Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photo of the Week: Blue Trees

17/365: Blue Trees by jchants
17/365: Blue Trees, a photo by jchants on Flickr.
17/365: I came across this surprising art installation when I was in downtown Seattle for a dentist appointment.

You can read more about the Blue Trees and artist Konstantin Dimopoulos here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Favorite Walk

Last week's Photo of the Week reminded me that months ago I promised to write about the walks that I do in my neighborhood, so today you will see scenes from the one I do most often. I called it my favorite walk in the title, but sometimes—when I'm bored with it—it can be my least favorite walk. That's when I intersperse one of my other favorite walks, which will be coming up on the blog sometime soon.

We live on a hill, about halfway up. Most of my favorite walk lies uphill, so when I set out I walk the couple blocks from our house to a pathway that takes me directly to the top of the hill. This path is a right-of-way for the pipeline attached to the reservoir located on the hilltop. (It's so nice of those reservoir folks to give the neighborhood walkers a direct and aerobic way to get to the top of the hill!)

Here is what it looks like at the top of the steepest part of the hill.

 Once I reach the top, I take the path around the reservoir. Last week's Photo of the Week shows my starting point on that path. Here is the same view in summer:

On the west side of the reservoir, there is a short street with houses and a vacant lot that has a bench for enjoying the view of the Olympic Range. There is also an old apple tree.

On the north side of the reservoir, the path widens and there is a fence that runs along a woodsy ravine on one side. The reservoir is on the other side.

Up next is Horizon View Park. It has a tennis court, where local crows watch the action.

 The park also has a playground, and trees that are beautiful in all seasons of the year.

 There is even a bit of yarnbombing in a grove of trees on the edge of the park. What more could a knitter/walker ask for?

From the park, I follow the fence on the east side of the reservoir, and enjoy the views of the sky and clouds.

After walking the circuit around the reservoir and park three or four times, I head back down the hill to home, my walk complete for the day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Photo of the Week: Morning Snow

10/365: Morning Snow by jchants
10/365: Morning Snow, a photo by jchants on Flickr.
The flip side of last week's photo. A scene from my morning walk after overnight snowfall.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Photo of the Week: Winter Sun in Seattle

3/365: Winter Sun in Seattle by jchants
3/365: Winter Sun in Seattle, a photo by jchants on Flickr.
After one of the darkest, wettest Decembers on record, the sun came back for the New Year. Taken on Day 3.

Annual Goals, the 2013 Version

If you remember my New Year's posts in 2012, you know that I don't make resolutions for the year; I set goals. This year, instead of writing two posts, one for knitting and one for other aspects of my life, I'm going to combine the goals in one post right here.

First up, the knitting goals:

1. Continue to work on finishing those longstanding UFOs.

I made great progress on this goal in 2012: I finished 5 projects that had been hanging around for more than a year (including 3 started in 2009) and I frogged one project that I knew I would never finish. There are still some lingering projects that I need to revisit, including another one that I started in 2009, so this remains something to work on.

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

I did not make much progress toward this goal in 2012. I did spend a little less on yarn than I did in 2011, but I would like to reduce my spending even more. I really like the challenge of stash diving, and there is also the challenge of my Fiber Festival Stash Knitdown, to keep me on track. I am also planning to participate in both the Stash and Burn podcast's Use It or Lose It challenge and the Doubleknit podcast's Deep Stash KAL. All three of these challenges should put a big dent in my stash this year.

Right before Christmas, I got a head start on this goal by casting on my Start the Stashbusting Cowl, which I finished a few days ago. The pattern is Norah Gaughan's Seyfert, and the yarn is Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica that had been in my stash for over three years. Here is a photo of me wearing this cute cowl:

While I'm going to stash dive as much as possible this year, I am going to Stitches West in February, and I also plan to continue to be in the Hazel Knits yarn club, so I am not going to totally go cold sheep. After all, every knitter needs a little new yarn once in a while.

3. Continue to improve my stranded knitting skills.

As you know, I succeeded big-time on this goal in 2012, all because I finished my Selbu Modern hat. In 2013, I have my sights set on knitting either (or both) the Fireweeds socks or the Winter Twilight mitts. I'll be sure to give you a progress report with photos as the year progresses.

Now, the Non-Knitting Goals:

1. Read more books.

This is on my goals list every year, because one can never read too many books. I succeeded in reaching my goal of 42 books in 2012, and went a little beyond it: I actually read 43. This year, I am back to trying to read 52 books, averaging one book per week. I think I can, I think I can...

2. Do more long walks and hikes in 2013. Document my walks with periodic posts to the blog centering on my favorite places.

Last year, my goal was to do 50 long walks or hikes and photograph them all. I actually did about 30 walks/hikes, and while I did take photographs on almost all of them, those photos didn't all end up on the blog. This year, I plan to do occasional posts with photos of some of my favorite places, but the photos may be from several walks or hikes in that place, rather than just one.

One blog feature I plan to continue is "The Weekly Hike". The challenge to fit 13 hikes into the 13 weeks of summer has been fun, as well as good for both my fitness and my photography.

3. Take at least one photograph per day every day in 2013.

I have been thinking about trying a Project 365 for at least the last two years. This is the year that I'm going to try and do it. I've already started, in fact. You can view my Project 365 set on Flicker here.

4. Post my favorite photo of the week here on the blog.

Yes, you will get at least one post a week from me, as I pick out and share my favorite from each week's Project 365 photos.

Well, that's it for my goals for 2013. Why don't you tell me about yours?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Two Down, Twenty to Go

Happy New Year! There will be the annual "goals, not resolutions" post coming up soon, but today I want to share the good news that I have completed two (!!) projects in the Fiber Festival Stash Knitdown.

First up is Bluer Than Blue, Linda Welch's great pattern, Crow's Feet, that I have knitted three times in the last two years. Can you tell I love this pattern?

Second is the finally, FINALLY finished Doesn't Look Much Like Seaweed Scarf. I cast this on in July 2011, and it went into hibernation with only 8 rows left over a year ago. It only took a couple hours to finish the knitting—how embarrassing! I like Grace Akrem's Seaweed Scarf pattern very much, but I wasn't wild about my yarn choice, although I think it looks great now that it is finished and blocked. What do you think?

You are probably wondering whether there are any other Fiber Festival Stash Knitdown projects happening. Unfortunately, the only other one has been in time-out for almost two months. This is what it looked like when I put it down:

You will find out more about this project when it is reactivated. (And no, I won't let it sit for a year this time!)