The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


Christopher’s Quilt

My nephew Christopher arrived on Feb. 2. And man is he cute!

Each neice and nephew have received a handmade quilt from me.

I picked up these fat quarters at  The Cloth Shop  on Granville Island in Vancouver BC. It’s a fun little shop with a thoughtfully curated quilting fabrics.  I couldn’t resist the main fabric with the pirates, ships, maps and treasure chests as well as the navy one with the sea critters. I just searched the collection and am not seeing it much out there including on Makower, UK’s website.  Missouri Star Quilt Company has a bit.  The line is called 1674 Pirates Fishes buy The Henley Studio. I’m not sure what line the octopus and white fish prints are from. The red and white dots are from Cotton and Steel.

Not wanting to cut up the larger prints, I found a pattern off ETSY called Husky which may be the best $9 I’ve ever spent on a quilt pattern. Sized for baby to queen each block requires a fat quarter or a couple fat sixths. It’s simple, speedy and allows your prints to shine in large pieces.  And did I mention speedy?

I have the greatest respect for the heirloom quality, hand quilted, intricate quilts out there but in reality, that just isn’t in the cards for me.

This gal’s shop, Sunnyside Fabrics has a collection of simple quilt patterns I’ve added to my favorite list in Etsy.

I quilted it in a meandering pattern.  I really struggle with machine quilting. Even with my super grippy gloves and long table attachment to provide a slick, large, machine bed height workspace it find the process cumbersome and tiring.  Someday I’d like to build (I mean have Pete build) a table with a recess to drop the machine down into. I also dream of a long arm…but that would require a new house – with a large room for it…and a small fortune…alas!

This will head off to MN today and become a baby warmer, floor pad, brain synapse developer and spit up catcher.  Such a multitude of uses I believe a baby quilt should be.

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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.


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The Church of St. Michael-Landrake

Paul and Judith live in Landrake which is about 10 miles from Plymouth and in Cornwall-close to the very southwest point of England  It’s a small village of about 1,000 people.  Last night Pete and I took a stroll before supper.

Turning a corner the church of St. Michaels pops into view.  As early as 1086 a ‘wood and wattle’ (Per the Domesday book) structure of Saxon origin stood in this village. Landrake was an important spot, being at the south-east border of what is now Cornwall. It was close to the border delineating Saxon and Celt lands. Sandwiched between two rivers it allowed for the movement of goods.

Churches were places of refuge and safety and placed high on hills to meet these needs. They were also seen as status symbols, the hills showcasing tower heights.   It’s no coincidence towers grew and grew in height.


A peek at the headstones revealed sad and dramatic tales. Dates ranged from the 1700’s to modern times at the northern side of the church.  One I read told of a man falling off his horse, dying young and widowing a wife and 7 children. It then continued to pity her to have to feed those children.

This one, less dramatic, is dated 1759.  Many were unreadable, wee remains of slate tablets, sanded smooth by years of weather. Somewhere in here is a headstone dedicated to a man who was lost to the Titanic’s sinking.







The first stone church was probably rectangular with pillars at the sides. It’s been expensively added on to and refurbished (mostly in the 15th century) and unrecognizable like most churches built at that time.   Inside, the granite font is likely the oldest part of the present day church, dated to about 1100. Unfortunately, lacking a vicar, the church rarely opens.  The side facing us in the photo above may be  one of the older sections.

The faces in the stone intrigued me.  I noted most were on the north side.



A 100ft Tower, built in three stages, began in the late 14th century and took  nearly fifty years to complete. One document I read suggested the  Black Death hit the village around that time and delayed its completion. Sixty eight people from the village succumbed at that time and every family lost at least two members to the Black Death.The Plague hit again in 1593.  59 more people were buried at Landrake, all but 8 being buried in the month of August per the writings I perused.  Approximately half the Cornwall peoples died during the plague.

The stone used to build this church came from nearby Tartan Down Quarry at Landrake.


The photo below turned out horrible. But I’m leaving it in as it is the only pic of the entire front I have.


Today, one bell is all that remains as two of the three original were sold to raise funds to replace the internal woodwork of the tower in 1904.

There has been a Clock in the Tower since 1671. I presumed it was more new.



Stain glass windows were not added until the late 19th century and the south side originally had small, slit-like windows for protection.

Look at how the stones’ edges are gently wearing smooth along the glass.


After soaking that in we walked to the end of the street and drank in this view.  It was getting dark.


Flowers look much brighter against old stone walls. These rose hips were the size of ping-pong balls and the flower so beautifully scented. I noted these next to another impossibly old home steeped in history.

Fuchsia, one of my new-found favorite garden plants, thrive here. You’ll see more pics of them later.

Today we really went into the moors to explore.  Tomorrow, a walk along the coast.  What a trip! So much history. Such a reminder of the gaps in my knowledge. I’m enticed to re-learn.



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Orcas Island Day Two – Hiking in the Sweet old Oak Trees with My Guys.

A gift!  A day with mere sprinkles, fog, no real rain, we went for a walk up Ship Peak in Turtleback Preserve.    Zac’s a good sport and seems to like hiking. I’m glad we can share this with him.

I knew there were Garry Oaks there and had to see them.  I am drawn to them.

The trail starts up a steep road.

There is a whole lot of moss and lichen to be found.

The first Oak Meadow had seedlings, newly planted, scattered about.  This view came into sight coming around a corner.

These trees are gnarly, twisted, so old and wise looking. They do not like their roots disturbed, however. The area was well signed alerting folks to this to keep folks on the trail.


Mist and fog obscured expansive views over the water. Bummer.

A giant of a tree.

The care folks have put into restoration of the meadows is evident in the limbing of many trees.

These oak trees have a sculptural quality. Check out the trunk on this one.

I miss the many varieties of oak trees I fell for while living in California. There is something familiar and comforting in these trees.

A timely rest bench appears after a steep climb. The panoramic view from the spot was breathtaking. Unfortunately, the photo I took not so much.

We had some munchies atop Ship Peak. Minus the fog,  we would have seen views of many mountains and water. Looking at a map, I noted the spot is almost directly above the little cottage we were staying in.

The trails were well marked.
 It felt like a hobbit world in spots. 

Minutia. At eye level.

  Finally! Once lower, under the clouds, the water views revealed themselves. 

A lovely hike. And a good workout. With good company.

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Orcas Island-Day One-The Journey

Pete’s son Zac came up from FL last week. Wanting to share an adventure with him, and show him a beautiful part of WA, I planned a trip to Orcas Island.

We set off from Anacortes. It’s a beautiful sailing through a watery world.


Orcas Island looks like two saddlebags.  53 square miles of

Orcas Landing welcomes the ferry.

Realizing some blog readers may have never set foot on a ferry I figured I’d include a photo of one. This one is landing to receive off-island traffic.


Once we disembarked, with a bit of time until we could check into our lodging, we explored Deer Harbor.  The slow season, the harbor was quiet.


At low tide, there were some critters to check out.

The VRBO cottage, the Dragonfly Cottage at Dragonfly Farm was adorable and comfortable.   It felt like a hobbit home. It backs up to Turtleback Preserve where we hiked the next day.

The property has a view across a valley of farms.  The Orcas landscape is patched with farms, thick woods and coastline.

An evening light, blurry photo looking across the valley.


A pond with kayaks beckoned but I did not know they were up for use.

Three hens entertained me.

Spring is starting!


So cozy. So comfy. This cottage was a great find. The next day, a hike among old oaks.


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Christmas 2015 Sewn and Knitted Gifts

I kept homemade gifts this year pretty simple, allowing reality an honest role in my ambitions.  Below are some projects with links to my Ravelry project pages for more details where applicable.

For me, made from true need, wooly mittens, light but warm. These are made from Berroco Ultra Alpaca and the patterns is Basic Cabled Mittens by Amy O’dell. I love this yarn’s lightweight warmth.  I’ve a sweater’s worth stashed in the color Redwood Mix just waiting to be used.

Malabrigo Rios in the Marte’s color begged for my mom so I nabbed it and turned it onto The Age of Brass and Steam Shawl by Orange Flower Yarn. She loves it and wore it on our shopping excursion.

The colors are so pretty.  I worked on it while camping in UT in October.  It’s a super travel project – portable – I rarely looked at the pattern.  I shall make more for sure.

Before flying to MN for the holiday I, in usual form, stressed over selecting travel projects. Tensfield by Martina Behm jumped into my checkout cart a week prior as well as Langfield.  Martina is so clever. Both hats are knit in a modular manner and can be crafted in any gauge, no swatching.  I had a blast making Tensfield. I tossed the pattern and a lovely skein of Noro Silk Garden in my carry-on.  Once the colors grew, I just knew I had to give it to my neighbor Renee. They are her colors.

The funny thing was, as it lay blocking on my dining room table, she lamented her losing her favorite hat. I planned on surprising her with this hat. I couldn’t contain my excitement.  I spilled the beans and let her know a replacement was almost on its way.  She loves it!

I shall make more. Many more.

My sweetie got a new hat, this one very warm and sturdy. Windschief in Lambs Pride Worsted in Tahiti Teal  looks great on him. Blue!  I always suggest he wear blue.

My sis Rachel’s been asking for Christmas socks for years. I finally made good on my word and produced a pair based on Charlene Schurch’s Waffle Rib socks in Socks That Rock Heavyweight in the color Muddy Autumn Rainbow.  I had issues with these.  I finished one then set it aside for a month or so.  When starting the second I used the wrong needle size.  Twice.  The first time being the entire leg. Once on the correct size my row gauge was still off, hard to figure since it was just a month or so between socks.  Several repeats added on later, they matched, and I had to look away from the obvious difference in # of pattern rows.

Since I cast on less than Schurch’s recipe calls for,  I couldn’t figure out how to recalculate the heel turn numbers. Noting my agony, a friend suggested Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s heel turn recipe in Knitting Rules. It was a lifesaver let-me-tell-ya.  I almost failed Rachel another year minus socks.

Rachel requested a stocking for my niece Lily which I gladly made and I’m proud to say I sent it early enough for actual use. I do not have a pic of the cutie with it.

Jane enjoyed its warmth while in progress.

Many, many years ago I made my sis Ali a table topper for the holidays. A second style in the same fabrics I made this year.

Running out of time to knit more gifts I made my sis Karen a table runner and matching napkins. The runner was actually supposed to be four placemats but I read the pattern incorrectly. Doh!

Niece Sonja received a quilt but I’m waiting for a pic of her on it.

Currently on the needles are charity hats. My LYS Bazaar Girls is joining the efforts of 25,000 Tuques, a Canadian project gathering hats for Syrian refugees in Canada.  Our goal is 50. I’m looking forward to seeing our collaborative results before mailing.


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I went for a wintery walk with my pops.

Hey all.  Just returned from a holiday trip to see family in MN.

Pops and I traditionally take walks.

We started out looping around the friendly farmer/neighbor’s field and avoided the crabby one’s field.   A Snowy Owl’s taken up a winter residence in its perimeter.  Pete and I saw it flying about one day. The next day we watched it make a strike and fly off with a kill. What a beautiful sight it was.

It’s easy to imagine the owl and other raptors’  prey scampering around in labyrinths under the snow’s cover.  Eagles and Hawks we also watched circling the sky.   Apparently owls can detect rodent urine through snow. And their hearing!  Curious about owls?  Read Owl Papers by Jonathan Maslow.  Fascinating critters.  Outstanding book.

I used to sit in an old hunting stand in an elm on the perimeter of this field and read.  The rickety boards, nailed up the side of the tree, are long gone.

Birch. I miss these trees.

A fungus?  It felt like stiff, short-napped velvet. Plenty of oddities abound.

Winter walks in MN are so different from where I now live. They are studies in contrast on white canvas.

And the oaks.  Time’s been tough on them. Not many are left. There are a few specimens of grandeur in the old pasture.  Such fine shapes, a handful of crinkled, auburn leaves left on.

Many of my memories are woven from this landscape. It was  fine place to grow up, to wander about in, to play in, to explore. We used to plow through the woods for what I now know as miles. Back then, there were no measures, just full days and the  need to get in for supper when called, just before the light turned the snowy ground that stunning blue color.

My nephew Sammie (age 3 1/2)  and I wandered about the woods a bit after sledding.  Man that was fun!  Been awhile. I wonder if the woods felt as  expansive to him as it did to me back then?  I hope he makes some memories as I have. I hope they plant a seed of appreciation for the outdoors.

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Auntie Knits- The privilege of knitting silly, cute kid things.

Being an Auntie means making goofy, cute things for nieces and nephews.  Sis Karen asked me to make a babe the Blue Ox hat for Sonja for this years’ Halloween costume.  Sure!  And then I though, “Hmmm.  How?”

After trolling online photos of Babe I knitted up a basic beanie and winged it on the ears and horns.  Butter-soft Malagbrigo Worsted in Bobby Blue was in my stash. Then, I braided up yarn to make a tail. Karen added red ribbon to the tail.  This I knit up in a short bit while my CO/UT road-trip partner Kurt, in early Oct., shook his head in amazement. He wondered, “How did you make that so quickly?”  That trip’s post is soon to follow.

I think she’s pretty adorable and her papa, Wes, got the Paul Bunyan costume just right.

The other request was fish hat for my niece Lily. She’s obsessed with fish, enjoys fishing and loves animals in general. I made this Fish Dead or Alive hat for my nephew Lucca a few years back.  An old Knitty project, there are 7,000+ projects listed on Ravelry.  This one I made from leftovers, mainly Cascade 220, some mochi and other worsted odds n’ ends.

Lily is a peanut. She’ll need to grow into this hat.  I added ties that need to be trimmed down in length. Jeez she’s cute. Can’t wait to get there for the holidays.

Past Halloween knits include Princess Leia buns for Lily as a wee one and a Pumpkin Hat for Lucca, also a sprite.

As they get older, such requests will taper off. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy such novel projects.