I’ve Made it to 41 States

So this past week I traveled to the other side of the continent with 14 students (and two other adults) to a little town called Seattle. It was lovely there, the weather cooperated beautifully, making sun every day but the Friday when we left. We did many, many things, even though we stayed in a relatively small section of the city. Here is a recap of some of them.


First, our hostel was right next door to Pike Place Market, where it seems you can find a little bit of everything. There were fresh baked goods and fruit for breakfast every morning, and many seafood vendors throwing fish. There were artists and retro memorabilia. And even a yarn shop!


So Much Yarn was a nice airy shop with lots of light. I got there after closing, but as it was a knit night, they were nice enough to let me in for a short time to knit with them. I wish I could have stayed a bit longer!

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Next, we spent a lot of time at Seattle Center, where there was the Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, the Science Center, and the EMP Museum. The International Fountain was a big hit as well, a nice resting place to cool off between tours.

Speaking of tours, we did one of the Seattle Underground, which was created when the city decided to raise the roads and thus the street level so all the second floors became the first floor for buildings in downtown Seattle after it burned. It was very interesting to see the remains and hear the stories about how this came to be.

We had many more adventures at the Aquarium, riding the Great Wheel, and visiting Tillicum Village, a recreated Native Northwest American village where we watched traditional dances and heard stories from tribesmen. I got the closest to being in the out-of-doors there, but one of my students had to go to the bathroom about a few hundred feet along the trail.


Overall my favorite part was just talking to people and learning from them, about their history, about their experiences, and so forth. The only part that I found disappointing was the Science Fiction/Fantasy display at the EMP. It was just a few cases with copies of books and some props from shows, when they could have done so much more to share this genre with people. However the entire trip was a good one, and I hope I can go back to Seattle or the surrounding area some day on my own to explore!

To a Wonderful Woman

Yesterday, one year ago, the world lost someone. Someone who was extraordinary, but so humble and quiet, they didn’t, for the most part, know she existed.


My grandmother passed away shortly after midnight. It was terrible for me, because I have never lost anyone personally before this. She had been in the hospital for surgery two weeks before, but through some mishap, she caught something that she couldn’t fight off. The weekend before she died, I knew in my heart it was worse than I was being told. I sat at this same desk, and told her that I didn’t want to lose her, but if she needed to, it was ok to let go.

My grandmother was a wonderful person, calm and firm, we weren’t overly indulged, rarely got away with things as kids, and she rarely lost her temper. She was so warm, being there for a hug if we needed to. I remember once when I was in my teens, (I was a moody thing), and she quietly came to talk to me, telling me that I was acting poorly, and my attitude was one thing that I can control out of everything, and I was doing a poor job of controlling it. That has stuck with me to this day.

Grandma also taught me so many things. She was a very creative person, always making things with her hands, things she shared with others. Food, sweaters, blankets and quilts, ornaments and decorations, I think I picked up a lot of my multi-craftualism from her. She’s the one who taught me to knit, to sew, and so much more. As I grew, the teaching began to flow both ways as we shared knowledge on cooking, knitting, and gardening with each other. She also taught me by example, showing with her actions how to live a life that was full of family, love, and purpose.

I knew she volunteered her time and services in many places, but only truly understood the magnitude of her giving after she was gone. She gave blood regularly to the Red Cross. She knit blankets for Project Linus, donated many of her other items she made where needed. She sewed quilts and blankets for the Ruth Circle at church. Helped to deliver meals through the Meals on Wheels program. Volunteered at the local environmental center one day every week. Participated in the Master Gardener program where she helped people in the community with their gardening questions, planted community gardens, and created rain gardens at the local library.  Probably there are things I am leaving out, but even half of this list is a strong statement to anyone on giving back to the community.

I remember having to write papers in school about who my role model was. I know I probably wrote about my mom a few times, but I remember thinking at the time that (although my mom is my role model and a wonderful person herself) I didn’t really recognize strongly a figure in my life who fit this bill. Maybe this was because I was the youth who thought they were smarter than they really were, the kid with the poor attitude. Maybe this was because I was so lucky to have so many people, women especially, who were great role models for me, I didn’t realize what I had until it was gone. And I am so very lucky that I had so much time with my grandmother, I know not everyone has this time or this kind of relationship. I did, and am blessed because of it. I aspire to be the kind of person my grandmother was, though I know I will fall short of her example. She was just that kind of person.

I love you Grandma!


So I have a sweater that is all but done, a hat I want to wear that is nearing completion, and a spinning project I am part of SAL for, to be done by the end of March. What do I do?


Flash back twenty years to my youth, and play with plastic canvas! I have been cleaning, organizing, purging, and rearranging my lair. One of the things I am trying to accomplish is keeping surfaces clear. This makes me feel better, like everything is more under control when it is put away and not out in the open. In order to accomplish this in part, I needed to find a box that fit my knitting needles, which was a fruitless search. Remembering the bag of plastic canvas in my closet, I thought, “I can make one!”


So I did. Simple enough to cut pieces to size and stitch them together. I may go back and fill in the sides with designs later, but for now it is serving its purpose in a drawer out of site.

Apparently, I think I have way more needles than I actually do.

Trying a New Yarn

I have a new hat on the needles! This is exciting because all winter I have been lamenting the fact that I have no hat for me that is handmade. I do have one I initially knit for my hubby that I claim, but the Lopi yarn I used itches something fierce, so I can’t wear it long. I also have an Icing Swirl hat that I love, but it isn’t really a keep-you-warm-in-the-bitterest-cold kind of hat. So I bought one (contain your shock and horror) because I needed to be warm more than I had the time to prove my worth as a knitter. Until now.


The hat pattern is Sea Beanie by Elena Nodel, which has some beautiful cables on the hat, yet is simple two-by-two ribbing the rest of the time. It comes with instructions for both DK and worsted weight yarns, so you can use either one with minimal calculations on your part.

The yarn is Fish Belly Fiber Works. Holly, the genius behind the dyes, does some pretty varigated colors, but what stands out are her semi-solid colorways. I love them all, and wish that I didn’t already covet my stash so much, or I would throw it over for more of her tonals. This yarn is her Canal base, a 100% superwash merino DK weight yarn, in the color “Midnight”. It is much deeper blue that was showing on my screen, but still shows the cable pattern beautifully. It is squishy and soft, yet the strand is plump, making the cables pop out from the purl bumps.

Holly actually has prompted my knitting on this hat, as she is hosting an “All for Me” knit-along on her Ravelry board. I have been wanting to knit my hat, and found the perfect pairing for yarn and pattern. It is going along quickly, especially after all of the fingering-weight projects I tend to be drawn to. I find myself finishing a row before I know it. Lucky for me too, since the KAL ends Feb 28th, giving me plenty of time to bind this off.

Are you knitting anything for you? I would love to see it.

Support Hose for Yarn

I am working on a hat, which I will give details of later this week. But first, I thought that ribbing, being soooo interesting boring blog fodder, could be replaced with a simple tool I made for my yarn to keep it from getting tangled or collapsing while I knit.


My daughter wore a hole in her tights. I have the habit of thinking what else I can do with items before I throw them out. These tights sat on my desk for a few weeks before I had an epiphany. I got my scissors, cut them into strips about 3-4 inches wide (I didn’t measure, just eyeballed it), then stuck my yarn ball into it.


Voile! A nice yarn sock to keep my yarn clean and untangled!

What creative repurposing have you done lately?

A Note in Good Faith

Dear Interwebs,

Please stop showing me pictures of beautimous yarn. I am trying so hard to be good and not buy yarn. I have devoted my time to spend with my stash, and you keep trying to pry me away from that loving relationship. Go bug someone else and show me all the hot pink yarn instead.

Someone in a Committed Relationship

Testing, Testing, 123…

I’m looking at the market for some new sweater yarn.

(Let’s not talk about all of the sweater yarn I already have, mmmkay? I mean, it doesn’t really count that I have over 10 sweaters worth of yarn, or one on the needle that has been there at least 8 months, does it? I have every right to dream about new sweaters, don’t ruin my dreams for a new sweater by inserting your reality nonsense!)

I’ve been talking to a friend of my, Jess of Storied Yarns, who dyes some wonderful products. I am interested to see how other wool breeds wear as a sweater, so I am doing some experimenting. Jess kindly has sent some bits from her own personal stash for me to play with. I do have to say that I know her from my teaching days and she is a friend of mine, and that’s what friends do, send yarn!


That up there, from left to right, is 100% superwash BFL sport weight in “The 13 Clocks” colorway, Polwarth/Silk DK in “The Evil Queen” colorway, and 100% BFL DK in “The Enchanted Forest”. I plan to knit each into little swatches, take notes on the way, and let you see the results of my experiments as I go. So stay tuned as I play with yarn! (That’s what you are here for, right?!)

Quick Cooking

Lately my nights have been busy, and I want quick meals to make for dinner. I have a few that I can rotate, but recently I have found some that are quick and so tasty that they are requested by some of the pickier members of my family. (Love you hubby!)

One such meal that I have recommended to family and friends is a one pot pasta dish. One pot, dump everything in, cook. Including the uncooked pasta!

I found the recipe here, and she gives a couple of links to other variations. I have tried some of my own, and thought all were delicious. Tonight our version had dried basil, dried mushrooms, and chopped kale. So good!!


This recipe is heavy on the onion and garlic tastes, so if you don’t normally like those flavors this may not be for you. Me, I think there is no such thing as too much garlic, and will happily eat so much that I stink for days!

Do you have any quick meals you like for dinner on busy nights? I would love to hear them, as I am always looking for new recipes to add to my rotation.

Just Jumping Right Back In

I love stranded colorwork! I have completed relatively few projects that involve stranded colorwork, however I always want to make more. For some reason the magic that occurs when you alternate colors in your knitted row is just amazing to me. I keep petting my knitting, I am so enamored!


This project is the Campfire sweater pattern that was released by Tin Can Knits and comes in a wide range of sizes like the majority of their patterns. I am making the 5-7 year size currently. I also have the yarn and plans to make another for my younger child in the 3-4 year size. His will be navy with a yellow accent. I asked my hubby if he wanted matchy sweaters, and he said, “Sure.” I made him pick out a color, though I didn’t buy the yarn, so there may be two adult sizes knit in the future as well. The yarn I am using is Valley Yarns Superwash DK. The only modification I have made thus far is that I did not change to using two colors at the colorwork section. Instead I just continued using the color for the main body of the sweater as the background color. One explanation for this could be that the yarn choice didn’t have another color I thought would go well with the main color as a smooth transition, similar to what is pictured in the pattern photo. Or the reason might be that I didn’t read the pattern schematics well enough before I purchased the yarn.

Now that I think about it, the last one is exactly really unlike me.