One of the things we learned early in our trip was not to trust Google info about the hours any particular place was open or even whether it was open at all. This is especially true to restaurants but other shops as well.
Staffing shortages, illness (Covid, right?) and other factors contribute but, whatever the reason, we learned the hard way that, if you are counting on it, CALL before you go to make sure they are open.
Google, like many of us, is having trouble "keeping up" at this time. Just call.
And...for those hours in the car, bring a book or, better yet, don't forget your knitting!!! Need a new stitch marker or two "for the road"?? Go HERE to take a look at beautiful handmade sterling silver stitch markers!!
Food is an issue if a) you want to eat and b) you don't want to go inside to do so. Here are my top four tips:
1. Bring as much food with you as you reasonably can (and, yes, this means you will probably need an ice chest/cooler for milk, yogurt, whatever). I cannot over emphasize the wonderfulness (?) of having good food WITH YOU, in the car. Just do it.
2. Find grocery stores that will let you order online and pickup curbside - Safeway/Albertsons and Whole Foods are the ones we used but I think Kroger is with the program, too. Handy to stock up on such fragile things as bananas and, oh, all sorts of things you need
3. Find restaurants that will let you pick up curbside. Black Bear Diner was kind of our go-to when we were out west. Simple and fast and very decent food!
Warning, finding a place that will do curbside sounds easy but it is not. A couple of times we had to zip in to pick up pizza....it was too late, we were too hungry/cranky to mess around with trying to find curbsite. Nothing is perfect all the time.
4. I need to say again: bring food with you. Bring PLENTY of food with you. It will bring you peace and joy at the end of a long day of doing whatever you do on a roadtrip.
Always bring things to do on those long drives through west Texas....or eastern Montana. When I say "bring things" I always mean "bring your knitting with you"!!! And yes, you need plenty of stitch markers because might (surely you will) lose a few in the car as you go. Stitch markers?? Go here to see my oh so cool handmade sterling silver stitch markers for all your knitting needs!!
So let's just talk about this one right off the bat, shall we? During a pandemic you may not feel comfortable going inside a gas station (or anywhere else) to use the restroom. At the beginning of the trip I was determined not to go inside anywhere there were other people. Later, I relaxed a little bit and "cased the joint" before I determined whether I wanted to go inside. Mainly, If there were a significant number of people inside, I opted out.
All that to say you may find you need an alternative to going inside to use the bathroom. You're a guy? No problem, find the nearest tree, right? Girls have a bigger challenge but I am here to tell you that your good friend, Amazon, has your back! Search things like "female urinal" and you will find several to choose from.
Oh, yes and bring knitting or something else to do "on the road". Want to see sterling silver stitch markers?? Click HERE!
Here is something to think about that will make things go faster: can you go up a half size or a whole size in needles? I almost always use size US 1.5 (2.5mm) needles to knit socks. On these socks, I decided to go up to a US size 2 (2.75mm) and just see what happens. They are for my son so I think they will be fine and, with this Hawthorne yarn, it is working great so far. Just something to consider; it won't work with every yarn or every project but if it will work, it will speed up your sock knitting!
Here is a another tip for faster knitting - use great yarn. It doesn't have to be the most expensive, "indie" or hand dyed yarn. It needs to be nice & "bouncy" and plenty of commercial yarns are excellent. My top two favorite mid-priced yarns for socks are Hawthorne and Brown Sheep Sock.
The yarns I am currently using to knit socks (pictured above) are Hawthorne (the gray one) and West Yorkshire Spinners, which is also a great sturdy sock yarn just not as nice as Hawthorne, IMO.
For more tips to knit socks faster, click HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE
Another tip to knit socks (or anything, really) a little or a lot faster: scrunch up those stitches on the left needle!! If you control the stitches with your index finger, they won't fall off the needle. If they do, not the end of the world - take a deep breath and slowly and carefully pick them back up (bonus tip - keep a smaller knitting needle or big sewing needle handy to use when you need to pick up a dropped stitch or two - genius!).
Click below for more great tips to speed up your knitting!
A simple but crucial tip: check your work often. Just pause and look at what you have done for the past couple of rows. Why you ask? Well.....I was working on this very simple 1x1 ribbing for a sock cuff. I thought it was going great - what could be easier, right?? Then I just stopped and looked at what I had done. Yep, you guessed it, there were 2 purls together 2 rows back which of course threw off everything going forward from there. Sigh. I picked back the stitches one at a time and started again. The photo above is after recovery - I was too disappointed to feel like taking a photo of the actual errors.
So, fixing errors will NOT make your sock knitting faster. What will make it faster is not making (obvious) errors in the first place. Carry on & knit, fellow brave knitters.....:)
Here's another little tip - decide on the heel flap pattern you like and stick with it. Don't waste time deciding which type of flap to do - pick one & stick with it! When you are someplace you can't knit (can't imagine where that would be) you can explore the various options for heel flaps. Use your knitting time to knit those socks - not to make design/style decisions! ;)
More tips to speed up sock knitting! Two things: metal needles (especially HiyaHiya - so smooth!) and small circulars (I use 9-10"). Will you lose a few stitches on the metal needles until you get used to them? Yes, you will, but ONLY until you get used to them! Take it slow at first but know that you will get used to it! Fast, faster, fastest! GO!
Need to knit socks faster? Here are a couple more simple tips for you! (Click here to see the first tips to knit socks faster!)
Tip: pick a toe style and stick to it! The wedge toe is maybe the most popular toe shape but there are lots of others - I am currently using the rounded toe and plan to stick to it for every pair of socks I knit (Click here to see the simple sock toe pattern.)
Tip: Knit a little looser - don't fight the stitches! If your needle slips right into the stitch easily, your knitting will be faster - it's a known fact!
Need heirloom quality silver stitch markers for knitting?
Click here to see the markers (and some project bags, too!)
Always trying to knit faster? Need to get to the next beautiful yarn in your stash? YES! me, too. Here are a few tips for knitting socks a little faster!
First, pick a simple pattern. It doesn't have to be vanilla socks; it could be a simple pattern that is easy to memorize. Example? Ribbing is easy, especially if it includes a lot of knits & not many purls....like knit 5, purl 3! Easier/faster than k2,p2, right?
Second, pick a heel turn style and stick to it for all your socks. Don't waste time searching a lot of different heel turns - google "most popular heel turn" and stick to it! Boom - time saved!!! (Most popular? The French Heel - just do it & stick to it!)
More tips to come - stay tuned!
Need some beautiful last-forever stitch markers? Try these handmade ones in sterling silver!
These earrings have suddenly become quite popular in the shop! I don't know if it's the size (they are the largest I make in this earring style) or if it's the fact that they are silver AND gold - what could be better? Goes with any other jewelry, right? Perfect!
Click here to shop these earrings!
Even the desert flowers are so beautiful. We were lucky enough this year to be in the desert when there had been some rain and flowers were everywhere! We also stopped by the Petrified Forest National Park (too hot to leave the car much) and also a place called Paria near Kanab, Utah, one of our favorite places! SO HOT!!!
Such a wonderful trip to Oregon and Washington to visit family (long overdue) and sell jewelry at two of the wonderful art shows in Oregon. It was unexpectedly hot (115 degrees!) but we had a wonderful trip! More photos to follow!
Want to see the most popular earrings at the Oregon shows?? Click here!
These silver "triangle" earrings were inspired by the slot canyons in southern Utah & other places in the western, which are incredibly dramatic and beautiful. I have missed traveling so much over the past year - looking forward to visiting a few of these remarkable canyons in just a few weeks!!
Painted my nails is this SO COOL lavender color specifically to photograh these silver square earrings but then realized.....my cuticles are not "pretty enough". Bummer. Just crop it!!!
With family in town, we decided to go to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. It was wonderful as always and, as usualy, the jellyfish exhibit was one of my favorites. (Followed closely by the albino alligator and the pregnant seahorses!) Here are the earrings inspired by those oh-so-cool jellies!!
These little earrings were kind of accidental. I had a new shaping tool and was playing around with it using some large jumprings I had on hand - when this fun shape happened, I loved it so much. I textured them, added a tiny jumpring at the top (for those who don't like their earrings to "flip"....) and, Bob's your uncle - new earrings! Click here to shop these new silver earrings!
What a gorgeous day it is here in south Louisiana! We have had a TON of rain this week....I think here in Baton Rouge we had something close to 18 inches of rain. Lots of flooding of roads, homes and businesses. Not us, thankfully. Our home is in a very old neighborhood in Baton Rouge so it relatively "high" for this area!
These are brand new earrings made in the "jacks" style but I added this beautiful faceted blue opal "quartz". Some people call it quartz but I think it's more likely manmade. Whatever it is, it's really wonderful. It reflects whatever color you are wearing, sometimes blue, sometimes pink or another color!
These silver and quartz drop earrings are really hard to photograph, I think because of the crystal clear quartz. I love quartz - it has always been a favorite of mine. I was born and raised in Arkansas, which is where a lot of quartz occurs. So, I grew up with quartz all around me - it's one of the reasons I like rocks of all sorts - I guess rocks remind me of home! (Here in Louisiana, few to no rocks anywhere!)
More from the brand new (and still developing) National Parks Collection! These silver earrings were inspired by the National Parks of the U.S., especially Arches National Park in Utah! Freshwater pearls or clear quartz crystals!
Arches are one of the most important architectural discoveries in human history and they can be seen in any city in the world!
I am Laura Teague, a metal smith, knitter and sewist living and working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and traveling the western US whenever I can!