Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ice, wildlife, lumberjacks, and totem poles

We've been very busy since coming back from our vacation and had to bet back into our normal routine, but I'm still reminiscing about our cruise to Alaska.

Besides decorating a few buttons I made a few bookmarks while on the cruise.  They are also in Lizbeth #130 Island Breeze and #122 Caribbean in size 20. I wasn't following a pattern, just going where the shuttles took me.  Okay, on the first one in Caribbean. The second one was similar to the first with a few changes that I thought I'd try.

We spent a day in Glacier Bay.   With all that ice close by it was the coolest day we had on the trip.  The glaciers are spectacular! 

This is Margerie Glacier, which is at the end of the bay, almost into Canada.  The ship gets pretty close to it then slowly spins in place several times so that everyone, no matter which side of the ship you're on, will get a chance to see it.  It calves small pieces of ice (relatively small) pretty frequently but you have to be looking in the right place at just the right time to see them go.  This glacier is huge and quite high.  While we were in the bay they had two part rangers aboard to explain what we were seeing (over the loud speakers) and to answer questions (in person).  

 There are a lot of small islands that we passed that had sea lions sunning themselves.  I took these pictures with the long lens of the camera.  From where I was on the deck I couldn't make out for sure what they looked like but I hoped they would be visible when viewing on my computer - and they were!

There were a lot of them!

I didn't see any whales as I was never looking in the right direction at the right time but others did see them at a distance.

The scenery all around was breathtaking.  We spent a lot of time out on the observation decks just enjoying the world go by. 

The next day we were in Ketchikan.  We went to the Lumberjack show there, which was a lot of fun! 

There are a lot of totem poles in Ketchikan, and beautiful gardens. 

(Check out the yarn store in the background.  I understand Debbie Macomber stopped in for awhile.)

It was hard to get the very top of the totem pole in the picture.

This sign explained this particular totem pole. 

We walked quite a bit while we were in Ketchikan.  I stopped for a few minutes on our way back to catch my breath. That's our ship, the Norwegian Pearl, behind me.

Ketchikan, Alaska as we were sailing away.

I'd like to be sailing back :-)

"John Muir, the famous naturalist, wrote in his journal that you should never go to Alaska as a young man because you'll never be satisfied with any other place as long as you live.  And there's a lot of truth to that."
Tom Bodett

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I took two balls of thread, Lizbeth #130 Island Breeze and #122 Caribbean in size 20, and a handful of buttons to decorate with me when we left for Alaska.  I figured that buttons are small, easy to do, don't take a lot of thought and would be easy to give away if the opportunity came up.   These four, plus the one I mentioned a few weeks ago, are the buttons (okay, and one doodad) that I made while we were on the cruise.  The ones on the top and the left I made first using only one shuttle.  The one on the right didn't come out like I was hoping but I may find a place to use it.  The bottom one was very frilly until I blocked it.  I'm not sure how it has eleven points but I like it and am not worried about it.  If I try it again I'll probably figure it out :-)

The rest of today's pictures are from our stop in Juneau.  I thought I was going to have a few pictures from the ship, too, but somehow they didn't make it.  Probably next week.

If you're ever in the Juneau area I highly recommend visiting Glacier Gardens, they are absolutely gorgeous!  There are these lovely dead trees (yes, dead trees) that are in the ground upside down with beautiful plants in the root systems.  

Everywhere you look are lush plants.  It is a rain forest.

A lovely, lovely place to visit.

Just outside of Juneau is the Juneau Icefield, the start of Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls, which is fed by the glacier.  We didn't think we had time to make it to the falls, which was a mile hike both ways (we didn't want the bus to leave without us).

The glacier as seen through the long lens of our camera. It is several miles away from where we were.  There is nothing over there that you can compare it to for size.  

But you can see how large Nugget Falls is when you see the people at the foot.  This picture is with the long lens of our camera.

We visited so many places and there were so many things to see and do that I didn't get a chance to tat at all of them, but I did remember here. It was a bit chilly and damp so it really was only a few stitches. 

The ship was only in Juneau for a few hours so there were many things we didn't get to see.  We'd really like to go back, but it will have to be a few years down the road.  If you get the chance to visit, DO IT!

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A lot of knitters!

We sailed on the Norwegian Pearl from Seattle, WA for our cruise of the Inside Passage of Alaska.  Something we noticed as we were going through the boarding process (which is similar to going through security at an airport for almost 3000 passengers) was a boarding line with a small sign saying "Welcome knitting group."   We wondered what that was all about.  It didn't take long after boarding for us to see why there was a special line just for them - they were everywhere!  They all wore purple lanyards and some had canvas bags and/or sweatshirts with "Stitch and Sail" on the them.  Found out they were all part of the group from "Stitch and Sail to Alaska with Debbie Macomber".  All 300+ of them. I'm not sure if that number included the non-knitting spouses or not, though there were couples where both were knitters or at least worked with fiber.  
And yes, Debbie Macomber was on board, though I don't think I ever saw her.

Throughout the cruise you would see individuals as well as groups of knitters in all areas of the ship.  They had classes going on in different locations during the cruise, and, I understand, special events just for them.  Like me some would bring their work with them while they waited for a show to start or while listening to some of the live entertainment that was available, as well as just relaxing around the ship.  For some reason a lot of people thought I was with the group, I suppose because the uneducated couldn't tell what I was doing other than something with "yarn". 

Having breakfast in the Garden Cafe. Check out the lady behind me.

I met Priscilla and Linda, both from the state of Washington (different cities), and asked about the many knitters aboard. We had a nice chat out on the deck about knitting, the cruise, and tatting. Both ladies do many of the fiber arts.  Priscilla's mother taught her knitting, embroidery and crochet, then she learned needle tatting later when she had her own yarn shop so she would to be able to answer questions about it.  Linda's grandmother taught her to knit when she was a child.  She has made items from fiber she's carded, spun and knitted (pretty much doing everything right from the sheep's back except to actually sheer it).  She also knits very fast.  A special yarn and shawl pattern were made just for the cruise, and only a few days out Linda was already done with her shawl and was now on to other things. 

I met Andy one evening in the Atrium.  Both he and his wife knit and came on the cruise together. 

 He was working on a baby blanket for a grandson due in a few months. He and his wife are owners of "All Strung Out," a yarn shop in Ontario, Canada.

The Atrium was a nice place to relax and people watch.  There was usually some kind of entertainment going on at one end, customer services had desks at the other end, and a lot of people going through from one place to another.  I think I spent some time there almost every day, usually with tatting in hand and usually not the only one working with fiber of some kind.  I really enjoyed having all those knitters on board and felt a kinship with them, even if I don't knit. 

"When people see me knitting, I tell them I'm a knitter.  Not the sort of knitter they may have run into before, but a passionate, constant, deliberate knitter.  I knit everyday, all the time, everywhere I go."
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


 My husband and I flew to Seattle a day before the cruise so we could see a few of the sights there. We had never been there before and it is a lot different from any city we have been to.  Here are a few pictures (of the many we took) of what we did that day.  (There are no tatting pictures today.)

We were told the least expensive way to get to town was to ride the hotel shuttle back to the airport then take the Light Rail.  This is one of the light rail stations, We rode to Westlake, which meant we rode from one end of the rail to the other.  From this station it is an easy walk to Pike's Place and the fish market. This is early in the day, later there will be lots and lots of people here.

I'm standing outside the original Starbucks in Pike Place (in the purple jacket).  This was as close as we could get at the time.  There was an acoustic group right outside singing to a large crowd and later there wasn't such a crowd on the outside but still very full inside. 

This is the bar in Doc Maynard's Public House in Pioneer Square.  This is the start of Bill Speidel's Underground Tour.  If you ever get to Seattle and like history at all I recommend you go on this tour.  They share some fun facts and sights of the original Seattle.  Why is it an underground tour you ask?  Some of Seattle used to be a lot closer to sea level than it is now.  The tour tells you how and why it's not anymore.  You hear a lot about plumbing, which we don't think about much when it works, but when it doesn't - well, it becomes very important! 

This is another bar in the tour in the underground that was utilized again during prohibition. 

My husband in the underground.  There is a lot of junk down there from the 1949 earthquake. They thought it was a good place to get rid of debris. 

This is Rose, our tour guide, trying to make herself heard while waiting at a traffic light.  In the back on the left is the pergola that was built for the 1909 World's Fair.  The entire tour takes about 75 minutes with a lot of walking but it is all in a few blocks of the start.

Rose answering questions after the tour in the gift shop. 

This is the ladies room in the gift shop.  Isn't it beautiful?

Decoration in the ladies room.  If you go on the tour you'll understand the connection :-)

We took the mono rail from Westlake center to the Seattle Center where the Space Needle is located.  The mono rail, which was built for the 1962 World's Fair, only runs between the two stations and is a cheap way to get there.  I didn't realize what all was by the Needle - lots and lots of things, mostly aimed at kids.

There were a lot of street entertainers working for tips, mostly music of some kind, playing and or singing.  But there were a few other enterprising people doing other things  The stormtrooper is a live person but Darth Vader is not.  They were letting people take their pictures with them, for tips of course.

One of the things we didn't find in Seattle was rainy weather.  We had been warned it would be wet at least, but it was pretty while we were there.  

We took the light rail back to the airport then the hotel shuttle back to the hotel.  While at the airport we actually met the rest of the family, who had just arrived.  It was an enjoyable day though there were a lot of things we didn't have time to see  I wouldn't be opposed to going back some day. 

Even if they have the kind of weather we've heard about.

What's the definition of a Seattle optimist?
A guy with a sun visor on his rain hat.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


My husband and I tried something new last week - we went on a cruise to Alaska.
This trip was taken with several of my husband's family, making us a group of eleven.  My sister-in-law and her husband are the only ones to have been on cruises before in the Gulf of Mexico, and none of us have ever been to Alaska.  It was a week of new experiences all around.

My husband and I flew out to Seattle a day early so we could see some of the city before we sailed.  We spent Saturday doing a lot of walking, trying to see as much as possible in the time we had.  That was fun! We spent some time in Pike's Place at the fish market and the shops down there.  We took a picture of the original Starbucks from outside for our daughter (there were so many people we couldn't go inside) and stopped at a couple more for coffee.  They really are everywhere up there!  They make great places to stop and rest for awhile. 

Everyone else arrived Saturday evening. We all stayed at the same hotel so we could all go together to the ship on Sunday.  It is quite a challenge to organize even that many people to be ready to go at the same time.

I'm very glad that tatting is so portable.
You notice how dressed up I am?  My husband and I figured we were going to Alaska so we would dress comfortably and fit right in :-)

I couldn't think of any patterns I wanted to work on during the trip so I just made sure I had a some thread and several shuttles.  I didn't tat a whole lot for the first few days - there were so many things to do on the ship!  But I had it with me all the time.

To start with I decorated a few buttons and did an short edging to put on the card holder on my lanyard.  I wore this all the time on the ship.  It had my room key, tatting, crochet hook and scissors, the schedule of events on board for the day, receipts, a pen and cash for when we went ashore.  You see that it was the last day of the cruise before I realized I didn't have a picture of it.

I gave this button away to one of our servers who had been very interested in what I was doing.  The server was very happy with it.  I hadn't realized that the schedule I used as the background was from day six instead of seven until later.  

Be fore-warned: there will be a lot of pictures from our vacation in the coming weeks. It was a great week with many, many beautiful things to see.  I haven't even gone through all the pictures yet , but I'm looking forward to enjoying our vacation all over again as I do.

"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."