Greetings from sunny downtown Oakland, California. I have snapped a photo to show you the view from my hotel desk, and that pesky flash went off again (despite best efforts to smother it). Anyway, you get the idea. This is the hotel that hosted Stitches West (the big consumer knitting show hosted by XRX) for many years, before the conference outgrew the location.
This week has been quite an adventure. Mr. Sunflower and I left Taos on Monday afternoon, and have done our best (up until yesterday) to avoid major roads and populated areas. In an effort to chase fall colors, we headed out through Colorado, crossed Utah and then central Nevada, mostly along US Hwy 50, aptly billed as the "Loneliest Road in America". This was one of, if not THE, first interstate highways built by the Eisenhower administration after WWII. It is a two lane road with few towns along the way...and not very large ones, at that. The glory of this for us was having expansive views and little traffic for almost three days, and the reassurance that not every square inch of this beautiful country has been subdivided and overpopulated.
As always, one of the best parts of getting away from home means taking far too many knitting projects and still worrying I won't have enough to keep myself busy. Just as we were leaving town, Interweave Knits' new special publication on Holiday Knits came out and I fell in love with the Mosaic Mitts (designed by Sandy Cushman). Early Monday morning, before leaving town, I burgled my own shop and took a skein of almost every color of Kristin Nicholas' beautiful yarn, Julia. Armed with size 4 double point needles, I set about my plan of knocking out many pairs of these in a short period of time to bring home to amaze my staff and customers. HA! Is the pattern easy? Yes, but probably it would be nice if you have a basic understanding of what mosaic knitting is. Did I screw it up? Yes. Did I get lots done? Well...I've finished three mitts since Monday, so you might say my goal hasn't been met. But here's the deal (in self defense)...I forgot to use my Kacha Kacha, which turns out to be the key to success here, especially if you're knitting while looking out the car windows and ooooohing and awwwwwwing over scenery. My rythm turned out to be something like this: knit on the mitts most of the day, get to the motel, find the screw-ups, spend the evening tearing them out and re-knitting them. When the first full pair was finally completed, I was so proud I could've burst, and then, saw the MISTAKES...but being the Princess of Rationalization, I have concluded the following: how can I spend my time in the shop reassuring YOU that it's OK to make mistakes, that the knitting police won't come knocking at your door, and THEN go about making perfect projects? :0) So here's a picture of pair #1, having lunch at the Moab Diner in Moab, Utah. For those of you who've never visited Moab, it's red rock country, and I snapped a quicky to give you a teensy visual. Moab was a favorite haunt of Edward Abbey, of The Monkey Wrench Gang fame, for those of you who may remember this. It's also an epicenter for lots of outdoors enthusiasts...river rafters, hikers, bicyclists, you name it. This photo does it little justice.
Day #3 brought us safely into Placerville, where Monte and I stayed last June for Camp Pluckyfluff (see our archives if you want to read about this). We happily moved in to my #1 favorite B&B in the entire universe, the historic Albert Shafsky House. Our hosts Rita and Stephanie graciously let me snag this picture from the website, so I could share it with you. Located one block (on foot) from historic downtown Placerville, this home is not only beautiful, but Rita and Stephanie are so nice, you'll end up not wanting to leave. I know this, because it's happened to me, twice now...and here's the plan. Next time, I'm coming back just to hang out and rest and hope to get some time to visit with them, if I can, and not worry about what else I do in town. If you're traveling to this part of the world, I highly recommend you stay with them...the breakfasts, alone, are enough reason, and everything else is just plain icing on the cake.
Remember my posting on Love at First Sight? Well, look who I picked up while I was in Placerville...I am in love all over again. Today, while visiting the Deep Color studio in Kensington (near Berkeley), I found a book that may help me figure out her age and history. I have decided I love her no matter what her age...(and speaking of age, if you're of the middle age group and need a good laugh, I would like to recommend Nora Ephron's new book, I Feel Bad About My Neck).
And now, to work on Mitt #4...Martie