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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On the Coast

I have always been enthralled by the ocean, and I love making pictures with my camera whenever I am on a beach or near one. For my photographic post this month, let's visit some scenic spots on the Pacific Coast.

Sea and Sky
The view from Ecola State Park, near Cannon Beach, Oregon

Wings and Waves
MontaƱa de Oro State Park, Los Osos, California

Deserted Coastline
Near Crescent City, California

Rain Approaches
Manzanita, Oregon

Santa Barbara, California

Day's End
Morro Bay, California

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Good Times and Good Yarn

I have been missing from the blog for almost the whole month of March, battling a terrible cold that I came down with the day we returned from our California road trip. Now that I am finally feeling better, I want to share some quick highlights of Madrona and Stitches West with you. In the previous  two years, I have written more extensively about both events, but this year's report isn't much different: I had a great time, took some excellent classes, hung out with friends and spent some time (and a bit of money) in the markets.

Madrona was a quick trip this year. I drove down for the day on Saturday, February 14, hung out with my Knitajourney retreat friend, Ellen (twinsetellen on Ravelry), wandered the market, and took a really fun class with Janine Bajus in the afternoon.

Here is my one and only yarn purchase from the Madrona market. Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in the Quill colorway. I am currently looking at two-color shawl patterns and this yarn may become one of the colors when the pattern is chosen.
Stitches West started only five days after the day I spent at Madrona. During those five days, Mr. D and I packed up and, on February 17, took off on our drive down to California. The weather was beautiful, and the trip was uneventful, except for the fantastic meal we had our first night, when we stayed in Ashland. This dessert was definitely an event!
Once I was safely delivered to Stitches (and Mr. D to his sister's house in Santa Cruz) the fun really began. I love hanging out with my knitting pals, Sarah and Martha, as well as meeting up and chatting with friends I only see once a year. I again attended the Saturday afternoon podcaster get-together, which is so relaxing and fun, and affords a great opportunity to just sit and chat with other knitters, some of whom are podcasters and some who aren't.

The market always looms large at Stitches West. You may remember from my January goals post that I was determined to have a strategy for my shopping this year, and I did, and it worked very well. In the weeks leading up to Stitches I reviewed the vendor thread in the Stitches West Ravelry group and made a list of yarns and other items that I wanted to check out. I also made a list of patterns and yarn requirements for some of the sweaters I am thinking of knitting as I knew I wanted to look for a sweater quantity of yarn, something that I haven't purchased at the two previous Stitches I've attended. So after all of the list making and vendor stalking, here is what I actually purchased:
At the top is a Huckleberry Knits gradient that will become Jen Lucas' pattern Saffron. On the left is Forbidden Woolery Temperence, a DK weight yarn that was my one random purchase. I plan to knit it into a Clapo-Ktus. In the middle is that sweater quantity, Huckleberry Knits BFL/Silk DK, and on the right is a skein of fun self-striping yarn from White Birch Fiber Arts. And yes, I did notice the preponderance of purple in these yarns. It is my favorite color, so you shouldn't be surprised.

So that is the Madrona and Stitches report for this year. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming months as I begin to knit up these lovely yarns, because I will be sure to share those projects with you here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Walking the Line on the High Line

You may remember that back in 2012, I wrote a post about walking on the High Line in New York City. In November, Mr. D and I were in New York City for the day and walked the High Line again. The final section had recently opened, and we wanted to see it, as well as enjoy the part that we had previously explored. As we walked, I was thinking about finding a theme for my photographs, a concept I had just learned about in the Craftsy Travel Photography class. It was almost immediately obvious that the theme should be, "Lines on the High Line".  Here are some of the lines that I viewed through my camera lens as we walked on the High Line.