Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekly Hike #10: A Change of Pace

 After the hard work of last week's hike, Mr. D made good on his promise for an easier hike. On Friday, we drove up into Snohomish County and took the Mountain Loop Highway to Barlow Pass. That is where the trailhead for the Monte Cristo Trail is located. It is 8 miles round trip, and almost completely flat (only 423 feet elevation gain). There are a few rough spots on the trail, and one of the bridges across the Sauk River was wiped out in the big 2006 flood, so we had to cross over this:


Monte Cristo was a thriving mining town in the 1890s, but the gold, silver and copper were long ago played out. Now all that is left is a ghost town.

Despite the abandoned, boarded up buildings, this is a magical spot to explore and marvel at the scenery.

It also was the perfect spot to have lunch. Here is Mr. D enjoying the view of the Sauk River, right in front of us:
After finishing my sandwich, and some carrots and celery, I had my favorite trail snack, Heavenly Trail Mix, which is a combination of dried cherries, peanuts, cashews, and chocolate and butterscotch chips. Salty and sweet; it really is heavenly!

The best part of the day was just sitting by the river and listening and watching...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yarn Photography

Because I like taking pictures of my yarn, I'm always pondering ways to make the photos interesting and visually pleasing. Sometimes I just photograph the skein or hank and attempt to show the color and texture off as much as possible:

Props can also be useful in posing the yarn.

Finally, there is much beauty, texture and depth of field in the simple yarn cake:

This post started out as an experiment. Since I started this blog more than two months ago, I have been trying, without success, to figure out how to upload photos from my Flickr pages instead of uploading from my computer. Today, I finally did a search of the blogger help topics, found the information and figured it out! Instead of deleting my post, I expanded it. I hope you enjoy the result. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weekly Hike #9: Steep and Long

Last Thursday, Mr. D and I went hiking with our next door neighbors. We decided, for a change of pace, to head north and hike to Surprise Lake. Surprise Lake is located off U.S. Route 2, not too far below Stevens Pass. This was, by far, the most difficult hike I've yet been on this summer. It was also the longest, at about 9 miles, and had the most elevation gain, 2,300 feet. Below is a look at the trail. Those are our neighbors immediately below my vantage point. (I was lagging behind when I stopped to take this photo on the way down.)

There were some major scenic bonuses on this trail, however. There was beautiful, old growth forest:

Mountain and forest views:

Sparkling and incredibly translucent green Surprise Lake:

Natural wonders of earth, water and sky:

And of course, there were trail snacks!

P.S. Mr. D has promised me that this was the hardest hike that we will do this summer.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Okay, so I have too many unfinished projects on the needles. I know that, but I'm working hard to get most of those projects finished. I'm not starting a new project until I get one or more of these projects done.

Here is the project that is closest to completion:

This is the Yvonne vest, designed by Julie Weisenberger (AKA Cocoknits). It has an ingenious all-in-one-piece construction, which, as is stated on the pattern, "looks like you are knitting a large pair of underpants." Love those patterns that show a sense of humor! I'm using Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a luscious, and very "me" colorway, Berry Pie Mix. The pattern requires that you increase 16 stitches every fourth round, so the vest has grown, and grown, and grown! There are currently 544 stitches on the needles, but only 13 more rounds and a very long bind-off to go.

I'm also working on the Gwen's Garden beaded shawlette. This shawlette is the latest She-Knits Mystery Knit Along. Most everyone has finished already, but there was almost a week at the beginning when I didn't work on this at all—when I was at Sock Summit. I am making good progress, however. I finished Clue #2 (of 4) two days ago, and I'm moving along on Clue #3. I'm really enjoying the rhythm of the lace and beads in this pattern, and the Sanquine Gryphon Skinny Bugga is a wonderful soft yarn to work with. Here is what Gwen's Garden looked like at the end of Clue #2:

I have three separate pairs of socks on the needles, but only a photo of one of them. I'm knitting my second pair of Crow's Feet as a gift for a family member. I love the yarn—Hazel Knits Artisan Sock—and the colorway—Euphorbia. Here is what it looked like two months ago:

Sadly, I haven't progressed beyond the first sock, but I did finish the heel gusset just this evening. Time to get moving on this one!

I do have one finished object to show off, just to prove that I do finish some projects. Here is my lovely Marrowstone shawl, designed by Marcy Vandale. I loved knitting this project! The pattern was clearly written, I learned how to do short rows, and I loved the yarn, Socks That Rock Lightweight, in the Walking on the Wild Tide Colorway.

I promise that there are more FOs in my future, but please let me get in a couple more weekly hikes first!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly Hike #8: Old-timer Hike

Last Saturday we went to Annette Lake. Mr. D assured me that this was the hike that the old-timer hikers like to go on, because the grade is relatively gentle and the lake at the end is beautiful. But it also has a lot of tree roots and there are some sections of the trail where you have to cross some fairly substantial rocks. The distance round trip is seven-and-a-half miles, and the elevation gain about 1,500 feet. Here is a look at the beginning of the trail:

We crossed a bridge over a roaring creek.


As we climbed higher, the fog and overcast began to burn off, and by the time we got to Annette Lake, the sun was shining brightly.


Now that we are well into August in this year of the late-arriving summer, we are starting to see a variety of wildflowers, including the ubiquitous Fireweed.

We also saw the first Bear Grass bloom of the season up near the lake, as well as Pearly Everlasting, which was growing in an open spot near the beginning of the trail. Another hiker pointed out a tiny Rein Orchid, which I would never had seen if she hadn't shown it to me.

You may be thinking that all I've been doing this summer is hiking, but I have been knitting, too, and I'll give you an update on some current projects and finished objects very soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sock Summit Memories

I spent more than a week after Sock Summit in a happy euphoria, basking in the memories of all the fun I had, and trying to figure out how to tell you about it. I'm not going to be eloquent here, and in fact, I'm not going to write very much at all. What I am going to do is share some images from those magical four days and tell you briefly about the three things that stood out the most in my mind.

1. Three classes and one lecture:

I purposely picked classes that were information-based rather than those focused on a technique. I learned about the psychology of color from Sharon McMahon, the genius behind Three Irish Girls hand-dyed yarn, the joys and frustrations of running a yarn dying business from Tina Newton, the owner of Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and cool things to do with self-striping yarn from Sandy Rosner.

These were all wonderful, and well worth my time and money, but the best of the best was "A Bag of Tricks for Stretch and Strength" taught by Clara Parkes, editor of Knitters Review. This was my second class with Clara—I took a class from her at the first Sock Summit in 2009.  I have this fascination with all varieties of fiber and how it is made into yarn, despite the fact that I don't spin (yet). Clara is so knowledgeable, articulate and fun, and I loved that I could take just about everything I learned in class and walk out into the Sock Summit market and use that information to make educated purchases. I would take another class from her in a heartbeat, and I can't wait for her new book, The Knitter's Book of Socks, which will be out in October.

2. Friends:

 I've met some wonderful knitters through Ravelry, and I was able to get together with several of them. In the first photo above I'm with my local pal Nance, (nancyba), Sarah (SarahMKnits) from Minnesota, and her sister, Martha (MEKW), who is also a local pal. In the second photo, Nance and I are with our dear friend, Angela (shrinkyknitter), who lives in Portland. I met all of these wonderful friends either directly or indirectly through Ravelry. Isn't it great that Sock Summit gives us the opportunity to get together?

3. Knitters, in all their glory: I don't need to say much about this one. Just take a look below.

The line of knitters waiting to get into the market. (And this is only about half of it!)

The fastest sock knitter competition.

Practicing for the flash mob.

Fleece to Foot competition.