Yarn Along: Madalynn Izel

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

I have a lot of squishy goodness to talk about so let's get started!

Knitting: Izel Hat
At the start of winter I bought a new puffy coat. Now that winter's almost over, I decided to knit a hat to go with it. My timing is impeccable. LOL. I've never had a slouchy hat before so I hope I like it.
Pattern: Izel by Veronika Jobe
Yarn: Cascade 220 in colorways 2442 Fog Hatt & 9406 Northern Landscape X

Also Knitting: A Shawl of My Own Design
A few weeks ago I took a class at the Madison Knit-In with Jen Lucas called "Design Your Own Sock Yarn Shawl." Well, this is my design! The first stitch pattern I charted and knit didn't look like much of anything so this is "take 2". Right now it's kind of hard to see if I'll like the design or not.
Pattern: (it's my own design)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage in colorway 5618 Snow

Speaking of the Madison Knit-In, aside from a pattern and some needles, this is what I brought home. I intend to make an Autumn Leaves cardigan for my cousin's baby girl with the Wonderland Yarns March Hare in colorway Cabbages & Kings. (Green is her favorite color.) I don't think I will need both skeins but I don't want to run out either. That other beautiful skein in the photo - I WON that! It's Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply in colorway Joan of Arc. I'm not sure what I'll make with it - any suggestions?

FO: Madalynn Cowl
I finally finished my cowl made with the yarn I bought at last year's Madison Knit-In! Many yarns feel too picky on my neck but this Quince & Co. Yarn is so nice. I was going to buy more this year but no one was selling it. Boo!
Pattern: Madalynn by Leah B. Thibault
Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee in colorways 108 Delft (blue) and 150 Sabine (Gray)



Friday Wake-Up

March 25, 2016 at 7:34 a.m.

Two days ago, all of our snow was gone. Then blizzard Cindy hit and our world is white again. This morning I watched a low cloud roll through and leave everything in it's midst covered in frost. What an incredible sight to see! The dogs and I headed out for a walk before the sun could melt the delicate crystals.


Yarn Along: Gale to the Lost

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Madalynn Cowl
The only thing left to do on my Madalynn Cowl is kitchener stitch the ends together. I'm waiting for a quiet moment when I'm home alone to tackle that project.
Pattern: Madalynn by Leah B. Thibault
Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee in colorways 108 Delft (blue) and 150 Sabine (Gray)

Also Knitting: Gale
I just finished the front panel on my tunic. I now I need some quite time alone for this project as well since the cast on is a tubular one.
Pattern: Gale by Alicia Plummer
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Chunky Tweed in colorway 670  

Reading: Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey 
This book follows Stella, an unhappy vicars wife, in 1940s England and Jess, a homeless young lady in modern day who stumbles on Stella's love letters from the past. A little bit of mystery. A little bit of love story. A little bit of historical fiction. A little bit of scandal. I am really loving this book.


What are you knitting/reading this week?



Hiking Plover River Segment - IAT

Christian and I recently checked out a new-to-us segment of the Ice Age Trail. The Plover River Segment is about 45 minutes north of our farm and winds through the Plover River State Fishery Area. We've previously hiked (and loved) the Dells of the Eau Claire segment so I was excited to get on another part of the trail in that area.

source: www.iceagetrail.org

We started our hike at Sportsman Drive then went north to Highway 52. There we turned around and hiked back for a total of 5-6 miles. 

source: www.iceagetrail.org

As soon as we arrived at the trailhead I was kicking myself for not bringing our snowshoes. Our snow at home was completely gone and it never crossed my mind to bring them! Luckily, the snow was compact enough that we didn't post-hole too much.

The trail meandered through open fields and rolling hills. I can't wait to come back in the springtime and see this area bursting with life! I bet the forest floor is covered in wildflowers.

While we were in the Plover River SFA we actually saw very little of the river. At one point we crossed it on a rock bridge and another time on a foot log.

The sun was out in full-force and was quickly melting away the evidence of winter. We were down to t-shirts in no time!

Thanks to my friend Nancy's snowshoe outing, I know how to spot porcupine dens and I found one just off the trail! We could just make out the prickly fella hiding inside the hollowed out tree.

What a beautiful section of trail. I can't wait to go back and explore the area again. During our drive home we stopped at Nueske's Applewood Smoked Meats retail shop. Hello free meat & cheese samples! And for dinner? We popped into the Rocks For Fun Cafe to get some pasties to go. (Now that is a unique place!) I've been wanting to check out those two places for a long time now so I'm happy to finally cross them off my list. Christian likes to stick with what is familiar and safe but I'm more into adventure and exploring the unknown. Since I was driving, we got to do what I wanted to do. :)


Wednesday Wake-Up

March 2, 2016 at 6:26 a.m.

I pulled into the gas station (which is about 10 miles from home) this morning on my way to work and realized my purse was still hanging on the coat rack at home. Good thing I hadn't started pumping yet! I had just enough gas to run back home and then back to the gas station. I ended up being a 1/2-hour late to work BUT I got to see this amazing sunrise over our farm as a result!


Yarn Along: Firebird Gale & the Christmas Stocking

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Gale
One of my knitting goals for 2016 is to knit more garments and less accessories. Because, seriously, how many cowls does a person need? I get easily bored with my knitting so I picked this tunic because it's on big needles with bulky yarn. Big needles + bulky yarn = a quick knit. So, hopefully, I will finish this before I lose interest.
Pattern: Gale by Alicia Plummer
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Chunky Tweed in colorway 670  
Reading: The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
I just finished reading The Firebird and I'm willing to bet that it makes my Top 5 books for 2016. Nicola can see into the past when she touches an object. When a woman comes to the art gallery and asks if her wooden carving is worth anything, Nicola sets out on an adventure to trace the origins of the Firebird. She follows the tumultuous life of young Anna through Scotland and then Russia in the early 1700s. Some of the same characters from The Winter Sea reappear in this book but it really isn't a sequel. I highly recommend reading both books.

FO: Christian's Christmas Stocking 
For Christmas I knit my husband, Christian, a stocking. I didn't quite finish it on time so I'm just posting pictures of it now. Christian's mom's ancestors are from Norway so I wanted a Scandinavian design. I modified/redesigned some elements of the Henrik chart from the book Scandinavian Christmas Stockings by Mette N. Handberg. I charted my design out in Illustrator to make it easier to follow. I added snow-capped mountains to the stocking because Christian loves the mountains. I am so pleased with how the stocking turned out. Christian loves it too! Now I need to make one for myself.
Pattern: Based on Henrik by Mette N. Handberg
Yarn: Cascade 220 Fingering in colorways 8622 Camel, 8010 Natural, 9332 Sapphire, and 9404 Ruby

What are you knitting/reading this week?



Snowshoeing at Navarino to a Porcupine Den

My friend, Nancy, led a local Sierra Club outing last weekend at Navarino Nature Center in east central Wisconsin. We could have used a little more snow but the sun was shining and temps were in the 20s - perfect weather for snowshoeing!

The highlight of the trip was visiting a porcupine den in a hollowed-out oak tree. 

"Is he in there?"
Better get a closer look... Watch out for all the poop!
There he is! Or his rear-end anyways.

Porcupines do not hibernate. On nice days they will come out of their den to feed on branches, pine needles, bark and such. I guess our guy was sleeping in because we were certainly there on a nice winter day!

After visiting the prickly fella, we took a shortcut through a hummock-y bog to catch up with a trail on the other side.

This was my first time snowshoeing at Navarino but I'm sure I'll be back. After all, there's 15,000 acres to explore!