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Monday, October 07, 2013

Many Happy Returns

On Saturday I returned from my last scheduled trip of the year. (At first I was excited about having a stretch of time at home, but, three days later, I am already getting eager to put something else on my calendar!) This was my fifth annual trip to San Juan Island for one of Cat Bordhi's knitting retreats. 

The journey started with a day in Seattle. I know Seattle has a horrid reputation for being a rainy, dreary place, and while it does rain, it doesn't usually RAIN. (The Killing, much as I loved the show, was more than a little liberal with its rain machines, and has helped contribute to the misinformation.) Well, just to prove me wrong, it was a record-breaking day of precipitation, quashing some plans to run about. I did, however, get to see my friend, David, and deliver these sweaters for his new fraternal twin baby girls. I dyed and knit them with my own Fleur de Fiber Amelie, a merino and silk blend. They're so squishy and soft that I used the leftover green and purple yarn to make myself a striped Hitchhiker, which served me well on the trip.

Cat's retreat was, as always, a lot of fun. This year her focus was Felfs, which are knit, felted footwear. I made a pair using local wool from the San Juan Islands, and I love them. Since the e-book hasn't been published yet, I will wait to post a picture. I really like them, and plan to craft multiple pairs. They are so fast and fun to make--great gift knitting for others, or yourself.

On Wednesday, six of us went out on a whale watch on the Peregrine with Captain Jim Maya and naturalist Jeanne Hyde. I'd gone out with them before, and they really are fantastic. They both know the area very well, and they are passionate about the wildlife. Two years ago, we saw 37 different whales, each identifiable by their dorsal fins and saddle patches, and we thought that was a blue ribbon day. This time, we saw all three resident pods, 81 Orcas! We were also joined by two humpbacks as well as some Dall's porpoises. There was a point at which there were whales in every direction. It was fabulous. Since Captain Jim only takes six passengers, it is a very intimate, personal experience, and if you are ever on the island, look him up. He's listed as Maya's Westside Charters.

It was rainy and gray most of the first three days, but Thursday was quite lovely, and I spent some time lying in the sun on the dock at the resort. The government shutdown closed the park and beach I had planned to go to, so this was the next best thing.

Friday was a whirlwind, including three ferry rides (Friday Harbor>Anacortes, Edmonds>Kingston, and Bainbridge>Seattle) so that we could visit Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. I really just adore that shop, and I always make a special trip to visit when I am in the area. 

The ferry approach to Seattle from Bainbridge is one of my very favorite things, and I don't think I could ever grow tired of it. I know part of it is the view of the Space Needle, it all of its kitschy wonder. Seattle Center, where the Space Needle is located, is now home to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. I have been fortunate to see Chihuly installations here in Chicago at the Garfield Park Conservatory and in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. This is a permanent exhibit, and it is gorgeous. I was especially enchanted with the pieces in the outdoor garden. There are many glass spheres, most of which reflect the Space Needle. So fabulous! I also liked the glass conservatory structure, and I got this picture using just my phone.

There was some time to kill before our dinner reservations, so we walked toward the water. There is a wonderful deck on top of the cruise ship terminal (at the foot of Bell Street), and I took these pictures of the sunset in about a ten minute span. Mount Rainier was also out, which is always a treat. It is such a gorgeous part of the country, and I am so lucky to be able to visit frequently.

I am already looking forward to my next trip out in October 2014, if not before.

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