Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunset over Marl Lake

Hello there!

I've been told that I need to blog. I don't know that I have anything new or noteworthy about which to blog, but here you go, Marti. 
I have grown tired of worrying about my grandkids, and money, and things like that. I am weary of drama and silliness and meanness.

One thing that I am not tired of is this:
our winter here was long, and cold, and very snowy, and I never have enjoyed a winter more! I find that I am in a minority, though. The customers in my shop and really almost everyone I know have complained bitterly about this past winter. I understand their complaints, but I have enjoyed it fully! 

Violets in bloom

But of course winter must eventually end and our winter has ended, bringing us this,
and this is good, too. The marsh is green and flourishing, berry brambles leafing out, birds flocking back for the summer. 

Violets, marsh marigolds, soapwort are blooming, grass is growing, summer will be here soon.
The little stream

Greening up in the woods

Marsh marigolds in bloom

Bike and trailer in rare sunshine
And of course, with spring also comes motorcycle-riding season, and the first gatherings that bring us back together with friends. Three friends are gone since my last gathering, and they are sorely missed. I am so glad for the laughter and stories and especially for the memories they left behind. The first ride of the season, as it has been for several years, was the Tennessee Lunch Run, held at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The ride was cold and wet this year. Every day we saw some rain, and one day we were blessed with lightning and hail. You see the trailer at the left? Pulling a trailer with a motorcycle just means that you can carry more stuff. I packed less stuff for two weeks in Europe than I packed on this trip!
I was very thankful, however, for the extra layers of clothing.
We crossed the Cherohala Skyway early Friday morning at thirty-six degrees with drizzle. I cannot remember being so cold on a ride, ever. After we came through, the drizzle turned to snow and sleet, and the road became icy. Two riders went down on the Skyway behind us, one of them from our gathering. He was unhurt and his bike had only cosmetic damage, and we are all very grateful for that!
Frank and Bob and the sad remainder of the Bomb
It was wonderful to see old friends and, I hope, to make a few new ones. Here are Frank and Bob, who rode with us every day and accompanied us to supper at a wonderful little restaurant called "The Blueberry Pig." Rich and I saw their billboard as we returned from the park, and the name piqued our interest. When we returned to the motel, Frank found their location by using Facebook and we rode out for a very good dinner, followed by this:
 A Blueberry Bomb

Sam, owner of the Blueberry Pig

You should've seen it before we attacked it!

Knitting, certainly:

For one of my Ravelry groups,the April challenge was to choose five patterns, allow the other group members to vote for their favorite, and then knit the pattern they chose. Sun and Moon is the pattern here. I made a few modifications, but held close to the original for the leg and instep.
Another group, another challenge, this was a Mystery Sock. The pattern was released in sections, one section per week: first the cuff and top colorwork, then the leg, then the foot, and finally the toe. 
And then, the Madness began; Sock Madness, my third year.
This is a sort of competition, where patterns are designed and donated by the competitors and chosen by two moderators. There are seven rounds, and this year there were eleven teams, divided by the speed shown in a preliminary round. The first two years I was put on the fastest team. This year a glitch in my registration placed me into the second-fastest team.
A materials list is released well in advance of the first round, and there is much speculation as to what each pattern will be, based on the specified materials. Then the first pattern comes and the Madness is on!
We knit frantically and try to be among a limited number of competitors that pass on to the next round. The number of knitters going on decreases at each level until at the end there are just eleven, one from each team, competing for the last place.
Prizes are donated by retailers and by team members, and it is great fun!
The first year, I was eliminated in the first round.
The second year, I made it into round three, but missed going on by just minutes.

This year, I made it through Round 1:
and I made it through Round 2:

 (this yarn deserves special mention. It was a gift from my friend Suzi, and is buffalo down, soft, lovely fiber from the undercoat of the American bison. I knit a pair of socks from this wool for her husband, Dale, and she was very generous to send this beautiful blue yarn for a pair of socks for me. It is absolutely luscious!)

and then I was shocked to make it through Round 3:

and I was amazed when I finished Round 4 with plenty of time to spare: 
but I was so tired! I had knit for half of several nights and nearly all of one Sunday on that last pair of socks, and I was worn out. So I withdrew from the competition before the beginning of Round 5, in order that I could actually enjoy knitting again.

The Round 3 sock had to have some modifications, and looks like this now. I have two more pairs of socks on my needles, and promised four pairs to friends at the Lunch Run. It's time for me to get back to my knitting...
I'll see you later!