Friday, March 30, 2018

Weather from the Air

One of the best places to observe the weather is from an airplane. Last month, I was able to photograph some spectacular land- and cityscapes from the air, on a flight from Detroit to Seattle. Two of these photos show the effects of the winter weather, as well as the geographical features of the landscape. The third photo provides a peek through the clouds at the city of Seattle below.

Blue Horizon: somewhere over eastern North Dakota

Relief Map: a river and the surrounding rough terrain, somewhere over Montana  

Beneath the Clouds: Downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay

Friday, March 9, 2018

Of Stitches West Market Hauls

February usually means Madrona and Stitches West, but this year, Stitches was the only event of the two that I attended. I always share my Stitches purchases on the blog, so here is what I bought in the market this year (clockwise from top left in the photo below): a project bag from Front Range bags, a ball of Valley Superwash from WEBS (for Mother Bear clothing), a sock blank from Leading Men Fiber Arts, two balls of Valley Yarns Greylock (one hundred per cent cashmere fingering weight yarn), a Mother Bear ornament (unfortunately backwards in the photo so you can't see its little heart-shaped button) and the book and accompanying Ravelry download, I Knit New York. 

I can almost see your shocked face and hear you saying,"What? That's all?" Yes, that is really all. I guess I wasn't breathing in enough yarn fumes this year, although I've never really bought a huge amount of yarn any of the times I've gone to Stitches West. For comparison, here are some photos of purchases from previous years. This was my haul in 2017:

And here is my haul from 2015 (for some reason I don't have a photo from 2016):

And here's 2014:
The embarrassing thing about all three of these photos is how few of the yarns I've actually knit. From 2014, I've knit two of the skeins shown and from 2015, I've knit one and gave one as a gift. The 2017 haul is the most embarrassing of all, because I have knit exactly none of those skeins. So my conclusion from this review of my purchases is that it is probably a very good thing I didn't buy much this year! I'm going to try to make a dent in these yarns over the next several months, so that maybe, just maybe, I won't have all of them hanging around in my stash when Stitches West rolls around again next year.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Adventure #1: Colorwork Socks

I'm sure you have been waiting with anticipation for my first "Word of the Year" Adventure, and I am finally going to end the suspense and tell you about my first knitting adventure of 2018.

As you know, I love, love, love knitting socks. You may or may not know that I also love knitting colorwork. Surprisingly, I have never combined these two loves into a pair of colorwork socks. That changed about a month ago, when I cast on Bonnie Sennott's Rowhouse Socks. This fun pattern has just enough colorwork for someone who hasn't done stranded knitting on such a small circumference before, but also has a motif that is eye-catching. I knit my socks in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in main color Crescent (one of my absolute favorites Hazel Knits colorways) and contrast colors Flicker and Conch. You can view the details of my project here.

I had so much fun knitting these socks that a future adventure may be to knit a pair of socks entirely in colorwork. I have had my eye on this pattern for years, but I'm open to suggestions. Do you have a favorite colorwork pattern to recommend? If so, please share in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Weather Photography in January: Cold Seat and Golden Rays

Welcome to the first of my (I hope monthly) weather photography posts for this year.

No, this is not Seattle. I took this photo at a rest stop on the road to Duluth for the annual Knitajourney retreat. It was cold, snowing, and the roads were terrible, but we made a quick stop and I took this photo out the window. While the view was quiet and beautiful, I wouldn't want to sit on that bench!

This isn't Seattle, either. It is a lot closer to home, however. Last week, we went with friends to the Washington coast for two days at Pacific Beach. I was lucky to catch the last rays of the sun as it disappeared behind the clouds. Spectacular!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Word and Weather

January is almost over, and here I am, writing my first post of the not-so-new year. No excuses; I just didn't get around to it until now.

In previous years, I've started the year with a list of goals for the year, many of which were forgotten almost as soon as I wrote them. Last year, I said I wasn't setting goals for the year, other than to blog more than the previous year. and I did manage to follow through on that, writing 19 posts, compared to 14 in 2016.

This year, while I certainly would like to increase the number of blog posts again, I am not going to promise that it will happen. I'm also not going to come up with a list of goals, either. Instead, I have come up with a word that I want to represent my year, and that word is Adventure. So what do I mean when I say adventure? It is a broad enough word that it can cover a lot of different areas of my life—adventure in knitting, photography, travel, reading, hiking, and so on. I'm not sure how the word adventure will play out in my life this year, but not knowing is an adventure in itself.

There is one knitting adventure that should start happening later this winter:
That's a canvas bag crammed full of six shawl projects, hidden in identical brown paper bags. When I finish my current shawl project—sometime in February, I hope—I'll pick one of these bags, discover which yarn and pattern are inside, and cast on immediately. I got the idea for this from the many knitters that have brown-bagged their sock projects to randomly pick throughout the year. While you probably know by now that I love knitting socks, I chose shawls because I have so many shawls that are already queued and linked to stash yarns, and I'd like to get some of them actually knitted. Stay tuned to the blog this year to watch it happen.

The other year-long project that I want to focus on relates to my photography. This past year, I blogged about a photo each month, either a favorite photo or one that represented an activity from that month that I wanted to highlight. I enjoy doing a monthly photo post, but this year, I want to focus on photographs depicting the weather. My father was a meteorologist, and he brought me up to appreciate all kinds of weather phenomena. In addition, I often use my camera to document the very changeable weather conditions that we experience here in Seattle, as well as weather events that I observe during my travels. If you are a weather geek like me, you know this will be fun!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017: The Photos That Didn't Make the Cut

Here we are, almost at the end of 2017, and I have managed to post a Photo of the Month for every month through November. For December, I'm doing something a little different. In most months, there were several photos worthy of being featured on the blog, but they didn't quite make the cut. To finish the year, I want to give some of those photos their moment. Here they are. Enjoy!

Silhouettes at Dawn: The view out my window on January 2nd.

Halfway There: The fun of knitting socks from a sock blank.

Democracy in Action: Mr. D and I attended a town meeting with our dynamic new Congresswoman, Representative Pramila Jayapal. So inspiring!

Neighborhood Jogger: A missing ewe on the lam(b).

Marching for Science: Suffragettes in vintage costumes at the Seattle March for Science.

A Line in the Sky: Clouds at Sunset 

Evidence of Rain: After a very brief shower during a long, dry summer 

Bench at the End of the Path: At the Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Sand, Sea, Clouds, Mountains: The view from the Dungeness Spit near Sequim, Washington.

View to the Bridge: The Golden Ears Bridge, near Vancouver, British Columbia.

Boo!: A scary ghost, spotted in my neighborhood.

Autumn Colors with a Dusting of White: The Japanese Maple in my garden during a surprise 
early November snowfall.

Mid-Morning Treat: The treat is not only the chai, coffee and pastries, but a catch-up 
chat with a friend.

Happy New Year! I'll be back in 2018 with more photos, knitting, and travel adventures. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Photos of the Month: Following a Year-Long Project

I could start this post with what actually is the photo of the month, but instead, I'm going to put that photo at the end, and trace the progress of a knitting project across almost the whole of 2017.

The project started in early February with a big ol' pile of yarn. Most of the yarn was purchased with a 2016 birthday gift certificate, so thanks are due to Nancy, Jan and Pat for their generous gift.

I cast on Jared Flood's pattern, Grettir, on February 10th and by early March, I had the start of two sleeves:

In mid-March, the sleeves had grown some.

A week later, the sleeves were finished and I cast on the body of the sweater.

Almost two months passed, mostly filled with knitting on other projects, but in mid-May, I finally reached the colorwork.

It turns out that I like colorwork a lot more than plain stockinette, so the yoke progressed quickly from this point, despite the addition of many more stitches when I joined the sleeves to the body.

And not long after the colorwork was finished, so was the whole sweater.
Except it wasn't...

Over two months passed, with no activity on this project, but finally, on September first, this happened:
Yep, that is me, cutting a steek. But first, my dear friend, Martha, reinforced the stitches on either side of the steek on her sewing machine. She also basted the edges of the five stitches added for the steek—that's the white yarn you see in the photo.

There was still more that needed to be done to turn the sweater into a cardigan, but first, I just had to try it on.
And it fit!

Next, I followed that white yarn that Martha put in on either side of the steek stitches and picked up stitches for the button band.

After getting the button band knitted, I practiced the two-row buttonhole technique—from Anne Hanson's excellent Craftsy class, Button Bands and Buttonholes—on a swatch, and I even sewed  buttons on that swatch. I opted for a slightly narrower button band than the one on my swatch, a great reason to swatch before knitting the real thing on your sweater. Here is a photo showing my swatch and two of my buttons. I purchased six of them three years ago at Danforth Pewter in Middlebury, Vermont. I've been waiting for just the perfect project to use them.

Finally, in November, I sewed on the last button, sewed ribbon onto the inside of the button bands to cover the steeked edges, and blocked my cardigan. I even took it with me on our annual Thanksgiving trip to the East Coast., and wore it several times, including on Thanksgiving, when Dave took this photo of me.

If you would like more details—and more photos—follow the link to my project page on Ravelry:  Colorwork Challenge Cardigan.