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Archive for the ‘Vacation’


Bliss

Dear Ellen,

dscf1503.JPGYou were right…Sock Summit is absolutely fantastic.

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dscf1488.JPGdscf1485.JPGYesterday was a good time, yarn crawling through Portland and gaining fortification at VooDoo Donuts.

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dscf1514.JPGdscf1494.JPGdscf1506.JPGBut today was fantastic.  My class with Cat Bordhi was fascinating.  She is genius…and she helped us see stitch patterns in a whole new way.  Like her socks, she soars.  Six hours with her went by in a flash and then we were all exhausted.

dscf1516.JPGdscf1520.JPGIt was fun seeing Stephanie Pearl McPhee and she was great at the opening reception.  And need I mention the shopping?  We all sure got a great haul.  And I appreciate thatPortland has many larger than life objects for our amusement.

Love, Jan

It’s a heck of a town…

(Sorry for many small pictures – click on photos to embiggen them.)

Dear Jan,

141.jpgImagine jogging up to a bench in Central Park, looking down, and spotting a Signature double point needle in size 0, just the size you yourself are knitting a pair of socks in.  Imagine the sigh the knitter who lost that needle let out when she realized that needle was gone.  True, she may have had the 5 needle set and could get by with the 4 remaining needles, but still…Signatures are special, and it was probably a heartfelt gift from someone dear to her.   It would take another knitter to recognize what this find was and to pick it up from the ground and keep it from being just a bit of metal swept up by the park staff.

113.jpgFortunately that knitter didn’t find it before we jogged back to the park bench where I’d lost my size 0 Signature dpn the day before.  And fortunately Wilson had spent many Easters looking at the ground in parks, usually for wildflowers, but this time for the needle I had lost when I took this photo of my sock in progress in Central Park.

33.jpg24.jpgWe did see wildflowers in Central Park, along with many other NYC sites on our long weekend.  As soon as we checked in to our hotel we headed over to Bouchon Bakery, where Jenny served us a fabulous meal.  You can spot her if you embiggen the photo – she is right below the “U”, taking someone’s order.  The cafe is a Thomas Keller restaurant (Thomas Keller, who gives his staff the credit for his success.  In other words, who gives Jenny the credit for his success.  Heh.)

112.jpg43.jpgThe hotel was on 7th Avenue, right next to the Carnegie Deli where we ate massive amounts of smoked fish.  We sat with Gene Siskel  – he signed his photo “I’d rather eat your corned beef than see most of the movies I do.”

54.jpg64.jpgWe paid a quick visit to the Marshall Chess Club.  Someday Wilson will have to play a game there, as other great chess players have done.

84.jpg 73.jpgAnd then we went to lunch where Karen joined us, along with Allen and Libby!  Technically we joined them, as our naivete to the NYC subway system made us late.  You are going to like Libby – and I assured her that you and Dale were far more competent than we were (this was even before the spilling of the Korean iced coffee).

92.jpgThat evening we took in Wicked. The show was really quite good, but we did not approve of the change to the end of the book.  Happier endings aren’t necessarily better endings, at least in theater. At least the New York cheesecake we had at the Carnegie Deli (we became regulars) was a happy ending for us.

103.jpgI’m sure you’ve seen photos of the marquee for the David Letterman Show, but have you ever seen the mosaic underneath that marquee?  I prefer it by far.

132.jpg123.jpgBut even better than a Broadway show and the sites of NYC was an afternoon and evening at Jenny’s, cooking up a vegan feast and feeding it to her friends – including Marie and Heidi!  They were in fine spirits.  The woman in the picture with Heidi and Jenny is Anna, another of Jenny’s buddies.

152.jpgWe couldn’t believe how quickly the weekend went and we were back on the airplane heading home.  It was as though I was painted onto the mattress this morning – all of this fun really exhausted me.

Would I do it again?

In a New York minute.

Love,

Ellen

Return to Jamaica

Dear Ellen,

dsc01968.JPGAs I had mentioned, the Jamaica trip was fantastic.  The fact that I haven’t blogged about it is more because I’ve been underwater since returning.  (We were underwater during the trip too…4 open water dives!)  Between catching up at work and with the building site, there hasn’t been much time.  Plus I’m knitting all those hats.  Well, here are a few shots. They should certainly give you the feel of the trip.

dsc01969.JPGdsc01986.JPGdsc02033.JPGdsc02067.JPGdsc02135.JPGMany water sports….

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dsc02167.JPGdsc02088.JPGdsc02093.JPGMany drinking sports….

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dsc02025.JPGdsc02055.JPGdsc02022.JPGMany sunsets…

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dsc02016.JPGdsc02003.JPGdsc02080.JPGdsc02004.JPGMany cautionary signs…

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dsc02198.JPGdsc02176.JPGdsc02178.JPGMany stitches on my needles…even with another man.

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Many memories.

Love, Jan

What’s Nupp?

Dear Ellen,

dsc00863.JPGI loved your little froggy visitor and had to show you a toady friend I discovered on our  last trip to Fair Winds.  I helped him escape Ruby out of harm’s way.

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dsc00997.JPGWe made it back to the farm this weekend as well.  And we spent our first night on our property!  Dale was resistant at first, but I think if you were to ask him now, he’d claim it was his idea.  We had a wonderful time.  dsc00996.JPGdsc00999.JPGWe stopped by the mercantile (I love that our future county has a mercantile) and picked up a pair of bib overalls for Dale so he can avoid constantly having to pull up his jeans.  He loved them…I may have a struggle to keep them on the farm!  We got a lot of work done both days and spent a delicious night by the fire listening to the insects, looking at the stars and roasting marshmallows.  dsc01009.JPGdsc01010.JPGHere Dale is searching for an honest man ridiculing my baby Coleman lantern.  However, I proved that by using it, it is possible to knit by the campfire, though I ended up correcting a few issues the next day.  We will be camping again soon…Dale went out and bought another sleeping bag and a blow-up queen-sized airbed at the sale at Sport’s Authority today — a sure sing that he’s hooked.  A portable camp toilet is on my wish list, though I managed in the woods just fine.

dsc01021.JPGdsc01020.JPGdsc01018-1.JPGThe knitting I was doing is the Annis Shawlette from Knitty.com.  I’m calling it my Crescent Beach Shawlette because the pattern has a lovely crescent shape to it and the colorway is Ocean Memories which brings back college memories of visiting the ocean at Crescent Beach, FL when I was a student at UF.  Man, I’m flying through this pattern!  LOTS of fun once you get the first few rows out of the way.  And this was my first experience with nupps, so I had a bit of dsc01023.JPGexperimenting and learning to do.  For instance, I found that you can’t be too inattentive when you are completing the nupps.  The first stage is easy, in same loop *K1, YO* three times, K1 so you end up with 7 live stitches in one loop.  Coming back on the purl side you purl all 7 loops together.  dsc01024.JPG(Thank goodness for pointy tipped lace needles!)  My issue was that I tended to either realize I was at the nupp a loop too late (I kept trying to purl the first loop of the nupp as its own stitch) or I managed to drop a loop during the operation.  In my defense, remember that this was knitting by the campfire!  No worries though, I corrected my occasional dropped loop or extra stitch in the daylight by dropping back a row to redo or as is seen in the photos, by doing a bit dsc01025.JPGof stitch collection after the fact.  Very easy — I just found a bit of the same color repeat from the end of the ball, wove it in to catch at the back of the nupp, brought the needle to the front at the top of the nupp where the loops are collected on the single purl stitch, caught the loose loop and returned dsc01026.JPGthe needle back through the same hole pulling the top of the loop through to the back and then securing the yarn end.  All better. I only have 15 or so rows to go and it’s all easy stockinette short rows.  These introduce the nice crescent curve to this shawl.  A fun knit and fast.

dsc01017.JPGMaking progress on my Hsssssy Fit Mitts too…they’re Stephen West’s Diamondback Mitts.  I’m making them for a friend’s brother — he’s been just great helping with challenges her family has had and works outside in all weather, so thought they’d be a nice way to show him some appreciation.  I love the pattern, but am thinking I’d reverse the rows of main color so that the cabled stitches are in the second row vice the first row of main color rows.  As it is now, the cable stitch is worked over some already stretched stitches as they’ve been slipped over the contrasting color.  The look is fine, it works fine, I’m just curious to see if the stitches look a little more even that way.  I’ll have to see.

dsc01027.JPGdsc01028.JPGTGIF is temporarily finished.  I say temporarily as I think that in about 30 minutes I’ll be downstairs ripping out half of the shawl collar/button band.  STUPID mistake on my part regards buttonhole placement.  The distance of the lower buttonhole from the bottom edge is way out of proportion with the width of the button band itself.  I knew it and yet decided it wouldn’t matter much and pressed ahead to include sewing on buttons.  And I decided I needed four buttons — which places the top button a little too high to let the shawl collar open like it wants to.  dsc01030.JPGOnce again, I should have trusted my instincts when the warning in my head popped up in the first place.  After living with it for about a week and a half, I know I have to go back and do it right — three buttons, better placement…and maybe a different bind-off.  I may not get back to it for a few weeks though…I’m trying to stay on task with Single Skein September knitting.

It will be another crazy week at the Pentagon.  Luckily only 4 days thanks to the holiday!  Hope you had a great Labor Day and have a great week.

Love, Jan

It’s a Beach Underwater Too

cimg2150.JPGcimg2148.JPGDear Ellen,

I didn’t mention scuba in the last post, because I’ve got a LOT of great scuba pictures.  Some of these are courtesy of one of the other divers who had a cimg2114.JPGcimg2021.JPGcimg2087.JPGdigital waterproof camera.  And some are from a waterproof disposable film camera that we picked up.

I won’t give a running commentary, but I will suggest cimg2101.JPGcimg2086.JPGcimg2122.JPGyou look for the manta ray, the shark, the spiny lobsters and the cute cimg2000.JPGcimg2013.JPGcimg2054.JPGdivers.  We got in two dives while we were there and are giving serious cimg1963.JPGcimg2025.JPGthought about getting our advanced qualifications before we go back.  Yes, we pre-booked to return in February 2011.  It was that fun.

Love, Jan

Life’s a Beach (Continued)

Dear Ellen,

What does one do at an all inclusive resort in Jamaica?  I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

dscn2348.JPGYou get there on chartered bus from the airport that makes a strategic stop about halfway into the hour and a half ride so that one might stock up on essentials like Red Bull — in order that they might be sure to have energy for all the vacation activities ahead.

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dscn2362.JPGdscn2369.JPGdscn2367.JPGYou walk on the beaches along Negril where you find starfish, sea urchins and feral puppies (whose mom was close by).

dscn2370.JPGYou make new friends like David the basket weaver.

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dscn2359.JPGdscn2408.JPGYou amuse yourself running back and forth with the sandpipers.  And you chat with the egrets who want some of your breakfast.

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dscn2376.JPGYou watch your husband sailing around on a catamaran.  And then you join him for some sailing yourself.

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dscn2375.JPGYou admire the pretty hibiscus blooming on your hotel room patio.

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dscn2393.JPGdscn2392.JPGYou knit on the beach and play footsie with your sweetie.

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dscn2400.JPGdscn2398.JPGdscn2396.JPGYou are amused by silly wood carvings found here and there around the grounds.

dscn2432.JPGYou get nice strangers to take your picture with your honey at sunset.

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dscn2493.JPG And you wrap it all up with Red Stripes at the airport before you head back to reality.

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Love, Jan