Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Last night I completed another section on the snail trail:


I really like this pattern (on the left) that is another from the selection of blackwork fill-in patterns I’ve been using.  Now I’ll be filling in the other two sections to mirror these.  I’ll need to complete one section a day to finish this piece by the end of the month.

Yesterday we walked the Dutch Gap Conservation Area Trail at the site of the 1611 settlement of Henricus.  There’s an historical interpretation center there, but it’s closed on Mondays so we didn’t visit that part of the park.  We were there mainly to walk and enjoy the outdoors anyway.

This park is along a portion of the James River where two loops of the river were bypassed by a canal dug by Union troops during the Civil War.

There are hiking and biking trails as well as a water trail that can be traveled by canoe or kayak.  

Here are some pictures I took:


All along the walk we were surrounded by butterflies and dragonflies.  We were serenaded by birds all around.  The dragonflies were in a myriad of colors:  blue, bright green, black and white, red-orange, glistening gold.



The park is a wildfowl refuge and includes a heron rookery.  We saw several great blue herons and egrets.  There are also many kinds of warblers in the park.  Although we didn’t see any we definitely heard them. 


Mishka, who can keep up with us on mountain bikes in New Mexico, wilted in the Virginia heat and humidity over the 4.5 mile walk.  She wanted to slow down and rest in the shade whenever she could.


Near the end of the walk we spotted this amazing sculptural tree trunk.  There are leaves and branches at the very top, forest canopy height.  The trunk looks large enough to make comfortable seating for one or two. 


Although the weather was quite warm and humid, it was a great walk with some beautiful sites. It would be fun to return and do the water trail and visit the historical site.  


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One more round is completed on the snail trail.


Yesterday we did some driving around the area.  We were on some back roads south of Petersburg and found this water area.  We weren’t able to find the name of it–don’t know if it is swamp, pond, or river–but we were amazed at the thousands of blossoming pink and white water lilies.

I took some pictures across the water and a few close ups of the water flowers near the road.  I wish I could have gotten across the water to see this mass of flowers close up.





We also drove a short distance into North Carolina and had lunch at a lovely tea room called Timeless Tea in Roanoke Rapids.  It’s a really neat place divided into separate tea rooms, including a princess tea room especially for little girls and a tea for two room.  We’ll definitely be going back there.

We also found the Roanoke Canal Trail along the Roanoke River.  There’s a very nice museum that details the lock system that used to be used to move goods up and down the river.  We didn’t have time to explore the museum and trail yesterday, but will as soon as we can.  It’s an eight mile long trail than can be walked or cycled.  Roanoke Rapids is about twenty minutes from Emporia.   

Our third stop was The Woolery in Mufreesboro, NC.  It’s known as one of the best sources in the country for spinning and weaving materials and tools.  Sadly, I forgot to check the hours.  They are only open a few Saturdays and this was not one of them.  Another place to return to.  I did peek in the windows and saw lots of great things.   

That also means I didn’t get the needles to start my shawl.  I’ll be checking out the Yarn Lounge in Richmond this afternoon.

‘Went out for my first bicycle ride in VA since our return, this morning and was amazed how much easier it was.  Elevation really does make a difference. 

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We’ve arrived in Petersburg, VA and will be staying here a while–about two weeks.

So far my blackwork snail trail has been in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.  So has the rest of my stash, incidentally.  So Sharon’s question about the possibility of stories from our stashes really does seem appropriate for my stash at least.

Yesterday was spent mostly traveling so I didn’t get to post on my blog or, more importantly, do any fiber work.

In the morning, following some Conference business our pastoral appointments were set by the Bishop during a wonderful worship service with some great music.  So now it is actually official that we are going to Emporia.

Then we got in the truck once again and headed to Fairfax in NoVA to pick up Mishka.  The drive through the Shenandoah Valley was once again beautiful.  We had hoped to visit briefly with Larissa, but that didn’t work out.

Then down to Petersburg, arriving fairly late.  Yes, it was pretty round about, but it actually did make sense.  Amazingly, the traffic on Interstate 95 was quite light.  I don’t know if that’s because it’s summer, unlikely, or because of gas prices, maybe more likely.    

No rushing to do today, so I was able to finish a section of the snail trail.  This was again a difficult pattern to do because of the color of the thread.  I thought with it being a bit darker it would be easier, but then I chose a more complex pattern so that counteracted the slightly darker color. 


Stitching blackwork really requires a lot of patience and diligence.  Working around a pattern to place the stitches correctly and to keep an order that makes the back look like the front involves a great deal of concentration and discipline.  I’m afraid I’m not keeping at that as well as I would like.  ‘Looks good on the front, not so much on the back.  Sigh.

On reflection, I think life is a lot like that.  We can make it look good on the outside, but sometimes the reality is a little more messy.     

I can’t imagine how women were able to stitch those intricately patterned collars, cuffs and other items in the sixteenth century without the help of electric lighting.  I’m having trouble finding times and places to stitch as we travel that will yield the proper light. 

I used to kind of chuckle at my mom who takes special portable lights with her whenever she travels so she can stitch.  I think I’m about ready to invest in one myself. 

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We arrived in Emporia, VA around noon, but were unable to do what we had planned, which was to empty the rental truck into a storage unit and take the truck to Petersburg to return it.

‘Turns out that all the storage rental offices in Emporia are closed on Wednesday afternoons.  Who knew?  Anyway, we managed through connections to get hooked up with the city clerk who is a member of the church I will be pastoring.

He and his wife graciously let us park our rental truck on their property for the night and he took us on a lovely drive around the area to show us where many folks in the church regularly bicycle.  A group meets every Saturday morning for a nice long, leisurely ride which ends at a local restaurant for breakfast.  ‘Sounds great.

I haven’t gotten a lot of fiber work completed during our trip as I’ve been pretty tired when we’ve stopped.  This is also the first time since our first night out that I’ve been able to get the wireless internet service to work.

So…Here are some pics of what I have been able to do:






Here’s where I am on my Branching Out scarf.  This takes a little more attention to work on, so I haven’t done much with it during the trip.











The second of Irish Heather socks for John. 

I’m actually a little farther along than this picture shows.  I’ve just finished the heel flap and am ready to do the heel turn.







I’ve completed the four center squares of my blackwork “Making Tracks” piece for the June Take It Further Challenge.










We saw lots of beautiful wildflowers along the roadsides traveling across the country.  These are along the road in Arkansas.

I wasn’t able to get any other pictures as we rode along.


We drove through the beautiful North Carolina mountains — the Great Smokey Mountains — yesterday, but much was during severe thunderstorms, so keeping the hands on the wheel was the most important thing.

Tomorrow I should be at Larissa’s in No.VA for a couple of days before our Conference in Roanoke beginning Sunday.  Hopefully, I’ll get to do some needlework this weekend.

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My question late last night as we were finishing up packing was, “How many more moves are we going to make?”  It was at that point where all the little last minute items were making themselves known, and we put together two boxes of all the miscellaneous things we didn’t know what to do with.  That’s the part I really hate, that, and the last minute cleaning.

I really do like going to new places, I just don’t like the packing and physical move part.

Because we were late finishing up I didn’t get to a cyber cafe to make a post last night, but luckily we’re staying at a motel in Weatherford, OK tonight that has high speed internet.  Yay!  John and I are both busily tapping away at our keyboards. 

I took some pictures yesterday and today leaving New Mexico.



I’ve tried several times to get some good Rio Grande Gorge pictures, and managed to get a couple yesterday.  They’re not fabulous, but if you’ve never seen the gorge it’s pretty awesome.  These are taken driving from the south into Taos.

Leaving Taos this morning we made a quick stop for John to make sure everything was ok with the trailer on which he’s pulling his truck.  I’m driving my car behind him.  We ended up getting a mid-size rental truck because the trailer we’d planned to get wasn’t quite large enough.  I couldn’t leave out my stash, could I?  


This is one of our favorite overlooks, looking out into the Mora valley.  It’s on the eastern side of the mountains from Taos.


I snapped a couple of pictures while driving–I know, very unsafe–to try to show how terribly windy it has been all day for our drive across eastern New Mexico, the Texas panhandle and southwestern Oklahoma.


You can sort of see how the trees are leaning in the wind.  But pictures don’t even come close to showing it.  We’ve had to drive between 55 and 60 mph because the trailer starts oscillating at any faster speed.  I think the wind has a lot to do with it.  We passed an area in Texas where they were harvesting hay and the blowing chaff colored the sky yellow.

Along the way we’ve seen some wind generator farms.  I actually think they’re kind of elegant looking.  Those are cows in the lower left hand corner.  Note the blowing tree on the left. 


Now to the needlework.

Yesterday I got one short break to start on the middle of “Making Tracks.”  So far I’ve stitched the upper right hand square of the middle.


It’s not very easy to see since I’m using the lightest of the thread.


I’m using this pattern from Fill-in Patterns from Sixteenth Century Blackwork Embroideries, and will also stitch the square diagonally across from this one the same way.  The other two center squares will be in the very darkest thread, but I haven’t decided on the stitch pattern yet.

I’m hoping to get a little stitching done tonight.

Tomorrow’s destination is Russellville, Arkansas.

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