Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 3:35 PM

Contrary to rumor, I am still around. Life intervened, I became very busy, #1 Son grew up and no longer provides much blog fodder. Something had to give, and unfortunately the blog was the victim. This website will continue to live, but the chances that I’ll blog again are not high.

Please come find me over on Ravelry (as JudyBecker) and Twitter (@JudyBecker).

It started with the tree.

The mimosa tree, planted the first spring I lived in this house, had become a thing of beauty loved by myself and all of the neighbors. It grew with a fairly short main trunk which divided into two major branches, holding its broad umbrella canopy partly over my back yard and partly over my right-hand neighbors’ yard – one limb each. They have a two-story house, and very much enjoyed looking out of their upper windows onto its smoky pink blossoms. I spent a lot of time watching the scrappy little hummingbirds chase each other around while arguing over the best flowers. I loved the way all of its leaves closed up after dark. On warm summer evenings, I always made sure to tell it good night. It was always the last thing to wake up in the spring, and the last to go to sleep in the fall.

This year, right before Thanksgiving (that’s at the end of November for you non-USA readers), we had several days of high winds and pounding rain and general icky weather. But the house and the yard held up quite nicely and life went on.

One day, I was minding my own business when I heard a loud creeeeeeek craaaaaaack BANG! [house shake] whummmmp sound of pattering cat feet high-tailing it to parts unknown

What are you guys doing? I said as I strode purposefully down the hall. Because Moo Cow and Captain Kidd had acted guilty, so I was immediately suspicious. But as I wandered through the house, nothing seemed amiss. I looked out the front window. Everything looked OK. I looked out the back door.

alas, poor tree, I knew it well...
alas, poor tree, I knew it well…

My tree!

My beautiful, beloved mimosa had split in two, right down the trunk. Sadly I went outside to survey the damage. The limb overhanging the neighbors’ yard still stood. The part overhanging my grape arbor was down. But, thoughtfully, it had missed every major structure in the yard, including the house and back fence. My little backyard head sculpture (named Todd the weather god long ago by #1 Son) sat sadly amongst the litter of branches and seed pods, with one grape leaf clinging forlornly to its forehead. The only bit of damage appeared to be the last 2×4 slat on the arbor, which had been knocked off but not broken, and possibly a minor limb or two on the mini cherry trees.

But the mimosa…

The split started at the divide of the major branches and went nearly to the ground. It was something of a miracle that half still stood. And it was a good thing, as that half would have taken out the fence and most likely done some damage to their yard and maybe their house. It was fairly obvious the tree could not be saved.

With great sadness I contact the Yard Guy and told him that the tree would need to be removed, and he might as well do the winter clean up while he was here. We’ll come next Monday, he replied, and added That’s too bad. I always liked that tree. It was a really pretty one. We’ll clean your gutters while were there, too.

I made a mental note to check the grape vines over the weekend and see where all they’d gotten to. The grapes have a tendency to want to come in the house, and have been known to wrap themselves around #1 Son’s bedroom window and through the window screen, which is right there next to them. I wanted to show the vine the error of its ways before the Yard Guy came, and at least pull it away from the shutter.

On Thursday, my cell phone rang just as I was walking into a meeting. Since the meeting hadn’t started yet, I answered.

Hello. This is Alarm Central Monitoring. We have detected a breach in security at your house. It appears that one of your bedroom windows has been compromised. We have dispatched the Sheriff and he should arrive momentarily. (yes, they really do talk like that)

I felt an immediate surge of adrenalin and was instantly on high alert. I’m leaving now and I’ll be home in 20 minutes. The Sheriff can call me at this number. I poked my head in the door of the meeting room and said, sorry, gotta go, house being burgled and ran for the parking lot. As I ran, and drove, I wondered if the cats were OK, and the computers, and the special big plastic box, and the yarn stash (surely they would not want my yarn stash?). Oh the poor cats. Kidd would freak out and die outside in the cold. Had I really remembered to store all of the exceedingly important files off site? My house!

Half way home, my cell rang again. Hi. This is the Sheriff. I checked out your house, and everything looks OK. There’s a crew there doing some yard work. Looks like they rattled the window or something. But everything was locked up tight. I don’t think you need to hurry home. Looks OK!

Todd the weather god
Todd the weather god

Yard crew? The Yard Guy wasn’t supposed to be there until Monday. WTF? Would burglars act like a yard crew in order to throw the Sheriff off? Would the Sheriff buy it? (And, most importantly, would the burglars do some yard work while they were at it?)

I thanked the Sheriff and proceeded home. And, sure enough, there was Yard Guy and his crew. The mimosa (RIP) lay in pieces on the font lawn while a couple of guys cut it up and tossed it into a big truck. Many loud, gas-powered, testosterone-driven tools were at work, drowning out the neighborhood peace. Yard Guy was in the back of the truck, loading up tree parts. I walked over. Hi there! I wasn’t expecting you today. I shouted.

Yard Guy: We weren’t doing much today, so I decided we might as well come over and take your tree out and do your clean up. Did you know the Sheriff was here?

Me: Yeah. I am aware of that. That’s sort of why I’m here.

Yard Guy: Oh! Yeah. I rattled a back window or something, getting the grape vines off of it. Apparently your alarm went off, but I didn’t hear it. It might still be going off. Come in the back yard and I’ll show you what were were doing.

Now, gentle reader, my alarm is very loud. I have set it off a time or two myself, accidentally. Not only does it use a piercingly shrieking, air-raid siren loud alarm, but it yells at you. In English. Warning! You have entered a secured area. Leave immediately! The entire neighborhood can hear it. The fact that, standing in my back yard, I could not hear it at all – and in fact could barely hear it with my ear pressed against the window – gives you an idea of the noise being generated by the yard crew and their myriad tools.

I went inside, where the sound of the alarm was quite noticeable, and shut it off. Then went back outside to shout have a conversation with Yard Guy.

Yard Guy: I thought I sort of heard something. But nobody else could hear it, so we just ignored it. Do you want me to put that 2×4 back up on the arbor?

Me: Yes, please. That would be very nice of you.

As well as taking out the tree and mending the arbor, they also cleaned out the gutters (and repaired one that was coming loose), trimmed and pruned and edged, and got the yard ready for winter. I really do love Yard Guy and his crew. They do a wonderful job. It was just that they didn’t come when expected, and I didn’t have time to get ready for them. Unfortunate, you know.

And it didn’t end there…

Next… there is more… and maybe knitting, too.

Food |Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 10:51 PM

#1 Son in the kitchen
#1 Son in the kitchen

This Christmas we tried something new. Usually #1 Son comes to my house for dinner and present opening, and we watch a movie or whatever and just chill. This year I asked #1 Son if it would be fun if I came to his house instead, and we could cook together and feed which ever of his roommates or friends were around and hungry? He thought that sounded fun, and we planned accordingly.

A couple of days later, he mentioned that his Totally Adorable Girlfriend™ would be in town. I said that she, of course, would be welcome, too.

A couple of days after that, he mentioned that TAGF’s™ father, J, (who lives in Portland), would like us to all come to his house instead. I wasn’t sure if I was really ready for the whole meet the ‘rents thing. But we try to go with the flow around here.

#1 Son still wanted me to come to his house because he’d done massive cleaning and didn’t want to waste it it sounded fun. So the plan became: I go to #1 Son’s house and we whip up an amazing vegetable stew…

getting ready for the feast
getting ready for the feast

Which we take over to J’s house, where he and TAGF™ will have crafted the rest of our feast.

And feast it was! #1 Son and I contributed the stew – amazing stew! – couscous with hazelnuts, and a bottle of wine. J broiled a wonderful halibut dish. And TAGF™ mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, and baked a cheesecake for dessert. All of the food was amazing, and I ate a lot of it. We all did, actually. J was a gracious host and I enjoyed meeting him. I had a very nice time.

There was a bit of present swappage, too.

look! I knit something!
look! I knit something!

Look! I knit something! I finished these just last night, for TAGF™, which means it’s probably the last finished object of 2009.

  • Yarn: Sundara Sock (100% Superwash Merino / 360 yds per 100gm skein) in Basil over Buttercup – less than 1/2 of one skein
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circular, US#2 (3 mm)
  • Pattern: Merletto Mitts by Jodie Scofield – a free download on Ravelry
  • Modifications: continued cuff ribbing on the palm side all the way up the wrist; fussed with the thumb a little.

I think she likes them
I think she likes them

It appears that she likes them!

When questioned, #1 Son had told me that her favorite color was chartreuse. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. #1 Son can be a bit of a kidder, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s being serious or not – especially via text message.

This was the chartreuse-est yarn I could find in my stash. All the time I knit I kept fingers and toes crossed that she really did like green. But she assured me that she really does, and her favorite color really is chartreuse.

#1 Son told me that he didn’t even know what color chartreuse was and he’d had to look it up, so there was no way he could have actually been kidding about it.

#1 Son got his big present a few weeks ago, but I gave him a little space heater for his room. He lives up in the attic of a 100-year-old house, and it’s cold in the winter. This one can also be used as a fan without heat, so it will also be useful in the summer when his room is too hot.

a little bling for the ears
a little bling for the ears

#1 Son gave me a bit of bling for my ears. Aren’t they pretty and sparkly! I can’t wait to wear them.

And also a cute little lantern candle-holder to hang outside in the summer.

I don't know what it is but it's pretty cool
I don't know what it is but it's pretty cool

TAGF™ gave me this. I have no idea what it is, but it has lots of little gears that whir and springs that wind and little feet that go around as it scuttles across the table. The geek factor is high and I like it!

I know I’ve been mostly absent, but I’ve had a lot going on the last month or so. Gentle reader, I will tell you all about it in the next post…

Knitting by Judy @ 4:35 PM

closeup of border
closeup of border

Sometimes, if we are very lucky, we create an object that is so perfect, so me that it can hardly be described with words, but must be felt to be understood.

One of the first objects that I can remember knitting as a child was a Fair Isle poncho. The main body of the poncho was knit from an acrylic faux mohair in a sort of tweedy golden brown. Around the border were white snowflakes. I was incredibly proud of it. I picked the pattern, even though the LYS owner said it would be too hard for me. And I knit the whole thing, even the snowflakes, even though I had to learn stranded knitting and I was still a thrower instead of a picker, even though it was hard and slow. I knit it. And I loved that poncho way beyond its actual worth as a knitted object. I wore that poncho constantly, even when ponchos were out of style. I wore it until it fell apart and had to be retired. When someone asks me what my favorite project ever is, I immediately think of that poncho.

It was waaaaaaaay better than the first sweater that I knit, which I wore once… because mama forced me to. Yeah. That was the sweater that first taught me that cheating at gauge is a lose-lose proposition.

But I’m not here to talk about ponchos and sweaters, beloved – or not – as they may be.

closeup of center in the sun
closeup of center in the sun

I’m here to tell you about a little project that started way before I became involved in it. It started over a year ago at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in 2008, when Duffy purchased some gorgeous silk/merino fiber from Dicentra Designs in a colorway called Eowyn.

Oh, yeah, that’s pretty, I said, in a sort of I-like-it-but-I’m-not-a-spinner-so-meh way. Pretty colors.

Eventually Duffy began spinning it.

Oh! That’s really pretty! I said, in a sort of I-like-it-and-it’s-turning-into-yarn way. Pretty colors.

And this past summer, during knit in public day, Duffy spun while sitting in the sunshine, and the colors glowed on her bobbin – greens and blues and purples. oooooo! Pretty! Really, really pretty! I said, in a definitely I-really-love-that way. Pretty! Ooooooo! So my colors!

And I bought some yarn and knit some socks, and was mostly content. But in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to find some yarn that had just those colors in it. Because they are soooo my colors.

And one evening at Wednesday Night Knitting, Duffy handed me a gorgeous skein of two-ply yarn with a tag on it that said Magic Judy. And I thought how sweet it was that Duffy had named it after me, and how pretty – how very, very pretty – the yarn was. And I started to hand it back. But Duffy said, I made it for you. It’s yours. And perhaps because I refused to let go of it no matter how I argued with her, she was adamant that it was my yarn and I needed to knit something with it.

glittering in the sun at OFFF
glittering in the sun at OFFF

And so I began searching for a pattern. I decided the yarn wanted to be a wrap or shawl or stole. The colors are bright and strong, with long runs. So I wanted a pattern that had a strongly geometric component that would complement the color rather than compete with it.

And beads. It had to have beads.

I found Stola Mit Arabesker Borte Und Mitte (Stole With Arabesque Edging and Middle), a free download on Ravelry. It didn’t have beads, but I thought I could add a few. The title was in German, and that gave me pause because I speak not a word of that language. But when I opened the pattern I was reassured. What few instructions there were – cast on, follow chart, bind off – are in English. It’s mostly just one big chart. I like charts!

Then began a period of Sock Summit madness. And when I resurfaced and recovered from that, I though how fun it would be to knit that shawl and reveal it at OFFF in September. Duffy would be there, and lots of PDXKB and Spinnerati would be there, and tons of other people. And it would be so fun to show Duffy what I’d made.

First I agonized over beads: sparkly teal with undertones of silver, or dark mysterious midnight with surprising flashes of sapphire. I polled on Twitter and Facebook, and I even knit a tiny swatch with both beads. Sparkly teal: hands-down winner.

Then I agonized over bead placement. I had a limited number of beads – fewer than 550, which is not a lot for a wrap of that size. I worked for an entire weekend deciding exactly where to put the beads. (OK. Sometimes I can be a little obsessive.)
obligatory blocking pic
obligatory blocking pic

I started knitting. And then I started agonizing over whether I had enough yarn or not. I almost ripped it out and started something not-so-picky-about-length, like a faroese or something. But it was so pretty! I contemplated shaving a bit off the width and length so it was smaller. But the pattern has no repeats, so that would not have been all that easy. A Ravelry PM or two with the pattern author, and I began to hope that I would have just enough.

I kept knitting and adding beads. I found that I could not take it anywhere – it was at-home knitting only. And I’d better not knit while I was feeling sleepy. It kicked my arse several times when I was sleepy and made stupid mistakes. Once I was sleepy and tried to fix a stupid mistake and ended up having to rip out 12 rows.

Every time I was home, and awake, I knit obsessively. I really, really wanted to have it done by OFFF. And I started planning: if I can get two charts done today, two tomorrow, and one on Tuesday, I’ll make it. And I stuck to my schedule – mostly – and knit obsessively and finished the scheduled charts, and began to hope that OFFF would see the big reveal. I tried to keep it mostly very secret and not let Duffy know what I was doing, because I wanted it to be a surprise.

And then I ran out of yarn. A foot from the end. Yarn. Gone. I wept.

I cried and whined like a junky needing a fix I took a deep breath and bombarded Duffy with Tweets and emails wrote an email to Duffy. I see your nefarious plot, I said. Lure them in with the free stuff and get them hooked… I offered my firstborn male child to buy fiber if I could have more yarn.

Duffy replied, Aww. Poor thing. Auntie Duffy will help. [pat pat pat quiet evil chortle under her breath]

artsy draped shot
artsy draped shot

I even brought the sadly unfinished stole, still on the needles with a foot of knitting to go and 6″ of fiber remaining, to Wednesday Night Knitting, so everyone could see why it had to be finished and Duffy could see how much more yarn I needed. And everyone agreed that it was beautiful and need to be completed. Duffy emailed Dicentra Designs to ask her to bring more Eowyn in the merino/silk blend to OFFF. And everything was set.

What will you do if she doesn’t have any more? Someone asked.

I wept again. And contemplated ripping the entire thing out and reknitting the same pattern with a different yarn for the border. And wept some more, then crossed my fingers and toes and knitting needles.

At OFFF, Duffy and I duly proceeded to the Dicentra booth, where we found one – ONE – thingy of merino/silk in Eowyn. I held it tight. Is it enough? I asked Duffy? It’s plenty. I was vastly relieved and bought the Eowyn and two other thingys of fiber for Duffy besides. And I started breathing again.

Back at the PDXKB/Spinnerati booth, I casually tossed the stole over one of the tables. Because it was pretty and I liked looking at it and petting it. And it was supposed to debut at OFFF anyway. I began to suspect that I was on to a good thing when people started coming from way across the fairgrounds. What is that? It’s so pretty! I saw the sparkles from way over there! I had a lot of fun talking about knitting with beads, and showing how I’d run out of yarn, but Duffy was, even as we spoke, spinning more so that I could finish it. I wish that the beads photographed better, but perhaps you can see them twinkling in a couple of the shots.

It took Duffy hardly any time to spin the yarn and ply it and do all that stuff that has to be done to yarn when you’ve just made it. And one Wednesday night shortly after OFFF, Duffy presented me with a new skein of yarn. And I decided that I must immediately wind it into a ball so that I could start knitting as soon as I got home. And I pulled out my trusty nostepinne, and, swiftless, proceeded to turn the lovely skein of yarn into a tangled mess.

There was a bit of friendly betting on Facebook as to whether I’d stay up until it was untangled or go to bed, and if I stayed up when exactly I would be finished. It was 3:30 AM, thank you very much. And yes I did go to work the next day.

spreading my wings
spreading my wings

So I knit obsessively. And I finished it. And last Sunday I gave it a nice soak and then spread it out to block on #1 Son’s bed. It was so pretty!

Monday night it came off the blocking wires. I settled it across my shoulders with quiet joy and gazed at it’s loveliness in the mirror. The colors were so beautiful and so me. And the beads – just the right number of them – twinkled like little stars as I moved.

And I wore it Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Saturday. (Friday I took a break only because I didn’t leave the house that day.) On Tuesday a colleague (a straight, male, non-knitting colleague) said, I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time concentrating on what you are saying because I’m captivated by your shawl.

Oh, it was so beyond pretty! It’s by far my favorite knitting project ever. I love it beyond reason – even more than the Fair Isle poncho. It’s the perfect object.

Duffy: thank you, my friend, for the gift of your fiber and your time to create amazing yarn that has become this wonderful, magical object. Thank you.

in-the-sun fence shot
in-the-sun fence shot

I keep trying to take picture of it – some more successful than others. The darn beads just don’t show up like they do in real life. You will have to trust me that they are perfect. Today the weather relented and there was a bit of late-afternoon autumn sunshine on my fence. I was able to get one last glowing-in-the-sun shot. Ahhhhhh. It’s so pretty.

Duffy will be bringing it to SOAR (because how could I refuse her request?), so if you are going, too, track her down and ask for a peek.

  • Yarn: Judy’s Magic spun by Duffy Stephens from silk/merino fiber dyed by Dicentra Designs in a colorway called Eowyn Ask Duffy if you want to know the spinning particulars.
  • Needles: Addi Lace 40″ circular, US#8 (5 mm)
  • Pattern: Stola Mit Arabesker Borte Und Mitte (Stole With Arabesque Edging and Middle), a free download on Ravelry
  • Modifications: Added beads. Nothing else.

Knitting |Sock Summit by Judy @ 7:45 AM

crazy Brian's week of socks
crazy Brian's week of socks

Why, yes, I’m a little late getting this post out, gentle reader. I can only plead life and this little book thing that is still a tremendous time-suck, and which seems to now be rushing along way faster than I’m ready for it to do, which in turn is just a little terrifying. But, hey… it keeps me young, or something.

So this is the long-lost SS09 post. Alas, I have only a few pictures because I didn’t have my camera with me. I only had my cell phone. It’s just not the same. So what I have are a few grainy photos and a lot of amazing, wonderful memories.

This is crazy Brian of Skacel, who is knitting a weeks worth of socks all at once. I love the way he has all of the yarn balls in the plastic shoe caddy pouches hung up on the wall. Awesome idea for keeping things untangled. I can’t wait until he has the heels turned! He’s crazy, I tell you, crazy. But in the best possible way.

OMG I'm in class with BGW!
OMG I'm in class with BGW!

On Friday I got to sit in on Barbara Walker’s mosaic knitting class (yes, THAT Barbara Walker).

I sat over to the side between Stephen Houghton of hizKNITS and Y Knit (who’s been blogging about as much as me), and Amy Singer of knitty.com. We were briefly introduced and applauded politely, and then the class got down to the real work of the morning, which was learning how to knit your own amazing mosaic patterns.

I wish I had a better picture of the sweater that Ms. Walker was wearing. It was really amazing! Search out on the interweb and find someone who was smart enough to bring a real camera and get a good picture. It was all sparkly and mosaic-y and very, very cool.

BGW's socks
BGW's socks

And, yes, it’s true that Ms. Walker was selling some of her old socks. I bought some. They were $5. I mean… these are Barbara Walker socks! Interesting construction, too. It turns out she knit them flat and then seamed them up the top. I really wish I’d had a chance to find out more about them. But it’s really amazing that I even got to sit in on her class.

Contrary to rumors, I did not snatch the socks out of the hand of some poor, defenseless knitter. There was a pair still there on the table when I picked these up. Really. And I went back a bit later and bought Ms. Walker’s tarot deck and a little tiny bag that is hanging from the mirror of my car. It’s all orange and sparkly and makes me smile.

At one point Ms. Walker asked if anyone had scissors she could borrow. I may have beat Stephen with my knitting needles in an attempt to get there first. :mrgreen: It’s all sort of a blur. But I know that BGW did use my funky little leopard print scissors. (Really, Stephen will be fine. Nowhere near as much damage as the poor gal who sat on her needles and stabbed herself through the leg.)

world record ticket
world record ticket

After the BGW class, I participated in the World Knitting Record Attempt! This is my ticket. And I still have the little swatch that I knit. I used some yarn from China that was a gift and my Lantern Moon straight needles (you can see them in my hand). We had to knit on straight needles for 15 minutes without stopping.

Cat Bordhi handed out Japanese food skewers to all of the teachers, just in case we didn’t have straight needles. If I’d had some fingering weight yarn handy, I would have knit with those. But, alas, I did not. I still have the skewers, though. It was pretty fun to see Cat knitting on straight needles – really not her thing.

world record setters
world record setters

Finally, here’s a picture of a few of the world record setting knitters. I have not heard if it is official yet or not. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I know that a group in Australia were re-setting their own record at the same time. But I think we beat them.

Those are all of the picture I have, I’m afraid. But it was truly an amazing experience.

I’d really like to thank each and every one of my students. They were amazing, every one of them, and I enjoyed having them in my classes. It was the most fun I’ve had in a coon’s age!

The marketplace… yeah, it was pretty amazing. I had very little time to shop – just the few hours during the book signing – and really the only thing I bought was… (drum roll please)… a swift. Don’t worry, I’m not abandoning my tinker toy swift. But this was about as close as I could get to tinker toys. You can see it here. It comes in a great little bag, and you can take it all apart when you’re done with it, and I love it. If I were winding with a ball winder, it would be perfect. Since I wind by hand, though, it has more drag than I like. I control the tension while I wind, and having drag on the swift is tiring.

Suggestions for ball bearings or something that I could use to reduce the drag?

Luminary panel… amazing. Just to be in the same room with all those luminaries was amazing. And on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s birthday! Who knew that they would all be so warm and witty? Oh, wait… they’re knitters, so why should I be surprised?

SS09 was really wonderful and amazing. Thank you to everyone who was involved in bringing it together!

Now back to my mundane life. I will be teaching my four week Socks Without Rules at All About Yarn in Tigard starting next Monday. I think the first session is full, but I may be teaching a second session if there is interest.

Knitting |Sock Summit by Judy @ 2:25 PM

Someone at Sock Summit ’09 said to me I read your blog a lot. Which made me realize a couple of things. (1) Oh, yeah. I do have one of those blog thingies. Right. (2) Anyone who reads my blog a lot has been reading the same thing for a long time now. (3) (ok… three things. that still qualifies as a couple, more or less) I did sort of say I’d be back after Sock Summit. And — new realization here — sadly, Sock Summit is pretty much over.

Ahem. Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we, gentle reader?

sock hop socks
sock hop socks

Part of my prep for Sock Summit included knitting socks to wear to the Sock Hop. Even though, sadly enough, I didn’t actually make it to the Sock Hop, I did wear my socks at SS09. These were tons of fun to knit and embellish. They feature mind-hurting techniques like intarsia-in-the-round and other stuff that I made up as I went along (so you know I was enjoying myself!). The stripped foot was inspired by a picture of a 1950’s candy-striped refrigerated door. The rock ‘n’ roll lettering recalls retro color-block advertising and is bordered by a diner tile pattern. The sheep and musical notes are my version of a poodle skirt. And, yes, they are fraternal. The yarn is Blue Moon Sock Candy — a wonderful cotton yarn with just a bit of bounce added that saved me from having to wear wool socks in the summer. (The colors are Granny Apple, Chocolate, Butter Cream, Borage, Dusty Blue, Sunlight, Poppy.) The beads, silk ribbon, tiny buttons, and glitzy package wrapping string that I used for the embellishments came from my craft stash.

The week before Sock Summit it was over 100 F in Portland for days on end (that’s more than 38 C). I note this in passing only because I decided that I needed something new to wear to SS09, I didn’t have much time to knit it, and knitting wool at that temp seemed like crazy making stuff. But I had some linen in my stash — Louet Euroflax, to be exact. Although the end result is lovely, and gets softer and more drapey with every wash, it’s mostly like knitting with twine. Lovely twine, to be sure, but twine nonetheless. Here was one place that the heat actually served me well. Damp hands helped to soften the yarn. I know… ewwww… but I washed the finished Clapotis a couple of times. I put tassels on all four corners, just because I could, and scattered just a few beads in the tassel strands. I didn’t get a good picture of it, but Rachel and Angela — who insisted on being all fan girl — did. You can see I had bad hair that day. Yes. It’s true. I got to meet Barbara Walker. When I had Very. Bad. Hair.

voodoo to you too
voodoo to you too

I apologize in advance for the quality of the following pictures. For some reason I just could not remember to bring my camera with me anywhere I went. All of these were taken with my iPhone. It’s not the best camera in the world, but hopefully you will get the idea. As always, click on the pics to biggie-size and pop up the little slide show thingy.

My Sock Summit week started a little bit early. Lorilee Beltman from City Knitting was just one of the amazing array of teachers that Stephanie and Tina gathered together for SS09. Lorilee arrived in Portland a few days early and I offered to… show here a good time.

We started out at Voodoo Doughnuts. Lorilee tried the eponymous Voodoo Doughnut, and I indulged in my favorite bacon maple bar.

lots of cheese
lots of cheese

Fortified by Voodoo, we headed for Tillamook. Our first stop was the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where they are celebrating their 100th birthday. From one side of the observation floor, you can see big vats where the milk is cooked and curdled and the cheese is actually made. On the other side, we watched big blocks of aged cheese whirling around conveyor belts and such while people cut them into smaller blocks and weighed them and packaged them for sale.

There’s an ice cream counter on the observation floor. We may have stood in line and indulged in a cone. It was their 100th birthday, after all.

Lorilee and friend
Lorilee and friend

Our next stop was the Tillamook Air Museum, where Lorilee found a friend!

The museum is housed inside a blimp hanger that is the largest free-standing wooden structure in the world. It covers more than 7 acres and is more than 15 stories tall – all with no internal supports. The thing is freaking huge! Seriously. I have to admit I’m not all that into military aircraft. It was interesting seeing all of the old planes and really early helicopters that looked like death traps. But the real draw for me, personally, is the sheer size and scope of the building and the interesting story behind its construction. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area!

munson creek falls
munson creek falls

From there, we made our way down a narrow, one-lane gravel road (with, fortunately, plenty of turnouts for passing) to Munson Creek State Park. Munson Creek Falls is the second highest falls in Oregon — only Multnomah Falls is higher — and the highest in the Coast Range. Munson Creek itself is an important spawning area for salmon. The park is situated in a canyon with tall stands of cedar and Sitka spruce all around and, of course, the usual temperate rain forest understory of ferns and moss and berry bushes. There’s a trail that leads, after about 1/4 mile, to the closest point one is allowed to the falls. The picture was taken from the end of the trail. At the trail head right next to the creek there is a cute little picnic area with a couple of tables. (No water or restrooms.)

Munson Creek is another well worth a visit but out of the way place. I had no trouble negotiating the road in my Prius. But there is not a lot of space at the end of the road turn-around. RVs and trailers would not fair well.

blue moon cafe (not related)
blue moon cafe (not related)

Leaving Munson Creek, we realized that it was getting on towards the middle of the afternoon. I had been a bad hostess and dragged Lorilee all over Tillamook without even offering to feed her. And we were both starving.

We drove back into Tillamook to find (a) a likely place to eat and (b) someplace that had decent coffee. And the first thing we saw was the Blue Moon Cafe. I’m sure there is no relation to that other blue moon, but it seemed auspicious. We ordered sandwiches that turned out to be hearty, fresh, and tasty. Thus fortified, we walked a block away to a coffee house. I sadly did not get the name of the place, but the coffee was great.

From Tillamook we drove up to Astoria, because it’s pretty and picturesque and everyone should drive across the Astoria-Megler Bridge (The. Tallest. Scariest. Bridge. Ever.) at least once. And then we followed the Columbia River back to Portland, crossing at the St. John’s Bridge and back to The Kennedy School, the start of our adventures.

Lorilee meets Terminator
Lorilee meets Terminator

Over dinner, Lorilee claimed to be a wine drinker and not to like that beer stuff (or words to that effect). I plied her with introduced her to Terminator Stout. She admitted that maybe this beer stuff was OK. She drank the entire glass.

And that is the tale of my pre-Sock Summit adventure. Next time – and it will be soon – I will tell you all about Sock Summit, where an amazing time was had by all.

  • Translate
  • Thought of the Minute
    • The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

      (Bertrand Russell)
  • Word Of The Day
  • Current Weather

Wayback Machine
  • Present Future
    • Fri, Jul 12 - Friday! (Today)
    • Sun, Aug 25 - My Birthday (44 days)
    • Mon, Sep 2 - Labor Day (52 days)
    • Thu, Sep 19 - Talk Like A Pirate Day (69 days)
    • Thu, Sep 26 - until 09-29 Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, Canby (76 days)
    • Fri, Sep 27 - until 10-04 Banned Books Week (77 days)
Stuff I Gotta Do

Follow The Leader shawl


entrelac wrap


Arabesque shawl


Jubjub Bird Socks


I Mog Di


Peacock Feather Shawl


Honeybee Stole


Irtfa'a Faroese Shawl




Fatigues henley sweater


Jade Sapphire Scarf


#1 Son's Blanket


Cotton Bag