Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ice Caves

Yesterday, 29 September 2007, Daniel, Kris, and I went out to the Big Four ice caves in Glacier Falls, WA (go north on I-5, to SR-92, to SR-9..). I had been last year with my friend James, but unfortunately he, along with several other people I invited, bailed for one reason or another.

As I understand it, ice caves generally form when an avalanche of snow falls over the side of a mountain, or a glacier, and then compacts into a big pile. Then water runs off the side of the mountain / glacier (usually as a waterfall) and starts to erode the underside of the snow-pile, until it forms these giant caves. Daniel estimated the cave we visited to be about 30 feet tall.

These ice caves are situated at the end of a very mild 1 mi trail in from a trailhead that is adjacent to a parking lot. However, both times I've been to this trail, the parking lot adjacent to the trailhead has been blocked. We parked at the gate that was closing off this road. I spoke with a ranger to get the scoop on the trail, because I had heard rumors that this summer's floods and storms in the mountains had ruined this trail. She confirmed that the bridge had washed out, but that there was a large log that all ages of people were using to cross the river. Her official position, of course, was not to go, but she said personally she thought it would be okay, unless it were raining (since the wood can get pretty slick).

As you can see from the pictures, we made it across the log and to the ice caves. In this picture, Daniel and I are prety far in front of the ice caves, and the perspective is making the ice cave entrance appear a lot smaller than it really is.

Here is a picture I took of the beautiful forest that surrounds the rock-field where the ice caves are located. It is just so lush and mossy... I love it!

Here is a picture of the bridge that was washed out. To the left, you can see a small wooden box-ish thing with a yellow sign on it. That is the other end of the bridge. The trees and wood to the right of the picture are mostly fallen logs, but to the right of those (out of the picture-frame), there were some large (LARGE) pieces of the bridge that had ended up as mere lumber in a pile on one side of the river.

We were also lucky enough to see some of the first snowfall of the year. It looked like someone had dusted the tops of the mountains with powdered sugar. Kris lamented that her camera would not do justice to the contrast of the snow on the pines, and make them blend into the grey sky. I feel the same way, however, I think I was able to catch some of the contrasts of the snow-topped mountains, as well as the beautiful forest through which we walked.

Simple Socks

Here is a photo of my first pair of Simple Socks, from Cat Borhi's "Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles"! YAY! I love that they are the same colorway, but they don't match exactly.

Why You Swatch

This is why you swatch. I took the time to knit "Nakiska", a cabled headband from Knitty, out of beautiful Blue Sky Alpacas alpaca and silk blend.

So what happened? First off, I didn't measure my head circumference. So I knit the "adult small" size. I can barely wear this as a yarmulkah! Maybe a pre-teen could wear it? Someone microcephallic? I don't know. I suppose I could sell it. I think I'll end up mourning it, and ripping it out and starting over, because the yarn is too beautiful (and expensive) to waste. I'll have to make it in the larger size (or SWATCH!!!!!!!!!)

So, tonight, as I start my Cat Bordhi socks- I am going to make one of her Sky Architecture socks from her latest sock book, in STR Rhodonite. :-)

My First Flowers

Here is a pic of some gorgeous flowers that Daniel sent me. They are important because they are the first flowers I've ever received from a boy. Lame I had to wait so long to find the right one, eh? :-)

They are pink roses and alstromeria, in a pink flowered teacup and saucer. I love that it's so girly, and that he thought beyond the flowers to the practicality of the teacup. :-)

Does that mean I've gotten any further on his sock yarn?! Of course not. :-) I am getting to it, though. Tonight I am making a swatch of the Rhodonite midweight STR yarn on size 3 needles (which is what I've got in circulars right now).

OFFF Purchases

As promised, here are the photos of recent purchases from the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival.

The first picture is just the Blue Moon Fiber Arts order I received the day before we went to was like Christmas! :-) (Yes, I couldn't wait and rolled the Rhodonite into a ball):

Here is all the roving I bought. Right now, I am spinning up the Duets roving (third from the left, top row):

And here is the yarn I bought. Two more Blue Moon sock yarns, a Duets sock yarn from A Swell Yarn Shop, and some peacock-colored mohair blend laceweight yarn! I am planning a shawl from the mohair, in a peacock-feather patern.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Joining In

I think I need to join one of the myriad of knitting or spinning contests that spring up online. I was reading my friend Kim's blog, and she was lamenting that joining something would force her to post about her current projects at least once a week. Sounds like a great idea!

I wound the "Rhodonite" color of STR into a ball last night. Of course, what else did I do? Drop $85 (after tax and shipping) on a ball winder and umbrella swift (which is awesome because it can accomodate up to a 5 ft skein). Joann's was having an online sale (SEPA750 is the code) and so that is why I bought them together. feels good to buy tools. :-)

I am going to make most of the sock yarns that I bought into socks featured in Cat Bordhi's newest sock architecture book. I figure I followed her directions well enough last time that it shouldn't be too hard to figure out what the heck she's up to.

I think one of the interchangeable circular needle kits would be a great idea, but Liz showed me hers, and I don't like that they don't make points below a size 4 for those kits. I mean, I am using size 3's and 2's for socks these days. I wonder if there is an issue with the joins not working on needles that are too small?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival 2007!

Yesterday was Saturday, which was also the day that Liz and I had planned to head down to Canby, Oregon to the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival (OFFF). And did we ever go! :-) Liz also invited her friend, Joanne, to come along. I'm so glad! Joanne is really nice! :-)

Here is a picture we got a nice man to take of us as we perused the outdoor booths. Liz and Joanne are wearing their handmade scarves, and we're showing off some of our purchases:

I always love looking at livestock. I think it comes from growing up in an agricultural place like Tulare, where the county fair and farm equipment shows always feature animals prominently. Here's a sheep (or ram?) with some crazy horns!! Check that out! I don't know what breed of sheep this was; I wasn't checking the ID cards very closely, although I could tell certain breeds like Wensleydale and Lincoln pretty easily, so that was kind of neat:

Here is a pic of Joanne in the livestock barn. :-)

I was very glad to see so many vendors there! I bought SO much crap. I'll post pics of it later. I mostly bought rovings, but I did buy some yarn. I bought one skein of this mohair laceweight yarn (very fuzzy), and it was dyed in a colorway that really reminds me of a peacock feather (despite the colorway's name being 'Pond'), ANNNND it was 30% off. :-) Justification, Achieved! I also bought a skein (well, two skeins) of Duets Sock Yarn from Liz and Joanne's friend, who runs A Swell Yarn Shop ( Apparently you have to stalk this woman's website to buy her yarns, because they sell out in minutes of being posted online. Her Duets series is neat because you get a multicolored "main skein" of yarn for your socks, and then a coordinating solid color skein to do the heels and toes of your socks. The colorway I chose was raspberry shades and olive greens, with an olive green CC skein. So I was glad to have been able to buy some without the pressure! :) And I splurged (some more) and bought two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Socks That Rock" yarn, one in "Count Cluckula" and one in "Sugarplum". Liz scored a Mill Ends skein from Blue Moon, which meant it was cheap, and we couldn't see anything wrong with it. I am jealous ;-)

Here is a picture of a rainbow that I finally caught as we were driving back to Washington. I kept missing the rainbow by the time I'd get my camera ready, which was a great source of amusement to Liz and Joanne:

Thank god I went with people. It made the drive fly by, and we had a blast! :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sock 2 On It's Way + Orchids

My second Simple Sock is coming along nicely. I finished the decreases from the heel last night, and now I am in the home stretch!

This is the weather I awoke to this morning at 7 AM. (I have the day off - gotta love Flex-Time!) ... cold, foggy, and overcast:

In good news, my miltonia orchid (the one I have owned almost since I moved to Seattle), has sprouted a new flower spike! I am so happy that my beautiful flowers are happy with me:

Saturday, Liz and I are going to the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival! I am stoked! I better charge my camera batteries now!! :-) I hopefully will not pick up TOO too much rovings / batts / fleece / yarn... *drool*

Friday, September 14, 2007

Grey Day / New Sock

I don't know how easy it is to tell from the picture below, but the overcast skies have returned to Seattle. (This was taken sitting on my couch, looking out through the only sources of light in my condo):

It is always harder for me to wake up in the wintertime, when it is dark out. I tend to wake up with the sun. This is a great thing in the summer, when the sun is out before 5 AM. However, in the winter, sometimes the sun never shows it's face...thus you can imagine my dilemma. :-)

Thank god for battery operated alarm clocks (although mine failed this morning; apparently the battery was slightly cockeyed and it reset the clock, so the alarm didn't go off at 6 AM like usual).

In lighter news, I finally cast on Simple Sock #2. I have gotten this far:

I'm using the other half of the Trekking XXL yarn (color 100 - I checked a website with Zitron yarns and the color 100 seems to be their "classic" rainbow, although there are some interesting color shifts that aren't exactly classic). Also using two Clover size 3 bamboo circular needles (16" maybe?)

And...I splurged yesterday. I bought a bunch of Socks That Rock. In all fairness, most of them are earmarked for Xmas gifts.

I got:

STR Lightweight in "Fire on the Mountain" and "Knitty Rocks"

STR Mediumweight in "Puck's Mischief", "Rhodonite", "Thistle", and "Titania". for the justifications:

Rhodonite is definitely for my sister. Although she eschewed my observation that pink has perennially been her favorite color (I got an email back with "Pink and Purple?! Those were my favorite colors when I was 8..."), I think she will like it nonetheless.

Either Thistle or Titania is going to be for my mom. They just seem like her. I saw one called "Mesa", and almost chose that (there is a central piece of her shaman "toolkit" that is called a Mesa) didn't seem like "her" colors (ok, and the canteloupe mixed with turquoise wasn't my favorite, either. I do feel like I want to enjoy the color progression as I knit).

And...there might be socks in there for other people. My sister in law might appreciate some, and I think my friend Kim would, as well.

That is the key - making stuff for people that will appreciate the months it took you to do it.

My friend at work, Jen, likes to use the "knit two socks at once" method, because then you end up with both socks the Same Size, and if you go toe-up, you can use up your yarn in the most efficient manner.

Yes, I know I spent $130 on yarn. But I think of it as each project only cost about $25, and that is a cheap thrill in the world of knitting, unless you are into hats or scarves, or other one-skein projects. :-)


My friend Liz and I are thinking of taking a day trip to the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival next Saturday... I finally figured out a sensible plan. I'll drive from my place in Seattle to her place in Auburn (which is already an hour south of Seattle), and then we'll go from there to Canby, OR - home of the OFF! :) ...and I am bringing my checkbook. ;-)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Daniel's Socks, Part 3

I have been thinking about the Socks today, during my lunch break. I have come to a conclusion:

I want to knit at work!

No, no... well, yes.

But I think that I might try blending some of the remaining roving with a pouch of dark brown alpaca down that I (possibly) also bought at the Whidby Island sale.

I also wanted to call attention to two great blogs: one is cute, and one is neato:

my bandmate Hunter's blog: (they are expecting their first baby, and the pictures are adorable)

my friend Kim's blog: (blame her for teaching me how to spin ;-) )

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I felt the need to post some pictures of flowers I have acquired recently.

This first pic is of my new passionflower vine. I love passionflowers. I think I read somewhere that the flowers are supposed to symbolize Christ and the Holy Trinity and maybe the spiky petioles are symbols of the crown of thorns, but I just enjoy the exotic appearance of the flower, coupled with it's fleeting fragrance, the edible fruit that come later, and the fact that it is a great vine! I got this vine at Molbak's nursery in Woodinville, WA:

This next picture is of a bouquet I got at Pike Place Market. The dahlia in the middle was about 10" across at it's prime, so you know this bouquet was huge. I swear it weighed 10 lb. And it only cost me $10! An affordable occasional luxury... it is still partially here, two weeks later, too :)

This next picture is of this curious flowering plant I got at Molbak's. I think I threw away or lost the identifying stake-marker. If anyone knows what this plant is called, please tell me. I think the colors are festive and gorgeous, and I want to grow it again next year!

This was another purchase at my Molbak's orgy. It is a Miltonia, or "pansy" orchid. I got it because it had two flower sprays. I just noticed this morning that the second spray is starting to bloom, which is very exciting. A tip for those hunting for their first few orchids: try to buy one where the entire flower spray has not bloomed yet; you'll get a longer lasting flower show. And if you can find one with multiple flower sprays, you're definitely getting more for your money! :)

Yarn for Sale in Charm City!

Here is a sampling of the yarns I sent recently to Milagro, a fabulous little store in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood, where I sell a few skeins of yarn here and there. I sent about 9 skeins of yarn, which means I should eventually get $100 or so back. Nobody ever said I was going to get rich off of this. ;-)

From left to right: a Bluefaced Leicester rainbow skein blended with real copper fiber (I wonder how it will wash? Will a verdigris form?), a black alpaca yarn blended with green Firestar, a multicolored BFL roving in greens plyed with a green rubber jelly cord, a "mystery batt" of fiber my friend picked up for me in CA, and an orange/yellow Bluefaced Leicester roving plyed randomly on itself.

I hope people like 'em! Kimry, the store owner, seems to enjoy them. :-) And that's all that matters.
...Sometimes I miss Bawlmer...but not the lack of being able to go outside and "do" something, like hike or bike or kayak. Definitely more of that here in Seattle. :)

Daniel's Socks, Part 2

Here is the continuation of the Pictures of Daniel's Sock Yarn in progress. For those who need a refresher, it is a yarn composed of one ply of alpaca carded with an olivey heathered merino/ silk roving (my guess is that it is an Ashland Bay roving... it looks like one of their colorways), and one ply of just the merino/silk roving.

Here is a pic of my Majacraft Susie wheel holding a partially filled bobbin of just the roving:

And here is the final yarn, already on the niddy-noddy! I should have taken a photo on the bobbin before I wound it off:

And another shot, so you can see the colors better. It's pretty muted, but I figured Daniel would want some sort of "quiet", "manly" sock color. He tends towards very bright orange and red shirts, but his socks are pretty much either black Navy issue or white athletic socks.

So, I am very excited! Finally, a yarn full of love! ;-) It was a very different experience spinning this one than spinning the yarns that I sell at Milagro in Baltimore... it was more of an "I want to get this done!" feeling rather than "I have to get this done."... :-) (although I do love spinning for the appreciative folks in Baltimore!)

My next step is to split the yarn in half. Then I am going to spin up what is left of the roving (which is about 2.5 - 3 oz) and see where that leaves me. I may have to invoke some millspun yarn into this project (gasp! ;-) )

I am loving socks. I just bought the new Cat Bordhi sock book...something about Socks doing their thing with 8 different sock architectures.... oh, if you search on Amazon, you'll see it. She is my new Sock Queen. Although I also want to get...well, I want ALL the books, but I want to get the "Knitting Vintage Socks" book, and also the Twisted Sisters sweater book (though I realize that is not a sock book ;-) )...

Daniel's Socks - Part 1

When I first started dating The Boy (heretofore known as Daniel), I decided I wanted to make him a pair of socks, using my own handspun. However, I knew there might be consequences. I had made a pair of's "Cigar" gloves for my ex, and he hated them, and called them "gay"....however, my brother loves them. So There!! And I am well aware of the "Boyfriend Curse", so I figured socks would happen more quickly than a sweater ;-)

Anyway, it's been, what, nine months and I haven't gotten around to this yet. I had picked up some alpaca at a fiber sale on Whidbey (Whidby?) Island (which he had taken me to) back in the springtime, and I wanted to blend that with some manly-colored wool for some nice dress-socks for him.

I bought a merino/silk blend roving from the Weaving Works (one of my local yarn stores), in an olivey-heather tone. Here is a picture of it next to the alpaca down:

Here is a picture of both fibers next to my Strauch handcarders:

I carded the alpaca with the merino/silk roving and started spinning it pretty finely onto my Majacraft Susie wheel. Here you can see the very beginnings of the bobbin:

Here is a shot of me drafting the alpaca rolag:

And here is the finished bobbin of alpaca/roving blend. I then made another ply of just the roving (since I have a whole 4 oz of roving):

The other pictures will be in the "Part 2" post. This site wouldn't let me post all the pictures in one blog (probably too big of an upload time)...

My First Sock is done!

Yay! My first knit sock ever is off the needles!

I used the Simple Sock pattern from Cat Bordhi's book, "Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles". I used Zitron Trekking XXL yarn for it, and knit it on two circular size 3 bamboo needles from Clover.

My only regret is not buying the Addi Natura needles; the joins on the Clovers leave a little to be desired.

Here is Picture 1:

Another picture off the foot:

And, of course it's out of order, but this is a picture of the sock in progress last week. I zoomed down the foot because it's a chunk of "mindless knitting" and then did the toe decreases yesterday and today on the ferry. I came home with only the Kitchener stitch grafting across the toe to do. I looked it up in one of Debbie Stoller's "Stitch 'N Bitch" knitting books (I have both knitting books and the crochet one, too), and though I didn't really understand what I was doing, I followed her directions and it came out great!

I also love that Trekking XXL really gives you a TON of yarn for the money, and it knits up very well; no weird split stitches like some yarns.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Labor Day weekend cold...and fun!

I have been fighting the effects of a cold I caught from my friend Kris for the last week or so. I've been hacking, and my voice sounds like a cross between Bea Arthur and Chewbacca. But otherwise I feel fine. I did choose to work from home today, though - both to protect my voice, and not spread the germs to my coworkers. No need for me to be in an office full of old sick guys!

But I managed to make the most of the extended weekend. I chose to take two 3-day weekends instead of a four-day weekend with my 9/80 day off, so I telecommuted Friday. It was just as well. The boy was working a duty shift, so I had the afternoon to myself. I can't recall if I went to look at the Ballard Locks (their official name is the Hiram M. Chittendam Locks) on Thursday or Friday, but I went and looked at the salmon running upstream through the salmon ladder. It is really amazing - I forgot how big most salmon are! I think if the waters were calmer right there, you could latch onto one and have it take you for a ride... :-)

So I believe I spent Friday night with myself. Saturday morning I picked up the boy from the ferry, and we had a little time to ourselves before he organized and met up with his friends who were visiting from Texas. I really enjoyed meeting them; they are thinking of moving here with their currently 2 year old son in a couple of years. I hope they do! :-) We left them around 9 PM, after dinner, and came back to my place. Sunday we ended up sleeping in far later than normal (for me, anyway) - I slept till 10:45! This is pretty unusual for me, since I usually "sleep in" till a whopping 7:00 or 7:30 AM on the weekends, but I figured I was sick and the boy loves to sleep in till I won't let him anymore. ;-) We hung out in the afternoon, rented "Idiocracy", starring Luke Wilson - a dumb but hilarious movie - and then had an early dinner with my friends Adam and Liz. They were nice enough to drop us off at the ferry terminal afterwards, too, so we hightailed it to the boy's house and slept there for the night.

I took the 6:20 AM ferry back to Seattle, and met my friend Kris for an early breakfast and shopping expedition. I think we were out a total of 10 hours hoofing it through downtown Seattle. Oh my. I did good, though - I only bought food, some chocolate nibs, a couple of bath bombs from Lush, and a 10 lb bouquet of flowers from Pike Place Market (you really can't beat 'em for fresh color and fragrance (if you're lucky). Kris made off with an all-white bouquet that had a tuberose spray in it, and I bought a white and purple bouquet that had a centerpiece of a 10" dahlia in it!)

So that was the extent of my weekend: boyfriend, friends, fun, shopping, and LOTS of eating. :) Oh yes, and I managed to squeeze into a size 8 at Banana Republic! :) (Not that it actually looked good, but it did close, which is a step in the right direction. :) )