Yarn Along: Striped Apolonia

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

Knitting FO: Striped Shawl
I just finished this striped shawl. The ombre yarn that changes from peach to pink to lavender is one that I dyed myself. I've been wanting to see how my ombre yarns knit up so this is a sample. 

Kind of a fun pattern in that you start with one skein (in my case the charcoal color) and knit with only that color for awhile. Then you add in another yarn and switch off every 6 rows. When you run out of the first color, you continue on with the 2nd until your run out of that one too. And then your shawl is done!

I like to wear a shawl more like a cowl and this one looks pretty cool when it's all bunched up. Super cozy!
Pattern: Striped Scarf by Hiromi Sakurai (free on Rav) 
Mods: Switched from Sport weight to Worsted
Yarn: Cascade 220 Worsted in colorway Charcoal Gray and my own hand-dyed ombre yarn.

Reading: Apolonia by Jamie McGuire
This book has gotten very mixed reviews on Goodreads. People either love it or hate it. Halfway through the book, I'm in the "love it" category. It reads like a young adult book but I don't think it technically is. A little science fiction, mystery and romance to keep things interesting. 

Rory is a college student whose family was recently murdered. She was supposed to die but she didn't. (Part of the mystery) She spends her free time working for Dr. Z as a research assistant recording data on a strange specimen. (The science fiction element) Another student, Cy, is hired on to help and she finds herself drawn to him. But fellow classmate, Benji, keeps trying to woo Rory even though they have nothing in common. (And the romance)

What are you knitting/reading this week?


Cyber Monday Sale in My Etsy Shop

Enjoy 15% off your entire purchase from my Etsy shop, kejeara. Use coupon code SHOPKEJEARA at checkout. Code expires at 11:59pm CST on Tuesday, November 29th.

I have a lot of cool vintage tins for sale right now. Use them as gift boxes for your holiday gifts or keep them for yourself for storing your trinkets or crafting supplies. Are you a baker? Use one of my vintage tins as a pretty package for your holiday cookies or fruitcake. Or disguise a gift card by placing it inside a pretty tin. Many of these items are one-of-a-kind so get them before they're gone!

This is just a sampling of the items in my shop. Click HERE to view them all.


Hike 100 NCT Challenge (Miles 65.1 to 67.6)

In celebration of the National Park Service's Centennial Anniversary, we are hiking 100 miles of the North Country Trail in 2016. 

Our last day of backpacking in the Porkies was much like the previous day in that we put on a lot of miles but only a few of them counted toward the Hike 100 challenge. We had an ambitious itinerary - going up and over both major ridges in the park - but we've done it in the past and knew we could handle it. In fact, day 4 ended up being much easier than day 3 even with all of the elevation gain and longer miles. Good trail counts for a lot. This is the first backpacking trip where I wasn't ready to come out of the woods, take a hot shower and get a burger and beer. 

Day 4 - Buckshot cabin to Mirror Lake then back to the car at Lily Pond trailhead (about 12.5 miles total)
Awesome fall colors at Lake of the Clouds overlook.
The requisite photo where we got engaged 7 years ago.
A favorite section of trail - a deep gorge on the way to Mirror Lake.
Lunch break at Mirror Lake - we had to sit away from the shoreline because of a chilly wind.
At trail's end.
We had to laugh when we saw the parking lot - not a very popular trailhead, apparently.


Hike 100 NCT Challenge (Miles 60.9 to 65.1)

In celebration of the National Park Service's Centennial Anniversary, we are hiking 100 miles of the North Country Trail in 2016. 

On our third day of backpacking in the Porkies we had to retrace our steps 4.2 miles back to the Little Carp River. The rest of our hiking for the day is not included in the Hike 100 challenge because we weren't on the North Country Trail. Bummer - because those were some hard miles! The Lake Superior trail got hit hard this year - a flood that dropped 9" of rain in one day followed by a tornado 10 days later. Needless to say, the trail was a mess. Instead of 10 miles, I felt like we had hiked 20.

Day 3 - Speaker's cabin to Buckshot cabin (10.4 miles total)
The July flood washed away the bridge over the Big Carp River.
But Mother Nature provided two perfectly-placed downed trees over the Big Carp for crossing.
The Lake Superior Trail weaves from rocky shoreline to high, forested ridges.
Picking our way through the tornado area.
Finally - we made it to Buckshot cabin! Then we got to work collecting and cutting firewood.
A pretty sunset followed by...
The Northern Lights! What a perfect way to end a hard day of backpacking.


Hike 100 NCT Challenge (Miles 50.6 to 60.9)

In celebration of the National Park Service's Centennial Anniversary, we are hiking 100 miles of the North Country Trail in 2016. 

On our second day of backpacking in the Porkies, we headed down my favorite trail in the park - the Little Carp River trail. This route winds through old growth forest and has two unbridged crossings over the waterfall-laden river. We were a little leery about the second leg of our journey. The last time we tackled the section of trail from the Little Carp into Speaker's the trail was in really rough shape - mud pits, deep gorges with hard-to-find trail, swampy areas, etc. This time it wasn't AS bad but it was still a difficult 4.2 miles. But - I've been wanting to stay at Speaker's cabin for years and it's never been available before so the slog through the swamp was worth it.

Day 2 - Section 17 cabin to Speaker's cabin (10.3 miles total)
Little Carp River
Lunch break at the intersection of the Little Carp River and Lake Superior trails.
On the menu: salami & cheese pita sandwiches, trail mix, and Clif bars.
One of only a few bridges on the trail.
Speaker's Cabin on the shore of Lake Superior.
Our beach - it was kind of a wicked day.
Beautiful lakeshore rocks
Cooking dinner: Cheese tortellini with veggies, bacon and pesto sauce. 


Hike 100 NCT Challenge (Miles 44.9 to 50.6)

In celebration of the National Park Service's Centennial Anniversary, we are hiking 100 miles of the North Country Trail in 2016. 

To add another chunk of miles to our Hike 100 challenge, we set off on a 4-day backpacking trip in Porcupine Mountains State Park in upper Michigan. We've been backpacking in the Porkies almost every autumn for the last 10 years and it felt so good to be back on her rugged and muddy trails. As we've done in the past, we stayed in a different rustic wilderness cabin each night because sleeping in a tent this time of year can be miserable - chilly wind coming off Lake Superior, rain, snow, short days and cold nighttime temps. Because we were trying to get more miles racked up on the NCT, we started our hike from a different trailhead than we've used in the past which, in turn, led us to stay in two new-to-us cabins. 

Day 1 - Lily Pond Trailhead to Section 17 cabin. (5.7 miles total)
Setting off down the Lily Pond Trail

Our private bridge over the Little Carp River which leads to the Section 17 cabin

Section 17 cabin

The bare necessities
Filtering water from the Little Carp