Category Archives: Camp

Of Hail, Snow, Flood, and Lethal Creatures

Doomy doom doom….

Or perhaps not as bad as it sounds.  Wisconsin weather, with a bit of knitting and travel thrown in!

I’ve been mentally working on Sock Camp posts, but at the same time physically fighting off a nasty respiratory virus, which has caused all my energy to go to trying to turn my lungs inside out.  Lots of medicine and time later, I am definitely on the mend, so take up laptop to try to begin to chronicle.  But first, since my last post, lots has happened here!

I had mentioned that storms were predicted soon in my last post, and indeed, the girls got to hear tornado sirens and head into the basement, for just about the first time that they remember doing so (the RockStar does have vague memories of her toddler tornado warning trip to the basement).  One advantage of a laptop and smartphone: one can keep track of the National Weather Service’s updates on what’s going on, as the winds whip up and the lightning crashes and the hail rattles down.

Ah, the hail.

The hailstone going in the freezer

Have a hailstone (or two, or five)

Our garage is a storage area, and my (new) car was thus parked outside, so I winced in the basement as I heard that hail crashing and bouncing and pictured my car in its sights. Amazingly, it’s almost impossible to see the couple areas where the body is ever so slightly rippled. Everything else except my daffodils was fine. I certainly know people who didn’t fare as well, with broken house windows and damaged siding. But no tornado activity was noted in the area (though one had been apparently spotted to our southeast). Thus the area lives up to its reputation and the legendary Native American saying, that no tornado will hit where three rivers meet….

The weather continued bad, but not that bad, through the rest of the week, and I certainly felt bad. Then yesterday, as I started to feel as though I was going to make it, I woke up to this Saturday Sky:

which had already dumped this:

The robins were not amused, let me tell you.

unhappy robin

After I got over my own disgruntlement and worked yesterday, I stopped down by the Mississippi River, which is cresting well into flood stage right about now. Though the snow melted later yesterday, the weather continued blustery, with a cold north wind hurrying the flood waters along.

No viewing the river from THAT viewing platform today.

These rubberneckers were also checking the flood out.

(To give you an idea of the river’s rise, here they also are in happier times two years ago. The brick walkway goes perhaps four or five feet below the river watchers, and the river is some feet below the edge of the walkway.)

waving at sunset

In this picture, you can see the ramp down to the walkway….or part of it, anyway.

Another comparison:

a view downriver a month ago, when the river was already rather high.

and the same view yesterday, with the same trees.

(Fortunately, our cold spring has caused the water level to not be nearly as high as it could have been, thus flooding has been manageable. Also, because my city has preserved the flood plains (they are primarily parks) and some wetlands to soak up the floodwaters, it tends to do better during floods than other communities on the river. Thankfully.)

All of this snow and hail and flood made me remember my time in the Pacific Northwest with fondness….even if it was typical spring weather there (cloudy, cool, on and off rain), or perhaps even more rain than typical. At least there was no snow, or hail, or flooding….

There were lethal creatures, granted. But that was kind of my own fault.

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You see, this year’s Sock Camp was called “Camp Jabberwonky”, with an Alice in Wonderland theme. There is always homework; and this year’s was to knit a Jabberwonky. Not a Jabberwocky, mind you, but a Jabberwonky. Details here.

After seeing an old photo of my half-stuffed mermaid (homework from two years ago): I had an idea. I would knit a headless Jabberwonky, after the victorious knitter has beheaded it! Complete with gore….

This required dyeing wool top for the gore (I had some that had proved not so good for spinning, due to still having suint — sheep sweat — in it). It seemed to turn out well!

Simultaneously, I cast on with some Socks that Rock and knit a somewhat fearsome creature (with a picot-edge neck). And was, of course, still working on it when I arrived in Seattle the day before Sock Camp started, to visit my friend Astrid and her husband Greg. In between Astrid’s taking me to see the Nick Cave exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, and an excellent lunch and equally excellent dinner, I knit away. And talked. Astrid being a knitter (and dyer) totally understood and kept me company by knitting herself as we talked; her husband is rather used to it, and accepted Jabberwonk-knitting unflappably! Also, Astrid had some awesome ideas for finishing strategies, and invaluably, had SUPPLIES! (Florists’ wire works better than pipe cleaners. Just FYI.)

On our ferry trip over to Bainbridge island the next day, the last bit of stuffing was stuffed, and my Jabberwonky was complete.

I can’t really say that Jabberwonky enjoyed the sights as we crossed Puget Sound to Bainbridge, since he’s headless and presumably can’t see; but I have to think he enjoyed the fresh air! Or something.

Saturday Skies from Three Coasts

Three Saturdays, three coasts.

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Two weeks ago, deep in the Southeast, not terribly far inland, anyway (close enough for this midwestern girl):

I was in Atlanta.

It was a stormy Saturday night

but during the entire meeting that I was attending preceding that weekend, the weather had been gorgeous: 60s and sunny. The southerners thought it was rather cool.  Those of us attending the meeting from northern climes spent every break and every lunch out in the hotel courtyard, enjoying the sun and the flowers.

I didn’t have much extra time, as the meeting that I was at took up essentially all daylight hours, but the short walk from my hotel to the meeting hotel took me past these sky-glass towers

which made it clear that hurricanes generally did not get this far inland, and also spectacularly reflected the lightning above when the thunderstorms happened on the last two days of my Atlanta stay.

Because the bad weather rolled in just as the meeting ended, I didn’t get to take advantage of my six hours or so of free time at the end of the meeting; I had thought about visiting the Atlanta History Center or the Aquarium.  Next time!

Just seeing spring was oh, so therapeutic.

Plus knitting outside.

(This is my Citron…. ‘crazy lace’ variation.  I haven’t really told you about that, have I, being blog-neglectful?  So, it’s a Citron from Knitty, but for the ‘crazy lace’, you throw in small lace patterns of your choice in the stockinette bands between the ruching.  I’m also further modifying by increasing with a yarnover at the outer edges on every right side row to make it more than a half-circle shape, and to echo the laciness of the lace portions.  Last, I have a lot of yardage of the lovely yarn: Arial, by Twisted Fiber Art, in the “Haunting” colorway.  Thus, this will be a lot bigger shawl than the original shawlette size!  I’m knitting on it on and off….)

I then came home for two busy, tiring, and chilly days, then packed up to go to the Pacific Northwest, for a day pre-camp with the lovely Astrid, and thence to Sock Camp.  I have a lot more to tell you about that, but here’s my Saturday Sky from Camp (Port Ludlow, Washington).  (Hence the second coast: East Coast to West Coast in 72 hours!)  The only sun we saw all week was for about an hour, that Saturday morning.

Then it clouded up.  This photo is from the day before, but believe me, it looked pretty much the same for the entire week of Sock Camp.

Of course there was lots of knitting (and other hijinks) at Sock Camp, but again, definitely for another post!

The third coast?

Why, the West Coast of Wisconsin, where I live, of course!  (Seriously, some marketing person dubbed us this at some point.  I do live on the Mississippi River, which is the western border of much of the state….).

Yesterday on said coast:

Grey sky.  But crocuses!!!

(Then thunderstorms overnight.  Then a brief glorious bout of sun this morning with unnatural warmth.  Which of course means even more severe weather predicted for this afternoon….hail, damaging winds, possible tornadoes.  Which will further increase the Mississippi flooding (not severe to date, fortunately).  Springtime in the Midwest!)

Ah, well, at least the snow is gone.

Twilight Eye Candy Friday

Originally uploaded by Cathy-Cate

 

Yes, you knew there would be more pretty pictures from our week at camp.

The horses grazing in the mist, at dusk.  Click to see bigger.

Back Home Saturday

And I didn’t even tell you I was gone.  (But I have been.  For the past week.)

Where?  Well, this is what I saw this morning.

And this.

And, for a little more of a clue as to where I was, I saw this on my morning walk as well.

Yes, we just returned from our annual week at Family Camp at YMCA Camp Olson, a wonderful magical week that the whole family looks forward to; even those of the teenage persuasion.

How magical?  See what else I saw on my morning walk?

It was very hard to leave.

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

You will come to understand the title of this blog post….but you’ll have to keep reading!

A (what was intended to be brief) wrap-up (I hope) of Sock Camp. Maybe.

I hadn’t shared yet that I went out a day early, just to see friends and hang out in the wonderful Seattle area, since there would be no extra time at camp, nor after. (On the way, I saw this mysterious communication at the Minneapolis airport.

Apparently, fiber-bearing animals were sending me messages?)

My friend KT sweetly picked me up at the airport, took me to lunch at Pomegranate Bistro (NOM!), and thence to her house for a couple hours of knitting and talking in her crafty hideaway.  (The mother-in-law apartment in her house is her craft area.  It is awesomeness.  Not just for knitting, but for quilting and all KT’s other artistic endeavors: she is incredibly creative.  KT is a sock camper also but went the second session, so we were not going to see each other otherwise!) I also was a magnet for her beautiful cats, Frog and Tink.  😀

Then I got to go with KT to see her sons’ Montessori school (my daughters went to a Montessori school until just last year — wow, when I think about it, from when the eldest started Montessori preschool in 1999 to last spring 2009 when the younger completed 5th grade at her charter Montessori school in the public school system, I always had at least one child in Montessori for a decade!).  That was really cool, to see a lovely, and different, Montessori school.

Bad blogger.  No pics.  Too busy talking, apparently.

KT then, in a demonstration of true knit-sisterly love, drove me to my friend Astrid’s house through rush hour traffic on I-5 in the rain, with her two young men in the back who did become slightly bored with the process, small gentlemen though they are.  KT, you are a saint!

Thereafter, Astrid and her husband Greg very generously fed me and put me up overnight.  After a wonderful meal, the usual engaging conversation that occurs any time Astrid and Greg are in the room, and a stormy night/early morning, which I slept through most of, an absolutely gorgeous morning greeted me.  At which point, I remembered my camera…though I just realized I haven’t yet taken a picture of the way cool hand-dyed yarn that Astrid gave me!  (But it’s somewhat similar to this one in her etsy shop, but without the sparkle, and more colors.  Very pretty!  I love it!)  Here’s the view from Astrid and Greg’s deck on a stunning Seattle spring morning:

A few remnants of rain

soon evaporated, and after a lovely breakfast, Astrid continued her generosity by driving me to Sock Camp at Port Ludlow.

We had a lovely trip across the Kingston-Edmonds ferry!

And I got to show Astrid around the Inn at Port Ludlow a bit before she headed back.

The mountains came out to be seen, for Astrid.

We got to see a sea otter swimming by the docks!

So, after hugs were exchanged and Astrid headed home, I explored a bit, took a few more pictures,

had dinner in the bar with new and old friends, and then that evening

Sock Camp officially kicked off with a dessert reception and the sorting of the Tribes.  And the laying down of the Camp ground rules by Steph, baby Maggie and Tina.

After that….it was kind of a blur.  Oh, gee.  I wish I could have blogged concurrently, there is still so much to tell you, but this post is getting too long already!  But one highlight was mid-camp: the Talent Show.  Wow.

The knitters who come to Sock Camp are an amazingly talented bunch.  Knitting, of course.  But in many other ways.  I saw Dorie’s incredible quilt that left me almost speechless….it took a third place at American Quilter’s Society’s Paducah show (this is A Big Deal in the quilter world, and if you saw the quilt, you’d totally get it.)  My picture is abysmal:  I hoped the Harlot would blog her photo, but not to date.  (The quilt tells the story of Bernard, the timid cat who dreams of Africa.) And then there was Anne’s artwork, of which my photos are completely blurry, but you can see it for real at the link.  Amazing.

If I had done my little talent show offering AFTER those — I’m not sure I would have dared to perform!  But, I deliberately signed up to go first.  My voice was extremely iffy, as I was just recovering from a prolonged bout of The Plague (OK, some nasty virus that settled in my lungs).  So I drank some bourbon and hot tea, on the advice of my musician husband (though not too much bourbon, or I would not have been able to stand, let alone perform).  And quick, before my voice ‘went’ any more than it already had:

I got up and sang a little song about socks.  Written by yours truly.

So now you see the reason for the title?  Between my last post with the angelic teen voices singing a lovely song, the beautiful scenery at Astrid’s house and at Camp, and then my teammates (Dorie and Anne were both Fellow Foxes in Socks!) with their incredible art….definitely The Sublime.

and then — there is this….

Maybe This Time”. Definitely on the ridiculous side of the Sublime vs. Ridiculous scale!

(For the unedited song, with chatter before and after, including the American Idol-style “Camp Idol” judging by Steph, Tina,  and Stephen, see here…. this video also hints at the hidden story behind the name of one of Blue Moon Fiber Artsnewest colorways!)

Sock Camp Snapshots

Yes, those who guessed (or just KNEW) that I was at BMFA Sock Camp, and those who knew I was in the Seattle area, were all correct!

This:

is the view from The Inn at Port Ludlow, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula.  And those are the Olympic Mountains, yes, indeed!  We had such good weather that I saw the mountains almost 100% of the time we were there…. wow.

That was last Saturday’s Saturday Sky, in fact.  I had woken up with the sun as usual, and gone for a walk on the beach before breakfast.  It was chilly

(that’s frost on those pumpkins mushrooms!) and I was glad I’d packed a hat and scarf, actually, but that didn’t stop me from knitting on my walk

on my way around the point to see the sun rise.

It was so clear, you could see the mainland, and Mount Baker (I think that’s Mt Baker?).

It was so gorgeous.

What’s that?  Socks?  Camp?  Sock Camp?

Why, yes, there were socks, and camp, and hijinks, and lots and lots of fun!

But I can’t tell you ALL yet.  You see, I went to Camp for session I, of two sessions.  And, while the Session II campers are finally there, there are still some surprises in store for them.  We all had to solemnly swear on the Chicken not to reveal anything before its time.

(Cat Bordhi and Tina Newton.  And Chicken (now Chicken of the Sea).)

(Did you think I was kidding about swearing on the Chicken?)

I can show you (one of the) socks I made at Sock Camp! Although as usual we were too busy to do overmuch knitting, really.  Ironic, that.

Fox?  Well, there was a Seussian theme to Sock Camp this year.  We were divided into groups (“tribes”) as usual: I was a proud Fox in Socks!  The amazing Janel Laidman taught the class that resulted in this sock (“Stranded Colorwork & Sock Knitting”) and she designed a sock-let for each tribe!

The Sneetches had a lot more letter knitting to do…. not to mention the TweedleBeetles.

More later, when I am permitted!

Eye Candy Friday from Elsewhere

I was somewhere else last Friday.

To paraphrase Lou and Peter Berryman, there are no mountains in Wisconsin.

I will tell you about it tomorrow!

Serenity Eye Candy Friday from Camp

Because serenity has been pretty well lacking since I got back.  I need a reminder.  Sigh.

Little Boy Lake at dusk, above.

Saturday, Leaving Camp

Saturday Sky, this morning, outside the beautiful 50-year-old dining hall at Family Camp.

Though there’d been a storm overnight (the first rain of the week) and clouds were predicted later, it was a lovely August morning

as we packed up and reluctantly said goodbye to camp friends.

And the familiar beauty of camp itself: Camp Olson on the shores of Little Boy Lake

(seen here this morning).

I had a relaxed week which is just what I needed.  During which, I made excellent progress on one of my knitting projects, Girasole by Jared Flood.  I think I started this in the car on the way up, actually.  

Here it is, as I knit it on the shores of the lake yesterday.

(I’m knitting it in Malabrigo Sock, in Ochre colorway.  Girasole means Sunflower, and this seemed a somewhat Sunflowery colorway choice.  I am loving knitting with this yearn.)  This is part of a Knitalong started by Sheri of The Loopy Ewe (in fact, Sheri offered a discount on any yarn, like mine here, purchased from her store for the KAL, which was awesome of her).  

I am seeing now why people who started this well ahead of me are saying this pattern is addictive.  (Which is good, because I have plans to do another Girasole, even before I’d actually started knitting this one — though after I’d bought the yarn — the second one of which is going to be amazing.  Just you wait!)

The wind rustling through the leaves, the soft water sounds, the amazingly loud squirrels crashing around every so often….

what better setting to sit and knit?

Though I did do more than that.  Details and photos (of course) to follow.

Up North

That’s where we’re heading today.

To canoe, hike, sail, ride, swim, do target sports, and bask in the North woods beauty, at Family Camp.

knitting-at-dawn-again

See you in a week!