The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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DIY Reusable “paper towels”- Let’s all be greener!


This gal came up with a great idea for making cleaning towels. Might have to try this myself.

Originally posted on thesewingsister:

I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to produce less waste. My thought is you have to start somewhere. I’m going to start with disposing of disposable paper towels. I have to also mention this move will also help my budget, double win from my perspective.


Wash cloths
Scrap fabric
Sewing machine


I bought some generic wash cloths from walmart and pulled some big chunks from my scrap fabric pile. Trace and cut squares to the size of your wash cloth.

I like to spare numbers when I can, because it can be confusing. It helps me to concentrate on shape rather than on specifics.

Moving on, put the cloth and fabric together, right sides together.
I put all of my rags in a pile and went to town on them when my family was napping. This is a redundant project, feel free to take a nap…

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Fall Gardening – Out with the old. In with the new.

Critters enjoy refuge in the garden just as I do.  This little one surprised me.

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Dahlias thrive here. Next year I’ll plant more.


Today I spent much time pulling out annuals at the end of their season’s glory, and transplanting a fuschia and some Alysum. Not frost tolerant, Allysum does self-sow. I’m not sure if it will pull through the winter. Oops. Forgot to photograph. I just love the Alyssums’ scent.

Favas are coming up. It will be a fun challenge finding recipes as I’ve never prepared them.


An Orca Pear,  kindly gifted from a friend, is being coaxed to straighten out with twine guy-lines. Eventually, a garden shed will tuck into the back right hand corner of this picture where the blue worm bin is. “Shed” is an inadequate moniker for the sturdy, hand-crafted, beautiful structure Pete has planned.


Spinach and a nasturtium sprouts duke it out for space. I don’t have the heart to pull out either.


Kale starts:


Mustard green starts:


I also planted some Lacinato Kale seeds, more nasturtium seeds and several varieties of garlic. I’ve never gardened through a winter (other than pots of flowers on a No. CA deck). This is an experiment in process.  Multi-colored chard is well established and will be welcomed throughout the cool months.

I’ll keep you posted!


Charity Quilts for Syrian Refugees-September, 2015

Today I taped up a box full of love. Via Ravelry I found a group called Hats and More for War-Torn Syria.  Sadly, the charity I knit for in the past, Afghans for Afghans cannot ship anything because of the country’s instability.

War and strife cause me great sadness. Charitable knitting, and now sewing, help me deal with those feelings, feeling like I can contribute something to meet others needs, to infuse some sort of happiness into dour situations.  One year ago I shared a post with a link to a photo of an Afghan girl holding up the Icelandic sweater I made for that campaign. How happy that made me.

This group collects childrens’ quilts as well as knitted items.  I lucked out and connected with a gal that will quilt donated tops on her long-arm machine.  It would take me hours to do just one.  How generous of her. I prefer piecing to quilting in general.

Using requested size limits, I pieced 10 tops from stash that needs a more worthy home than my shelves. Only one I used a pattern for. All others were improvised as I went along.

This process was liberating!

I dove into my batiks:


Miscellaneous fat quarters put to good use:


Close up detail of some of the prints:


Simple. Simple. Simple.

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The quilt on the left uses a panel well-marinated in deep-stash-land. I used leftover blocks from my nieces quilt to insert into the split panel. The one on the right was great fun. Stacked coins on a fabric foundation strip are bordered by larger cuts of fabric. It’s vibrant.


Uber simple strips of flannel. This one will be cuddly.

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Here’s the only one I used a pattern for.  Sun Sprite by Villa Rose takes only 6 fat quarters.  Printed on a just a small card, the Rosecard patterns are easy peasy. I’ve made three total including Limelight and Senior Prom.


This quilt I call Pink Lemonade because of the lemon fabric and the salmon pink fabric. It’s a giant log cabin block.


It’s been a fun way to use languishing stash for a great cause.

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Mt. Baker – A Much Needed Trip-Finally Above Treeline-Ptarmigan Ridge

There are so many worthy photos to share from this one hike.  My day above treeline, on my Mt. Baker trip, took me out Ptarmigan Ridge Trail.

That fog obscured bump, I think, is Coleman’s Pinnacle.  But I’m not completely positive. DSCF5712

Heavy clouds blanketed Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker the entire hike.  So thrilled to be there, and all so beautiful, it didn’t matter.  While hunting for images of Coleman Peak, I found this image which shows what Mother Nature hid from me.  If you don’t mind a spoiled surprise, take a gander.


Exiting some trees, this stole my breath.  The trail hugs Table Mountain to its right.


Fireweed.  This pretty plant grows from rhizome roots that prefer disturbed soils (fires, avalanche paths, roadcuts). The fluff from the plants were used by natives for stuffings and combining into weaving fibers. The inner pith was sometimes consumed and the outer stem layer was split off, dried and twined into rope.  Interestingly, the French Voyageurs grew it to use the leaves for tea. Being high in Vit. C, I wonder if they knew it staved off scurvy?  I’ve had delish honey made by bees feeding on fireweed.


After 1.2 miles the masses peel off to the right to hike the Chain Lakes Loop Trail.  I happily veered left and made my way to the top of a ridge. Another breathtaking moment, my view of the way ahead revealed.  Glaciers peek out of the clouds.  There are three up there, Rainbow, Park and Sholes though I can’t tell you which is which.  You can see the trail scratching across the left hand side of the photo below. This land was scoured by glaciers. The geology fascinates me.


Zig zagging down the ridge, I walked across a bowl-shaped depression.



Ridges of rocks are evidence of glaciers passage.


My goal was to land somewhere before the pointed spot (Coleman Pinnacle?) on the left side of the photo’s skyline.  Of note, the guidebook cautions hikers to prepare for snow travel. Apparently this trail (normally) holds snow all year. Not this year, not a smidgen.


Here are a  few plants new to me. This one is a Yellow Monkey Flower variety. It likes seeps which were lushly carpeted where I passed over them. It looks very different from the Monkeyflower I got to know in CA.


Below is Pink Monkey Flower, again an “ice cold” stream and seep loving plant.  An intriguing fact I’d like to test – its stigma will close if touched with a pin or a blade of grass.   How do plants know how to do that?


And this is Cousin It plant.  No seriously…I spotted this up by Hurricane Ridge, once, and can’t find it in my notes or a book.  But I’ve emailed a gal that might.  I missed the Lupine. What a blue carpeting that must have been.  Reflecting, a hot and dry summer must have forced early and shorter blooming times.


After crossing the open scree and walking up the hillside (minus snow) the Ridge is gained.  The trail crosses steep hillsides, at times disappearing into the fog.  I looked for but did not see any Ptarmigan. I heard marmots (I think) but did not spot them.



It was blueberry season, a month early some folks proclaimed. Perhaps scant snow and an early melt off allowed an early season?  I gorged.  My hands turned blue.  Deliciously sweet, I’d never picked wild blueberries before then.


The rock up there is volcanic, stacked up in a columnar structure.


Aproaching my stopping spot and looking along the spine of the ridge the way I came from., Mt. Shuksan is back that way and obscured.


I reached my destination with a view of what I think is Coleman Peak, glaciers to the right and Mt. Baker cloaked over behind it all.


Whoo was it windy when I  popped up to peer down and out over the ridge.  Ducking down, with the ridge deflecting the wind, I ate and knit in splendor.  I gave my sis’s birthday hat a spin.


Peering over the edge of my perch, just look at that contoured landscape. You can just imagine the heavy layers of ice grinding downhill eons ago.


Mt. Baker stayed hidden. On the walk out, glancing over my shoulder I got a sliver of a view.


Next time, I’d like to walk the 5+ miles to Camp Kiser to overnight.  If one can safely con’t from there, the guidebook promises passing Sholes Glacier close enough to touch it.  “The Portals” are the end of the trail.

This was a healing trip, refreshing and a renewal of sorts for me.  Next summer promises a return.  I’ve a guidebook full of flagged pages ready to go.

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Mt. Baker – A Much Needed Trip-That started in the Trees

A few weeks ago I enjoyed 5 days off, spending 4 on the road and one at home.  Not yet dipping into the Cascades, I chose the north section of Mt. Baker Nat’l Forest out Hwy 542 from Bellingham. I figured it would be quieter than the lower portion of the wilderness, out hwy. 20.

Rain greeted me. Sweet, wet, drizzly, foggy rain. And it didn’t bother me a bit.  It’s bone dry out here. WA state to CA is crispy, fires burn everywhere. Not sure what the statistics are.  I tried to look them up but couldn’t find them.  Funny, look for a cat video and there are millions. Ask Google what the Port Townsend WA year to date precipitation figure is and nada.

But I don’t need numbers to tell you our average 19″ per year is sorely short. There are water restrictions in place (not firm enough in my opinion) and concern for enough potable water come September.

So, rain, I reveled in it.

On arrival, I scooted to the end of the hwy to Artists Point, not sure why as I should have known it would be socked in but I still needed to go. The rain was falling sideways and I could hardly see my hand in front of my face. Obviously, no photos taken but this one I took on the way up. That was, maybe, 8 (?) miles from the top.


Retreating down, I set up camp and went for a stroll along Horseshoe Bend Trail, an easy sub-three-mile level walk along the Nooksack River.  It starts across the rd. from the Douglas fir campground.

The river roared so loud I at first thought I was hearing airplanes overhead.

This photo is from farther up the river but it shows you a sampling of the lush, green, thick vegetation along the river.


Trees, dripping in moss,  arch over the trail in places. Enchanting.


These pic are awful, fuzzy, I wonder if there was some condensation on the lens?  Ooops.


This fallen Cedar was almost 6′ in diameter. Now a nurse log, its occupants were pretty thick, they’ve been there awhile. DSCF5628

Lichen, sculptural in form:


Stressed, tired and needing to unwind I plunked down on a rocky river bank and drifted away, letting the sounds and sights soften and blur.

It must be the glacial melt that colors the water this opaque, pale mineral green.

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On the way out I stopped and had a gander at some Devils club plants. These things are gnarly!

What you don’t see in this pic is the underside of the leaves and the stems.


Look underneath and behold, one helluva defense system. Even the ribs on the leaves have spikes on them.


Growing 1-3 meters tall (I’ve seen them close to 3 meters tall) this shrub is related to ginseng. White flowers turn to scarlet berries. Inedible for humans, bears love them. Home in the PNW coastal areas, they like low, wet but somewhat drained areas. This plant still has oodles of medicinal uses.

After the walk I retired to camp, ate and plunked into a chair under a ring of cedars. They were my umbrella, keeping me and my knitting dry. It was a lovely day, a much-needed exploration.

Next post: Getting Above Treeline


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