Sunday, May 24, 2015

On the Road Again Chapter 2

When last we left our intrepid travelers, they had made it out of the mega  yarn store with only minor damage and yarn, knitting needles, and a cute new bag to show for it.  Our next destination was Scottsbluff, NE and to get there you travel on secondary roads and look out mostly at fields.  Sometimes there are cows.

Then comes the magic.  In the middle of these seemingly endless plains, there arises a magnificent stone structure, a giant bluff, or other geologic masterwork.  I haven't figured out how, through exposure to the elements over millions of years, some stone towers/bluffs/hillsides remain while others do not.  In any case, we saw some interesting topography at the Scottsbluff National Monument

and again at Chimney Rock, which is a most amazing sight in the middle of a whole lot of nothing.

Oh, but there might be snakes.  Probably not on the day we visited, though, since it was cold.

The next day we headed out for Rapid City, SD.  This was a busy day of sightseeing, as it turned out. Again, we drove on long, straight roads that were mostly empty and admired the prairies and ranches.  We had a surprise on one road, however, when we came upon a cattle drive happening right on the highway.  Cows, dogs, horses, cowboys, and ATVs.  Herding the cows to a new pasture somewhere down the road apiece.  We were the only car coming, so they told us to go ahead, "just honk at them and they'll move."  Well they didn't and finally one of the kids on an ATV drove ahead of us and got those cows to move.

Back to the usual.

The next stop was one of my favorites.  We visited the unfinished Crazy Horse Monument.  The visitor's center is very nice and it was great to learn about the project and the family of the artist who is carrying on his legacy and plan.  How it looks:

How it will look if it's ever finished:

Mt. Rushmore came next.  It was nice but to tell you the truth, I liked Crazy Horse better.  I liked the story behind it and the fact that it's much bigger.  When you view Mt. Rushmore second, I think it really pales in comparison.  But it was sunny by then and we ate lunch there in the cafeteria that was featured in the Hitchcock film, North by Northwest.  That was fun.

Rapid City turned out to be a very nice town.  When we left, we drove by a historic district full of cute, well preserved homes.  From there we headed to Gillette, WY.  Along the way, we stopped at Devil's Tower.  If you saw the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you know Devil's Tower.  It was one of the most enjoyable hours I've spent.  The tower itself is awe-inspiring, but the National Monument (which I think was the first designated as such in the US in 1906) was really nice.  There was a small visitor's center and a couple of trails that you could take to walk around the tower and see it from all sides.  You were walking through essentially unspoiled forest and it was lovely.  There were climbers there going up the tower and it was fun to see them, too.

Enough for today.  I'll pick up the story next time.  But first, here's my car knitting.  Handspun socks!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

On the Road Again

I'm here!  There has again been a significantly long break in blog writing but that doesn't mean I haven't been writing posts in my head all the time.  The person who invents telepathic blog writing will have my business.

Anyway, we are currently on an extended road trip from southern California back to Washington.  This is our big "seeing the sights of the West" trip and so far we have covered Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Crazy Horse monument, Mt. Rushmore, and Devil's Tower.  We have stayed in Vegas, Grand Canyon, Durango, CO (great little town), Denver, Scotts Bluff, NE, Rapid City, SD, Gillette, WY, and are currently in Cody, WY on the way to Yellowstone.   It's hard to remember what room number, what hotel, and what town we're in...

Making things more interesting is the fact that DH has to have kidney dialysis every few days, so we had quite a time planning this trip around cities that had available dialysis facilities on the days that it was needed.  So far it's going well.

We started by visiting our Princess and Prince Charming and granddog Olive in Las Vegas.  We had a good time with them, as always.  Aren't they cute?

You can click on any photo to make it larger.

We first got to meet Olive in April when she came to the desert to celebrate DH's birthday with all the kids.  We took her shopping at the street fair and found her some 12th dog gear.

Here's a photo of the whole gang from that weekend.  It was so nice to have all our kids, their partners, one granddog, and my sister in town for the big birthday weekend.  We went to our favorite restaurant in Palm Springs and had a wonderful time.

Back to the trip; we headed to the Grand Canyon from Vegas.  We've tried to plan our drives so they won't be too long and have generally been successful.  We have time to stop and look at things along the way without having to worry about driving in the dark.  The Grand Canyon was spectacular, as expected.  We had time to do a short walk along the south rim the day we arrived and then drive out and see more of it as we left the next day.  Amazing!


We were able to stop at the Four Corners Monument (a wish of DH's) and stand on the spot where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet.  It's kind of a fun thing to do.  There are also lots of things to buy (!) as the Native American artists have multiple booths set up in the area.  We bought a beautiful hand painted vase that will look lovely in our lake house.  An early anniversary present from DH; much appreciated and a wonderful memento of this adventure.

That night we arrived in Durango, CO, a wonderful little town along the Animas River.  Our hotel was right on the river and had a lovely view.  We were able to go for a nice walk and see downtown, then walk back along the water and have an excellent dinner on the outdoor deck.  A great day!

From Durango we drove to Denver.  We weren't expecting to have to traverse multiple mountain passes in the rain.  Not the most fun.  And somehow it's always my turn to drive when the tricky conditions arise.  We made it safely to a suburb of Denver, where we walked through a lovely park in the cool, rainy conditions.  Come on, it's supposed to be the end of May!  Luckily, I travel with a selection of hand knit wool scarves, shawls, and sweaters.  I even made some mittens for this trip!

We ate dinner in the hotel restaurant and then did a little photo shoot of my Shaken or Stirred cardigan that I had finished in February.  It's come in handy several times already in the last few days.

The next day as we took off for Scottsbluff, we made a quick stop in Fort Collins to visit The Loopy Ewe.  I've been a loyal customer of theirs for years, although I don't need as much yarn now as I did when I first learned about them.  I attended their annual Spring Fling in 2008 and 2009 when they were still in St. Louis, and had a great time and met wonderful people.  The owner, Sheri, is an awesome, lovely lady and I got to visit with her and renew our acquaintance while shopping in their enormous store.  I appreciate DH's willingness to indulge my yarn habit and make a special plan to stop by this fabulous place.

I'll wrap up my tale for today and pick up where we left off in the next installment.  Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Knitting and Spinning

What's that, you say?  A knitting blog talking about knitting?  I've had time enough to pout over the ignominious defeat the Seahawks brought upon themselves, so it's back to the other stuff.  I've been knitting and spinning along as usual here in the lovely desert, where it was 89 degrees F two days ago.  Like last winter, we have had unseasonably warm weather just when so much of the country  is facing unusual cold and snow.  Sorry, but there's nothing I can do about it!

After showing you the sweater that I made for the Princess, I've slacked off on updating anything, so this will be a show and tell.  I also knit a cowl for her out of The Plucky Knitter Single in the color Rachel.  It was exceedingly soft yarn and very nice to work with.  She probably hasn't worn it since she posed for the photo, but oh well.  She picked out the pattern and seemed to like it.

Then by request I made some USC themed socks for Ms. Hollywood as a surprise for her and she liked them very much.

In January I volunteered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and it was a little chilly here then, so I decided I needed some fingerless mitts to wear while waiting in line or working outside.  I used some cashmere/mink yarn that is so soft and light; they are warm and almost weightless.  Very nice.

One of my spinning projects was a combination of fibers.  I spun a gradient bump by Loop! and a braid of ultrafine merino from JulieSpins and plied them together.  It came out nicely and I knitted it into a shawl, Aeris by Hillary Smith Callis.

I finally finished some socks, thanks to working on them during waiting time and speakers at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival.  Nothing like having a sock to work on!

I also just finished a sweater; Shaken or Stirred by Thea Colman.  I used Wollmeise DK for this and it was my first time using this yarn.  It's blocking now so I don't know yet how well it fits or whether it grew.  I laid it out pretty carefully so hopefully it will be just right.  I'm going to look for buttons when I'm at Stitches West (yes, I get to go this year!).

Those are all the things I've finished recently.  Yarns I've spun additionally are:

woolgatherings Superwash Merino:

Some OLD angora/merino from Tactile: A Fiber Arts Studio:

woolgatherings Merino/Nylon/Sparkle, which I separated and spun into a three ply gradient and have started knitting socks with it.

And some pretty rolags from Bohoknitterchic:

Whew!  It's easier to just keep up.  Now off to Vegas tomorrow to see the Princess.  Have a great Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two Down, One To Go

One more time.  Go Hawks!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Go Hawks!

And that is all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Snowbird Kind of Winter

It's gotten a bit chilly here in the desert; even some frost!  Today is a picture postcard kind of day with snow in the closer mountains.  It rained last night, which is great for this region.  I started making myself some fingerless mitts yesterday and hope to be done by Saturday when we have to stand outside in line for a movie at the film festival.  Why buy something when you can stress yourself out trying to make it, right?

Wishing everyone a safe, happy New Year's Eve.  We're looking forward to a good and healthy new year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....

Christmakkuh.  Well, not really but I'm doing my best.  I love lights and used to have them up all year on the bushes in our driveway island in Seattle.  Here in the desert it just doesn't seem like December when the sun is out every day.  We had a couple of days of clouds and drizzle but it's still pretty warm.  So in this gated community, I'm doing the best I can.

Lights on a potted palm.  Very festive, don't ya think?

Happy holidays to all!