Thursday, October 16, 2014

Knitting to the Finish

Like most knitters, I love to start new projects, but I don't always finish them quickly. Is this a problem for you, too? Do you have projects that have been lingering in unfinished status for a few months or even a few years? I certainly do. One of my favorite bloggers, Andi, of the My Sister's Knitter blog has a solution to this problem. She is hosting a Tackling WIPs knit along in her Ravelry group. The KAL started September 1, and runs through the end of the year.

I have to admit that I started two projects right before the KAL began so that I could include them on my list of WIPs, but I also had seven projects that had been on the needles for considerably longer. My plan is to finish at least two (and preferably three) projects per month in both September and October, leaving November and December for finishing the remaining projects.

September was a very successful month. There were three KAL projects that came off my needles. (All links are to my Ravelry project pages.)
These Silky Green Mitts are, by far, my oldest WIP. I cast on in February 2011, knit one mitt on double points fairly quickly and then threw the project into the back of the closet, because I really couldn't stand the thought of more dpn knitting. A few months ago, I even considered frogging the project and using the yarn for something else. I am so glad I didn't! It only took me a few hours—this time using two circular needles—to finish the second mitt. I am so happy with how these turned out, and I can't wait until it's cold enough to wear them.
Next up is my A Little Streusel on the Cake, Bonnie Sennott's lovely Streusel pattern. I started this  shawl on July 31, to participate in an informal KAL in honor of the fifth blog anniversary of another of my favorite blogs: Girls in Sheep Clothing…and a few boys, too. I finished knitting this project on September 13, and along the way I got to be a guest blogger! (You can find links to my two posts on my project page.)
My last FO for September is Racing Upstairs and Downstairs in My Red Cowl, Paula Emons-Fuessle's Upstairs Downstairs cowl pattern. I started the cowl on August 22, and finished it on September 27. This was a very fun knit, and I'm thinking of knitting another one in the near future.

You may be wondering what I'm working on finishing this month. I have a pair of socks that are nearing the end. Here's a peek:
There is also a cardigan that is a few inches farther along than this photo shows:
Once these two projects are complete, I will be focusing on the shawl, two scarves and one pair of socks that still remain on my WIP list. I'll post an update to share my progress in November, so stay tuned!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekly Hikes #12 and #13: Summer Hike, Autumn Hike, and a Bit of Yarn

I was mistaken in my last post when I said that I had done the last hike of the summer, because it turned out that Mr. D and I were able to do one more, on Saturday, September 20th. We went back to one of my favorite trails, on the west end of Rattlesnake Mountain. I've written about this hike in at least two other posts. It's a great hike for spring and fall, both because it's low enough that it doesn't get much snow, and also because it is just plain beautiful!

Because I've talked about it before, I'll just share a few photos of the foggy/sunny day that we enjoyed on our hike.

So summer hiking is over, but autumn hiking has just begun. Yesterday, Mr. D and I decided that it was a good day to head east to the town of Carnation, and to explore some of the hiking and walking trails nearby. We chose to go to Tolt MacDonald Park, which sits on either side of the Snoqualmie River.

It was a gorgeous autumn day, and perfect for exploring a place that was new to us. To get to the trails, we had to cross a wooden pedestrian bridge over the river. Standing in the middle of the bridge, I enjoyed beautiful views both up and down the river. Here is the view looking east. Coincidentally, you can see Rattlesnake Mountain in the distance.

Once we were on the other side of the bridge, we headed down this trail through the woods that were parallel to the river.
There were several side trails that led to the river bank. We took one of them, and found ourselves on a rocky beach. There were several cairns on the beach, and I photographed the most impressive one, which sat right beside the river. (You may remember from my Switzerland posts in 2012 that I really love cairns.)
We hiked for about two hours, enjoying the sunshine, the autumn color, and, especially the beautiful, peaceful river.
Once our hiking was done, we found a picnic table and ate our lunch. Did we head home after that? No, not yet. You see, Carnation is the home of one of the newest yarn stores in the Seattle area, Tolt Yarn and Wool. The store opened last November, and in a very short period of time has become a "destination" yarn store. I couldn't be a mere half mile away and not stop in.

The store is not large, but is beautifully laid out, with yarn displays that are very pleasing to the eye:
Tolt carries so many wonderful yarns—Quince & Co., Jamiesons, Peace Fleece, Jill Draper Makes Stuff, Swans Island, Imperial Yarn, to name just a few—that it is easy to wander the store and fondle the yarn for an hour or more. I limited myself to only about a half hour (after all, Mr. D was patiently waiting), and I did make a purchase.

As you can see, they wrapped my yarn up very nicely:
And it's probably no surprise that I bought some Hazel Knits! The colors look a little more green than blue in this photo, but in real life the colorways, Laguna on the left, and Frost on the right, are definitely in the blue realm. I'm thinking these may become a two color shawl, but I don't have a pattern in mind just yet. Suggestions are welcome!
I know that I promised you a knitting update over a month ago, and that this is but a mere tidbit. That post will be coming up next, because there has definitely been some knitting going on at my house!