Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wildflower hike on Mt. Rainier

"The mountains are calling
and I must go."
        -- John Muir and me

I've had a strong urge this summer to hike on Mt. Rainier during wildflower season -- something I had not done in the 10 years I've lived in the Northwest. So I told my husband we had to do it.  NOW!

 Cascade Asters march down the mountain.

Off we went to join the crowds before the wildflowers faded. It was worth the 2 1/2-hour drive and the sore legs the next day(s). 

Mainly we saw purple Cascade Asters, but I also saw some Scarlet Paintbrush, white puffy American Bistort and a handful of other subalpine flowers listed in the brochure.

We saw a lot of orange and blue butterflies on the flowers.
It was pretty much straight up for the first two hours of hiking, with a lot of stops to catch our breath and take photos. The trail is paved much of the way, and after that it's a well worn wide path. Our bodies, used to living at sea level, had a bit of a challenge hiking at 6,000 feet, which is why I had to stop so often to catch my breath. 

We started at the Paradise Inn and took the Deadhorse Creek Trail up until it met the Skyline Trail,  then we took the Skyline down.

It's sad to realize how much the glaciers are melting due to climate change. We heard three avalanches while we were there and saw one up in the snow field. At first we thought we were hearing thunder, then an airplane, then we realized it was an avalanche when we saw the cloud of white in the air on the steep face of the glacier.

The views were breathtaking, with fields of wildflowers, white glaciers, blue mountain peaks in the distance and a clear blue summer sky.

That's Mt. Adams on the horizon below.

On the way down, we passed this marmot sunbathing on a rock. Every so often it picked up its head and looked around, then flopped back down.

The stairs down were very steep, but I was glad for them so I didn't have to pick my way down over rocks and boulders. It was sort of a wimpy way of hiking, but it was okay by me.

Afterward, we checked out the Paradise Inn, which was hopping with visitors and activities.

Then we made the long descending drive off the mountain and stopped at the Copper Creek Inn for refreshment -- beer for Dave and wild blackberry pie for me, and trout and salmon. And we were still  home in time for me to watch my two episodes of "Murder She Wrote" before falling into bed.

 Have a colorful day

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

STITCH: A day on Anderson Island

STITCH hit the ferry yesterday for our annual outing to Andrea's house on Anderson Island. Look at how Carol and Anne glow in that morning light! The temperatures were balmy, the sun was out and there was a nice breeze off of the water, but the air was hazy with smoke from wildfires in Canada, California and Washington.

Ketron Island appeared eerie through the haze, especially if you realize that it's the island where the plane that was stolen from Sea-Tac last week crashed.


Every year when we get to Andrea's, we drop our bags and sigh, "Ahhhhh." Back on island time. Nothing to do but kick back, drink coffee, visit, have show and tell, eat lunch on the deck and then just lounge, gazing out at the calm water.

To sustain us until lunch time, Andrea baked scones and served them with her homemade blackberry jam. Blackberries are rampant in this corner of the country.

After scones and a couple of pots of coffee, we settled down to show and tell. Andrea brought out this old quilt that she has been restoring for a friend. The rayon patches had so many holes that she took off some of the blocks and used them to patch others. Then she added new batting and backing and tied it, as the original had been tied.

She left some of the holes to maintain that old, worn appearance, but she repaired the worst of them.

Then Carol brought out the cheesecloth she had used to strain blackberries. The berries turned it a beautiful purple hue that goes nicely with Judy's tie-dye pants.

Judy wowed us with a Frank Sinatra quilt that she's making for a special girl who loves Frank. She had trouble finding commercial fabric with the Sinatra theme, so she ended up commissioning some from Spoonflower designers. She also found copyright free pictures that she modified on her computer and printed out.

It's very retro!

Anne didn't have any quilts to show, but she had some colorful socks that were knitted by a friend who makes socks for the homeless. And I won't bore you with my show and tells, because you've already seen them on the blog.

Before we sat down for lunch, I gathered everyone for a selfie-stick photo. The lighting isn't great, but I wanted to have the water in the background. From left, you have Andrea, Anne, Judy, me, and Carol.

We could've relaxed there all day, but we had a return ferry to catch so that we could visit Barbara on the way back. Barbara is a STITCH member who has been battling brain cancer for years, but she still has her spunky spirit.


We got all the way to the front of the ferry line and they told us the boat was full, but Carol protested that the last vehicle on had cut in front of us in line (true!) and they managed to squeeze us on with not even an inch to spare. I'm always amazed at how ferries can carry so many cars across the water.

Can't wait until next year to return to island time.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Goat yoga -- in the rain

I've been reading about goat yoga for years on Facebook, and I finally got to try it yesterday! Triston from our neighborhood organized it and held it in a backyard, with an improvised fence to keep the goats in. The delightful session was led by Alyssa of Gig Harbor Goat Yoga (check them out on Facebook).

Goat yoga is basically a bunch of little goats jumping around and making everyone laugh during class.

The baby goats were so cute and curious that we couldn't keep our eyes (and cameras) off of them, but we still got in some yoga stretches. I was hoping one would get on my back and give me a little goat massage, but I wasn't so lucky.

Kandi -- from Feet & Forks -- and her new goat buddy.

This little one wasn't interested in me.
After we all took pictures and cooed over the goats, we sat down on our mats to start ... and the rain came. We hadn't had rain in ages, so it was welcome but the timing was bad. But we carried on and embraced the moisture. Our hostess passed around towels, which helped keep the mats from getting too slippery, but the goats kept us laughing through it all.

THEN, halfway through we had a surprise visitor -- a llama! It strutted right into the center of the group and made itself at home on the mats.

As you can see, Alyssa was good humored about all the class interruptions. She and her partner recently moved to a farm on the Key Peninsula and plan to offer goat yoga there. You can google Gig Harbor Goat Yoga for info.

That's Alyssa standing up front.
And later in the day, I finished my yoga quilt called "My Life." I made it for our STITCH challenge, which is to make a quilt with the theme "This Is Me." So mine is yoga, spring in the desert (Sedona in March), and writing.

Have a colorful day

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Penrose beach walk with the Feet & Forks

Penrose Point State Park near Gig Harbor was yesterday's destination for the Feet & Forks. The weather was perfect -- sunny but nowhere near the 90s that we experienced last week -- and we had the beach and forest trails largely to ourselves.

Rich textures and colors filled the saltwater beach on the South Puget Sound. It's a rocky beach, so we stepped carefully over rocks, barnacles, oysters, sand dollars, little crabs and other shells. Mounds of sea vegetation made for great quilt inspiration.

This little guy followed along with us from a distance.

And this old boat was anchored close to shore.

Remember when I volunteered for Harbor WildWatch and used to write posts about the sea stars, moon snails and other critters that we found during low tides? I was pleased to see this sign when we arrived, with a naturalist testing her microphone before leading a beach walk. The group has really grown since I left a few years ago.

Here are just a few of those many posts: 




After picking our way for an hour or so along the beach, we headed into the forest for a quick hike back to the car ...

... and on to a Mexican restaurant. 

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Woolies inspiration

Our Woolies group had another VERY colorful and inspiring meeting yesterday at Pam's house. A lot of our projects that we've been working on for months are starting to come together into bigger pieces.

These first two photos are Bobbi's fanciful animal wool applique from a Sue Spargo pattern. So much detail!

Karen has been working on this summertime quilt for awhile, and she finally completed it. I love how the colors pop against the black background.

Here are some details:

She used green rickrack for the border vine.

Pam showed yet another bright quilt with a black background. Seems we all like bright color.

And another black background, this one in Linda's winter scene.

Donna and I bucked the black background trend. Donna put her "summer house" against a deep blue sky. She's designing a wool applique house for each season of the year. She also used rickrack, but this time just let half of it peek through along the roof line.

And I was still working on my pink background quilt, with not a speck of black anywhere in it.

I'm doing large seed stitch quilting that gives the effect of stippling.

Our group is also going to make and donate pin cushions to our local quilt guild for sale at its October show. These were made by Audrey -- I think.

Pam let all of us choose containers for our cushions from her very fun collection, and that bunny cried out for me to take it. I'll nestle a wool egg pin cushion in the bowl.

As usual, there was food! Pam provided angel food cake with ice cream and blueberries just picked from her garden. Yum!

Karen made a delicious carrot bread -- it's a vegetable serving! I skipped the croissants because I really am trying to lose weight, but I heard they were extra good.

As we sat and stitched for hours in Pam's living room, the sun shone outside on a glorious Pacific Northwest day, the kind we live for during the long rainy winters. 

 Have a colorful day