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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Road Trip Rough Draft

Ahhh - school's out & that means we took our annual trip to Moose Pass over Memorial Day weekend. This trip was even more significant as it provided my family an opportunity to test out our 2003 Eurovan. The plan is for the Roach family to drive from Anchorage, AK to San Diego, CA this summer. Departure date: June 15th. The Moose Pass trip allowed us to fine tune packing all of our stuff & figure out what works best.
Yeah - the van holds plenty of stuff. Survey says - get rid of the extra seat, it just got in the way... In order to personalize the Igloo, we purchased a set of prayer flags from the "Coffee Church" (aka - The Ressurection Art Gallery) in Seward, AK.
The kids loved sleeping in the pop top. The space provides them a little space of their own. The lower level requires a little different configuration for our 6 week trek. Wade & I ended up putting the kids' Rubbermaid totes outside of the van at night - thank you to Mr. Rubbermaid - totes are the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, I think I'll go and buy a couple of more prior to hitting the road on June 15th.

Our trip this past week took us to Moose Pass, AK with a short visit to Seward, AK (named for William Seward - the man responsible for procuring Alaska's purchase from the Russians - "Seward's Folly). On Memorial Day we left w/family friends the Snyerlands (Snyder + Ireland) to head west toward Homer, AK. Our first night we camped at the Wardwell's cabin in Anchor Point. Gary & Wade pitched in to help dig a hole & build an outhouse. The Wardwells lived in the cabin almost 10 years without an official outhouse!! They were true Alaskans. Unfortnately, a reckless driver took their lives a year and a half ago along the Seward highway. Their children (long time friends of Gary's family) are carrying on their memories by completeing the cabin extension their parents had begun prior to their death.

While in Anchor Point, I finished Iain's birthday socks (oops - a few days late). They are for the Sock of the Month KAL3, and the Sensational Knitted Socks KAL. (See earlier post). After Anchor Point, we continued West to Homer, AK - famous for Halibut fishing and at the end of the Sterling highway. Wade and I reflected on how often can you exhaust two highways in one trip (Seward Highway: Anchorage to Seward; Sterling Highway: Cutoff to Homer, AK). After a cold, windy day & night in Homer, we left to head home w/a overnight at the Russian River. The Russian River is world famous for sport fishing of Sockeye Salmon ("Red" Salmon). Fishermen literally stand shoulder to shoulder thigh-deep in water to fish the wily sockeye. This is also the place where I caught my first salmon - on my first cast!! Ha!! I loved coming down here in the 80's - the area is much more congested now, and I haven't been fishing there in quite a while. The official season doesn't begin until June 11th - I anticipate the first run of reds will arrive in the river sometime around mid-June. We didn't see any fish on this trip - only my 5 year old who took a brief and impromptu dip in the river (those rocks can be slippery). The cold water certainly got his attention.

Overall - prognosis is looking good for the extended trip.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sensational May Socks

Hooray - my first socks for the Sock A Month 3 KAL and Sensational Knitted Socks KAL are finished! They are for Iain's 5th birthday - however finished a few days late. These socks were finshed while on our Memorial Day camping trip. I finished them in front of the fire while hanging out in Anchor Point, Alaska. He was so excited to have them finally finished. He wore them for 3 days which turned out fine since the weather was anything but summerlike. I finally convinced him to change into a clean pair.

Details: Size 2 Addi Turbo Circulars; Magic Loop Method

Pattern: Waffle Rib II from the Sensational Knitted Socks book by Charlene Schurch

Yarn: Steinback Wolle Strapaz Superwash - 50+ grams for the pair

Modifications: None, although, I don't particularly care for the ridge created at the heel flap from ending the pattern with two purl rows before knitting the flap. I'd like to change it up for a smoother transition in the future.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Graduation Day

Not your typical milestone, but a milestone none the less. Our youngest, IJ, graduated from Pre-Kindergarten yesterday. He attendes "Klever Kids" (yes, despite the spelling challenges, it is a very Clever & Fantabulous pre-school!) Yesterday was their graduation ceremony - complete with songs, cookies, and diplomas. We're sooooo proud of IJ - he'll do great at Kindergarten. His teacher "Miss Pam" (who knows everything, by the way) said of IJ "He is our computer expert. If ever there is a question about a computer, or a computer game, students always ask him for help." Hmmmm - a computer expert before you've even turned 5? Is this a good thing? Well - Bill Gates - look out!!

IJ is on the left, w/cookie in hand. His best friend and "twin" is in the middle - do you see the resemblance? (Neither do we, except their personalities are exactly the same - both were cut from the same cloth). Another buddy, and star in a locally produced commercial is on the right. I think this is the 'gang' Miss Pam said our son is a part of.

Friday, May 18, 2007

One Sock Wonder

Okay - more socks. Several weeks ago, a student asked if I would make her a pair of socks. Yeah - right. I said I would teach her if she was interested, as socks are not something that I can crank out lightening fast. (Especially a pair of socks). So - I thought that had taken care of the issue. Nope - my student is persistent. She asked my good friend Margaret, if she would craft a pair of socks for her. Soon - the plan evolved into Margaret and I would each knit one sock in return for homemade cookies & brownies. Sounds reasonable. The caveat was our student had to provide the yarn.
Fast forward to the week prior to graduation. Said student comes to class with a plate of brownies for me, and cookies for Margaret. She also drops yarn on my desk - not just any yarn mind you, but ACRYLIC, FUZZY, lime green (I think the band said "Sour Apple") yarn. Not exactly what we had in mind.
So - being the good sports that we are (and dedicated educators, mind you) we agreed on the needle size, # of stitches to cast on, and general pattern. Later that evening, Margaret calls to say our gauge w/said yarn & CO stitches would give us an 11" diameter for the sock. Now, I wouldn't call our student a waif, but she certainly isn't an ogre who needs a sock w/an 11" diameter. So - we re-calculate & decide on a better number & set out. I cast on, I tried to knit & soon found that I HATE THE YARN!! Cursing and tugging, I carried on. Then - it just became too much, so I ripped out what I'd done. Of course - this fuzzy, vomitous mass (Thank you Princess Bride) sorry excuse for yarn, broke when I tried to rip back. That's it - new yarn was called for, or the deal was off.
Off to the Yarn Branch for new yarn. I tried to get a color close to "Sour Apple", and settled on a Debbie Bliss, Cashmerino DK yarn in some shade of green. (Can't find yarn band). We were all set. Of course - are you familar with that "little voice" that speaks to you? (or am I the only one w/a "little voice"?) My little voice kept telling me - "there isn't enough yarn, there isn't enough yarn...." I call Margaret w/my concern. Being the great, calming friend that she is, she assured me that we'd have enough. So - I carried on. I knit, and knit, and knit. Socks go soooo fast when you just use a garter stitch!!
There wasn't enough yarn. Yup - I thought if I knit faster, I'd get to the toe quicker - before the yarn was gone. Nope - apparently there is a direct relationship between the rate of knitting, the anxiety of running out of yarn, and the quantity of yarn left to use. The faster I knit, the more my anxiety grew, and the faster the yarn ran out. Arghhh - so, back to the Yarn Branch I went.
Yeah - no more green yarn. (Go figure). So - I settled on 'corn'. Margaret always said this student reminded her of a burst of sunshine, hence our great excuse for the name of this sock. "Burst of Sunshine" sock. I do have to admit - the colors look great together & the yarn is soooo soft. I'm trying to decide what I might knit next with it. So - my sock was finished within 24 hours - a record for me!
No such luck for Margaret - she was finishing a hat for her sister for Mother's Day. I have to mention that Margaret is much better at finishing projects than I. I don't think she suffers from KADD. So - the week of graduation, she was still working on the sock. Then her beloved doggie, Winston, had to go to the vet, so that took away from knitting time.
The day of graduation had arrived - Margaret was still knitting. Graduation was set for 7pm. Margaret was still knitting. Students marched in, faculty marched in, the choir sang, roll call of the graduates commenced - yes, Margaret was still knitting.
Said student's last name begins with a "P". There was still time. When it was Margaret's turn to read names, she passed the sock to me - we were on the decrease of the toe. I knit a few rows. Margaret finished her list of seniors - I passed the sock back to her. I read my list of names. Our student was coming - I could see her in line. Then, with a final burst of knitting adrenaline, Margaret grafted the toe together. Just in time for us to run over, hug Sari, and hand her a pair of 'Burst of Sunshine' socks. Whew!

A gift from the hands is a true gift from the heart.

I have another student who really helped me a lot as a teacher aide over the last two years & who has a special place in my heart & memories. So - I've set out to knit her a pair of socks. This time - I've embarked on my first toe ups & am using the Beaded Rib pattern from the Sensational Knit Socks Book. While they weren't done in time for graduation, I've promised they'll be finished before I set off on our family road trip to California (more on that adventure, later).

**I don't know why the photo is sideways - it isn't in my iPhoto library. Will have to fix later. The sun is shining, so I need to get outside.
Ciao ~

Monday, May 7, 2007

Signs of Life....

Yup - snow is gone! Hooray!! This blog is depicting the 'signs of life' around my home here in Anchorage...

I call this one "The Moose Caboose" - local resident in downtown Anchorage neighborhood.

Having lunch....
Okay... I did 'stalk' this moose in order to get a good shot. He (I know - his antlers were starting to grow), was moseying down an alley when I saw him. Fortunately, I had my camera available, so I just drove slowly behind him until I could get a good shot. However - as he made the right turn onto another street, the owner of this house came out onto her porch - I think she had to go in and change her pants soon after. Nothing can cause a skip in the ol' ticker like having a 1500 lb ungulate standing less than 4 feet from you.

These photos are of my eldest son, OW, and the signs of life he found near the creek behind our house. He's holding 'beaver chips' in the upper photo. Check out the tree below!! OW was impressed by the number of beaver chips!

Does this yard look familar? See - if you look closely enough, you can actually see green grass! A sure sign of spring! Perhaps a little lime on the yard can help this out a bit...

Even my garden is cooperating!! This is a photo of the chives springing up - hardy plants these are!!

My Alaska Iris' - I put them in the bed last summer - I should see some blooms this year.

And you thought I hadn't been knitting... The first sock of a pair for my youngest, IJ - the Waffle Rib II pattern from the Sensational Knitted Socks book. I'm using the magic loop method here. I'm not too crazy about how the heel turned out - the stitch pattern ends with purl all stitches for two rows & ends up making a ridge near the heel flap. Perhaps this won't be an issue when his foot is actually in the sock & the yarn stretches out. We'll see - I have to finish these by his 5th birthday on May 23...

The purple socks live on. I'm just about finished with these - they should have been my April Socks for the Sock of the Month KAL, but alas, KADD took hold - I started other socks & got busy w/events at school. Of course, knowing that I would run out of yarn before I finished didn't help me stay focused. I purchased more yarn (same dye lot - hooray) this weekend, so hopefully I'll finish these soon - just 4 more repeats on the foot & then the toe to go... In case you're wondering, the socks are sitting on a Birch Burl Table my dad made this past fall - very beautiful! He's sooooo talented.

Yup - another beginning of a pair of socks to prevent me from even finishing one pair. These are the Embossed Leaves socks from the Favorite Socks book by Interweave press. Again - I didn't totally follow directions - I used the Magic Loop method & did not cut the yarn & rejoin as it states in the pattern - I mean, WHY would you cut yarn if you don't really have to?

Ciao!! Did I mention less than 3 weeks to go until our school year is over?!?