The Mushrooms of the Island

I love Fall mushroom. This will be a visual post. I’ve so excited to share the fungus among us.

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A Day Without a Night – A Night Without a Day

Most people will not get the reference the title makes to the movie Ladyhawke where a solar eclipse breaks the curse of two lovers, played by Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer, locked apart from one another unless they see each other during this celestial event.

My husband and I, like so many others seeking the path of totality for the eclipse, converged on various, mostly remote places to view the sun overtake the moon in the day and enter twilight. And while total eclipses happen every single year, I’ve been anticipating this one because it was so close and would be my first viewing of a total eclipse.

It was an amazing couple of hours—starting just after 9:05AM and lasting until after 11:15AM. Totality lasting ~1:38 minutes and in that short time birds cried, newts surfaced on the pond, and there was a general sense of trepidation.

I’ll admit that before this week I did not know there was a Willamina, Oregon or a Huddleston Pond Park, but I must say I’ll never be able to forget the place. Such nice people, mostly locals. “Park over here.” “Get ready everyone!” Cheering at the totality. They were half the fun! Luckily, we had extra ISO certified glasses so we handed them out to those without so we felt like we gave back a bit of their generosity.

But rather than talk, let me show you, …

Eclipse1
Total eclipse with 6X Filter
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The corona with a 2X filter
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Shadows cast by the leaves after the sun emerged from the other side of the moon

 

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A newt!

 

Naming Your Photo Folders to Find Things

I take lots and lots of photographs. Let’s face it, in the digital world, “film” is cheap, so I convince myself to take multiples to make certain I get the best possible shot. However, I’m only moderately good about going back and sorting through them and I’m jealous of my husband who somehow manages to get this done (it takes me hours because I fixate on fixing them and deleting the bad ones).

We recently (April 2015) moved to Orcas Island and I have loads of pictures from when we were house hunting as well as just kayaking with our friends from Body Boat Blade who were some of the first folks to tell us (you should live here!).

I was looking for a specific visit—after we moved, but fairly early. I opened my folder for 2015 to find the shot in question. Instead I found a folder naming structure which used to serve me well when I traveled the world for work and hardly ever visited the same place more than once a year.

Year Day Month Location or for longer visits Year Month Location so for a visit to the Isle of Skye it would be 2015 05 Skye and that would be perfectly identifiable.

Living in a picturesque place has rendered the system less than ideal. When I went photo hunting I found in since 2015 I have more than 20 folders all named “Date – Orcas” and even that I have them as subfolders under year, was not as helpful as I’d hoped.

Oddly this does not happen with knitting projects that go into named, rather than dated folders—like “Watson Shrug” or “Fabulous Fuchsia Funnelneck”. In those cases, I rely on the date of the photo to remind me when it was taken because knitting takes time. One folder for several dates of photos make sense—especially if you pick it a project and put it down again as I often do because of my busy working schedule which no longer includes much travel.

So today I spent the morning going through those photos and adding little descriptors like “Funny Nick” and “Lovers Cove”.

What a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Lover'sCove
Kayaking in Lover’s Cove, Orcas Island

The Surprises of Milan

Most people think of Milan is the “industrial” capital of Italy and they wouldn’t be wrong, The Italian headquarters for my company along with many other US-based tech firms is based there. And while I did manage to avoid “going to work” out of curiosity, I did see a great deal of what makes the city amazing–sites and fabrics.

I’m going to focus on sites first. And then show a few fabrics next time (need photos).

What was sorely lacking from the trip was knit shops and while I found a few here and there, they were either difficult to find, or yarn wasn’t their primary business so I left Italy (happily for my husband) with only the yarn I brought with me–which was, as usual for vacation–more than I needed.

Any vacation plans? Do they include knitting?

 

Sunsets–its THE thing about West Beach

Everyone agrees—islanders and visitors alike—that the best sunsets on Orcas Island are seen from West Beach. People drive, walk, bicycle, jog, kayak, even hitchhike just to take in the view.

On a clear day, with no clouds, the sunsets are rather banal, but when there is weather—and in particular a forest fire on the mainland—the sky lights up with some of the most amazing colors.

I thought I’d just post a few of the memorable ones from summer until now.

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Gray Start to the New Year

I hope everyone’s holiday was great! Mine was a bit shaky to start and maybe that’s why my knitting scheme is distinctly gray.

ColdClear
Cold and Clear in the Puget Sound

Of course, it is always a bit gray in the Puget Sound in January, but in this case I’m referring to my yarn and projects. And oddly the weather is quite lovely, if cold. I’m really enjoying my new camera and the two (!) pancake lenses I got for Christmas, a 25MM and a 40MM for portraits.

Two Pancake Lens for my New Camera
Two Pancake Lens for my New Camera

 

Treed Quail in Idaho Over Christmas
California Quail Treed by a Cat in Idaho Over Christmas

 

It’s astounding to me, but it’s only January 10th and already I’m onto my fourth project this year.

Arm Knitted Capelet out of Brucilla's Mega-Bulky in Linen and Charcoal
Arm Knitted Capelet out of Brucilla’s Mega-Bulky in Linen and Charcoal

I’m only in the swatching stage for the latest cast on, so I’ll post photos once it gets further along. My three completed FOs were quickie projects—mainly because I’ve been traveling and needed a portable set of projects. So they are a hat, a hood, and my first arm knitted project, a capelet.

My New Year’s started off pretty good with a lovely gift of yarn from the mother of my husband’s youngest child—who doesn’t seem very young anymore at 14. Katia Royal Silk is a beautiful baby alpaca yarn. I am actively looking for a pattern to show this beautiful yarn to the best advantage.

Nick's youngest daughter bringing in the horses
Nick’s Youngest Daughter Bringing in the Horses in Micanopy, FL.

The trip was fraught with problems—largely due to the fact I’d been constantly traveling up until we were to go and was too exhausted to pay attention to details. So I only found out the trip was six days long (not four as I was told) after we were there and this meant medication, underwear, you name it, were not right in the right supply for the trip.

 

The Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center
Rocket Booster for Atlantis Shuttle
Rocket Booster for the Atlantis Shuttle

On the bright side, I was able to visit the Kennedy Space Center, which was terrific fun for a space nut like me. My one regret was not arriving earlier and staying longer.

Onto the knitting and new yarn additions to my stash.

Sublime in So Many Ways!
Sublime in So Many Ways!

Last Fall I won a gift certificate to Knitterly from the Woolful blog and picked up some beautiful Sublime baby cashmere, merino, and silk blend in two shades of gray.

Andorra Wrap from O-Wool
Andorra Wrap from O-Wool

The gals at Knitterly helped me find exactly what I wanted and were really lovely when my first selections were out of stock. With this purchase I meant to create some Wurm hats for the fam damily, but when it arrived and realized how soft and beautiful it was, I decided it needed to be something as pretty as it is—I’m still on the hunt for a pattern—but I’m tempted to buy more and knit this Andorra wrap. I’ll need to figure out how to change it to worsted instead of fingering weight.

Gray Wurm out of stashed gray and black wools of unknown origin
Gray Wurm out of stashed gray and black wools of unknown origin

I did knit a gray Wurm, but I used a worsted gray and some leftover black from my stash. I’m sure my nephew will only care that it is wooly and warm.

The hood is for those chilly days on island, but I might send it off to nephew’s girlfriend that inspired me to find a pattern for it. I modified it be a normal rectangle—like the one she’s already got—rather than going with the pattern decreases. If I do it again, I think I’ll use short rows to get rid of the pointiness. When I wear it I feel like a character in Lord of the Rings.

Yoga Hood Inspired by my Nephew's Girlfriend
Yoga Hood Inspired by my Nephew’s Girlfriend

This non-gray item was made from a Christmas gift from last year–a skein of Lion Brand Homespun, which is both pretty and washable. I was happy to see lots of folks on Ravelry had used it for this project–so problem solved on what to do with this lone skein.

How are your projects going this year so far?

What Happened Next

Tonight's Sunset
Tonight’s Sunset
Last Night's Sunset
Last Night’s Sunset

Well, it’s another day in paradise and I thought it would be good to describe what took place with regards to the analysis paralysis I was having last week. Things did not go exactly as planned, but that’s life, no?

What went as expected:

Tropicale and Casablanca went back into hot storage. This is both a nod to the fact that I really want to use them and that it is very hot in Seattle at the moment where my stash lives.

Back to the storage bin!
Back to the storage bin!

I did cast on Robbin Abernathy’s Simply Ribbed Fingerless Mitts for the kayak instructor, but there is trouble in paradise. I first made a swatch, in the round, of the palm and felt that it needed to cover the fingers a bit better—higher up the fingers and a thumb stub rather than a thumbhole. I’m most of the way through one mitt. But as Ianto Jones of Torchwood says, “That’s the thing about gloves…the come in pairs.” WIP #1

What did not go as expected:

Baby soft navy blue yarn
Baby soft navy blue yarn

It surprised me, but I just picked up the frogged Wurm hat. I even tucked it away. But something about it bothered me. So I made a mad dash to Pacific Fabrics for some Debbie Bliss Babymerino to replace the beautiful, but troublesome blue DK. So it’s underway and now oh-so soft. WIP #2

The original blue DK frogged from the Wurm hat will probably be just perfect doubled and made into my first crochet project—as the Little Gadabout Bag by Dot Matthews. I’ve been swatching it and trying to make sure I know all the stitches needed to complete it. I hope to get more help from the fiber group I restarted at work. WIP #3

I brought Leftie up with me to the island this weekend, but I think I’m a bit overwhelmed to start into it until I finish at least one of the three above.

Creating a shorter version of my fingerless Warm Waffle Mitts is on hold as well for the same reason as Leftie. Because with the three above and the pillow cases, I’ve now got four WIPs.

Bye-bye Jayne! A gift to my new intern.
Bye-bye Jayne! A gift to my new intern.

The Valkyrie Yarn & Fibre Jayne I’d earmarked for another Hitchhiker scarf was given to my intern who started this week and admitted she was a knitter within a half hour of meeting me. So this is her WIP this weekend. I already miss the yarn, but the opportunity to teach and share was too good to pass up and there’s just about nothing I love more.

The yarn for Notched Hem Tack from Purl Soho is now tucked in my closet—not out of sight or mind. Though it topped my list of hopefuls, small portable projects are grabbing my attention for the moment and work best for my busy life.

Under a Clear Blue Skye

The Skye sweater sitting on driftwood
The Skye sweater sitting on driftwood

There’s always a sadness when you finish a project mixed with the joy of the anticipation of projects to come.

Nick on a warm afternoon at West Beach on Orcas Island
Nick on a warm Saturday afternoon on Knit in Public Day at West Beach on Orcas Island “I’m hot!”

Nick’s sweater is finally, finally done and just in time for Knit in Public Day 2015. I simply couldn’t stop saying to my husband as we ferried over to Orcas Island that morning, “I made this! I made this!” It is truly one of my favorite things I’ve made. When I tried it on (of course before I told him it was complete) I thought how much I wanted a sweater just like it. Maybe I’ll make a great sweater out of the new yarn I picked while I was there.

Lining up the sleeve and the chest pattern on a bottom up sweater was a challenge! #wwkipday 2015
Lining up the sleeve and the chest pattern on a bottom up sweater was a challenge!

What makes this sweater exciting is the yarn. In different lights it takes on different colors–from a rich blue outdoors at twilight to a faded denim indoors. Many thanks to Handspinner Having Fun in Broadford, Scotland for making such a lovely, soft and cuddly DK. I wish I’d finished it before I came by the shop last month, but I’m so glad I got too share it on Instagram with the shop.

Details about the sweater:

Yarn: The Handspinner Having Fun 100% Blue Faced Leicester DK

Patterns: This was based on two knitting patterns with modifications. The structure is largely found in Men’s sweater Simon by Faina Goberstein. The fabric pattern is from 210-211-56 Men’s Sweater by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd).

Modifications: The reason for two patterns instead of one is that Nick thought the garter rib of the Simon pattern was a bit boring, so after much searching for one he liked, I settled on the 210-211-56 as the main body fabric (12 stitch repeat+6). So there was a bit of math, but I think it was well worth it.

One big change I made is the embellishment runs horizontal, not vertical running up the sleeve as the pattern calls for. The worry was aligning the patterns in a bottom up sweater. The trick was to start the sleeve shaping exactly after the pattern on both sleeves and chest. Worked perfectly!

Something I didn’t, but might modify, is the large neck opening. This is a feature the pattern, and partly why I selected it, as Nick didn’t want it close to the neck. If make another, and given how happy I am with this I just might, I’ll knit higher up the chest before starting the neck shaping on the front or knit the opening for a smaller size.

And since the sweater was inspired by Scotland, despite me missing the target of Nick wearing it there, here are some photos from our trip there last month.

Eileen Donan Castle, Highlands, Scotland
Eileen Donan Castle, Highlands, Scotland
The Sligachan Hotel, Isle of Skye. We stayed in the round turret above the sitting room.
The Sligachan Hotel, Isle of Skye. We stayed in the round room.
Snow on the Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Snow on the Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Niest Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Niest Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Bicycle powered scarf by Skye Weavers on the Isle of Skye
Bicycle powered scarf by Skye Weavers on the Isle of Skye
Cloud shroud on Marsco, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Cloud shroud on Marsco, Isle of SKye, Scotland
Cloudy Black Cuillins on a chilly day, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Snowy Black Cuillins Isle of Skye, Scotland

Vacation Knitting–Finally!

Volcanos of Washington State taken from the window of the airplane
Volcanos of Western Washington taken from the window of the airplane.

It’s been a tough waiting for this time off. With so much happening at work and in my home life, I’m completely stressed out. This trip to Scotland is a ‘do the right time this time’. And hopefully that means lower stress travel, but I must admit, I wouldn’t mind just sticking around the house and finishing my WIPS and starting a few more summery ones. I’ve still got Nick’s sweater (to be worn in Scotland) on my needles and this is the only project I’m taking with me despite so many beautiful things catching my eye of late.

My queue grew by two more items only just today! My additions? Purl Soho’s Notched Hem Tank and the Paloma cardigan. I have Instagram and the Fringe Association blog to thank for these additions respectively.

It’s funny how different people do different things to save weight when packing. My husband never brings liquids—prefers to buy them or use hotel goods and I try to minimize clothes by using a color system, which, when technical gear is involved, is much less successful. I almost decided to only take my small waterproof camera (well suited to Scotland), but ended up remembering some of the great shots I’ve gotten in visits before.

The one thing to do plan to do is take a “techie” fast, since that is so much of what I do every day at work. I even own the same laptop that is my standard work issue, so I’ve just make the executive decision to leave it behind. So I’ll have to do my posting on return. But while I’m away, here are a few shots of where I will be; the Isle of Skye, part of the Inner Hebrides in the Scotland Highlands.

The Red Cuillins
The Red Cuillins
The Black Cuillins
The Black Cuillins
Cloud Cloak 1
Cloud Cloak 1
Cloud cloak 2
Cloud Cloak 2
Cloud cloak 3
Cloud Cloak 3
Cloud sliding down (4)
Cloud Cloak 4

Moving Day–Round 1

My favorite perch on the beach
My favorite perch at West Beach

I came into work this morning to find boxes. This after having to unpack boxes this weekend at the new place on Orcas. I had a lovely time on the island and I think that what I really wanted was just to stay there—not come back to “reality” of work, politics, life in the city.

It’s a funny thing, I’ve always loved living on the urban side of the pond. Though I feel a change taking place now that I have a home on the island. I feel a bit “displaced” in my city home.

As I stared at the pile of boxes–that were not going to unpack themselves–and the dirty desk (courtesy of the office movers), I knew it was stiff upper lip time, despite not feeling that way. In fact, the only things stiff were my back and shoulders from lifting boxes and weeding the garden. 

That's my buoy!
That’s my buoy! Atta buoy!! It’s a buoy!!! The one far right is the one for my house.
Mount Baker catching the last rays of sunlight after the rest of the hills are in twilight
Mount Baker catching the last rays of sunlight after the rest of the hills are in twilight

I found it a bit lonely out there, but connected with a couple of friends who I will hopefully get to know better as I spend more time at my little slice of heaven at West Beach.

There was not much time for knitting at the house. I did get some done on the ferry and I was thankful for the plentiful natural light on the ferry rides–both ways. I’d been struggling with a Kitchner stitched shoulder seam–seven tries with no success, though I’ve done it several times before–including the other shoulder! Thankfully, on the way over from Anacortes I had it in the bag first (re)try.

A bit of "cancer" on the Hyak ferry between Orcas Island and Anacortes
A bit of “cancer” on the Hyak ferry between Orcas Island and Anacortes

Though the weather and time was lovely, it was tiring too—all the cleaning, packing, unpacking, weeding, etc. only then to have to turn around, come back, go to work and unpack my office after an unnecessary office move which will, in turn, make my job harder.

Water, bars and decking aboard the Hyak on the way to Anacortes from Orcas Island
Water, bars and decking aboard the Hyak on the way to Anacortes from Orcas Island

Still, the scenery was lovely getting to and from the new place as well as while I was there. I got some really great shots—both artsy and not. I also finished a book I was reading in the quiet hours Sunday morning.

The Phoenix moored near the ferry terminal on Orcas Island
The Phoenix moored near the ferry terminal on Orcas Island

The thing I need to remember is that this is temporary and that someday I will rise like a phoenix.