Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All kinds of fun

I took the last few days off to go to Ohio and help my mom out for a bit (she had surgery so she only has the use of one hand right now). Among my duties:
  • chauffeuring (lots and lots)
  • cooking for us to eat immediately, as well as cooking things and freezing them for her to eat later
  • chopping/shredding/grating to make cooking easier with one hand after I leave
  • trash collecting around the house
  • hair washing
  • moving large items
  • etc.
It seemed to be helpful for her...though the time went by really fast!

Here's one thing we saw on our foray to the local Whole Foods:

I have never seen ostrich eggs in the store before. It was tempting, but we had no clue what we'd do with them, so we moved along.

I also went to visit my dad for a few hours. My 13-year-old stepsister was painting a window for Halloween at the local Caribou Coffee, so we hung out there for a while....I got some knitting done (which subsequently was ripped out...sigh). The finished window:

Pretty impressive, eh? A ghost dressed up as a pumpkin and a pumpkin dressed up as a ghost. :)

I also snapped a photo of this hanging from a tree on my dad's street:

It's very blurry because I had to crop the heck out of it in order to be able to see what the subject of the photo is. A mini-pumpkin with a jack-o-lantern face and bat wings. I thought this was so cute.

I do need to mention that I went to 3 yarn stores in Ohio and didn't buy anything. Behold my awesome willpower.

And I did actually get some progress made on my long-suffering Grasshopper socks:

Pretty good progress, especially considering I had to rip and re-do the heel 4 times. I'm about 8 rows from starting the cuff. And then I have a whole other one of these to do. :( I love the result but am hating the knitting - much like Bayerische. But I have to get through the STR club socks because I signed up for next year :) Hopefully that wasn't a bad idea, but I did love the first installment and the others look like they'll be OK to knit too.

Some yarn for Christmas knitting:

Blue Sky Organic Undyed Cotton in Nut

Blue Sky Organic Undyed Cotton in Bone

And I leave you with the best yarn score of all...the latest installment of the STR club:

Part of the Raven series - Lenore. This photo is a little dark, but the yarn is black with red and purple in it. I LOVE it. And the pattern, but I didn't take a photo of the pattern.


Finally got these done!

Pattern: Anastasia by Mintyfresh
Yarn: Brooklyn Handspun Superwash Sock in "Purple Rain" colorway
Needles: Size 1 DPN
Started: Sept. 2, 2007
Finished: Oct. 28, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Getting up to date

I'm almost there!

So, a little over a week ago I went to The Fold with some of the posse ;)

I so did not need anything...but do you think I could come home empty handed? It was actually the first time I'd been there, and it was much bigger than I expected.

This is BMFA "Geisha" in the Pucks Mischief colorway. Geisha is a mostly mohair laceweight. I keep buying laceweight but haven't done any true lace knitting yet...but it will happen!

I need more purple sock yarn like I need a hole in the head, but here it is. Mountain Colors Twizzle in Deep Grape.

And here is the last-photographed progress on the bear:

It is actually stuffed and has arms now. All that is really left is to knit and attach the ears (I knit one last night but I don't like it so am going to start over), and to embroider the face.

However: see that interesting little section around the shoulder area? My flat stockinette has always looked like that, and I thought it was because I was purling tighter than I was knitting. Come to find out (after showing to Kelly and Melissa for advice) that I have been twisting my purl stitches this whole time I have been knitting. I decided not to go back and fix it, but I am doing it the right way now :) It feels very strange but I know it's right because it looks right. I will say that I went back and looked at my copy of Stitch n Bitch (where I learned from) and the illustration shows EXACTLY the way I was doing it before. So I blame it on Debbie Stoller.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


When we left Orcas Island, we headed down to Seattle. It was our 5-year wedding anniversary (Sept 28th), and we spent half of it in the car, though it started and ended well. We had our last kayak outing in the morning, then after brunch headed to the ferry and then had a long drive into downtown Seattle - not to mention that we hit Friday rush hour traffic just as we got there. But we did get there finally. We stayed in a small hotel that took up a couple floors of a building, and they had balloons in there for our anniversary:

Here is a shot of the room:

They put teddy bears in all the rooms, though it's something like $80 if you actually want to take it home. (We didn't.)

For our anniversary dinner, we went to Chandler's Crabhouse, and I want to go back to Seattle just so I can go to that restaurant again. I had this amazing seafood chowder that had clams, shrimp, and crab...I swear it was the best soup I've ever had. I am practically drooling just thinking about it. They were having a Crabfest special going on, and we ordered one of the special entrees. It was 4 lbs. of King Crab, (meant to share - yikes it's a lot of crab) cracked at the table by the restaurant manager. I talked him into letting me take a photo before he got started:

That is way more food than it looks like, believe me. It came with 2 sides - sauteed wild mushrooms with pancetta, and vanilla bean sweet potatoes. Normally I don't even bother with sides when I eat crab, but these were unbelievably amazing. I need to find/create a recipe for vanilla sweet potatoes. We had a nice Chilean Syrah rose wine along with this and it paired up really well. The service was outstanding in addition to the food - I highly recommend this place and will definitely be going back as soon as I can get back out there.

You may have heard how highly caffeinated people are in Seattle...but did you know there are little espresso shacks EVERYWHERE? Not right downtown, but in the non-downtown parts of the city and all over the suburbs. And they all seem to be doing a brisk business. I only managed to get pictures of a couple of them...

Of course we had to go to Pike Place Market - one of my favorite places. I purposely booked us at a hotel that was only a couple blocks from there so we could easily walk.

Sunflowers at one of the flower booths:

This is the famous fish stand where they throw the fish you buy. We didn't have facilities to cook anything, and didn't feel like shipping things home, so we didn't buy anything this time.

Lots of mushrooms:

I also liked the gourmet pasta vendor...crazy variety...look at that one in the front row that is fruit flavored!

And the most intriguing pasta:

I was really, really tempted, but I didn't go for it.

And that was our vacation. Now maybe I can catch you up on the knitting I've done in the 2 weeks since I got back :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Orcas Island

Orcas Island is one of my favorite places. I don't know if I'd ever want to live there because there is a very limited amount of things to do there, but I love going there on vacation.

Here is the ferry picking us up from Port Townsend:

Waving goodbye to Port Townsend:

These are some flowers I saw at a restaurant while we were waiting for the second ferry, the one that goes to the islands:

The car deck on the second ferry:

The interior of the luxurious Washington State Ferry:

The sock I was knitting on the ferry (and the rest of the trip, but the photo was on the ferry):

Exiting at the Orcas Island ferry landing!

Our inn was a 45-minute drive from the ferry landing - the island is shaped like an upside down U, and is on the opposite end - as you can see, it involved dirt roads:

Photo of the inn, taken from the back:

Our room:

Common area:

This was where we ate brunch everyday after kayaking for 2 hours:

The kayaks:

Paddles up against the outside of the kayaking "shed":

The beach we launched from:

I didn't take my camera out on the water because I know I would have dropped it right in. Someone else did take pictures of us in our boat, but I haven't seen those yet.

One of the resident golden retrievers showed me who was Alpha:

This is one of the Orcas Island deer... They have been inbreeding for years, so they are a bit strange...they have no predators on the island (except cars) and hunting is banned, so these guys are EVERYWHERE.

We did go on a wildlife tour one day...no whales, but we saw lots of harbor seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and a few porpoises. My camera wasn't capable of good photos of that, but I'll try to eventually post some of the ones C got with his SLR camera....here he is on a rare pause between photos:

And finally - what many of you will find most exciting....I had seen this sign shortly after we exited the ferry, and just HAD to go back for a visit to Warm Valley Orchard:

This bumper sticker was on the car in the driveway:

Very promising.

The studio was attached to her house, it felt kind of odd going in there. But it was worth it:

Of course I bought something...the only reason this is all I got was that she didn't take credit cards, and I had just enough cash with me for this:

It's about 600 yards of worsted-weight undyed alpaca. Yum!

On the way out I got a photo of her sheep:

It's too hard to capture the feeling of a vacation in photos, but hopefully you enjoyed seeing it anyway.