Saturday, June 30, 2012

Busy Summer, Not Knitting Much

I really haven't been doing much knitting in the past 2 weeks.  I'm slugging along this very simple, straight forward, top down, raglan pullover with Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria that I've had in my stash for years. Well, there was a reason they just sat there in the closet, not a very inspiring yarn for me. Every night I'd knit about 4 or 5 rounds and put it away. Hopefully I'll get it done within the next coupla weeks, so I can move on to something else.

On the other hand, I'd been dyeing fiber, and I even learned a thing or two about dyeing this time.

With acid mixed in the dye solution, which was what I used to do, dye striked the fiber fast and not spreading much. It created a spotty look and very different from vinegar sprayed on after dyeing.  By not adding acid to the dye solution, the dye spreaded more and it worked better for dyeing gradient. And yes, I'd been playing with dyeing up gradients simply because I love gradient fibers.

I'd also learned to organize my dyeing process a lot better too. I usually just mixed up the dye every time I dye a braid of fiber.  I finally got my acts together and mixed up solution as batch and stored them in jars, which as I'd found out, made dyeing a lot easier.

And at the last minute I decided to join Ravelry's Tour de Fleece spinning. Being a total commitment-phobe, I joined the Lantern Team, which is for people who cannot spin everyday. Perfect.


Yesterday's hike was from Bratovich Park on top of Kingsbury Grade, going north on the Tahoe Rim Trail towards Spooner Summit.  I got to go on my own since Paul worked yesterday.

I picked this trail to avoid the July 4th crowd, and I felt pretty smug about my wise choice. First it was super close to my house. Living right below Kingsbury Grade, it took less than 10 minutes to drive up to the summit and to the parking lot, no need to drive through town. I was very pleased to find the lot not full at all. There was a group of multi-families and loud kids at the lot putting on sunblock. I quickly got my stuff together and started hiking ahead of them. I could hear them from a distance away as I was walking, but they disappeared after a few minutes. I figured they would. Most people go for 2 mile loop to Castle Rock for the stunning view of Tahoe Basin and climbing among the rocks.  At the1/2 mile fork I turned the other way to  Tahoe Rim trail and hiked for another 2.5 or maybe 3 miles before turning around. Total hike time about 3.5 hours. Other than the big group at trailhead, I only encountered a single cyclist, 3 lone hikers and 1 couple the entire time.

I was tired when I got home, so last night I only knitted 2 rounds on that s-l-o-w sweater.

a view of the lake during the hike, 
with Emerald Bay right across the lake in the center of the picture. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Batts and Deer

I received the first of the 3 batts from Moonrover Batts Club.

This was the second time I spun from batts. The first time was disastrous with a batt I bought from Dizzy Sheep. It came in this huge blanket and it was like a big tangled thing.  I absolutely hated it. This Moorover batts was so much nicer to work with. It even had sparkly threads. I used longdraw. I'm still very uneven with the single's thickness using longdraw.  It's frustraing but I hope practice will help me get better.

I love the plumbness of woollen spun yarn, so I want to keep practicing, not to mention, longdraw is so much faster than shortdraw method.

Here is the final yarn after n-ply.  I did waste quite a bit of the fiber from breakage during spinning and ended with 160 yards of Light DK yarn from the 2 oz fiber.  It was spun and plied all in one day, a little birthday thing for myself.

It was my birthday yesterday.  For dinner, we went out for Italian food. I absolutely love Italian food. I ate a bit much, but the fried ravioli was so yummy, I could not resist.

During today's hike from Spooner Summit and up a little portion of Tahoe Rim Trail, we saw a deer, a very rare sight.  It's more likely to see a bear than a deer at this elevation.  We did about 5 miles round trip and probably 700 ft elevation climb the first leg.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ode to Bonnard

I am just beginning to understand what it is to paint.  A painter should have two lives, one in which is to learn, and one in which to practice his art. 
 -Pierre Bonnard

This time I do have some knitting to report.  I finished a hat and a pair of mittens from the same skein of yarn I spun.  The summer Music Festival Club of Two If by Hand came last month with the colorway Bumbershoot and it was 4 oz of Rambouillet. I began spinning using short backward draw and I was not enjoying it at all.  The staple was very short.  So I switched to long draw method. a very good move.  I immediately found the Rambouillet pleasant to spin, and the resulting yarn bloomed after wash, a lot.  It was very squishy, much more so than merino or BFL.  Love it.
The spinning was done over a week ago.

This week I began knitting a hat with the yarn.  A simple hat and a little cable design on the side.  The colorful palette demanded a simpler decoration.  It was slightly slouchy.    

After the hat came the mittens from the nearly half of the 380 yards of sport weight left.  They were just plain St st all the way.

While knitting the mittens I kept thinking how much the colors reminded me of one of my favorite painters, Bonnard's work,

The colors may be akin to some other artists' palatte as well, such as Diebenkorn, but up close it's more reminiscent of Bonnard because the brush work in spots of color rather than flat area of colors as a result of 2 strands plying. 

Diebenkorn's Ocean Park

Back when I was living in DC during grad school years, Phillips Collection was within walking distance from our apartment. After visiting many museums in the world, Phillips remained to be one of my most favorites. For a not overwhelmingly large museum, it housed a superb collection. Sometimes when visiting a collection composed mostly of third rate work by big names, like a bad Monet, or so-so Picasso, I'd get the sense that the collector was collecting by name rather than a profound appreciation. But at Phillips you could feel the collector's love of art and the depth of it. For example, I didn't care for Renoir at all, but the Renoir at Phillips made me re-evaluate my opinion of the artist, the Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Being a painter, I bow to the supreme use of color by Bonnard.  Both him and Matisse, in my world, are the 2 colorists of all time. His work may be seemingly charming but the use of color is absolutely experimental for his time.  His composition is more studied than its informal look impart with first impression.  

Pierre Bonnard - The Palm

The Palm at Phillips is really my favorite Bonnard that I'd seen in person.  It could be because I'd visited it so many times that it became personal to me. 

Then there is The Riviera,

My mittens made me think of these two paintings and that's a wonderful thing. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winnemucca Lake

We went for a hike to Winnemucca Lake from Carson Pass yesterday.  Hope Valley by Carson Pass is one of the dearest places to me. When I think of paradise, this is what I envision.

First we stopped by Frog Lake. We encountered a family with their stuff strewn all over the ground like a big garage sale right by the trail as we came upon the lake.  All the while they were actually at the other end of the lake screaming and shouting.  Then they dragged logs into the lake and paddling with them like canoes.  This was the most obnoxious visual and sound pollution I'd seen. Few hikers came up to the lake and almost immediately left when they saw the family. But there were so many flowers blooming among the rocks right there that we had to walk around. The wonder of the flowers made it easier to ignore the group's loudness from a distance. Thankfully as we continued onto the trail, we saw them turning back on the trail going the opposite direction.

During the hike we saw a marmot, AND, a bald eagle right at Winnemucca Lake!! A total treat.

Little over 4 mile hike took us 4 hours. On his own, Paul hikes 3 time that distance in the same amount of time. I'm a much slower walker/hiker and easily distracted by the flowers. I'll be coming back here in 3 or 4 weeks when the wild flowers are more in full bloom.

Round Top Peak above Winnemucca Lake

Frog Lake

See the marmot?

Winnemucca Lake

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cascade Fall

I went for a small hike earlier this morning at Cascade Fall. I'd forgotten it was Saturday.  Never again going for hikes on a Saturday during summer at any popular trail in the Tahoe Basin.

Good thing I got there early around 9:00, no problem for parking at the Bayview Trail head.  I just parked by the road and walked through campground to the trailhead rather than parking at the lot by the trail entranc  At that hour, not a lot of people were out yet. But by the time I turned around, there was a steady stream of people coming, and parking was full at both the lot and along the road.

All I wanted was a quick easy morning hike. And this was a good one for it, very little overall elevation change, just a lot of up and down the steps on a rather rocky trail.

On the way home I stopped by Paul's work to say hi.  He was a bit surprised that I showed up, and he took a little brake so we walked around the trails nearby :)

The front lake is Cascade Lake, the the lake behind is Lake Tahoe. 

Cascade Fall

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Carnival In Town

This was the first year we decided to go take a look at the carnival.  We didn't get on any rides, just had some super greasy curly fries. Good thing we went for a walk earlier in the day.

It reminded us Santa Cruz, the boardwalk.