My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I Will Not Go Quietly...

I will not go quietly into the good night. I will not let the Jaywalker get the better of me. I am smarter than this sock. I can knit this sock. It. Will. Not. Win. I had hoped to finish this sock while we were hanging out here in Tucson. The sock has other plans. After frogging the entire sock back at the Grand Canyon, I cast on & began anew on larger needles. I'd be knitting along happily when BAM - the pattern on one side of the sock was shifted over by 2 stitches. What?!? I looked to see if I dropped any - nope, I still had the correct # of stitches, however the number of stitches between the double decrease & the 2nd set of kfb was incorrect. I just couldn't explain it. So, tink, tink, tink, I'd go - fix the problem & begin anew. Then, after a couple of rows, the same thing would happen again. I just can't explain it. So last night, while watching one of the most violent movies ever (Smoking Aces - unless you like a high body count - which I don't, I don't recommend it), I ripped the sock back to the ribbing & began for no less than the 5th time. Wish me luck...

In other knitting news, my friend Jen & I went to one of Tucson's LYS "Purls" - very cute. The original owners were retiring & decided to sell the store. Thankfully for Jen & her mom, a couple of the employees bought it. The store is very cute and certainly larger than any shops we have in Anchorage. The interesting part is that it sells very little in the way of worsted weight wool. Because of the temperature extremes in the summer, most of their stock is in wool blends, or lighter weight yarn. I did show some restraint this time - only because the pattern for a shrug I liked was not available. They also have a Sock of the Month Club. On the 3rd Wednesday of every month, you can pay $5 and receive a new pattern & learn how to knit a new sock. The sock & pattern (and the yarn they'll recommend) are kept secretly guarded. However - these ladies really new how to drum up excitement. So - I've given Jen strict instructions to go to Purls & find out what all the hoopla was about. If you happen to be in Tucson on the 3rd Wednesday of the month - you should check it out!

75% of my family is not as interested in yarn as I so we spent some time beating the heat. Jen's parents have friends who have a pool! Now that's what I'm talking about! The temps reached 107°F yesterday. The crazy thing is that I thought it actually felt cooler. Yikes!

This is the view from our campsite near Bryce Canyon. Can't beat it! Figure I need to report on the road trip happenings as well. We camped in a Dixie Forest Campground in Red Canyon. It's along Hwy 12 & just a few miles past the entrance to Bryce Canyon. I'd certainly recommend it. The price is right ($12) and showers are available (8 quarters for 8 minutes - plenty of time for a good wash!). The sites are level in loop A & plenty of trees so you don't feel like you're camping in a large parking lot. I've found camping in the forest campgrounds are not only cheaper than the National Park campgrounds they're also more astheticaly pleasing! The boys hiked up here before sundown. A little sketchy with a lot of scree, but the boys managed fine.
Here is one of the rock tunnels we drove through before arriving at the campsite.

This photo (and the one seen above) are of the boys taking their National Jr. Park Ranger oaths at the Glen Canyon Dam. They had to complete a series of activities & earned a badge for their efforts. It was very cute. The Glen Canyon Dam is responsible for the formation of Lake Powell & generates electricity for millions of people through hydroelectric power. Wade is currently reading "The Monkey Wrench Gang" which prompted this stop.

Ahh - coffee has arrived. We're departing Tucson tomorrow to head toward CA with our first stop in Disneyland!

Ciao ~

Thursday, June 28, 2007

AK to CA: Arriving in Yellowstone

While I'm resting up in Tuscon trying to get over some internal ailment, I thought I'd post some of our photos. My husband is quite the shutterbug, so I had to pick and choose for now. I think we've taken over 600 photos thus far - and we've only been gone 14 days! These are photos taken while we traveled along the Icefield Pathway between Jasper & Banff, and ends w/Old Faithful during our visit to Yellowstone. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuscon - The Roaches Have Landed...

Captain's Log, stardate June 27 - day 13 (??) of our road trip to California via several National Parks & visits with friends. We have arrived in the hotness of Tuscon, AZ. It was 109°F (egads!) when we arrived. I'm certain there are several charming reasons to live here - otherwise, how could people endure this heat? As Alaskans, this heat is totally unreasonable. Thank God for air conditioning!

I must first provide the wildlife update. The most pressing news to report is the sighting of the Arizona Flamingo Frog. Never heard of it? Perhaps a photo might help: Yeah - what used to be a lovely, Flamingo stripe Jaywalker sock, has been reduced to an untidy ball of yarn. Arghh - painful transformation that was. Apparently I misread the instructions and after completing the gusset continued to slip stitches every row, instead of every other row. Big difference I guess. At least, I hope that was the problem. After I'd knit a few rows, which on size 1 needles takes a while don't you know, I'd notice this very large slipped stitch emerging from several rows below. It was a total freak of knitting nature - I just can't explain it. After carefully watching every stitch I knit, I decided it wasn't that I was just dropping that same stitch at random occasions. So - I decided to bite the knitting bullet & let er rip. It did help to ease the pain realizing I would then have the opportunity to reknit the sock & make it a tad larger so it would be easier to pull over my large feet. (See earlier post when I comment on how tight the sock is). Let's remember the good times the sock had in it's earlier life:

It saw the wonders of the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon:
It enjoyed riding in the car:

It observed several weather patterns:

It marveled at the intensity of the Athabasca Waterfall:

It enjoyed the beautiful Canadian Rockies between Jasper and Banff:

Ah well, the life of a knitter. I blame the heat... (Really - what else could it be? Let's not mention swatches or any other such crazy talk. Shhhh)

Okay - since some of you may actually be interested in our trip, here's the lowdown: We've been on the crazy National Park tour. We've seen Yellowstone NP, Bryce NP, Zion NP, Glen Canyon NP, the Grand Canyon NP, and the Goblin Valley State Park. Wow! - Busy bee's we've been.

Since it's late, and uh - HOT!, I'll give just a taste. I'll work on posting more photo albums tomorrow since I'll have some more relaxed time.

Here's a quick glimpse of the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, Utah:

The requisite family photo at the Bryce Canyon sign:

Does it look like we've been on the road for too long? (Orion took this photo)

I'll leave with the moon over Zion. I'm tired.

Ciao ~

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Back in the U.S.

Hey! Another quick entry & sorry, no photos. We're in Escalante, UT at a small outfitter store which also happens to have food & more importantly - COFFEE!! Our campstove is on its way out, so no boiled water for coffee this morning. :-( This is why we stopped: to buy a part for the stove. Oh well....

Since our stop in Milk River, we've traveled through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado (very briefly), and now in Utah. We visited Yellowstone for a couple of days - amazing wildlife everywhere! Next we drove through the Grand Tetons & camped in the Bridger Teton Forest. Next destination - Dinosaur National Monument. Where else would you go when you are traveling with two small boys? It was HOT, HOT, HOT and sadly - the fossil quarry was closed, so we didn't get to see as many fossils as we had hoped.

We into darkness to arrive at the Goblin Valley, UT and Little Horse Canyon. Very cool! We enjoyed both this morning before the blazing sun came on in full force. The boys loved every minute of it. Wade and I decided that it'd be fun if all of our friends could travel there - the Goblins make a great area for a fun game of Hide and Seek. I'll certainly post photos later.

Speaking of photos: We've taken over 500 shots - I've spent some time in the car downloading photos & decided which ones I'll post online. We're on our way to Tuscon, via Bryce and Zion National Parks, so when I have more down time, I can upload photos. Please stay tuned.

Knitting News: I'm a few inches from completing my Jaywalker sock #1. I'm a little disappointed as it's a very tight fit. I should have used the CO for the larger size. Oh well - they could be a gift, I suppose.

Shower news - had one on Day 8 of the trip when we camped in Yellowstone. Yee Hah - what a heavenly experience!

Blog later... Ciao....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Still Moving On...

Bonjour from Canada! I love how all of the informational signs are in both French & English - it makes my 5 years of french study in HS & College pay off. I'm writing from Milk River, Alberta - approx. 20 miles North of the Canada/US border. We're about to cross over & head toward Yellowstone. This is another quick post as I'm at a travel info center w/free internet. Yeah!!!

Wildlife Count Update: 5 More Black Bears (A mother w/two cubs, one single), 5 Rocky Mountain Sheep, several more Deer.

Sock Count
: I'm at the heel flap of my 1st Jaywalker. I love the Flamingo Stripe yarn! I'll have to post photo later - I'm not on my laptop.

Days since shower: 6 Yucko!! I think it's best photos aren't posted now.

Weather Conditions: Glorious sunshine! When we awoke along the Icefield Parkway (links Jasper & Banff parks), we had fabulous sun. Of course - this is creating cemented bug carcasses on the front of the van. I think it's going to take an industrial power hose to get those critters off.

We took the opportunity to walk up to the Athabasca glacier (very diappointing for folks who were expecting ice, since they rope off the trail & don't allow you to go very far for fear of folks falling in crevasses), brief stop at Lake Louise, and then a couple of hours in Calgary.

Camped at the side of the highway last night in a large pullout & now we're headed to the border. Will post again when I can w/photos.

Ciao ~

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the Road...

Writing to you from Prince George, BC on Day 5 of our AK to CA road trip. If you're only iterested in knitting, scroll down - otherwise keep reading. Glad to report that our van "The Igloo" and the family are all doing well. We've covered lots of miles - check a map to see where we are in relation to Anchorage.
This will have to be a quick post as I'm using time at a coffee shop & the boys are running around outside getting their "ya-yas" out.

Day 1: Anchorage to 30 miles west of the Canadian border. Beautiful weather & road conditions were fine. We camped at a quaint little campground near a lake. Nice, clean, and FREE!! :-) No wildlife to report other than the kids in the back seat. Nah - they've been really great. Who knew the wonders of Gameboys when you're going to be on the road for 8 hours a day.

Day 2: Drove to Teslin Lake in the Yukon. Took a brief stop in Whitehorse to fill up with gas (at approx. $4.5 per gallon - it's sold by the litre here). The Provincial campground was great - $12 (CD) which included fire wood. Had a quick dinner & s'mores. We also saw a black bear on this leg of the trip. Total mileage today: I think 468.

Day 3: Teslin lake to Liard Hot Springs. A 'short' day as we stopped at 4:00 when we left around 10:00. By the way - have I mentioned that it rains in Canada? A LOT!! Lots of clouds... When we reached Watson Lake (near the Yukon/BC border) the skies opened up & dumped hail and rain. The storm was complete with thunder and lightenig. Holy smokes batman! We took a quick soak in the Hot Springs & decided to take a break when the thunder & lightening started again. Last time I checked, lightening & swimming do not mix. We waited out the storm in the Van while Wade played the guitar, the boys played their game boys & I finished my Embossed Leaves Sock #1 - I love it! What fun! I'm using Regia Silk Yarn & Size 2 Addi Turbo in the Magic Loop Method. Love the star toe as it means I do not have to use the Kitchner stitch. Cooked dinner over a campfire & then enjoyed another late night soak in the springs. The warm water takes care of the major grit, but not the yucky hair. The sulfur smell wouldn't be my perfume of choice either. oh well - the sacrifices we make when camping. Nice & relaxing - the boys drifted off to sleep very quickly. Wildlife on day 3: 1 Black Bear, 2 Brown Bears, 1 Buffalo (Bison??), 1 Deer, 1 Fox (with food in mouth).

Day 4: Liard Hot Springs to Heart Lake (140 miles west of Dawson Creek, BC). Dawson Creek is the official mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. We had a quick dinner & headed west on Highway 97 toward Prince George, BC. Stopped late to camp at a Forestry Campground (FREE!!). We covered over 500 miles on this day since it was raining all day (Have I mentioned yet that it rains here?). Wildlife for Day 4: 3 Caribou and LOTS of deer (Mule deer??)Knitting report: Started my Jaywalker socks in the Lorna's Laces Flamingo Stripe yarn. Fun! I've decided to go back to the Embossed Leaves when I finish this sock. It'll be interested to see how many socks I get through before we arrive in San Diego.

Day 5 thus far: We're in Prince George, BC. (401 km from Dawson Creek). Boys are out running around. Wildlife to report: Deer & a large Black bear. We saw the black bear this morning before we'd even left our campground! Cool!

Gotta run - we're headed to Jasper & Banff next. Will report again when I can.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Wow... That's a LOT of knitting stuff..."

The inspiration for this post? The title is a direct quote from my husband when he stumbled upon me organizing my stash this morning. Caught. Busted. It was as the Yarn Harlot said during her talk last Monday night. There are only two comments people make when they happen upon your stash: "Is that hand-painted merino?" in which case said commenter is warmly embraced and becomes one of US. or... "Wow... that's a lot of yarn." We see which camp my dear hubby is in. I figured after almost 11 years (July 27) of marriage, two children, 4 knee surgeries (3= mine, 1= his), and teaching high school he could handle almost anything. I guess I still sort of caught him by surprise. Those are some of the DPN, straights, and circulars I just happened upon. I haven't been using these lately - other needles are in my project bag. I thought I had a handle on this stash thing.
Organizing my stash was inspired by my daily horroscope: "Today is a 7 - There's lots of cleanup to be done before you begin your next project. Don't complain about it - that wil only make it take longer." (Anchorage Daily News, June 13, 2007) Surely, my horroscope was referring to my stash and not my house! I mean, I'm about to embark on a several week long road trip from Anchorage to San Diego (round trip) & I need to determine what projects to take along. Makes sense, no? So - I started w/the 20.7 gallon tote in the closet. Yikes - I have LOTS of worsted weight wool (apparently 20.7 gallons)- perhaps lots of felted projects are in my future this winter.
This photo is rotated 90 degrees - rotate your computer screen (if you have a laptop) for the correct orientation. Don't know why it came up like this. Anyhow - this is a large basket full of sock yarn, Ultra Silk, and some Duchess Elite. I think I'll work from this basket first. With good ole Machiavelli in kitty heaven, I can safely leave yarn out on display (pretty, no?).

This is the bag I plan on filling with yarn & needles for projects on the road. I discovered it fits perfectly between the driver & passenger seat of our Eurovan. Is it big enough? I have another bag in reserve.

However - organzing was not done! The lovely mailman, Gary, blessed my mailbox with a surprise! Lorna's Laces sock yarn in Flamingo Stripe. I purchased it at Two Swans Yarns - please pay Karen a visit! Did I mention that Lorna's Laces will donate a portion of its proceeds from the sale of this yarn to Breast Cancer research? How could you NOT purchase some of this yarn?!? This yarn will certainly make the cut for the road trip. Now I need to decide on a pattern. Thank you Naomi for the yarn inspiration!

Okay - enough procrastiknitting, I must go tackle the mound of laundry, or my family will be doing the road trip in the nude. Ewww - perish the thought!


Sock Slide Show

Okay - can you tell I'm having fun playing with all of the blog toys I discover while doing my daily blog reading? Thanks to Diane in North Pole, AK for this inspiration!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Live from Anchorage...It's the Yarn Harlot!

YEEEEE.... I've just returned from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "The Yarn Harlot" book signing & talk at Title Wave Books. (okay - after a brief stop at a local watering establishment for a frosty beverage & chat with friends Heidi & Margaret) Wow! The talk was even better than I anticipated it would be. It was great seeing friends & listening to The Yarn Harlot in person. She's also vertically challenged like me - I've always known that great things come in small packages! She is incredibly kind, patient, and witty. Here's how the afternoon progressed:
To celebrate ASYC's 1st birthday, there was another "knit out" in our Town Square of downtown Anchorage. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was kind enough to join us for a spell as she wandered around downtown. Here she's showing us Ruth's Cardigan using Kauni yarn - "easy fairisle" pattern she said and credits the yarn for the incredible sweater. I'm thinking her knitting magic & skill have something to do with it too. Anyhow - pretty darn cool! Visit her website for a link to purchase the yarn (Danish) & for obtaining the free pattern. As much as I'd like to dive in, I must show restraint. I have way too many WIP OTN to start another. Must show restraint.... must not visit yarn website....

Sandy, Margaret's Aunt-In-Law (is there such a thing) & my ePal (we will meet in person soon, I'll make sure of it..) warned the Yarn Harlot that we'd be in attendance at the book signing. Margaret asked Stephanie about that & fortunately she wasn't warned of anything bad. At least she didn't grab her knitting and run away - good sign. She even obliged a quick photo during the knit out. We figured this was a better opportunity. The photo w/Margaret is on Margaret's camera - sorry Mags - I can post the proof later. Anyhow - the level of coolness has risen a degree in our close knitting circle.

Here's the group before the talk began. We actually procured front row seats! Yee Haw! From left to right are: Julie (I think - I apologize otherwise if you're not Julie; we met briefly at the WWKIP at the Loussac on Saturday; Allison - German teacher at East High & new mommy to baby Ella; Angie - Spanish teacher at East High - Jo Sonnier - a fellow Wasilla Warrior - yeah - great to see you again!, and another Heather who I met when we used to have knitting Tuesdays. They now know I have a blog - uhhh - the pressure is on. I chatted with another nice, nice lady behind me about socks & how I love the Sensational Knitted Sock book. (You're welcome Ms. Schurch) Several more people were in attendance - but I didn't put the camera on wide angle mode to capture them all.

With all of her travels, the Yarn Harlot is a pro at pointing out the exits during our "safety talk" given by Title Wave staff. I was surprised we weren't warned not to run with our needles. If you want a great laugh, chat w/Stephanie about the idiocy of the dangers of flying with knitting needles and the supposed hazards they present.

Here's the Yarn Harlot taking the requisite photo of "The Sock" prior to beginning her talk. It was great to see The Sock in person. :0)

Stephanie must have extremely strong forearm muscles - I can't imagine signing so many books. Here she's signing mine & one for my mother-in-law, Sylvia, who introduced me to The Yarn Harlot in the first place. My socks & the Alaska washcloth are on the left corner.

But... wait my friends - are you ready...... Here I am holding... yup.... THE SOCK!! OMG (as my students would write!) I gave her the washcloth I made - I didn't totally understand this state washcloth thing, but didn't want Alaska to be left out. She said it started with some woman in Oklahoma knitting a state washcloth & has since progressed into a type of competition (Margaret finds that extremely appropriate for my competitive nature). I hope mine lives up. I had grand plans as I was knitting it last night to include 8 star shaped buttons to represent "the stars of gold on a field of blue" of Alaska's state flag. Ah yes - the best laid plans of mice & men. Anyhow - the cloth warranted a photo by the Yarn Harlot holding both the washcloth & THE SOCK.

Here's Heidi - we've been friends since high school (OMG - can we say we've known each other for more than 20 years? Our 20th HS reunion is next summer) having her books signed. Heidi - we must get together more often. Knit night will commence upon my return from "The Road Trip". That should give me plenty of time to think of something terribly witty, and fun for such evenings. Yes - I think Michael (her hubby) perpetuates C.H.O.K.E. - we could have fun with that...

And yes - Margaret having her books signed. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee mentioned how she just lives to make Margaret happy. Isn't she sweet?

Okay it's late... my brain is fried... & I still have to get up early enough so I can 1) finish painting bedroom & 2) finish Tazlina's sock. (of course - not necessarily in that order...) :0)



The title & subject of this blog might imply I've made progress on some knitting project, but alas no. Knitting has had to take a back seat to getting our master bedroom painted. To the left you will see the "before" photo - the south wall & door to the bathroom - sans awful wallpaper. Since I began the wallpaper removal process 2 years ago, there are no photos depicting the hideousness that once was our room.

Here I am doing some prep work. This whole painting thing would go a lot faster without all of the prep! Hmmm - knitting doesn't seem to be toning up those upper arms enough.
Yeah for hubby - working on getting primer on the ceiling. I don't know if you can tell - but our original ceiling certainly was not white! With the obnoxious dark blue flowered wallpaper that hung on the walls, I could have sworn the ceiling was white. Hmm - I guess it's a relativity thing. However, I don't think Einstein had paint colors in mind when he proposed his theory of relativity. (Good think I don't teach physics.)

Here is a quick photo of where we are as of noon on Monday: The color along the back wall is a mixture of sorts to create a Lilac color. It's a little pastelly, but it will work for accent. The wall to the left is "Organza Peach" - I had almost 4 gallons of this stuff left over from doing some painting 2 years ago. It really brightens up the room!

Of course - all paint and no knitting would make Heather a dull girl. Here is a little project I whipped out after painting on Sunday. Any guesses who the recipient will be?
I found the pattern here.

Tonight is the talk by The Yarn Harlot. As per her latest post, looks like she enjoyed a beautiful flight up. Should be a fun evening - as per Sandy's instructions, Margaret & I are planning on arriving early to get good seats. Title Wave made it a ticked event & from what we hear, all seated & standing room only tickets are gone. Whew - good thing we procured ours early.

Will report later this evening, or tomorrow morning.

Ciao ~

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Knitting in Public...

Happy World Wide Knitting in Public Day! While dear hubby is ripping trim from around doors & windows, I have a moment to update my blog. I won't go into detail as to what my two boys are up to. Let's just say it has to do w/rolling dice, elves, dwarves, spells, and role playing with a friend while their dad is doing their mother's bidding. Ahhh - like father like sons.

This afternoon, the Alaska State Yarn Council organized Anchorage's knitting in public event at the Loussac Library (The top photo is the rarely working fountain in front of the library). Happy to say the stereotypical old lady knitter was cast away. All age groups were represented. I was too comfy sitting in my lawn chair enjoying the long awaited sunshine to actually get up & photograph other knitters. I saw at least three children knitting on their first projects. My eldest son wants to learn while we're on our road trip. I saw a preteen gal using a spindle to spin yarn. Pretty cool! That's a skill I'd like to learn, although I can't imagine wanting to spend an inordinate amount of time and expense pursuing spinning with gusto. Photo below depicts the group.

Below you see my partner in crime, teaching, and knitting - Miss Margaret (as my boys call her). She's casting on a hat to donate at Monday's event - The Yarn Harlot. She said she'd hate to show up w/out a hat & be a "Hatless Loser". (I think those were her exact words). I said she might be attending the book signing & talk with "Heather the Hatless Loser", since I don't see having time to knit up a hat & paint our master bedroom by Monday. Being the wonderful friend she is, she said she wouldn't call me that to my face. Ahh - isn't she swell?

We met some other women equally excited about The Yarn Harlot's visit to Anchorage. We met Linda from the Knitters of the North guild who was busy picking stuff out of a fleece in preparation for washing & then carding it. I learned so much this afternoon! AYSC's 1st birthday is this summer & to celebrate there is another knitting in public event set for Monday prior to the Yarn Harlot's talk. Let's hope the sun stays around for a while -we've missed it!
Knitting update - on gusset of the 2nd Pink/Turquoise sock. I reversed the color pattern - this one will have a turquoise cuff, heel, and toe & a pink body. I gotta think of a better name for it. Any suggestions?

Ciao ~