Sunday, August 26, 2012

Falling into Autumn

Autumn is coming.  The days are noticeably shorter, and we've had cooler nights since the beginning of August.  The earth is inexorably tilting us away from the sun.  In just a few weeks we'll pass the equinox and be on the downward slide to winter.

It's one of my favorite times of the year, except for the dryness.  It's really dry in Idaho at the end of summer.  Sure, it's a drought year, but it's always dry here in August.  It's not even that fun to go up into the mountains because it's dry there too.  Dusty trails, no more summer flowers, low water, and it still gets hot during the day.  I much prefer going a bit later in the season, when at least the leaves have started to turn and the nights are crisp and cool.  I'm hoping we'll get out there in September or October, even if we stay in a hotel rather than camping.

Hubby and I did some much needed work in the yard on Saturday.  It got really jungle-y out there this year, mostly because of my foot surgery.  I just couldn't do as much.  So the weeds are tall, and the weed trees are starting to get annoying.  I cleared the weeds from one flower bed, and Ken chopped out some of the weed trees and did some pruning.  Took all morning and we were beat.  Just as well since it got too hot for comfort in the afternoon.  There's plenty more to do in other areas, but at least we made progress.

I finished my first crocheted shawl last weekend and got it blocked during the week.  It turned out really nice, and I'm looking forward to cooler days when I might be able to wear it.  I was fairly aggressive in blocking it, as you can see.  And I'm not sure I'm completely happy with that.  I may eventually re-block it to be a bit less stretched out.  We'll see.  It's amazing the difference that blocking can make.

This is the new project I started on Friday.  It's a cowl.  I'm using Tosh Merino Light in "Magnolia Leaf".  It's one of those yarn colors I didn't like as much when it was in the skein.  But as it gets stitched into fabric the colors are pooling in a really pretty way, and I like it much better.  I'm not sure who it's for yet, although I have a few ideas.  It needs six buttons.  I'm thinking I'd like some in brass or copper.  But they can't be too heavy, or the cowl won't stand up around your neck.  So I'll have to start keeping an eye out for just the right ones.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TAC Summer School 2012

Hubby and I went to Portland State University in Portland, OR, the last week of July, for the Teachers Association of Canada (RSCDS) Summer School.  Basically dance camp for Scottish Country Dancers from all over the world.  We had a great time.  Portland was cooler than Idaho until the last day, and it was fun to see old friends I hadn't seen since the last time I was there in 2010.  Altogether there were seven of us from the Thistle & Ghillies group here in Idaho who went.  I couldn't actually *dance*, but I went to classes anyway and walked though everything.

Aside from going to morning dance classes and evening social dances, we also got out to do a few things in downtown Portland.  On Tuesday was the Yarn Tour.  Four of us took the afternoon and went to three different yarn shops - Knit Purl, Happy Knits, and Yarn Garden.  We did pretty well at supporting the local economy.  I bought four skeins of yarn,

two of Malabrigo Arroyo in 'Jupiter,

And two of Tosh DK in 'Spectrum'.

Is that not the most gorgeous color blend ever?  And I managed to get myself to choose multi-ply yarns, rather than singles.  I tend to be drawn to the color saturation of single-ply more, but they aren't as practical.  I already have a few ideas for what I'll make with both yarns.

On Wednesday afternoon all seven of us went on an organized bus tour to some local wineries, Duck Pond and Erath.  We also stopped at a Christmas ornament store, which was not really a hit with most of the people on the tour. We would've rather gone to another winery.

Here we are, setting off on our Powell's bookstore adventure on Thursday...

well, except for me since I took the picture.  We're waiting for the Portland Streetcar to arrive.  We rode up to Powells and ended up mostly looking at knitting and crochet books.  Then we stopped in at Le Sur d'Table and Whole Foods since we were there.

On Thursday evening the social dance was the Red & White dance, a celebration of TAC's 40th Anniversary (ruby).  Almost everyone dressed in some variation of red and white.  It was very impressive to see on the dance floor.  I did not take any pictures, but Ken did.  Here are four of us in our red and white...

The red scarf I'm wearing was knit by Diane in a red yarn I chose - Madeline Tosh lace in 'Tart'.  It turned out beautifully.

On Friday hubby, myself and Cheri rode the streetcar up to Deshutes brewpub, near Powells, for dinner.  That was a nice change from the cafeteria.  And Cheri got to try a gluten-free beer.

On Saturday the Portland Farmers Market sets up in the park you can see behind us.  It's amazing!  Wonderful fresh veg and fruit.  I had a very yummy ripe peach, as well as some good pastries.  It really makes you wish you lived there just so you could shop at the market every weekend.

As for the dance classes, I had a reasonably good time, in spite of not being able to dance.  I sat out more than I wanted, but when I did get into a set I focused on good technique from the waist up - posture, phrasing, handing and teamwork, and eye contact.  It was annoying to have to wear my trainers for dancing - even at the Ball on Saturday night - but at least I could walk without the boot!

On Sunday we drove home.  Cheri rode with Ken and I.  We stopped at Multnomah Falls, and then had lunch at Full Sail Brewery in Hood River, OR.  Yum!