Category Archives: travels

My Brain Is Officially Full

We drove down to my parents this weekend to visit and to take the whole family, grandparents and all, to our CSA’s annual strawberry picking potluck. The farm is outside Virouqa, WI, about 45 minutes from my parents. Despite dragging my family to Virouqa before the potluck to go fiber shopping and visit their public market, we arrived at the farm exactly on time for the potluck. Kind of, until…..

I bounded out of the car, waving to Andrea (a farm assistant) who was coming across the lawn to us.

Andrea: Hi Are you guys here to camp??

Me: Nope. We’re just here for the potluck and to pick strawberries. Where should I put the food?

Andrea: Potluck? Well, see…the potluck is tomorrow…

Me: Tomorrow? That’s right, tomorrow, because I read that yesterday, it’s Sunday, Father’s Day, which is tomorrow, and today is Saturday, and I knew it was on Sunday so why on earth did I drag my entire family here today? (Continue with nervous babbling…)

Andrea: That’s okay…you can still have a picnic and pick strawberries today… seriously, it’s okay. Our farm is your farm!

Me: Are you sure you don’t mind? I can’t believe I came here on the wrong day. Really, I knew it was Sunday, I just don’t know why I came on Saturday, we were here last time on a Saturday, so maybe I just… and I’ve got to much to keep track of, I think, and….(okay, just shut up now or she will totally think you’re a crazy lady, crap, here comes Dad and I’ve got to tell him, and the Skeptic is getting out of the car with the boys and now they don’t get a tractor ride and, dang, every worker on this farm is staring at me, the lady who reads Sunday but thinks Saturday!)

The good news was despite feeling like a dumbass, we did have a nice picnic and picked a ton of berries. I’ve got about ten pounds to freeze. The farm and the farmers are wonderful! The problem was that this was really the icing on the cake, since I also got my family home an hour and a half late Friday night since I can’t seem to keep track on miles on a map. We stopped on Pepin to check out the Laura Ingalls museum and cabin and I got a little distracted. As Caroline Ingalls would say, “for shame, keeping your parents waiting until 8:30 for dinner.”

Tidbits from the weekend:

-If you stop at the musuem in Pepin and an old lady with orange lipstick is working, don’t bother trying to get her to like you. She won’t, and she won’t like your kids either now matter how polite and cute they are. But the museum is cool.

-When we drove up to the cabin outside Pepin and got out with out three kids, me putting Spinner in his sling, another family with three kids was also getting out and putting their baby in a sling. In the middle of nowhere, my almost doppleganger family. They were nice and we chatted too long.

Ewetopia in Virouqa has an awesome, awesome assortment of fiber. Did I saw awesome?

Trempealeau Hotel. Grandma and Grandpa babysitting. Yum. If you are a cyclist, this is a place to put on your radar.

-When my kids are grown and I want to live the quiet, fiber filled life, I want to move here.

-Lastly, in honor of Father’s Day, I’m going to show off what the Skeptic does in his workshop:
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What is it? A panel. I have no idea what it does, just that he builds them from scratch, takes them to work and hooks them up to a lot of other stuff that I still can’t wrap my brain around. Not only is the Skeptic the best Dad, but I think he’s quite clever too. If he reads this he’s going to be totally embarrassed and tell me it’s no big deal, but I think it is. He even manages to make this stuff with little boys underfoot. And I have to say I’m pleased to know that our boys will grow up to be able to knit, sew, and make electrical devices!

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Soakermania!!

Chicago was fun, but wore me out! I did make it to Loopy Yarns and Nina and had a nice visit at both shops. I picked up some BFL Fleece Artist to make some longies for Knittykid and a skein of Malabrigo silk and merino to make a cowl for myself.

I promised more FO’s to show off, and I’ve got a heap of soakers that I’ve finished up.

The first two are all the Curly Purly pattern. I like this pattern for babies who are not on their toes yet. It relies on just ribbing to keep them up, so once you have a toddler they may fall down. But for newborns, you couldn’t have an easier pattern!

This first one is Knitpicks Wool of the Andes.

Curly Purly Orange

This next one is Blackberry Ridge Kaleidoscope in Firecracker.  So nice and soft!

Curly Purly browns

The next one isn’t finished but the trim is in what I think is a Cascade wool/llama blend (very soft) and the dark brown is a Classic Elite tweed.
Curly Purly brown soaker

Lastly, this one is a small size using the Little Turtle Knits  Undersoaker pattern. See that bulge under the waistband? Yup, I messed up the elastic and have to go back and fix it. Bummer. But the yarn is to die for! It was dyed by Lia over at Fruity Sheep and is a super soft Peruvian. Very nice!

LTK teal soaker

Believe it or not, I’ve got more FO’s but I promised myself I’d kick myself off the computer by 10:00. Don’t want to overwhelm you all anyway!

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Let’s see how far I get

Trying to blog, answer e-mail or basically do anything lately has been a nightmare lately, thanks to two constantly overtired boys who both refuse bedtime and are taking about two hours to go to sleep every evening (I still curse daylight savings for this). This means my evening blogging/knitting/spinning/sewing time is cut drastically. So rather than do one big Estes post, we’ll just see how much I get done before the Skeptic gets off the phone for our movie night or one of the boys wakes up again.

Before I get to the fiber and yarn, I need to send out a very belated and wonderful thank you to my swap partner for the Spring into Summer Dishcloth swap, Erica. She has even better pictures on her blog, so be sure to pay her a visit. Everything was wonderful; I was especially excited about the beautiful stitch markers and the flower cloth. I’ve knit a few before but never for myself and I’ve always wanted one.

Dishcloth swap

Pretty, huh?
So on to Wool Market at Estes…

I’m going to start with the yarn since it’s all on one picture. The yarn selection was great and it was fun to get a chance to see some new stuff. It was a little overwhelming and I pretty much wandered around for three hours trying to figure out what to buy. I controlled myself pretty well with the yarn:

Yarn goodies

From left to right starting on top:

1. Textiles A Mano Shanghai 50/50 silk wool blend. My favorite.

2. I am so bummed I can’t find the receipt for this. It is angora and nylon and it is dyed by a woman who based all her colorways on her husbands Wyoming photograpy. Her stuff was beautiful and I was hoping to order more someday. Anyone know who she is? The tag just has a picture of the photograph it is based on with the yarn info.

3. Brooks Farm Solana, 100% wool. Their booth was overwhelming and I spent so much time there, couldn’t handle it and grabbed this. I love it but wish I had more as they had a Clapotis in it that was so snuggle and squishy. I might have to e-mail them to see if they have any left. Their yarns are amazing and I wish I has gotten a few more skeins of their stuff.

4. Plain and Fancy Sheep and Wool Company, two skeins sportweight. Noticing a weird new color trend for me here? No web site for these guys.

5. The springiest, sproingiest (is that a word? It has to be for this yarn) fingering weight ever. 100% Cormo by Elsa Sheep and Wool Company. I need more of this.

6. Lastly, this was not at the Market but at The Stitchin’ Den in Estes Park.  It’s Lonesome Stone Yarn, 100% merino superwash in Fruit Salad.

And with that, I’ll call it a night.

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Filed under kids, stash, travels

And We’re Back…

I’m not even sure where to start. Our trip was incredible and I could honestly write for pages and not cover everything. So I’ll stick with snapshots and thoughts; things I don’t want to forget…
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Driving with two kids for two days is not that bad if you have enough entertaining crap in the back seat, you take the back roads and you stop at lots of parks.

Nebraska is actually quite beautiful when you get off the interstate; desolate and amazing. Just don’t assume that because there is a town on the map they will have food, gas, or more than a population of two. (Seriously: two. It was on the sign).

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Fiber festivals are tough after you’ve been driving for two days. It’s best to say “hi” to the bloggers, do a little weaving, and send the boys back to the cabin and shop for a few hours. (Shopping update another day).

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A Bed and Breakfast quality cabin is an awesome place to reconnect with long lost cousins, hang by the river, and just enjoy the peace and quiet, connectedness and absolute lack of anything necessary to do.

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Getting the stomach flu on vacation sucks. And not the “I’ll just sit here and knit all day” stomach flu, but the “I think I’m going to die and I can’t even manage to crawl down to the lawn chair by the river to sleep” stomach flu.

I try to stay postive and realize I could be home with the stomach flu in a messy house with a husband stuck at work all day.

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We were absolutely stunned at the beauty and vastness of Rocky Mountain National Park.

We spent so much time just out in the middle of nowhere, taking the boys on their first long hikes and enjoying the wildlife. The absolute best was watching it all through their eyes: Knittybaby discovering he can throw rocks in the water. Little Man struggling through his first long hike and being so proud for making it on his own. Watching their excitement at absolutely everything we saw and did.

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Elk are everywhere. Everywhere.

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Being up in the tundra is just incredible and I really don’t have the words to describe the absolute beauty that we saw…

It was difficult up there (the Trail Ridge Road takes you to the tundra areas) as it was not that easy to get away from the “tourist trap” part of the park, and while most people were respectful there were plenty that weren’t (like the man letting his dog run around precious, delicate tundra wildflowers; I’m still pissed at him) but we managed to have enough quality time somewhat to ourselves. And like I said, the beauty that is the tundra is just incredible. The wildflowers are stunning. I couldn’t get over them.

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See the RV? There were a million of them, all on that road. This sad thing is I think a lot of people get up there and never get out of their vehicles.

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I can honestly say this was the best vacation we’ve ever been on. We didn’t have much downtime and it was actually physically exhausting. But spiritually it was restortive in a way that we badly needed as a family, and I feel that even though they boys are little, this trip will always make up a little piece of who they are.

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See Ya’!

We’re off!

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I’ll be taking a bit of a computer break as well. See you in a week or so!

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So back to Toronto…

The trip was restful and a lot of fun. But it was also tough to enjoy it completely, as I kept seeing other families out and about which made me miss mine terribly. Of course, those families all seemed to have children in remarkably good moods. Not one meltdown did I see. Not one mother frantically gathering up her children who are on the verge of collasping the entire restaurant, with the father mumbling over and over, “sheesh, just bring the check already….where’s the dang check??? I knew this was a bad night to go out…waitress!!” And of course, buy Monday morning I was missing them so much I still would have taken that rukus over a quiet cuppa in the coffee shop around the corner. Funny how we parents always want some time so badly, but really, just a little time will do.

The boys did okay while I was gone. Little Man was sassy and Knittybaby was clingy, but otherwise things went pretty well. The only big problem was I vastly underestimated the amount of pumped milk I needed to stash away for Knittybaby while I was gone. He only nurses a few times during the day, but I guess he’s nursing a lot more than I realize at night. The poor Skeptic was up about every hour and a half with Knittybaby, who was hungry. The freezer stash was used up in the first couple of days. Luckily he’s old enough for cows milk and was fine with that as a temporary replacement. In the meantime, I was back in Toronto dumping bottles of pumped milk down the drain. The airline rules say you can’t take pumped breastmilk on the airplane with you unless you have your baby with you. So crazy, as most moms who have their baby with them have no need for pumped breastmilk. It’s the poor the moms who travel for work who are the ones who need to bring the milk back home with them. So frustrating….

On to the yarn:

Lettuce Knit 2

Lettuce Knit was as tiny as Romni Wools was huge, but everything was so nicely arranged in that “jammed packed without feeling jammed packed” way that little shops are so good at. It was a lovely visit and the perfect day for just wandering around. It was hard for me to make up my mind as there was so much I wanted to take home.

Lettuce knit

I stuck to my promise and bought only stuff I can’t get back here in the Cities. The boys aren’t going to last much longer playing, so I’ll just direct you over to my Flickr pictures to get the lowdown on all the yarn I bought. It was a great day, just wandering around Kensington and Chinatown. I really want to go back there with the whole family.

Lucky me, after all the great yarn, I came home to more of it!! My SP10 pal strkes again with another great package:

SP10 package

The package was cleverly sent in a scotch whiskey tin which Little Man hijacked for his own. I was happy to be left with the contents!

A close up of the yarn:

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This one is a new brand to me, which is always fun! I love the blend of different browns. Thanks so much SP10!!! Spoiled again! 🙂
Today’s project, to sew an apron for a party by this afternoon. The Skeptic’s at work, it’s me and the boys. Will I make it?
Girls apron

The puppies are crabby. They don’t think I’ll be done in time.
Grumpy puppies

I was just about to post when two things happened:

I realized I haven’t posted about all the knitting I did in Toronto. I need to take pics and then I’ll do that. That’s not that exciting.

This is exciting. My cousin Terri called. Not only will she be at Sheperd’s Harvest next weekend (that alone is fun!) but she’s got alpaca fleece to give me as well!!! I’m seriously dancing around the room now.

Now that I mentioned the festival, who’s going? Anyone up for a bloggers meet-up?

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