The bags are packed and the checklist, well, checked, and only the last minute things left to be accomplished.  As usual, I worry that I've forgotten something, but I also remind myself that we're not exactly going to the ends of the earth.  We realized this week that this is the first time in over 17 years that we've gone on a vacation that doesn't require airports, security, passports, etc.  It's so nice not to have to worry about what will or will not be allowed in our luggage!

I was hoping to get the girls' quilts finished before I left, but it's been slow going.  However, I'm really pleased with the way they are coming out.  They just look happy!


I was especially pleased with the little sheep block.  I had put it off to the last because I thought it would be a bear appliqueing the Minkee fabric.  But it went together with no problems at all:


Since we'll be gone for Mei-Mei's birthday, we joined the family at Alderwood Mall Sunday for a little party at Build-a-Bear.  Despite Abby trying to distract Mei-Mei with other bears, she insisted on a pink bear.  She is definitely a girly-girl.  But how could you deny this kind of love?


When it came time to select outfits, pink won out again and the pink bear was outfitted in a pink ballerina costume.  Isobel made big points with her grandpa by picking out a firefighter costume so her bear would look like Yeh-Yeh (grandfather).


I also have a modeling shot of Evenstar.  I gave it to my niece for her graduation from Washington State University and she looks gorgeous in it:


She and the shawl are off to Ireland for an internship in a couple for weeks.  It's a dream come true for her and I know she is going to have an incredible time.

I hope to be able to post from the road on our trip.  I'm a little embarassed to admit how many electronics we are taking with us.  Between iPods, IPads, computers, cell phones and what not, we have enough chargers to open our own store!  But with any luck I may even be able to create a few scrapbook pages while the memories are still fresh. 

Homesick Already

When we made plans for our trip hubby and I discussed the fact that neither one of us likes to be away from home for any length of time.  We knew that being gone for 30 days was really stretching it, but we were confident we could do it.  This week, as we were planning our trip, I began to feel homesick already.  And we haven't even left!  But I'm sure we can do this.  We'll see lots of wonderful places and visit with some wonderful people.  But I do know that when we return I will be ecstatic.  I'm hoping Maggie will not forget us and decide that living with Ben and Abby is way more fun!

I've pretty much packed most of my projects.  On deck is lots of lace, a couple of skeins of sock yarn (just in case) and fiber for spinning.  My Spindolyn has been shipped and should arrive Monday.  That will give me just enough time for a little preliminary practice to determine what fiber to take with me.

This week I've been concentrating on quilting.  The quilts for the girls have been languishing and I decided I'd better get cracking on them while they're still young enough to enjoy the juvenile theme.  Here are some recently completed blocks:


I thought I was being oh-so-clever on the bear blocks by digitizing the flowers and embroidering them on my machine.  After all, I did the same with the faces and they came out great.  It was a good idea until I got the first block all embroidered and started searching for the second one.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  Imagine my horror when I realized I had stacked the blocks when I did the embroidery!  Do you know how hard it is to unpick densely sewn embroidery stitches without tearing the fabric??  Thank goodness I was able to "un-sew" without damaging the blocks and all was saved.  I do think it's time to quit for the evening, though.

The Aeolian shawl is progressing nicely, but is now at the point where it resembles an amorphous blob.  I do love this pattern and am already planning another one with beads.  The Cambridge Jacket is coming along nicely too, but not much to show – just more of the same, only longer.

I have been musing this week on how very blessed I am.  I often read on Ravelry of women who want to spin, but can't afford even a modest spindle and make do with dowels and CD's or other home-made tools.  I am so thankful that I have all the wonderful tools I do – lots of yarn and needles, a beautiful spinning wheel and a spindle on the way, a top of the line sewing machine and the software to make it do what I want it to do.  And now, as icing on the cake, I have a comfortable retirement with time to enjoy all of it and a husband who supports my crafts.  And two beautiful granddaughters to sew and knit for.  Thank you God!

Why is it so HOT??

I guess we've dodged the bullet long enough.  The heat wave that has been scorching the rest of the country has finally paid a visit to the Pacific Northwest.  Although I know our temps pale in comparison with those in other areas, you must remember that very few homes here have air conditioning.  It was in the mid 90's in the Seattle/Tacoma area yesterday and today.  It was a little cooler here on the island, but that didn't help us because were were in Tacoma for our nephew's wedding.  And, as fate would have it, hubby had volunteered his vintage 1970 Karmann Ghia convertible for the wedding.  Which meant – a 2 1/2 hour drive down and back in a non-air conditioned car.  "Ah," you might say, "but it's a convertible.  Just put the top down."  In this heat you might as well throw in a stick of butter and set it on broil!  That's to say nothing of the wind shear associated with tooling down the freeway at 60 miles an hour.  So the top stayed up on the drive down and back.  And, as Abby said, everyone probably thought we were one "hot" couple.  They would have been right.  But it was all worth it because the wedding couple were thrilled and got some beautiful photo ops:


And we got to spend the day with some of our favorite people in the world, including Ben, Abby and the girls.  Isobel and Mei-Mei were not nearly as impressed with the wedding as they were with the tree house that they got to play on during the reception.

Afterwards we tooled on over to Lakewood and spent a lovely evening with John and Lorette ( the Knitting Doctor).  They always spoil us rotten and we feel as if we'd had a stay in a four star hotel.  It was so blessedly cool by the the lake:


And peach martinis did a lot to take the bite out of the heat:



And just to prove that I am not above looking a little dorky, I once again demonstrated why they call them drop spindles:


Lorette is determined to make a spindler out of me, so just to please her I have ordered one.  I'm not sure if I have the patience for the dropping kind, so I ordered a supported spindle, the Spindolyn.  They're fairly inexpensive and this will give me some practice during our road trip.

It's certainly been too hot to work on Ben's sweater, so I started another shawl for the 10 in 2010 challenge. 


The yarn came from the Embrace the Lace club last year.  I didn't really care for the project included with it, so it has been marinating in the stash awaiting the right moment.  After several false starts with other patterns, I finally settled on Aeolian and it is a winner!  This is a beautiful pattern and has enough complexity to be interesting, but not so much that I have to keep referring to the chart.

Tomorrow we really need to start planning in earnest for our road trip.  There are so many things to consider when you're going to be away from home that long.  Although we'll have someone minding the house, we still need to do some planning.  And, of course, I need to have plenty of projects to keep me busy on the road.  Somehow I don't think that will be a problem!

Buzzed Knitting

Once again I find myself knitting under the influence.  Thank goodness it's not illegal, because it's the only thing keeping me sane.  My oral surgery on Friday went as well as one could hope.  Although it certainly couldn't be classified as a good time, I was in and out in about 45 minutes.  The oral surgeon was very, very good and I didn't even feel it when the tooth came out.  He said the root on it was fractured, so there would have been no saving it.  The aftermath has not been especially fun.  He said lower molars are more painful than uppers and I can attest to that. 

I've been alternating between two projects – Ylva for me:


  and Ann Budd's Cambridge Jacket for Ben:


I ended up ordering some Cascade 220 from my LYS in a lovely (or is it handsome?) grey/chocolate tweed.  I had forgotten how much I really like this yarn.  It's just flowing from my needles.  Good thing – my son has extremely long arms, so this is going to be a largish sweater (at least up and down).  I'm happy to report that my knitting has not suffered too much from my drug induced comas, although I did have to rip out about 4 rows of Celtic knots and try again!

I finished a pair of socks – Cookie A's Summer Sox in Cascade Heritage:


I can't believe this only leaves me with three projects on the needles, Ivy's Christmas sweater, Ylva and the Cambridge Jacket.  Of course, now I'm really feeling a little bereft without some lace going.  I received my shipment of Fiddlesticks yarn and pattern:


But I'm trying to hang onto that for my road trip knitting.  My goal is to knit up three shawls while on the road.  Oh, didn't I mention?  I caved and joined the 10 Shawls in 2010 group on Ravelry.  I thought I was too far behind, but then realized I've already completed four;  three on the road would put me up to 7, so I'd pretty much be right on track.  So, in the meantime I am contemplating starting a Pi shawl to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Elizabeth Zimmerman's birth.  Technically I should wait until tomorrow because that's her birthday, but Abby and the girls are coming up, so I'll be a little bit occupied.  I have two skeins of Knit Picks Bare in my stash – not enough to finish the shawl, but since it's undyed the color match should be ok.  If it's not I may consider dying it after I knit it.  Nothing like living dangerously!!  I'm sure EZ would approve.

This week I got the chance to see in action what happens when an irresistible  force meets an immovable object.  Our dog Maggie gets a little grouchy around other dogs.  We keep trying to socialize her and she'll usually come around after a little exposure.  This week I made arrangements to meet my friend BeBe down at the beach with her two dogs, Maggie (a golden retriever) and Penny (a Brittany Spaniel).  They are both very large dogs.  When our Maggie saw them, she gave a growl and went running up to their Maggie.  She raised up and with both of her little front paws gave Maggie a hard shove on the shoulder

.  The other Maggie looked down at our Maggie very coolly as if to say, "What's your problem, pipsqueak?"  Our Maggie sat back in surprise and immediately decided that discretion was the better part of valor.  She was an absolute angel the rest of the walk and has decided that Penny and Maggie are ok.  It was hilarious to see how far she backed down on her little display of bravado!

She does, however, approve of my sewing attempts.  I made a bag to take with me on our road trip.  I'm trying to decide whether to use it as my project bag and stuff if full of yarn or to stuff it full of clothes:


So far the yarn is ahead.