The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


Wales: Over the Hill to Llangollen

Peter has roots in Wales. His father grew up there and he spent time there as a child.  We took a side trip to Northeast Wales and stayed in the tiny village of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, a stones throw from Llangollen where his grandmother lived.

Below, the valley, it was stunning – let’s leave it at that.


We stayed in a sweet couple’s historic home (three cheers for Air BnB).

On our first day we drove (he drove, I gawked and hung on and begged to stop and photograph each sheep and each vista) through more quaint villages that skirt the Ceiriog Valley.

It’s not everyday you see a stout working horse commuting:


Or a farmer moving sheep around:


This area is know for a landscape suited to grazing and people having a strong sense of Welsh identity. I had the good fortune of walking past two men, sitting in chairs outside a cafe in Llangollen, speaking in Welsh.

Over one lane wide roads we went:


This area was a notable crossroads of sorts for sheep drovers. Sheep seem to still be the main livestock.



Climbing up an impossible steep grade you exit the valley and drop down to the River Dee to the town of Llangollen. Seeing the home of his grandmother was such a treat as was the streets he ran about as a boy.

Once into Llangollen we poked around the narrow side streets (which I found more interesting than the main drag) and found the fish and chips spot Pete’s sister recommended. Man it was good!

Peruse the town’s website for a wonderful aerial photo and some history.


Note the 1838 est. date on this bakery’s sign:


Entertaining details abound:


The river is a pretty vantage point to look back at the town.


Pardon the blurry zoom of this iPhone photo.  The remains of the Castell Dinas Bran sits on a hill above town.


We’re cat people. And this big, solid Tom took advantage of our attention. Peter’s sister informed me it is a notorious love-sponge.


After a trip through town we headed back to the little village and had an outstanding supper.


The next day, a helluva hike. More on that next.



Knitting – Fall of 2016

Hello all. It’s been ages since I’ve shared knitting pics. Time for a little catch up.

I’m in a Holiday gift knitting mode.

Prior to that panic seasonal mode’s beginning I filled up a box of warm, wooly goodies for the Hats and More for War Torn Syria group on Ravelry. They have a Facebook page, under the same moniker, if you are not connected to Ravelry and would like more info.

The more I see of the devastation over there, the displaced persons and people living under fire the more my heart breaks. This is one way I can make an effort to address the question many of us may share, “What can I do?”  Many thanks to my mom for sending me a box of wool yarn to help the cause.


A stack of thick, warm hats went in. Claire Russell has an E Book on Ravelry Called For Giving.   I used her patterns for many of these. It is written in many sizes, at a bulky gauge, including textures, slipped stitch colorwork and traditional colorwork patterns.


My source of warmth whilst making is Jane.  Jane’s hanging in there, our sweel ol’ girl.  Rapid weight loss and listlessness was recently diagnosed by our wonderful vet as hypothyroidism, a side effect of the hyperthyroidism we treated about 18 months ago. One pill a day and she’s now gaining weight, more interactive and even a bit kittenish every now and then. I am so glad we found her more time.  It’s hard having geriatric pets. Unfortunately, she has kidney damage to watch.


Here’s the accumulation of projects over many months:

+++Please note I link to a public view of my Ravelry page for project details. You can access the designers pages from there.

Winters Fern by Trin Annelie.  Made in various shades of Shelter and Loft by Brooklyn Tweed. gosh it makes for beautiful colorwork, so light! This was my sis Karen’s b-day gift.  This pattern is a blast to knit.  I just love colorwork.


I also knit a Winters Fern for my sis Alison but it turned our too big for her. Big bummer. The pale blue main color is Beaverslide Merino, Mule Spun merino/Mohair from Montana. Man is it delicious. I traded for the skein from another Raveler so I could sample it. I begs to be a thickly cabled sweater. How I love knitting cables.

I guess I like knitting most things. Except intarsia. Or fingering weight socks. Or I cord. Or…


The trip to England required thoughtful knitting project selection. Two weeks – long flights – lots of car time. The practical choice would’ve been a fingering weight shawl. But my attention span to projects is changing. I get bored easily. So I packed several one skein projects.

A Churchmouse Last-Minute Cowl (my third?) from one skein of lush Madelinetosh ASAP on #11 needles, The Rikke hat in a skein of very special handspun yarn (called red robinish, a clever name) I bought while in Duluth, MN last summer and a pair of Lambing Mitts in Cestari Traditional 2 play wound up being matchy-matchy. And I didn’t even plan it!

Need a quick gift? The cowl can be whipped up in just a few hours. The pattern has several options as far as patterning and can be made into one or two loops.   The color is undergrowth, so pretty and complex, but not well captured in this photo.

The Rikke Hat is super easy but I ripped it out many time as it runs too big for me.  I think the pattern is written for DK weight and this yarn is heavier than that. Plus, I have a pin-head.  I removed some stitches from the CO and fudged the decreases. The yarn I picked out at Yarn Harbor  in Duluth, my former and much missed college town. It was handspun by a gal who has a blog called Knitting My Way Home. She has an Etsy shop but I see no products listed. Yarn Harbor is a delightful shop should you be up there. It gets cold there. And they know wool!

I’ve made two pairs of Lambing Mitts. Again, peasy, a great gift, and they beg for a wooly, traditional wool. I have long hands so mine are long and the flaps are long enough to cover my fingers if needed. This Cestari Wool is made on a small farm in Virginia. I encourage you to visit their website and explore who they are. A personal goal of mine is to reduce my use of mass produced yarns and support more local producers. I’ve plenty of both in my stash.  Hello, SABLE!  But that’s another post I’m formulating in my head for new years knitting goals for 2017. Gasp! Almost there…

This yarn bloomed into soft, lofty, snuggly fabric when blocked. It has its lanolin so they smell sheepy which I don’t mind. My hands drank it up while knitting it. I test drove this skein as well for future sweater knitting needs.

Despite the mods, Rikke still turned out a bit too loose on the forehead. I’ll thread some elastic thread through to snug it up.

More recent projects include my Lake Breeze Cardigan which has stalled due to holiday knitting. So many sweaters I wish to make this year.


Here’s a Tensfield hat, my third, knit up in Silk Garden Sock. Knit in a modular manner, it’s a quick and fun project, esp. in Noro. The color changes make you want to just knit a bit longer to see the next color change. This is a perfect, light hat in a light yarn. The pattern accommodates any gauge. It’s like magic!

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A wee baby sweater I’ll put buttons on today and holiday gifts I shall share later when photographed. Thanks for stopping in!

And happy knitting-




Chipping Camden – Cotswolds – England

Our trip into the Cotswolds was much too quick but very enjoyable. The area is bucolic and lovely.


Chipping Campden was the little town we spent the most time in.

“Chipping” is Old English and means Market Place. This town prospered in the Middle Ages from the wool trade.  While there I explored a beautiful church, strolled through its cemetery and visited with some sheep.

A prominent family by the name of Hicks still live in the town. Sir Baptist Hicks was a wealthy silk merchant.  Here you see a gate house that once stood guard over his family’s estate.

I had a ball just standing there watching the sheep. It was a beautiful day!


The Hicks’ grand estate, the Campden house burned in the English Civil War. Just two gate houses and two Jacobean banquet houses and “Lady Juliana’s gateway” are standing. Some ruins are just visible though off limits to the public. Apparently they open for tours/functions on a very limited scale.




St. James Church was warm and welcoming to guests with a docent sharing information. I enjoyed watching a woman walk around watering and misting the many, many live floral and lush greenery arrangements throughout the inside. I believe the original structure was built in the 13th century.

The entrance you see below is old, probably from the 14th century. The outer doors are thought to be from the 13th century. It just spins my head to think I placed my hands on something that has seen so much time and people pass.


The Cotswolds are famous for locally quarried limestone buildings that turn lovely shades of yellow that vary in intensity by location (honey colored in the N and NE, golden in the central and south areas and pearly white in Bath.

I very much enjoyed looking for carved faces and features in buildings while in England.

An empty niche above the south door:


Multiple memorials to members of the Hicks family, crucial patrons to this church and the town, adorn the inside. Many restorations have happened over the years.


Here’s a glimpse upward from the spot where I enjoyed the sheeps’ antics. Imagine the grandeur of church towers in those times, always stretching taller and taller, symbols of wealth, how extravagant they must have seemed to some. And imagine the specialty and skill of the stone workers and the risk that came with hoisting such heavy stone.



We walked to High St., the main road through. One passes a cart wash that was restored in 2015. Built in the early 1800’s, its purpose was just for that. Carts would drive through and wash off the mud and soak the wooden wheels to prevent the iron from falling out when the wood contracted and dried.   I found this little local newspaper article about the resotrations festivities. Neat!


High St. has a mix of residential and commercial spaces.


The yellow stone glows. I took in the details like colored windows, reinforcement bars, slate roofs.





A tudor structure. Look at those beams.


This is called the Market Hall, built by Sir Baptist Hicks (of above mentioning) in 1627. This structure sheltered traders with goods like cheese, butter and poultry.  The stone floor is worn in smooth, deep grooves. It’s easy to imagine the pattern of traffic moving through, carving those grooves out.



The town raised money to save it from a pvt. sale and the National Trust now protects it.

Look up and you see the underbelly of a slate roof. This fascinated me.


And a trip through the cotswolds wouldn’t be such without thatch-roofed cottages.


Thanks for following me through this trip. There’s lots more to come.  Lots!




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England: Looe to Polpero Walk-Stunning!

Peter and I took a fine walk one bright, sunny day. Paul kindly shuttled us. The Looe to Polperro walk is a fine 5.7 mile stroll that hugs the coast. Each step was surrounded by beauty.

The Southwest Coast Path website provides good detail on the walk and information on how to use public transportation to shuttle to and from.

Coastguards initially created the  South West Coast Path as a way of monitoring for smuggling.  Every little inlet was subject to the illegal practice. 

In Looe, another picturesque sea-side village, we started  at the end of Marine Drive.  Paul and Max joined us for the first part of the walk.



Off we set. It was hot out, much too warm for all the layers I packed.

After passing a wide open area with cows milling about, one looks back and sees the coastline.


The island you see is called Looe Island, also known as St George’s Island. Legend says Phoenician tin trader Joseph of Arimathea  landed on this island with his teenage great-nephew, Jesus Christ, on their way up the coast to Glastonbury with a mission to spread Christianity in Britain. An earthenware fragment from the Eastern Mediterranean, dating from about that time, establishes trading links between Looe and the Middle East.  No direct evidence confirms this legend.

A medieval chapel once sat on this island.  A popular place for pilgrimages,  many drowned trying to reach it.  A new Benedictine chapel replaced it on the mainland sometime in the 12th century.

We did not walk uphill to the reportedly scant remains of a site of a Celtic monastery.

In the 1960’s two sisters owned Looe Island. Upon the lasts death, it was gifted to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Now, critters benefit from the island and waters as a wildlife sanctuary.  The Trust’s site explains how to get to the island.  Only guided boat shuttles are allowed, numbers restrained.  It is a popular spot for diving and kayaking.

Beaches and tide pools abound:



The trail is well-worn.


Approaching the small village of Talland, its bay you see below.


There were rose hips of an elongated shape foreign to me.


The right of way for walkers, in England, is such a treasure.  Here in our little town of Port Townsend, walking paths connecting streets and hiking trails abound.  In England, one can set out through private property (fields) as long as rules are followed and the animals are respected.

This walk took us past some pretty little horses.



Unfortunately, I did not do my homework before the walk. There is an old church up on the hill.  Wikipedia will give you some pics and information on it.   Pretty cool to see these horses working their way up the hill it sits on, look to the right in the pic below.


A stop on the beach made for a sweet little lunch spot.  when done, up a steep hill we marched.

I turned around and drank in the view of where we came from.


One thing I sorely miss is the Marin and Sonoma coast of CA.  The steep bluffs, empty beaches (at least the ones I looked for), wind-swept vegetation, and rolling views really feed me.  WA state coastlines are gorgeous in other ways.

But this-this was a welcomed re-kindling.



Our hike wound up in Polperro, a place I’ve taken you.  Down the mouth of the bay we walked. check out the low tide!  It was very high the last time were there.


Boats sat stuck in the mud, a sight I’m not used to seeing in the U.S.


Paul kindly met us there and brought us home.

What a delicious, sunny, bright and beautiful day. How I would love to someday, backpack on, walk as much as able. It’s 630 miles long.