Thursday, January 31, 2008

Apparently It Takes Sickness For Me To Slow Down and Blog!

The last few weeks have been great!  I started my new job with the old company I used to work for, and everything has be going really well there.  I've also started a walk/jog program.   I'm at the point now where I'm walking about the same distance I'm jogging.  I'm really enjoying it, and it's going really well.

In fact, everything was going swimmingly until Monday when I started to come down with something.  Tuesday and Wednesday were miserable, but I had to work because this week is a payroll week (I'm doing payroll now), and I had to get everything processed and uploaded to the bank by Wednesday afternoon.  

I stayed late yesterday and managed to get everything done, but I'm afraid that a whole bunch of stress and a long couple of days have not been conducive to getting rid of a cold.  

I woke up today feeling even worse than yesterday!  So, needless to say, I'm home today.  Ugh! All I want to do is go to work and then come home and go for a jog!  I can't do either!

I'm really hoping that a day of rest today will make me feel much better for tomorrow.  I'm really looking forward to jogging again.

It's funny, it seems that every time I start exercising I stop blogging.  I'm going to try to reverse this trend.  

I hope everyone is having a better Thursday than I am!  

Friday, January 11, 2008

Finished Hemlock Ring Blanket...

It's finished, and ya'll didn't even know I started it!  

I picked up the yarn for this project on Sunday, since my LYS was having a belated Boxing Day sale.  

I cast on on Monday night, and have spent quite a bit of time on it since then.  I cast off the last edging stitch last night just before I went to bed.  

First thing this morning the throw had a nice lukewarm bath in Aquae scented SOAK, and is currently pinned out on those foam puzzle pieces.  

Here it is before its bath ----


Started: January 7, 2008.  Finished: January 10, 2008.
Pattern: Hemlock Ring Blanket modified by Brooklyntweed.

Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool.  Color number 8085.

Needles: 32" 7mm Addi Turbo Circular.

Modifications:  I knit to row 50 of the chart, instead of row 55.  I figured that 5 rows wouldn't make much of a difference, and I was right.  I also did a bit of a different bind off.  of starting the bind off repeat with a k2tog, I used a skpo.  So my last row looked like K1, *SKPO, O, k2tog, etc.  This made sure there were no lumps and bumps that didn't look pretty.

Notes:  I used the Magic Loop until the piece was long enough to not Magic Loop anymore. There is a mistake in Row 35 (I found the fix on the Yahoo Group for the Hemlock Ring KAL).

I'm glad I made this, because it's really cute and really didn't take me all that long, but I don't see myself knitting it again.  It was a pain in the butt to have the rounds be so long, and it was getting a bit tedious with the long repeats.  

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Our trip gave me the opportunity to pick up a few souvenirs.  Granted, most of these souvenirs came from Twisted, but still, I figured I'd share them.

First, our trip to Imagiknit in San Francisco brought 2 skeins of Manos.  My first Manos I've ever bought.  I'm excited to try it.  I'm thinking some mittens and a hat.  I'm resisting the My So Called Scarf, since I've already knit it 3 times, and I'm pretty sick of it.

On to the things from Twisted....

First is a skein of Zen String.  This colorway reminds me of a tropical aquarium.  

The next is Zen String in Neptune.  No picture does this yarn justice.  

Next is grass colored Zen String. This one is sport weight, and I can't wait to try it out.

Surprisingly, I'd never used Austerman Step before, so when I saw it I thought I should give it a try.  It wasn't until I picked up the first ball that I realized how soft this yarn is!   I had to get two!  It's even softer than the other yarns.

Of course you've already seen the Twisted souvenirs from round 1, so you know I'm not hurtin' for yarn right now.  Apparently I quite like Zen String.  Who knew!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

On Knitting In The Car...

As you all know, I have spent quite a bit of time as a passenger in the car over the last 5 days.  

My car knitting is a little strange, which keeps me from being a particularly efficient car knitter. I don't get car sick or anything (I can and do even knit without looking), but I spend a lot more time thinking about knitting than actually doing it.

It's weird, I spent almost the entire time in the car thinking about pulling it out of my bag, and if I manage to get that far, I just end up sitting there with the knitting on my lap.  

Knowing this, you won't be surprised that I didn't get a ton of knitting done on our 4 state road trip.  

During the flat expanse from northern Nevada to southern Oregon I did manage to get the the heel turned on some plain vanilla socks I started the day before we left.  Before the day was through I even finished the entire foot and toe decreases.  

The toe grafting had to wait though, because while I did remember to bring a Chibi with me, I didn't think I'd make so much progress, so the Chibi was locked in the trunk.  

The following morning I grafted the first toe and cast on for the cuff of the second sock.  I worked on the cuff of the second from Portland to home, which meant that I could start and finish the heel flap and turn yesterday.  I'm already most of the way down the foot of the second one.  At this rate, I should be done by Monday. 

The thing that surprises me most is that I managed to actually knit in the car, instead of just thinking about it. 

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Where Did We Leave Off? The Last Leg...

The last part of our travelogue ended with us arriving in Reno, Nevada on Wednesday evening. 

We got up on Thursday morning to a beautiful sunny day and headed out to Jimmy Beans Wool after grabbing a quick coffee at Starbucks.   I didn't find anything at Jimmy Beans, but it was neat to go into a store that has become very well known in the online world.  

Our trip through northern Nevada, towards Bend, Oregon was amazing.  Stu and I have never seen scenery like that.  It was breathtaking.  For the last bit of Nevada and the first part of Oregon we seemed to be the only people on the remote one-way highway.  I don't think many people go to Oregon using highway 95 and then turning onto highway 78.  It's definitely the scenic route!

After many many hours of straight road all of a sudden you get spit out into a curvy sharp downhill road with no guardrails or anything.  It was so beautiful that we decided to stop part way down (there was a small area to pull over at the side of the road).  Neither of us have ever experienced silence like this.  There was literally no sound!  

We even managed to enter a different time zone for an hour or so!  We experienced Mountain Time briefly in eastern Oregon.  

We arrived in Bend, Oregon for dinner at about 6:00.  Originally, we were going to spend the night in Bend and then push onto Portland and then Vancouver the next day, but we were still up for driving, so we carried on with our travels after dinner in hopes we would reach Salem that night.  

What we didn't realize was that we were embarking on a very bumpy and curvy one-lane highway that would take us through 100 miles of mountain pass.  It was dark and had poor visibility, but when it started snowing heavily part way through the pass, it was downright scary!  There we were alone in the dark, winding, and very snowy mountain pass in a car with all-season tires. 

We pushed on and made it through to an awesome Best Western in Salem, which gave us free cookies and bottles of water when we arrived and a complementary breakfast at Denny's the next morning.  

Friday morning in Salem was the first rain we had seen on the whole trip.  Other than the brief mountain pass snow on Thursday night, we had blue sky the whole time. 

Stu and I realized that we had driven at least one mountain pass every night after dark for our entire trip.  In future trips, we are not going to be doing that!

After breakfast at Denny's we headed for a mall just outside of Portland.  I scored an awesome pair of tax-free Silver jeans, before we got back on the road for Portland.

Originally, we were not going to double back over Portland (we were going to stay further east), but I was so taken with Twisted and we enjoyed Portland so much on the way through that I really wanted to go through it again.  

I did stop in at Twisted and it really is the best yarn store ever.  I have never seen such an awesome selection of sock yarn, and they could not be nicer in there.  I have declared it my LYS away from home.  If you knit socks and there is any way for you to get to Twisted, you should go.  You will not be disappointed.  Hey, I drove through a snowy mountain pass at night so I could go.  

We arrived in Seattle at 4:15pm for an early dinner at possibly the best vegetarian restaurant in the world (I ate here a ton when I was growing up).  It is so good that it makes you ask, "Meat who?".  Even Stu likes the food there!  It's called the Sunlight Cafe and is on Roosevelt.  

At this point we were close enough to home that we were quite anxious to get there, but we had one last mission.  We had to stock up on Lily Sugar n' Cream 
dishcloth cotton.  For some reason the dishcloth cotton that is stocked in Canada seems to be almost exclusively Bernat (which I don't like).  We finally found a good selection at Jo Ann in Bellingham, so I am fully stocked again.  

We only waited in the border line up for about 3 minutes on the way back, and the border guard was weird -- he didn't even take our ID and stuff out of Stu's hand.  He just asked if we were both born in Canada, value of goods coming back, and how long we'd been gone.  Not even where we had gone!  We've never been ushered through the border so quickly and with so few questions.  

We arrived home before 9:00pm to two very happy cats.  I can tell that they missed us, and we missed them too.  We've never been away from them for that long before.  It sounds like they had fun visiting with Grandma and Grandad though.  

All in all, we are glad to have gone, and are glad to be back.  Don't tell Stu (this is what he gets for saying that he doesn't want to read my blog!), but I'm going to head over to my LYS today to partake in their belated boxing day sale.  Ssshhhhh.....   

Friday, January 04, 2008

Home Again, Home Again...

We're back!  And exhausted!  
*Here we are in northern Nevada.

Full details tomorrow.   I promise.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

From California to Nevada!

We woke up in Redding, California this morning to this not particularly scenic, but inoffensive view from our motel room.  The room was surprisingly not too bad.  

We did a short drive around Redding - and spotted the coolest thing ever ---

Those are oranges growing on a tree in the middle of a parking lot!

We actually really enjoyed Redding.  It seemed to be a clean and friendly town.

A little way past Redding is a town called Corning, California.  They are famous for their olives. In fact, there are olives growing by the I-5 for miles!  

When you pull into Corning, the first building you see is this one---

It's basically a store that is devoted to olives in every flavor possible.  They also have an olive tasting bar that is quite yummy.  We got a jar of pitted Kalamata olives in olive oil, and a jar of Napa wine green olives (made with wine vinegar), and an awesome olive/Corning themed fridge magnet.  I can't wait to crack these open when we get home.

After Corning we made a b-line for San Francisco, and we made it for the early afternoon.  I hate to say it, but neither of us were particularly impressed with this part of California.  We were both really excited to travel to San Fran so we were both quite disappointed to see that it was so crowded and dirty.  

I did get a pretty picture though ---

Before we left, we stopped in at ImagiKnit.  It was a really huge store with a great selection, but the staff was weird.  Really weird.  When I first got in the store one employee asked if I needed any help while simultaneously looking me up an down (seriously, from head to toe - which is really weird at 1.5ft away!).  Then when I had picked up a few things and was waiting in line she came up to me again and asked if I "needed any help while waiting in line".   Seriously weird.   

Once we escaped San Francisco we went through the mountains and finally landed in Reno, Nevada a little after 9:00 tonight.  Here's the night view from our motel room ---

 It's like a mini Vegas with tons of lights and casinos.  

Did you know that Jimmy Beans Wool is located in Reno?  Can you guess where I am going tomorrow?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Beginning the New Year in a Different Country...

We awoke in Newberg, Oregon this morning to a beautiful sunny yet foggy picture.  Here is what we saw from our hotel room at the Best Western Newberg Inn ---

We've noticed that on a whole, Oregon seems to be quite foggy / misty, which gives it a cool mystique.

We wanted to head up to the Columbia Gorge Premium Outlets mall, which is east of Portland (Newberg is south-west of Portland).  We knew that if we went to the outlet mall first that by the time we were going back through Portland, Twisted would be open.  

The outlet mall was a bust, but Twisted proved to be a very worthwhile stop.  They had a great selection (perhaps the best sock yarn selection I've ever seen!).  The staff were friendly without being annoyingly so (they even offered to wind my 3 balls of sock yarn even though they were quite busy).  

I felt very welcome at Twisted, and would not hesitate recommending it to anyone reading.  In fact, I'm thinking of stopping by on the way back through Portland!

I scored 1 skein of Yarntini Sport Weight, 1 skein of Yarntini Fingering Weight, and 1 Skein of sport weight Chewy Spaghetti.  There was much OMYGOD - ing and Squeeee - ing.  

Interestingly, Stu and I both agree that so far we have felt most at home in Portland - perhaps because it has a similar feel to Vancouver.  

We continued down the I-5 to Woodburn, Oregon (not far south from Portland) to stop at yet another outlet mall before continuing south down the I-5.

There is a section of the I-5 that is very straight and flat and there are numerous sheep farms filled with a ton of sheep (and some alpacas!).  I think I must have said, "Look! Sheep!" about 100 times!
We drove and drove and crossed into California a little after 7pm.  

Our goal for tonight was to make it to Redding, California, which we managed, but we didn't get to our motel (America's Best Value - Ponderosa Inn) until about 9:30 tonight, and we are exhausted from a very long day of driving.  

The weather is cool and clear and the air is dry.  In this climate, I was surprised to see a bunch of palm trees, but I guess they need to be reminded that this is California!

We will push on to San Fransisco tomorrow morning.  I have to admit that I am having a lot of fun doing this travelogue.  Talk to you tonight!