Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Photo Christmas!

Another year has come and almost gone, and here it is, Christmas again. You may have guessed already that I love Christmas, especially the colors and lights that brighten up this dark time of year.

Lately, I've been experimenting a lot more with my camera, especially with shutter speeds and ISO settings. I thought it might be fun to share a few of my camera experiments here on the blog, as well as a couple seasonal images, too.

I'm intrigued by what my camera does when I set a long exposure and move the camera while I press the shutter. The other day I made several photos using this technique. Here are my favorites—I call them my Christmas fantasies.

Pretty cool, huh? I love the long strings of color! For those of you who are photography nerds, the first photo was taken with a .5-second shutter speed and an f9 aperture, and the second had a .8-second shutter speed and an aperture of f16. The ISO setting for both photos was 3200.

This time of year, I also love experimenting with bokeh, a Japanese term meaning blur or haze. Bokeh is a fairly common background feature of any photo with a short depth of field, but around the holidays, it's really fun to play with intentional bokeh and Christmas lights.  Here is one of my favorites, which I took last Christmas.

Here is my favorite bokeh photo from this year, a combination of clarity and blur.

Experimentation is fun, but sometimes I just want to capture some of the magic and memories that surround this wonderful holiday. This little wooden man has hung on the Christmas tree every year since I was five years old. He was a gift from Santa in my stocking that Christmas and went on the tree immediately. He brings back many sweet memories of Christmases past...

So here is my wish for you this Christmas: may your holiday be filled with color, light and happy memories!

Monday, November 30, 2015


Here I am, writing a second post in November, but only by the skin of my teeth. I haven't had two posts in a month since July, and it's also been that long since I've had an all-knitting post. As a result, I'm here to rectify that situation with an update on what I've been knitting and finishing lately.

So first, here is what's on the needles:

I'm calling these my Growing Boy Socks (all links are to my Ravelry project pages). These are socks for my nephew Olin, now almost 11 years old. You may remember that I knit these socks for him four years ago, and he outgrew them a year or so after that. It is definitely time to knit him another pair. The photo above was taken about a week ago, and I'm now past the heels on both socks, so they should be done in a few days. I'm using Charlene Schurch's garter rib pattern.

I'm also back to working on another pair of socks that have been languishing since the summer. These  are for me, and I'm calling them my Summer Market Socks, which was the theme of the knit along in the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group, now long since finished. I am past the heel on both socks, so once the socks for Olin are finished, these will get finished, as well.

Have you been participating in the Indie Design Giftalong? I decided to dip my toe in this year and knit another Blue Peninsula pattern, the Sweetdrop Cowl. I'm calling my project Sweet Little Drops of Green, because I am loving the madelinetosh DK Forestry colorway. Can you believe that the yarn has been languishing in my stash since 2010? I have two more skeins, which will become a hat and mitts in the near future.

I have some other projects on the needles, too, but I'll save those for another post. I want to end this one with one of my favorite finished objects ever, which taught me a lot—especially about provisional cast-ons and trusting the pattern—and took forever to finish. I'm talking about my Deepest Pink Cardi, which was off the needles and blocked in time to wear to the market at a local knitting event, Knit Fit,  two weeks ago. I wanted to show it to Wendee, the owner of Hazel Knits, because I purchased the yarn from her at last year's Knit Fit. She suggested that I get a photo with Dave, who dyed the yarn, and he was happy to oblige.

While I love this photo, it doesn't really show the gorgeous deep pink/purple colorway very well, so here is another photo. Please ignore that I didn't put the cardigan on completely straight. It was really cold when we had the photoshoot, and we were in a hurry to get back into the warm house!

Well, that is it for knitting in November, but there will be more coming up soon in December!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Wonders of a Geothermal World

When I wrote the last blog post, I said I would be back in early November, and here it is, almost late November. But I'm looking on the bright side, it's still November!

The written part of this post is short and sweet. I want to share some of the amazing sights that Mr. D and I experienced in our three days in Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy the photo tour!

Of course, we had to see Old Faithful! I was amazed that that bird would get so close.

The mysterious blue depths of a geothermal pool.

Amazing yellow paint pot.

Palette Spring, at Mammoth Hot Springs.

The Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Water and stone in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Bison, bison everywhere...

Including right in the middle of the road.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Back to the Blog, and a Happy Halloween

So another month has gone by with nary a blog post. My excuse is the same as last month, lots of traveling and too much going on to sit down and write about it.

Mr D and I were on the east coast for 12 days earlier this month, and there was lots to catch up on when we returned. Through all of that, I've been knitting, but I'll save what I've been working on for another post. I have also have been in the planning stages for some blog posts on our epic September road trip, but with hundreds of photos to sift through, those will have to wait a bit.

I do want to share a few seasonal scenes with you today, to wish you a very Happy Halloween! See you again in early November!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I Should Have at Least One September Post, Shouldn't I?

I have been missing from the blog for over a month, and I have really good excuses for why—a three-day power outage and a 19-day road trip being two of those excuses. Well, I at least want to make a quick appearance here during September, so I'm going to give you a peek at what I've been up to.

First, a knitting project finished: My Own Hand-dyed Shawl (link is to my Revelry project page).

You may remember from this post that I was knitting Nurmilintu out of YOTH Yarns Little Brother that I dyed in a class I took with the YOTH owners last year. I absolutely love, love, love how this shawl turned out, and I'm looking forward to wearing it as the weather gets cooler (which, after our incredibly hot and dry summer, is finally starting to happen).

There hasn't been much other finishing, but I have at least two WIPs that should be coming off the needles sometime in October, so keep an eye out for those on the blog in the near future.

The other big, big event was Mr. D's and my road trip from Seattle to Minnesota, which started the day before Labor Day and ended just five days ago. I will definitely share some of my photographs in the weeks to come, but to build anticipation, here is a little teaser...

Can you guess where this is? I'll leave it a mystery for now, but watch the blog and an answer will be revealed sometime very soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Colorado Sampler

Wow, it's almost the end of August, and I haven't even written about our trip to Colorado, which happened way back at the end of June. Oh, well, our adventures are worth hearing about, even two months after they happened.

We flew out to Colorado to attend our niece's wedding, but we built in some extra days for sightseeing in and around Boulder. Boulder is a sunny, funky and interesting town. We had fun wandering down the Pearl Street Mall and watching the street performers on our first evening.

The next day, we drove up to Fort Collins, where, in addition to visiting not one, but two yarn stores (one of them was the Loopy Ewe), we also explored Old Town. There were lots of happy things going on in Fort Collins:

Other weekend happenings included a trip to the Boulder farmer's market, a rehearsal dinner where we witnessed a glorious sunset, and, on the morning of the wedding, a hike in Chautauqua Park.

Oh, and by the way, there was a wedding...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Christmas in July (Or: My 2015 Stranded Knitting Project)

For the past few years, I have picked a pattern and knit a stranded knitting project each year.  You may remember seeing my Shades of Purple Beret (2014), my Winter Twilight Mitts (2013) and my Slow and Steady Selbu Modern (2012) here on the blog.

This year I was tossing around several ideas for a stranded project, and then I heard about the knitalong for Wendy Gaal's Winter Funderland Stocking and Hat. Wendy is the dyer behind Knitters Brewing Company, and she was offering kits for the pattern, so I jumped in, ordered the kit  and decided to knit the stocking. The beautiful array of colors she offered made choosing difficult, but I eventually settled on red, green, light gray and white.

Wendy provides a number of motifs in the pattern to use on the stocking, but the knitter chooses which motifs to include and in what order to knit them. At first it was daunting to think about coming up with my own combination, but once I got knitting, it was pure fun!

Here is the final result, my Spring and Summer Funderland, which will be hanging by the fireplace come Christmas.

I'm already pondering what stranded project to choose for 2016. Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Long Line of WIPs: Part Two

This post should actually be called "An Even Longer Line of FOs", but I can't have a Part One without a Part Two, so there you go. I'm planning to give you a bit of an update on some of those WIPs in this post, and then I'll share some finishes, too. All links are to my Ravelry project pages.

I have two long-term WIPs. One of them, which I cast on almost two years ago, has been hibernating for a while, and will be taken out of hibernation and, I hope, finished, sometime before the end of this year. The other one, Shades of Blue and Pink, was cast on almost exactly a year ago. It was supposed to be travel knitting on our New England trip last July, and I did work on it then, but then I didn't work on it for a long time. I have picked it up again, and I'm actually making good progress. In the photo below, you can see the tiny bit left from the second ball of yarn. I am not planning to knit the whole third ball, so I may have a finished scarf shortly.

I cast on my Summer Socks because I wanted socks with some cotton content for the cooler summer days we usually get here in the Northwest, days when it is too warm for wool socks, but lighter weight socks are still an option. The problem is that we haven't had any cooler summer days. It has been hot, sunny and very, very dry, and as a result, I haven't been much in the mood for finishing these socks.

Newer projects include My Own Hand-Dyed Shawl, which is a free pattern, Nurmilintu. The yarn is YOTH Yarns Little Brother, and as my project name implies, I dyed the yarn myself in a class I took last summer.

Another new project is my Summer Market Socks, Bonnie Sennott's latest pattern, Hulst. I am really enjoying this pretty textured sock, which has different, but related patterns on the front and back of the leg.

Finally, my Deepest Pink Cardi, which I shared with you last month, is still in the mix, but I have not yet progressed beyond chart A. That may happen very soon, however, because I just started the last repeat of that chart. The photo below was taken just an hour ago, so this is exactly what it looks like now.

As far as finished objects go, I have been surprisingly productive lately, and you can expect one more very special FO in a post all its own a little later this month. Here are the items that have recently come off the needles:

My Happy Handspan Cowl, knit from yarn spun for me by a dear friend.

An Easy Happy Birthday, Martina Behm's Easy pattern. I love how the Zauberball yarn striped!

That Red Robin is a Bit of a Tart: Helen Stewart's Red Robin shawl, which has been in my queue since it was published in 2013. The name of the project is a play on the yarn, Madelinetosh tosh merino light in the Tart colorway.

And finally, Simply Pink, the Simple Skyp sock pattern. They were simple, but maybe a bit too simple (or perhaps a bit boring). Bonnie Sennott's Hulst pattern was a nice change of pace for my brain after finishing these socks.

Well, that is the rundown of current and recently finished projects. There will be some hiking coming up soon, and as always, more knitting.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spring Hikes

The calendar may still say spring for another day or two, but here in the Northwest, we have already entered summer. It has been sunny almost every day, and the temperatures have been in the 70s, and even, on a few days, in the 80s. This is extremely unusual for this area, and, because most of the snow in the mountains has gone, summer hikes in the higher elevations have begun.

I did manage to get a few spring hikes in before the weather warmed up, however, so today I'm going to share some photos from those hikes, before I turn the page over to summer. To start, here is a trillium, Washington's State Flower, blooming alongside the trail at the west end of Rattlesnake Mountain, which we hiked in early May.

On a cloudy Saturday in late May, we tried a new-to-us trail at Cougar Mountain. Here is the sign at the trailhead.

The trail was quite steep, and a great workout at the beginning, and then was relatively flat for a long stretch. As you can see, the trees and vegetation were a gorgeous spring green!

As advertised, there were some very big trees along the top of the ridge:

Our final spring hike served as a transition into summer hiking. It was June 4, Mr. D's birthday, and his choice for a birthday hike was Little Mount Si. In cooler years, we will do this hike on July 4th, but this year it was a whole month earlier! 

We were very happy to see (and taste) that the salmonberries were perfectly ripe:

When we passed the Doug Hansen memorial bench, we noticed prayer flags above it, probably put there to remember those who died in the catastrophic Nepal earthquake.

When we reached the top of the mountain, we enjoyed our lunch and the view. 

Now that we have hiked Little Si, it's official: the summer hiking season has begun! I'll be back soon to tell you about the first summer hike, which happened just a few days ago.

I just realized, as I was about to post this, that four years ago today I published my first post to this blog. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings over the past four years, and I hope you will stick around for what's up in my knitting, hiking and photography life in the years to come. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Long Line of WIPs: Part One

There is a lot of knitting going on at my house, but not much finishing, I'm afraid. The problem is that I have recently cast on a bunch of projects, so almost everything is at the beginning stages, or not yet even halfway done. Because there are so many new WIPs, I am going to split them up into two posts, and I'll just share a few of them here.

I am currently obsessed with my most recent cast-on, Spring and Summer Funderland (all links are to my Ravelry project pages), Wendy Gaal's Winter Funderland Stocking. Even though I don't knit colorwork projects very often, once I cast one on, I'm addicted! This pattern is particularly fun and addicting because the knitter can choose which of a number of pattern motifs to knit, and in what order to knit them. The yarn is Knitters Brewing Company Sock-aholic Brewski, which I purchased as a kit especially for the stocking.

Here is what I have finished so far:

One of my older WIPs—though not the oldest—is An Easy Happy Birthday, Martina Behm's Easy scarf. Many thanks to my friend, Andi, who gave me the pattern back in March, for my birthday. I am knitting the scarf in a ball of Zauberball that has been in my stash since 2010, so I'm even working on one of my stash busting goals while knitting it. I'm now just past the halfway point of the pattern. This photo was taken a bit before that.

I cast on this next WIP a month ago, and I've been working steadily on it since then. It's my Deepest Pink Cardi, Hiroko Fukatsu's Hitofude cardigan. The photo below shows where I was about three weeks ago, with three repeats of chart A completed. There are now ten repeats done, with two more to go before the fateful moment when I undo the provisional cast-on and do a three needle bind-off for the sleeves. I am trembling at the thought, and I'll be very glad to be past that point and moving on to knitting the body.

There are, of course, other WIPs to talk about, but I'll save those for another post. I have actually finished two projects recently, both from the same yarn, Invictus Yarns Adventure, in the Undeniable colorway (which, by the way, I love). Here are The Red and the Black, a pair of socks for me. I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, which resulted in the cool geometric striping on the heel that you see in the photo.

After I finished those socks, I knit a baby hat, The Red and the Black, Hat Version. The hat is going to be included as part of a baby shower for the NICU at a local medical center that one of my knitting friends organizes with her work colleagues every year. It's always fun to photograph my baby hats on some of my favorite dolls and stuffed animals, but it's even more fun to think about this hat being on the head of a sweet little baby sometime in the future.

So that is all I have of WIPs and finishes for this post, but as there seems to be a never-ending supply of both, more will be coming soon.