Mother’s Day hike, 2011

which actually took place on Saturday, May 7 this year.  DH chose the profile trail of the Grandfather Mountain area.  The grandfather’s face here below was captured from a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook near the Linn Cove Viaduct.  Since the viaduct was specially constructed to minimize destruction of wildlife habitat on Grandfather Mountain, I must assume that this is some other grandfather.

grandfather's profile labeled

bearded old man mountain

The part of the Grandfather Mountain area where we were walking is known as the backcountry.  It has been acquired by the NC State Parks system and there is no charge to park and hike here. There is a shelter at the trailhead where hikers are required to fill out a form for a permit.


Profile Trail Trailhead Shelter

We only hiked perhaps 3/4 mile, partially because we arrived late in the day, and partially because I had to stop so many times to take pictures, but mostly because we’re an out of shape bunch who can only hike straight up for so long. The part of the trail I saw was beautiful, and easily walkable, and so many flowers were in bloom.

wildflowers 1

these pretty blue ones were everywhere!

lots of these, and these:

wildflowers 2

little meadows full of these!

another shot of the blue ones:

wildflowers 3

so pretty!

and the only trillium I saw, which was missing a petal, which I guess makes it only a billium:


a billium, I guess

perhaps it is late in the season for these at this altitude? But it was that pretty anyway, so I included the picture. This tree is valiantly clinging to the bank of the Watauga River, which has been trying to undercut it for who knows how long:

amazing perseverance

amazing perseverance

and this one was probably split by lightning. They are both wonderful examples of the amazing perseverance of nature.

still undefeated

still undefeated

a gossamer-winged damselfly sitting on a rock by the river:



this fallen tree with its silver bark and lichen encrustations is begging to be a yarn colorway, don’t you think?

lichen and silver

lichen and silver

and this stump with its fungus fans just has to be a fairy castle:

a fungus I can love

fairy castle

I’m loving this tradition of the Mother’s Day walk in the woods. I hope there are many more.


To Eyre . . . is divine!

That is to say, both Carol Sunday’s knitting pattern, and the most recent Jane Eyre movie are divine.

The story in the movie is very abbreviated, of course, with only two hours to work with, but everything in it is just right.  In tone, look, and overall feel, this movie accomplishes a match to the imaginative reader’s experience better than that of any other adaptation I have seen.  I’ve seen at least half a dozen.  One website lists more than 40 film and TV adaptations.  The best match to Jane Eyre the book has to be the 1983 mini-series with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke.  That one was told over 11 episodes, for a total of 239 minutes.  Cary Fukunaga, in 120 minutes, captures Jane Eyre in all her gothic/horrorific/mysterious/romantic/sexy/snarky fun.  To quote the NYT review, “reader, I liked it.”

There is no evidence to support the existence of a short row garter stitch hand knitted shawl in 1847, but I like to think that the Rivers sisters would have been clever enough to have knitted this up from local handspun wool, and lent it to Jane after she dropped onto their doorstep in rags.  In this movie, Jane wore it while gardening, cleaning out a hearth, and other such dirty tasks.  Such a garment would not likely have survived into the present, as it would have been worn until it was a rag, and then likely gone to the rubbish heap.  I wore my Jane inspired shawl in the slightly over-air-conditioned theater.  It was warm and comfy, and resembles hers, but is much larger.

On an obliging model:

To Eyre, by Carol Sunday, Version 1, the larger

On a hanger padded with a towel, while blocking:

to eyre on hanger

To Eyre, blocking

I’m already very fond of it, and likely to wear it to rags myself.

To Eyre . . .

So there’s a new Jane Eyre movie, which I’m so dying to see, should it ever come to my benighted viewing area.  In a featurette, Jane can be seen wearing this shawl.

another view:

In glorious Ravelry tradition, there is of course a KAL (knitalong)  for projects inspired by this movie costume garment.  I’m knitting To Eyre, a pattern Carol Sunday whomped up in no time flat.  I so want to be her.  My Eyre shawl is being knitted in Cascade 220, smoke blue, on size 8 needles.  I’ve just started it today, and it’s going well.

to eyre 15%

In other good news, I took a few good pictures of azaleas and such before last weekend’s storms made them look a bit raggledy.  These are on flickr, and in full size they are suitable for 1600 x 900 windows wallpaper.  please feel free to grab them if you like them.

pink azalea wallpaper 1600 x 900

pink azalea wallpaper

deep pink azalea wallpaper

deep pink azalea wallpaper

pink and white azalea wallpaper

pink and white azalea wallpaper

dogwood wallpaper

dogwood wallpaper

jonquil wallpaper

jonquil wallpaper

Please have a Happy (insert spring festival of your choice).  For me it’s Easter.

I love a reading gift

There’s a beautifully illustrated book about a girl and her mouse doll.

Phoebe’s Sweater is written by Joanna Johnson, illustrated by Eric Johnson, indie published by their company Slate Falls Press, and has knitting patterns for a girl sweater, mouse doll and dress, and doll sweater. Irresistable, right? Definitely.

Here’s my Phoebe’s Sweater in size 2:


and a closeup of the buttons:



The buttons came from JoAnn, and I’ve stacked the smaller pink butterfly button onto a round white button to frame it and make it a suitable size for the buttonholes. I do like the effect, and the pink is the exact shade of the yarn in the Phoebe mouse doll and her dress:


phoebe mouse

which makes the whole set coordinate harmoniously.  A sweater for the doll completes the set:


phoebe doll with sweater

throw in a copy of the book, and there’s an unforgettable gift for a small girl and her reading, knitting, parent to share.  I’m sad to part with the book myself, though. I’ll have to buy another one.

Merlin helped me knit them all:


phoebe doll dress

He works for ear scritches, and a biscuit now and then. Good doggie.

a hat for carmen banana

Carmen Banana is not your usual sock monkey.  She comes as a kit from Knit Picks with a wardrobe to die for.  After I knit Carmen, her fancy panties, and a dress for a night out on the town, her outfit just did not look quite put together without a topper.  Long ago, I promised a pattern on my ravelry project page, and at last, here it is.

carmen closeup

In Knit Picks Stroll yarn and at a gauge of 8 stitches and 10 rows to the inch in stockinette, this pattern will yield a hat that is 7 inches in circumference.

Use the circular knitting method of your choice.  I knit this little hat using Magic Loop on a 32” circular needle in the same size I used for Carmen.

Using the cable cast on technique and main color, cast on 56 stitches.  Place a marker for beginning of round and k1p1 rib for 4 rounds.  Knit in stockinette for 9 rounds.  Begin decrease rounds:

  1. *ssk, k5*
  2. knit
  3. *ssk, k4*
  4. knit
  5. *ssk, k3*
  6. knit
  7. *ssk, k2*
  8. knit
  9. *ssk, k1*
  10. ssk 8 times
  11. ssk 4 times

Break yarn leaving a 10” tail. With a tapestry needle pull yarn through all stitches, pull tight, pull tail to inside, weave end in and cut.

For the flower, cast on 60 stitches in contrast color, knit front and back in each stitch, knit one row, loosely cast off, leaving a long tail.  Coil the knitting, securing with the yarn tail.  Sew to the hat.

The shape of Carmen’s head is such that she will lose this hat unless you secure it to her head, either by sewing, or with a tiny safety pin on the inside, as I did.

download the pdf:  Hat with Flower for Sock Monkey or Doll


I can knit back backwards!

Thanks to excellent instructions from the knit witch in a video.  I’ve never been able to grasp it before.  This is important because I’ve got two projects going which will go much faster with this technique.  The Peacock’s Best Vest from SWTC involves 114 mitered diamonds, no less, and assorted other little triangles and stuff.  They’re all in garter stitch, so I guess I’ll have to learn how to purl back backwards too.  Or just turn my work over and over and over . . . .  The other one is Lizard Ridge, from knitty. Lots of short rows every sixth row.  I have no pictures yet, as the two projects are still mostly in my head.

I do have a picture of another knitty pattern.  This took me literally months to complete.  I really like the result, but I am so slow.  It’s decimal, in classic elite premiere.  My ravelry project page here.

the models mother made her do this, therefore incognito

the model's mother made her do this, therefore incognito

Behind the model you see a variety of clematis with an unusual flower color.  It’s ready for its closeup.

how do I look?

how do I look?

I love blue flowers.

did I promise you a roadside attraction?

How about Foamhenge?  Foamhenge?, you say.  Yes.  Just like Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in the South of England, but made of styrofoam.  No, really.  It’s a same size replica in Natural Bridge, VA.  Find a review of foamhenge, and an interview with the artist, Mark Cline, at .  You can book this place for your special event, or attend the Enchantment Faire in September.  How many places can you visit where you can buy a knighthood for your child, or watch flaming coconuts flung from a trebuchet?  I’d like to see the sheep tossing contest, myself.†  We just wandered around and in it on a beautiful spring day.

ETA: not live sheep of course, or even formerly live sheep, sillies!

I took this picture from down the hill a bit.  The tiny human is 6′ 3″ or so IRL.  If you go look at the large size of the picture, he appears to be trying to escape while Merlin throws a spell at him.



The one below is taken from inside the circle, the same human is there for scale.

soooo big!

soooo big!

Notice the difference in construction on the sign below.  Go to the largest flickr size to make the print easier to read.

If you are curious what it looks like really close up, it looks like styrofoam with gray paint on it.

yup, styrofoam

yup, styrofoam

One more picture for you, just a beautiful near-sunset skyline from inside the standing foams:

Virginia mountain sky

Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain sky