Epic Travel and Summer Knitting

My mother’s condition is the same, but she’s home now and the family has adjusted to taking care of her.  She lives in an apartment attached to my brother’s house, 150 paces away.  So the 3 households share our lives pretty closely.  I have not minded my little daily part of taking care of Mom,  and slowly I’ve been taking up the reins of ColorStorms again.  I’m ready to talk about my epic summer trip, and there are dye pots bubbling in the kitchen!

Looking back now toward my cross country trip, I realize that I AM letting that trip go, and appreciating my life in MD.  It was hard though, because I LOVED that vacation!  Or was it that I enjoyed getting away and disliked facing what awaited me at home?  Perhaps some of both.  Bethany, my youngest daughter, came with me.  At 14 years of age, she was great company.  Together we slogged through over 7,000 miles, boring hotel rooms, a flat tire, and some pretty fun sight seeing.

Bethany in Charleston, WV

I counted on some unique knitting time.  I brought 2 knitting projects with me.  One that was easy to knit but involved 12 colors:

The Parcheesi Afghan.(http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/search#query=parcheesi%20afghan)

What fun this has been!  Composed entirely of garter stitches on size 4 needles , the log cabin technique is a favorite of mine.  While knitting this project I can converse, watch TV, and read.  Easy, easy, easy.  But not boring because of all the color changes.  I began this project on New Year’s Day 2015, and the goal is to finish it by December 31 of same year.

Parcheesi Blanket

I stuffed my car trunk with all needed colors….hand dyes from The Sanguine Gryphon and Larika, hand spun and naturally dyed yarn from ? (I seemed to have lost those labels on the road trip), and finally some Baby Cashmerino from Debbie Bliss when I ran out of Sanguine Gryphon yarn.  I have expanded the afghan and made it into a blanket for my colorful bedroom.

Expanded blanket

The other project was completely opposite.  The Tongues of Fire shawl by Rebecca Osborn (available at her website Osborn Fiber Studios and on Ravelry), requires only one 4 oz hank of cobweb lace yarn (1200yards.) (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tongues-of-fire-2)

I used a superfine alpaca from J. Knits.  This project I saved for early morning knitting….just me, my coffee and this pattern.

tongues of fire beginning

progress on tongues of fire

Back to the driving, the first 4 days, I traveled from Maryland to West Virginia to Illinois to Kansas and to Denver.  In Denver lives my sister-in-law, Kathy, another knitting enthusiast and fabulous test knitter for ColorStorms.  She gave Bethany and I hospitality for 3 days.  We visited Estes Park and Red Rocks.  In Estes Park, we bought some yarn from a little knitting store called Stichin’ Den.  I bought some locally dyed (MJ Yarns) polwarth/silk in sport weight.  The gal at the store asked me if I wanted her to make one into a skein?

Yes!  I answered, and started a swatch on the way home.  Once in a while one has to start knitting bought yarn right away!  By the end of the day I had cast on for a project called “Boneset Vest”  by E.J. Slayton.


After the lovely stay with Kathy and her husband John, the 4 of us carried on together (in 2 cars) to California, by way of Utah then Nevada….and Jimmy Dean Yarn Store!  It was great to have company on the road; we shared many happy pit stops and meals together.

By the time I made it all the way across the country to Reno, Nevada, I had a vision to express at Jimmy Dean’s.  I had driven by:

Red Rocks



layers of brown,


and layers of tans,


Nevadalayers of greens and yellows……







plus there were little pink and yellow flowers once in a while……mountain flowers cascade yarn


and I somehow wanted to blend those colors into a knitting project!


The great variety of yarn from Cascade that Jimmy Bean had in his shop, allowed me to pick colors that echoed my vision.







After that, Kathy, John, Bethany and I were treated with a tour of the vast warehouse housing stock not yet in their store room. From that I picked a lovely self-striping yarn Germany called Schoppel.  Sigh…..I was in knitting heaven…..and I walked out of there glowing!

Schoppel yarn








Once in California, there was a family reunion, lots of sight seeing, eating, knitting, pictures, and we had a FUN FUN time together.  Below is Bethany and Naomi on a California beach.Aptos Beach








On the way home, Leah joined Bethany and I. Leah is my middle daughter and old enough to drive. So it was delightful to take my turn as a passenger.  We drove from Aptos California to Yosemite, then on to Nevada and Yellowstone.

Leah in Utah

After 4 days in Yellowstone, we traveled through Wyoming where we had our flat tire.  A lovely lady named Diane at the Wheeling Tire Center kept us company while the Sonata got a new “shoe.”  On to North Dakota we drove.  Finally from Iowa to Illinois and Ohio to Maryland, we made it home at last.  The trip took 22 days!  It turns out that I love to drive and love to just take each day as it comes.  I never knew where we were going until I pulled out my big binder of hotel reservations and plotted our course for the day.

Our favorite stay (other than the beach house with family in California) was at the Absaroka Lodge near the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  Each morning there I woke up at about 6am and made my coffee while the girls slept.  Then I carefully and quietly pulled out the bed spread to the balcony which overlooked Yellowstone River and gorge.  I brought my coffee, my muffin, my lace knitting and my Bible.  I prayed and knit and gazed at some of the most amazing scenery.  It was a trip to remember.


View from Absaroka Lodge