Saturday, August 13, 2016

Putty In Your Paws

I'm sorry to disturb you, Scooter, but did you know that you have traveled 8.176 billion miles? Today marks your 14th birthday.

You have had some changes in your life. You sleep more and your hearing isn't what it used to be. Luckily your sense of smell remains the same. You still know when the chicken is out.
Dad had chicken inside and Scooter was just waiting for me to open the door so he could rush in and beg

Your poor old bones require more coddling. Luckily we are like putty in your paws, so there will always be a pillow brought out for you when we sit outside.

Happy Birthday little buddy. I'm glad that we get to be your people and you are our dog. Every year is a good year with you.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Grand Canyon Adventure

A few weeks ago I joined Connor on his business trip to Las Vegas. After last year's experience, we knew that Vegas isn't really our thing... that and the 108°F/ 42°C heat that Vegas was experiencing. This year we decide to go a few days earlier and visit the Grand Canyon. Although, the night we landed, we chose to see another Cirque de Soleil show: Ka. It was very good. We also learned that if you plan on walking to a show, it is best to get a hotel close to it. Last year we walked nearly an hour from the Luxor to the Bellagio. This year we walked 15 mins from the Excalibur to the MGM Grand.
 Being in the Excalibur feels like walking into a Super Nintento game... like Knights Of The Round.

The next day we rented a car and drove four hours to the Grand Canyon. Four hours is a long time, so we did have a stop in Williams Arizona and popped into a few shops before finishing our drive. It's a cute town that is along the historical Route 66.

Despite a bit of a late start from Vegas and spending some time checking in our hotel in Tusayan, we were still able to see the canyon at sunset.
It was a glorious 84°F/ 29°C

They say that each angle of light changes the colors of the canyon. I don't know who "they" are, but they are right.
If you look closely, you can see clouds from a wild fire in the top center of the image

The next day we drove out to Desert View Watchtower. Don't let the photo fool you. It was high season and there were zillions of people around. But it rained a little and everyone ran inside.

The views from the tower were phenomenal. I wish we had more time to enjoy the Grand Canyon, unfortunately we had to drive back to Las Vegas so Connor could get signed in for the conference.

We did manage to get a few patches and magnets to add to our collection. We also found a Sheriff's badge for my brother. It was a bit of a joke gift, but he had just introduced us to the game, Bang. For those not in the know, when you play, one person is the sheriff and gets to wear a sheriff's badge. All we had to do was insist that he be sheriff when we played again so that we could pin him. He likes his new badge.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sock Life

I've been catching up on reading a bunch of blogs and I was impressed with all the socks that have been finished and blogged about recently. Angela at Pans & Needles has two pair: one pair for herself and one secret pair for her beloved's Christmas gift this year. Monica at Sweet Purls has just finished a fun purple pair of socks. And Tahnee over at Woollen Wilderness has finished not just one, but two pairs of socks in just the last month: Pixel Socks and Spring Fern Socks. And those are just the finished ones. Andi at My Sister's Knitter has a cute pair on the needles while Wei Siew at Kiwiyarns is knitting a party for her feet. (She also just finished her Southern Skies... so you should all go "ooo and ahh" it.)

I have not been as successful in the knitting arena. I had hoped to have a finished something to show off by now, but it just hasn't worked out.

What I do have is one almost finished first sock and a second sock that is almost ready for its heel to be put in. Why an "almost finished first sock" you ask. Well, I am a perfectionist, especially in the self-striping sock arena. They joke about it at knit night. Not only do I need my socks to match perfectly... apparently I have a thing about having a tiny bit of a new stripe showing up on the toe. This almost happened on my Geographer socks, but there was more than one row of the hot pink on the toe, so I let it go. But just one tiny row of orange on a sea of purple? No thank-you!

I got halfway through grafting the first sock before deciding that I was going to knit the second sock to see if the orange showed up in the exact same spot. "What if the orange shows up in the exact same spot and matches perfectly?" you wonder. Good question. I don't care if it matches perfectly. It is still the same orange problem and I'm going to remove it one way or another.

In other knitting news, I've completely abandoned Mum's cowl for now (sorry Mum) in favor of working on a wedding gift and baby shower gift. But in between that, it's all about these socks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Camp Layman - Family Vacation Edition

Connor and I just got back from a week vacation with my family where we had no internet, phone service, or stress. I often go into great detail with my vacation posts, but so much happened, I think a highlight reel will be much better.

We stayed in one cabin together for the first part of the week, then split to two different cabins later on because Dad decided he didn't want "that much" family time. I think that was inspired by the fact that we were five people to one bathroom.
This was the cabin I stayed in during my childhood.

Much of the week was about sharing my childhood memories with Connor. Dad insisted that we go to the train museum and ride the train. No complaints from us. We got into the car that had an upper viewing area and rode around.

There is an annual boat race that takes place on the nearby river. I hadn't participated before since it had started after I had stopped coming. The idea is to house a raw egg and have it get past the rapids in one piece. Connor and I built the S.S. Shark Tank. The egg survived. We placed third.

Earlier in the week, Connor and Dad did a longer hike around the Lakes Basin area. Mum and I took a shorter route so I could paint. After we all met up and the painting was done, Connor, Mum, and I swam to the little rock you can see in the picture. Or rather, Mum and Connor swam, and I got pulled along while I floated on my back because I was still recovering from my strict diet. The water was quite cold... probably because is was a snow fed lake. Dad stayed on shore, but shouted to us that he was "getting cold" while we were swimming back.

By the end of the week, a hike to the Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout was planned. I was delighted to find that I had enough energy to join in and we made it to the top in good time. I enjoyed finding snow patches on the way up and throwing them at one of our friends. It made the hike go much faster for me. We had lunch at the top, but I chose to save a bag of M&Ms for the car. This was not to be. On the way down we passed some young parents with a child who was clearly out of energy and having a meltdown. I gave my bag away to help them out, but spent the rest of the hike mourning my lack of car M&Ms. 
Going up. The mountain we were summiting is just off picture on the left.

Before leaving town, Yeti insisted on getting an Orange Freeze from the Frostee. Who am I to deny Yeti?
You have to go to the Frosty 10 miles away to get an Orange Chocolate Chip Freeze as opposed to an Orange Freeze. Yeti wanted that during the week too.

Connor and I took a longer route back home so we could see Lake Tahoe. I hadn't seen it in (ahem) decades... and Connor had never seen it. He waded in and pronounced it "not too bad." I was impressed with how close the wildflowers were to shore. 

Per usual, we collected patches and a magnet from places we visited, which included: Donner Pass, the Feather River section of the Western Pacific Railroad, Plumas Eureka State Park which is where gold had been mined, and two patches from Lake Tahoe. One from North Lake Tahoe and one from South Lake Tahoe. I also quite liked the magnet that looked like a geological marker.

Far more things happened on our vacation. There was tubing, rounds of Ping Pong and Shuffle Board, walks to the bridge, star gazing... etc. But rather than record it all, I left my phone in the cabin and took it all in.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kelp Forest

As a child, I remember going to the beach in winter after storms had gone through. In California, the kelp grows thick. After a storm, some of the plants would inevitably get uprooted and deposited on the beach. My Mum showed me how the little bladders of air that usually help the kelp aloft in the water could be popped just like bubble wrap. Needless to say, I'd be entertained all the way down the beach. Pop, pop, pop.

The Kelp Forest shawl is inspired by the thick forests kelp that can be found in the waters along the California Coast.The stockinette portion of the shawl is knit side to side with stitches being increased and decrease along one side to stop the "stockinette curl." Once the body of the shawl is knit, stitches along one edge are picked up for the edging. The beginning of the edging has a thin line of stockinette to form the "stem" of the kelp. Then the air bladders are knit in before reaching the thick cabled kelp leaves. The whole shawl ends with a picot bind off which accentuates the mesh background.

Two different, yet similar colors of Mithril from The Verdant Gryphon were used in order to capture the subtle look of light shimmering on the kelp below the water: Forest Clearing and Green Water Snake. Just one color can be used just as easily in this pattern.

Kelp Forest can be found on bear-ears.com, ravelry, and craftsy

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

White Rice Is Exciting

Hello friends! The last two and a half weeks have been quite a challenge. The special diet I was put on left me completely exhausted. This week I was told that I am allowed to start reintroducing things to my diet, but I'm being careful and adding only one new thing a day. (As a side note, you know your diet is strict when the idea of plain white rice fills you with joy.) There are more doctor visits to be had, but I'm just celebrating the little things as they come... you know, when I'm not stressing out about all the things I haven't gotten around to.

One of the things I have managed to get around to is finishing up the two baby Giraffe Hat samples. They came out cute! They now live at Green Planet Yarn, which is where you can find kits for these hats.

I also finished my Geographer Socks. They only took me... three months. There was a time I could get a pair of socks out in 8-10 days. Actually, I'm not sure how people can get socks done so quick. Either they knit faster, or, more likely, they have smaller feet than me.
I'm so happy with how these came out: matching and my size

With the Geographer socks finished, I got to go into my stash and pick out my next pair of socks. Out came Stray Cat Socks yarn in the Jaffa color way. My feeling on socks is the louder the better. If I can still hear you when you talk to me, my socks aren't loud enough.

Confession: I just went to Stray Cat's page so I could give you all the link. I'm really tempted by the Lilah color way. So very tempted. I'm going to be good because I'm knitting so slowly and clearly don't need more yarn. But if I needed more yarn, it would be that ball.

Since the Jaffa socks were the only thing on the needles, I decided it was high time to cast on another Equatorial Nights. It should have been for Mum's birthday last month. You can see how far I got on that. It might be awhile before it is done, but at least it has been started.

That's all the current knitting, but not all the current work being done. I've got a shawl pattern to put out this week. If things go well, it will be out tomorrow, if not, Friday instead. So me and my celery juice will be working on that for the next few hours.

Disclaimer: I hate celery and am torturing myself with doctor prescribed healthy things in an effort to never have to go on this terrible diet ever again. Also, I've decided to never drink another straight celery juice after this one. It is salty and weird.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

As The Needles Click

I have not been well for awhile. The last time I mentioned that things were not right was in April. I thought I was on the mend back then, but it wasn't to last. Since then I have visited many a doctor and been probed, scanned, and prescribed. After ruling out some really scary things, I made it to my nutritionist and it looks like we may have found an answer. I'm on a rather strict diet of meat along with certain fruits and vegetables now. I won't lie, I am mourning the loss of cheese, butter, and grains in my diet. (We just bought fancy cheese! Drat.) But if this works, I'll finally feel better.

While this has been going on, I've done my best to keep on knitting, designing, and being generally creative. I've had quite a few days of being exhausted, so progress has been slow. Never the less, I do have a little knitting to show off. I've been working on some shop samples. A baby giraffe hat and the cow variant of the baby giraffe hat.
After the second hat is complete, I'll put together the ears and horns

With all the doctor visits, I've snuck in a round or two of my Geographer socks. I was almost at the toe, but I noticed that there were two consecutive rounds that were rather loose. I don't want these socks to wear out prematurely, so I went ahead and ripped back a little to fix the problem.

Now that the Pucker socks are done, I feel I can use the white to mend my Sheep May Safely Graze socks. It turns out that the white I eventually chose, Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy, is really too weak for the heels. Heels are my wear point and after wearing the socks three different times, I have had to mend the heels two different times. I'm planning to rip out the heel (and maybe the toes for good measure) and replace it with some Baa! La Jolla in the La Perla color. I think the Rosy Green Wool will last just fine for the rest of the sock. I'm looking forward to being able to put my sheep socks back into regular rotation.
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