Friday, June 29, 2012

Walks Hikes and Wanders #12: Squak Mountain

A note of explanation: this year, as in 2011, I plan to do at least 13 hikes over the course of the summer.  Because I had already called my walking adventures in 2012 "Walks, Hikes and Wanders," I'm continuing that title for my weekly hikes. I will also use the tag "weekly hike" so if you are interested, you can track down posts about both the 2011 and 2012 weekly hikes by searching for that tag.

Now, on to Weekly Hike #1...

On Friday, June 15—a beautiful day—Mr. D and I decided to do a new (to me) hike at Squak Mountain, in Issaquah. Squak Mountain is located in what is known as the "Issaquah Alps," which are, in reality, part of the foothills of the Cascade Range. (You may remember that last year we did weekly hikes at Tiger Mountain and Cougar Mountain, which are located on either side of Squak Mountain).

We started out on the May Valley Loop. At first the trail was gradual.

We crossed over a pretty little stream in the forest, walked through some beautiful second growth forest and even encountered some horses!

About a mile below the mountain top, the trail changes. Horses aren't allowed on this part of the trail (which meant we didn't have to keep an eye out for horse s**t), and instead of the more gradual grade that we had experienced thus far, the trail became very steep. This part of Squak Mountain used to belong to the prominent Seattle family, the Bullitts, and when they donated the land to the state in 1972, it was on the condition that it remain in it's natural state. The only thing on this part of the mountain that didn't seem very natural was this fenced in area at the top:

At least we knew exactly where we were located on the globe!

About a half-mile down the trail from the top was all that remains of the Bullitt's summer home, this huge, non-functioning stone fireplace.

This sunny clearing was a perfect spot to stop for lunch. Then we left this little bit of history behind and wended our way down the mountain to complete the first of the weekly hikes.

Since this hike, I've done two more, and I will try to post about those in the next few days. See you then!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Well, the secret project has finally been revealed to its recipient, my knitting group friend, Paula, so I can now share it here, too. This is my Oh, Baby hat and socks, knit from the Irishgirlieknits Sweet Baby Kate pattern. The yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in the Aloha colorway, which was part of my first-ever Hazel Knits purchase back in 2009. I can't believe that it took me three years to knit something out of this happy color!

We had a baby shower for Paula on Saturday, and what a fun time it was, with games, great food and wonderful gifts! That little baby girl is going to have the most beautiful wardrobe of knitwear, not to mention two quilts and other assorted hand-crafted accessories.

In addition to the hat and socks, I also gave Paula My First Baby Surprise Jacket.

There is a story behind this gift. Paula and I were both in a Baby Surprise Jacket class at the late, lamented Village Yarn and Tea back in 2008. Several months later Paula joined our knitting class/group, and it took us quite a while to figure out that we had both been in that class. Earlier in her pregnancy, Paula brought her unfinished 2008 BSJ one Tuesday night to work on, and I remembered mine. A baby can never have to many hand knits, so my shower gift was complete!

When I knit the BSJ I wasn't sure whether it was for a boy or a girl, so I put a set of buttonholes on each side. Since Paula is having a girl, last week I closed up the left side buttonholes and sewed on these buttons that I purchased at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas over two years ago. It sure pays to plan ahead! Maybe I should get started on the gift for the next unknown baby now...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Knitting, Knitting, Done!

I know, I know, it's been forever (well, two months, anyway) since I wrote a knitting-related post. I had intended to write a review of all of my current WIPs shortly after I wrote the post about all of the things I had finished knitting in the first quarter of the year. That post just never got written, and instead, I've decided to give you shorter posts with just a couple of WIPS and/or FOs. That way, there might even be a few more knitting posts than there have been lately.

So, what am I currently working on? First up is what started out being called the Top-Down Tryout, my first top-down cardigan, Bonne Marie Burns' Eyelet Cardi. I cast on for this project in January, and progress has been very slow. So slow, in fact, that I have renamed the project The Interminable Cardigan. Here is what it looked like in April:

I'm not a whole lot further along; I just separated for the sleeves about a week ago. I hope to make faster progress now that there aren't so many stitches on the needle.

Even though my progress on this cardigan has been slow, it can't compare with one of my recent FOs. I cast on for the Selbu Modern hat in September 2009, and named the project the Slow and Steady Selbu Modern. A more accurate name would have been Slow and Not-So-Steady Selbu Modern. I was so frustrated with two-handed stranded knitting that I put the project into hibernation only two months after casting on, with only 12 rows of the 62-row chart completed. But guess what? In the intervening years, I've gotten more practice with colorwork, and this February I pulled the hat out and started working on it again. I finished knitting it on May 26, and I am so proud of it!

The big bonus, in addition to having a wonderful new hat, is that I am looking forward to my next stranded project. I have my eye on the Winter Twilight Mitts. I hope to cast on for those later this summer.

I have more in-progress and finished projects lurking, including one that has been super-secret. The secret will be revealed very soon, and as soon as that has happened, I'll be back here to tell you about it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #11: My Kind of Town

No, it's not Chicago, New York or LA, but Edmonds is such a pretty little town, and it's only a fifteen minute drive away, so Mr. D and I go there often. In fact, we enjoyed a pleasant walk in Edmonds last week, on Memorial Day.

Our route usually starts on the bluff overlooking the railroad tracks, where, this time of year, there are wild roses in bloom.

We walk north on the bluff until the road turns away from Puget Sound. At that point we cross the street and head back in the direction that we just came from. This side of the street has so many pretty gardens!

When we get to the entrance to the ferry terminal, we cross the street again, and pick up the path that follows the beach in Brackett's Landing Park. There is a great view of the ferries coming and going on the Edmonds-Kingston route. This time of year there are yellow lupines in bloom, which have attracted the attention of a bee.

We headed further up the beach and came upon two examples of public art. I especially love those quirky fishes.

We usually walk out onto the public fishing pier. On this day there were several people fishing, but it didn't look like anyone had caught anything.

From the pier, we head through the marina and on to Marina Beach Park. We saw someone flying a kite and a strange looking driftwood creature.

After enjoying the beach and the views of Puget Sound, we head back into downtown Edmonds and go to our favorite cafe, the Red Twig, where we usually have a chai and a treat.  Yum—today's treat was a morning glory muffin! A great way to end our walk in Edmonds.