That's really a hard phrase for me to hear right now, but I am afraid today I had to admit it is true. Our preschool program resumed this morning, with a great time had by parents and children alike, but there's no denying fall once school starts up. I realized it had been almost two weeks since I last posted, and was kind of shocked. Where has the time gone? There has been a wildland fire in the region, another fair and a weekend of camping, sandwiched in between all of those last-minute preparations over the past week and a half to ensure our classes would be ready.
The day after my last post, DD and I were having lunch together, along with her friend's darling little toddler who she was caring for that day. As we exited the cafe down in Lake Wildwood where Nikki lives, we noticed what had to be a huge plume of smoke, not all that far away. Almost immediately, the tyke's mother, a Forest Service firefighter who was working on another fire down in Santa Maria, called to say that there was a fire in Dobbins, which was about 8 miles north. The tyke's father was on the initial attack for the smoke we were viewing, and predicting it would quickly grow to 500 acres. It ended up at close to 4,000 by last Friday, when finally contained.
This photo was taken later that afternoon, as I was driving home... though it takes an hour to get from my place to hers, the fire was just north of her, and along the Middle Fork of the Yuba River, about six miles west of my house... those canyons add a lot of driving time, and a lot of time to think about how close the fire could come to either of us. I spent a lot of time on Yubanet over the next several days, monitoring the fire's progress, but after the first 24 hours realized it wasn't a threat to me, and luckily most of the acreage burnt was wild land with only one home and one power company outbuilding burnt.
If you fall in love with it, as many at the fair did, let me know and I will happily sell you a chance to win using Paypal... tickets are $1.00 apiece, or $5 for six tickets, and all proceeds go to the $1000 scholarship we give to a graduating Downieville High School senior each spring! I knitted away on my Fiesta Friendship shawl while chatting and selling tickets, and was happy to find that my friend and prize-winning shepherdess Anna Harvey was there demonstrating spinning... here, she is helping her daughter start warping for a small, woven piece the DD almost finished while we all were enjoying a summer afternoon at the county fair.
There, I picked up a copy of Rowan 44, which was marked down since that was last year, but I had been coveting it since I first saw it, and couldn't resist a bargain.
I am not sure I will ever make anything from this issue, but fell in love with all the classic and Renaissance-inspired designs, so it may just serve as eye candy for a knitter.
Last week, I read in between knitting and working, and finished Little Bee, the best book I have read this summer... my list of favorites also includes The River Wife, The Legend of Colton H. Bryant, and Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty.
Little Bee is not for the faint-of-heart, a novel based on one character in the current flood of refugees from ongoing wars in Africa, and her connection with people who tried to save her.
The River Wife is an eerie saga of several generations in a region of the Mississippi.
The Legend of Colton H. Bryant tells the story of a young cowboy working on the oil drilling rigs of Wyoming, who lost his life a few years ago. The writing is crisp and attempts through vignettes to portray his character and warmth and the loss his accidental death as a result of the poor safety employed by the drilling companies was to those who loved him.
Everett Ruess was a young artist who disappeared in the Southwest canyon country in 1934, at the age of 20, and draws extensively on his letters, journals, photos and artwork as he traipsed about the Depression-era Southwest and California, painting and interacting with both people and nature. The author, W.L. Rusho, also researched the possible causes of his mysterious disappearance.
I have NPR, the proof sale at the local bookstore and my SIL, manager of Lafayette Bookstore, to thank for these great finds and still have a box of books to work through!
I didn't blog over the weekend because by the middle of last week, the end of summer looming over me was having such a depressing effect that I went camping. I stayed at Sardine Lake, one of the campgrounds that DH tours through during his daily rounds as a High Country Ranger, and spent Friday afternoon reading and knitting after setting up my tent and putting my groceries into the very handy bear box.
He and I were able to share meals and camp in a tent for two nights, while he also put in his usual workdays (minus the long commutes).... he is using the Jeep as a couch while enjoying morning coffee.
He spends a lot of his day fielding questions that include "how do I get to...?", "where is the best place to...?", and "what kind of tadpole is this?" (the last from visitors under three feet in height). He is really good at what he does and I was very happy to spend my weekend in country where I also worked every summer for eight years, ending in 2005. We are going to try and fit in another such weekend before fall. A lot will depend upon when little baby Odessa decides to put in her appearance... DD and I don't want to crowd the parents as they go through the birth process, but are so excited about becoming an aunt and a granny, that we will be pacing the halls... I might even learn how to post from my phone while I wait! The due date is September 3rd., but both mama Dawn and daddy Jesse are eager and ready for her arrival any time now. This last photo is one of DH's favorite views of the Buttes, taken high up on a road in the backcountry. There is so much beautiful country where I live that I hardly ever want to leave home! The weekend really helped me feel like I had a good taste of summer before fall hits... hope you have too!!
I spent most of the day at the Nevada County Fair, helping to open the fiber building in the morning, spinning and chatting with curious onlookers until the early afternoon, enjoying lunch and some fair fun with family members, and then touring through the buildings and animal exhibits with Luci in the mid-afternoon. Here's a small sampling...
best of show display at the fiber building... the criteria include all raw fleeces, handspun skeins, knitted items only made from handspun, woven or felted items that can contain either handspun or commercial yarns. The display includes a handknitted capelet (far left, felted motif bag, handknitted hat, glove and scarf set (back, golds), felted boots, blue top-of-the-line skein of handspun, merino fleece, top camelid, best handwoven garment...
my Circle Vest, with second place ribbon, though apparently it was placed in the wrong class! I was still excited to see the ribbon, and also plan to attend the judging next year, so that I get to hear the comments as they make their decisions.
DD's little stepson, with a big grin on his face as he bounces high in the air... his daddy, grandparents cousin and Nikki all spent the morning on the kiddie rides, then we met and got lunch and then the two little ones tried out this great attraction, and his cousin tackled the climbing wall like a natural....
The kids went on to more rides, while I went back to spinning, but I also made it through the textile building later, where quilts, sewing and knits from commercial yarns are displayed, delighted to see that guild friends, store customers, and even my dear quilt guild buddy, Susan Hopkins, all had placed in various categories (Susan truly is a blue-ribbon quilter, winning four!).
Stephanie's son Liam also won four blue ribbons in his classes, for two photographs and two dioramas! Our fair is such a friendly, downhome competition, with lots of attractions for all.... my best moments were visiting the animal barns, though the light was bad and I didn't get any photos worth sharing.
Have a great summer weekend!
While many people in KnitBlogLand are busy putting up posts about their fine, fun times at Sock Summit, you won't find that here. Instead, I want to share some of the fine, fun times my Knit Night grrls and I had at my high country cabin (built in 1864 in a Gold Rush mining town), where I hosted my very own Spinning Summit.
and started a pair of Boxcar Willie socks using this fabulous sock blank specially dyed for her by Sox Chick! She really is a farm grrl after my own heart!
Here, Steph and Rhodi are both hard at work... you will note that Steph is using her Kromski, while Rhodi prefers a Lendrum.
I alternated between spinning and knitting over the course of the weekend, and mostly finished the Little Undershirt featured in the summer and fall 2009 issues of Interweave Knits... the first photo is the back view, which still needs the straps finished, and the second photo is the front, with straps waiting to be joined by 3-needle bind-off... as you can suppose, the stripes are variegated and wrap around in a rainbow effect... nothin's too good for my granddaughter. (She is set to make her appearance at the end of this month!).
I am planning to make a couple more of these cute little shirt/vests, though I found the pattern to be 'fussy'... for once it will be about the product and not the process, and they really do only take a few hours. My other knitting project over the long weekend was the Fiesta Friendship Shawl, which deserves new photos and her own post... she has grown to the third center large diamond and the first of the two rows on either side of that, meaning I am probably somewhere near the middle. I am still so grateful to all of you who sent me sock yarns last month, and am loving how they blend with each other, just as my grrlfriends and their personalities got along so harmoniously this past weekend.
Sunday afternoon also led to my first successful attempts at spinning pure alpaca... no photo of that yet. I had a two-ounce bump of a lovely coffee and cream alpaca roving I had purchased at Lambtown a few years back, and every time I gave it a try, found it too slippery for my abilities. With coaching from my more experienced spinning buddies, I found a short-draw, lots of twist method that held together, and only have about one-third an ounce left to complete. Judith McKenzie-McKuen taught a workshop for our fiber guild (that I missed, unfortunately) this past spring, and Steph, Rowen, Rhodi and Barbara Sue all attended, so throughout the weekend I learned tips they had gleaned to improve my spinning... though the universal tip was "be sure to attend the next time she'd here!"
I wish I had managed to get some photos to share with all of you of the fabulous skies we have been having, from last night's full moon, through the storm system that has been passing through. I love summer rain, since it is so very rare here in the west, and even though big clouds usually mean big lightening strikes, the coolness and freshness to the air has been really special today.
You see, my friends and I started discussing several months back how cool it would be to go to Portland, but we all realized we couldn't afford it... so I decided to throw my own fiber party this weekend. While some knitbloggers have been sharing photos of packed suitcases, travels through airports, and empty halls gradually filling up for the event, my week has been filled with emails back and forth from my dear Knit Night Grrls (plus a few friends from around the edges of our circle), about food, drink and lodging plans as we prepare to gather at my place tomorrow to revel in fibery doings for three whole days.
Wanted to let you know about two contests you won't want to miss! First, my dear friend Knitnana is celebrating the fifth anniversary of her fabulous business, Nana Sadie Rose. She has also reached the magic number of 750 bags made, along with DP cases, circular needle cases (inspired by her purchase of Knitpicks Harmony needles), and even cute little accessory pouches, ALL sewn by her own hands. I don't know how she gets any knitting done! And, she even holds a real job and is off to Sock Summit... the contest runs til August 10th, but hurry and enter now, before you forget, and tell her I sent you!
I have been MIA as a blogger, since I needed to get the latest update for my photo program in order to share some exciting news... the Circle Vest is off the needles, half the ends are woven in, and the stitches for armhole ribbing #1 were picked out of their waste yarn this afternoon...