Monday, June 30, 2008

Think Like a Blogger

While taking photos Saturday morning for a post to be featured later this week, I came across an old weathered bench on the front porch of a historical building. I stopped to look at this bench with its peeling yellow paint and rusted cast iron.

At first I was just admiring its rustic charm, but then I began to think like a blogger--seeing the ways this bench could become relevant to my blog. Right away I knew what I needed to do. I walked back to the car to retrieve an item to add to the picture. And now...

...this bench is the perfect backdrop to the
most-difficult-to-photograph sock ever. The second sock of this pair will be cast on in a few days, after I play around with knitting a few preemie hats.

Stitch Pattern: Garter Rib
Yarn: Happy Feet
Color: 4 (Shades of red that tend to glow when photographed!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday's Flowers

Today's flowers include these pretty blossoms found near John's favorite trout stream in Utah...

Hound's Tongue, Gypsyflower
(Cynoglossum officinale)

...and a blossom of the knitted variety.

Blossom Washcloth and Soap Sack
Pattern: Fiber Trends Bathtime Blossoms
Yarn: Dalegarn Stork, 100% Cotton
Color: 6
Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm) Straight

Instructions for two other flower-inspired washcloths and matching soap sacks are also included on Fiber Trends pattern leaflet #224x. The round shape of these cloths is achieved by knitting back and forth in short row wedges. The short rows are very easy to execute--just knit up to a specified point before the end of the row, then turn work. A total of eight connecting wedges make a complete circle. To finish, only one seam needs to be sewn with a whip stitch. The soap sacks are also knitted flat and seamed.

Folklore: Wearing a hound's tongue leaf in your shoe will ward off dog attacks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hooked on Matagorda

We wasted no time in getting back to Matagorda after our trip to the mountains. My sister joined us, along with our nephew who was over for a visit.

The Best Shells Are in the Surf

Dylan found some nice shells and John found some fish.

Uncle John Shows Dylan His Catch

Later, Dylan showed off his fishing skills by landing the largest fish of the day--a 12" black drum. (I'll let John post the fish picture on his blog.)

Showing Us How It's Done

Auntie Elizabeth found the honey hole and caught more fish than anyone.

First Cast

I caught nothing, but I did hook Dylan into posing with the sock I'm knitting.

Not as Big as My Fish

It's grown to just past the heel--almost a keeper.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Optic Waves Shawl was finished before our trip and made its debut in the mountains.

Cool Breeze
Moraine Park

Blocking really opened up the stitch pattern. Remember what it looked like before? Now you can actually see the "waves."

Blocked Waves

I wanted a shorter shawl, so I stopped at 23 pattern repeats instead of the recommended 27. The blocked size of my shawl is approximately 22"x64". According to the pattern, the width should have blocked out to 29". I guess my gauge was off, though I thought it was on. No matter, though. It turned out to be a nice size for me.

Optic Waves
Lake Estes

Pattern: Optic Waves Shawl by Shelia January
Source: The Knitter's Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes
Needles: US 8 (5mm)
Yarn: Brooks Farm Yarn Primero, 100% Kid Mohair
Color: Blue (MW K5)

This shawl was specifically designed to take advantage of the characteristics of Brooks Farm Yarn Primero and the pattern is easy enough for a beginning lace knitter.

One last look at the shawl and the mountains.

Enjoying the View
Moraine Park

It's too hot in June to wear a shawl in Texas, but it sure did come in handy in the Colorado high country.

Friday, June 20, 2008

L is for Lake

A collection of lake photos.

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado

Lake George, New York

North Hero, Vermont

Salt Lake City, Utah

Mirror Lake
High Uinta Mountains

Matagorda, Texas

Perhaps you'll find yourself a lake this weekend. Have fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mountaintop Experience

As wonderful as the Wool Market was, the real reason we were in Estes Park was to experience Rocky Mountain National Park. This was our third visit in four years.

One of our favorite spots in the park is Moraine Park. We put our fishing skills to the the test in the Big Thompson River that snakes its way through here. I wasn't experienced enough to outwit the fish.

But John was able to fool three of them into taking the bait. This was not easy to do because this stretch of the river is heavily fished and everything caught must be released. This beautiful brown trout was the largest of the three he landed.

We saw more elk this time than we ever have before. A herd of about 50 were grazing nearby while we fished. I didn't notice them until I heard the calves calling for their mothers. Look carefully and you'll see them in the foreground of this picture.

Later, as we were driving through the park we saw this magnificent elk. He was causing a traffic jam as everyone was pulling over to take his picture.

Trail Ridge Road took us above the tree line to the snow-capped mountain peaks.

The drifts at the Alpine Visitor Center are still quiet high. And the temperature is still on the cold side. Can you tell I'm shivering?

We didn't catch any fish at Lily Lake to take photos of, but this ground squirrel was kind enough to pose for me.

And this duck swam right by my fishing spot, so I took his picture too.

Everywhere you turn there is something beautiful to see. It's easy to fall in love with this place.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a true mountaintop experience.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Estes Park Wool Market

The Wool Market officially opened at 9:00 in the morning on Saturday, but John and I got there earlier than that. The picture below shows the setting for the event which is held at the fairgrounds in Estes Park, Colorado.

We decided to check out the animals first. They were housed in barns and tents. There were sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas and angora rabbits. Most of the animals were getting last minute beauty treatments.

I'm not sure I like how this "hairstyle" turned out. The head doesn't seem to match the body.

Next it was on to the vendor area.

Just about everything a fiber fanatic could want was for sale in this one big barn. There were fleeces, roving, spindles, spinning wheels, looms and much more. I looked at some of the fleeces and roving, but I was most interested in yarn.

I tried to walk past the Brooks Farm booth, but the beautiful colors pulled me in as they always do.

And then I made the mistake of touching the yarn. I was goner after that. However, I did show a bit of restraint by waiting until I had shopped all the other vendors before I came back to make my purchase. I didn't want to blow my fiber budget too early, especially since Brooks Farm is a vendor at the festival I usually go to in the fall.

The next booth that caught my attention was Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co. Their yarn is gorgeous. Should I buy this color? Or maybe that one? They are all beautiful.

Right after I made my choice and paid my money, I ran into fellow Texan and blogging buddy, Suzann Thompson and her daughter Eva. It was the first time for us to meet in person, though we've been visiting back and forth on our blogs for about three years. I would have loved to have taken her polymer clay button making class that she taught the day before, but it was filled up by the time I found out I would be at Estes. I'm happy we at least had a chance to talk for a while. Suzann is just as nice as I knew she would be and it was a treat to meet Eva as well. Our meeting was best part of the Wool Market for me.

Our next stop was the sheep dog demonstration. It was interesting and we learned a few things about the training of these dogs.

It was close to lunchtime by now, so we headed over to get some food. John and I tried the lamb kabobs. They were very good. For dessert we had a strawberry banana smoothie. Delicious!

And then we decided it was time to go. I left with an armful of yarn, a Wool Market baseball cap and a smile on my face.

1600 yards Plain & Fancy (100% Wool)
800 yards Brooks Farm Yarn Willow (70% SW Wool, 30% Bamboo)

Thursday, June 12, 2008


We arrived in Colorado this afternoon.

The weather is beautiful and we're looking forward to being outside most of the time. Lots of fishing and hiking is planned along with a shopping trip at the Estes Park Wool Market on Saturday. We're here until Monday and then we fly to Salt Lake City.

The sock I started has grown a bit. I took a picture of it at the pond in Longmont where we fished tonight. It's hard to see, but the stitch pattern I'm using is garter rib. It's an easy stitch, just perfect for travel knitting. The yarn is Happy Feet by Plymouth Yarn Co.

I won't be on the computer much this weekend, but I'll check in when I can next week. See you then.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yarn Cozy

My travel knitting for our trip to Colorado and Utah will be a pair of socks. As I wound the wool for these socks into center pull balls, I thought of Susan B. Anderson's fruit cozy pattern. She recently suggested that it could double as a yarn cozy. I decided to test it for myself.

She was right. It fits my apple-sized ball of yarn perfectly and will keep it intact in my backpack, no matter how full it gets.

Free Pattern: Pear Apple Cozy
Yarn: Red Heart Sport
Color: 0652 Limeade
Needles: US 5 DPNs

More about the sock next time. Off to finishing packing. We leave tomorrow.

Monday, June 09, 2008


Optic Waves Shawl is progressing nicely. I've added seven pattern repeats. No new picture to show though, because it looks the same as this, only longer.


I was the lucky winner of the random prize drawing for the Fashionably Late in '08 Clapotis KAL. I chose this gorgeous skein of Hand Maiden Sea Silk (70% Silk, 30% Seacell) in a color called Rose Garden.

The next project for Fashionably Late is Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. This yarn would be perfect for it, so I may have to knit along. Care to join us?


I'm still working on striped preemie hats.

I've been donating my hats to Hannah's Knitsters. It's a group at John's office that gets together at lunch to knit for charity. I was able to meet with them last month. I knew a few of the ladies already, but many I met for the first time. Here are some of the early comers posing in front of an impressive display of finished blanket squares, chemo caps and preemie hats.


Knitting for charity is very rewarding. If you've been thinking of doing some knitting for others, now is a good time to get started.

Michelle is running a contest for the next ten weeks. For every preemie hat, bunting or blanket you knit and donate, your name will be added to a drawing. Details here.

Looking for a place to donate these baby items? Emmazing Grace Foundation is in the midst of their third annual donation drive.


This week I'm traveling with John to Salt Lake City on a business trip, but first we're stopping in Estes Park, Colorado for a mini vacation that will include hiking and fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park...

...and shopping at the Estes Park Wool Market!