The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


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Eureka, CA. Murals!

Poke around Eureka, CA and you’ll find murals.  This surprised me.  Last time I was there I stuck to the water. Mostly.

The best lime-corncookie I’ve ever had comes from this bagel shop called Los Bagels.  I now have the recipe. I dreamed of reuniting with that cookie a second time so I planned my return route to ensure I stop on the way back north.


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Crescent City, CA – Battery Point Lighthouse

There’s something about the California Coast. The 199 down from Oregon deposits you in Crescent City, CA.  A Breakwater hems in one side of Crescent Beach. After perusing the working harbor (full of fishing boats) and a couple guest tall ships in the marina,  I made way to Battery Point to visit the sweet little Battery Point Lighthouse.

It was windy. The waves were active and impressive, swamping over the massive jetty which you see in the video below though in person it was much more impressive.

The tide was low, however, and the narrow isthmus one walks across to the lighthouse was free and clear.

 

I’ve visited this pretty little lighthouse before.  I missed the last tour of the day. The woman exiting the building shared her excitement at the frantic waves. Apparently, it’s been a quiet winter without much big- wave-watching.

This was one of the first lighthouses on the California coast. In 1855 Congress appropriated $15,000 for its construction.   The fourth-order Fresnel Lens was replaced by an automated, modern light in 1953.  Despite most of the town being destroyed, the lighthouse survived the massive tsunami from the 1964 AK earthquake.  Eventually, a flashing light at the end of a breakwater replaced the lighthouse’s beam. In 1982 the lighthouse was switched back on,  managed as a “private aid” to navigation. This means, I believe, that it a group of volunteers and people that stay for periods of time maintain the light as it is on navigational charts and must be reliably lit.

Interesting bits and pieces:

Someday I’d like to be a volunteer lighthouse keeper.

Tours are available to the public, tide-permitting, daily from April to September.  The last time I was there I had a wonderful docent who lived and breathed the history of the area and the lighthouse.  They will take visitors up into the tower.  I highly recommend this spot.  SaveSave


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Portland

Not having a car in Portland is freeing. I had scant time to explore due to that class I took but still, I had time to explore and visit some favorite places.

The network of bridges and the river interest me.

Powells is an ENTIRE block of books, folks, a whole block. I spent plenty of time there on a rainy evening.

My last AM there I walked up the street to the Nob Hill area. new to me, this spot is famed for its boutique stores. I liked this small/local business slant. It made for a good walk which I craved after sitting in a class all day.

This is a lovely neighborhood with older homes and charming apartment (?condo) buildings.

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The chocolate store.

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I skipped Voodoo donuts this time. Found Blue Star instead and slowly savored a Mexican Hot Chocolate delight with strong coffee. There was a surprising kick of cayenne in that chocolate morsel.

Quirk.  Remember the movie?  Loved it.

Headed downtown.

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Just miscellany glimpses.


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Happy Holidays to all!

Greetings from Vancouver, BC where I’m having some quality time with my sweetie.  Off we went yesterday for a walk in Capilano River Regional Park. Snow fell in the last couple days making for a delightfully brisk, white-dusted walk.

This city has a great number of parks. This one lies far up in the northern section on the flanks of Grouse Mtn.   We appreciated the quiet retreat away from the buzz and chaos of the city.  It’s coastal rainforest up here. Which I just love-

My neck of the woods on the Olympic Peninsula sees snow maybe once or twice a year, never more than a couple of inches and it melts quickly.  I like retreating to snow when I miss it, walking in a fresh coating now. I’m glad to benefit from a marine climate the rest of the year.

It’s a real treat to have a stroll through white-dusted lichens, firs and such.

The Capilano River runs north to South through BC’s Coast Mtns and empties into Burrard Inlet. A massive dam and its reservoir provides water to the city, one of three primary sources.  A salmon hatchery was put in downstream from this damn to try to preserve the salmon runs. The famed Capilano Suspension Bridge is close by and run privately.  All lit up for the holiday it was stuffed full of visitors this weekend. We avoided it.  I’d like to see it another time.  I’d also like to return and witness spring snow-melt water levels.

The canyon we walked up has very steep walls. It’s astounding to imagine the flow and amounts of water that have carved out this pathway.

Check out this delightful fungus-

Such a pretty city retreat!

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Years to you and yours!


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Seattle – a weekend escape

I slipped away for a quick weekend escape to Seattle. An hour and change drive + a 35 minute ferry ride deposits me into another world. I adore small town life. But sometimes I crave time in the city.

I knew there would be lights to see.

A wall of antique sewing machines-an unexpected sight.

This delightful, joyful procession caught me by surprise.

So Much Yarn shop’s holiday display. Cute! I’ll likely pick up a live tree this year. I could make some mini skein ornaments.

I sauntered down to the market at perhaps the worst time. It was packed. They were lighting the tree.

Watched the gals at Beechers make cheese then indulged in a dish of Mac n cheese.

Indulged in a Top Pot donut. Mmmm!

This was interesting. There were two mounted police training their horses. They were repeatedly stopping and backing them up. A yappy little dog started in on them and they intentionally walked over next to it. I can’t believe how tolerant those horses were of traffic and that dog. Incredible!

Beautiful stonework on the Federal building.

Though I enjoy my rare trips over there, it’s still great to cross back over to home.


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Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat-Part Three of Three – On the Street in Tacoma

The hotel and festival are smack dab in the middle of an interesting downtown area. I set out a couple times to explore and eat.  What a cool spot!  I can’t wait to return – even as an overnighter. Tacoma’s about an hour and 30 from home traffic depending-

Some sights within just a few block radius from the Murano Hotel where we stayed:

I live in a small town. Which I love and wouldn’t trade. Sometimes I need the re-charge that city exploration provides.

I found the lovliest glass buttons in this antique shop filed with curiosities-

Curiosities as such-

Retired store signs, displays, lighting, furniture-

A classic theater building-

On the last day I had just a couple hours to spare so I skipped full entrance to the Chihuly Museum. I wanted to save that for a time I could really take my time.

The walk around it, however, has many outdoor installations-

In the ceiling of the overpass bridge-

I fell hard for the copper on the old Union Station building, now a District Courthouse.

And then back to class…

I can’t wait to return to explore Tacoma some more!


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Madrona Fiber Arts Festival – Part One of Three – Inside the Murano

Back in early 2016 I added Madrona Fiber Arts Festival to my calendar  planning to stay the weekend and take classes.  Attending an educational event for knitting yearly is a goal of mine.   Last year I went to Knit Fit in Ballard.

Madrona is legendary. And for good reason. A newbie this year, I went full on and stayed at the Hotel Murano a couple of nights with a friend and registered for three classes including Eek Steeks! with Mary Scott Huff, Knitting Ergonomics with Carson Demers and Knitting for Speed and Proficiency with Stephanie Pear-McPhee.

Tacoma is famous for its Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. I didn’t make time to visit the museum (just the glory outside of it). The hotel was a fine substitute with each floor a display of glass and artists. It’s a spectacular place.

Large pieces hang  from the ceilings and small pieces are tucked into niches and cases and dangle from the ceiling as lighting.

On to the yarn-y experience:

Have you read Clara Parkes delightful book Knitlandia? I love the concept. It details fiber related events and festivals,  an oral history from a yarn-y gal’s perspective. It’s perfect for picking up off the bedside table to take in one or two stories at a time.

Of her maiden Madrona arrival she wrote, “Inside the lobby was now chock-a-block with knitters, sprawled on every suitable surface, clustered on couches and armchairs and coffee tables. They were checking into their rooms, they were at the bar, they were headed up the glass stairs and over to the elevators. Everyone was smiling, hugging, exclaiming and petting one another’s handknits. This Brigadoon manifestation of the Pacific Northwest fiber elite had officially begun.”

Amy and I pulled up to the curb upon arrival.  Valets helped us unload our multitude of bags onto a cart.  Stepping inside my breath escaped.  The gleaming space bounces light off every surface including the giant glass lighting.  The scene described by Clara above matched my view.  I was giddy with a shared sense of yarny camaraderie. And the photo I took of the lobby did not turn out. Gah!

An evening teachers’ gallery was a feast of inspiration and awe.

I was able to pet the works of and meet some designers such as Lucy Neatby:

Here’s  Janine Bajus‘s work. I was so glad to meet her, drool over her colorwork and sponge up the inspiration.

On to classes.

I took a mini class on ergonomics of knitting from Carson Demers where I learned much about the way my hands and fingers move and how my body will sustain knitting in a pain-free way if I am attentive to keeping neutral positions. Mind you,sitting on my couch with a cat in my lap doesn’t promote that. I have some learning and adjustments to make.  He will soon release a book.

EEK Steeks by Mary Scott Huff  was next. She was an outstanding instructor, her goofy brand of humor laced throughout. My sides hurt from laughing. Here she is doing an interpretive dance of wool fiber being blocked.

Her work is stunning and the finishing…my god the finishing…the woman’s a goddess of finishing…


Steeking is a process where you knit colorwork in the round, adding a column of stitches that will be reinforced then cut along to open the tube to flat. It can be used on armholes, cardigan fronts, and partial front openings. I bet there’s more applications.

She also taught us how to cast on two sleeves at a time, both steeked in order to knit two at a time which is absolutely genius!  No color “jogs” will occur at the start point and if you use a self striping yarn for your colorwork it will line up across the sleeves beautifully.

Check out the bias tape she used to cover the steek of this sleeve:

I’d never steeked before. But I’ve knitted many colorwork items in the round (hats, mittens, bands on yokes).

It was time to move forward-

Here’s the crochet method, my favorite of the class as it seemed less fiddly. Using a hook you crochet up along the cutting line locking certain legs of stitches together which prevents them from dropping once cut.  Colorwork is traditionally (and best) done with wooly-wool so the barb-like fibers hook together.

Snip snip!  Seems scary to cut knitting, right?  Not anymore for me.

A handsewn method means using thread and needle to puncture the legs of certain stitches together. It felt fiddly. And, I’ll admit, anything involving a needle and thread makes me impatient.

 

Snip! It works!

We also used her sewing machine and I liked that method as well. That one seems a little scarier, though, as it can distort the fabric. A walking foot can help.  I’d practice on sacrificial swatches a lot before going that route.

The final class shall be a post of its own-coming right up!