Friday, March 28, 2008

A Most Excellent Week

It started getting excellent early on when we sighted our local wolf. Next up was a rare convergence of clear skies and solar activity that produced the best show of the Aurora Borealis that we've seen since moving back to Juneau. And today we took advantage of some gloriously sunny and mild weather, and went cross-country skiing on the lake. It was a day to wipe out the memory of the 220 rainy days in an average year.

That's Nick and his hat in the foreground, Mendenhall Glacier in the background.

These are some Koigu mittens I made before I started blogging. There's nothing special about them, but I have to tell you all: This is their third winter and I haven't been saving them for special occasions, if you know what I mean. I wear them all the time, unless serious ski gloves are required. I've worn them on countless dog walks with a leash wrapped around my hand and a crazy dog pulling like she thinks she's in the Iditarod. I've worn them to shovel endless inches of snow. And I've worn them skiing. In three winters of hard use, they haven't pilled or worn thin. If, like me, you've wondered how well Koigu holds up, wonder no more.

We skied across the lake so we could get an up-close and personal view of the glacier's face.

And if this wasn't all excellent enough, go see what Gale posted this week. I'm all aglow. (Or maybe that's sunburn.)

I also got a wonderful package from a blog-free reader in Arizona who is obsessed with Alaska. She approached me a few weeks ago about doing a swap and the next thing I knew I had received beautiful yarn, a gorgeous felted bag, yarn soak and a warm and friendly letter. Thanks again, Cassie! (Your package will be on its way soon.)

Thanks to everyone for the comments on my wolf and scarf photos. Seeing the wolf *is* an incredible thing. (msubulldog: I forwarded your comments along to my son. He's getting the blogger "comment lust" and I think it might just motivate him to write some more. Thanks!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Something to Blog About

Malabrigo Melon Scarf
Pattern: Melon Pattern from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace weight - One skein (470 yards) in Tortuga colorway
Needles: Knit Picks Options US size 4 (3.5 mm)
Size after blocking: 71.5" x 7.5" (Pre-blocked: 60"x 6.5")
Notes: I followed the recommendation for a scarf with garter stitch edges. I worked 5 melon pattern repeats with 4 garter stitches at each edge and 3 garter ridges at each end. I remembered having "flaring" issues on a scarf I made for Nick and so I went down a needle size for the last 5 garter rows. Next time I'll begin and end with a smaller needle.

This was my first Malabrigo experience. Now I understand. It was lovely to work with, and it is deliciously soft and warm and light to wear. My only concern is how it will hold up. Only time will tell.

Nick accompanied me to Skater's Cabin for this photo shoot. The light was pretty flat (read: These photos don't do justice to the beautiful richly colored yarn.), but at least it wasn't raining or snowing and there was occasional filtered sunlight. It seemed like the best we might get for awhile. When we got there, we saw that The Wolf was out on the lake.

Every winter since we've been here, people have been seeing this wolf around the lake/campground/glacier area. This winter is the first time we've seen him. The very first time we saw him, we actually heard him first. We followed his voice to the edge of the lake and stood watching him and listening to him howl for nearly an hour. Since then, we've seen him several times, and for the last several days he's been on the lake every time we've been there.

So after the scarf photo shoot, we came home and got our cross-country skis and went back. We skied a big loop around him, torn between wanting to get as close as possible, and not wanting to disturb him.

A wildlife photographer I'm not. (Like I needed to tell you that.) I know these photos are just average photos, but it's not every day you get to ski within snapshot distance of a wolf - nothing average about that.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vernal Equinox

We were greeted with fresh snow on this first day of spring. Several inches of heavy wet snow. Shoveling said snow was a drag, but the day is much brighter and prettier for it; the last several days have been unbelievably dreary.

I have two new knits to show off - and I didn't knit either of them! I'm just trying to keep your interest while I slog through the end of the melon scarf. I cannot in good conscience post another update photo, and I'm determined to finish it before I work on anything else.

Max* returned home from the Arctic Winter Games with this adorable hat for Toby:

It's a conjoined sock hat! Isn't it clever?

At the other end of the knitting spectrum is this gorgeous Dale Sweater I inherited when I was in California last week. One of my bestest mom friends (an amazing group of women I met in a new-mom support group 14 years ago) gave it to me. It belonged to her mother, who died several years ago, and it is too big for Karen. I am incredibly touched by this gift, and I will think of Karen and her mom whenever I wear it. (Which may be constantly! I put it on a few hours ago to take advantage of this pretty day for a photo shoot, and I haven't taken it off since. It is SO lovely!)

*Max's Team Alaska finished 3rd and came home with bronze Ulu Medals to show for it!! He had a great time and I hope he'll soon write about it himself.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Melon Season

I thought I was going to wait until this scarf was finished and blocked before blogging about it again, but it's taking me forever. So I'm going to try to squeeze out one more "in progress" post, so you won't forget about me.

I made some good progress last weekend in the lodge while the kids were skiing, but then I offered to play Monopoly with them and the rest of the weekend was shot. When my sons completely wore me down and coerced me into playing I agreed to play I imagined I'd fit in lots of stitches waiting for my turn. But I forgot how demanding the role of "banker" could be; my knitting sat untouched next to me - for many, many hours. All was not lost however, because my kids got along for the first time in our Monopoly history and we A) Had a lot of fun, and B) I WON!! I believe this might just be not only the first time I've ever won this game, but that I've ever played it to its natural conclusion. I'm a little bit ashamed of how how happy it made me to force my children into bankruptcy ...

So it may well be melon season before I finish my Melon Stitch Scarf. I'm loving it though, and if I have to pack it away for next fall as soon as it's done, so be it. I think it's going to be a beauty.

I believe I'm about 2/3 of the way there. I'm not sure how much this will grow when blocked, but it seems like I should just knit until this divine Malabrigo Lace yarn runs out.

ps For another perspective of life in Juneau, soccer news, and 14 year old wisdom, check out the newest blog in the family.