Sunday, August 28, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

My hometown is Springfield, Illinois; I left for California when I was about twenty.  Every year or two I try to go for a visit. It is a pleasure to see my family, as they are a truly a wonderful bunch of people, and old friends welcome me back.
The state of Illinois as represented in cheese at the Illinois State Fair. 

This year I had 11 days including travel each way and no particular plan. My schedule filled in as soon as I hit Illinois dirt. What a great trip! I got to spend quality time with each of my family members, see some places that I had not previously, gaze upon miles of corn fields and found time to weave in between activities.

 I packed my Ashford Inklette in it's cute little suitcase and took it on the plane as carry-on luggage. When they told me that the overhead compartments were full, and I'd have to check it, I told them it contained something fragile. They found a spot for it in First Class!  Not wanting to pack a lot of yarn along, I had sorted through the stash of crochet cottons and grabbed everything in a ball smaller than a golf ball. Two sandwich baggies full of color bits provided what I needed to work on a new product, a utility bracelet.
Weaving was a great way to stay grounded while traveling. A regular daily activity mixed in between the assorted  places I visited, both new and familiar. My goal for the vacation: 33 bracelets. I finished about 46.

Finished the weaving, that is. Each piece should provide 4-6 limited edition bracelets. I'll get them stitched up and show you what my plans are for them a little bit later.

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from my travels.
Clayville Historical Site, where I was first introduced to inkle weaving.
This "tavern" building was erected in 1824 from brick produced on site from the local clay.
The site has recently undergone some restoration and is looking beautiful! 

These two photos were taken at Rockome Gardens in Arcola, IL, a truly unique sort of place.
A couple with a dream of having the largest flower garden in Douglas County purchased this 208 acre farm and  chose to devote 7 acres to flower gardens, rock formations and their summer cottage.  Work toward development of the gardens began in 1937.  When work at his company was slow do to the war and the depression, the owner, instead of letting his workers become unemployed, sent them out to construct rock formations and fences on his property.
These are many and peculiarly entertaining. After some time, they opened it to the public at no charge, saying "It is merely our donation to your happiness to make us both forget war, strife, jealousy, death and destruction". 
Arcola is in the heart of the Illinois Amish community, and proved an interesting place to visit.
I brought home some corn cob jelly and other culinary delights. 

One brother, one sister and I set off for a short trip to Southern Illinois to visit Giant City State Park, which I've been wanting to see since I was a teenager. It provided two days worth of hiking on lush green forested trails with interesting rock formations. I highly recommend it. If you go, take a couple of family comedians with you to enhance your experience. I did! 

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