ANOTHER secret fiber project   14 comments

I am sorry about this, but I am going to blather on about fiber and not be able to show you anything for MONTHS.

I mentioned that some of us who get the Purple Fleece’s Roving of the month are participating in a challenge with the October fleece (which Debbie SO NICELY let us have early!)

The challenge is in two parts.

1.) Spin the 4 ounce braid with NOTHING ADDED in a way that is new to us, or that we haven’t done in a long time.  In other words, get out of our comfort zone. Do this without sharing until the big reveal (in January).

2.) Then, knit up something with the yarn, and keep that a secret, too, until the next big reveal, likely in April or May!

So, I have the fiber, and I love it.  It is a blend of targhee, silk, and bamboo.  Spinning this at all will be new to me, I haven’t spun with bamboo before!  Nor targhee, though I have some in stash.

Before I saw the braid, I was thinking of spinning it as a gradient, then chain plying it.  My chain plying still leaves a GREAT DEAL to be desired, so this would meet the challenge rules.

But now that I have seen it, and fallen in love with the gorgeous soft colors and silkiness of it, I think I won’t do either of those things. So what will I do?  Well, of course, I can’t tell you that.  But I can tell you that I spent the evening reading and rereading my two knitting books, Yarn-i-tec-ture and The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs. There are several yarns in there that I want to make, OF COURSE.  But for the first time, I was really thinking about the end product that I will reveal next spring.  I could spin a bunch of different yarns that would make good socks.  But do I want SILK and BAMBOO socks?  That does not seem the best use of this lovely fiber.  So (here’s a clue) no hawser for me yet. And probably not a 4 ply cable, though that also sounds fun, this doesn’t seem the right fiber for that.

And we can’t add anything, so I think this won’t be a boucle, though I do want to spin one someday. Maybe with the mohair I have in my stash…

I did narrow it down to a couple of possibilities, and so now I have to think about how I will handle the color.  Separate them so each ply is different?  Spin them end to end and see what happens?  Mix it up and make it random?  The possibilities are endless.

I do have a few ideas of the type of garment I want to knit, but until I see the final yarn, the weight and the yardage, I won’t really be able to decide, will I?

And you, poor folk, will have to wait so long, and read about me working on something I can’t share details or photos of.  I feel your pain.

Meanwhile, here is what I worked on over the past couple of weeks, and did get finished, mostly for the craft sale or to fill some orders.

I am feeling like I need color on my craft fair table table – I seem to have loads of neutral hats in inventory.   So this first one, I put in the Community Caring bin at the purple Fleece.  I really was just testing the pattern, and now I know how to do it, I will likely make some brighter ones to sell.


 

 

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Posted October 16, 2017 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about making

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A nice long holiday weekend   19 comments

And boy, are we looking forward to it!  We have few real plans, because we have to play so much of life by ear, but on my list to definitely do are:

  • Whorls and Purls on Saturday.  Debbie is away and I have the key, so I am definitely going for the afternoon of knitting.
  • Close up the pool.  I can’t believe I haven’t been forced into this sooner by the weather, but I think I might go for one last swim on Sunday (predicted muggy and warm weather) and then close it up.

Other than that, things that should happen include dirt moving and housecleaning.  Things that likely will happen include knitting, spinning, and cooking.

Three days.  I can’t wait.

Posted October 6, 2017 by salpal1 in how I plan to spend my day

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Is it me?   10 comments

Twice in the past month I have written posts that I thought I published, but then they appeared, unpublished, in my drafts folder.

 

What is up with that?  Is it me or is it WordPress?  Anyone else having that trouble?

 

Jeesh, you would think after all these years I could get that right!

Posted October 4, 2017 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about

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A semblance of order   10 comments

After the big bang, we have settled down into something of a routine, and we have managed to recapture bits of our old routine that we liked or needed.

The ankles seem to be doing well, a trip to the surgeon on today will confirm this, we all hope.  There is not much pain now, so boredom is setting in – fewer pain pills to help sleep the days and nights away!

A is doing the lion’s share of responding to beck and call, and that is diminishing as time goes on.  But none of the three of us can wait until she can use the walker by herself, so we don’t all need to attend every change of position or room, if you know what I mean.

I did feel like I could and should go to Whorls and Purls on Saturday, it was good for everyone involved, lol.  So I had a long afternoon of knitting and chatting and there was apple pie and chocolate.  Just what the doctor ordered for THIS patient.  🙂

I managed a little spinning early both weekend mornings.  Still plugging away on that 36 ounces of a spin I started in July.  I took about 6 weeks off, but now am back into it. I would like to get this set of bobbins done by Saturday, not sure I will make it, but it will be close.  Then I think I will only need to fill the bobbins one more time and it will be done.


My reason for wanting to clear this section off the wheel is that we are starting a spinning/knitting challenge at the Purple Fleece, and we get our fiber on Saturday, which is a few weeks earlier than I had planned.  🙂 The challenge is to take a 4 ounce braid of Purple Fleece Roving of the month for October, and spin it in a way that is new to us, or that we haven’t done in a while – ie, not our usual spin. Then, bring that yarn in January, and have it pose for a glamour shot. Next step is to then knit something with that yarn, and have that done by April for a big reveal.  There are no prizes, other than a new skill and something pretty all made up.  But we are doing it as a community, and one of the members will see if she can pull it all into an article that gets published.  So it will be sort of fun.  It was the idea of a different member as a challenge to us, and it rapidly grew from there.  It will be fun to see how it all comes out.

But to participate, I need to empty the wheel first.  🙂

Knitting wise, I feel like I have lots going on and not much got done this week.  🙂  I did knit almost all of a pair of booties, but lost at yarn chicken.  So I ripped them out and will start over.  At least now I know exactly the yardage I need for those. 😦  I have a hat and a shawl on the needles as well.  And I started the October sock (which will match the September sock.) I finished the Rainbow Warrior shawl – well, the knitting.  It hasn’t been blocked yet, but when I have time to do that I will, and will share it – it is really bright and cheerful!  But it will take a long time to pin out all the picots on the edge, and I am not sure when I will have that kind of time all in one chunk again. So loads of little projects on the needles to be picked up and dropped as necessary. And it is necessary. That quiet little voice could call for help at any time.

 

Posted October 4, 2017 by salpal1 in how it came out, Uncategorized

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KABOOM!!   20 comments

After a nice peaceful weekend where we got lots done and felt like we also got to relax, we got THAT phone call Sunday evening. 

SIL L called to ask if we would meet her at the hospital and give her a ride home. She was waiting for the ambulance, but had no ride home. 
Um, what?

It seems she fell asleep in her chair, awoke in the dark and got up to turn on a light. She then fell over and knew “something bad” happened to her ankle. 

Naturally we said yes. We were dressed and out the door in a flash, on our way to Belfast. We got there ahead of the ambulance which was a bit disconcerting – were we at the right hospital?

We were and she arrived shortly, with the youngest looking EMTs I ever saw. (Turned out they really were toung. A high school senior and a college freshman.  They were cool and competent, apparently thrilled that they got to use a fancy chair to go down the front steps.)

After several hours and x-rays and back and forth between the ortho pa (put a boot on it and go home, return tomorrow for surgery) and the ER doc (if she can’t manage on the crutches she stays, and no way can she) they admitted her for the night, and put her on the surgical list.

The verdict? One badly sprained ankle, one broken and dislocated ankle. Yeah, just send her home. 

So we got home at about midnight, it was 1 before we got to bed. 

Monday morning we were up early. A was on the road, so I headed to SIL’s house to shut off lights, close windows, get a toothbrush, etc.  SIL Sand BIL  M went to the hospital, and I met them there. Where we sat ALL DAY.  A arrived, exhausted after a full day of work and 5 hours of driving. At 5 o’clock they finally took her in for the surgery. M and S headed home (S is recovering from knee replacement) and A and I sat a bit longer, before she sent me home to feed the cats and sleep. She stayed until the surgeon came out, about three hours later. It seemed when they got in there it was worse than expected. Hard to believe this is from standing up!

So A had two very short nights, and yesterday afternoon L came home to our house. It will be a couple of weeks of keeping all weight off the broken ankle and hoping the sprain heals soon. Then, as I recall from when A did this, several weeks of very limited weight bearing. And the broken ankle is the right one, so not sure when she can drive again, which will impact her return to her home. 

So A and I are suddenly back in the caregiving business, camping out in our guest room and living room, and juggling work schedules. 

Just when you get life figured out, it all blows up and then settles down again.

Posted September 27, 2017 by salpal1 in how I spent my day

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One week later   2 comments

This post is old, but I found it in my drafts – didn’t get to post it on time – but it has some PHOTOS in it – always a good thing, right? So, sorry for the stale news, but the cat is cute.  🙂

 

I have been home a week now, and back at work four days.  In some ways, the vacation seems like a distant dream, yet in others, I can tell I am more relaxed, more efficient.  In other words, I got a good break and am fully rested!

I spent the first day home doing laundry and just relishing not being in the car.  Oh, and cleaning out said car.  Friday I did normal weekend chores – post office, groceries, etc.  Then A and I had the weekend to relax and spend time together, doing important meaningful things.  Like starting to load the 5 tons of pellets she ordered while I was gone!  We got one ton into the cellar and stacked, and will try to get two more tons loaded in this weekend.  I think if we do half a ton a day from now to Sunday, it is manageable. that leaves us two tons for next weekend.

I went to Whorls and Purls on Saturday.  Though I only missed one week, it felt like eons since I had seen the ladies!  So much to share.  🙂

This week at work has been pretty crazy – we are merging, effective 10/1, and so have to get all the marketing and different pieces ready.  That’s my job.  So I came back to press conferences and sign measuring, etc.  And some of that meant that there were long meetings and car rides to Washington County.  Which meant knitting happened!  I actually ran out of mobile knitting at one point, can you believe it?  I wasn’t thinking about how long things would take, or I would have brought along one of the shawls I am working on.  They both are straightforward enough to be mobile knitting if I am sure I will have time to finish a row.  Oh well.  I did get these done:

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The hat still needs a pompom, which will have both the blue lining yarn and the handspun main color in it.  The necklace and hat are for the craft fair in November.  The sock is the September sock, so it’s mate has to wait ten days or so to join the knitting lineup.  I started another necklace, different pattern, but with the same yarn and black beads.  It always amazes me how different they can look with a simple change. Also, please note, that necklace is WAY more sparkly than is showing, it has loads of Swarovski crystal in it.

Now all I have on my needles are the two shawls – the chain mail from my beaded handspun, and the rainbow warrior with the Wisconsin yarn.  Chainmail was giving me fits because I could not wrap my head around the pattern, but I finally figured out what I wasn’t getting.  This is such a simple pattern, but I couldn’t “see” it.  Now I can and it should fly along. There were four stitches that were interfering with my vision, once I realized that, I now know I can easily memorize the pattern and I should be good to go. Rainbow Warrior is moving along, I am on the 6th section still, but expect to make headway this weekend. the ladies are starting to finish, I don’t want to be left in the dust! The pattern still annoys me that the line numbering is so far off from the stitch count chart, but I am to the point where I only need that once per section, so I will live. And there are only 8 sections, so I am getting close!

The cats have adjusted to me being home.  Allie was SO happy to see me, she followed me everywhere all weekend. Here we are doing some porch knitting.  🙂

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Zumba is glad I am back but clearly didn’t miss me.  She slept on the bed, I guess, because she gets annoyed with me for expecting her to move over and let me in at night. But I insist.  As I say to A “She’s a cat, I am human, and I pay half the mortgage. She either has to get a job or move over.”  🙂

This weekend we have no big plans – moving those pellets, getting haircuts, I’ll go to Whorls and Purls.  And it is supposed to be HOT on Sunday, so I might do a little gardening and then hop in the pool.  We MUST be near the end of that season. I don’t think I have swum later than this since I moved to Maine. But I am going to revel in that 80 degrees they predict for Sunday.

This is Common Ground Fair weekend, and for the first time in a long time, I am not going.  A few reasons – one is that I have no money, having just had my big trip.  Another is that I also just had a lot of time off, so asking for  Friday off didn’t seem the right thing to do.  And I refuse to go to the fair on Saturday.  I could go on Sunday, but it is supposed to be hot, and everything will be really picked over and I still have no money… so I will stay home.  But if you are around here, you should go, it is an amazing fair. And it has the BEST food and great fiber and so many other things!

I can’t believe September is nearing an end and fall arrived today. Sigh.  I do like fall but not what looms after it.  I will try not to think about that while swimming in my pool this one last time.  Maybe. Maybe it will stay warm for a few more weeks…

How I spent my summer vacation   24 comments

You had better get yourself a cup of coffee and settle in.  It’s going to be a long post.

On Labor Day, Mom and set out on our big adventure, driving to Wisconsin to meet a group of Ravelry friends and enjoy a weekend full of giggles and yarn and fiber games.  But before that could happen, we had a long drive.  We went a northern route to avoid holiday weekend traffic (which is killer on the one highway out of Maine) and later, Chicago.  I don’t love driving in strange cities.

We planned two long days of driving: the first to Kingston, Ontario, Canada; the second to Muskegon, Michigan, USA.

Everything went as planned, though the long days were made longer by lots of construction, beginning in Montreal and ending somewhere west of Toronto.  We stayed in a decent enough hotel in Kingston, and got a good tip from the desk clerk about the 407 – a toll road that goes around Toronto.  He said it would be empty and darned but he was right!  It was a welcome relief from solid slow traffic with loads of big rig trucks.  The truckers were all good drivers, but it is still not the most relaxing driving.

Border crossings were easy going in and out of Canada, the US Border guy was quite funny, thought we were crazy to drive to Wisconsin for a vacation. Maybe we were, but we weren’t turning back!

I haven’t been to Ontario since I was nine or ten, and I have never been to Quebec or Michigan, so even though we weren’t stopping anyplace except to sleep, it was interesting to see the countryside as we cruised through.  The rolling hills of rural Quebec are beautiful.  Ontario is much flatter, but still very pretty.  Michigan was so flat and green!  We laughed when we saw a sign for a ski resort off an exit.  There was not a mountain or hill in sight.  I wonder how far it was to that resort?

We crossed Michigan through Flint, Lansing, and Grand Rapids, and went north a bit to Muskegon.  We spent the night there, and got our first extra pleasant surprise.  We had a reservation for a room with two beds, nothing special.  But when we checked in they offered us an upgrade to a suite and we grabbed it.  It was a very nice room, with loads of space, big windows that open, a balcony, table and chairs, comfortable chairs and the required two beds. We joked that it was too bad we were only there one night.

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We had a great view over the marina to the harbor.

The next morning we got to sleep in a bit and have a nice breakfast, then went off to catch the ferry across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee.

It felt really good to be traveling and not driving, I have to say.  They warned us it would be a rough crossing, but to us it didn’t seem like anything much, just a bit of roll under foot. We were traveling in the business cabin, which meant that we got some free coffee while knitting in our comfortable chairs, and so we passed a pleasant morning getting to Milwaukee.

Once in Milwaukee, we were able to navigate our way through MORE construction to an old friend’s house.  She lived in Maine about 15 years ago, and Mom and I had lost track of her.  But when we knew we were going to be in Wisconsin, we used the power of the internet to find her and arranged to have lunch with her. It was so great to see her, and meet the special person in her life, see her home and do lots of catching up.

We left there in the afternoon, in time to find our way through the construction to the airport to meet the first of the Ravelry friends, Kendra from Houston.

So many people thought we were crazy to plan this big trip to spend time with people we had never met.  But we have all been chatting and sharing for years, and I knew we would be fine.  More than fine, that we would have a blast.

At the airport, Kendra found us easily, even having no idea what we looked like! Something about two ladies in matching gray fleece standing around the empty baggage carousel?

Our next adventure was about to begin.  All that construction?  Well, after two days of successfully navigating it, our brains and the GPS finally failed.  They moved a highway entrance from the left to the right and we completely missed it.  Got off the road, found the next entrance – it was closed due to the construction.  But we had Mom and a paper map, and we eventually found our way back to the highway in the correct direction, and were on our way again.

We got to our Airbnb in Hustisford without further delay.  It is a sweet little house right on the lake, and right next door to a pub/restaurant.  An amazingly quiet one with good food!

It is owned by two brothers who have recently remodeled the whole thing, and done a great job.  We did notice a few things that were missed, like bedside table and lamps, and we needed groceries, so after a delicious meal at the pub, we headed to Wal*Mart.  There we picked up groceries for the weekend and grabbed a couple of lamps so that Mom and I could read before sleep and not have to use the overhead light.  🙂 And for those of you who know me, I know you just passed out on learning where we shopped.  If we had known where there were any other stores, I would have pushed to go there.  But looking for groceries at ten o’clock at night in rural America means that you go to Wal*Mart, right? So we did, and got everything we needed.

Thursday was the first day of festivities.  We headed off to Beaver Dam, where we were to meet up with Deb and her knitting group, visit the local yarn store, then connect with Knitting Sarah for a tour of Nancy’s Notions before heading back to Deb’s for dinner.

We texted Deb as we got close and she agreed to meet us for lunch at a local restaurant.  While we were trying to follow the GPS directions to get there, I noticed a car behind me, following pretty closely.  Soon it was flashing its lights and blowing the horn.  I pulled over to let this impatient person go past.  Instead, the car pulled up beside us and the driver was waving madly at us.  It was Deb!  So, we followed her to the restaurant.  Meeting with her was just like meeting Kendra the night before – instant best friends.  Before too long, another woman joined us.  Sue is in Deb’s knitting group, and also the Ravelry friend of Knitting Sarah Group where we all hang out.  Another old friend we have known for years, not minutes!

After lunch, we gathered at Deb’s, and then headed out to do some shopping.  Firefly Fibers was our first stop, and it was pretty darned wonderful. It is not a HUGE store, but a well stocked one.  I managed to get a few things there before we headed out to go to Nancy’s Notions. (And started knitting with the pink and blue before I could get a photo, sorry!  The pink is Madeline Tosh Light in a discontinued color; the blue-purple variegated is Malabrigo sock in the Anniversario colorway.  The pattern is Rainbow Warrior – more on that later!)

Aren’t they pretty?

I didn’t get photos nor buy anything at Nancy’s Notions, but I really enjoyed the tour with Sarah.  If you want to learn more about the business, do check it out online.  I get their catalogs, and they have EVERYTHING that a sewer or quilter needs. I was curious to see the quality – you know how it is with catalogs – everything looks good.  Turns out, it really is in this case.  Nice quality products and fabrics. If you sew, it is worth checking out.

That evening at Deb’s was SO MUCH FUN!  We sat around knitting and gabbing, we ate a delicious meal, did a yarn version of Yankee Swap, and it felt like Christmas with all the gifts that Sarah and Deb had put together for us.  Loads of goodies, some snacks, and some fiber treats.  Sarah gave me this fabulous fiber from Three Water Farms to thank me for helping out with the group this  spring while she packed up and moved.  And I don’t know if she or Deb put this beautiful project bag and stitch markers in the bag of goodies, but I love it!

This is the yarn that I wound up with after all the yarn swapping was done:

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Our friend Jude joined us at Deb’s, and so when the party was over, we were four at the house.

Friday morning we were off to breakfast in Johnson Creek on the way to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival, the centerpiece of our gathering.

I took no photos that day. We did have quite a group of us there – I have lost count, but at least 5 or 6 of us in one group, and then others from Deb’s knitting group and friends of Sarah wandering in and out of the crowds. It was an amazing event.  Like Maine Fiber frolic on steroids.  Two HUGE barns filled with fiber related vendors.  I never even got to them all!  I DID, however, find a few things to buy.  🙂  I know you are surprised by this.

The yarn:  Sock yarn from Knit City, unmatched skeins meant to go together.  And an amazing find – these two skeins equal a sweater quantity of yarn, and were only 28 dollars apiece.  Kendra spotted them in the bargain bin by my feet while I was perusing the full priced beauties at eye level. So a sweater for $56.  Not bad! And it isn’t blue-green, it’s just blue.  🙂

The fiber: the braid is super wash merino from Fiber Optic.  I have seen their ads on Ravelry and never clicked through, because I was afraid of the damage to my bank account.  So I was pleased to see them at the festival, where I could drool in person.  I can’t remember the vendor where I got the ball of merino/silk.  I was so tired I couldn’t do the math, so went on the conservative side with 10 ounces.  I wish I had gotten more, it is lovely.

It was a long day, but so much fun, seeing what all the ladies bought and all that they resisted.

That night Deb joined us at the house, and so did Adina.  Adina is moving to Maine and has hosted a few Ravelry gatherings here, and has come to Whorls and Purls at the Purple Fleece when she is not home in Illinois.  It was great to connect with her and to have her join us for dinner and the night.

So we were six sitting about knitting and chatting Friday night.

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(Mom is sitting out of range, but trust me, she was working on her endless sweater. And do check out that sunset!) Kendra and Jude shared yarn they had brought for us, so there was even MORE yarn added to my stash!

And Mom’s stash looked like this – she only bought one skein, the rest were gifts!  She was overwhelmed.

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While planning this event, someone, maybe Deb or Sue, came up with the idea that we should all cast on the same pattern.  Kendra found the pattern Rainbow Warrior shawl, and we all agreed it would be great.  Some folks cast on Thursday night, some Friday, and some both nights.  🙂 All the colors look so amazing, the finished shawls will be great fun.

Mom took this photo on Saturday, showing our progress.

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We were expecting one more visitor on Friday, but she wasn’t able to make it until after the festival on Saturday.

Saturday we had planned visiting several yarn stores in the Milwaukee area, but we were really fried, and had this beautiful spot, so we decided not to leave it.  I was glad as I felt exhausted, and we planned to leave Sunday morning, so a low key day felt really good.

We spent the day knitting, with Mom and me doing some intermittent packing as well.

There was porch knitting, for sure. And when it got too hot, we moved back to the living room, never stopping knitting, talking, and laughing.

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Saturday evening Teryn and her fiancee Peter finally found their way to us in time to show off her festival purchases, and join us for dinner at the pub next door. We had a fun time, and we are pretty sure Peter did not know what he had gotten into.  He also might have been worried that he was looking at what Teryn will be like in 40 years.  🙂

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Sunday came all too soon. Mom and I were up early, finished packing the car, stripped the beds, and said good bye.

We were sad to leave, but still had more vacation ahead.  First stop, Chicago.  I avoided it once, but we headed for it on purpose this time.  Mom has two old high school classmates who live there, and we were meeting them for lunch.  It was a pretty wonderful time.  These two people, and the wife of one of them, are amazing people with such interesting stories, I could have stayed listening all afternoon.  In fact, we did for a few hours before finally heading out to continue on our way.

I was disappointed at the amount of traffic on a Sunday, but knew it was better than a weekday.  We were heading east now, and had a day and a half to get to Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada.  We stopped driving at about 7, which got us to the Toledo area.  We were lucky that the first hotel we tried was neat, clean, had a room, and served us breakfast, too!

Monday morning we set a leisurely pace, but still made it to Niagara Falls by about 2 o’clock.  We decided to skip lunch until we got there, because I really needed to be done with driving.  So when we got to our hotel, we checked in to what turned out to be ANOTHER huge water view suite! (The mist to the right is spray from the Horseshoe falls.) This time it was two rooms, and we got to stay more than one night!

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We got some “lupper” (lunch-supper) and went for a walk down to the falls.  It was advertised as three blocks.  The last one was a huge long one down a steep hill, but we did survive that trip!

I had never seen the falls before, they are incredibly beautiful.

Tuesday we booked a tour that took us behind the falls, a boat ride into the mist, and to a few other attractions in the area. It was great to not have to drive or figure out where everything was.  After we got back from that, we took the advice of our breakfast waiter and headed down the river to Niagara on the Lake for supper, and a view of where the river meets the lake.  This was a beautiful area, quite different in nature from Niagara Falls.  Mom and I agreed that if we ever come again, we will make sure to allow more time to explore this town.

 

 

Our original plan had been to take two days to get home from here, but when we thought about it, we thought we could get up super early and make it in one day,  we knew if that really turned out to be dumb, we could always stop part way.  So 3 am found us in the car and heading back to USA and home. The trip was uneventful and long.  We toughed it out and after a breakfast stop, we only stopped for bathroom and refueling breaks.  We were at Mom’s house by 4:30 pm.  We were able to convince A that she wanted to bring Mom’s car over after work and drive me home in my car, so I was done driving when we pulled into Mom’s driveway.  More than 2500 miles! It was long and so much fun, I know I would do it again.  But maybe not for a while.

So, that’s what I did on my summer vacation.  I should have enough yarn to keep me busy for a few months.  🙂

Thought I would wrap up with a few sunsets we saw along the way.  And one dawn.

 

Edited to add – here’s a link to the knitting Sarah’s blog post about the weekend in case you want to read about it from a different perspective.

 

 

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