Archive for 2014

Two Stockings

A few months back, one of my neighbors asked me if I could knit two Christmas stockings for her new daughter-in-law and her youngest grandchild.  It seems this is a family tradition that was started by her husband’s mother, and there are 18 of these stockings out there, all the same pattern.  But she didn’t have the pattern – it had been lost after the two family members who had knitted the previous ones had passed away.

All she could do was give me her son’s stocking as an example:

Newman stocking original

Well, I have to tell you that intarsia knitting (knit-in separate motifs) is one of my least favorite things to do.  But she is a good friend and I couldn’t see how she was going to find anyone else who could not only knit it, but also deconstruct the original stocking to come up with a pattern.

So I did a bunch of examining and stitch counting and charting (using Excel) and went to work.  It turns out they were knit flat and seamed up the back, down as far as the heel shaping – because of the intarsia motifs.   There are ways you can knit intarsia in the round and I considered that, but decided it was more hassle than it was worth.  The foot can’t be knit in the round until you are done with the wreath motif on the instep (top of foot) so the part of the foot after the heel shaping, and the rest of the instep, are both knit flat and then seamed together.  So only the last red and green parts of the foot were knit in the round.

I didn’t knit the names in as intarsia either – just knit the white section at the top, then used duplicate stitch with the green to add the names.  Much easier!

I definitely had “second sock syndrome” by the time I was done with them.  As in, sick and tired of knitting that second sock.  But they turned out well, here they are with one in profile and one with the top facing so you can see the wreath:

Newman stockings 2And the two of them with the original (my neighbor is going to sew the jingle bells on):

Newman stockings 3Now she has a pattern and charts, just in case they ever need another one.  I won’t be knitting it.

I have also been a little scarf-weaving factory the last couple of weeks.  Put on three 21-yard warps using some handpaint mohair boucle and brushed mohair yarns from New Zealand that I picked up when a business changed hands several years ago.  This is actually much easier than it may sound, using my AVL warping wheel and winding directly on to the sectional warp beam.   A 21-yard warp is just enough for me weave 10 scarves on the same warp colorway, each about 65″ plus fringe after washing.  The scarves themselves are just plain weave with a hemstitched edge and fringe.  I used mostly rayon chenille for the wefts, but also some Jaggerspun “Green Line” wools on some of them, and natural black alpaca on a couple of them.  They are all out at the Winthrop Gallery, Confluence Gallery, and the holiday gift show at Local 98856 in Twisp.

Didn’t get pictures of all of them, but here is the last set of 10 drying on a rack:

Parrot warp Dec 2014 1 Parrot warp Dec 2014 2

We had a decent snow 2 weeks ago, then it stayed very cold for a while.  Then, it rained a lot this week and stayed just above freezing during the day – so now the snow is a mess and it is really icy and dangerous to walk on.  Yuck.  I do hope we go back to normal snow soon, for the sake of the ski trail system!


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Bazaar happenings

My Dad rather pointedly reminded me that I haven’t posted since the one titled “A Month Went By” – and that was over a month ago.  Well, it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything.

The end of October brought the Seattle Weavers’ Guild sale.  I didn’t go over for it this year, but did send my handspun wraps and some Mosaic Mojo hats over to a friend to take in for me.  I sold 4 hats but nothing else – my friend brought what remained out to me at an annual knitting retreat I have been attending for decades.  That was a lot of fun, as always – 4 days of hanging out with old friends, knitting (and going out for some nice dinners in Port Townsend).  There is always a de-stashing sale and I once again pared down my knitting yarn collection – although it is still SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy).  I also sold three of my handspun wraps!  To say I was thrilled doesn’t quite cover it.

4 Indigo warp 3 fibers one colored

5 Peacock warp BFL handpaint roving

6 Sable warp lambswool alpacaGone, but not forgotten.  Of the 9 shawls I made in the late spring with my handspun, I now only have 3 left.  Considering I wasn’t sure I would sell ANY of them, I am quite pleased!

Right after I got home, we went down to Wenatchee for Rick’s knee replacement surgery on Nov 4th.  That went very well and he is now about 3-1/2 weeks out and definitely on the road to recovery.

When we got back to the Methow, I went to work on finalizing the rugs I was making for the winter show at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp – the title of the show is “In A Land of Snow and Indigo”.  Now, imagine a winter wonderland: the quiet of snow, shadows stretching across the horizon, cold, crisp air, and magnificent icicle stalactites. Peer from the warmth of your home through the windows or reflect on a day of snowy adventure – artists tell us what they see.  I made some rugs that I thought would would work color-wise – and there’s nothing like a cozy wool rug underfoot in the winter!

P1040260 P1040266 P1040267 P1040268Rick was actually up to attending the opening on Nov 15th, having moved off the walker and only using a cane at that point.  He lasted for about half an hour before getting too uncomfortable to stand, but I think he enjoyed getting out of the house for the first time and visiting with folks.

The next event up was Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers Guild annual “show and sale”, which is always the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We made some extra efforts at advertising this year, adding some radio ads on our local station KTRT “The Root” to our local paper ad and putting up posters around town.  Don Ashford at KTRT does a fabulous job with his ads (97.5 FM if you are over here).  We also had a reporter from the Methow Valley News come by the guild room the week before the sale, and the resulting picture was on the front page of the MV News:

photo by Laurelle Walsh

photo by Laurelle Walsh

We also had a reporter for the Wenatchee World come by with a photographer and wound up with a story about our guild on the front page of that paper the week before the sale!  The link no longer seems to be working, so you just have to trust me on this one.

Here are some pictures I took of the weaving guild room after we set up for the sale:

P1040291 P1040293 P1040295

For several weeks before the sale, I wove 10 towels on my loom at the guild room, finishing off the warp I had put on for the Robyn Spady workshop in September.  I tried quite a few of the treadlings/patterns we had covered in the class, so each one was different.  My threading was for overshot, what we learned was how to get additional kinds of patterns by changing the tie-up and treadling.


Lace with overshot borders in a cotton/linen blend


Lace with blue overshot borders


Lace with brown overshot borders


Summer & Winter Fashion – Pairs


Summer & Winter Fashion – Dukagang


Monk’s Belt


Double-Faced borders and plain weave in nubbly cotton


Shadow Fashion borders and plain weave in nubbly cotton


all-over Shadow Fashion


one of the Twill treadlings

For the last 6 weeks or so, I have also been on a roll to make these “fiber beads”, which I am making into earrings for the holiday sales season.  I did some up using my handspun yarn especially for the guild sale.  These have been a lot of fun, and something I can do in the house in the evenings while hanging out with Rick and the cats (and the nice warm fire).  Rick made me the display racks a day or two before he went into knee surgery!


Well anyway, we had quite a good turnout for the guild sale, and I personally did very well – 17 towels (including all the new ones), 7 scarves, 5 rugs, 3 pairs of earrings.  That’s the good news and the bad news!  Now I have low inventory and commitments to Winthrop Gallery, Confluence Gallery and the holiday gift show coming up next week at Local 98856 in Twisp.

So now I am weaving more scarves.

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A Month Went By

I guess I just haven’t been in a blogging mood lately, but am shocked to see it has been over a month since my last post!  Here is an attempt to catch up a little.

Our guild had a 2-day workshop with Robyn Spady, something we had booked back in the spring.  I was the chief organizer and it seemed like a lot of work at the time, but it went well.   Robyn stayed here with me and Rick, and she is very personable and easy to talk to.  The workshop was her “Extreme Warp Makeover” class, in which you choose one of three threadings (overshot, rosepath twill, or huck lace) and then learn how you can “make over” that threading by changing treadling sequences and wefts.  It includes a very comprehensive bound notebook that covers all three threadings.

We set up our looms ahead of time at the guild room.  It seems that the usual thing to do is put on a relatively narrow and  natural color warp, but many of us chose to use color or put in stripes of color to see what happened.  Also some of us put on a wide and long enough warp to weave some towels after the class sampler was done.  Robyn seemed surprised and excited to see the color choices!

Each day included two lecture sessions, and a lot of weaving:

MVSW room 5

MVSW room 1

Carolee warp

Cheryl warp

Janet warp

Katie warp

group photo1

In the evening of the second day, we had a potluck here at our house so everyone in the guild (not just those in the workshop) would have a chance to meet Robyn and have some good conversations.

On the home front, we are getting ready for winter – especially since Rick is having a total knee replacement on Nov 4th and he won’t be able to do much of anything around here for a while after that.  There was all the wood, cut into rounds,  from the pine trees we had taken down – fortunately a friend wants that, so he has been coming over to pick it up and haul it away.  We raked up copious quantities of pine needles and hauled them to the burn pile area.  Had a bit of a burn pile going last weekend (VERY CAREFULLY).  The 2 cords of fir firewood we had delivered in August, is now all split and stored in the wood shed.

And we have new front steps!  Still need a temporary handrail to get us through the winter.  These replace the 2 timbers that were just sort of stacked there on concrete blocks, when we bought the place 4 years ago.  They have a shorter rise (3 steps instead of 2) and a nice long deep tread.


And I have still been weaving away on rugs at home – finished the first warp with the below:



R193 & R194 (2 alike)

R193 & R194 (2 alike)

Then I put on a new warp in early September, and the first 5 rugs were at a 40″ width, as I had a special order for one that wide.

R195 (40" wide, special order)

R195 (40″ wide, special order)

R196 (40" wide)

R196 (40″ wide)

R197 & R198 (40", 2 alike)

R197 & R198 (40″, 2 alike)

R199 (40" wide)

R199 (40″ wide)

I had 12 yards on the sectional beam at the 40″ width, so when the extra 4″ on each side ran out, I was back to 32″ wide for the rest I have woven to date:

R200 & R201 (to go with R195 special order)

R200 & R201 (to go with R195 special order)

R202 & R203 (2 alike)

R202 & R203 (2 alike)



R205 & R206

R205 & R206

Still have a lot of rug warp left, so I will keep picking away at these.  But I am planning to put a scarf warp on my other loom at home and do something else for a change!

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Summer Rugs

So back to our regular programming….

I was weaving along from the end of July until early August, when there was a hiatus due to a trip to Seattle, getting ready for our huge Labor Day Weekend yard sale, and another trip to Seattle – and then the actual yard sale.

These rugs were all done at my standard 30″ width.

R182 & R183 - Fiesta fringe and olive green wooly worms

R182 & R183 – Fiesta fringe and olive green wooly worms – SOLD

R184 - fire color alternated with red wooly worms

R184 – fire color alternated with red wooly worms – SOLD


R185 - fire color alternated with dark red & navy wooly worms

R185 – fire color alternated with dark red & navy wooly worms

R186 - a long rug, gray fringe alternated with colorful wooly worms

R186 – a long rug, gray fringe alternated with colorful wooly worms

R187 - brown & teal fringe alternated with complementary wooly worms

R187 – brown & teal fringe alternated with complementary wooly worms

R188 & R189 - bands of charcoal fringe alternated with bands of wooly worms in a color progression

R188 & R189 – bands of charcoal fringe alternated with bands of wooly worms in a color progression

R190 - bands of black & color fringe alternated with bands of wooly worms in a color progression

R190 – bands of black & color fringe alternated with bands of wooly worms in a color progression

In some ways, life is getting back to normal.  Most of the upper valley is untouched, of course, and it is getting to be the kind of beautiful fall that we so love here.  But to quote our friend whose ravine washed out in the flood: “The weather here is beautiful now, and if you weren’t looking at burned landscape and dried mud, many feet deep and deeply scoured ravines, it looks beautifully pastoral.”  We met more people this weekend at the yard sale, who had lost everything and are still dealing with insurance companies, and where they are going to live for the winter, etc.  I just can’t imagine what that must be like, or how we would deal with the kind of clean-up our friends up Benson Creek are facing.

By the way, here is an aerial video of the  most severely flooded areas from Thursday 7/21’s heavy rains and the breaching of the 3 dams in the Wenner Lakes. It is 17 minutes long and takes you over much of the middle valley that burned and flooded, and tells you where you are throughout the flight.  http://vimeo.com/104463724

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And now a flood…

I have been meaning to post more pictures of my rugs, but hadn’t gotten to it.  Maybe next week!  For now, I am going to put up some information about the floods and mudslides – not to be grim, but because it’s an easy way for me to inform friends who might be concerned about “what’s going on over there?”.

Basically there was a huge rainstorm on Thursday August 21 that hit previously burned areas hard, particularly south of Twisp and north of Carlton.  Portions of highways were washed out in places – Hwy 20 going to Omak, and Hwy 153 going south to Carlton.  Benson Creek valley, where we used to live, was seriously affected.  The next morning, one of the first images I saw was this:

22 August Bensonour former home at 102 Benson Creek Rd.  We called the owners that morning, and the house was not actually flooded.  But things were a lot worse up the road where our friends just barely saved their house from the fire a few weeks ago.  I didn’t figure out until yesterday that it wasn’t just runoff from the sudden heavy rains, but that some of the dams in the Wenner Lakes up above them had breached.  A huge torrent of water, mud and rocks came down and covered everything up there, and washed out the road.

There is more information about this, and pictures, on the Methow Conservancy Facebook page – “Benson Creek and Wenner Lakes Flooding”.  Here is a press release from the Washington Department of Ecology yesterday:


Heavy rains in fire area collapse dams

Heavy rains on Thursday (Aug. 22) collapsed two of four public and private dams holding water in the Wenner lakes on Benson Creek six miles southeast of Twisp, the Washington Department of Ecology reports.  Personnel from the Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management are on the scene with dam inspectors from Ecology.

The dams collapsed in one of the burn areas from this summer’s fires and a high volume of stormwater run-off may have caused the breaches. Thursday night a storm cell settled over the area which received about 2 inches of rain. The fires have scoured vegetation from ground that would have held back the stormwater and dead trees from the fires and debris from last night’s storm may have also clogged spillways raising waters levels beyond the dams’ capacity to hold it. The spillways normally should have been able to carry the stormwater downstream.

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department is notifying downstream residents of the dam breaches and will advise residents if they should evacuate.  The county’s Department of Emergency Management is evaluating the dams which have not breached to determine if water should be released from them to relieve pressure on the earthen structures. The Wenner lakes hold irrigation water and are used for recreation.  The dams that collapsed were not due for inspection by Ecology this year and earlier this summer, Ecology’s Dam Safety Office advised owners of all dams in burn areas of Central Washington to inspect their structures for damage from the fires that would put their dams at risk of collapse.

So the situation is that for now the 2 bigger lakes are holding but still being assessed.  Our friends have evacuated with their animals.  It is a total mess up there.

Also affected were friends about 2 miles north of Carlton, where Leecher Creek comes down (off of burned areas up around Leecher Mountain).  There is a story about it on the Methow Valley News website.  Our friend who lives above them lost her access driveway in the ravine and is now cut off, and her outbuilding down on the highway was swept away to the river, but her house is OK.

There is more, but these are the ones we are most personally concerned about, and waiting to see how it all turns out.

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Wider Rugs

After I finished Teri’s Rugs, I had enough warp at the 36″ width to finish four more for the galleries.  I kind of like this width, and may return to it on the next warp.  I am weaving now with selvages and wooly worms I bought at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Outlet store in Milwaukee, OR last September.  Selvages are produced during the weaving process, and are available in three different weights.  Blanket weight selvage is the heaviest, thickest type of selvage.  Worsted weight selvage is the finest, lightest type of selvage.  Flannel weight selvage falls between the two.  The ones I bought last fall are mostly lighter than blanket weight and seem like they might have been selvages from shirting material.  Wooly worms are the selvage edges of finished blankets.  They are generally in the 5-6 foot range in length and are most often between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inches wide.

These were all woven July 15-17, the week the Carlton Complex fires started.  We lost power on the 17th.  The “R” numbers are my way of keeping track of all the rugs I have woven since I started doing this around 2007.  So R178 is the 178th rug I have woven!

R178 - 36" x 60" - Pendleton selvages

R178 – 36″ x 60″ – Pendleton selvages

R179 - 36" x 65" - Pendleton selvages

R179 – 36″ x 65″ – Pendleton selvages – SOLD

R180 - 36 x 64 - alternating selvages with red wooly worms

R180 – 36 x 64 – alternating selvages with red wooly worms

R181 - 36 x 61 - alternating selvages with navy wooly worms

R181 – 36 x 61 – alternating selvages with navy wooly worms

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Teri’s Rugs

Almost a year ago, a friend and fellow Winthrop Gallery member, who is a professional photographer, took some furniture pictures for us, and we negotiated a trade for some rugs she wanted for her house.  Her business website is Reflected Light Images.

I had wound the rug warp on the sectional beam before we left for our road trip in June, and just needed to finish the threading and sleying when we got back.  Teri wanted her rugs 36″ wide, but I usually do 30″ wide for the rugs I sell.  So I wound most of the warp onto 15 sections (each 2″ wide) but held back some of the warp yarn, and then wound a limited amount on 3 more outer sections to add another 6″ on for the first 15 yards.  It worked like a charm!

Teri had picked out a number of different Pendleton “wooly worms” in colors she liked, and the challenge was to combine them in an interesting way, get 3 rugs the lengths she wanted, and not run out of material!  I had very little left when all was said and done.  Here are Teri’s three rugs:







So here’s the other thing about my friend Teri – she and her husband live at the very top of Rising Eagle Road, which last week’s fire is named after – the one between Winthrop and Twisp.  I had heard their home was spared, and wrote to her earlier this week.  She replied:

“We are home. Returned Saturday morning to a devastated landscape and constant smell of smoke. Our house is intact. What a relief. We are very lucky and ever so grateful for all the fire fighters and helicopters that saved our house. Friends and neighbors were not so lucky. You might want to consider removing some of your pine trees. No power yet. I have a love hate relationship with our noisy stinky generator. “

And this morning I read about their experience last Friday on her personal blog, My Everyday Photos.  Of course, it has pictures too.  It’s worth a look, to get a sense of what it was like to have 15 minutes to get out, watch the whole scene unfold from a distance and think your home is gone, then find out it has barely been saved by all the firefighters, helicopters dropping water on it, etc.  And what it looks like up there now.

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Fire & Wind

It was an interesting weekend.  Last Friday a fire started along the highway between Winthrop and Twisp.  Here is the official statement from Okanogan County Sheriff on the cause of what is now being called the Rising Eagle fire and is part of the Carlton Complex:

“A vehicle towing a trailer traveling west on Highway 20 out of Twisp got a flat tire on the trailer and when the rim hit the roadway it sent up sparks and started a fire in the brush which spread from Signal Hill Road, west over Rising Eagle Road, Hill Road and over to Wandling Road. The fire destroyed several residences and property. A number of structures destroyed should be coming out on Monday, (Aug. 4, 2014). The trailer in question has been impounded by the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Natural Resources Investigators are investigating the fire.”

523 acres burned.  As of today, it is 100% contained and they are doing mop-up.  The count is 36 structures lost, 10 of which are residences.  All of this because someone got a flat tire on the highway.  We know at least one of the homeowners who were wiped out, and several others who had very close calls.

On Friday neither of was home for most of the day.  Once we figured out what was going on, and that it had spread to within 4 miles or so of us, we got home and starting packing the car & truck and moving some things off the deck and away from the house.  Fortunately there are all the resources here, and they were able to get all over it with firefighters and helicopters dropping water – otherwise who knows how far it would have gone.  By 8 pm it seemed to be more under control, so we stayed put.

The next day, Saturday, brought a freaky windstorm in the afternoon.  It got very dark and ominous, and then it was like someone turned on a switch and there were huge howling gusts, along with horizontal sheeting rain and thunder & lightning.  Trees came down all over our neighborhood, and one neighbor’s woodshed blew over.  Out in front, one of our favorite pines with 3 trunks would have gone down, except it hung up on the tree next to it.  Both of them were whipping around in the wind, and it would have come down right where we had the Airstream parked.  We went out in the storm, hitched it up, and moved it around in front of the shop building.  Later, because of damage to wires down at the Rising Eagle fire, and downed trees, the power went out and it was back to the generator.

windstorm leaner

Sunday was clean-up day.  Power didn’t come back on until the afternoon.  A lot of our neighbors had more, and bigger, trees down than we did.

Dropping & de-branching the leaner

Dropping & de-branching the leaner

One house up the Wolf Creek Rd from us had a big tree come down on the back corner of their house, and a huge one came down in their field by the river where they graze their Highland cattle.  We saw an irrigation wheel line that had been blown off the field and wrapped around a couple of telephone poles.

huge tree down in the field

huge tree down in the field

they couldn't find a calf that had been born a few days previous

they couldn’t find a calf that had been born a few days previous

Monday was reasonably uneventful.  It only brought this:

 OKANOGAN COUNTY, WA – A fire-damaged fiber cable has been detected during restoration efforts following the Carlton Complex fire.  At this time 911, local and long distance calling and Internet services are down in the Twisp and Winthop areas.   CenturyLink technicians are onsite splicing fiber. Service restoral is estimated to take place by 7 p.m. tonight.   This outage is a result of the Carlton Complex fire that swept through the area and burned cables in and around Mallot, Mazama, Okanogan, Omak, Oroville, Pateros, Twisp and Winthrop.

Internet came back this morning (Tuesday).  Driving down to Twisp this morning, we saw all the burned area above the highway, and also several houses with trees down on their roofs from the wind storm.

Maybe after this, I can post with pictures of the rugs I have been weaving!



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It has been about a month since I last wrote for the blog, and a lot has happened here.  Namely, a huge wildfire swept through the lower valley down to the Columbia River, east and north into the Okanogan Valley, and south towards Chelan.  We live in an area that was never threatened, but when the main transmission line into the valley burned along a 4-mile stretch of Highway 20, the entire valley was without power for a little over a week.  Our internet service provider, Methownet, went down along with the power outage.  Fortunately, I have cellular data for my iPad (with Verizon, which usually had service despite some challenges, unlike AT&T which was non-existent for its customers).  So I was able to get news from the internet, and send out emails (using my Gmail account) to family and friends as events unfolded.

Taken from our house on July 16 as the northern part of the fire started to blow up

Taken from our house on July 16 as the northern part of the fire started to blow up

Since I was able to keep in touch, I don’t want to re-hash everything here, but thought I would fill in my wider readership and also put some links and photos up.  I have had a hard time getting started on this, and will try to keep it simple.

The fires started with lightning strikes on Monday July 14.  It was extremely hot that week, up to 105F (40C) with strong southeasterly winds.  The worst day was Thursday July 17.  According to the Methow Valley News, almost half of the nearly 400 square miles that have burned were consumed in a 9-hour period that day.  It swept down the lower valley and onto the town of Pateros, which is where the Methow River flows into the Columbia River.  A lot of people lost their homes that day, and the power line to the valley was de-energized when they could not save it from the fire.  That line comes over Loup Loup pass between the Methow and Okanogan valleys.

Here is a very interesting fire progression map.  The link is to a PDF file.  Each color is a different day.  The large dark green area is July 17th.

CarltonComplex fire progression 072714r

We used to live up Benson Creek, which is a small side valley between Twisp and Carlton, running up to the east from Hwy 153.  We moved from there about 4 years ago and now live about 2 miles from Winthrop.  On July 17, the northern part of the fire burned south through Finley Canyon, then through the Wenner Lakes area which connects Finley Canyon to the top of the Benson Creek Valley.  We have friends who live just where that connecting draw comes out and they, of course, were evacuated – taking all their horses, dogs & cat, etc with them.

That evening, their daughter and her boyfriend drove up from Wenatchee and passed through Pateros just as the fire reached there.  She took video on 2 cell phones and later put together a YouTube video which I will share with you.  Note: she has the DATE wrong, it was actually Thursday July 17 (not July 14).  The first part is driving up the lower valley from Pateros to Benson Creek.  She talked the firefighters into letting her go up to her parents’ place and you can see the fires raging behind it in the Wenner Lakes draw.  Her parents’ place survived the night, but the neighbors immediately above them burned to the ground.  The next day they were up there defending the outbuildings from the fire, with the help of fire crews of course, and they did save their place.

Donni’s YouTube Video

Here is a picture taken by another friend whose home was barely saved up on Balky Hill, just NE of Twisp.  His comment:

Raleigh and my house was potentially headed for the ash pile when the cavalry came over the hill at the 11th hour & 59 minutes. I’ll never forget seeing this.  This was 1/4 mile from our house. On one side of fire retardant stripe it’s black for 25 miles to the Columbia River. On the other side, including our house, it’s like it was before the fire. Amazing! We feel grateful to have a house and sad for all that’s been lost.

DC-10 drop

On Monday July 21, Rick and I drove down to check on another friends’ place just north of Carlton, then drove up Benson Creek to check in with our friends there.  Here are a few pictures I took that day:

21 July Benson 3 21 July Benson 5 21 July Benson 7Through the efforts of fire crews and homeowners, all homes were saved except for the one noted above, and another up in the hills.  The ones up on or against the hillsides are surrounded with charred land, but the ones down on the main valley floor are pretty much as before, including our former home at 102 Benson Creek Rd.  It is between the road and the irrigated fields, and surrounded with a large green lawn (and also has non-flammable siding).  Lots of lessons to be learned here.

We haven’t driven down valley yet, or over the Loup.  For one thing, the fire is still very much not “out” and there are over 3000 fire personnel from all over the country here.  They are gaining on containment, but there are some problematic areas that could still blow up again, and it is hot and dry again this week.  We want to stay out of the way, and have no need to just go look at the burned areas.

Daily updates from Incident Management Teams :  Official Carlton Complex Fire Information

The unfolding story is recovery.  Maybe 300 homes lost, and lots of damage to infrastructure and farming and ranching losses.  They have been inundated with goods donations, which is wonderful but is now getting to be overwhelming.  They are asking for NO MORE GOODS donations… what is needed is money to funds and agencies who will be helping folks with long-term recovery.  Please consider the following:

Community Foundation of North Central Washington Fire Relief Fund

Room One (in Twisp)

And by the way – the whole Methow Valley is not burned up!!  It is just as beautiful as ever up here, especially north of Twisp and on up to the North Cascades National Park.

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Airiel at the Beach

Here we are just north of Bandon, OR at Bullards Beach State Park. What a lovely park! We had a somewhat sketchy site at Rogue River (it’s hard to pick these online from a map), but we weren’t there a lot and it was fine, really. We brought our folding bikes and there is a great bike path up to the town of Rogue River, about 5-6 miles round trip, so we rode every day for 4 days. We also rode around all the other camping loops and made notes as to which sites to try to reserve for the next visit.

Here at Bullards Beach SP, all the sites are much more private with hedges and trees between you and your neighbors. It was still a sunny day yesterday and we rode our bikes out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the Coquille River, about 6 miles round trip from the campground. By evening a heavy mist was blowing in, but we were able to cook and eat outside and sit by the campfire.

This morning we awoke to rain on the roof, and it has been raining all day. Apparently this is the first real rain they have had in a month. We ditched plans to walk the beach, and headed out in the truck to explore Coos Bay and towns to the north.

In Coos Bay we stopped at the first big antique mall where Rick found a lot of very cool and collectible, but definitely not affordable, old woodworking tools. Next door was a yarn shop. What do you know.

So I go into the yarn shop and start poking around, turn the corner, and there is an old friend of mine from the early days of the Seattle Knitters’ Guild in the mid-80’s! She used to work at Weaving Works in Seattle, but has been a yarn rep for the last 14 years – her territory is Washington and Oregon, and she represents about a half dozen yarn companies. So she is on the road a lot, visiting yarn stores and taking wholesale orders. I haven’t seen her in years, so it was really amazing to just run into her in Coos Bay, OR!

And then there is the yarn shop – called “My Yarn Shop”. My friend told me it may be the biggest yarn shop on the west coast, and she had an amazing inventory, all in rather a jumble, but what a selection! My credit card did not escape without some damage.



We met up with my friend down in Bandon for a very nice dinner at Alorro Wine Bar – highly recommended.

Tomorrow we are off north to the Willamette Valley, with a fridge well stocked with shucked oysters, Kumamoto oysters in the shell. fresh king salmon that had just come off the boat 2 hours before we bought it, and some perch. We are having guests for dinner tomorrow night (longtime friends from Vancouver WA/Portland OR) and we will be having our own little seafood fest for a couple of days.

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