Felt, fever and frustrating flu!

Apologies for not writing sooner my promised post about Yosemite, Castle Air Museum and our wonderful whale watching trip but since arriving back home on Saturday evening I have been absolutely felled with some virus.  Carmen has been brilliant, dispensing gorgeous chicken soup and amazing seafood dishes (my appetite has not been affected luckily but does seem pretty amazing!) while we have been managing to get in a little bit of felting together during my upright hours!! When Alan and I were on our second of three flights back to Ireland I started to feel a bit nauseous and by Monday morning was obviously running a temperature.  No sleep at all on Monday night (actually had to get up at three am as I couldn’t stand it any longer in bed sniffling and sweating) and still feeling lousy at the moment but I really feel the need to conclude my American saga and then move on to the main business of felting from this moment forth.  Forgive me for the now abbreviated version of our final few days but suffice to say that Yosemite is gorgeous but unfortunately the weekend that we arrived was the scheduled annual clean up coupled with a National Parks free admission day so if you think that you can imagine the crowds, well think again.  Luckily we spent our first day and a half in the Tuolumne Meadows area and had a brilliant walk up Lembert Dome but once we travelled to the valley area of the park it was absolute mayhem.  Thousands of people were jammed into the whole area and because the park is actually very small parking was a total no no.  We couldn’t get within a couple of miles of the trailhead that we wanted to hike so eventually we decided to have a picnic (near the first spot we found to park) and then walked up the short trail to see where Lower Yosemite Falls falls in the Spring.  Both the upper and the lower falls dry out during the summer period so by Autumn the whole system is totally dry but impressive none the less.  As no accommodation was available anywhere near the valley area we decided to cut our losses and head across to Monterey a day or two earlier than planned.  We broke our journey in Merced (temperature of 100 degrees and rising!) and the following morning took a detour to the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, an interesting stop well worth at least 3 or 4 hours of anyones time.  The following morning we experienced one of the definite highlights of our trip, a 5 hour whale watching experience where we were lucky enough to observe about 6 families of killer whales (offshore variety), 2 humpback whales, risso’s dolphins and porpoises at close quarters.  To say that these creatures are amazing would be a total understatement, our trip organised by marine biologist Nancy Black’s company Monterey Bay Whale Watch was the absolute business.  That pretty much wraps up our American adventure, we had a brilliant time, loved the scenery, wildlife and people that we met (not necessarily in that order!) and would love to go back sooner rather than later.  I feel a proper felting trip in the running!  Anyway, off now for a long hot bath, a couple more Excedrin Plus and hopefully a slightly more restful night of sleep.  Next post will be only about felting, promise!


5 thoughts on “Felt, fever and frustrating flu!

  1. Good morning Nicola,

    I’m so sorry that you took a virus home as the final souvenir of your trip. I hope that by the time you read this you’re feeling better, and also that you were able to get a good night’s rest. I’ll bet on top of having that virus, that you’re just totally exhausted from all of your travels. Rest up this weekend and get better soon (Hooray for Carmen and her chicken soup…What would we do without friends?).


  2. This has happened to me too when we travel, on long flights from Europe home. I think because I am tired from the trip, the “canned air” on the plane, if one person is sick we cannot get away from the germs………..and we get ‘the bug’ or whatever is being passed around on the plane. That does not help how you feel now, hopefully better. Have enjoyed your notes on your USA trip. Sorry you hit Yosemite when there were so many people………it is a wondeful place to be.

    Keep with the chicken soup, rest and feel better. Will definitely look forward to your felting news.

  3. I would say your trip to the states was a lovely adventure and you picked a nice section to visit, what part of the country did you see on your FIRST trip, here?

    Cold temp have arrived in Kansas – 29F last night, so I am thinking about hats. I just spent several hours looking for a beret and or a kangol felting pattern, requiring no stitching. In the heat of the summer months I found one and thought it was bookmarked. HA.
    Do you have any patterns or happen to know of any online?

  4. Hi Deb,

    You may already have your answer to this, but just in case Nicola is still feeling poorly, wanted to send you some directions for a beret…Super easy to make and won’t take you anytime to whip one up…And absolutely no sewing…Yippee!

    My instructions call for a 15″ (in diameter) resist. I just cut one out of heavy bubble wrap, but it might be better if you have the heavier wood floor underlayment. I think that’s what a lot of people use, but either will work.

    I lay down my bamboo window covering to roll everything up and then over the top of this I lay out 3 layers of the wool for the bottom (horizontally, vertically, horizontally)…Making this a little larger than the resist so that you’ll have fiber to fold over the resist). Then I wet this down. Next, place the plastic resist down. Then wrap your bottom layer fibers over the edges of the resist. Next, place 3 more layers over the top of the resist (just like you did for the bottom). Wet this side. Cover with an old nylon or polyester curtain. I then get my hands soapy and rub gently, just to set everything, and then I begin to wrap it all up and roll for a bit, then unroll, check to see how things are going, straighten out any creases, etc. When things seem to be holding together fairly well, I flip it over, and again roll. Before the felt starts to harden too much, I cut a 5″ diameter hole through just one side of the felt (which will be the head opening), and remove the resist. I then continue with the felting/fulling process until everything is shrunk to your size. Try it on from time to time throughout the process. Rinse and dry and you’re ready for the elements. Also, if you want to put a design on your beret, do that during the initial layout. Let me know if this doesn’t make sense…I’m trying to hurry so I can go pick my son up from school, but just wanted to whip this off first.

    Stay warm…It’s getting chilly here, too, and I made a beret last week…We’re thinking along the same lines:-)

    Take care,

  5. Hi Deb, I think that Dawn seems to have everything covered, thanks Dawn! The one piece of advice that I can add is that regardless of how big you decide you want the finished diameter of your beret to be don’t make the opening too big, you can stretch and manipulate it into shape. To answer your question about Alan and my previous trips together to the States our first road trip started fom LA and took in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and back to LA while our second started from Denver and took in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. We love exploring your National Parks and Monuments as well as going off the beaten track where few European tourists travel in the normal course of a holiday. For this reason we always take a car (I drive!) and have stayed in many wonderful and sometimes strange places along the way!

Please comment if you feel like it, I love the interactive nature of my blog!

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