Sunday, January 30, 2011

Capital, Not My Capitol

We had a great trip to Washington DC. The open proportions of the city with the long National Mall and the wide views are so appealing. The buildings are new-classical or reproductions and so they have a satisfying balance that the originals couldn't have planned. Like Disneyland for geeks.
These buildings are struggling with access versus security. I was fascinated by the police and secret service, but didn't want to appear to be so. When I was in the Canadian Reserve Forces in the "80's, we learned a little. This was the big boy dream, to make a difference in National Security.

I love the sculptures and bronzes. I especially love lions. I am a Leo and have always been drawn to lions outside the Public Library in Vancouver, and then Trafalgar Square and George Square in Glasgow. I have made my children climb on them for photos.

This was the trip I decided to try the long arm self portrait (to various results).

So exciting to meet the other Angie. Purling Oaks has a lovely blog and lives in a dairy area, so I thought I might meet her some day. I didn't think it would be at a charming deli in DC. I probably gushed too much, but I do. There is such a thoughtful and deep personality behind the photos in her knitting blog. Plus she has a top job in the capitol. Cool. I can make cookies.
I couldn't get into the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress when I walked to it on Tuesday. They were catching the hawk that had found itself trapped in the some of the reading room. D was sweet enough to add it to our Thursday tour and I was thrilled to see the exhibit of Thomas Jefferson's library. I really am a library geek. This reading room reminded me of the one in the British Museum.

There was snow on the ground, so there were no tours and we had the place almost to ourselves. Just the way we like it.

The Capitol building is directly in front of the Library. We couldn't believe all the miles of walkways that had been shoveled of the 5 or so inches of snow.
This is my view of the Grant Memorial.

We walked the length of the National Mall, past the Washington monument and the WW II Memorial, along the length of the Reflecting Pool and to the other end. There weren't many people at the Vietnam War Memorial. It is a stunning piece of reflecting stone. We don't know anyone personally who died in the war, but if we asked a few friends, we could easily find someone who did.

The refelcting pool is closed for refurbishment. This is inspiring, protecting the legacy for the future.
The Lincoln Memorial was a highlight. We really wanted to see its massiveness in person. After watching Ken Burns Civil War series, and the new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, we had a better grasp of the history of the man. Truly remarkable.

We were lucky to be able to climb the stairs in the snow. Joggers and tourists were out in force, but no school groups. Is it going to snow again? Are we going to make it back to the other side of the Potomac? Wednesday night was a bit touch and go with the Metro stopped at times. We were lucky to have our shuttle drop us at a restaurant on the way back to the Hyatt. Then we got lost trying to walk the three blocks home in white out conditions and the warren of roads that is Crystal City Virginia. Again, the shuttle saved us as we flagged it down on its rounds.

D and I were having too much fun taking shots of ourselves in front of the White House. With our luck we would be considered security risks. But we laughed a lot. See the woven scarf that Angie made me? It is perfect. Ooo. Hope I don't have the chance to buy a loom at a discount because it is really tempting.
After dinner, we walked down the pedestrian mall that used to be Pennsylvanian Ave and took more pictures.
There was knitting: socks on the plane, another sleeve of Cassidy, and a good chunk of the back.
Next post I will show pictures of my trip to Alexandria and the haul from Fiber Space.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nice Knitters

What a treat to meet up with a blogging friend when I am far from home and all is new and different.
Purling Oaks is the most charming of bloggers. I love the photos of her cats and her home. She also lives in Washington DC and took the time between meetings to have lunch with me. We swapped presents of wool. She has invited me into her home and knitting projects via the net and now I got to hear her sweet voice and look into her light green grey eyes. We are both on the verge of changes and it was great to talk with her about that. I expect most of our lives are on the verge of changes.
She brought out her lovely sock in it's cunning little box vsf. I have renewed interest in sewing one.
I walked all over the National Mall and was surprised by the high level of security. But it may be because of the President's address last night.
We enjoyed a casual and fun banquet with the vets last night. I was really looking forward to a visit to Fiberspace today. More on that next time. I will post photos when I get home.
Thanks Angie!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Jefferson Davis Hwy,Arlington,United States

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time Zone

It's Tuesday morning and I had enough of a break to upload the blogger app. I love this iPad but it is quirky.
We met a very interesting government worker on the flight to Washington (imagine) and look forward to having dinner with Terry and Dolly in Seattle in the future.
I hope this is a year of taking time to spend time with people. We used to spend so many hours with our bag piping friends, practicing and visiting. It really was a family. But bands change and kids get older.
This St. Patrick's day I will try to have a casual get together with some of our oldest band friends. We clung together at the Burns dinner and reminisced so sweetly.
I am far from my friends and family this week, hoping to meet up with a knit blog friend. Now is the time to begin planning tomorrows memories.

Location:Jefferson Davis Hwy,Arlington,United States

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Not the Destination

We missed our connection in Seattle and couldn't believe it! The gate was changed and our flight was late and by the time we found out it was one or two minutes too late.
So we are in Seattle. This has been our destination before and not a bad place on a warm, dry day. So we hopped the first hotel shuttle (easier without luggage) and, after we were settled, took a taxi to the movie theatre. We don't use taxis as a rule (too rural) but Isaiah was great and wouldn't take us to the one we wanted to go to. He took us to the closer one that he likes better. It was a great choice in the enormous and shiny Westfield mall. We made it to our "King's Speech" which we enjoyed very much. We even had dinner in a brew pub, BJ's. I think we will make that a hobby or a habit.
Now we have to get up early for a long day tomorrow. Who knows how it will end or if our luggage is pining for us in Arlington.
Happy trails.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not Knitting Alone.

I set out the suet and immediately had visitors. We don't encourage the squirrels because these ones are indigenous and have pushed out our own small black ones. But he is cute.
The flicker is spectacular in flight and a member of the woodpecker family.

This is the Stellar's Jay, the official bird of B.C. My eldest sister is a naturalist interpreter and forester and was instrumental in getting this designation. Both the jay and the flicker are slightly smaller than our crows. The jays live in our rhododendron bushes and squawk at us when we walk from the front door to the garage. They barely tolerate us.
There has been knitting, but it is so dark in the cabbage of heavy rain that I can't get any decent shots.
Yesterday I went to knitting circle at Jean's and she is so smart! I was starting to moan about not getting row gauge in the Cassidy sweater, just identifying a problem. Well, she had me figuring out 5/6ths of the rows to get a sleeve cap. Yay. The sleeve is done and the second one cast on. I want to get the cuff done and the set up rows on the larger needle for airplane knitting on Sunday.
I went through the stash again. I have enough yarn for 3 blue sweaters for me in addition to the nephew sweaters and Vivian for Emily. I have made a few goals and deadlines for this year, but not too many: Emily's grad blanket, a black shawl this summer and a shawl for next January's birthday. I still have gifts on the mind and plan to pump out a bunch of cowls for next Christmas. The stash agrees. I also wanted to make some kids hats for the Mexico project. I should put the patterns with the yarn adn get on with it.
The monkey sock got lots of attention because I had to wait almost an hour at the local government office to settle Scott's passport application. I turned the heel and I made the clerk laugh. She thanked me for that because she said most of the clients are on survival mode.
I find it hard to find something I want to do more than knitting, even when I have strained my right hand. I have been luring myself to the Nordictrak with episodes of Firefly. It seems to be working if I do it first thing and "earn" my shower. Sit ups and push ups are getting done in higher numbers. Is that why my hand hurts?
Today I set up a craft for tomorrow and practice choir and flute for later today. I'd like to go to a movie or just out of the house, but I have to pack. Then we'll be away for a week and start missing home.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ennui Antidote

New, new, new! Go for the shiny! I chose to knit myself a pair of monkeys some of my newest yarn, handpainted Zinfandel Sock yarn from Unwind Yarns in Ocean Cove, my new Blackthorn double points in 1.75 mm and the new stitch markers D gave me from Wee Ones. I even got gauge!
Work went well last night because my peeps sleeped and I had another awesome partner, the Wee Gail.
Today I got a lovely message from Mindy complementing me on my Holden shawl which she designed! What a treat! It was a great pattern and I really enjoyed stretching my colour expressions.
I still need to take pics of my Moody Shawl and update my Ravelry page, but there are floors to wash, children to sing to and monkeys to knit.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Direction?

My daughter turned 18 this week. She wore the cape I made her from the Holiday Interweave Knits. Everyone loves her hair, which she cuts herself. She has a beautiful smile and spends so much time bringing pleasures to others with her music. She hopes to go to university after graduation to be a music teacher. We applied this week and it was pretty stressful.
I finished the Advent calendar scarf and I'm happy how soft and drapey it was after I blocked it. I couldn't block it very harshly because it's so long and the pins just made scolloped edges. Is in the gift drawer.

With these. The long-suffering socks. I got gauge, they knit up beautifully, and they're too big. I am discouraged. Will I ever get socks that fit? I also frogged the endpaper mitts because, again I got gauge, but they were way too small for my hands.
My next project is a big risk. The shawls all fit. I finished the Moody Kerchief in the bold new colouring edge. It will grow on my, but right now it's just different. Thank goodness it's soft Malabrigo.
I am swatching for the Cassidy sweater. Not the wimpy little swatch the I normally do, but a big one like Lala makes. My problem is that there is no guarantee that it will fit when I'm done. I have two sweaters to pass on right now that are too big.
I could focus on Emily's grad blanket (that'll fit) or the Philosopher's sweater that I now know needs to be smaller. Less knitting.
But I think I'll just swatch and then take the sleeve to work with me tonight. The sleeve will be less of a risk. Or not.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Than a Blessing

We got over a foot of snow last night. All the schools are closed. D's classes were cancelled.
Our driveway is 100 ft long. Whew! For years I did it on my own. But now we have two shovels, so I went out and helped. I wanted it done wide enough and tidily enough to meet the standards that my dad set on our farm. It's about safety and keeping the plants alive, too.

It took a couple of hours. Plus we did the short drive of the lady in front of us. I'm tired and sore, but may make it out this afternoon.

There it is. Now I can sit by the fire with a fresh cup of coffee and knit!
Shawl is done and laying out on the towels. Endpaper mitts are set up and Moody Kerchief is coming along.
Plus D cleared off the hot tub! That will be a blessing.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Keeping House

When I got back from the ranch, I still had to take down the tree and do more than a week's worth of house cleaning. Plus I had to start pulling low fat dinnners out of thin air. To reward my good work, I bought these giant jars at Wallmart. I put my sock yarn in them to remind me of what I want to knit. I need to buy another one for other yarn. They hold a lot! I got the idea from Jenny on Stash and Burn who talked about her yarn in jars. Thanks Jenny!
I also looked in my old folder of sock patterns and found I had chosen some really good ones. I mostly go to my books for ideas (through Ravelry).
In Kamloops we visited Twist of Fate despite the incorrect phone message and lack of info on the website. I thank Caroline for setting me straight, sharing her baby and being my tour guide in the shop. I get overwhelmed when I have too many decisions.
But I knew I wanted some locally dyed sock yarn. This is from Shannon who is so bubbly and dyes a lot of candy colours. I met her at the Fibres West. Looking forward to seeing her again next March 18 and 19.

I bought me some Malabrigo! So soft. I plan to make the Moody Kerchief. Perhaps the first of many.

But first I have to get my Advent Scarf to 72 inches. I'm not even aiming for completing all the 24 parts. Just a long shawl/scarf. My eye is wandering. I am thinking about other projects and wishing I was finishing the Long Suffering Sock so I can cast on another.
The Winterblomen mittens are frogged. It certainly wasn't the pattern. I picked the wrong yarn first. Then I had the wrong gauge. I was disappointed that the pattern was random and not the rhythmic sets of 2 and 3 that I love in fair isle.
Do you have a little voice that speaks to you with common sense? Mine is called "Jean". She said, "Don't knit it if you don't love it." Of course. But I really needed permission to ditch this mitten that I failed to knit last year.
Now I'm going to start the Endpaper mitts. Not just because Leslie made them beautifully for Lala.
They were on my favourites list before that. I almost made them as a Christmas present. But they will be for me. After I finish the white scarf.
I only have the scarf and the sock on the needles right now because I finished the Holden Shawl on the way home from the ranch. I cast on as we headed up. Now that's a good trip.
This is for my mom for her February birthday. I loved knitting it. That's why everyone is knitting small shawl right now: they're fun and fabulous. This is Koigu because I wanted something special.
The colours are meant to evoke and iris garden because that's her name. Emily doesn't like the colour, but I do and I hope Mom does, too. She grabbed my Multnomah and put it on once. She's not very subtle.
If we start the new year as we mean to go, I have a clean house and some great knitting to look forward to.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Meanwhile Back On the Ranch

We had a good time on New Year's Day when D and I went up to my sister's ranch, just south of Kamloops.
They only have a few cattle in the winter. These girls will each give them a calf in April or May.

It was Julie's birthday and she appreciated the banner Emily made her.

We walked in the snow. It is very dry. Even when the snow is up to your knees, it's not too cold to go out and play. I disappointed her by not going down the huge toboggan run. But I am old enough to know that I don't like to go fast.

I'm all about the long, slow walk. We went down to the lake and even walked on the ice.

It was nice playing with family.

She has several horses. They all have good cow sense and she has bred most of them herself. Everyone in this neighbourhood is crazy about horses.
D helped out with some checking for pregnancy. He also set up his new telescope and the clouds separated for the most beautiful, fairytale, sparkling sky. He was very excited about tracking and seeing objects he never had before. It was beastly cold in the night, but not windy. I took my jewellery off so it wouldn't freeze my skin, and I loaded up on handknits.
It's always warm in the barn. Just kitties...
And chickens. The chickens were way more friendly than the kitties.
In the house we played Balderdash and shot pool. We read in front of the wood fire. I knit as the others watched TV.
There was knitting. There was wool shopping. And there was a designer and her beautiful baby. More on that next time.