Friday, May 27, 2016

A Midsummer's Night Knit

At Stitches West in 2014, I got to talking with the wonderful people over at Dragonfly Fibers. I left with a skein of yarn and a plan. Despite my vision, the stitches didn't play nice... until now. I'm so happy to present to you all the two piece collection: A Midsummer's Night Knit.

The first piece of the collection consists of the Titania Cowl. The cowl has a triangular bottom that is blended into a more traditional cowl shape. I'm always surprised by how even a gauzy bit of knitting can provide so much warmth. I was pretty cold when we took these photos.... until I put the cowl on.

The second piece to the collection are the Oberon Mitts. Fit for a fairy king... or those who aspire to be fairy royalty, these mitts have a leaf motif on the top of the hand as well as in the thumb gusset.

Both the cowl and mitts can be made from one skein of Damsel. I used the Spanish Moss colorway.

The collection, which is at a discounted price together, can be found on the bear-ears.com and ravelry. They can also be purchased individually. The Titania Cowl can be found at these links: bear-ears.com, ravelry, and craftsy. The Oberon Mitts can be found at these links: bear-ears.com, ravelry, and craftsy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dinosaur Ridge/ Rocky Mountains Pt.2

The next morning, we all got up at a rather early hour to hike in the Rocky Mountains. Mason would have liked to sleep in, but I saw that a storm was coming through, so early morning it was.

The highest I'd ever hiked to was 10,000 ft. Today we were going to be at 11,000. I was glad to have spent time in Denver (5000+ft) to have had a chance to acclimate from our usual 100ft above sea level.

The destination was Dream Lake. I grumbled a bit going up the mountain. It was cold and I, unlike Connor and his family, haven't ever lived through a white winter. Snow is something you drive to and have a day in. 
On our way up we saw a Dusky Grouse. It made a mating call at me. Connor said something about me being "taken." On and on we went until we made it to the lake... or so we thought. Other helpful hikers let us know that we were at Nymph Lake. Thanks guys.
Nymph Lake

The trail was unclear, so the groups who were going on to Dream Lake split up. We wandered to the left. The views were unbeatable.

Turns out we did not take the right trail. Our trail eventually met up with the proper trail: the one with stairs. After slipping around for around an hour, we made it. Dream Lake. The jokes about why Dream Lake was called Dream Lake started to come out: You'll dream about reaching it... etc. 
Dream Lake

We climbed back down the icy trail much faster that we did going up. I might have crouched down and "skiied" with my shoes down some steep bits. When we reached the bottom, Connor's mum decided she was cold enough and went back to the car. The rest of us went around Bear Lake, which was so white that I didn't realize I had gone all the way around and almost went around a second time. I'm glad Connor noticed that the trail looked familiar again.
Dream Lake

The next morning, before going back to the airport, we stopped by the Stanley Hotel. The Stanley Hotel is most famous for being in The Shining... or as Connor pointed out, "It was in Dumb and Dumber!" Yeti couldn't help but take a selfie in front of it. 

I'm glad we were able to spend some quality time with part of Connor's family. Vacations that have a bit of adventure in them are my favorite. I hope it isn't long before we are able to join them again.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dinosaur Ridge/ Rocky Mountains Pt.1

A little over a week ago Connor and I visited Colorado for the first time to meet up with part of Connor's family. Connor's father had a work meeting, so Connor's Mum and brother joined him. We flew into Denver quite late, looking forward to the next day's adventures. Connor's father had one more day of meetings, so the remaining four of us went out to see what could be seen. And what we visited first was my choice: Fancy Tiger Crafts. I've been curious about the shop for years, but never thought I'd get to visit it myself. It's lovely! I didn't take any pictures since I was busy petting yarn. Then I was disciplined and left with nothing....
Just kidding! I have no discipline when it comes to yarn. But these are the last skeins for a long time. I really need to knit down the stash... or give some away... or something. It isn't fitting anymore.
Hue Loco Tweed Sock in Fuschia and Fancy Tiger Crafts Heirloom Romney in Poppyseed

After Fancy Tiger, Connor's brother Mason gave us some options of where we could go.
Mason: We could see Red Rocks or Dinosaur Ridge.
Me: What's at dinosaur ridge?
Mason: Dinosaur footprints.
Me: Dinosaur footprints?!?!
So we went to Dinosaur Ridge.

We opted to walk up the road rather than do the official tour. It was much more relaxing to go at our own pace. We walked up the hill and saw that there was a point of interest. I'll say. Look! It's a dinosaur track. It looks grey because some charcoal has been added to help make the track more visible.
Connor's hand for scale

Then we looked up.... More tracks. It was so cool. Just the day before I had been talking about my personal goal in life to see dinosaur bones. I didn't know dinosaur footprints were a possibility.

Now these prints were quite neat, but they weren't from my personal favorite dinosaur: the brontosaurus. But further up the road I got to see it: a cast of a brontosaurus foot. This was created when a brontosaurus stepped into soft mud. Eventually the underpart eroded, leaving a cast of the foot. The smooth bit you see is the underside of the foot. You can even see its nails. This guy was facing towards the left.

It started to rain as we say the brontosaurus print, but there was one more point of interest up the road. I'm glad the rain didn't deter us, because I was finally able to fulfill my lifelong goal of seeing a dinosaur bone in person. There were bones embedded in the rock everywhere. This area had been discovered when the road was being put in and the scientists decided to leave some bone so that people could see what they looked like still encased.
Connor's arm for scale

We walked back the way he had come, chatting along the way. Before heading back into Denver, we took some pictures by the dinosaur statues.

That evening, after picking up Connor's father, we drove to Estes Park, the entrance to the Rocky Mountains.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Being Still

It has been slow going here at the Bear Ears household. After getting better from one illness, another set in. And as I started to recover again, my poor computer developed a crack in its screen. (I was told it was flaw, not something I had done. I knew that. I baby the thing and the crack appeared while sitting quietly watching a video.) All of this occurred right before leaving for a trip we had been planning for a few months. Knowing that there was no way to go on the trip unless I got better, I dropped everything and became still. I'd forgotten how important it is to have times of silence and thoughtfulness. I had run myself down much lower than I had realized. Not just physically, but emotionally and creatively as well. Being sick was a blessing in disguise. 

While being more still, I also was able to finish up a design that has been in the works for the past two years. (Knitting counts as still, right?) It is off with the test knitters at the moment. It is everything I wanted it to be and it only took many months of hair pulling to get it right.

As with everything else that has slowed down, so has the sock knitting. Two months ago I was putting the toe into my Pucker sock (left) and working on the heel of the striped sock (right). I've hardly made it down the leg of either second sock.

I do have a little bit of happy yarn news though... well happy for me. While we were gone on our trip, a new skein of yarn appeared in my mailbox. I purchased it in March and waited to have it dyed. It is the Monopoly Money color way from Desert Vista Dyeworks. It is pretty and I love it. It seems like the kind of future socks that would be great to wear at a game night.

I'm a bit more motivated to get a sock done so that I can play with my new yarn. Mmmm.... new yarn.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prance Past The Poppies

These socks have been a long time coming. Back in 2014 I was knitting away at these socks. Life got in the way as it likes to do. But with the help of my friends, the socks have been tested and tweaked. I am pleased to finally show off the Prance Past The Poppies socks.

Knit from the top down, Prance Past The Poppies are inspired by the California Poppy display that can be seen in Antelope Valley, California around March and April. These poppy socks are meant to be a cousin to the Fern Canyon socks, another California inspired pair of socks.

So forget about tip toeing through the tulips. It is much more glorious to Prance Past The Poppies.

The Prance Past The Poppies socks are now available on ravelry, bear-ears.com, and craftsy.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sequoia/ Alabama Hills/ Death Valley/ L.A. pt.3

I had created an itinerary for Death Valley that involved driving to the furthest point we wanted to see, Badwater, and coming back out with a final stop by the sand dunes. On our way in, we stopped for a picture of the Death Valley sign. As I lined up the shot I commented that the boys were standing in front of the words in a way that made it look like we were going to "Death Nation." They thought it was funny and decided that their future death metal polka band would be named just that.

It should also be noted that just to the right of the mountains of the sign is an iPad. That would be the iPad that Joe forgot that we had to drive back and get after getting to Father Crowley point. It should also be noted that Joe loves the video game Mass Effect and fancies himself the main character, Shepard. When he forgot the iPad, Connor said, "The chief science officer left his data pad. Our mission is to retrieve it."
I referred to Joe as the chief science officer for the rest of the day, but only because it mildly annoyed him.

After stops in Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek, we finally made it out to Badwater, the lowest point in the continental USA. Connor and I stayed by the car to eat our sandwiches while Joe, who was itching to go, walked out on the salt flats. After our sandwiches were gone, we started walking out to find him. We passed large groups of people, then smaller groups of people, then just four other people without passing Joe. There was, however a speck in the distance, which I said couldn't possible be him because that person was clearly a nutter. Connor told me Joe was not a nutter, but that speck was definitely him. Connor was right. We were so far out, no one else passed us. I didn't want to go farther, so we stood out on the salt flats for a while enjoying the scenery until Joe came back to us. 

After Badwater, we rapidly saw several sights, including the Devil's Golf Course. I warned Joe that the salt formations were sharp. He verified it for himself.
Joe is a brave man. I would not have squatted so close to such sharp formations.

We stopped by the Artists' Palette, a drive I had missed in the past because the road had been washed out by a flood. The rocks there are almost every color. I liked the green and purple rocks the best. It was at this point that Joe and I started to pretend that we couldn't see Connor. He had worn clothing that almost perfectly matched his surroundings, except for his black socks. Joe and I giggled about the black socks that were walking around Death Valley.

We then headed up to Zabriskie Point. It was another stop I'd failed to make in the previous two visits to Death Valley. I was pleased to see it for myself this time.
It's Joe next to a pair of black socks

Our last stop was at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. I told the boys it would be much more pleasant later in the afternoon, and I was right. I also told them before we walked out there that the dunes suffer from the same problem that Las Vegas does: everything is so big that it looks closer than it actually is. 
You can see a silhouette of a tiny ant climbing up the dunes. That is Joe.

Despite the warning, Joe decided to go to the largest dune. My ego couldn't handle it, so Connor and I went after him. It was worth it, but we were all extremely tired by the time we got back to the car.
We walked to the third big dune from the left

Before we left, I got a picture of Yeti. Yeti had been with us the whole way because it isn't often that a yeti gets the opportunity to visit Death Valley.

It was such a busy day in Death Valley that I didn't paint at all. I didn't end up painting any more during the rest of the trip either. The day after Death Valley, we drive to L.A. to see my brother give his Masters Guitar Performance. And the day after that we drove home. It was a fantastic trip, but all of us were excited to have an early bed time almost every night.
Connor and I also collected a few more doodads to add to our magnet/ patch collection. Some of the patches were picked up because I'd previously been to a place but hadn't found a patch.

It's been few days since we ended our trip and Joe headed back home. And while it has been nice to have a rest after such a jam-packed journey, I'm looking forward to painting more scenes from our trip. It was so easy to be inspired in such amazing landscapes.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sequoia/ Alabama Hills/ Death Valley/ L.A. pt.2

At the end of the last post we were about to drive into the Alabama Hills. I'd been there before with Mum and previously had been able to see Mt. Whitney through the Mobius Arch. This time it was too cloudy. It remained cloudy all three days we could have seen Mt. Whitney, so poor Joe and Connor never got a chance to see it.

We followed the trail and had fun spotting different shapes in the rocks.

We were also lucky to see the desert in bloom. The rain doesn't come often, but this year there has been a fair amount of rainfall. My favorite flowers were the orange ones.

It threatened to shower on us, but there was enough light to paint, so the boys left me in the parked car before going off to scramble over some rocks. It was a good move on my part. My paint is water soluble and would have been ruined when the clouds finally did let loose. Unfortunately I didn't remain dry. I managed to spill my paint water all over my lap half way through.

With my spirits dampened and the light fading, we drove back to town and got dinner. I spent another hour in the hotel finishing up my painting before going to bed. 

The next day would bring us into Death Valley and we had an aggressive itinerary planned.

To be continued...
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