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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Leafling on the road...

You'd think after 2400 miles of travel, I 'd have some knitting to show for it. Well - this post is dedicated solely to knitting.

I cast on the March Kit for the Socks That Rock club Sunday, May 25 on the Glenn Highway. I cast off on Thursday, May 29th somewhere on the Canadian Highway 97 south.

Overall - a fun pattern & relatively quick knit. I learned a few new tricks such as a Left and Right Lifted Increase & Cat Bordhi's way of making a gusset by increasing stitches without having to create a heel flap & then picking up stitches along the side. It's pretty nifty & the slipped stitch heel is quite cushy & comfy.


Pattern: Leafling by JC Briar

Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight, Lucky colorway

Needles: Knit Picks Size 2, Magic Loop

Size: Small!! After reading the BMFA blog, several folks stated that the size medium socks were way too big, so I opted to try the size small. They are an almost perfect fit. I wish I had knitted a few more rows before starting the toe decreases.

Well - the van is ready to roll & I need to head out. More later....


Friday, May 30, 2008

Canadian Souvenir

Roach Road Trip: Kanaskan Lake, BC to Hell's Gate, BC
May 27 - 30, 2008

It's quite normal when traveling to pick up a little souvenir for remembering your trip. Sometimes those souvenirs are a bit unexpected - such as the one we received on May 28 while traveling 117 kph (kilometers per hour) in a 80 kph zone. Yup - a nifty speeding ticket to remember our travels.

The highway system through Canada is known for its rough patches. Fortunately, most of the highway system is now paved. However, the northern section of the Cassiar HWY is quite rough & requires a slower speed. After you pass Kanaskan Lake (campground #3), the highway turns into a nicely paved beautiful stretch of road. It's easy to pick up some speed. Those Canadian law enforcement agents are smart cookies. They set up a speed trap over a rise at the bottom of a long stretch of highway. Bingo! Mr. Police Officer pulled us and several other vehicles over & gave us a nice souvenir. He was very kind about the whole deal, you couldn't help but say "Thank-You" when he handed you the $196 Canadian ticket. The Canadians are so swell that if you pay your ticket within 30 days, you get a $25 discount of the fee! Fantastic! So - sometime in the next few days, we have to visit a bank to get a check. Needless to say, Wade was a bit more careful about watching his speed.

Thursday night we stopped at a RV campground (w/showers!!) near Hell's Gate, BC. Hell's Gate is the narrowest point along the Fraser River (110 meters) which creates some serious rapids. An air tram has been installed so you can traverse Hell's Gate between the Cascade Mountain Range (Eastern side of river) to the Coast Mountains (Western side of river). In the early 1800s an explorer by the name of Simon Fraser encountered this area & said something along the lines of "No Human should venture into this place as surely we've entered the gates of Hell." Overall - a nifty tourist stop.
Some brave souls do raft down this section of the river. Looks a bit tricky...

Looking down from the upper side.

Well - we're about to head into Eastern Washington for RUSH concert #1.

We've stayed at Winston's Mom's friend Wendi here in Bonney Lake, WA. She gratefully has agreed to watch the boys while we attend the concert. She's quite a great person & friend. I'll report on the concerts (show #2 is tomorrow night at Clark County Ampitheatre) when we stay with our Oregon friends in Lake Oswego.

Ciao for now....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On The Road Again....

Roach Road Trip: Days 1 - 3: Anchorage, AK to Cassiar HWY, British Columbia
May 25 - 27, 2008

We've finally hit the road again. We find love is traveling to visit friends. The Roach Clan is on the road again. (Sorry Willy Nelson....)
**Warning - Long Post Ahead **

We departed Anchorage a few hours later than we'd hoped. Our estimated time of departure was around 2:00pm and we actually pulled out of the driveway around 5:30pm. Thoughts crossed our mind to actually bag leaving so late & just leaving early the next morning. This also would have allowed us to make a last minute visit w/friends for a BBQ. Alas, the boys were adamant that we hit the road then, so we did.

First stop - Gas Station & checking the air in the tires. We purchased new tires last year after our 11,000 mile trip. In order to maximize our fuel efficiency, we wanted to be sure to have the tires inflated to the correct pressure. Of course, determining the correct amount of pressure proved to be more difficult.
Here's Wade trying to see what the VW manufacturer claims to be the correct pressure. The side of the tires said max pressure is 70 psi. WOW!! So - Wade tried inflating it & actually reached 60 psi before I found the paperwork for the new tires stating the pressure should be 40 psi, so Wade released some of the air. Good thing - there are several bumps along the highway could have proved disastrous w/over inflated tires.

Whew - heading the right way.

Here is the view from our first 'campground'. Around 10:30 pm we decided to pull off & call it a night. Just a big quarry - a perfect stop for 2 boys. It took quite a bit of convincing that we did not need to take every 'cool rock' they found. We hadn't even left Alaska yet.

This is Kluane Lake - located in the Yukon Territory. It still had a thin layer of ice on the surface. As you can see, the weather was fantastic. This was a welcome change after the cool spring we encountered in Anchorage. The temps was hot - I'd estimate in the high 70°s easily.

This is Haines Junction. At this point along the journey, you have a choice to continue East along the Alaska Highway, or head south west into Haines, Alaska. For travelers heading to the Lower 48 along the Alaska Marine Highway (ie "Ferry"), you'd head toward Haines. Last year when we passed through Haines Junction, it was pouring rain.

This year we took a slightly different route. Instead of continuing along the Alaska Highway, about 13 miles West of Watson Lake (where "Sign Post Forrest" is located) we turned and headed south along the Cassiar Highway (Highway 37). Last year we wanted to return to AK via the Cassiar, but the highway was closed due to mud slides. The photo above is of the Coast Mountains.
Campsite #3 - Kinaskan Lake Provincial Campground. This is located about halfway along the Cassiar (around 200 miles-ish). Perfect camping area - next to a lake w/a shallow edge so the boys could play. According to the campground hostess, the ice had just melted off a couple of days before. I'll say it again - the Canadian Provincial campgrounds are amazing - clean, cheap ($15 Canadian) w/clean pit toilets, firewood, etc. It's also a great way to meet other travelers.

We had an artichoke we rescued from our refrigerator. Cooked over the campfire & it provided a nice treat.

We did see some wildlife, but not as much as last year during our trip south. I think that may have been to the high temperatures & that we are traveling about 3 weeks earlier than last year. Here is one of the 3 Black Bears we saw. We also saw 5 moose, but since I see those quite frequently they aren't considered 'blog worthy'.

Up Next.... Our Canadian Souvenir & Some Knitting....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Socks for May - Hooray!

Finally - I've finished the socks that were intended for April credit for SAM5. After having to re-knit sock #2 from the heel up, I really lost my knitting mojo for these socks. It was a real push just to complete the sewn bind-off & get them finished.


Pattern: Jacobean The pattern can be found here.

Yarn: Shi Bui Sock 100% Superwash Merino Colorway: Sock Rapids

Needles: Addi Turbo 32" #1

Method: Toe-Up, Magic Loop

These have been tucked away into a basket for Christmas gifts. I'm so proud to have something made already for the holidays! Let's see if I can keep this up! The pattern is fun & pretty easy, but I really couldn't memorize the entire thing. Each row is knit twice, so that was the extent of memorizing. I really liked the toe-up method. If I choose to make these again, I think I'll make them a bit higher - tons of yarn left over. The advantage of toe-up is to use up all available yarn. I suppose I'll knit some baby socks, or something.

Sorry for the dark photo. We're trying to leave for our road trip to the lower 48 tomorrow, so I've spent most of the day packing & doing laundry. At 10pm it dawned on me that if I want to receive credit, I'd better snap a photo & get it posted lickity split.

Well - I'm pooped. I wonder if we'll really leave tomorrow. That is the advantage of road tripping versus taking a plane - no definite time for departure! :0)

So - if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because we're out on the road. I imagine my next opportunity to post might be in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, but more likely at the Starbucks we found in Prince George, British Columbia.

Happy Knitting!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

6 Year Old Kidney Stone

That's what I thought it was when the pains began on May 22, 2002. I'd had kidney stones before & my OB had told me the afternoon before that I was "tight as a drum" and to make another appointment for 2 weeks later.

Yeah - shows you how much modern medicine can predict. I had emailed our school secretary that I needed to go home - that I wasn't in labor but was afraid I was having a kidney stone attack. I didn't feel any contractions in my abdomen (although later after being placed on a monitor, they were off the chart) - I was having all of my labor in my back. That "kidney stone" turned out to be little ( 7lb 8 oz) Iain Joseph born at 6:19am on May 23. Isn't he just the cutest? The secretary and I always laugh about that email & she likes to ask how my kidney stone is doing.

Smile!! You think this smile meant he was just the happiest kid around. Not so much - he never hesitated to let you know when he was unhappy, wet, hungry, dirty, or just wanted some attention. The smile just melts your heart.

Unlike his older brother who used the butt-scoot as a preferred mode of transport, IJ zipped around using the traditional crawling method. He figured, hey - if it worked for millions of infants before him, why change it? I wish the photo had better detail of his lower chin & the drool that was always hanging from it. A droolier kid you'll never meet. His pediatrician was always very kind. She said that just meant he was well hydrated.

Out for a stroll at a beach-side park in San Diego at about 14 months. Don't you love the bow legs?

Here's my "kidney stone" now:

Sporting his new summer 'do. He just completed kindergarten (vomiting on the playground during recess on the last day - what a fantastic way to end the year!) and is very excited for our upcoming road trip. He loves to play soccer, his Game Boy, read (!!! - yes, my children won't be illiterate!), knit (of course) and sing. Right now his favorite song to sing is "Kindergarten Wall" - search for it on iTunes; it's very sweet.

We love you!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Fun

What to do in Alaska in May when the temperatures reach 50°F, the sun is shining, and the snow is gone? Why - you put on your swim suits & run through the sprinkler, of course!

Spring so far has been fairly cold - temperatures are still dropping below freezing in the evenings - even though it's the middle of May! Fortunately, the sun comes out & the temperature warms up quickly. After the freaky snow storms, we're not letting any opportunity to play in the sun pass us by!

You can see the leaves on the trees & bushes haven't even popped yet, although it shouldn't be too much longer. Iain and a neighborhood friend thought it was fun to get a drink directly from the sprinkler.

Leave it to the boys (with help from Dad) to figure out a way to keep playing in the sprinkler even after you begin to get a little chilled. A couple of lawn trash bags - with holes for head and arms, and you're good to go.
You know what the following photo can only mean...

The 2nd annual Roach Road Trip isn't too far away. In fact, we're scheduled to hit the road next Sunday, May 25th. School lets out on Friday, May 23 and I've convinced Wade that perhaps rather than leaving on the 24th, we could use that extra day to do some packing and organizing.

The itinerary for this year's trip is similar to last year's but w/a few extras. We leaving early so we can catch two, back-to-back RUSH concerts at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA and another at the Clark County Fair grounds in Vancouver, WA. Winston's Mom and her hubby, Dave will be there for both shows too! I think even Sandy is planning to attend the show in Vancouver. I hope we'll be in the area for a Monday night dinner. We have to be in the Seattle area to pick up Wade's brother on May 30th - 5 days to drive down should be enough time.

After some time in Washington, we'll head down to Oregon to visit friends and perhaps Smith Rocks for some climbing. We'll return to Wade's hometown of Sacramento to visit his family and then work our way south to San Diego. Planned highlights of this year's trip include:

- 2 RUSH concerts
- MLS Soccer Game -- LA Galaxy vs. Columbus Crew. Orion is really hoping for an autograph from his soccer idol, David Beckham. I'm trying to let him know that there are no guarantees that will happen.
- Family Reunion (my side) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Yup - we're going to drive to WI and then back.

Yes - the gas prices are really going to take a chunk out of our summer budget. However, when you factor in the price of 4 air tickets from Anchorage, to well, anywhere, it's really just a wash. Wade and I figure the experience is much more rich by driving - we're really looking forward to this time together as a family. Every morning the boys do their "Road Trip Countdown" - it's pretty cute & I know they're excited as well.

So - have we started packing, you ask? Well - sort of. I've done this:

I've re-wound two balls of my Kauni yarn. I had a hard time seeing what the color transitions were when they were in their original form.

How exciting, no? My plan is to perhaps start the Anne-Evilla sweater by Ruth Sorenson while I'm gone. It's pretty much knit in the round, so it shouldn't be too bad.

A knitter has to have their priorities, set - right? I mean, if I'm going to travel 12,000+ miles this summer, I need to plan ahead on what projects to bring along. So far I've planned this:

1) Leafling - Socks That Rock May Kit
2) Anne-Evilla sweater by Ruth Sorenson
3) ???? - More socks I'm sure

Any other suggestions on portable projects? I might do a few more hats from Charlene Schurch's book, Hat's On.

Well - soccer game in 2 hours - gotta go.


Monday, May 5, 2008


Wow - I'm actually posting within a week of my last post - yeah for me. In case you're wondering what the title of this post means, it's Danish for "Finished" as in, I've finished my latest project:
This was the hat I began during the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. I was fortunate enough to take a class taught by Ruth Sorenson. The hat was a quick knit and there really isn't a good excuse for not finishing it earlier - other than my KADD. My main issue was interpreting the decreases correctly - I'll have to take some time later & really figure out what to do & how to place the K3tog decreases correctly. So, in this case after some failed attempts at the K3tog, I just K2tog before & after each marker (to delineate the pattern repeats) - seemed to work just dandy!

Pattern: Kauni Hat designed by Ruth Sorenson

Yarn: Kauni Effects 8/2 in the EG and EF colorways

Needle: Addi Turbo Size 2 (3.0mm) size 16" circular + double points.

Here's a close-up of the flower pattern. It's pretty cute & overall I'm happy with the results.

Of course, a finished object wouldn't really be mine if there weren't some flaw. This hat was knit in a similar manner to the hats I knit last December from the Hat's On book. You knit several rows (as wide of a band as you'd like) then do a row of K2tog, YO to create a nice picot edge. Then, after knitting a width equal to the measure of the band, you fold up the band to the inside and knit it in. Well - I sort of forgot to do that. I was so entranced with the yarn waiting for it to blend into another color, that I totally forgot to knit it in, so I had to fold up the band at the end.

The hat was knit using two small balls (~50 grams) of the Kauni yarn. The background color was purples & greens, while the pattern colors were mostly pink hues - I never got to the blue shades. I think next time I'd want more of a contrast between the background and the pattern. I'm not too happy with the green at the top looks too severe. My students loved the hat and were suitably impressed. They really enjoy when I take a moment from our lesson to share with them a finished object. I've taught several to knit & now more are wanted to keep going so "they can make a hat like this one, too."

I could have just done a simple slip stitch to attach the band, but I remembered a post I'd read by the Yarn Harlot about reinforcing knitting using crochet. I vaguely remembered that this technique could be used to attach pieces of knitting as well.

Have a look:

Now, the advantage to using a crochet chain, is that crocheted fabric has less give than knitted fabric. (Read Stephanie's post - she explains it very well). So - the single crocheted edge isn't as stretchy, but doesn't really restrict the hat too much. In fact, I prefer my hats to be a bit snug. However, the hat is just a smidgy too small - next time I think I'll increase the number of stitches.

The yarn was great! At first I wasn't so sure as the thickness varied in places and occasionally I did find some plant matter. I guess that really adds to the overall experience. I'd read on other blogs that the yarn really 'blossoms' after washing. So true!! Before I washed the hat I thought the hat would be too rough & scratchy. After a quick soak & then a tumble in the drier (air setting - no heat), it really filled out & softened up. I still might add a thin inner layer of polar fleece - the jury is still out. Of course, that would require more work and - sewing.

So - now I think I know what I'll knit with the Kauni Effects yarn I purchased while at Madrona. I'm thinking about Anne-Evilla, another pattern designed by Ruth. My, is she talented! :0)

Well - off to finish that darned Jacobean sock.