Coal Miners on the way home

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Written on the back, “Herb & D. Alexander on the way home”

From the handwriting, I can tell that my great grandmother labelled the photo, in part, long after it was taken – the style on the top line is a crisp, clean sort of penmanship, and the, “on the way home,” is written in her rather shaky handwriting from when she was older. The back of the photo is set up like a postcard, and the area where the stamp is supposed to be placed can be used to date the photo. This one has “NOKO” stamped on it, which indicates the date is between 1907 and 1920.  This resource is REALLY helpful for dating photo postcards.  I’d put the date closer to the 1920 end of the date range since Herb, Alfred Herbert Powis (my great-grand uncle), was born in 1892 and died in 1926.  As for D. Alexander, I’ve got no idea!  Herb lived in Beccaria, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, but I don’t know which mine this is.  It is pretty neat to see these two, dirty from working in the mine, riding a mine cart on their way out, ready to go home.  This is just one of many, MANY photos from an old trunk, and hopefully I’ll be posting more soon!

Speshul Snowflakes

Since the club cycle had completed for the year, I figured I ought to update on all the socks I’ve knit from the club yarn. The club is Sheepy Time Knits Speshul Snowflakes Yarn Club.  I really love how the club is set up, that there are two colorway choices and a wide variety of yarn choices every shipment.  You pick the yarn/colorway one month and then it’s shipped the next month making for 6 total shipments.  Back at the beginning of the club, I decided that I’d kit each shipment as it came in so that I’d still be knitting socks and the yarn wouldn’t go into the stash and be forgotten.  I’m really glad I kept up with it, and here are the results from a year’s worth of shipments.  Looking forward to next year’s club again and knitting more socks!

DSC_8490 Pattern: Hanging Vines Socks
Designer: Kelly Porpiglia
Needles: US 1 (2.25mm)
Yarn: Sheepy Time Knits, Sheepy Feet in, “Green Eyed Monster”
Ravelry Project Link

They are GREEN green for sure.  These have already gotten a ton of wear and I think I love them a little more every time I wear them.  The base yarn feels strong yet still soft and has incredible stitch definition.  Also, not even one little bit of pooling in that variegated colorway.  Not a single bit.

DSC_0519 Pattern: Komet
Designer: Stephanie van der Linden
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5mm)
Yarn: Sheepy Time Knits, Yarn That Shall Not Be Named in, “Teel Deer”
Ravelry Project Link

I’ve already blogged about these, but I still LOVE that colorway.  It’s funny how a knitted item can remind you of where/when you were knitting it and for me, these will always remind me of our trip to New Hampshire, knitting and cozy in the lodge while the husband was skiing.  And the epic adventure of showshoeing down Mount Washington.

DSC_1705 Pattern: Jabberwocky Socks
Designer: Mandie Harrington
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm)
Yarn: Sheepy Time Knits, All Your Base in “Blackberry Martini”
Ravelry Project Link

The dyer designed these socks and I just couldn’t wait to get the yarn and cast on.  The construction of the sock is not typical and I really LOVE how she got the pattern on the side to go straight down to the foot.  And again, THAT COLOR.

DSC_3020 Pattern: Angler’s Loop Socks
Designer: Andrea Mules
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm)
Yarn: Sheepy Time Knits, Panda Feet in “Creamsicle”
Ravelry Project Link

I probably could’ve knit the larger size on these for a little more ease around the cable, but they still fit fine.  The base is super squishy and comfortable and the cable was just enough knitting interest to keep me engaged but not overwhelmed.  Do you see what’s happening here?  Variegates, no pooling, tons of different patterns, but no pooling.  I’m still in awe.

DSC_4507 Pattern: Passerine Socks
Designer: Cookie A.
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5 mm)
Yarn: Sheepy Time Knits, All Your Base in “Foggy Dew”
Ravelry Project Link

So these were a challenge.  I just wasn’t feeling the pattern (it’s gorgeous, don’t get me wrong) and they took FOREVER to knit.  Totally worth it in the end, and the pops of green in the grey are just perfect.  See, again?  No color pooling.

DSC_5091 Pattern: Lichen and Moss Socks
Designer: Joanna Ryan
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5 mm)
Yarn: Sheepy Time Knits, Yarn That Shall Not Be Named in “Lichen”
Ravelry Project Link

Well when I found the colorway and did a search for “Lichen” in Ravelry, I just had to knit the pattern named Lichen and Moss.  Seemed perfect.  The simple yet elegant pattern was SO fast to knit (under a week!) and the color worked out perfectly.  This base is a big favorite of mine (Oh that stitch definition) and feels super strong yet completely enjoyable to wear.  And of course, no color pooling again here.

Komet

DSC_0519 Komet tl;dr
Pattern: Komet
Designer: Stephanie van der Linden
Needles: US 1 (2.25mm)
Yarn:  Sheepy Time Yarns Yarn That Shall Not be Named in, “Teal Deer,” from the Sheepy Time Knits December 2009 Club
Ravelry Project Link
This is the second installation of the Sheepy Time Knits club for February 2010. I picked a different base this time, and managed to pick a pattern that worked perfectly with the yarn. These were knit over the span of a week-long vacation in New Hampshire at Attitash Mountain.  We, the husband and I, went up for our somewhat annual ski trip, but what ended up happening was him skiing three days of the week, and me spending a lot of time getting to know all the inner workings of the lodge.  I did one run down the mountain and decided that I was really out of shape and just not cut out for skiing this season.  The pattern was a touch tricky – there’s a 4×5 cable cross in there and I actually needed to break out the cable needle for that one.  This is the cable needle that I used only one before since I do all my cabling without a needle – so much faster that way.  The result is worth it though – the design is super cute and I just love the brilliant teal color of the yarn.  The base is similar to another yarn that shall not be named, but starts with a “W” in case you were wondering.  Another fun club knit!

Oh, Teal Deer or, tl;dr for short, is internet speak for, “Too Long; Didn’t Read” (or Too Long; Don’t Read) for posts on message boards that ramble on and on and on.  ie:
tl;dr – socks are awesome, yarn is lovely, vacation was great, but I’m not built for skiing.


More on that vacation though, because I really did spend a few days outside the lodge.  Tuesday, we went up to Great Glen Trails to take the Snow Coach halfway up Mount Washington.  The road up the mountain isn’t plowed through the winter and cars are only allowed to drive up in the warmer months.  During the winter, a specially built van (van + tractor treads = Snow Coach) takes visitors to a halfway point up the mountain, weather permitting.  We were having some really fantastic weather which was maybe not the best for skiing, but great for playing tourist.  It was about 45 and sunny at the base, and about -20, sunny, but the winds were blowing at around 40mph.  We decided to go for the snowshoe rental at the base and bring them with us in the coach.  Nixxed the idea of getting out at the midway point (4300 ft approximately), but jumped out somewhere around the 4 mile mark on the auto road (3500ft elevation).  We strapped in for our first time snowshoeing and headed off.  The Snow Coach driver mentioned a trail that would take us up to Lowe’s Bald Spot.  We took the trail only to find that it went nearly straight up and was pretty battered from some knucklehead who tried to hike it in plain boots (and sunk in a good foot with each step).  We managed it anyway and came up to a bald spot with some spectacular views.  Hiked back down, and made it back to base after nearly 6 miles of snowshoeing.  It was exhausting, but well worth it for the experience!  We did end up coming home with snowshoes since we loved it so much – here’s hoping we get snow again in Philadelphia (maybe not *quite* as much) next winter too.
We also took a side trip up to the LL Bean flagship store in Maine. On the way back, we stopped off at Cold River Vodka to have some samples.  Their vodka is made from potatoes and is sweeter than most other vodkas I’ve had.  The Blueberry vodka is really something special – the aftertaste is as if you’ve just squished a big, juicy blueberry in your mouth.  Perfect.  Needless to say, we took some home.
On the way home, we stopped at a winery we love – Flag Hill.  Last time we were in New Hampshire, I didn’t knit, and clearly didn’t notice the farm selling yarn and roving right down the road.  So, we stopped at Riverslea Farm too.   🙂  Found some great roving and yarn.
Overall, a really great trip!  It was nice to get away from our snow and see someone else’s snow.

For more photos, click on to this Flickr photo set.

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Midway up Mount Washington

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The Snow Coach

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Husband in his snowshoes

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Cold River Vodka

Bliss

I had a Saturday off with no obligations and planned to stop by the SAFONA Fiber Festival.  It was being held about a 45 minute drive from home through some Amish farmland and pretty historic parts of Pennsylvania.  The whole drive out had me making a mental checklist of all the places I wanted to see on the way home – wineries, shops, etc.  Met some wonderful people and made purchases from Rock Creek Yarn, Wolle’s Yarn Creations, and Black Diamond Alpacas.  All are wonderful vendors and I had a blast taking time to chat with each of them and oogle their display items.  Practiced my knitter’s handshake a few times (grab knitted item, squeeze, ask wearer if he/she made it).  After having my fill of fiber, I turned the car around for the adventure back home.

First stop was the Goodville Fabric Outlet which is basically a HUGE warehouse filled to the top with fabric.  All kinds of fabric.  Cheap fabric!  It was really overwhelming and while I wasn’t looking for anything specific, it was really neat to stop there and find the deals for future reference.

Then I came across the Poole Forge which had been turned into a beautiful park with a classic red covered bridge, winding stream, and lovely old stone buildings.  I stopped for a while with the camera, smiled at an Amish man passing by with his buggy, and took in what had become a gorgeous afternoon.

Next stop was Olde Peddler Wools.  Great shop with a good variety of classic, workhorse yarns – the stuff that is cost efficient and quality fiber.  It’s a shame that they’re not closer to home!

The next detour was the Kog Hill Winery.  When I walked in, the gal behind the counter who was running wine tastings was KNITTING!  She had just learned and was working on a garter stitch scarf.  We chatted about knitting as she fed me wine samples, and it was one of many random-acts-of-randomness that really made the day.  Bought some wine, wished her luck with the knitting, and headed back out.

Wineries?  Pennsylvania has a lot of them, and it’s almost hard to drive more than 10 miles without running across at least one and the next detour brought me to another winery.  Most of them produce decent wine – stuff that’s delightful to drink, but nothing really world-class incredible.  The J Maki Winery is not that kind of winery.  Their wines BLEW ME AWAY, specifically the Gewurztraminer which is a really unique interpretation of that grape.  The reds were dry – just how I like them – and the ice wine, particularly the Cabernet Franc ice wine, was phenomenal.  Really quite the gem of a vineyard, and I will definitely visit again to pick up some more wine.

My final stop before home was the Glasslight Studio.  I took a detour for a historic sign that didn’t pan out the way I thought it would and ended up passing this place on the way.  After being greeted by a large, black Bouvier mutt (who later nudged my arm for more head-scritches and buttrubs), one of the glass artists talked to me for at least a half hour about the glass blowing classes they offer.  He let me look in on the class that was in progress and took my email address for future classes.

I know this post has gotten long, but honestly, the whole day was filled with such wonderful people and I really needed this kind of a day after a sort of rotten week.  Now, a photo!
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