Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Noro = Love = Dreads

I had some Noro Iro leftover from my Lady Detective hat and was inspired by the Fall colorway to make some felted ponytail dreads. Just perfect for dread wanna-be's like myself. I've got one for myself, one to gift and as you can see, I've got a few extra so let me know if you'd like one.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Whistler Wrist Warmers

Went with husband to a work picnic in Kansas City and got in about six hours of road time knitting finishing this pair of ribbed wrist warmers. They are stretchy and warm just perfect for cool walks and errands. I usually have just enough yarn left over after knitting a pair of socks to make a coordinating pair. These made from Regia Bamboo on #2 dpns.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Open Farm Day

Drove to Great Bend, KS to help out with the Open Farm Day at Heartland Farm. (Great Bend was also hosting the Big Bend Bike Rally where I passed my friends, M&M Choppers on the way there). I set up my spinning wheel in the artist studio and joined Sister Mary Ellen in giving demonstrations to visitors on how to card and spin alpaca fiber. Sister Jane was around the corner with a weaving loom while Shana and Michelle (dread envy strikes again) sold homemade items from the farm including some of my knitted items. The weather couldn't have been better and I was able to card and spin a whole skein of brown alpaca. I left with a small bounty of fresh eggs, noodles, zucchini muffins, tomatoes, salsa, pottery and a pumpkin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Favorite Things

I had the opportunity to stop and take some pictures of a couple of some of my favorite things that I pass by on the way to Winfield, KS. Highway 160 is surrounded by happy fields of sunflowers and the house of my dreams sits outside Oxford.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival

My knitting friend, Angelique, made it to town a couple days ago from Shiprock, NM and has been staying at my place. She comes to town for the bluegrass festival in Winfield, KS and I hate to admit I've lived here all my life and have never attended it. I guess I always thought it was a hillbilly thing I wouldn't enjoy but was I ever wrong.

There's a ton of variety of music in this genre which surprising includes Texas swing. We bought matching hats, spread out a blanket on a hill with our knitting at Stage 2 and spent the afternoon into the late night listening to the different bands that rotated every hour. There are actually 6 stages to choose from.

Stage 5 is in one of the camping areas (the hippee themed camp) where local talent perform. We decided next year we would like to take our tents and stay overnight.

Siva Yoga

The knitting gals have been talking about the new yoga place, Siva, down the block from Twist Yarn Shop in Delano and I finally had the chance to check it out. Siva offers three levels and I took a challenging Flow 3 (Power) class where we held some difficult poses such as back bends and shoulder stands. I really like the warm atmosphere and heated floor. Each class is $5 and they offer a candlelight class weekday nights at 8:30.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missing Oregon

When I got to Orgeon last week I had six days ahead of me and felt like I had all the time in the world. Then it passed so quickly and was time to go home. While I love my sweet home and life, I always get so sad when it's time to leave places and I hate goodbyes. There's a special closeness in spending time with family and no matter how long the absence or how much we age, I find childhood affection flooding back when I spend time with my aunts. And I am still learning from them. From sharing our love of adventure in nature, cooking, canning, and crafts to exploring family heritage in pictures and stories. They are the best aunts I could ever wish for.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Airline Knitting

Usually I get a lot of knitting done on my vacations but not on this one. There was just too much to do in a short amount of time. So, most of my knitting was done on the plane rides. I finished the second

Pebble Rib sock on the way out and got to wear them to the beach and then finished one very colorful Grandaughter sock on the plane ride home.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oregon Coast

Aunt R. and I wrapped up the last day of my trip with a 12 hour drive along the Pacific Coast (Hwy 101) from Tillamook to Depoe Bay up to Cannon Beach then back to Portland. Our first destination was Depoe Bay for a whale watching boat trip. The choppy water made it an exciting boat ride and we were thrilled to see several gray whales. First you'd see the air coming out of the water from their blow holes, then you'd see their back raise up along the top of the water and occasionally catch a fast glimpse of their raised tail -- but too fast to take a picture of. (Look closely in the first picture above). Simply beautiful. Then there were the very adorable harbor seals that were so cute. We made many stops along several beach waysides to take pictures but the ultimate beach was in Oceanside where we collected rocks and shells. Plus the stop at Roseanna's cafe for an oyster burger and sponge lemon pudding with marionberry sauce was to die for. What a way to end a trip!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Girls (Aunts) Day

Aunt J. and I drove over the river into Vancouver, Washington for an early morning walk and to take in yet another (smaller) farmer's market then we were off with Aunt R. for what we called a "girl's day". Specifically, a fun-filled day with my aunts, hot wings at Fire on the Mountain, pedicures and a movie, Julie & Julia. It was a delightful chick flick that will make you want to go home and cook. Really, I think I smiled through the entire movie. Oh, and I can't forget to add a little quick shopping at Powell's Books. It's the world's largest independent (new & used) book store spanning a whole city block and I've never seen such a large selection of knitting, spinning and dyeing books -- it was incredible. I only had an hour to make a quick grab of a few books on knitting, spinning and textiles.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sauvie Island

To get to my Aunt Rita's house we cross two bridges, the spectacular arches of the St. John bridge then over the newly constructed Sauvie Island bridge. The island is surrounded by the Columbia River, Willamette River and Willamette Slough filled with many farms, nurseries and orchards. Her home a truly magical place with many fond memories of purple martens, fruit trees and grapevines. We went straight to work on picking spearmint to dry for loose leaf tea, picking apples, peaches, plums and grapes. We dehydrated the plums to make prunes and my aunts spent the night teaching me how to can making two batches of jalepeno jelly.

Portland Saturday Market

Aunts Janine and Rita took me downtown for the Farm market where we picked up jellies, cheeses and roasted poblano peppers and then took the trolley to the Art market along the river. There were so many handmade things that I wanted to have but settled on a macrame bracelet, hair stick and silver pair of swirl earrings. I found inspiration everywhere I turned. From the reconstructed skirts a woman had sewn out of recycled sweaters, t-shirts and cotton (I can so do that) to the girl
with the most beautiful head full of dreads we saw in front of us as we were enjoying a Gyro. Yes, I have dread envy. I also saw the exact black bicycle I've been longing for. So many cool things to see in dowtown Portland.

Stopped at yet another knit shop, Knit Purl, in the downtown area. A lovely shop with a designer flair. Found the woman working at the shop has connections to the knitting book, AlterKnits, and bought the book for a special project. She also lives on Sauvie Island where my Aunt Rita lives.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Day in Hood River

My excitement to start the day woke me at 2:00 a.m. and even then I had no idea how much fun and adventure the day would bring. We left early and drove along the Washingon side of the Columbia River to Wet Planet for our rafting trip. (We were with a group of 18 Rangers ready to be sent abroad and several guides). We slipped into our wetsuits/gear and took a bus up the White Salmon River. They paired us with a couple from Alabama and I fearlessly agreed to be at the front of the raft with the husband. We learned all the navigating commands from our guide and hit the rapids. As expected, the water was shockingly cold and we got wet but the wetsuits they provided were very warm. Halfway through the trip we had to get out and hike along the the river to a bluff where we jumped off into some slower rapids and swam to our rafts. That part was optional but no way was I going to pass on that! Aunt Janine jumped off too and it was exhilirating. We all cheered each other on and as you bobbed up to the surface and swam to the raft, all hands were extended to keep you from being carried down the river. That was cool. (I guess the part I enjoyed most was the teamwork it took to move down river). We got to go under a volcanic cave section and prepare for the waterfall drop at the end where we hunkered down and went completely under water. Simply amazing.

We dried off and drove across the bridge into Hood River, Oregon and had lunch on the river. Found a knit shop in town and made our way around the Fruit Loop making stops along the way to some of the 34 local farm stands with a snow covered Mount Hood as a back drop to the orchards. Made a stop at Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn where I purchased some alpaca roving/yarn and Aunt Janine got to feed the alpacas and several crias. We finished the day going over to my Aunt Rita's where she prepared some fresh sole. It was very good day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Portland, OR

I had an uneventful flight to Portland this morning and was thrilled when my Aunt Janine pulled up at the airport. It's been about six years since I was last here and a visit was well overdue. Ordinarily it's pretty cool and rainy this time of year but the forecast for the next several days is sunny highs in the 80s - absolutely perfect weather for hitting knit shops. We made it to 3 out of 8 that are listed in Portland with my favorite shop being twisted. Such a good, creative vibe and check out the awesome sock display! The entire wall is filled with sock yarn! I'm gonna be making the tall Noro stockings in the middle. Of course, I also had to get a shop t-shirt and a bumper sticker that says, "Keep Portland Twisted."

All that shopping made us thirsty so we walked the downtown Esplanade to happy hour where we met up with my aunts boyfriend, Dave, and watched the activities surrounding the Willamette River.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Alpaca Shawlette

What did knitters ever do before Ravelry? I guess we searched through endless magazines and books for that perfect pattern. Now inspiration is just a click away and I found the perfect pattern, Storm Cloud Shawlette. (The designer has a lovely blog worth mentioning too). I wanted something airy and small for the DK weight hand carded/spun fiber I completed from one of the alpacas (William) at Heartland Farm. This simple half-circle shawl in garter stitch shows off the natural color changes in his coat. This is just one of the shawlettes I've completed: one for me and two more to donate to the Sisters at the Farm.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Addi Click

Thank you, Twist, for bringing the interchangeable plug-and-knit system to Wichita! They are the "Cadillac's" of knitting needles. I got my set and debated a case choice. There are several versions for sale on the web for $30-$40 leaving me to think I'd just make my own totaling $8. I found inspiration

in the della Q case Laurie had and borrowed it to use as a guide. I made a few modifications such as a larger zippered pocket and stacked tabs for the cables.

Have needles -- will travel!

Cuivre River State Park

For the last long weekend of summer we rode with friends to Cuivre River State Park just north of St. Louis, Missouri. We took off early and rode all day in the rain but that only intensified the smells of the fields and vineyards along the way. After 500 miles of riding we settled into our barrack and I grabbed a top corner bunk for some cozy lantern-lit knitting. (As always, having this little luxury with me was a lifesaver to have when I woke up at 3:00 a.m. every morning).

The roads in the park were tree-lined and curvy with one lane bridges and then there was more great riding on the way home following the scenic Lewis & Clark Trail.

It seemed ironic to pass through Portland, Missouri when this time next week my travels will take me to Portland, Oregon.