Thursday, 31 May 2012

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Texas: Ft. Bliss...

When we arrived at the hotel I saw this in a neighbouring parking lot. Thus, the next morning's activity was settled. 



Battle scars.



Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Texas: Marathon - El Paso

Driving to El Paso. The day started out hazy and ended as overcast - good driving weather but makes photos look grey!
This was fairly early in the day.


Ah, Valentine. On the far side of the town we passed THIS...

Endless roads. I was surprised at how few photos I had taken on that drive, but I guess I was getting immune to roads and desert scapes and mountains, or I was just apathetic and depressed at having to leave.
Whatever the reason, it does not matter - the images are left inside my head and will stay there for a long, long time. 

A Lone Star on a mountainside in El Paso, Saturday night. Apologies for the blur. I have a bunch of just as or even more blurry photos of Erik under a sign with a Blue Devil on it. ;)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Texas: On the road for the last time

Saturday, February 11.: Goodbye Marathon - Going West
Saturday morning we packed up, secured the trailer (which was to wait for Erik's return in the middle of the following week), and set out in the Wagon, heading west to El Paso, where both Erik and I were to fly out on different flights and to different destinations the following day. Him going back to Fort Worth for drill (USMC), me going first north and then east, back to Stockholm, Sweden. A different world, one I could barely remember.

The day was relatively uneventful, though I enjoyed it - I like road trips, I loved watching the landscape changing around us, and I relaxed in Erik's mostly silent company. Sometimes watching him out of the corner of my eyes, sometimes singing more or less under my breath, mostly just watching the world and the road and the traffic, sometimes taking a picture of or commenting on something.

We passed through Alpine and Marfa, now almost familiar after wandering around the day before, filling the tank before setting out into the emptiness of West Texas. We passed through Valentine (population 217), with a Prada store on the western outskirts, surrounded by emptiness, but mostly with boarded up buildings facing the road, and later Van Horn, which was bigger but looked much the same (down to the boarded up buildings). We passed through emptiness and we saw people living where there could hardly be anything to live of. We saw improbably orchards in what seemed an otherwise dry landscape, and we saw more and more traffic as we came further west. El Paso is surrounded by outlets in an almost industrial-looking maze and while we had had some idea that I should buy boots while there, at that point it was a long time since breakfast, I was discouraged by the thought of navigating any kind of shopping experience and especially shoes (which take time, I hate buying shoes for that reason - although the satisfaction if I actually find ones that I like and that fits and that doesn't hurt is immense), and instead we tracked down our hotel (inside Ft. Bliss).

We needed dinner, and we both would be more than happy to let the other one decide on something, which meant that actually deciding took a long time since both kept handing responsibility to the other. In the end I decided on type of food, Erik tracked down a restaurant, and we went there without mishap. After finding a pharmacy so I could shop all the things one cannot get here (or rather the things I knew about - that list keeps growing), the evening was spent in the hotel room, mostly looking for a TV channel that was NOT talking about Whitney Houston...


Sunday, February 12.: Leaving Texas
Breakfast at the hotel, wandering about a bit (there was a kind of outdoors museum with various aircraft, tanks, missiles, etc which I of course could not stay away from), then a taxi to the airport, goodbye to Erik, a cup of tea, then eventually my own flight. First to Chicago, uneventful, in Chicago, getting some food and a beer, then it turned out my flight was delayed, and I was getting sleepier and sleepier.

By the time we were allowed to board, I fell asleep almost as soon as I sat down. I woke up when the brakes kicked in at Heathrow - by which time I found out that I had all of 20 minutes to change terminals, get through security, and find my flight to Stockholm. ARGH!

Since I slept through what was Monday in Sweden on the plane, I was unable to sleep at night, and the following weeks were spent jetlagged out of my mind, totally unsynchronized with the world around me. This eventually led to a delay in blogging about my experiences which means that the story hasn't been told until now, the end of May, more than three months after I got home.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Texas: Marfa and Alpine

Woodpecker @El Cosmico, Marfa, TX

This hearse looked to have been sitting there for quite a
while, considering the amount of debris around the wheels.






Lunch @Cowboy Grill, Alpine, TX. 

A particularly crunchy kind of gravel. 

Erik's hands (mine can be found earlier in this series of posts)

Texas: Marathon

View from the trailer



Another Marathon sunset - this one reflected in the trailer

This and most of the rest of the photos are from Marathon Motel.

Ladies' restroom...





As I mentioned, the trains passed on the other side of the road from us.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Texas: Marathon, Alpine, Marfa

Friday, February 10.: Wind, Coffee, Marfa, Brass.

At four in the morning a freight train passed through Marathon, TX. 

The trailer where I was sleeping peacefully were sitting just across the road from the railway, and I woke up when the driver hit the horn half a mile before the town. It took me a moment to realise what had woken me up, and the realisation came along with the knowledge that the trailer was moving rather more than it had when I fell asleep, in fact rocking like a small rowing boat when someone leaves it by way of stepping on the rail and then onto the dock - but continuously. The wind had picked up sometime during the early morning (which, technically, it is at 4AM according to my standards) and was howling along with the train that was just then thundering past.

In the front end of the trailer, Erik was moving around as well, being woken by the same series of events that had pushed through to my awareness. To him fell the task of dubious pleasantness of going out in the wind to jack up the trailer. I sleepily offered to help, but was in all honesty grateful when he told me to stay where I was. I am sure going out and *doing stuff* in the night would have been a part of the adventure I would have remembered with a smile at a later date, but at that point I was warm under a stack of blankets, and the boat-like rocking, while slightly disturbing, also was making me sleepy. Even under those circumstances I was unable to fall asleep again until Erik was back inside the trailer - but at that point I slept right through his moving about, having lights on, and so forth.

A few hours later morning properly arrived, the wind died down, and we were up, on our first morning in Marathon.

We had parked the trailer at Marathon Motel, where Erik was planning to stay for a month or so. It was a nice place - the only thing that annoyed me about the place was the fact that the ladies' restroom consisted of a single bathroom (WC and shower stall in the same room), which meant you had to be prepared to spend some time waiting outside in a line.

For breakfast we hit Marathon Coffee, where two ladies gave us food and much-needed coffee, chatted away and had us sign their guestbook. Their menu was totally foreign to me and Erik had to order for me as I hadn't the faintest idea what anything was. I wanted to take the entire place with me home.

Breakfast over with, we were back on the road to explore the neighbouring towns - Marfa and Alpine, the latter being the closer of the two. We went to Marfa first, first driving then wandering about for a bit, Erik got a haircut while I found an internet connection and bought him a domain where I was planning to set up a blog for him, as thanks for taking me on this little adventure. Then we went back to Alpine, and in short we had lunch (at Cowboy Grill) and went shooting...

I had never been shooting with a handgun before, and while I was looking forwards to trying I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself. It was difficult, much harder than shooting with a rifle (or at any rate different enough that I pretty much sucked at it). I am normally a bit nervous about trying new things with an audience, seeing as I easily feel ashamed if I "fail". I know this is stupid because nobody necessarily excel at anything the first time they try but that is how I feel. Erik however turned out to be a good teacher that way - patient, calm, constructive in feedback and explanation, and making me feel good about the entire thing. That aside, it was something else that really blew my mind. This took me a while to figure out - why had I enjoyed the time spent on the shooting range so much?

I was clued in by the fact that I had, and have, only a very vague idea of how long we were there. Normally my sense of time is fairly accurate, one of the many processes that run continuously in my head. I fidget mentally, always thinking about a myriad things, planning ahead, thinking back, analysing my surroundings, noticing that brilliant green over there, having great ideas - all at the same time. It means I can sit still, seemingly doing nothing, for hours on end, just letting my mind work. It also means I have problems winding down properly and relaxing.

Those minutes, quarters, hours on the shooting range my mind stilled. I was only doing one thing. When we left I felt rested.

But all was not bliss and happiness: We had company to our left, and some of their brass flew close and hit us. By a lucky hit I got brass down the front of my shirt that got stuck in my bra. Only a very light burn that quickly faded, and turned into another scarless memory, but right then and there I was less than amused.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Just a Note...

A quick note to say what I have been up to -

My beloved, but relatively new-found family in the US (Erik, Patty, Wayne) have been planning a trip to Scandiland for some time. The journey's first stop was Oslo, May 15-20, staying with my cousin Lisbeth. I showed up as a surprise visit - thus the long weekend has been spent on trains, walking about Oslo, seeing tourist things, and revisiting the museums at Akershus Fortress, among other things. Though I did kinda cheat and skipped the 17th, staying at the house cooking up a meal for the gang. Another highlight was getting to spend a day with my brother Vilhelm! <3

The entire week was awesome and I am heartbroken at having to part from everyone.

Photos to come.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Crystal Shawl

I made some pattern mistakes in the beginning - realised fairly quickly - but decided to continue with my mistakes rather than the pattern. Thus what was supposed to become a triangular shawl became..this. Much more awesome to wear, as it does not slip off my shoulders.

One skein of Handmaiden Lady Godiva, colour Sangria. I used the entire skein so well that I had to cast off in a different colour, but tha turned out fairly well. Better irl than below.


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Wedding Album

Aimee had seen some of the stuff I make on the blog and one day last autumn I got an e-mail with a request. Aimee and Ivo were getting married and they wanted a suitable wedding album/guest book. We sent some e-mails back and forth, and I promised to do it around christmas - then I got ill, went abroad, and time flew and it was mid april before I got around to it. Still, it was on time.

Here are some photos. I incorporated the invitation into the design, to my relief it turned out to be in the same colours as the things I had already bought for the project. Guess communication was going well in the planning stage?

I have never before made something on commission for someone I don't really know, and it turned out to be quite a different experience. Usually I can lean against a knowledge about the person's taste, this time I only had our mail conversation to support my hunches. The sandy background came from the information that they were getting married on a beach, the feathers was inspired by the dress, and the rest were stuff that seemed fitting in colour and style. The photos don't really show it but the flowers were more cream than white.



Saturday, 5 May 2012

On my needles: Crystal Shawl

Shawlette, being adapted from a table cloth pattern by Marianne Kinzel, a pattern first publicized in 1953 called "English Crystal". I figure things out as I go along a bit, but I am very satisfied with the way it is actually fitted to being around a neck and hanging over shoulders. If I had gone along with the original pattern I would have gotten a square, and by halving that, a very regular triangle. Many possibilities other than the more complicated road I have chosen to go down. This is the same pattern as I used for the Sugar and Spice table cloth.

The yarn I use is Handmaiden Lady Godiva in the colourway Sangria (50% wool, 50% silk), and I must admit it is fast becoming my favourite yarn I have ever touched or worked with. SO SOFT! I only have a single skein and do not feel like splurging on another (it is fairly costly, unfortunately) to make the shawl bigger, so shawlette it is. But I suspect I will buy more skeins (probably in other colours) in the future for other luxury projects.

Skein being wound into a ball to knit from.
Complete with Swedish matchbox for size comparison.

The colour feels a bit sugary when I see it on photos, but handling it I feel that it is lovely and that it will really pop against my black dresses. The mustard yellow and orange helps to de-sucrify it I suppose.

PS: I also wound the huge Kauni skein into five balls, numbered for sequence to make seamless transitions. It is ca 1900m of yarn. That means winding almost 2km of yarn into balls. A good nights job!
Look at the size of that skein! 

The yarn is single ply and so thin, so thin. The blue parts kept
breaking as I wound the balls, which was part of the reason for
making multiple balls of it. I am not sure what to make out of
something this rainbow-looking... suggestions welcome! 


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Treasure!

I got a nice box in the mail today, and I am cackling with glee! A bit worrisome to hear myself but .. anyone ever wondered why I am called yarndragon? ;)


The two photos above are of the same skein from two different angles. I added my glasses to give some sense of the size of the thing! It is GINOURMOUS. And will make a helluva colourful shawl, dontcha think?
Kauni Effekt Lace EQ 230 gram

Smallest skein in the bundle, but very pretty colours:
Kougi KPPPM 714


These two are two angles of the same skein, my second most expensive yarn ever:
 Ella Rae Lace Merino 111

Handmaiden Lady Godiva Sangria

Fleece Artist Kidazzle Tidepool

My most expensive yarn ever (and such lovely colours, blues and greens, my favourites!)
Handmaiden Mini Maiden Nova Scotia 100 gram

Crazy colours. Socks. Or something crazy coloured.
Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Crazy 1564 Frische Fische