Tuesday, August 14, 2012


OK.  It's been a while.  I kept meaning to post, but, if I am going to be completely honest, it was so nice to truly take some time away from my computer that I couldn't bring myself to sit down at it for anything more than the bare minimum work requirements (OK, that was in July; before that, I was spending so much time at my computer wrapping up several HUGE projects that I couldn't bear to be at the computer to do anything else).  Instead, I spent the month of July and early August as much outdoors as I could be, and loved every minute of it. 

I think I also have been having trouble conceptualizing a blog post that isn't just a recap of all of those lovely grade-school "What I Did With My Summer" essays.*  So instead, I think I'll just hit some of the high points - the things that felt like a challenge, or like something I've wanted to do for a while, or an achievement for someone in the family, and then throw a few additional fun photos in over the next several weeks (because I just downloaded all the pictures off the camera, and there are a LOT).  (Note added later: I realized that there is no sane way to get everything into one post, especially if I want to include some fiber content - and I do! - so I'll just have to do the second half of the summer in the next one.)

First, Younger Daughter "graduated" from her grade school.  This is a bigger deal than it might seem, since she's been going there, first to day care, then preschool, then grade school, since she was about 18 months old.  Next Monday, she starts at her brand-new middle school, and it's going to be a huge change for her.  She's ready, but it was nice to have a moment to celebrate the change.
(Her face is in shadow, but it is the only picture I have that doesn't also include OPK.)(Other Peoples' Kids.)

Very soon thereafter, we packed up and headed to Mammoth for a solid week of getting outside and getting some family time.  During that week, we took our first overnight backpacking trip as a family.  Just one night, but the big goal (from my perspective) was for the girls to want to do it again.  I knew that Rick's trail choice was dead-on when Older Daughter, pack and all, turned to me most of the way through our hike in to say with excitement, "I feel so self-sufficient!" 
We schlepped in about five miles to a string of lakes, where we set up camp.  The views were remarkable (note: not photoshopped in any way).
As were the insects (can you see that golden, sun-lit cloud in between the trees there?  yes, that's right - mosquitoes).
The next morning, we abandoned our big packs for a while, and headed up further into the mountains, following a string of lakes,
(which looked remarkably like parts of the Scottish highlands - check it out, doesn't this look like heather, even?),
to the last of the snow, where Tilly had her own achievement - stepping on the cold frozen stuff for the first time.
She wasn't quite sure what she thought of it.

Two days later, the girls and I went on a half-day horseback riding excursion (not a trivial matter for our non-saddle-trained selves, especially as we climbed - and therefore descended - 2,000 vertical feet during the ride, which requires a lot of work for a rider, if you're planning to help the horse at all).  The top was a reminder that Mammoth is, indeed, an old volcano (dormant only).
But you climb that high up, and you get rewarded by the views.

I also knitted on that trip.  My knitting mojo just isn't what I'd like it to be these days - I'm not sure why I'm feeling jammed up, so, as you'll see in the next post, I'm pulling out some old projects that I think are taking up space in my guilt-ridden back brain, and trying to move those forward.  In Mammoth, however, I started and finished two new things.
That little lovely was a test knit for Anne, who did a stunning photo shoot that puts my efforts to shame; you may want to check it out (the pattern has also been released).
The pattern is Twig and Leaf, and it comes in three sizes - this is the smallest.  It is knitted out of the (new to me) Briar Rose Stella, which is an absolute treat to work with; it's hard to go wrong with a laceweight merino/silk blend in one of Chris' stunning colorways (it even looks like she has one more skein left in this color).  This particular version is destined to go to the Briar Rose booth as a sample, so you can visit it, but I will be casting on to knit my own veryvery soon - it's fun to knit, and utterly wearable.  The only question I have is whether to knit this size, or make the medium.  So many hard choices...
I also finished up a pair of socks for myself while we were there, which I haven't had a chance to wear since coming back, as it's been hot and humid here (le sigh).
These are Clandestine Socks, and they were really great fun to knit.  This is a good travel knitting pattern because, apart from the lace edging, they're quite easy, but fun enough to keep one's attention.  I need to find the yarn label (sorry), but this is a merino/alpaca blend, if I remember correctly, by a local dyer; I picked this yarn up at a local festival about a year ago.

So, that's it for now.  There's more (believe me!), but I think I'll stop here and go work on some spinning I have on the wheel. 

*My brother once got very creative and told his teacher that he'd been to Greenland on his summer vacation.  He even had it straight that Greenland is the colder, less-populated one (as opposed to Iceland).  He apparently had lots of detail for verisimilitude - heaven knows where he got it, probably National Geographic - but the teacher did eventually check with my mom, who was rather surprised to find out where we'd gone that year...  I did not go to Greenland this summer, and I will not tell you that I did.


Willow said...

I did not go to Greenland either, but I did visit San Diego (twice), camped at San Onofre Beach, and flew to Ohio.

What a great backpacking trip. Only one of my offspring will backpack. Another one has done enough of that in the military to last a lifetime (and there's surely more of that in the future for him). We loved packing around Mt. Hood and also the Marble Mountarin Wilderness.

lori said...

I FEEL SO SELF-SUFFICIENT. This makes me laugh out loud, and cry with happiness at the same time. First, what else can you possible wish for your daughter?! And second, what a daughter, to articulate that specific thing in that moment! Success!

Really gorgeous photos, Jocelyn -- it looks like you've had a good summer, I'm so glad!

Wanderingcatstudio said...

You've been busy! Love the shawl and socks!

Gwen said...

What a lovely trip! Do the girls want to go back?

The Kid and I went to Yosemite for the first time a couple weeks ago, but we had to come back down too soon.

Jane said...

What fun you all had, and some wonderful views. The memories will last a lifetime

snoopydogknits said...

Beautiful post! What fun and what a great introduction to self-sufficiency. The photos are stunning. Your 'Twig and Leaf' is beautiful. I've just bought the very same yarn and hope to get cast on just as soon as I have cleared my backlog. Like you, it causes me a 'go slow' when there is too much unfinished. Love your blog,so I'll be back soon. Ros

Brandi Schoch said...

Your camping pictures were insanely gorgeous! I need to go hiking!

Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy said...

Yes, that's alpine heather.

(Five miles to an alpine environment? SO. JEALOUS.)

Mary Lou said...

One of my sisters told her teacher we had a new baby brother. Totally not true. She even named him and gave his nickname! Looks like a great summer.

Lynne said...

Congratulations to Younger Daughter.

Sounds like you had a wonderful summer away from your computer -- and I can understand why you would want to do that!

I hope your brother got full marks for using his imagination -- after all, as this former primary school teacher knows, the point is to get children to write in an interesting way - nobody really wants to read a boring, blow by blow recount, after all! My only ban for my students was that their stories didn't end "then I woke up, it was only a dream"! Or "and then I died"!

EGunn said...

Who needs to go to Greenland, with photos like that? Looks like an absolutely wonderful summer. I'm so glad you got to take some time off (even if it means missing your blog posts)! I find that knitting mojo is one of those things that comes and goes - always makes me think of the line "the wind blows where it wants to." It will come back when you're ready, and until then there's plenty of real life to pay attention to, too! Congratulations to TD on her graduation, btw. I doubt that you'll look back and wish you'd knit an extra shawl this summer!

RobinH said...

I love your vacation photos! Gorgeous. And the scarf is lovely.

Your Greenland story reminds me of an assignment I had in French to keep a journal. I explained to my teacher that I had a very boring life, and asked if it would be okay to add fictional elements. She said that would be fine, and regarded with some bemusement over the next few weeks my colorful account of how the tomatoes and zucchini were plotting to kill all the humans and take over the town. (My mother was an avid gardener, and I her reluctant assistant.)

twinsetellen said...

Oh, that I could have gone along on that backpacking trip - it looks fabulous. As do the young ladies and the knitting.