Really? Reeaally? I waited for months for you to arrive, and just when I'd given up hope, just when I was getting ready to photograph the pink trees in bloom, bam! There you are. I still love you snow, but try not to be too mean to the trees.
P.S. I have a few packages waiting to be shipped, but they will probably be delayed a day or two, so if you're waiting for a package we'll get it to you as soon as we can (this town doesn't get snow like this very often).
Just in time for St. Patrick's day... the newest Knitterati pattern Hibernia is out! I'm going to avoid the pinching today by keeping these beauties on my feetsies. We still have room in both the pattern only and yarn options of the club in case you want some pretty green socks of your own.
Hope you're enjoying the green of spring too!
This weekend I sneaked away to my spinning group's semiannual retreat. I purposely ignored my email, computer and other pressing issues while I rejuvenated myself in the woods with kindred souls.
Our spring retreat is held at beautiful Silver Falls State Park. They have a lovely, rustic conference center with cabins, shared facilites, a dining hall and nature! On the drive in to the conference center you find yourself breathing more deeply and becoming more relaxed as the trees work their magic.
When you walk through these mossy woods, your footsteps are muffled by a thick carpet of bark and needles and moss, while all around you is the sound of birdsong and water rushing and dancing through stones. The trees here are mossy and alien, dripping with lifeform upon lifeform. It never fails to amaze and delight me. The trees feel like old souls with the wisdom of patience and quiet.
While we were there we shared the conference grounds with another group, who were Tibetan buddhist practitioners. What a lovely place for a meditation retreat. We mostly saw them at mealtimes when the dining hall was loud and lively. But, on the last day, they stopped in to our hall to see our work with wool and wheel. One woman from our group made a gift of a spindle to a lady from Bhutan. She smiled and immediately demonstrated her expert ability. We gave her some colorful wools and enjoyed our cultural exchange.
On the way home, I headed north through the park instead of going back south the way I came in. As I headed toward Silverton, Winter Falls lived up to its name, and once again my heart was singing with the snow.
I didn't take any photos of our happy group indoors. You'll just have to trust me that inside those rustic cabins and halls a lot of beautiful spinning got done as we told jokes, laughed and enjoyed chocolate.
Now I'm home and it's back to work for me, but the week ahead seems lighter with Silver Falls in my heart.
Today I had a fistfight with stamps.com. I think stamps.com won, and it put me in a bit of a crabby frame of mind. Good thing I had some purty yarn to soothe my ruffled feathers. This is 8 oz of my handspun, one ply merino and one ply BFL/silk. It was a purple merino batt, the color was called Aster, from Textiles a Mano (her batts spin like a dream), and a magenta/brown/gold braid from Dicentra Designs called Tangent. I think they made a lovely marriage! It's destined to become a shawl. My friend Tammie made an Eiki shawl from a similar combo (in teals and copper - gorgeous!) and I was a bit jealous so I'm going to make one too!
But first I have to finish up my torrid affair with the colorwork sweater. I wasn't able to bring this with me while I was traveling, because it's just too darn bulky for a travel project, so it's been languishing. But I have made progress and I'm determined to get to the sleeves this week!
Too bad it wasn't already done this weekend because our furnace had a little conniption fit and decided not to work. Of course, that's when winter decided to come back for a little visit so we were feeling a bit frosty. Good thing Mr. Bonnet figured out how to wrangle a furnace and got it back on the straight and narrow. Now we're basking in the warm again, just in time for warmer weather - haha.
We decided to get out of the house for a bit and went off to the Fern Ridge reservoir which is also a wetlands sanctuary. It was a birdie delight! The redwing blackbirds were calling back and forth in the treetops, and the Canada geese were honking and making dramatic water landings. Mr. Bonnet and the doglet led the way in exploring the edge of the low level lake, and the setting sun lent a fairy glow to the drifting spanish moss. I really liked lonely Mr. Robin Redbreast up in the top of the tree talking to the moon while all his compatriots were down on the lawn gobbling up worms. It was a lovely place to visit, we'll have to go back more often.
I hope your adventures are full of lovely sounds and sights too.
Last week I journey'd off to the land of Stitches West. It's always a lovely spot for a journey, with loads of friendly knitters and fiberistas. The market is a marvel, it takes more than a day to see everything! Luckily this time around I actually had one whole day to take in the market so I saw more than I usually get to do! And classes, as usual, were filled with lovely students. In one of my classes I met the lovely Rachel, a member of the Knitterati club, who showed off her Rivendell socks and Birch Dreaming Deep shawl. I always feel a special "zing" when I get to see one of my designs "in the wild."
And speaking of "in the wild" another Birch Dreaming Deep was spotted on the lovely Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep in the marketplace too.
And here's another interesting thing I saw in the Marketplace, see-thru rainboots! What better way to show off your handmade socks than with some see-thru footwear. They tell me see-thru clogs and short boots are in the near future as well. I'm definitely a clog girl so I'll be keeping my eye out for those! I tried on the boots and they were really comfy. And just look what socks are in those boots on the packaging! Why yes, that would be my design Monterey from The Eclectic Sole!
Stitches is always a lot of fun, because the folks at XRX know how to throw a good party! I look forward to it every year!
On the way home I decided to take the train instead of flying home. I really don't like flying very much, and because I live in a smallish city with a small airport and no direct flights, flying even a relatively short distance like one state away can take a long time with lots of schlepping. So I decided as long as it was going to be a long journey, why not make it a pleasant one instead. I was not disappointed. I started off at the Amtrak station in San Jose, where I boarded my sleeper car and got settled in. I love the architecture of train stations, they're always a little old fashioned and get you right in the mood for a gentler form of travel.
The first stop once I got situated was the dining car. When you purchase a sleeper car it comes with all meals included. So you wander off to the diner where they seat you at tables with white linen and other train travelers! You get to meet all sorts of interesting people if you're traveling alone. But it's not like a plane where you get stuck with them the entire time. You just have a nice civil dinner conversation and then part ways. You can be private in your own cabin if you like, or you can be social in the parlour car if you'd rather have company. It's very civilized. I met several lovely knitters while relaxing in the parlour car. It's an ideal place to watch the scenery and put in a few stitches on your project.
I spent the night tucked up in my own little bed. It's a bit small and the train is moving so it's not quite like sleeping at home or a hotel, but it sure beats sleeping in an airport or in the upright seats. In the morning I woke to a beautiful sunrise shining on the mountains and a light dusting of snow just north of Shasta, CA.
Soon we were climbing into the Cascades mountains where it began snowing steadily and the train was delayed a bit by the weather. I didn't mind because I was seeing a winter fairyland outside my window, punctuated occasionally by sweet farms while I sat, tucked up cozily in the parlour car with knitting and good company.
And when I got home I discovered it had been snowing here too... so the elusive winter finally arrived a day late and a dollar short to the Pacific Northwest. I don't know if we'll see any more of the white stuff this year, but my heart was still singing from the snow on the train ride, so I feel content to march on into spring now.
And it's a good thing I feel ready for spring because, it looks like spring is ready for me!