?! We saw it when we were there over Labor Day weekend. It’s a full size replica of the Parthenon in Athens. I had to take a picture knowing that it would be used with an Athena class post.

Athena Parthenon Nashville

The statue is 42 feet tall.

Athena Parthenon Nashville

The statue of Nike (Victory) in her hand is 6 feet tall.

Parthenon Nashville

But I digress. I’m teaching a lot this fall, and hope to see you in one of my classes. Come say howdy!

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

image

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.

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!

So, so close, yarn chicken!

19 said yes, 19 said no. Ever the optimist, I forged on. And this is how close I got:

pdxknitterati yarn chicken

I made it! With 3 inches to spare. Just enough to sew in the end. It wasn’t really high stakes, because I would have just moved to the next color a little early, but I love a good game of yarn chicken. At least when I WIN.

Speaking of win, I did the random number thingy with the yes voters, and the winner is the 5th yes, Lindarumsey. I’m sending her an email to figure out what to send her, yarn, pattern, or other. Thanks to all for playing, and congrats to Linda!

Congrats also to pdxknitter, who won her own game of yarn chicken with 18 inches to spare. Woot! And sending good vibes to the Yarn Harlot, who is playing a much higher stakes game of yarn chicken

Sunriver getaway

After the busyness of TNNA and Ryan’s graduation, I headed to Sunriver in Central Oregon for a mid-week rendezvous with friends. I stopped at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters to drop off a look book, and chatted with Paula, Nancy, and Ivy, but forgot to take a picture. Oops!

I had two full days in Sunriver. They were both gorgeous. We kayaked on Wednesday.

kayak Hosmer South SisterSouth Sister from Hosmer Lake

Hosmer Lake is gorgeous. Tons of birds, including red winged blackbirds, yellow headed blackbirds, and a magnificent bald eagle that flew right over our kayaks. I didn’t bring a zoom camera, just my phone, so no bird pix!

Bachelor and lenticular cloud

I watched this lenticular cloud develop all day next to Mt. Bachelor.

kayak hosmer lake

South Sister Hosmer Lake

I love the way the wind distorts the once straight jet trails. You can see that the water is pretty shallow here at the upper end of the lake. We couldn’t paddle up the creek; it was too shallow and muddy. It’s been a pretty dry winter, which isn’t good.

Hosmer Lake panoramaSouth Sister, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor is hiding on the right

damselflies

Lots of blue damselflies, but it’s hard to catch a picture from a drifting kayak!

We hiked along the Deschutes River near Benham Falls on Thursday.

deschutes river

Deschutes River

This turn in the river is an awesomely beautiful spot.

It sounds great, too.

But it wasn’t all play. I brought my knitting. Of course!

knitting

On Thursday night I sat in the hot tub under a canopy of stars. And I saw two shooting stars (meteors). Lucky? I think so.

Friday I came home and picked my first ripe raspberries. These are from the two new shrubs the kids planted for Mother’s Day.

raspberry blueberry

I also see that the birds have been busy while I’ve been away!

bird strike

Guess I should have picked more before I left. Oh, well. It’s been busy around here!

How is your summer so far?

Music, knits, food, yarn: a quick Seattle trip

I made a quick trip to Seattle at the beginning of the week to meet up with the Piano Babes. We met (mostly) in 2000 at Sonata Piano Camp, and have been friends ever since.

We went to a very interesting concert by the Nord Trio at the Nordic Heritage Museum: Piano, violin, accordion. Yes, accordion. The concert opened with selections from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, and the accordion was beautifully expressive. This is not polka music!

Before the show, we briefly poked around in the Finnish design exhibit, and of course I went looking for fiber fun in the Norwegian folk art rooms. I was not disappointed.

spinning wheels and carding benchspinning wheels and a carding bench

drop spindlesdrop spindles, and a stone whorl from the Iron Age

Selbu mittensSelbu mittens

embroidered mittensembroidered mittens

bobbin lace bobbin lace

And my favorite thing: A man’s folk costume from the Setesdal region, 1920.

norwegian folk costume There is a very traditional sweater under the vest.

sleeve detailsleeve detail

norwegian steeked sleeve You know this sleeve is steeked! Beautiful.

The weeekend also included a beautiful full moonrise,

full moon rising

a windy walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park and along the shoreline of Elliott Bay (downtown Seattle)

EchoEcho

Elliott Bay

Elvis sighting at the PIElvis sighting (see him?)

windy!Windy!

and lots of beautiful food. I won’t post it all, but if you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of it. (I’m pdxknitterati over there, too.)

beet salad at lola

I’m lucky to know this group of very smart, talented women.

On my way home, I stopped at Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation. It is a beautiful shop.

Tolt Yarn

I came home with some souvenirs.

tolt yarn souvenirs

The white yarn is sourced locally in the Snoqualmie Valley and spun at Green Mountain Spinnery. The purple yarn is from Green Mountain Spinnery, so they’re cousins. It’s called Mewesic, so it fits the theme of the Piano Babes weekend. Both are DK weight. I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but they look and feel good together, a little rustic but wooly. I bought the mug for DH; he gets a souvenir, too.

So that was the weekend. Now knitting, knitting, knitting, trying to finish a design sample. Soon!

How was your weekend?