My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Yarns - Age of Brass and Steam Shawl and "A Walk in The Woods"

 Malabrigo Silky Merino Yarn - Turquoise (this picture doesn't capture the true turquoise)

      I bought some beautiful Malabrigo Silky Merino Yarn in turquoise this past winter intending it for another Peace Shawl, but I felt I needed to do something else with this beautiful yarn.  But no matter how hard I looked I couldn't find a perfect fit.  A few weeks ago searching for a pattern for something else I came across the pattern The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief and knew that was it!  I've done it before but not in the silk yarn it called for.  Immediately I scrounged and found my size 8 circular needles and started.  Its sumptuous to the touch and a fun in between knit when I'm working on Christmas socks with tiny needles.  It's funny how easy it is compared to the last time when I was new to shawl making.  Now I identified exactly how I kept losing a stitch then.  There's a YO at each end, but when you go to purl after it if don't wrap it twice (instructions on the bottom of the pattern) you lose that YO.  Mystery solved and now my counts are even and perfect.

© Orange Flower Yarn

     I'm just at the tail end of "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson and again it's a book I don't want to see end.  It's not just it's subject matter, hiking the Appalachian Trail, but his writing.  He's witty and interesting.  He fills in his adventures with interesting facts and historical anecdotes.

 Below Mount Washington in autumn. Photo by Jim Salge.Stories of Transformations on the Appalachian Trail

     Bryson didn't actually hike the whole trail.  Bill and his friend Stephen Katz never intended to, well maybe at the very beginning but when they stopped at a rest stop with a map and saw their days of efforts reduced to two inches of the entire Appalachian Trail, they suddenly decided that less was best.
"Look at the map, and then look at the part we've walked.
He looked [Katz], then looked again. I watched closely as the expression drained from his face. 'Jesus' he breathed at last. He turned to me, full of astonishment. 'We've done nothing.'
We went and got a cup of coffee and sat for some time in a kind of dumbfounded silence. All that we had experienced and done - all the effort and toil, the aches, the damp, the mountains, the horrible stodgy noodles, the blizzards, the dreary evenings with Mary Ellen, the endless, wearying, doggedly accumulated miles - all that came to two inches. My hair had grown more than that.
One thing was obvious. We were never going to walk to Maine." (p. 105)
     But they soon found the concept of not needing to do the whole AT as liberating, they could simply enjoy themselves.  What they did do was still very impressive.  He did over 800 miles.  In "Lost on the Appalachian Trail" by Kyle Rohrig Rohrig is critical of Bryson because he didn't do the whole trail.  As a Thru-Hiker (a person who does the whole 2,200 miles of trail) he says people who skip ahead use the moniker "Bill Brysoning".  Reasoning like this is probably why I'm not fond of Kyle Rohrig, but his book is interesting in that it details all the places his been on the AT.  His dog joins him and he becomes a bit more likable after that.  

     Meanwhile, Bryson and Katz in "A Walk" hike Shenandoah National Park, which they enjoyed, and then stop for a pause in their hike to go home for a while with plans to reunite in Maine for The 100 mile Wilderness Trail in Maine.  Interestingly during this time Bryson missed hiking, felt itchy to be back on the trail so he tried to walk snippets of it by driving there and hiking in. This proved very frustrating for him.  He explores between Virginia, Pennsylvania and the Delaware River Gap.  He has much more success going on day trips in Vermont and scaling larger mountains in New Hampshire with another friend.  I'm right now where he's reunited with Katz and they've started walking the 100 mile Wilderness Trail in Maine and it's interesting to me because my son led a group a few years ago on that exact hike for a freshman orientation trip.  Only him and another student, no "Adults" (my son was about 20 at the time).  He had a Wilderness First Aid course (he's taken more since) in preparation.  I was aware that you need to ford lots of streams on the trail and its lots of going up and down mountains.  He also reported seeing 7 moose.  Within a day Bryson has "forded" (really dunk and got fished out) a large body of water and seen a moose (which he describes as innocent looking, maybe so but they're reputed to be dangerous).  I need to ask my son to read this book if he hasn't already and ask for his opinion.

 For those who can't get out to walk the woods, I stumbled across this blog post that I thought helpful - Let’s go for a walk in the woods! (Guided imagery relaxation exercise)

     While these books about walking the AT can be serious, humorous, they also uncover the peace and beauty of the hike.  Kyle Roerig would explain how hard it was transitioning from towns to back on the trail.  While going out "on the town" (or whatever outpost available), it was always a relief to him to get back to the woods where there is solitude and the calming noises of nature.  Bill Bryson describes how he was enveloped by the experience of being in the wilds, but his friend who went with him never connected.  I find I have often, especially in stressful or upsetting situations imagined I was walking my favorite section of a little dirt road through the woods to our swimming hole.  It borders the stream so my mental images have roaring water in the background.  Here are some guides to disappearing into the woods for an inner peace fix:

and another imagery relaxation exercise:


  1. Lovely post. You make me really want to read this. I will look for it. I know Ive seen it at yard sales and didn't grab it!! Love the shawl and the yarn is delish

    1. I got it used through Amazon and I was very surprised how quickly it came. Of course it's all different dealers, but so far I've had lots of success.

  2. Your shawl will be so pretty. That pattern is a classic.

  3. Beautiful yarn choice for that shawl! The color looks so rich in your picture... just yummy! And, that book sounds fascinating!

  4. I LOved a walk in the woods!!!!! I love your new header