Happy Campers

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Family Camp. I spent some lovely summer weeks at Girl Scout Camp as a kid, sleeping in a mosquito-netting-swaddled cot inside a platform tent, eating questionable breakfast foods, and facing down packs of daddy longlegs in the oversized outhouses.

Seriously, I had a blast those summers, but those are the memories that have stuck with me.

Skylake turned out to be a great vacation. Our trip started with a long drive up the freeway. We stopped in Coarsegold, which was a little disappointing as a tourist attraction, though we did have a tasty steak dinner at the Grizzley Bear restaurant. We wanted to get some fudge from a little shop, but it was closed when we arrived Thursday afternoon and again when we drove back on Sunday. A board advertised businesses in nearby Oakhurst, including a yarn shop!

So Close!

Too bad it too was closed when we drove up on Thursday and again all day Sunday. Bummer.

The camp itself was beautiful, tucked away in the Sierras. Little Miss was absolutely thrilled with the horses:

Skylake Horses

And we could barely get her out of the (freezing cold!) water at the lakefront:

Duck on Bass Lake

There were campfires and songs and s’mores both Friday and Saturday night. The food was really good, well worth waiting in line for.

Food Line

The plumbing situation was a step up from my childhood summer camp. The showers were a lot like the showers in my college dorm, and there were actual flushing toilets and real sinks! Only the daddy longlegs spiders colonizing the corners reminded me that we really were at camp. Well, that, and the moonlit walk there from the cabin. With three people in a cabin meant to sleep eight, we had plenty of room. I enjoyed checking out the graffiti left by campers past:

Cabin Graffiti

There was a lot going on during the days, too. Campers over age 6 get a trail ride as part of the package, while the little kids get a chance to ride the horses around the ring. K and I skipped our rides in favor of getting Little Miss two ring ride sessions.  On Friday, kids could make sand candles (which I did at camp when I was a kid!) and plaster casts of their hands. Saturday, there was tie-dyeing. Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought to pack plain white t-shirts, so we skipped that activity.  There were ping-pong and foosball tables – Little Miss developed quite the nice ping-pong serve.  Just outside our cabin was a sand volleyball court that the kids spent hours digging up.  While Little Miss worked on a sand castle, I pulled out my knitting. I managed one round on the Lotus Blossom Tank before realizing that I just wasn’t going to be able to focus on a lace pattern while chatting with people. There was a young girl there who was going to take a knitting class sometime after camp. I would have taught her to knit then and there if her left hand hadn’t been wrapped in drying plaster at the time.

Several families had been coming to camp for a number of years and knew each other well. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and mostly understanding of the three-year-old shouting early in the morning. After repeatedly saying she wanted to go home on Friday and Saturday, Little Miss didn’t want to get in the car to leave on Sunday. I’ll take that as a positive review.

FO Friday: Socks for K

I was catching up on one of my mailing lists yesterday, and I realized that I’ve pretty much managed to avoid a problem that seems to plague knitters everywhere.

Unappreciated Gift Giver Syndrome.

Those of you who have experienced the UGGS know the symptoms all too well. Aching hands and tired eyes (from hours of knitting), only to have your beautiful gift insulted, abused, or sent off to the local thrift shop, leading to sore throats (from screaming about the unfairness of it all) and strange bruises (from kicking walls, curbs, or other stationary objects in an effort to relieve the frustration).

In these post-holiday weeks, scores of tales of knitters (and crocheters) suffering from the UGGS have appeared on mailing lists and blogs and Ravelry boards.

I have avoided this by protecting myself from the sole disease vector: I very rarely knit for other people. I knit for myself, and if I don’t like it when it’s done, well, I’m not insulted. And I knit for the Little Miss, who, being pre-verbal, can’t complain about what I give her. From time to time, I’ve knit for K, who reminded me several times before the holidays that I still hadn’t knit her a pair of socks.

How could I refuse a wish for handknit socks, I ask you?

So, I cast on in mid-December, and before midnight on New Year’s Eve I was able to present these to K:




  • Pattern: Retro Rib socks, from Favorite Socks
  • Yarn: Lime & Violet Sasquatch Superwash in Connect 4, from the Loopy Ewe
  • Needles: Set of 5 Brittany Birch size US1.5 dpns, one of which snapped just rows from the end of the toe of the second sock.  They’re sending a replacement, because they are spiffy that way.
  • Comments: I really liked this yarn, and I really liked this pattern, although I always wonder if ribbing is easier for those who knit Continental.  I’ll have to try it sometime.  I liked the yarn and the pattern so much that I’m working up a matching scarf for K, using the pattern from the ribbing at the cuff, on US3 needles.  That may be ready for next winter.

I haven’t cast on a new pair of socks yet.  I’m still hard at work on the Hooded Jacket – all the way up to the beginning of the hood now.

A Jacket!


Behold! The “Hello” Sweater! Or, as our niece exclaimed when she opened her birthday present, “A jacket!”

It’s a pattern from an old issue of Workbasket magazine. I don’t know which issue, because I got the pattern as a photocopy from a knitting store in Encino. It’s supposed to have the word “Hello” worked in intarsia across the back, but (a) I thought that looked a little silly, and (b) I’ve never done intarsia.

I’d never done a crocheted edge before, either, but there it is. And you know what doing a crocheted edge means? It means more ends to weave in! Just thought I’d mention that.

There were a few issues in the making of this sweater. The original pattern has two colors in the ribbing – the first two rows in one color, the rest of the ribbing in a second color, and then the body of the sweater in the main color. The sample sweater in the store was only worked in two colors – one for the ribbing and edging, and one for the main body. I ended up doing two rows of the contrast color and then switching the main color, rather than doing all the ribbing in the contrast color, for reasons even I can’t explain. Also, on the advice of the nice lady at the store, we bought one skein of the contrast color and two of the main color.

You know what happened next, right?

Of course, I ran out of the main color early in the yoke. Five days before the birthday. We called the shop, and they had 5 skeins of the right color… from a different dye lot. I tried to call around, but I had no luck. We drove out to Encino and took all five skeins out into the sunlight and took the closest match.

It came out pretty close. And the sweater is darn cute on the recipient.

Deadline Knitting

Work continues on the Seekrit Gift Project. Last night’s festivities including weaving in about 56 yarn tails and sewing seams. It was Part II of the sewing, actually, since I did about half of the weaving and seaming Tuesday night.

At least last night’s fun also included the season premiere of Lost.

Tonight, I attempt to crochet an edging. And buttonholes. Wish me luck.