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.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Self-Indulgent Stashbusting

Just a quick update on my knitting, at the midpoint of the first quarter of the year. As you know from my 2015 goals post, I want to work on reducing my stash in 2015, and I'm off to a great start. There has been very little yarn purchased—one skein of yarn for my Click for Babies hats, one skein at my January retreat and one skein (Hazel Knits, of course) at Madrona. I had originally planned to only buy yarn while at the retreat, but what I did was to split the budget amount I allocated ($40) in half and  spend the money at two events. Next week is Stitches West, and I know I will have some bigger purchases, but I already have a budget and a plan for what I want to buy, so we will see if that results in more thoughtful spending than what I experienced in the Stitches market last year.

There is also that word "self-indulgent" in the title of this post, and stashbusting can be very self-indulgent, whether you are knitting for yourself or for others. I'm even participating in a self-indulgent knit along in the Yarniacs podcast group, and I finished my first self-indulgent project earlier this month. Here is my Ripples shawl, knit with madelinetosh Twist Light, in the Care colorway, the sales of which benefitted Doctors Without Borders. A long-time friend gave me the yarn for Christmas in 2014, and the skein was barely in my stash before it was gone. I love all the happy colors in this yarn!

Another project that has been around for a while is proving to be very self-indulgent, and I'm knitting with two yarns that have been in my stash since 2013, so it's stashbusting, too. I'm nearing the end on my Light in Shadows shawl, and I'm loving working with Hazel Knits Entice in two beautiful colorways, Spooky Hue and Seattle KAL. Here is a peek, but you will have to wait until it's finished to see the whole shawl.

Finally, I have been doing some charity knitting, and enjoying the process as well as the happiness that knitting for others can bring—certainly self-indulgent, don't you think? Here are a Click for Babies hat and a Mother Bear. The Mother Bear will be donated next week at Stitches West; the hat is the first of several that I plan to knit this year for the local Click for Babies program.

So that's the latest on my knitting. What do you have on the needles?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Traveling to the Land of Winter

As part of my 2015 goals, I promised that I would share more photography on the blog, and this will be one of those posts. Two weeks ago, I traveled to Minnesota, to see my college friends and my nephew in Minneapolis, and to attend the Knitajourney Midwinter Retreat in Duluth. I hear a lot of incredulous, "You're going to Minnesota in winter?" comments from my Seattle friends, but I love getting a taste of real winter on this trip. We have been sadly lacking any true winter weather this year in the Northwest, but going to Minnesota in January gives me my winter fix. So, enjoy my scenes from Minnesota, the Land of Winter!

Winter Sunset over Lake Calhoun

Perfectly Frosty Ice Lamps

Bare Trees and Winter Sky

A Cold Seat

Winter Apples

Winter Handknits

Roof Lines, with Snow

Winter, from the Air