Dragonfly's Wild Ride, and other stories

It's the first day of school here in Montgomery County, and what better day to wrap up the summer? As you know, summer chez dragonfly has been a mixed bag, with many high points. In the picture above, the mermaid and aquaboy are jellyfish hunting at Scientist Cliffs beach, where we spent the day celebrating a friend's birhday. Amazing day, beautiful spot on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Both of my kids told me I needed to buy them a beach house there, stat! I could see their point:)

Don't you love the way this Echinacea seed head catches the morning light?

The only real low point has been that my father has undergone brutal treatment for neck cancer most of the summer, necessitating that jack and I help take care of him out in new Mexico. You will be glad to hear that he is finished with the treatments and is recovering in New Orleans with my mom. it's all part of the process, and definitely a ride that you just take, knowing there will be bumps and detours along the way. More than likely, the cancer will reoccur, because that is the kind of thing it is, but the doctors have said they will not put him through the same brutal regime again. My dad has a good attitude (most of the time) and is back to riding his bike. I believe he has even made it to a Saints game, so I am grateful.

Before I tell you about my road trip into the heartland, I want to share a few projects i never photographed. i know i'm a slacker!

This lovely yarn is a three ply I have been spinning from Knitwitch dyed roving that i bought back at SAFF 2009. The colorway is melanza, or Eggplants, and i love it! In my usual inattentive state, i bought a combination of bfl and merino braids and am plying these together, for, hopefully, a supersoft and strong yarn. I still plan to knit the Offset Raglan from simple style, and hope to at least have this baby on the needles by the time I get to SAFF 2010.

This project is straightforward simple sock that I am knitting in my Dragonsock summer colorway Watermelon Head. I dyed this one mostly because i love watermelon and these colors together, but see how pretty it is working up? i am especially excited because i have been reminded how to work a short row heel the proper way, and boy does it work better than the other heel i was working! I may need to re-work Ignis, so the heel is cleaner.

I started this project in the car on our way to Hershey Park last Friday, and knit this much while we were there (and that was the day we actually rode rides becasue the lines were shorter!). More on our very short but action-packed summer vacation in another post. The heel i re-learned thanks to Karen, my booth babe extraordinaire (and very good friend) in Chicago.

And not thanks to Cody, who had a wonderful time while we were gone playing with his friend Oliver, the 3 legged dog. No, his nose did not grow, and yes, his ears are usually cattywhumpus.

Now, please enjoy another gratuitous garden shot. Yes, I took that one myself! All i really did was frame the shot, though; the intelligent auto on my little Lumix did the rest. It doesn't shoot yarn pics as well, but it has a great zoom, and is the best camera in the wild for sure. Tempting to try to turn this one into a colorway...

This project is Thalia by Elizabeth Thomas, who designed the piece for the Sanguine Gryphon. Colorway Mulberry Bush. It is beautiful, and slow. The original pattern includes a draped neckline; i plan to do a simple square neckline instead as that will be more flatterning for me. I am carryying this and two other patterns specifically for Dance Rustic Silk at shows. while i am enjoying the knit, i do find that I often need a break as the yarn is not particularly pliable. It is, well, like knitting linen, and I expect, will wear similarly as well. Next project will be an open lace pattern of my own devising.

Speaking of SG patterns, keep an eye on their site as they are getting ready to debut heir fall line and it is amazing!

I have one more project, the Bees Knees scarf from Heirloom Stitches, also available through me at shows. This very easy and fun slipped stitch pattern is looking sharp done in Heroine and Reluctant Dragon on Traveller. Yum!

Now, on to the Midwest! Jack and I used the drive out to re-connect a bit. We stopped in Indiannapolis, and stayed downtown. Above is the view from our hotel room. We loved the memorial to all soldiers from the state who had served in wars from the French and Indian wars at least through WWII. We gorged ourselves on meat at Fogo de Chau, and Jack got up the next day to swim in the olympic swim center on the campus of ISU. I slept in, of course:) we enjoyed a great walk through the downtown area along the canal where we saw these adorable little guys:

to the White River State Park, where there was the most amazing urban garden, with appropriate signage:

Jack and i were in withdrawal from all of the bazillion people we live our lives with, and couldn't believe how empty the downtown was. Of course, it was August, but still! I found the extra room to breathe refreshing after the initial adjustment period, and was impressed by the progressive nature of much that i saw. I am fascinated by urban gardening and farming, and have not seen nearly enough of this kind of work where i live.

As Stitches was in schaumberg, not Chicago proper, we spent the rest of our time in Suburbia. and wow, what a suburb. That thing was huge, and full of people too. No wonder they call it Chicagoland:) We did make one accidental foray into Chicago, and decided to take advantage and go to lunch at Piece Brewery and pizza. Started by members of Cheap Trick, this joint served up the best pizza crust i've ever eaten. Jack said the beer (Worryin' Ale) was pretty good too. Definitely the best beer names.

As you can see, the lovely Jack lived up to his "muscles" role and did a great job helping me set up, and even made a few ceremonial trips to the hardware store. What show is complete without someone sawing something in the parking lot?

Luckily, Karen came in on thursday a few hours before the show opened and dressed the booth up. The rest is history. We met so many great knitters and spinners, some who came just to buy a Trindle.

We stayed up for the Pajama party on Friday night, and had the pleasure of meeting, and talking with Franklin Habit, who really is as lovely and funny as he seems. Above left, in the the night cap, of course, talking with Brian of Skacel in his zebra stripe jammies. Mercedes Tarasovich-Clarke of kitchen sink dyeworks was fabulous, and very friendly. Miss Babs and Jen were funny and fabulous as usual, and again I bought a pattern from them for a piece wearing that i have to have. Perfect show sample, again.

I nearly dyed (get it? sorry) though when Cheryl Oberle the brilliant designer and dyer came to my booth. She was very lovely, both inside and out, and very kind to me. I was relatively restrained at this show, but i did buy her Folk Vests book because i fell in love with the piece she was wearing. yum! I think it will work well in Traveller or Dragon Worsted, and it may want to be red.

Finally, we had a wonderful time with our demo crew extraordinaire, Molly (mhardersen on Rav) and Susan (auntissy). These ladies can handle power tools and UPS men with aplomb and always with a big smile. They helped us break down and load up, and then joined Karen and i for a drink and a knosh in the lobby.

I must say Molly definitely looked worried when se saw the size of my little truck. It's hard to see in the picture, but Susan has on several beautiful pieces that she knit with my yarn. I plan to go look up that Vogue Knitting shell for my own self:) Thank you so much ladies; we had such a great time!

From left to right: Molly, me, Susan, and Karen. I'm already trying to convince them to come with me to sock Summit 2011:)

Stitches Midwest was a blast! Chicago, i'll see you next year!
edited to re-size pictures:)