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April 2005
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June 2005

Hey Claudia!

TysonthetrainerAs Claudia requested a picture of my trainer...this is Tyson. Cute eh?  I spent my Monday morning (early) with him and he seriously kicked my ass butt.  It feels good to be able to move the body (sans pain).  This is the best money I've spent in a long time. Better than yarn.  Gasp! Blasphemy, I know, but a body that moves correctly, with all muscles 'firing', as he calls it, is a happy body.  I highly recommend a trainer to whip help you into shape.  It's the only way to play.

We did have some loads of fun and a little sorrow this weekend.  A call came on Friday night from my father's wife, Helen.  Dad is not doing well ...it's his heart.  More test will be conducted next week to find the extent of the problem and if it can be fixed easily or will involved more extensive procedures. 

Quiet times this weekend were spent in contemplation of my relationship with my father.  He is sometimes a hard man to like. One minute he is charming, full of fun and life, a wonderful teacher, and a sweet father.  The next minute, for no apparent reason, he will be explosive, petulant, frustrated and sometimes mean.  Chaos theory was alive and well in our household.  His tendency is to take everything personally, from road construction to the weather.  The lesson learned from his behavior was to not take anything you can't control personally. There is also a constant struggle, vigilance, to keep myself in balance and to stay positive. While I wouldn't call our relationship strained, it can be stressful and prone to negative moments.  He lives in Flagstaff and that makes it easier in some ways and harder in others, like now when I can't easily be there with him.  In conversation he often says life is too hard and he isn't happy to be here. When I try to turn the direction to something more positive he tells me of his old hobby, stereo photography, becoming new again, of the old pictures he's redoing and new pictures he has taken.  The gifts he has given me are the love of landscape, especially Utah's extreme and diverse beauty, love of music, learning and travel, to name just a few. At this point we don't know what the future holds, but if you're so inclined please send him good thoughts and prayers. 

Fraidycatmoxie_2We did have a great time with friends and kept busy the whole weekend.  We packed in as much as we could on Saturday and Sunday because there was threat of thunderstorms on Monday.  At 4:00 that morning we were awakened by loud thunder, lightning and a very scared dog.  Poor Moxie!  It rained off and on all day.  The promise is for sun to return today with unsettled conditions ahead.  I have loads of pictures and little time to get a proper post ready so, stay tuned for a report on our weekend shenanigans.

Check out my Weekly Zen, Nona Knits.  Her blog has posts on techniques such as short rows (all the different methods!) and one you may not find in any book, the M&M method of finishing.


The Weekend Ahead

It sure felt like Thursday on Wednesday, so you know what that meant for Thursday.  But here it is...finally Friday with a three day weekend ahead.  We have a date with some friends for breakfast on Sunday (you know where), I meet up with my personal trainer on Monday (early), and I must write an article on 18th-19th Century Schoolgirl Samplers for the EGA.  I've put it off too long.  Since starting this blog embroidery has become my 'past life'.  It is hard to get my head back into thinking about the history of embroidery which was once so fascinating to me.  Anyway, there is still time to do a hike somewhere in the lower part of the mountains (too much snow near the peaks, still), some patio time (our pool is open, too) and of course, there will be knitting. 

SallygarterstitchredSheerfabriconfrontThe front and back pieces of Caddy's Sweater (from the Knit Stitch) are complete and I'll be working on the sleeves. It's going well and it should be a comfortable sweater because of the sheer yoke and sleeves. Sally has a unique short row shaping technique for the shoulders.  She also insists that you sew the shoulder seams, instead of doing a three needle bind off, just so they will be more sturdy.  The cotton yarn makes this a heavy sweater, so that is, most likely, good advice. 

ChamomileandwashedoutsockI have put in only a  little time on the 'new extreme makeover Chamomile' and have a few inches of the new front knit.  Hopefully she'll feel the love this weekend, too.  And of course, the sock will continue its growth spurt.  It's just too much fun to play with that sunny yarn (and I have already turned the heel).

Speaking of socks, in a conversation with  Jody the other day she asked if I had knit any of the socks on the cover of Nancy Bush's next book.  I had seen the cover but not really looked at it closely, so I didn't really know.   I checked Amazon, as you can see the cover 'up close'.  Three of the four pair I knit for her are there, on the cover.  The green sock on the bottom, the center rusty orange sock and the deep pink sock at the top are socks I knit.  Maybe they were knit by me or maybe by Nancy, as she would knit one and I would knit the second while checking her pattern.  Still, it's pretty cool!  They were all neat designs and I'll knit a pair of each for myself when the book comes out.  Too bad we have to wait until September.  You're going to love it.

Everyone have a super weekend and enjoy the start of summer.  I'll see you back here on Tuesday, K?  And here is a little patch of blue sky in case you have forgotten what it looks like.

Skywasthiscolorallweekend_1


Fruition

Fruitionpeony2_1

The day after I took the picture for Sunday’s post the peony opened!  This is meant to bring a little sunshine to those of you with endless rain.  We know how it feels, as our last few months we had constant rain. After one week of beautiful blue skies theysay that Sunday and Monday may be overcast. 

A  Sock Saga

This knitter, as many a knitter does, loves to knit socks.  Some knitters have too many socks on their needles (if there is such a thing). My problem has been not enjoying any of the socks I currently have on the needles (maybe that's the same problem).  The heel on the Spearfish sock has been turned, but I've decided to set it aside for now.  The yarn is homespun with a little to much vaiation of thick and thin.  It should have become a nice piece of lace instead of a pair of socks.  The color isn’t fitting my mood just now, either. It isn’t springy or sunny. I solemnly swear to finish them later.

SpearfishwithgreenGreen yarn isn’t something you see much around here. It's not a good color for me to wear.  I bought this bright green Lorna’s Laces as I think you can (and should) knit socks in colors that you wouldn't usually wear and rarely buy.  It's my way of knitting outside the box, if you will.  Why not show off those hand knits...be proud?  My first intention was to knit the Birch Leaf  sock from A Gathering of Lace, but my book is still visiting a friend. (Grumble, grumble.)  So instead,  I tried the Lace Leaf sock from Fiber Trends.  Hey, what gives?  Only 60 stitches around? Well, that isn’t going to fit my non-Cinderella foot.  Yes, I could add a repeat, but still, I do want the Birch Leaf socks more. Sigh, foiled again. 

PeachesinsummersockDespite having 50 balls of sock yarn in my stash, on a recent trip the LYS this bright and beautiful ball of Sockatta sock yarn jumped into my hands. It was impossible to put the ball back on the shelf...it really wanted to come home with me.  The colorway reminds me of summer peaches or a summer sunset.  I had to cast on right away, as a grrls gotta see the way the colors work, right? The colors stripe evenly and there is a row of alternating red and white stitches between each color change.  It is a very cool sock yarn made of part cotton part wool.  Instead of looking through books and finding an appropriate sock, I decided to emulate Claudia and knit picot socks.  I’ll have happy sunny feet come fall and have a good time knitting with summer colors (and I might just finish them right away).


It's the Little Things

While walking around Snowbird last Friday with Smith and his niece, she made the comment that I looked very happy.  Now we all know that happiness is a state of mind, but at is this time of year and this perfect weather , it is easy to achieve that state of mind.

This feeling has several sources, not least of which is the beautiful blue color of our nearly cloudless sky. It may not last but, it will be back.
The mountains are so beautiful with their deep green foliage (usually not see in these parts) and their pure white snowy peaks.
It is not too hot or too cold to have the windows of our home open 24/7. The soft breeze feels good on the skin. The fine yellow pine tree pollen that covers many surfaces is to be ignored.
My toes have been newly pampered and painted and will be free all summer in Tevas, sandals and flip flops (sans fuzzy fur).
There are new summer clothes in my closet and fun summer sweaters on my needles (and my body).
After 5 years of upper back pain it has waned due to a bra that fits per.fect.ly. (You have no idea!)
My lower back is feeling good and I can come within an inch and a half of touching my toes, instead of a foot and a half.
Fresh fruits and veggies are starting to appear in the market in abundance and the local Farmers Market will open in a couple of weeks.
The music festival season starts soon. Knitting and music...what could be more perfect?
The Estes Park Wool Market is less than a month away.
We can eat dinner most evenings on our patio. I can knit there comfortably, too.
The best canyons in the Wasatch Range are 10 minutes flat from our front door.
Hiking will ensue shortly.
We have a long weekend coming.
Out of the corner of my eye, the ceiling fan in my bedroom reminds me of a Bogie and Bacall B&W movie.
My world is full of color.

Purpleiris_1Colorfulknitting_1Yellowiris_2

It's all good.

My Weekly Zen is Birdsong from A View of Sierra County. Make sure you check her out.


All You Need is Love...

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love...
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.

Airguitar

Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love.
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Happyrockstaraftershow
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Nbtcloseupincanyon

Nothin’ but a T
It's easy.

From MagKnits by Alison Hansel
KAL by Nona Knits
Chinese character for Love from Knitty.
Rowan Calmer color Slosh with Black intarsia
Started April 9, 2005
Finished May 19, 2005
Lyrics by Lennon and McCartney


'Nothin', Nothin' But Blue Skies' Do I See

MoutainsbigcottonwoodIt was a perfect weekend with a clear blue sky every day.  Friday afternoon Smith's niece came to town for a quick overnight visit.  What better place to take her than the mountains?  While we believe we were more impressed with their beauty than she was, it was a fine place to be.
After a trip to Snowbird to view 'all that snow' we took her to our favorite place for dinner and enjoyed a fine evening of dining on the deck. We also had delightful entertainment of an aerial display put on by (hey,  Judy!) the Broad Tailed Hummingbirds and their backup band, the Violet Green Swallows. Their trilling, screeching calls filled the air while they danced in the impressive aerial ballet above our heads.

Hummingbirdinflights_2

The next day we just had to enjoy more time al freso, so we had dinner in the Garden of Zen.  Smith cooked up a fabulous meal on his tiny, quick grill while I had  time to devote to my favorite avocation.

Pefectsummerbbq_3 Summereveningonthepatiowithmurphy_2
Yes that is NBT and you will have details...tomorrow.

BroadtailbirdSunday we couldn't stay away from the siren song of the mountains and returned to have breakfast while enjoying the ongoing aerial display.  This little guy was very possessive and territorial, aggressively chasing away any other bird from 'his' feeder.
The run off is coming down very quickly as it has been warm both day and night.  The raging torrent of water is already very impressive and the snow pack  in the higher elevations has yet to melt.  On our way to breakfast we stopped at the same spot where we had taken pictures on  May 9th.  As you can see the water is much higher, faster and the sound is even more of a roar. It is now a true raging torrent.  Peak run off is still a week or so away.

Samespotragingtorrent_1

It's hard to return to work when the days are not too warm or too cool, the sky is clear blue and the mountains so beautiful.  But there is always a new weekend ahead and the mountain trails are clearing, drying out and ready for hikers.  Let's go!


Seeing Red

Woodruffandprimrose
We live in a condo which means there is little space to grow flowers.  The one place we can plant is near our front door. For a couple of years I tried to grow perennials, but the sun just doesn't stay long enough on our northern exposure.  Planting the shade loving Woodruff saved the day...it has been doing well for years. The little white flowers are only around for a short time. (If you want to sit and pick this little darlings, you can throw them into a salad and give it a pepper taste and a pretty look.) My neighbor planted primroses and the two plants have been living in happy cohabitation. The last few days have been picture perfect and after several weeks of too much rain we are enjoying this warming trend.  What a lovely weekend we have ahead of us!

ChamomilesummertweedHelpfrommyfriendsAfter ripping Chamomile to within an inch of her life (well, I guess I did go all the way to her full demise) she took a skinny dip in the frog pond and came out ready for a reknit.  It was a two 'man' process to wind 'er up and Smith was happy to oblige (with a little help from Moxie).  Summer Tweed has no give and you might say it is a bit rustic, but I love the knit fabric.  It also grows as you wear and wash it and because of that and my weight loss, she was way too big for me. Time for an 'extreme makeover'.  She is going to be slimmed down and toned up, made into a new and better 'grrl'.

In a way, the same thing is happening to me.  My personal trainer has been putting me through hell the paces and after only 5 sessions there is progress. Mostly I can see how sad my body is...how out of shape and atrophied some of my muscles are.  So, I'm going to give you some advice...a cautionary tale, if you will.  This is not about weight, size or shape. It's about how we as knitters and bloggers (readers as well as doers) treat our bodies. 

Many of us sit at a computer for much of the day, either at work or play.  We also do quite a bit of knitting.  These preferred 'sports' of ours can have injurious effects to our bodies.  It's your back, baby.  The muscles in the front of your legs are elongated by sitting and the muscles in the back are shortened.  How are your hamstrings? Most likely they need a good stretch and the thigh muscles are very weak.

Using a keyboard and mouse can create posture problems, too. Your shoulders roll forward both while computing and knitting.  We use (or don't use) the same muscles with both endeavors. The muscles of the back can easily atrophy from inactivity as we rarely use them day to day.  This causes upper and lower back pain.  It can also cause shoulder problems like frozen shoulder (which many of my stitching and knitting friends have had).  This site has good info on the proper way to sit for both the hobbies we enjoy (or our jobs) and this About site has more info on the best exercises for back muscles. 

If you don't address the problems that might result from too little exercise you'll pay in the long run.  Ask me how I know.  You might also consider your risk for osteoporosis and the benefits of exercise. Stretching is also very important for our muscles, which helps to cut down on the risk of repetitive injuries.  The Ergocise link is always on my side bar and by doing just a few stretches everyday you will reap many benefits.  OK, I'm  off the soapbox for now...

NottherightredongartertopIt seems my knitting life is red all over!  Caddy's Sweater, from Knit Stitch, is growing nicely in Jo Sharps Soho Summer (color is Carmen, and deeper red than the photo). This yarn is a little splitty, but overall I love the way it knits and feels. The garter stitch has been easy knitting while chatting or when too tired to think.  It's going to be a nice soft, light weight summer top. When these two sweaters are finished I might just think about knitting some wool, again.  What better thing to do that knit heavy wool projects during the heat of summer?

Have a wonderful weekend and may the sun shine on your fun.


NBT Progress

Onelasttulip_1Mountainspledoronwednesday_1 I finally had a few minutes to walk around and find some flowers for Chelsea.  This is the last of the tulips.  The lilacs are gone and the Iris have yet to bloom, unless you're in the low lands where Anne lives.  She already has an incredible iris!  Yesterday we had the most beautiful day. All that snow in the mountains will bemelting and finding its way to the GSL in the next couple of weeks.  After seeing that view during the last few years of drought it is easy to tell there is a hell of a lot of snow to come down. 

ChinesenbttopProgress in the process of knitting continues. Intarsia isn’t a favorite technique of mine but I thought I could ‘bite the bullet’ and do the little bit needed for the NBT. My choice of design to adorn the front was the Chinese character for Love from the recent Knitty.  It’s working up beautifully!  It was been a challenge, at times, to make sure the holes were plugged where the colors changed. The few problems that did occur were easily fixed.  (I just sewed up the damn holes from the back. No one will ever know!)

This is my first time knitting with Rowan Calmer and it took some getting used to as there is some stretch to it.  Now I'm going to want all my cotton to have this 'give'. The pattern  might be a bit 'clingier' than I’m used to but I do think it will look fine. At least I keep telling myself that, having learned my lesson with Chamomile and other past knits.  I must be conscious of size and fit and so far NBT is looking good...feeling good.  If you never see it again…you’ll know it didn’t work out as I imagined.

There will be a couple of balls of Calmer left over, but instead of sticking them back into the stash I can make socks like Christina’s.

I added La’s Stashbuster button to my blog as the last few knits have come directly from MY STASH!  The Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere for the Eyelet Cardi, handspun yarn for the Spearfish Sock, Jo Sharp Soho Summer for the Garter top (pictures tomorrow), purple Saucyfor the Chickami, gray Zephyr for the languishing Faroese Shawl and the Calmer ALL came from my, now dwindling, stash.  Stashbusting is a 'good thing'.

Cara has created some of the most delightful, sheepiest sheep cards ever.  You can help her raise money for a Knitting Basket with your purchase.