Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sanborn County Park

I love hiking in Northern California. Almost every weekend we go out and explore a new trail. This weekend we rambled up the John Nicholas Trail in Sanborn County Park. Actually, if you're looking at the map we were a little south of the park. We walked a  mile and half from the parking area on Black Road to the Lake Ranch Reservoir. It was hot today, close to 80 degrees. We were so glad not to be on the east coast today which has been boiling away for almost a week now, but I did appreciate my new shorts and enjoy a cold glass of iced tea when we were done.

There were several gorgeous views under the tree canopy today, but my favorite was one I couldn't get a picture of and probably would not read as well without the motion. Its been dry here and we watched a shower of golden leaves catching the sunlight as they fell a hundred feet or so into the ravine below. It was just magical, like something you would see in a movie. I frequently get that feeling when we are walking in the woods here, as though I am walking through a scene from a fantasy movie or book; just breathtaking.

The little streams passing under the path were fun too. My husband had a great time teaching our son how to throw rocks into them. I just wish he was going to be the one on the playground when S starts throwing rocks at other kids.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Frogged Again

And here we go again...frogging this yarn for the 5th time. For the uninitiated, that means pulling out all the pretty little loops that you have spent hours painstakingly repeating so that you are left with a ball of yarn and nothing to show for your efforts. 

I picked up this pretty white yarn at a Micheal's sale. It has this shiny accent thread that seemed perfect for a bridal piece. Wouldn't it be fun to make things for brides? I got three balls for a great price so I wanted to do something complex. So far I've only done scarves and baby blankets (and one pair of fingerless mittens, but they turned out to be super easy); I was looking for a challenge! I decided to make a shrug or a sweater, and boy has it been a challenge. After five attempts I just hope I can make something work before the yarn falls apart. The most recent iteration, shown above, had a beautiful base stitch and was coming along nicely except that I got confused by the pattern and ended up with a lopsided back and arm holes. Maybe it could work for someone with one particularly bulky arm and one thin stringy arm but I don't know anyone like that so back to the drawing board.

The problem seems to be that I am not an especially good hooker. The patterns I've been following use "standard" abbreviations and don't have any images to compare your work to so you have no way to see if you are headed in the right direction or headed toward a train wreck (and frogging, lots of frogging). So after deciding to pull out all those pretty stitches I went back to the crochet mags I've been collecting for the last few months to find a pattern there. Fortunately these seem to be aimed right at my skill level. The instructions are clear and include stitch diagrams and diagrams that show the shapes and dimensions of each piece and how they are put together. I like pictures. I decided on the Arboretum Cardigan from this summer's Interweave Crochet (not planning to do the flowers but we'll see). It even seems to have a similar base stitch to the one in the picture above. 

Wish me luck. I'll post some pictures when I make a little headway.