Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer Toes and Progress on K1b Scarf

My neighbor came by to show off her first pedicure of the summer. Her toes are a beautiful red with some sparkly bits and a flower design on the big toe. Very sandalicious I think.

I have ripped out my Knit One Below Inside Out Scarf three times to get the look I want. In class we had started it on needles much smaller than the pattern called for. I believe that was because they expected we were all there to start the vest.

So I went back to the pattern and finally chose the needle size that the pattern called for, a size 10. Things are going much better now. My plan is to fringe one end of the scarf and leave the other end plain to show off the fancy double loop cast on. The scarf will be on display at Nuts and Bolts in Woodland Park as soon as I can get it done, as a sample of the Knit One Below class I will be teaching there in September.

It is a very fun stitch and, once I figured out how to read it in my knitting, has been very relaxing. A couple notes: do not get overconfident when you slide the stitches over to the end of the circular needle to finish that section on that side. I can attest that they can go shooting off the end of the needle and create quite a mess. :-)

For my next project using this stitch I will attempt the Reversible Vest. I have a skein of fun yarn that I bought for a vest two years ago at the Estes Park Wool Festival. I have not gotten around to the other vest pattern, however I think this yarn will go well combined with a solid color of worsted and make an interesting look for a casual vest.

I hope you are finding fun, new ways to spend your leisure time!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

On the Go: Steam Train Trip in New Mexico

My brother (the one I affectionately call the "Evil Elf", who currently lives in Germany with his family) arrived here for a visit this week. He had planned it ahead of a work obligation that he has stateside. With much planning we were able to book tickets on a narrow gauge steam railway trip that we had not been on before (I think mom and dad had been years ago - but not us).

The morning started early in Alamosa where we had spent Friday night. From here we were only 30 miles to the northern rail terminus where we picked up our tickets and boarded a motorcoach to ride the 48 highway miles to the southern terminus train station of the Cumbres Toltec Railroad.

The weather could not have been better. It was sunny, cool and clear to start the day. The train left Chama on time to a local crowd that waved to the passengers, some even followed us to each crossing we made of the road so they could take pictures. The road only follows the train to the halfway point then the train goes cross country into areas that you cannot see from an easily accessible road.

The folks rode in the coach car out of the cool air. My brother and I "commuted", with lots of staggering as the train rocked back and forth,from where they were riding to the open car where there was a very knowledgeable docent (which he told us later means blabbermouth in French) was talking about the history of the train - 64 miles long built in 9 months and is now the longest and highest narrow gauge railroad in America. It was built in 1880 as the San Juan spur of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad to tap into the mining districts in southwestern Colorado.

The passenger service operated until 1951, then the line hauled freight to the areas where oil and gas was being processed until just prior to 1970 when the state bought the line for a tourist attraction.

Our docent was also quite knowledgeable about the geology of the area, a lot of volcanic activity happened in this part of the country as evidenced in the rocks we were traveling by. The volcanoes in the area are now dormant (or so we hope, he said smiling) and are mostly basaltic shield volcanoes that are formed by oozing lava not by exploding and spewing lava.

The scenery on the New Mexico side of the line was forests and rock formations and lots of water. According to our docent, this is the wettest spring they have seen in many years. The upside to this is they will see wildflowers bloom this year that have been dormant for quite a while. It takes spring rains for some of the wildflower species to germinate. It should be a blanket of color down there in a month or so.

Pictured to the right is the tallest trestle on the Cumbres Toltec line, it is called Cascade Trestle and is 137 feet high. We had lunch at Osier, the halfway point, where the two trains meet to have lunch and switch engines. You can start from either the Chama N.M. side or the Antonito CO side of the line. At this point if you are going all the way through, as we were doing, you change cars for the ride down the other side. There are trips available that you can go roundtrip from your point of origin, up to Osier for lunch and then return. They served a full meal that was scrumptious, gave you time to stretch your legs, use the facilities and browse the gift shop before blowing the whistle and starting down the other side.

On the way to Antonito we got to go through two tunnels. The one pictured here is Rock Tunnel. It was bored out of solid rock, is 360-feet long and is very dark. The other tunnel is called Mud Tunnel and has supports running through its 342-foot length.

Once you head down out of the mountains into the high desert area of the south end of the San Luis Valley the landscape goes over to sagebrush and juniper and the occasional pronghorn. The picture on the right has a dormant volcano off in the distance.

We arrived in Antonito around 5 p.m., visited the gift shop and jumped in the car for a picnic dinner in the Alamosa city park that houses an old train engine, then it was a fast ride home so my brother could get on a plane Sunday afternoon to go to his jobsite. We had a great time on this excursion.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fun New Item

In preparation to take my blogging on the road I ordered a Dell Mini 10 while it was at a hot sale price. I have been reading about these for some time now and thought it was time to make the committment.

I ran it by the IT guy at work because they recommend Dell exclusively. He thought it was a really good deal and gave me some pointers on how to change out the security pack (icky Norton) for something just as good and takes less juice to run. And he advised to get the larger battery (6 cell vs 3 cell).

It arrived yesterday as well as the custom netbook cover that I ordered from a gal on Etsy ( Shout out: She did a great job and even went out to find the cat print fabric I wanted. It was a very fast and great workmanship custom order! Thank you, Bertie's Closet @ Etsy.

Now I just have to get the thing set up and take it on a couple test runs to wi-fi hotspots to see how it works. It is much smaller and lighter than my other laptop and will make it easier to carry on the plane and go through security. I will be excited to blog my trips in real time versus coming home and trying to remember everything for each day and match it up with pictures. I hope to run a test with it at Estes Park later this month when I go there for the Wool Festival.

In knitting news: I am currently attempting a hat using the Knit One Below technique. I needed a little, portable project to take on the train trip we are doing on Saturday and this fit the bill. Will have pics to show after Saturday of knitting on a steam train in New Mexico.

The other pic in this post is because I find this a funny thing. This is the mascot for a carwash here in town. He is certainly eye-catching when you drive by. It is called the Quick Quack Car Wash, they specialize in express service and have shops in California and Texas. It just "quacks" me up.

I hope you are finding fun things to giggle at in your world!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sock Summit Registration

With only 71 days to the opening of Sock Summit in Portland, today is the day registration opens for the much anticipated SS09.

With all the excitement and tension among the more than 2,000 members of the group on Ravelry, I think I am waiting until at least this afternoon to try to go on and claim the slots I want. Since I have decided that I want to sightsee as well as take some skill classes, I am going for the one-hour slots. This will give me time to practice the new skills without missing out on any of the other fun. At least this is my plan.

I'll let you know how this worked for me later.

Later: after the dust settled on the crashed server (it only took 5 minutes to bring it to a screeching halt) I watched the group board at Ravelry and tracked the tweets from the organizers until I thought it was save to dive in the pool. I managed to get the five 1-hour slots I wanted and a ticket for the Opening Reception on Thursday night. My payment was accepted and I received a confirmation email later in the day. I count myself very fortunate considering the many horror stories that were shared by the other participants. It looks like all the classes sold out the first day. So my airline ticket is purchased, my classes chosen, my hotel room booked (by my roomie - thank you) and some contacts made for fun sightseeing adventures.

I am very excited about August in Portland! I hope you have great things to look forward to this summer!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Movie for Memorial Day

What a better way to celebrate a wet, rainy Memorial Day but indoors at the movie theater in 3D glasses to see Monsters vs. Aliens.

We were among just a handful of folks that had not see the movie yet, even though it has been in theaters for over a month. The crowd we walked in with was headed to the two blockbuster shows for the weekend: #1 - Night at the Museum 2 and #2 - Terminator Salvation.

We had a great time! I hope everyone found fun ways to celebrate their long weekend.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Holiday Weekend Update

What a great holiday weekend! I attended my youngest nephew's graduation. That is a picture of him with his mom. It was a lovely day to be outside between persistent rain showers. They had four flyovers, all unplanned. The first was a pair of geese, then two commercial jetliners, one on approach for COS, the other on take off. Then at the very end, when the kids had dispersed onto the field and were meeting with the family members, the Thunderbirds roared into town. They are here because they do the flyover for the Air Force graduation scheduled for Wednesday, May 28th.

Then I went to Woodland Park for the Frankensock class on Sunday afternoon. There was much hilarity with tiny needles, the showing of Young Frankenstein and planning the next classes the group wants to take. All in all a great afternoon.

In between all this I did the usual weekend chores and tried to get some more knitting done. I delivered the felted samples to the shop for the beginning class scheduled in July.

And I worked on the Knit One Below Inside Outside Scarf that has to go to the shop for display. I am also knitting some samples of this stitch technique that will serve as working swatches for those who want to start by getting the feel of the stitch and then we will learn how you have to rip out this technique. Yes, there is a special way to do it so you do not end up with a horrid mess.

And the whole weekend it seemed to rain. At one point the creeks were flooding on the west side of town. It is much needed however it did make for a soggy time to be out enjoying all the festivities. I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday even if you had to bring the grilling indoors!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wee Tiny Sock Received from WA

I received this package in the mail this week from my Wee Tiny Sock Swap partner who lives in Washington state. She made the project bag herself in my favorited color, and the sock is knit in a hand-dyed yarn with a combo of colors that I had not seen yet. It has purple, browns and salmon in it. It is a very lovely combo. It was a really fun package to come home to. Thank you, thank you!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Monday: Weekend Update - Middle of May

First note: can you believe it is the middle of May? I cannot. Time is racing by this year. By the looks of Pedro he does not care what the calendar says, he is just glad that there are birds in the yard to talk to. Between those visits at the window he likes to lounge around on his scratching curl.

On Saturday I took my dad to see Angels and Demons. It was really good. Lots of action and great location shots in Rome and Vatican City. Dad said he really expected monsters and such in the movie. I found out after that he had not read the book. He is going to now.

Then on Sunday, I went to Hollyberry Needleworks in Old Colorado to take the Knit One Below class. I had read the book and struggled with the cast on technique for a month. Once I watched the class instructor I realized my error and the rest came very easily. Goes back to I am a mulit-facted learner with an emphasis on visual. I am about six inches into the scarf that I will use for a upcoming class sample for Nuts and Bolts. This is a really fun knit and makes beautiful fabric. I hope to make the reversible vest for fall wear after I finish the scarf.

I hope everyone is enjoying their spring!

Celebrating socks at the House of Mouse

My co-worker took my rendition of the Mickey Mouse Ears sock to meet the big mouse himself in Disneyland. How many mouse ears can you count in this picture?

I think she did a great job and looks good in her own version of princess ears. Thank you, Jen. :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taking the show on the road

The secret knit is done and on its way to my coworker's camera bag for her trip to Disneyland.

By next week I hope to have a picture to post of the "Mickeys" together in the Great Land of Mouse.

Hope you have fun things happening in your world!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy May Monday: Weekend Update

To celebrate Mother's Day, I took the folks to see the local players, at the Two Miles High Supper Club, perform their version of murder mystery dinner theater with a speakeasy theme in Lake George. The group does this every Mother's Day weekend to benefit the local library.

Their performance of the locally written play was wonderfully done. The play was interspersed with red hot mama songs and a barbershop quartet that joined the group out of Colorado Springs called Velcro. The four gentlemen that joined us for the evening are part of larger group of the America the Beautiful Chorus. They are great.

The meal was delicious and all the food, a very big thanks to the sponsors, was all donated. All in all, a great evening was had in the little town of Lake George. Sorry, no live pictures were taken because I did not think I would be able to and did not take the camera with me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Monday! Weekend Update

The final flower class was lots of fun as usual. There are more flowers to knit and use for embellishments. We will look at others for future classes. For now, their gardens are started.

I have made good progress on the February Lady Sweater and finally have the pattern memorized and can easily do 4 reps an evening. I think I may have it ready to wear before the end of the month.

And I found a pattern I liked better for my Plain and Fancy Scarf that I purchased yarn for in Taos. So I restarted it and I think I like this much better.

And in my spare time I created some more Buttons with Bauble stitch markers for my Etsy shop.

While I was reading blogs on Saturday AM before I went to class I ran across a video on how to make origami cats. I fell in love with it and stopped for origami paper on the way to Woodland Park. I created my first one as a test and gifted it to my co-worker for her desk. I have great plans for others.

I hope you have exciting discoveries!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May: Days to Celebrate

May promises the greening of the trees, flowers blooming, birds singing and, in general, lighter clothing. All of that said, it was 40-degrees, rainy, foggy and generally blah today, however the moisture is welcome and the birds were singing anyway.

There are several fun days to celebrate this month, the 1st being May Day that was yesterday which was also Mother Goose Day. Following that is Cinco de Mayo that I have mistaken for Mexico's Independence Day. I heard that I am incorrect and that it actually commemorates the day that the Mexican army ran off Napoleon's French soldiers. (and I thought it had something to do with five days of mayonnaise :-))

The best day is May 6th because it is Interational No-Diet Day. So eat what you like and enjoy yourself.

Do not forget your mothers on Mother's Day, May 10th this year. Then it is International Nurses Day on May 12th with Tulip Day following on May 13th.

May 17th brings us Peace Day and Victoria Day on the 18th, which will be celebrated in the British Commonwealth countries.

Memorial Day is on May 25th this year. It is a time to remember all those that have given their life to defend the principles of this country and all of our loved ones that are gone but not forgotten.

To end the month we can celebrate a dual holiday with the first day people climbed Mt. Everest and the day the ice cream freezer was patented on May 29th. I wonder if those two things are related?

And through the month you can practice your bicycling skills by celebrating National Bike Month.

Whatever you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a great time!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May: Can you smell Summer right around the corner?

From this view of the outside world you would not know that this is May and summer is right around the corner.

This is the second weekend in a row that the weather has been foggy, damp, drizzly, rainy, snowy, Seattle-like. I am not complaining because we need the moisture after our long, dry, cold winter.

This week I heard, in relation to the weather: "It is a great day to be a plant", and "This is great weather if you are the lawn."

While the outside looks like this I am working diligently on the February Lady Sweater. I managed to accomplish the four rows a day goal and am finally starting to see the pattern and I like it.

Pedro has been practicing his "cute" so he can get more comments from passerbys in the evening when I open the windows for him.

I hope you have big plans for this summer and enjoy your weekend!