Thursday, March 29, 2012

Whole Lotta Knitting Going On

I started looking at my Ravelry projects the other day, and I realized that there are many FOs and WIPs that I haven't written about here. Today I'm going to rectify that situation by posting photos with minimal notes of just about everything that I've finished this year that hasn't yet appeared on the blog. (I'll do a post soon on current WIPs, too.) I'll link each project to its page on Ravelry, if you need more information. Are you ready? Here we go!

Project: Comfy Kumara
I finished this hat on New Year's Eve, but it wasn't given to my niece, Mandy (modeling it in the photo), until February 19th, her birthday.

Project: What Was I Thinking? Two-Tone Socks
These are socks that I knit as a Christmas gift (but didn't finish until January 12) for Mr. D. Did I remember how wide his feet were when I started knitting from a one-of-a-kind Socks That Rock Rare Gems mill end? No, of course not! When I was just past the heel on the first sock I realized that there would never be enough yarn, so I added on another Socks That Rock Rare Gems mill end for most of the foot. When Mr. D is wearing shoes, no one will be the wiser...

Project: Teach Myself Cables Socks
These socks languished for months, mostly because I really didn't like knitting with Noro Silk Garden Sock (my hands didn't like it either). In January, I finally bit the bullet and finished the second sock. Even though I didn't like knitting with the yarn, I really like the socks, which have softened nicely with washing.

Project: Alpaca Troubador
Nancy, Jan and I knitted this scarf as a knit along. Nancy gave us the yarn, pattern and a very cute project bag for Christmas. I had some problems with dropped stitches (which should have been knit three togethers), but Nancy magically fixed them for me. Tanis Gray's Troubador is a wonderful pattern, and I love how this turned out. I still have more than a skein left, so I'm currently in search of a hat pattern to go with this. Any suggestions?

Project: Retreat Socks
I always like to have some plain socks when I am in social situations with other knitters, so I took these socks along as one of my projects for the knitting retreat I went to in January. With all of the knitting time that weekend, these moved along really quickly. The yarn is very soft for standard self-striping yarn, and it was a bargain, too—only $6.99 at WEBS.

You may remember that I knit a Hitchhiker for my friend Jan at the end of last year. Shortly after finishing Jan's Hitchhiker I cast on one for me, and here it is! The Malabrigo sock yarn is incredibly soft and scrumptious around my neck, and I have loved wearing it in our colder and wetter than normal March weather. After knitting two of these back-to-back, I got a little bored with the pattern toward the end, but the results were definitely worth the boredom!

Next up, current WIPs, with a report on a project that has magically come back to life. I'll be back in a few days with more.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #6: Fairhaven to Bellingham

On March 7, one of the few sunny days we have had this month, Mr. D and I headed north to Bellingham. This is a favorite day trip of ours. It's only about two hours away, and we always find something interesting there to explore.

We started out in Fairhaven, Bellingham's fantastic historic district. We have spent a lot of time in Fairhaven on other visits, so this time, we deviated from our usual pattern and did not browse some of the  unique shops and galleries there. Instead, we almost immediately started off on a walk on the South Bay Trail, a 2.5 mile bicycle/pedestrian trail which connects Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham. Part of the trail extends out over Bellingham Bay, and and it was there that I spied the wonderful lines of this ramp:

A little further along the trail we stopped to enjoy this sculpture of a dancer perched on a rock:

It was a cold day, but we did see some beautiful spring flowers blooming alongside the trail.

Once we arrived in downtown Bellingham we found a Mexican restaurant and had an excellent lunch. Afterwards, we headed to Lightcatcher, part of the Whatcom Museum, and spent a fascinating hour in an exhibition of the photographs of long-time Bellingham Herald photographer, Jack Carver. I wish that I could show you some of the museum and this exhibit, but sadly, no photography was allowed.

When we finished exploring Lightcatcher (they also had a small but interesting exhibit of art made from recycled materials), we headed back to Fairhaven. I wasn't planning on taking any more photographs because we were just retracing our steps. But surprise, surprise! We came upon my favorite photo of the day: this old abandoned building that I hadn't even noticed when we walked by it in the morning. Sometimes the best things are the most unexpected.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #5: Art In My Own Back Yard

You may have been wondering what has happened to my walks lately, as the last one happened on February 3. We have had a lot of rain lately, and when it rains, it means a trip to the gym. In addition, when the weather has been better, some of my walking has occurred on my regular power walk circuit in my neighborhood. I'll post about the scenes on that circuit sometime soon, I promise.

On February 28, Mr. D and I did go on a walk on the Burke-Gilman Trail. The "Burke" as it is commonly known, is a bicycle/pedestrian trail that extends 18 miles from Shilshole Bay on Puget Sound in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, all the way to Bothell, just beyond the northern shore of Lake Washington. We decided to start our walk in our hometown, Lake Forest Park, and walk north along the lakeshore, through Kenmore and at least as far as the Bothell city limits.

The Lake Forest Park segment of the Burke was closed for upgrading for eight months, and had only reopened about two weeks earlier, so we were curious to see the improvements. The very first thing we noticed was the wider, smoother surface, including soft gravel shoulders (great for runners or walkers). Here is the view from where we started our walk:

We then came upon this colorful mural, painted on the back wall of a building located next to the trail.

The train in the mural harkens back to the Burke's earlier incarnation as a railroad bed. The mural also includes bikers, runners, Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains, and the heart of our community, the Lake Forest Park Town Center. 

The mural was only the beginning of a walk filled with art. We soon came upon this whimsical drinking fountain:

Next up, in the city of Kenmore's Log Boom Park, there was this wonderful mosaic:

Lake Washington also looked like an impressionistic painting as I stood on the shore and gazed into the water.

It wasn't all art, as Kenmore has a busy industrial area that straddles the trail. Here is one of the many businesses that that we passed along the way:

But it was back to art, as I spied this cool railing on the overpass above the trail:

This was the last photo of the day, as my camera battery ran out of juice almost immediately after I took this photo. I saw several other places that I want to return to in future walks to explore and photograph, and when I do, I'll take you along with me.