Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Madrona: Just a Glimpse

I know I promised you a detailed account of my adventures at Stitches West, but before I share that, I want to fill you in on my very quick visit to the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. I have gone to Madrona every year since 2009. Some years I have taken classes and stayed overnight at the Hotel Murano, and other years, like the last two, I have just gone down for the day. This year, my friends, sisters Melissa and Kate, joined me, and we had a fun time exploring all the goodies in the market, lunching in the hotel and knitting together at a nearby Starbucks—because we couldn't find anyplace to sit together in the Murano!

I didn't manage to get a photo of the three of us together, but Kate did, and you can see her photo here on her blog. Melissa did take a photo of Kate and me in our matching ponchos:

This matchy-matchy event was planned well in advance. We both knit the Tea Cozy Summer Poncho, which was last year's LYS Tour pattern from the Tea Cozy yarn shop in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. We also picked the same colorway, as you can see, but we each dealt with not having quite enough yarn to finish the pattern as written a little differently, and we also wore them in a slightly different way. Melissa also purchased the yarn and is knitting the pattern, but she wore Kate's lovely design, the Silk Road Wrap, instead.

I did a tiny bit of shopping in the marketplace, because, after all, why go to Madrona if you don't get at least a tiny bit of yarn? I bought a luscious new Hazel Knits yarn, Ethereal, at the Fiber Gallery booth. It's a 70/20/10 merino, silk, cashmere blend, and I chose the Hydrangea colorway, one of my favorites.

I also got a rustic blend of merino and silk from Isis Yarn. I know this local vendor from seeing her at Knit Fit every year, and she always seems to have interesting blends and beautiful colors:

So that's all there is from Madrona this year, but keep an eye on the blog in the next few days for more yarn-y goodness from Stitches West!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

February Photo of the Month: Impressionist Dawn

I just couldn't decide on a February photo to share with you, so I'm a little late. I had two great photos from Stitches West, which will show up later this month, and I also had some knitting photos that I particularly liked. But this was a month of spectacular sunrises, and I caught quite a few of them. This one was my favorite, taken on February 14th.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Goodbye, Winter

Most people who don't live in Seattle think that winter here consists only of rain, rain and more rain. We do get a lot of rain during the winter, but in most winters much of that rain happens in late fall—November and December—and January is often cold, sometimes foggy, sometimes sunny, and yes, sometimes rainy. In most years, by the end of January we are seeing blooming crocuses and signs that daffodils and tulips will soon be popping up. By this point in February we usually see rhododendron buds swelling and some azaleas already in bloom.

This has not been an ordinary winter in Seattle. Yes, we got a lot of rain in late November and December. Yes, it was cold in January. But the big difference was that we also got snow, and not just the usual dusting or an inch or so that was gone in a day, but several inches of the stuff. And these snow events happened more than once, also an unusual phenomenon. 

Because this winter is almost over, I want to document and share with you some of the scenes from my local winter season.

The first snowstorm arrived in mid-December. It briefly added some atmosphere to the holiday season.

There wasn't any snow left for a white Christmas, but we had a dusting of snow on New Year's Eve. This is what my garden looked like on New Year's Day, and because temperatures were well below normal, that snow stayed around for almost all of the following week.

Those early-January temperatures created something else rarely seen: ice on the surface of Lake Washington.

A lot more precipitation arrived in February, but guess what? Some of that precipitation came as snow. The first snowstorm arrived on February 6th, and dumped about three inches into my garden. 

Another surprise snowstorm hit yesterday at dawn, and down came another two-plus inches of very heavy, wet snow. 

I actually love this type of winter, but I have had enough and want it to be over. And, by coincidence, it may be, because look what I spotted on my walk this morning:

Welcome, March! Happy Spring!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Photo of the Month: Goodbye, Minnesota

That's St. Paul down below, and it was my last glimpse of Minnesota before the plane moved up above the clouds and headed west toward Seattle. This is a totally lucky shot. No dirty airplane window, perfect positioning of the wing, and the amazing layout of streets and snow below. This came straight out of my point-and-shoot camera, with no editing needed.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017: The Year of No Goals

It's January, and in every other year since I started writing this blog I've written a January post with my knitting/photographic/hiking/you-name-it goals. This year is going to be different. I don't really feel like setting goals for myself this year. Instead, I'm going to just live, knit, and be active (both physically and politically), and I'll use the blog to report on some of my knitting, hiking and other activities as they occur.

First up: pink hats! I know that just about any knitter in the United States has heard about the Pussyhat Project and the effort to knit hats for marchers in the Women's March in Washington DC, and sister marches elsewhere. I knit two hats, one for me, and one for another marcher at the Seattle Women's March, which happened on January 21.

Here is the first one, in progress, on the way to the gym in early January.

Here I am, wearing that same hat, at the conclusion of the Seattle March. I'm with two of my knitting friends, sisters Kate and Melissa. It was a great day!

I have, for the most part, tried to avoid being too political in this blog, but given the events of the past week-and-a-half, those days are at an end. I will promise not to talk about political issues in every blog post, but I can't promise to avoid politics completely.

This does not mean that I won't continue to write about my knitting. I plan to post photos of my projects, both in progress and completed, but there may be more of an emphasis on my charity knitting this year. In times of political craziness, it helps me to knit and/or do something to help others. I'll keep you up to date with those actions throughout the year.

I have also committed to doing another Project 365 photo-a-day challenge this year. Am I crazy? Perhaps, because I swore I would never do another one after I completed my first Project 365 in 2013. I have managed to get through January, so I'm one-twelfth done. I won't promise to post a photo every week, like I did for part of 2013, but I'll try to pick a favorite photo each month and share it here. Watch for the January photo later this week.

Every year, I promise to try to post to this blog more often, and in the last couple years I have failed miserably. I'm not making any promises, but I am going to try to write shorter posts more frequently. I really love having a blog—I see it as a creative outlet—and I don't want it to fall by the wayside. I hope that those of you who stop by to read it occasionally will let me know if anything I say resonates with you. That will do a lot to keep me writing. Thank you in advance!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Peace on My Needles

This has been a tumultuous, and, in many ways, a pretty horrible year. Over the past month, I have been thinking about ways to recover from and counteract the negative aspects and events of 2016. I wasn't coming up with many positive ideas, and then along came Project Peace. The brainchild of The Healthy Knitter (Christina Campbell), it started on December 1 and is a 21-day knit along accompanied by daily blog posts focusing on ways to find inner peace and then spread that peace to others. Today, the Winter Solstice, is the culmination of the knit along, a day for knitters around the world to join together to knit peace into their stitches.

The Project Peace pattern is a cowl with an easy, meditative stitch pattern. It is perfect for focusing one's thoughts on ways to make our personal and larger worlds better and more peaceful places. I chose a recent gift yarn, Dream in Color Jilly, for my Project Peace Cowl. I am just past the halfway point, and even though the knit along ends today, I am happy to keep on knitting until it's completed. After all, I need peace in my life every day. Once the cowl is finished, I plan to chose another similar pattern and use it to take a few minutes each day to focus on ways to make a better, more peaceful world for myself and others.

Best wishes for peace and happiness during the holiday season and in the New Year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Few Finishes

Where did November go? I certainly don't know, and here I am on the last day of the month, writing my lone November blog post.

Other than the two recent posts about charity knitting, I haven't written a knitting post since last May. To remedy that, I thought it might be a good idea to share some recent finished objects. I'll follow up in a few days with a post about what I'm knitting right now.

I'm going to start with two projects that have great FO photos, thanks to Mr. D.
The cowl above is my Northwestward Eastward (all links are to my Ravelry project pages), Bonnie Sennott's Eastward cowl. This was a really fun knit, and because it's knit in worsted weight, it will be nice and toasty when the weather turns really cold, which is supposed to happen next week. The yarn is Neighborhood Fiber Company's Studio Worsted in the Lauraville colorway.
Here is the Tea Cozy LYS Tour Poncho, which was Tea Cozy yarn store's free pattern for the Puget Sound LYS Tour in May. The yarn is Bumblebirch Glen, 600 yards of beautiful merino and silk, in the Eggplant colorway. I love the yarn, and I'm crazy about the finished poncho, but I have to admit, all that stockinette was a bit of a slog at times.
Some of you may know that I spent a big chunk of my life in Minnesota, and during that time, I attended and graduated from the University of Minnesota. I'm a proud alumna, and I have wanted to knit a hat in Minnesota's Maroon and Gold for quite a while. Thanks to Wendy Gaal of Knitters Brewing Company, and her superior dying skills, I got a kit of Sockaholic Brewski skeins in perfect Minnesota colors. The result is my Go Gophers!, which is Wendy's Tailgate Party Hat pattern. I decided to add a pompom to the hat, as you can see below. Goldy Gopher, the Minnesota mascot, approves!
Finally, no knitting post would be complete without a pair of socks. Here is my latest pair, Monkey with a Cat's Eye, the ever-popular Monkey Socks pattern. I knit the socks from Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in the Cat's Eye colorway, which has been hanging out in my stash for five years. I'm so glad to have finally found a project for the yarn!
That's it for recent finishes. I'll be back soon to share what is currently on my needles.