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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

A couple of weeks back we took a trip out to Port Townsend and then on to Lake Quinault in the Olympic Rainforest, to visit our friends who own a historic cabin resort on the North Shore Rd – Lochaerie Resort.  Rick had built a corner cabinet for the living room of their personal residence, so we drove the truck and brought that out for installation.

In Port Townsend, we ate twice (dinner on arrival, lunch the next day) at our favorite little restaurant, Hanazono Asian Noodle.  It is really good, plus we are Asian-food deprived over here in our neck of the woods.

the Taylor Street roll

the Taylor Street roll

udon soup bowl with many yummy Things in it

udon soup bowl with many yummy Things in it

Before heading out to the lake, we drove down to Quilcene to visit Taylored Fibers.  This is a small custom carding operation which I first visited last October.  I brought Barry Taylor a washed Corriedale fleece and an alpaca fleece and he is going to dye the wool in 2 different colors, then blend it with some of the alpaca to make me some spinning rovings.  I can hardly wait!

His “machine” was made by Pat Green in British Columbia and is probably at least 20 years old.  As you can see, it is not the home edition.  It can make either batts or rovings.

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At Lochaerie, we had lots of down time with the new kittens, Walter and Skyler (both are females, but Walt was mis-identified initially, and they decided to keep the name!)

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the new corner cabinet - TV will mount in the wall above

the new corner cabinet – TV will mount in the wall above

We actually had reasonably dry weather for the coast, even though it was a little cold and windy.  On Sunday we went out and walked on the beach at Kalaloch.  It was blowing sleet down the beach at times, which may be one reason I wasn’t too into photography – but there were also sun breaks and it was beautiful.  We also got in a couple of nice walks in the rain forest, so different from our dry side of the mountains.

Back at home, I finished the 10 scarves on the Mardi Gras warp and took that setup off Kingston, the 32″ Macomber loom.

washed and ready for final pressing and trimming

washed and ready for final pressing and trimming

Then moved on to the new project, which I have to complete for our guild challenge deadline in mid-April.  The theme this year is “doubleweave”.  I chose a draft called Doubleweave Checks that has squares of double weave in a heavier cotton (8/2 in this case), separated by stripes of plain weave in both directions, using a lighter cotton (16/2 in this case).  The actual doubleweave checks should puff up when I wash these, making a nice thick absorbent towel.

doubleweave checks towel on the loom

doubleweave checks towel on the loom

close-up view

close-up view

This is way fun and I will be making more, to explore other colors, and other weights of cotton too.

Also this week we turned our attention to the Airstream trailer, now that it is warming up outside and we are comfortable working out there.  We took some “before” pictures.  It is so 1973 in patterns and colors and all the soft furnishings are also worn out and dirty.

the front lounge which makes into a double bed

the front lounge which makes into a double bed

twin beds in the center section

twin beds in the center section

lovely orange formica and dark walnut cabinets

lovely orange formica and dark walnut cabinets

refrigerator and storage across from the galley

refrigerator and storage across from the galley

Rick tore out the yucky dirty orange carpet and we picked out a Marmoleum (linoleum-type) flooring which should go in sometime in April.  I ordered new draperies from a place in Pennsylvania that specializes in replacement Airstream draperies:  J.P.A. Drapes.  Should get those by end of April or early May.  Then on Tuesday I took all the cushions from the front lounge and the twin beds to an upholstery shop in Wenatchee for re-covering.  I found some upholstery fabric we both really like at a decorator store  in old town Wenatchee:  Material Things.  They didn’t have anything at the upholstery shop that I liked, so I was really surprised and grateful that there was an alternative source!

And Rick has plans for the cabinetry – he is figuring out how it all goes together and what he can replace with new lightweight material in cherry.  It has to be lightweight so this is different than regular cabinetry.  All of that won’t happen right away, but at least the soft furnishings and the floor will be updated and clean by the time we take our first road trip in June.

 

 

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Tour of the Mountain West

We have been back from our 2-1/2 week road trip for over a week, so I apologize for not posting sooner.  We have been busy!  But more about that later.

Here are a few highlights from our trip, which took us through Montana and Wyoming, down to Colorado to visit my sister and brother-in-law, back up to Sun Valley, Idaho for the Trailing of the Sheep festival, and then out to Medford & Ashland, Oregon to visit more family.  It was a lot of driving, but we enjoyed all our stops along the way and saw some beautiful country in full fall color.

Out first night was in Butte, MT and it was snowing when we left there the next morning.  A large snowstorm was moving across the region, which made us actually glad we were shut out of Yellowstone National Park (government shutdown) and heading for Cody, WY instead.  In Cody we spent most of a day at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  This is a complex of 5 museums and definitely worth a visit.  A couple of years ago we saw the Plains Indian and Western Art exhibits.  This time we saw the Buffalo Bill exhibit (just re-done last year, they said), also the Firearms and Greater Yellowstone Natural History exhibits.

It also snowed the first night in Cody, but started to clear the next day.  By the time we headed south it was quite gorgeous – clear blue skies with snow on the ground – but cold and windy until we got to Colorado.

antelope south of Cody, WY

antelope south of Cody, WY

Wind River Canyon south of Thermopolis

Wind River Canyon south of Thermopolis

We made it to Boulder, CO by late afternoon, in time for my planned visit to Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins, where I browsed the mill-ends and came away with some nice cones of cotton weaving yarns.

The next day we drove down to my sister and brother-in-law’s house south of Pueblo, CO where we had a nice long 2-day visit before heading back north.  We stuck to the back highways and saw some oddities

Bishop's Castle along Hwy 165 out of Colorado City, CO

Bishop’s Castle along Hwy 165 out of Colorado City, CO

and mile after mile of beautiful fall color mixed with evergreens:

P1030639In fact we saw so much beautiful fall color throughout this trip, we kind of gave up on trying to photograph it!

Favorite stops that day were Salida, CO (lots of great shops and galleries) and Leadville, CO (at 10,000 ft with 14,00 peaks off to the west).  The whole drive up along the east side of the Rockies was splendid and we will need to go back and spend more time.

Eventually we made it up to Hailey/Ketchum (Sun Valley) Idaho for the Trailing of the Sheep festival on Oct 10-13.  I first read about this a year ago in Wild Fibers magazine – in fact the running of the sheep through Ketchum on the final day was their cover photo for the Winter 2012 issue.  We stayed in Hailey, which I would recommend – fun town, lots of options for places to stay and eat.

On Saturday there was the Folklife Fair in Hailey, featuring many booths with wool-related fiber crafts

P1030073sheep camps both on display and for sale

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interior of a restored sheep camp

interior of a restored sheep camp

and a second one

and a second one

Music and dancing by groups representing the many cultures that have worked as sheepherders in the region:

The Polish Highlanders

The Polish Highlanders

“The Polish Highlanders of North America present the folk music and dance of their families, shepherds from the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland. Their dance is found only in this region of Europe. Their singing was once used to communicate from mountaintop pastures to valleys below. Now living in Chicago, the group keeps its distinct identity and traditions to pass on to its children.”

The Oinkari Basque Dancers

The Oinkari Basque Dancers

“The nationally acclaimed Oinkari Basque Dancers were started by a group of Boise Basque Americans after a trip to the Spanish Basque country in 1960…They play Basque music of varying styles and rhythms using traditional instruments including the txistu, button accordions, accompanied by pandareta and other Basque instruments. The music they play could have been heard coming from a Basque hotel or boarding house in Hailey, Shoshone, or Boise over 100 years ago.”

Sheep shearing demonstrations (hard to get close enough to get a picture)

please don't shear me!

please don’t shear me!

Lots of food booths featuring – you guessed it – lamb, lamb and more lamb!

lamb vindaloo - I think....

lamb vindaloo – I think….

And what do you know, there was Linda Cortwright, editor and publisher of Wild Fibers Magazine!

 

Wild Fibers booth at the Folklife Fair

Wild Fibers booth at the Folklife Fair

My new BFF, Linda

My new BFF, Linda

Later that afternoon we went a little ways out of Hailey to watch the sheepdog trials, which went on throughout the festival.

 

a hard working sheepdog

a hard working sheepdog

Trying the "pen" the sheep - only managed once in 4 years, they said

Trying to “pen” the sheep – only managed once in 4 years, they said

The next day (Sunday) was the big parade up in Ketchum.  All the dance troupes and wagons, etc from the day before were in the parade.

Oinkari Basque Dancers

Oinkari Basque Dancers

Peruvian Dancers and Musicians

Peruvian Dancers and Musicians

The Boise HIghlanders

The Boise HIghlanders

more sheep camps

more sheep camps

The “grand finale” is when they bring about 1500 head of sheep through town on their way to winter pasture:

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was so much fun!

was so much fun!

After leaving Sun Valley, we headed across southern Oregon on our way out to visit more family in Ashland and Medford.  Beautiful warm weather and good times.  Thence north to Portland (to pick up more rug weaving materials at the Pendleton outlet – Woolen Mill Store) and Seattle (to do a few errands) before finally wending our way back to the Methow Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We both made trips to the coast last week, but not at the same time!  I took a few pictures on my drive over the North Cascades:

Fresh snow on Liberty Bell, just east of Washington Pass

Fresh snow on Liberty Bell, just east of Washington Pass

Sunset on the way back home, looking north into Canada

Sunset on the way back home, looking north into Canada

We are off on a road trip!  Friends from Seattle will stay here and have a Methow Valley vacation, take care of our kitties, and keep an eye on the place.  So it was a win-win situation.

I will attempt to blog from the road, but we shall see….

 

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Last week we took off for a road trip to Port Townsend and Lake Quinault on the Olympic Pensinsula.  We were celebrating our 40th anniversary, and visiting family & friends.  We stayed the first night at my Dad’s house in Anacortes, and my brother and sister-in-law came up from Camano Island and we all cooked a meal together.  Nice relaxing evening and a good start to the trip.

We stayed 2 nights in Port Townsend in a little cottage down on Discovery Bay.  No TV, beach right below for walking.  Very quiet and I read an entire Martha Grimes mystery (found on the shelf in the cottage) in 2 days.  We had some wonderful meals in Port Townsend.  Being somewhat Asian-food deprived over here in the valley, we really enjoyed Hanazono Asian Noodle, one of my favorite finds from being out there at knitting retreat in the fall.  For our actual anniversary on March 17th, we went to The Fountain Cafe (they don’t have their own website).  Since they don’t really “do” St. Patrick’s Day, it was a quiet and intimate setting for our dinner together.

40 years! think of that

40 years! think of that

...and we still like each other!

…and we still like each other!

On Monday we headed out to Lake Quinault, where our longtime friends own and operate a small cabin resort on the north shore of the lake – actually inside the national park boundaries:  Lochaerie Resort.  They moved out there a couple of years ago and tore down and completely rebuilt the main house for their new home.  Rick had built bathroom vanities for their 2 upstairs bathrooms, so we had a full truck and he had work to do installing once we got there.  I’ll wait for photos until the countertops and sinks are installed (we will be back out there in June), but the cabinets are clear fir and looked great.

A major storm system moved through Washington this week, and by the second day there were strong winds and lashing sheets of rain coming down – this is the rainforest, after all.  Not a good day for walking but a good day for knitting (me), conversation, reading, after dinner card games and movies.  And hanging a bear skin rug in the Lochaerie office:

bear rug 1

bear rug 2

When we left Wednesday morning, it was actually snowing (a wet snow) at the lake and there was plenty of snow up in the mountains all around.  Beautiful!

Dropped off my new tool, an older Wolf Clipper round-knife cutter, at C.H. Holderby’s in Seattle on the way over, and picked it up all tuned up on the way home.

Wolf Clipper

I bought it on eBay about a month ago, for a fraction of what a new one costs, and it ran fine – but, as pictured above, it had no safety guard.  Rick was sure, probably with good reason, that I was in danger of cutting off one or more fingers!  So we called Wolf Machine Co. and ordered the safety guard and Rick installed it.  But it still needed some adjustments to both the guard and the honing stones.  When we picked it up on Thursday, one of the tech guys told me it would outlive me, and since it is probably already at least 30-40 years old, I think that sounds like one fine machine.

I will use it to cut through multiple layers of fabric to produce strips for weaving rugs and other things.

 

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Where We Were a Month Ago!

I’m not sure what happened to October – it’s almost over!  It took me forever just to get the pictures off my camera, but here is a belated look back at our 2-week whirlwind trip to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas for a wedding, and up along the eastern Sierra Nevada and through central Oregon via Hwy 395 – the last 2 weeks of September.

We took only 3 days to get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Not all that bad with 2 of us to drive.  We had lots of smoke from forest fires all the way down through SE Washington and into Idaho.  But we had beautiful clear weather once we arrived at our destination, although it did get cold at night, which had as much to do with the elevation (6000′ – 8000′) as anything.

We camped at Jacob Lake in a commercial campground, which turned out to be almost an hour’s drive each day to the scenery and trails at the rim.  Next time (if there is a next time) we will probably go for the park service North Rim Campground.  No water or electric hookups there, but it looked quite nice and has showers, laundry and a basic grocery store.

Camping at Jacob Lake near the Grand Canyon North Rim

The obligatory pose at the rim

We were there for 4 nights, and got in several short to moderate hikes.  The scenery is spectacular, but almost a little overwhelming.  The light was often flat so it was a challenge to get really good pictures (not that it held us back!)

From the Grand Canyon we drove to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of the daughter of some long-time friends (I have known the bride’s mother since the 7th grade).  We parked our little trailer at an inexpensive RV park in Las Vegas where we felt it would be safe – and we could hook up to electricity to run the refrigerator and the fan.  We stayed 3 nights at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino so we could be with our friends and the rest of the wedding party.  About 55 people actually came down for the wedding, which was held about an hour’s drive east of Las Vegas, at Valley of Fire State Park.

They got everyone there in 3 limousines:

Our friends, the mother and father of the bride

A spectacular setting for the wedding ceremony

Afterwards we returned to Las Vegas for a lovely dinner at The Venetian.  This hotel/casino has an artificial “sky” over the “canal” with real water and gondolas.  It was both over-the-top and kind of cool!  Our dinner party was on the second floor overlooking the “canal” and you could almost believe you were in Venice.  Sorry – no pictures.

We had never been to Las Vegas before.  I was expecting the casinos and gambling, but had NO IDEA how much of a theme park the whole place is.  We did enjoy some things, though, like the Fountains at The Bellagio:

Fountains at the Bellagio during the day

Fountains at night (they play music when the fountains are on – this time it was Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas”!

By Monday we were ready to pick up the trailer and hit the road.  The rest of the trip was more or less a whirlwind tour of places we want to go back to, and spend more time.

Death Valley – more beautiful than we expected.  What a fabulous landscape!  but too hot even at the end of September.  Best to go back in March or April and do some camping and hiking.

Death Valley

We spent one night up in Yosemite National Park at the Tuolomne Meadows Campground (where we camped many times when I was a child).  Did a drive through the park and remembered how much we love Yosemite, especially the high country.  We will definitely be going back there for at least a week in the next year or two!

camping at Tuolomne Meadows

Rick in Yosemite Valley

We spent a couple of nights on the way home at the south end of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in SE Oregon.  This was our third visit there, but we have always gone in the spring to enjoy the bird migrations.  This time we took a day to drive the scenic 50-mile loop on Steens Mountain.  This is an uplifted tableland (escarpment) which lifts from west to east.  There are numerous deep U-shaped gorges that were formed by glaciation.  It is a somewhat austere landscape, but quite beautiful.  We saw antelope but not the wild horses that also roam there.

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Arizona Bound

We’re off on a 2-week road trip tomorrow, with our Aliner camping trailer.  We will be attending a wedding in Las Vegas in a little over a week, and decided to make a camping trip out of it rather than fly down.  By next Monday we will be at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for 4 nights.  I was there once before about 40 years ago, and Rick has never been, so we are excited!  After that comes 3 nights with the wedding party at a hotel on the Strip in Las Vegas (can you say…. “and now for something completely different”?)  Then we will work our way home via the east side of northern California and central Oregon.

I finished another of my Mosaic Mojo hats, this time in a handpainted Blue Face Leicester yarn from Chameleon Colorworks, plus some lovely plum-colored Elsbeth Lavold “Baby Llama”.

It is interesting how the fairly regular color repeat in the yarn played off against the number of stitches in the mosaic band, causing a “swirl” of colors through the band.  This was completely unplanned and uncontrolled on my part, but I sure do like it!

 

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Thelma & Louise

I found out a week ago that I am leaving on an Adventure with one of my best friends. She just bought a pre-owned 2004 Porsche Carrera S but it is located in Lancaster, PA and she wants me to fly back with her to drive it cross-country to Seattle.  So I am leaving this evening from the Wenatchee airport to join her in Seattle. We will fly out of Seatac to Philadelphia the next morning, and will be gone for about a week. The plan is to come back via I-90 and she will bring me home to the Methow on her way through to Seattle.

This is the Porsche, a pretty midnight blue with soft grey interior:

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!  A number of people have remarked it sounds kind of like the movie “Thelma & Louise” – but hopefully without the driving-off-the-cliff part at the end.

I finished up 3 more of the collapse weave scarves – the warp had soft blues, greens and pinks for the cottons with a dark hot pink (“Chanel”) for the wool grid that shrinks more than the cotton and causes the puckering.  The weft colors were lavender, turquoise, and a soft blue-green.

One of my neighbors wants to learn something about weaving, so to get her started (and to have something new to do myself) we wound and tied a cotton towel warp onto the existing setup I have for the scarves on Kingston.  So now she will weave a couple of towels and I will finish up the rest when I get back from the road trip:

I also finished spinning and plying some dyed New Zealand Corriedale that I bought at least 10 years ago from a place in Victoria BC.  The preparation was interesting – it looked like a roving in the bag, but was actually a narrow batt with stripes of about 6 colors running side by side the whole length of it.  I didn’t want to spin it from the end and risk having the colors get all muddied, and I also wanted a more woolen, rather than worsted, prep.  So I tore off about 1-ft sections of the narrow batt, spread it out, then rolled it from the end to something like a rolag (warning … spinning terminology).  Then spun it from the end of the “rolag”, after attenuating the fibers a bit.  So for each of these “rolags” I was spinning across the colors, so they came and went in the singles in a more or less regular pattern.  Clear as mud?  Then I made a 3-ply yarn and just let the colors from the singles work against each other as they came without trying to plan that part out very much.  I am quite pleased with the result!

I have about 650 yards which should be enough to knit a vest:

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