Sunday, August 23, 2015

Colorado Sampler

Wow, it's almost the end of August, and I haven't even written about our trip to Colorado, which happened way back at the end of June. Oh, well, our adventures are worth hearing about, even two months after they happened.

We flew out to Colorado to attend our niece's wedding, but we built in some extra days for sightseeing in and around Boulder. Boulder is a sunny, funky and interesting town. We had fun wandering down the Pearl Street Mall and watching the street performers on our first evening.


The next day, we drove up to Fort Collins, where, in addition to visiting not one, but two yarn stores (one of them was the Loopy Ewe), we also explored Old Town. There were lots of happy things going on in Fort Collins:



Other weekend happenings included a trip to the Boulder farmer's market, a rehearsal dinner where we witnessed a glorious sunset, and, on the morning of the wedding, a hike in Chautauqua Park.





Oh, and by the way, there was a wedding...



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Christmas in July (Or: My 2015 Stranded Knitting Project)

For the past few years, I have picked a pattern and knit a stranded knitting project each year.  You may remember seeing my Shades of Purple Beret (2014), my Winter Twilight Mitts (2013) and my Slow and Steady Selbu Modern (2012) here on the blog.

This year I was tossing around several ideas for a stranded project, and then I heard about the knitalong for Wendy Gaal's Winter Funderland Stocking and Hat. Wendy is the dyer behind Knitters Brewing Company, and she was offering kits for the pattern, so I jumped in, ordered the kit  and decided to knit the stocking. The beautiful array of colors she offered made choosing difficult, but I eventually settled on red, green, light gray and white.

Wendy provides a number of motifs in the pattern to use on the stocking, but the knitter chooses which motifs to include and in what order to knit them. At first it was daunting to think about coming up with my own combination, but once I got knitting, it was pure fun!

Here is the final result, my Spring and Summer Funderland, which will be hanging by the fireplace come Christmas.


I'm already pondering what stranded project to choose for 2016. Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Long Line of WIPs: Part Two

This post should actually be called "An Even Longer Line of FOs", but I can't have a Part One without a Part Two, so there you go. I'm planning to give you a bit of an update on some of those WIPs in this post, and then I'll share some finishes, too. All links are to my Ravelry project pages.

I have two long-term WIPs. One of them, which I cast on almost two years ago, has been hibernating for a while, and will be taken out of hibernation and, I hope, finished, sometime before the end of this year. The other one, Shades of Blue and Pink, was cast on almost exactly a year ago. It was supposed to be travel knitting on our New England trip last July, and I did work on it then, but then I didn't work on it for a long time. I have picked it up again, and I'm actually making good progress. In the photo below, you can see the tiny bit left from the second ball of yarn. I am not planning to knit the whole third ball, so I may have a finished scarf shortly.


I cast on my Summer Socks because I wanted socks with some cotton content for the cooler summer days we usually get here in the Northwest, days when it is too warm for wool socks, but lighter weight socks are still an option. The problem is that we haven't had any cooler summer days. It has been hot, sunny and very, very dry, and as a result, I haven't been much in the mood for finishing these socks.


Newer projects include My Own Hand-Dyed Shawl, which is a free pattern, Nurmilintu. The yarn is YOTH Yarns Little Brother, and as my project name implies, I dyed the yarn myself in a class I took last summer.


Another new project is my Summer Market Socks, Bonnie Sennott's latest pattern, Hulst. I am really enjoying this pretty textured sock, which has different, but related patterns on the front and back of the leg.


Finally, my Deepest Pink Cardi, which I shared with you last month, is still in the mix, but I have not yet progressed beyond chart A. That may happen very soon, however, because I just started the last repeat of that chart. The photo below was taken just an hour ago, so this is exactly what it looks like now.


As far as finished objects go, I have been surprisingly productive lately, and you can expect one more very special FO in a post all its own a little later this month. Here are the items that have recently come off the needles:

My Happy Handspan Cowl, knit from yarn spun for me by a dear friend.


An Easy Happy Birthday, Martina Behm's Easy pattern. I love how the Zauberball yarn striped!


That Red Robin is a Bit of a Tart: Helen Stewart's Red Robin shawl, which has been in my queue since it was published in 2013. The name of the project is a play on the yarn, Madelinetosh tosh merino light in the Tart colorway.


And finally, Simply Pink, the Simple Skyp sock pattern. They were simple, but maybe a bit too simple (or perhaps a bit boring). Bonnie Sennott's Hulst pattern was a nice change of pace for my brain after finishing these socks.


Well, that is the rundown of current and recently finished projects. There will be some hiking coming up soon, and as always, more knitting.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spring Hikes

The calendar may still say spring for another day or two, but here in the Northwest, we have already entered summer. It has been sunny almost every day, and the temperatures have been in the 70s, and even, on a few days, in the 80s. This is extremely unusual for this area, and, because most of the snow in the mountains has gone, summer hikes in the higher elevations have begun.

I did manage to get a few spring hikes in before the weather warmed up, however, so today I'm going to share some photos from those hikes, before I turn the page over to summer. To start, here is a trillium, Washington's State Flower, blooming alongside the trail at the west end of Rattlesnake Mountain, which we hiked in early May.


On a cloudy Saturday in late May, we tried a new-to-us trail at Cougar Mountain. Here is the sign at the trailhead.


The trail was quite steep, and a great workout at the beginning, and then was relatively flat for a long stretch. As you can see, the trees and vegetation were a gorgeous spring green!


As advertised, there were some very big trees along the top of the ridge:


Our final spring hike served as a transition into summer hiking. It was June 4, Mr. D's birthday, and his choice for a birthday hike was Little Mount Si. In cooler years, we will do this hike on July 4th, but this year it was a whole month earlier! 

We were very happy to see (and taste) that the salmonberries were perfectly ripe:


When we passed the Doug Hansen memorial bench, we noticed prayer flags above it, probably put there to remember those who died in the catastrophic Nepal earthquake.


When we reached the top of the mountain, we enjoyed our lunch and the view. 


Now that we have hiked Little Si, it's official: the summer hiking season has begun! I'll be back soon to tell you about the first summer hike, which happened just a few days ago.

I just realized, as I was about to post this, that four years ago today I published my first post to this blog. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings over the past four years, and I hope you will stick around for what's up in my knitting, hiking and photography life in the years to come. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Long Line of WIPs: Part One

There is a lot of knitting going on at my house, but not much finishing, I'm afraid. The problem is that I have recently cast on a bunch of projects, so almost everything is at the beginning stages, or not yet even halfway done. Because there are so many new WIPs, I am going to split them up into two posts, and I'll just share a few of them here.

I am currently obsessed with my most recent cast-on, Spring and Summer Funderland (all links are to my Ravelry project pages), Wendy Gaal's Winter Funderland Stocking. Even though I don't knit colorwork projects very often, once I cast one on, I'm addicted! This pattern is particularly fun and addicting because the knitter can choose which of a number of pattern motifs to knit, and in what order to knit them. The yarn is Knitters Brewing Company Sock-aholic Brewski, which I purchased as a kit especially for the stocking.

Here is what I have finished so far:


One of my older WIPs—though not the oldest—is An Easy Happy Birthday, Martina Behm's Easy scarf. Many thanks to my friend, Andi, who gave me the pattern back in March, for my birthday. I am knitting the scarf in a ball of Zauberball that has been in my stash since 2010, so I'm even working on one of my stash busting goals while knitting it. I'm now just past the halfway point of the pattern. This photo was taken a bit before that.


I cast on this next WIP a month ago, and I've been working steadily on it since then. It's my Deepest Pink Cardi, Hiroko Fukatsu's Hitofude cardigan. The photo below shows where I was about three weeks ago, with three repeats of chart A completed. There are now ten repeats done, with two more to go before the fateful moment when I undo the provisional cast-on and do a three needle bind-off for the sleeves. I am trembling at the thought, and I'll be very glad to be past that point and moving on to knitting the body.


There are, of course, other WIPs to talk about, but I'll save those for another post. I have actually finished two projects recently, both from the same yarn, Invictus Yarns Adventure, in the Undeniable colorway (which, by the way, I love). Here are The Red and the Black, a pair of socks for me. I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, which resulted in the cool geometric striping on the heel that you see in the photo.


After I finished those socks, I knit a baby hat, The Red and the Black, Hat Version. The hat is going to be included as part of a baby shower for the NICU at a local medical center that one of my knitting friends organizes with her work colleagues every year. It's always fun to photograph my baby hats on some of my favorite dolls and stuffed animals, but it's even more fun to think about this hat being on the head of a sweet little baby sometime in the future.


So that is all I have of WIPs and finishes for this post, but as there seems to be a never-ending supply of both, more will be coming soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blooming, Blooming, Blooming

So I missed the April photo post (shame on me!), but I'm here to make up for it. Late April and early May is prime time for two of my favorite blooming plants: rhododendrons and azaleas. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have the perfect climate for these beauties, and they respond with bountiful and spectacular blooms. Take a look and enjoy!

Golden Rhododendrons at the Bellevue Botanical Garden

A Red Rhodie, Sharing the Limelight with Pale Pink Clematis

A Splash of Purple

After the Rain

A Purple Wave of Azaleas

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What's In the Stash and Off the Needles

Wow, we are already way past the the end of the first quarter of the year! I had been planning to post updates about the progress of my stash busting goals on a quarterly basis, and here I am, already three weeks late. Even though I'm late, the news is good: I was extremely moderate in my yarn purchases. I told you about my stash additions at Stitches West and Madrona in this post, and I kept within my budget at both. So, other than those two events, how much yarn did I buy in the first quarter of 2015? Take a look below and see:


The first yarn will be used for Click for Babies hats. I hope to knit at least nine by September 1, so I expect to use up most of the Baby Ull in those hats. And the Opal Hundertwasser? Well, you may know that I have a deep fondness for that yarn, and it was souvenir yarn from the Knitajourney Midwinter Retreat, so it doesn't count…at least that is what I'm telling myself. Actually, I am very proud that I did so well in Quarter 1. My plan is to continue making thoughtful purchases in the April through June quarter, too.

I haven't just been making moderate additions to my stash, I've also been getting yarn out of my stash by knitting it up. You have seen some of my finished projects in an earlier post, and I have finished several more projects since then. I hinted then that there was one that was almost finished, and now it is. Here's my Autumn Light and Shadows (all links are to my Ravelry project pages).

I am absolutely in love with this shawl! The pattern, Milja Uimonen's Light in Shadows, was clearly written and fun to knit. The yarn, my favorite Hazel Knits Entice MCN, was so soft and squishy. And the colors—Spooky Hue and Seattle KAL—were a perfect combination. This is a pattern that I know I will knit again in the future.

While we are on the subject of shawls (although this one could just as easily be called a scarf), here is my Hitchhiking on Public Transport. It's the third time I've knit a Hitchhiker, this time out of one of my favorite Opal Hundertwasser colorways, Use Public Transport–Save the City.

Of course, there was also sock knitting happening at my house, and I finished two pairs in Quarter 1.  Here they are:

This isn't all I finished, but it is probably enough for one blog post, so I'll save the rest for another time. But, as you can see, there was some yardage used up in these projects: 1,500 yards, to be exact. Not bad, for just one month's worth of finishing. And there will be more to come, I promise.