Friday, January 27, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #2: Along the Sammamish River Trail

On January 10, a cold and mostly cloudy day, Mr. D. and I decided to walk  on the Sammamish River Trail, starting at Wilmot Gateway Park in Woodinville, and walking as far as we could go in an hour, then turning around and walking back. We managed to walk about 6.5 miles in those two hours, and we saw some wonderful sights along the way.

"Birds" must have been the theme of the day, because we saw more than one. First, there was this majestic fellow:


Then, a bit further along the trail, we watched this amazing cormorant on the bank of the river.

Finally, after we had turned around and were headed back, we heard a huge racket overhead and saw this flock of Canada Geese.

In addition to birds, we observed some repeating patterns. The first was this stand of poplars, lining the trail.

The second was a different type of repeating pattern, not created by nature, but pretty cool, nonetheless. I love how these townhouses, and the fence alongside them, seem to go on forever!

We were treated to many wonderful and diverse sights along the way, but my favorite was the one thing that stayed with us throughout the two hours: the calm, peaceful and beautiful Sammamish River.

I hope to walk other segments of the Sammamish River Trail before this year is over, and I'll be sure to tell you about those walks when I do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #1: Discovery Park

I know, I know, it's been over a week since I gave you that hint about our first extended walk of the year, and then nothing. I've been traveling and having adventures (more about that later), but I'm back, and I'd like to tell you a bit about our walk in Discovery Park on January 6.

It was a gray and chilly day, but there was no rain in the forecast so we decided to walk the approximately four-and-a-half mile loop from the park Visitor Center to the beach at West Point and back. Early in the walk, we came to the old chapel, from the days when Discovery Park was the U.S. Army's Fort Lawton. Next to the chapel was a small grove of apple trees, with apples still hanging from some of the branches.

Near the chapel there was also a low stone wall, which was a wonderful place to stop and enjoy the view of a meadow and a beautiful old building, formerly the fort's post exchange.

From the chapel, we took a long downhill trail to the beach at West Point. It seems like the crows follow us everywhere lately, and Discovery Park was no exception:

While we were at the beach, the sun even made a brief appearance.

Finally, before we headed back up the long hill to the Visitor's Center, we walked down the trail to the West Point lighthouse, which was built in 1881.  It is in the process of being restored.

We have only seen a tiny portion of this wonderful Seattle city park, and I expect that there may be future wanders in this park before 2012 comes to a close. When that happens, you can be sure that I'll tell you about it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goals Versus Resolutions: Part Two

Well, you heard about my knitting goals for 2012, so you are probably wondering about my other goals for the year.  Here they are:

1. Read more books. 

Before I started knitting in 2008, reading was the main thing I did in my spare time. Since then, the number of books that I have read annually has dropped drastically. Listening to audiobooks has helped to increase my totals over the last few months, but I also want to read actual, physical books more than I have been.

I have come up with a modest goal for the total of books to read this year: 42. In 2011, I read 35 books, so this is not a huge increase, and should be do-able. Ideally, I'd like to average a book per week, but I'm going to work on getting to 42 first. As I work my way though a reading year, I'll try to keep you updated on my progress and maybe even give a short review from time to time.

In addition to reading more, I also want to read more of the books that I own. My dear friend, Bonnie, gives me a Minnesota-themed book every year for Christmas, and while I have read many of them, there are still a few books on my "Minnesota shelf" that I haven't gotten to yet. You can take a look below at what's on the shelf; you might see something that you'd like. (I especially recommend the two books by Kevin Kling.)

2. Do a long walk or hike 50 times in 2012, and take photographs during all of them.

How do you like the way I combined walking/hiking and photography? This goal will certainly provide lots of material for the blog! It will also help me to keep in shape and to get out and explore the beautiful area that I live in. I also will get to spend some quality time with Mr. D. (We almost always have great conversations on our walks and hikes.)

I've already started work on this goal—we have gone on an extended walk in each of the last two weeks. I'll be posting about the first one in the next few days, but in the meantime, below is an advance peek at one of the things we saw. You will have to read my next post to find out where we were.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goals Versus Resolutions, Part One

It's that time of year again—January, when the multitudes are making New Year's resolutions. I am most definitely not a resolution maker, although the one time I did, in 2008, it was a life-changer. The resolution: to take a knitting class and learn how to knit a sweater. Little did I know what that resolution would lead to!

Anyway, with that one exception, I prefer to list my goals for the year. With a goal, it feels as though there is less pressure to accomplish it, and if I fall short, or don't do anything toward that goal, I don't feel much, if any, guilt. I also like that I feel much more comfortable in modifying the goal, and I don't limit myself just to January, or only for one calendar year for goal setting and completion. Goals can be set anytime I feel like it, and they make take me several years, or a lifetime, to accomplish.

So here is the start of my 2012 goals list:

1. Finish or frog at least some of those languishing projects.

I have to admit that this was on my goal list all of last year, too, and I did make some progress toward achieving it. I frogged two projects, and, perhaps my biggest achievement of the year, finished my Tilted Duster, which had been on the needles for more than two years:

This year, that "Finish or Frog" goal is still on the list, but I am hopeful that there will be very little, if any, frogging, and a lot of finishing. I won't bore you with the long list of UFOs, but I will show you what I have picked up in the last few days. It's my more than two years old, "Out of Hibernation, Even Though it's Winter" scarf:

I'm hoping that this is just the first of a long line of projects that will be finally finished in 2012. I will update you on my progress throughout the year.

2. Improve my stranded knitting skills.

I recently proved to myself that I can actually finish a two-color project, a Christmas stocking for Mr. D. I need to keep using those skills so that I don't have to start from square one two or three years down the road when I want to try another stranded project. My Tuesday night knitting group, led by our fearless leader, Christy, is going to knit a Fair Isle cowl in the very near future, so here is my opportunity to work on this goal. In addition, there is always the Slow and Steady Selbu Modern still waiting for me, more than two years after cast on:

3. Knit more from my stash, and buy less yarn than last year.

I know myself well enough to know that I won't completely go cold sheep, but I am going to try to use my stash as a yarn store as much as possible. I'll keep you updated on that goal throughout the year as I post about my projects.

Well, that's it for the knitting goals as they stand right now. I'll be posting about my non-knitting goals soon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Look What I Finished!

I've been busy knitting, and I even have some FOs to show for it. My first FO was this Hitchhiker shawlette:

I originally was going to knit this for myself, but then one Sunday, when Nancy, Jan and I were knitting together, Jan admired the colors (which are much more her colors than mine). A lightbulb went on in my head—this had to be a gift for Jan, who had just retired early from her job. She also had just had a birthday, and Christmas was coming up. What a wonderful combined-occasion gift! She was incredibly surprised, and she loved it! I was so happy with how this turned out—it blocked beautifully—and I will be casting on another one for me very soon.

Next up, mittens:

I purchased the yarn (Berroco Blackstone Tweed) for these mittens well over a year ago, with the intention of knitting Kris Percival's Warmest Mittens, a free pattern on Ravelry. I finally cast on in mid-December, and had both finished in less than two weeks—pretty fast for me. The pattern is very clearly written, and moves along quickly.

Finally, I have a newly finished pair of socks that I just love. After knitting Cookie A's Monkey Socks last spring, I was curious to try the No-Purl Monkeys so I cast them on as my car project on the California trip this fall. They got set aside while I finished up my Family of Socks, but I picked them up again a couple weeks ago and finished them on December 27. Here they are, in all their Christmas-y Green, but No Purls glory:

There are lots of other knitting plans and projects brewing for 2012, but I'll save those for another post. For now, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, full of great knitting and photography!