I wasn’t sure if I would post today since I don’t have any photos, but since it may be a week or two I’ll let you know the itinerary. First of all, I am on vacation!!! Let’s hear a Woo! and a Hoo! I really need this break. Work has been particularly frustrating lately. I don’t know if it has to do with seeing retirement as an option in a few years, but I’m tired of the same old problems cropping up again and again. I’m tired of dealing with parents who see taking care of their kids as an imposition. I’m tired of feuding parents using their children as weapons against each other. I’m tired of parents who just don’t want to pay their bills. I’m tired of insurance companies who seem to look for ways to deny claims. And I’m tired of a state welfare system that seems more interested in funding unnecessary programs rather than quality medical care for children. Ok, rant over. After all, I’m on vacation!!

I’ve pretty much got my projects organized and just a few last minute items to tuck in. For knitting I’m taking a pair of socks on the needles and yarn for a new pair, a new CIC project and an afghan panel (more on that when I return). For sewing projects I’m taking a couple of outfits for Izzy and some fabric to try out more bear linen ideas, plus designs for Christmas presents and ornaments. We’ll also work on some computer digitizing. I don’t have the digitizing software, but my friend does. However, she doesn’t really know how to use it, but I do. So we’ll work on teaching her some digitizing skills while I get to access the software for some of my own projects.

We leave tomorrow for Leavenworth and will spend the rest of the day tomorrow and Sunday morning sightseeing with the hubbies. They’ll leave Sunday afternoon since the other hubby needs to go to work and my hubby is anxious to get back and work on his airplanes. Then my friend Lisa and I will spend the next three days happily sewing away with breaks here and there for more sightseeing or maybe a trip to Wenatchee to a quilt shop. On Thursday Lisa will drop me off in Marysville, where I will meet Bill and we’ll head on down to California. We’ll spend the night in Oregon and pick up his new baby the next day. After a night in California, we’ll head home with an overnight stop once again in Oregon. Then home on Sunday. I’ll need to go into work on Monday to do payroll and deal with accumulated mail and probably 50 messages on the machine, but it will be blissfully quiet because I’ll be alone. Then a couple of more days off to rest and I got back to work on Thursday.

I will have internet access part of the time, but not on my own computer, so I probably won’t be able to post pictures, so will wait until I get back. See you all then!

It’s a girl! Or at least that’s what the ultrasound seems to indicate. Of course, ultrasounds have been known to be wrong, so we’re being cautious. But for now we’re anticipating that our new grandchild will be little Ivy. My mind is now racing with all kinds of ideas for little matching dresses and girly-girl things (watch – they’ll both be tomboys and hate dresses!). When Ben and Abby got married on the London Eye, Ben promised me granddaughters if I would go on the Eye (I’m terrified of heights). So far, he’s coming through in grand style!

On the knitting front, I’ve finished the back and both fronts on Abby’s sweater and started a sleeve. If all goes well, I should be able to take the finished sweater with me when we go back in September.


I’ve also engaged in some stash enhancement:


The dark grey is Opal handpaint destined to be socks for yours truly. This stuff is luscious! I can see Marguerite’s preference for it. I got this with a gift certificate that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. The Crystal Palace Kid Merino was also bought with a gift certificate. For the past few years my parents have given me a gift certificate to the Kirkland Yarn Shop close to my sister’s house. Sadly, I just found out that they are closing. The owner is retiring. It was such a neat little shop – low on atmosphere, but always stocked with a great selection of yarns and patterns. The easter-eggy skein is Trekking sock yarn. I saw this on Sue’s blog and fell in love (go over to her blog and look at her very cute decorating with yarn idea – cute son, too! At least I think it’s her son – sorry Sue, I don’t know your age! Could it be a hubby?). Several nights later I was at knit group at our LYS and saw one of the members knitting socks with the very same yarn. I asked her where she got it and she pointed to the back of the store. So, needless to say, it came home with me. However, I am showing great restraint by concentrating on current projects before casting on with these!

Speaking of current projects, I think I’m ready to unveil my little bear project. Here is the center:


And the corner (a little fuzzy):


This cute little tablecloth will fit a child’s table or can be used as a table topper on a circular table with an underskirt. Here are the matching napkins:


I’m hoping to be able to sell a few here and there to help fund my yarn and thread habits! This set will be donated to the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra auction in June. Eventually I hope to have a website up and offer different styles, but this is it for now, although I have ideas for different styles of bears (a Panda and a darling bear couple with a Valentine theme). I’m only doing them as special orders now, so if anyone is interested, just drop me an email or a comment and I’ll get back to you.

The next few weeks hold some fun opportunities! Today I’m going to Friday Harbor with a friend. We drive to the next island over, walk on a ferry and take a sail through some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. We’ll get off at Friday Harbor, poke around the shops, have lunch and then come home. Sometimes I get a little frustrated living on an island and having to go so far for so many things, but this definitely makes up for it! Tonight my Round Robin group meets to finish the Mystery Quilt project. Tomorrow the Community Quilt branch of our quilting guild meets to work on charity quilts. Next week I only work three days and then hubby and I and another couple are driving over to Leavenworth, a little Bavarian village in the heart of the mountains of Eastern Washington. We have a condo reserved there for 5 days. The hubbies are only staying a couple of days and then coming home, but my friend and I are taking our sewing machines and supplies and having our own little sewing retreat! There is a dynamite quilt shop just steps from our condo. We have been planning this for months and we SO need this vacation. Once we leave Leavenworth, I don’t even get to come home. My friend and I will meet hubby on the way home and I will join him for a drive down to California, where on his birthday we will pick up his new toy. I’ll wait to surprise you, but I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find out it has four wheels and an engine.

So, I need to start planning what to pack – not only sewing projects, but knitting projects for the road trip. I have this paranoia bordering on the pathological of getting bored or running out of projects. I always overestimate the amound of knitting I’ll accomplish and take way too much yarn. But such is life. At this point I think I’ll take the sleeve to Abby’s sweater, a pair of socks (second sock of Austermann Step started months ago) and maybe yarn to start a new CIC sweater. Until then!

No, once again I have not dropped off the face of the earth! Just a very, very busy two weeks. On the positive side, I finished several projects that had deadlines and also am about done with my class on Psychology of Women. Many thanks to Don Imus for giving me fodder for my last paper. And that’s all I’ll say about that – he doesn’t deserve any more press, even on my humble blog.

There has been time in the evenings for knitting. I’ve been focusing on just one or two projects and the result is – a finished baby afghan:


I should have taken a close-up so you could see the little cables between the ripples, but I’m too lazy to go back and do it again. This is, of course, for the new grandchild. Abby has an ultrasound in the next couple of weeks and with any cooperation from the wee one, we may actually find out the sex. Now I’m focusing on finishing Abby’s sweater. I’ve got the back, one front and most of the second front done. I’ll post pictures of them next time. Then on to sleeve island and I can cross another project off the list. I still have Forest Path on the needles, but it was beginning to become a bit of drudgery, so I think a little vacation is in order for us. I’ll pick it up again soon.

One of the projects that had a deadline was a quilt for our local Christian School auction. My friend Lisa did the embroidery and I pieced and quilted it:


I’m especially proud of the binding:


It took a bit of futzing to get it to come out right, but I think it was well worth the effort. Because I was such a good girl and got the quilt done and my papers for class, I rewarded myself with a day of playing in my sewing room. I turned out these very cute little bears:


I have a project in mind for a little girl’s tea party set for another charity auction in June. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I made a mock-up today that is not quite right, but I think I know the problem and will try again tomorrow. Tonight will be spent curled up in my recliner with my trusted pooch, knitting, watching TV and listening to the rain.

What a busy week! In addition to school and work, this Saturday I helped host an all day retreat for three churches. As part of it, I taught a 2 1/2 hour class. By the end of the day I was exhausted and could barely talk! I’ve heard that the difference between extroverts and introverts is that extroverts are energized by contact with people and introverts are energized by solitude. I am definitely an introvert. Being “on” all day was very draining for me. However, the retreat was a huge success and culminated a nine week training for Stephen Ministers for all three churches. Now we have 12 wonderful, trained caregivers to send back to their churches to minister. Well worth the exhaustion.

I find myself getting my schedule cluttered up again. It’s not necessarily that I can’t say “No”, but that I have so many fun things presenting themselves. On my last trip up to Bellingham for a machine class, the owner of the shop asked ME to teach some classes! I guess she was impressed with some of the projects I’m doing. I told her that I couldn’t commit to any kind of regular schedule. It’s too far away (an hour each way) and I’ve got an awful lot on my plate now. But I did agree to do a few here and there. At least it will help fund my new addiction – thread! I’m finding that in order to do all the lovely projects I’d like, you need a palette of beautiful colors (sounds suspiciously like a stash, huh?).

Lest you think that I have left knitting by the wayside, I’ve made quite a bit of progress on both the baby afghan and Forest Path. The problem is, they look just like the last picture (go ahead and look, I’ll wait), only longer. I’m up to Tier 12 on Forest Path – well over half way. I’ve heard that some other members of the Knit Along aren’t going the whole 23 tiers because it will be too big. I’ll keep my options open, but that may be a possibility because it is getting pretty long now. I’ve decided to concentrate on those two projects until they’re done!

And just to keep the blog a little interesting – a picture. The model shot of Alberta:


I wore it to church this morning and what a delight! It was warm and soft and perfect for a rather cool spring morning. I felt quite pampered.

Hope I have something interesting to talk about next week. I’ll continue to work on my two projects, so maybe I’ll post a picture just to prove that I am indeed knitting away!