Leo's work gave everyone Thursday and Friday off for Independence Day. Since I didn't have such a luxuriously long weekend, we agreed that he and Leela should have their first road trip together, and I'd get some work done around the house, and keep the girls entertained. What I feel for my fiber arts, Leo feels for exploration and doing so on bike is all the more exhilarating.

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He brought the camera along and took some amazing shots, whenever he had a chance to park the bike. It was drizzly but nothing to keep him from enjoying the scenery.

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It's hard to believe all his stuff fit in two saddle bags and a little net on the back of the bike, but the man knows how to rough it in style.

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He says those yellow flowers were incredibly fragrant. I know nothing about flora but it sure looks pretty.

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Leo spent his second night near big foot. He's obviously a fan of fun fur.

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After a rainy night, Leo got everything packed up for a leisurely ride home.

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Unfortunately, the rain was unrelenting. By hour 6, of his drive home, he was starting to feel a little sorry for himself.

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Boy, was I glad I let him go solo.

Anyway, all in all, it was a pretty great trip and he scoped out a bunch of great spots for future camping events for the 4 of us. If you are curious, here's the approximately 600 mile drive he did.

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If you want to see all his pictures, you can see the Flickr set here.

It's Independence Day, here in the states which Panda would probably call, "the worst freakin' day of the entire year, which sucks donkey balls and makes me want to pee myself." Or something along that line. With the holiday falling on a Friday, we can expect a weekend of fireworks and a truly miserable dog who is completely inconsolable. Well, the panchetta offered a brief (very brief,) distraction, but she was entirely uninterested in the peanut butter, which should tell you something. That whole "try to make something scary positive" tactic just doesn't work in this case.

Thea is fine, thanks for asking.

Leo, is on a weekend motor-pickle ride up near Fork, Washington, where he is doing reconnaissance for future camping trips with the rest of us. This left me to catching up on loads of knitting, pattern writing and some cleaning that are all sorely in need of my attention. In case you are wondering, it was my idea that he go solo, since I just wouldn't have the time to join him.

But, my friends Larry and Erica offered to make me homemade waffles for breakfast today, which is about as fantabulous an offer as I could envision. So, bright and early, after my first full night's sleep in, probably, 2 weeks, I took the train to the Pearl district to see them.

When they opened the door, they were wearing...

PANDA!
They are way too cute for their own good. And, no, they don't walk around town in matchy matchy get-ups, they donned them in unison for my benefit. **squee!**

Then Erica gave me gifts for the girls, from Canada, which Chewie (short for Chewbacca) promptly bonded with.


Chewie's just too cute to deny.

After that, Larry got down to BIZ-NIZ!


We're talking fresh farmer's market berries, waffle batter from scratch, crisp pepper bacon and a festive apron. YUM!

While enjoying warm fluffy waffles (is anyone else feeling hungry right now?) Erica mentioned a glass spinning wheel at the local craft museum, and I knew exactly what she was talking about.

So, of course, even though the museum was closed, we had to go walk by and get my classy mug in front of it, because I had no idea it was hanging out right in my little city.

Then I started hamming it up.

There's a far far less flattering picture (ok, maybe a few pictures) as well, and my friends are likely to chime in about the obvious omission here, but that is one of the great benefits to having full editorial control over the content of my site.

Anyway, it was a lovely little break from what is likely to be a pretty busy weekend for me, so yay for that.

Coming Attractions

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Yesterday was Julia's baby shower, where crafty women, from far and wide, came to rain gifts and well wishes on Julia and her li'l bun in the oven. It was so great to see my local friends and meet some amazing women I hadn't met before. Such a great day.

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Honestly, so many people were taking pictures that I didn't go to great lengths to get all the prime shots, but you can see what I took, over on Fickr.

But there are a couple of shots that I'd like to highlight, for totally selfish reasons.

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See those bad boys? Their name is Alsace Le Monstre and the patterns for each will be available soon.

Here's a more detailed shot that will appear in the pattern.

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In the mean time, I leave you with a little more sweetness

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Townes sleeping in Mary-Heather's gorgeous mobile from Kat's Baby Boho book.

And, my friend Chrissy's dog, Akasha, wearing a hand knit sweater.

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Yes, she is real, not a stuffed animal, and yes, yes, yes, she is ridiculously cute.

The results are in...

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The winners of the contest I entered, are posted and... I didn't win. Awww.

But that's OK, it's a yearly event and I can always try again.

Don't forget to check out all the winning shots here, and consider donating to your local Humane Society.

A super quick lunchtime post to show you some handspun yarn.

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Spunky Eclectic 100% merino in Sage.

There are about 272 yd/248 m of two ply, slightly thick and thin yarn. I used mostly a supported long draw method combined with the spinning for speed and softness technique I've been practicing.

This is thick and thin partly because I did a little experiment with this fiber. For the first bobbin, I predrafted and spun, as usual, producing a softly variegated and relatively even yarn. For the second bobbin, I didn't do any predrafting at all, I just spun directly from the wad (technical term) of fiber. The roving is pretty wide, so I carefully directed the drafting zone back and forth across the expanse of unspun fiber, to ensure that each color change was worked completely before going to the next color.

The result is that bobbin number two has more intense colors and less gradual color shifts. I found it harder to spin an even yarn, but my technique got better as I practiced. From the picture above, I think it's easy to tell which ply came off of which bobbin.

There's something to be said for the instant gratification of just sitting down and spinning without any prep or much agonizing over a perfect yarn. Still, I think my technique could do with some serious fine tuning and my goal is to produce yarns that, if I saw it in a store, I'd want to buy it. I like this yarn, but it's a little thicker than I normally like to knit with, so it doesn't quite meet that expectation.

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The singles were spun fairly lightly to keep their softness and were plied together with a little extra twist to help control pilling (I hope.) After that, I just gave the whole thing a wash and thwack and hung it to dry with no weight.

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If Panda kills me in my sleep, I doubt anyone would fault her.

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