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.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Yarn Dying Experiments

I have always wanted to play with yarn dying, and in the last few months, with the help of my friends, Melissa and Kate, I've had two opportunities to do just that.

The first dye day was with Melissa in July. I brought three yarns I wanted to experiment with.

The first one was a free skein of lace weight that I got with a Knit Picks order, and it looks better in the photograph than it did in real life. The color reminded me of dirty dishwater—probably why they were giving it away for free—so any other color would be an improvement.

Here's what the yarn looked like after a dip in the dye bath. Much better, right? I call this colorway Radish.

The second yarn, a skein of Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-ply sport weight that was a KAL prize, was a much prettier shade of cream.

But I don't wear that color much, so we dyed the skein blue.

The last skein of yarn, a wool-silk blend that I got in a swap, was a nice light green.

While this colorway was certainly pretty, I wanted a deeper green. This was my first try at over-dyeing it:

It was better, but not quite what I had in mind. Melissa thought the silk content probably took the dye differently and muted the color. So we tried again a couple months later, using much more dye to make a deep green.

As you can see, that good long soak in green dye turned out a spectacular deep green skein.

Kate joined us at our second dye day in September, and the three of us each dyed a sock blank. We had such a fun time, and I love the final result!

Here is what the sock blank looks like knit up:

While two times don't make me an expert or an indie dyer, I may have to try some more yarn dying experiments sometime soon, and I'll share the results when I do.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

October Photo of the Month: Doughnuts or Socks?

Nope, I couldn't just pick one photo of the month for October.

The first photo of the month happened on October 1st, when I was with my friends, sisters Melissa and Kate, in the village of Deep Cove, which is near Kate's home in North Vancouver, BC. They kept talking all weekend about Honey's and their fantastic doughnuts, and on Sunday morning we braved the crowd—a line out the door—and got Honey's signature maple frosted doughnuts and coffee. YUM! Absolutely the best doughnut I have ever eaten! I managed to snap a photo with my phone before I ate every last crumb.

I took the second photo of the month at home, right after I finished knitting my latest pair of socks. I cast on the socks back in July, when I needed a pair for car knitting and it only dawned on me in mid-October that the Intrepid Otter colorway, Acid Dreams, would make great Halloween socks. Fortunately, I finished knitting them on October 28th, just in time for the pumpkin carving party that we go to every year.

There has been quite a bit of knitting and other fiber adventures happening in my life lately, and I have been remiss in not sharing them with you. But that is about to change; I promise to be back with a new post in the next few days.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

September Photo of the Month: The View from the Top

Isn't this view spectacular? I hiked to the  top of Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park. I was looking north, at 5,700 feet. You can see Unicorn Peak, the city of Port Angeles, Washington, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and on the far shore, Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria, British Columbia. I took this photo with my iPhone.