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Monday, June 30

Knitting Project Update

Okay! I finished my first pair of Coriolis socks! Just a quick post with some pics.... the yarn is from Kenny (the boi who knits, blog link below left), the Crystal Palace bamboo merino blend.

And, I started another pair of socks. I decided this will be Chris's Official Stashbusting Summer of Socks! Yeah, I know--not so original. Tons of people doing various versions of it. But, with over 84,000 yards of purchased yarn, I gotta use it up!

I think I'm going to do the Jewelled Steps socks from the "Pathways" sock book. I did the whirlpool toe, which I love, and this toe is rotatable (is that a word?). So, hopefully I won't screw these up like I did on the spiraling band on the Coriolis socks. I'm using Lorna's Lace 80/20 superwash merino and nylon, in Purple Iris colorway.

Pics of our baby:
Just had to add a couple little things. Here's a pic of our darlin' kitty, Tigger, as he was sackin' out on the screened in porch yesterday! We love him.

And, I just heard a bit of a noise outside, looked out the window, and here's what I saw!

Click on for a larger view... Enjoy.

Sunday, June 29

Knitting in Seattle/Victoria

My plan was to entertain you all with our voyages and exploration in chronological order, but I have to divert from that plan to insert a blog about knitting on the trip, and the people I met up with.

As always, click on the pics to enlarge them...

I have some anxiety about knitting in public. A lot of it is my own insecurity about being obviously gay in public. Just my own thing. I sometimes knit on the plane, but usually if I'm in a window seat, and I feel safe with the people around me--non-threatening people. I totally surprised myself on this trip, and knit most of the Chicago to Seattle flight! I am doing my first Coriolis toe-up socks using the "New Pathways For Sock Knitters, Book One" by Cat Bordhi. The yarn is from Kenny (part of my "pound of love" box), the Crystal Palace bamboo/merino/silk yarn in browns and golds. Yummy.

Pics: Above right--Jeanne models my first Coriolis sock (sorry, I can't claim the 'legs')
Second from top--my foot in the sock.
At right--Allie and Max

I started the sock with the garter diamond. New technique for me. Really cool. My goal was to do the master spiral, where the band spirals over the instep, over the TOP of the heel, and continues to spiral up the ankle and leg. I screwed up somewhere, and my spiral ran smack into the top edge of the heel! Instead of trying to fudge it and restarting it on the other side of the heel (which would have been an okay fix), i just dropped the band increase, and made up a top: modified 2X1 basketweave, some garter ridges, and ribbing on top, ending with an i-cord bind-off. This was another new technique for me, and I enjoyed doing it.

More Pics: At right--Nigel, Me, Hayley, and Allie at QV's Cafe
Below: Nigel shows off his shawl, below that: closeup of the shawl

I finished the first sock while in Victoria, and started the second sock before leaving Victoria. I even knitted on the ferry back to Port Angeles! I finished knitting the foot on the plane to Chicago, and just finished the heel and ankle since getting back to Vermont. I'm on the ribbing at the top right now, so I'll be done the second sock today.

While in Victoria I met up with Allie (from Victoria) and Nigel (from Vancouver, BC)--both people I met on the GLBT knit list. Allie met up with us, and brought her darling son Max with her on our first night in Victoria! We had a great time hanging out with them, and met the next day with Nigel, and Allie's partner Haylie, for some food and crafting.

Both J and I had a great time, even though J doesn't knit. Nigel showed off one of his shawls, which I also modeled (pics on his blog), and we walked up to the LYS, the Beehive. I bought 3 skeins of yarn.

Pics of yarn: (top skein) Arequipa (65% superwash wool, 20% alpaca, 15% nylon in moss earth colorway;

middle skein: Fleece Artist merino in browns, golds, and salmons;

bottom skein: (suggested by Nigel) Hand Maiden 'Casbah' (80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon), in a purple/moss greens/merlot.

I normally don't fall for anything with "cash" in it, as I think it's usually a ripoff with 5-10% cashmere in it, but the hand on this is buttery soft! And it was $5 off....

I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Nigel, Allie, and the gang. Super people, with fabulous personalities. Hope we all meet again! (Nigel even spent the afternoon with us touring Butchart Gardens, that's another blog in itself!)

I had several contacts for a knitting meetup on our last day in Seattle at the end of the trip. But, unfortunately things fell through (hope all is well with you Z!), but I did manage to get together with Jeanne--that was a blast!

I met Jeanne through She metup with J and I at Uwajimaya, the famous Japanese/Asian store in Seattle. This was a scream for me, as it had tea, chocolate, Asian food, and was connected to an Asian food court and a Japanese bookstore! Phew! Way too fun!

Pics at right: Jeanne with her Forest Path shawl, a close up of the shawl, Jeanne pouring tea (all over the table, mind you!) at a wicked cool teahouse near her neighborhood.

Great tea, great conversations, wonderful knitting, and nice uh, accessories to look at...

I'm looking forward to continuing these friendships. Thanks for meeting us, spending time with us, and sharing your love of knitting with me.

Open invitations for all to come visit us in Vermont!


Part II: The Odyssey Continues...the Olympic Peninsula

Note: This is part of a series of our travels to the Pacific northwest. Posts are in reverse chronological order. To start at the beginning go to the first post, Chris and Jeff hit the...

As our intrepid travelers continue their journey in the Pacific northwest... Okay! I thought I'd turn this into a novel, but then I'd get all confused with first and third person narratives. Lol. Anywho, to recap: we flew into Seattle on a Tuesday. Dinner at Bahn Thai was that evening, and J took a walkabout to the Space Needle.

Wednesday was the SAAM and the Japanese gardens, and we both walked over to the Space Needle together. We were at the top for the sunset, and got tons of great shots of Seattle neighborhoods and night shots of the Needle on the way back to the hotel.

Thursday we had to rise early for the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and our day trip to the Olympic Peninsula. The ferry was a fun trip, but the drive was pretty uneventful until we got to the visitor center for the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe! This was THE highlight of our trip! We had both heard so much about Pacific Northwest tribal culture--both U.S. and First Nation--totem poles, potlatch, weaving, knitting; that we envisioned being smack in the middle of a rich source of cultural information and heritage. We weren't disappointed.

The visitor center was pretty new, and there seemed to be an organized effort to have this as the "gateway" to the tribal area. The highway ran right through it, with the visitor center on the right going north, and a short distance away was a large store with food, meals, groceries, gas, etc., and a casino a bit further on. (We ate at the store on the way in, and later on the way back to Seattle. All the food was homemade and fabulous!)

In the souvenir store, which had carvings, CDs, jewelry, paintings, and various garments with tribal symbols, we met Wendy, a tribal member, who was full of information about the tribe, and eager to answer our many questions about life as a S'Klallam member. (I apologize if I am not phrasing things in the correct way, I have no intention of insulting anyone by referring to things in an incorrect manner.)

I told Wendy about my interest and habit of picking up rocks and crystals from every place we visit. She gave us a tip for finding some jade, jasper and other stones on a secret beach in Port Angeles. Okay, I'll pass on the info: it is at Ediz Hook, just west of the ferry landing in Port Angeles. Follow the main oceanfront drive, and go through the Nippon Paper plant (which we heard is closing soon), and drive way out on the spit, to the beaches near the end. J was the hero in rock searching! I didn't find one green stone--he found tons! Although I found lots of red ones and some that looked like flint or agates.

Note: on the way back to Seattle, we stopped by the shop again, and lo and behold, there was Wendy! I proudly showed her our bag of "prospecting" and she helped sort out the rocks into what she thought were jade and agates. Now we just have to get our hands on one of those Ronco Gem Tumblers! (remember those?!)

The Peninsula
After a great chat with Wendy, we stopped at the tribal store and had a nice lunch. Then we set our sights on getting to Port Angeles and out to the mountains. Port A was....well, let's just say that it was not too interesting. We drove through it and headed out to Lake Crescent... (more on this later)

The Japanese Gardens and SAAM--Seattle Asian Art Museum

Two highlights of the trip were visits to the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM), and to the Japanese Gardens in Washington Park.

The Asian Art Museum was simply stunning. They had a collection of fabulous artifacts that rivaled more famous contemporaries. No pics from the Museum, as they weren't allowed. Some of the exhibits that were of great interest to both J and I were: "Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective", "Pattern Richness in Modern Japanese Textiles", and "Discovering Buddhist Are--Seeking the Sublime".

As always, click on the pics to enlarge them...

These pics are all from the Japanese Gardens in the Washington Park Arboretum. The gardens are a beautiful 3.5 acres park designed in 1960. It was much larger than the city-block sized one in Portland, Oregon, and we had a great time touring them. The gardens gave me a lot of ideas for retro-fitting my much-in-need-of-work gardens!

The greenhouse/conservatory was remarkable, and there were many, many beautiful orchids! I took way too many pics...these are a few of our favorites.

And yes, there were fish! Lots of them. I took about 30 pics of them, there were so many different colors. There was a feeding frenzy, as there were a couple of home-schooled kids and their moms there feeding something to the fish. I had a good laugh.

The pic with J under the flower was to show the scale of that huge blossom! It was amazing.

Chris & Jeff Hit the Pacific Northwest!

So, J & I have been back safely in little ol' Vermont for 3 days now--and I'm already being pestered for blogging and pics! I took over 1,020 e-pics, and culled them down to a manageable 950+. I won't bore you with all of them, but I'll try to give you a time line of the trip with some highlighted pics.

Organizing the pics was the clog in the process of getting something online. We usually cull whilst enroute, but I wasn't confident with the detail quality with such a small viewing screen on the digital camera, and preferred to wait until we returned home. Surprisingly, the trusty old Sony Cyber-shot 3.2 mp still takes great pics, although I'm itchin' for a new one....

Now the pics are all categorized into folders with the days and places we went--let the blogging begin!

Part I: Seattle
Neither J nor I had been to Seattle or Victoria before this trip, and our trip to Portland, Oregon last November got us excited to venture farther north. A couple of travel shows highlighting Seattle, and Victoria and Vancouver (the city in British Columbia, not the island off the mainland of Washington state, nor the city in Washington state) got us eager to fly off to the PacNW.

Numerous contacts on in Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver (city) offered dozens of tips regarding places to visit, things to do, and of course, LYS (that's Local Yarn Shops to non-knitters) and teashops to spend money at!

Most of you know that I suffer from migraines--and Seattle area contacts assured me that there would be some rain and clouds. Unfortunately for me, it was sunny almost everyday on the trip, and only one or two cloudy days. Boo hoo.

The weather was mostly cool though--mid-60's to low 70s. We brought shorts, but didn't wear them once. We rented a car (J drove), and the trip from the Sea-Tac airport into and through downtown Seattle was pretty cool, I must say! Safeco Field (where the Seattle Mariners play baseball) and Qwest Field (where the Seahawks play football) where very close to the main highway we were on. As a sports fan, it was pretty cool to see two major stadiums right in the heart of the city--easily accessible for fans.

We were pretty tired when by the time we got to our hotel on the northern side of town--the Comfort Suites--really close to the Space Needle. The guys at the front desk gave us a great tip for a Thai restaurant-Bahn Thai, which was about 3 blocks from the hotel. It was THE BEST meal I had had in a very long time, and the best Thai food I've ever had. We usually try Thai restaurants just about everywhere we travel, and this was the bomb!

These pics are from the top of the Space Needle. Stay tuned for a recap of our trip out to the Olympic Peninsula, a spiritual encounter with Wendy, of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, and onward to Victoria and Vancouver Island! Oh, and meet-ups with Nigel, Allie, and Jeanne! ; )


Sunday, June 15

June Flowers: Clematis, Columbine, and Peonies

Okay, this is the last post before we're off to Seattle! I promise...

Just took some pics of the
gardens because these will all be gone-by when we return from the trip. I had more varieties of columbine this year than ever before! I would see other plants along the roadside and remember to come back when the seed heads were ready to scatter their seeds. Then I'd snip a couple of the heads. I have a double pink, double white, single white, a crimson red, and a couple different shades of purples.

I have a purplely clematis on a white light post, and a crimson red against one of our decks. The purple one always starts opening up about 2 weeks prior to the red one. Oh, I do have another huge single white--but it's just budding now. I think it is a II. Clematis are categorized into I, II, and III, according to their blooming time. Mine are all I and II's as I don't think we have a long enough summer in this part of Vermont for the III's.

Our peonies were really slow this year.

They'll be on the last leg of blooming in a week or so. One is just starting now!

And we have the Japanese Irises. I just transplanted the white one 3 years ago and already it's as large as the purple ones! I'm going to mix them up the next time I transplant.

They tend to die-out in the middle, and should be separated every 5 or 6 years or so.

Trip to Southern Vermont

As a follow-up to the Vermont Knit Camp II, I wanted to post a couple pics from my drive down and back.

As always, clickety to embiggen (the pics) --->

Vermont is a beautiful state, and I love southern Vermont too, although I don't get down to the
Bennington area more than every 10 years or so!

For my many out of state friends, Jeff and I live in northwest Vermont (Jericho, 12 miles northeast of Burlington), Bennington is on the southern Vermont border with Massachusetts.

I took an alternate road down, parallel with Route 7, which is a N/S main highway.

There was less traffic and stress, and went by some beautiful lakes and lovely farm area, and through the historic area of Southern Vermont, namely Manchester, Hubbardton, and then Bennington.

The pics of the houses are in Manchester.

Enjoy the pics!

Vt. Knit Camp II

Last weekend, June 6-8, I traveled down to southern Vermont-Bennington, to be precise--for the second Vt. Knit Camp gathering for members and friends of the GLBT-Knit listserve (e-mail) group I've been a member of since January.

I have many fond memories: the wonderful, talented, and
lively group of women and men (mostly women); the fabulous handknit garments/articles that they brought for show-and-tell, or were working on; and the un-for-get-able food! I'd have to say that, hands-down, Charlton's "chocolate cream pie" was THE hit of the weekend! (Sorry to all the other entries, which were fabulous too!)

Sidebar: Charlton said he was bringing a "chocolate cream pie." And, as he's in the greater Boston area (Somerville), I just assumed it would be similar to a Boston Cream Pie. But, nope. It was a chocolate cream pie. Literally. No, it was really like semi-hard chocolate fudge--with a hint of cream, and in a crunchy crust. And, did he bring just one, little, itty-bitty pie? NO! He brought TWO HUGE PIES and one small pie! (I'm getting a migraine just writing about it!) I had to take 3 migraine pills: one each day, in order to consume some each day. I even brought a piece home for Jeff, which I ate most of...

The runners-up were Melissa's Mac 'n Cheese, Carol Ann's brownies and quiche, and Ann's Granola. Sorry if I misspelled any names here, new friends for me. Also sorry if I omitted other foods, seriously, it was all wonderful!

I'm posting a couple pics of the people and the garments. Jeff and I are leaving for Seattle and Victoria on Tuesday so I have to make some quick and dirty posts now. I have lots of cleaning and packing to do! A lot of my pics came out blurry: it was in the low 90s for weather, an
d I don't know if my camera was miffed.

Pics: As always, clickety to embiggen (the pics)-->

Top right: Charlton, ala chocolate pie fame.
Second from top: group shot on the last day.
Third from top; Gigi from Montreal models her fabulous cabled
sweater. The details were fantastic!
Middle at right: Sadia from Bennington displays her spindle-spun yarn. Very nice!
At right: Melissa S. Shows off her very nice top/shrug. Beautiful!
Next: Fudge from Ithaca warms up with MY cashmere/alpaca/merino triangle in triangle lace shawl. Soft.

I will be posting more pics after the Seattle trip. Just wanted to share some of these with ya'll.

Props to all from the knit camp! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of you and hope we meet again!