Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Challenge: The Fiber Festival Stash Knitdown

Do you remember this? It's Sock Summit stash enhancement, fueled by an amazing fiber festival marketplace.

Then there's this:

And this:

As you can see from these photos, that is a fair amount of stash enhancement (and not all of it), entirely purchased at fiber festivals, specifically, Sock Summits 2009 and 2011, the Black Sheep Gathering 2010 and the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat, 2009-2012.

Ever since I attended Sock Summit last year I have been thinking about organizing that market stash and challenging myself to knit it all by a specific date. The most logical date to aim for is the next Sock Summit, which will be happening sometime in the summer of 2014.

Here is my organizing tool: a collage of 22 yarn portraits representing all of my remaining fiber festival stash. I also included photos of the three finished projects that I knit from fiber festival stash since the last Sock Summit, which was when I first came up with the idea.

So, the challenge has officially begun! I'll be blogging about my progress in the months to come, and I hope to be able to post a collage of FOs when I'm done. Do you care to join me?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #18: With a Cast of Thousands (or at Least 40)

On Friday, August 10, the forecast was for sunny weather and and temperatures in the 80s, so Mr. D and I decided that a shorter hike might be a good idea. We got an early start, and made the one-hour drive to North Bend. Our plan was to hike to Rattlesnake Ledge (also known as Rattlesnake Ridge), a hike that is about five miles long, round trip. Before heading up the trail, we stopped to take a look at the new sign and map at the trailhead.

The good thing about this hike is that it is short. The bad thing about this hike is that it is almost all uphill. (That's Mr. D ahead of me on the trail.)

We passed through some beautiful second growth forest.

Just below the top, there was a spot where several trails converged. Sometime, I want to take the trail to the East Peak.

The Rattlesnake Ledge trail is on land owned and maintained by Seattle Public Utilities. On Fridays and Saturdays in July and August they host "Tap Water Tours" of the Cedar River Watershed, which is at the base of the trail, starting at Rattlesnake Lake. Why am I telling you this? Well, it was Friday, and the tours had the added effect of dramatically increasing the number of people hiking the trail. This didn't really dawn on us until we actually reached the Ledge, where we were met by hoards of people! We saw a summer activity group for teens, a girls soccer team with coach, and a variety of other large and small groups, including one group of three adults and a barely-past-newborn baby. While I was eating my lunch, I tried to count how many people were there, and I stopped counting at 40!

Surprisingly, given the amount of people on the Ledge, there are none in my photos. I should have photographed the crowd, just to show you what I'm talking about, but once you are on the Ledge, it's all about the views.

There was beautiful, blue Rattlesnake Lake:

Looking east, we saw the Cascades and a glimpse of Chester Morse Lake.

There was also the sheer rock drop-off of the Ledge itself.

But my favorite view of all is looking across the Snoqualmie Valley to Mount Si.

Maybe, in a month or so, I'll be standing just below the Haystack—that rocky ledge you see on top—taking a photo across the valley the other way. Stay tuned, that day is coming!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bella Italia!

Mr. D and I spent three weeks traveling in Italy in April 2011, two months before I started writing this blog. It occurred to me that I have never shared some of the wonderful sights from that amazing trip—Italy is truly a photographer's dream. Occasionally, over the next few months, I'll share some images from some of the places we visited.

Today, let's go to Lake Como, in the shadow of the Alps. Enjoy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Walks, Hikes and Wanders #17: To the Lake!

You are probably wondering what has happened to me. It's been two weeks since my last post, and I'm two hikes behind and haven't written about my knitting in ages. Well, I am back, and today I'll tell you about a hike, and later this week I'll share an update on my knitting.

On July 24, Mr. D and I headed back to Wallace Falls State Park. Really? Two weeks after we were last there? Well, this time, we planned a hike to Wallace Lake, which is a ten-mile round trip; the longest hike I have done so far this summer.

We started out on the Woody Trail, which leads to the turn-off for the falls, but we didn't go that far. Instead, we took the Railroad Grade Cut-off, which leads to the Greg Ball Trail.

The trail is named after a a "trail angel" who was the driving force behind getting it built. There is a plaque alongside the trail commemorating the late Greg Ball.

Not far from the plaque is the latest thing in outdoor toilets. 

It looks like a rest room in the middle of the forest, but rather than regular plumbing, there is a state of the art composting toilet inside, along with lots of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a big bin of sawdust (to help the composting along), as well as several informative signs describing the composting process that is going on.

Once we were really on the Greg Ball Trail, we encountered several surprises in the forest. The first was this amazing clump of Indian Pipe, a fungal "wildflower" that coexists with its hosts, the giant conifers in the forest.

Next, we took a little side path and enjoyed the view of the North Fork of the Wallace River.

A little further up the trail I spotted this cairn partially hidden in the  underbrush.

After about two-and-a-half hours of hiking, we finally reached the lake, and what a beautiful lake it was!

Don't you think I should go back again sometime soon?