Summer vacation finally got here, and I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to arrange camping trips. We recently bought a little tent trailer, and I’m discovering that it is very difficult to just spontaneously go camping on a weekend. People apparently start booking the reservable camp spots months in advance, way before we realized we were going to be able to get a trailer. My husband, sadly, doesn’t get summer off, so if we want him to come along, it has to be on the weekend.
But I’ve cobbled together a few reservations for various locations over the next couple months. We may have to switch spots every night – and we will know better for next year to plan way in advance. But we will be camping!
We did a couple of test runs in nearby parks to make sure we knew how everything works. We’ve learned how to turn on the propane heater, attach the side mounted camp stove, and made lists of things we need to organize the very minimal storage.
And saw some pretty beautiful scenery.
Our dog, Theo, who is rather a neurotic and barky mess, has proven better at camping than we thought he’d be. He hates strangers and cars and bikes, but it turns out he is a big fan of woods and nature walks, and he’s been willing to keep a little quieter so other campers aren’t bothered.
So I think this camping experiment is going to be a success once we work out all the kinks.
When not endlessly searching through the Washington and Oregon state park reservation systems, I’ve been sitting down at the sewing machine and am making more X and 16 patch blocks. Nights in the forests get chilly – we are going to need a bunch of quilts! It is motivating to get back to the fabric.
(P.S. That is Mt. St. Helens in the mountain photos above, our local volcano. The visitors’ center at Johnston Ridge is wonderful – we’ve been going for years to see the recovery proceeding since the eruption. But it turns out no dogs are allowed in the national monument. Yet another thing we’ve newly learned about camping – check ahead where and when pets are allowed.)
Life has gotten a bit crazy lately. We’ve spent a lot of our non-working/sleeping time house hunting, and now we are in the throes of house buying, with all the paper gathering and emails and phone calls that entails. In the meantime, the kids still needed to eat and have clean clothes and get to track and Cub scouts and who knows what. Some balls have been dropped, and getting anything crafty done has been one of those balls.
But I did abandon my responsibilities last weekend for another trip to join my fibery friends. We rented a place through AirBnB and raced off through the rain storms to catch the ferry to Anderson Island for the weekend.
There was a lot of spinning on my part. I finished the blue two ply yarn in the pic below, and filled another bobbin with the third single I needed to make another yarn. I also worked on the I-cord edging on my Volt wrap.
There was also a lot of learning. Paige taught us all how to do two color brioche knitting, and Leslie 2 was quick enough at it to knit a shoulder wrap/cowl thing.
We also learned it takes a great deal of junk food (and pineapple cider) to fuel so much creative effort.
It was hard to leave and go back to the real world. But we had a satisfying pile of progress to show for it.
We leave in the wee hours of tomorrow morning for a trip to Israel – my sister-in-law is getting married. It will be the first time I’ve been back in almost ten years, so I’m pretty excited. I taught there at an international school for a few years, and it is where I met my husband.
Since I can’t take my sewing machine with me, it will be an all knitting trip. So hard to judge how much to take. When I was there before there weren’t really any yarn stores – just a little acrylic tucked in the corners of general stores. It was in Israel where I restarted my knitting. I’d knit years before when I was in college, but I had wrist troubles due to a factory job and I had to give it up.
Then my cousin called me to say she was having a baby and I was determined to knit a baby blanket. I sat in a park and retaught myself how to cast on, dredged up memories of the motions for a purl stitch, and my new little baby cousin got a fairly electric yellow blanket in a thin acrylic – it was the only remotely baby colored non variegated yarn I could find in all of Tel Aviv.
That set me off on years of knitting joy and obsessiveness. I would order yarn online and have it delivered to my folks and they’d bring it to me when they came on annual visits. I knit blankets and scarves and sweaters and mittens, and then I discovered lace and knit probably 50 shawls and wraps. I ran out of people to give them to.
Knitting led to spinning and fiber fairs and classes and hand dyeing, and a knitting group run by a friend from college who I’m now in daily crafting conversations with. (Hi, Paige!) Yarn has been an amazingly comprehensive part of my life for 12-13 years. When we moved down to Portland a couple of years ago, it was an embarrassment to me how much yarn I had to pack.
And even though a year and a half ago I jumped whole heartedly into quilting, knitting remains a constant. I don’t go anywhere I might have to sit for a while without yarn and needles. I can barely watch TV or read a book without needles in my hand. I’ll never be able to wear all the cowls and scarves and shawlettes, and I’m running out of people to give them to! Knitting is happiness, and calm, and entertainment whenever I need it.