Friday, October 23, 2015

Lassen Adventure - Pt.2

The next morning of our Lassen adventure, we got up bright and early-ish, had breakfast at the restaurant by the motel, and pumped ourselves up for the big climb. Connor kept saying, "I can't believe I'm going to climb a volcano!" And I said to myself, "Who's idea was this?" since I'd climbed this once and I remembered it being hard.

We climbed and climbed and climbed. We stopped many times to catch our breath. A family was hiking right behind us and their three little boys had boundless energy. Connor's theory was that because they were shorter, the altitude wasn't affecting them as much. Har har.

Eventually we made it to the top, but not before we explored the crater just below the peak. That was a mistake. We were so tired after struggling up and down crevices that we almost didn't get to the peak. But when we finally summited, it was glorious.

We ate our lunch. Everyone up on the peak that day celebrated with everyone else over how we all made it.
Look! It's Shasta in the distance. It's about 70 miles from Lassen.

Then came the climb down. I had borrowed hiking sticks from my parents. It was a good move. The trail is pretty rocky in places and it's easy to loose your footing. As we got lower and lower, the air becomes positively soupy. There was so much oxygen it was exciting.

And so on September 27, 2015, we earned our Lassen patch. We climbed the mountain and lived to tell the tale. 

Then we stopped by Dutch Bros to get some liquid energy (Dutch Freeze) before driving all the way back home.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lassen Adventure - Pt.1

Last month Connor and I decided to do an aggressive weekend hiking trip in Lassen. Located in Northern California, it's a little over 4 hours away from us... or 6 if you like to stop for lunch and look at things. What made this trip a little more aggressive than some is that we planned to do two hikes in two days.... but with some serious altitude. We live at around 100ft above sea level. Bumpass Hell is at 8,000ft and Lassen, well Lassen's trailhead starts at 8,500ft and peaks at 10,463ft. To help make the Lassen Peak hike more possible, we decided to stay in Mineral overnight, which is at almost 5000ft.

We also decided to do the easier of the two hikes on the first day. Bumpass Hell is a 3 mile hike, roundtrip. Easy for us, or so we thought, since we hike a 4 mile trail 2-3 times a week... usually in an hour. We were wrong as we ended up pretty winded from the elevation. But what you get to see at the end is worth the oxygen deprivation.

Bumpass Hell is a geothermic area that has fumaroles, boiling mud pots, and hot springs. The season and water levels will determine what there is more of as each phenomenon can evolve. A mud pot with more water can become a hot spring, but less water will turn it into a fumarole.

Of course you have to time your visit pretty well. When there is snow, Bumpass Hell is closed to protect people from accidentally going off trail and burning themselves. So contrary to popular belief, hell does in fact freeze over pretty often.

I was glad to see Bumpass Hell again. And Connor hadn't ever seen anything like it. There aren't too many places on earth were you can get pretty close to geothermic activity in a relatively safe manner.

As we hiked back, we were surprised to find that we were already starting to acclimate to the altitude. The walk back seemed easier. This boded well for the next day's challenge: Lassen Peak.
The further point is the actual peak. It looks shorter. It isn't.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fern Canyon: The Socks

I've been sitting on this pattern for quite some time, but thanks to good knitting friends who insisted that I was only imagining that it was impolite to ask them to test it out, Fern Canyon socks are now out in the world.

Fern Canyon is a favorite place to visit. (Insider tip, the fern display is better in summer, but there can be some amazing log debris seen in winter.) It is otherworldly, and I knew I needed to make socks that represented it to the best of my knitterly ability. Teaming the pattern up with Socks The Rock in the Enchanted Forest color way seemed like a no-brainer as well.

The socks themselves are written for both sport and fingering weight yarn. Knit from the top down, they feature a heel flap but that and the recommended toe can be replaced without affecting the pattern negatively. The fern patterning is knit only on the outside of the leg, but can be knit on both sides if desired.

Of course once you've knit the socks, you'll need to take them out on an adventure.

The Fern Canyon socks can be found on, ravelry, and craftsy.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Socks Of Betrayal

I had really hoped that I would be knitting a new pair of socks in October also known as Socktober. I had grand visions of using orange yarn. Perhaps my skein of Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply in the Biker Chick color or maybe my skein of Baah! La Jolla in the California Poppy color. I was making such great progress on the Sock Lover's Socks that there was no reason not to believe that I could be casting on fresh socks by the first week of October. We are just about done with the 2nd week of October and I am still knitting these wretched socks. Let it be known that the pattern is fine. It's the yarn that is the problem, specifically the dark grey yarn I paired with the self striping. It is a black hole of disappointment. A vortex of woe. It has betrayed me.

I had knit the entire sock all the way to the toe. I counted my stitches as I usually do before I cut the yarn. 16-17-18, good. 18 stitches on the top. 16-17.... 17?!? I was prepared to let go of my usual need for sock perfection, but I just had to know where that missing stitch went. I could have sworn that completed the gusset without any trouble with the right number of stitches. (There was loads of trouble with some mysterious section that kept being lumpy and tight which switched locations three times in between fixings... but that is besides the point.) And then I saw it... the dropped stitch. I know it is possible to mend a dropped stitch, but this one was on a wear point on the bottom of the foot and it was so very far down.
The marker on the bottom of the foot is holding the dropped stitch

So I ripped and reknit.... only to have the yarn betray me a second time! Another dropped stitch. I have no idea how this keeps happening, but I have just about had it. If both sets of my sock needles weren't taken up, I would have revenge cast on a sock already! As it stands, I'm trying to be disciplined and finish, but it sure is stressful knitting.
Can you see the stitches? Neither can I.

Meanwhile I am busy designing. Of course the project has been ripped even more than the socks. Each rip leads me to a better version of the pattern, but I would be lying if I didn't say that I am looking forward to knitting something entirely different.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Glorious Hand Spun Blanket

I find that my most favorite projects can take years to finish. Celestarium and Lit Knits each took two years or so. But my hand spun blanket project has taken much longer. From start to finish, it's been more like 5 years. I'm pleased to say that it is finally complete.

It all started when I worked at the Yolo Wool Mill. I collected scraps with the intention of making a large project. At the time I wasn't sure what the project would be, only that I wanted to make something large. What ended up happening is that I separated the brown tones scraps from the grey toned ones. The browns were destined to be a blanket. It took me several years to finish the spinning.

Once I had decided I wanted a blanket, it took some time to decide what kind. Did I want to knit or crochet a blanket? Because the yarn was not completely consistent, I was sure that gauge would be an issue. Also, I felt that knitting would be too stretchy for this yarn while crochet would be too bulky. Eventually I decided that woven was the way to go. There was only one problem: I don't weave.

Robin Lynde of Meridian Jacobs had been weaving blankets for customers of the Yolo Wool Mill for some time. When I saw that she had woven at least one handspun blanket, I knew that I needed her to weave this one for me. She's a busy person, though, so I had to wait a bit. But the wait was so worth it. I let her know that I had imagined some sort of gradient and that I wanted there to be more of a focus on the browns. Robin is a true artist. She came up with something better than I could have ever asked for. I especially love that she added subtle stripes to the blanket.

It now lives on our bed. And for the record, while I love all of the blanket, my favorite part to snuggle under my chin is the dark brown alpaca corner. As for the leftovers, not much was left after the weaving, relatively speaking.

Perhaps the leftover yarn can go with grey scraps that have yet to be spun. I haven't decided what kind of big project the greys might grow up to be. Maybe a sweater or jacket? Perhaps in another five years I'll find out.

Update: If you'd like to see the weaver's side of the story, have a look at the Meridian Jacobs blog.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's All Going To Be Alright

I like to try to blog at least once a week. I think it is a good practice and allows me to keep my writing and photography skills sharp. In writing this blog, it can be difficult to decide how to stay genuine without over sharing. Recently most of my posts have covered knitting failings and fun vacations, but they leave out the less glamorous parts of life. The tears, stress, and insecurities are difficult to convey and often there isn't a photo to describe what is going on.

They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. I'd say that has been true, but it isn't the marriage itself. If anything Connor has been the most steadfast part of my life. It's all the weird crap that swirls around us that has been difficult, like the month we dealt with a false insurance claim against us. Long story short, we were accused of rear ending someone and the driver who caused the accident gave false insurance and license plate.... our license plate. When we finally were able to convince the insurance that we weren't there by having them photograph our car to prove there was no damage, they forgot to call off collections. It's sorted now, but it was stressful while it was happening.

Just this past week a traumatizing event occurred. No one was hurt, but I was severely spooked. It's been difficult to know exactly what to write, so for now I will leave it. But I have learned quite a bit. (Might as well get something out of all the pain.) I'm gaining a stronger sense of empathy for those going through tough times. I also know that behind everyone's beautiful blog, there is someone who is trying to make ends meet, who is dealing with death or illness in the family, who isn't sure what they should do with their lives. And really, it's ok. Things will work out one way or another (although usually not according to plan). There really is only one guarantee in life (other than death and taxes) and that is that things will always be scary. It's hard making decisions and it's impossible to know what is right. And it's ok to be scared.

Future blog posts will probably continue with mini trips and fiber-related content, but I just felt it was time to talk about something a little different. Hopefully I can take my own advice and remember that things will be ok.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...