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November 2005
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January 2006

Jaystalking

Have you seen any of Cara's Jaywalker Updates ? Grrl, there are tons of knitters making this sock!  Cara has made 10 socks! 5 pair..since mid-October. Not only do her socks ROCK, but she does, too!

WhatihadforlunchMy JWs have grown very little.  Tuesday after a hiatus of...well, three weeks, I reaquianted myself with them, again. This is what I had for lunch. It felt so good to be knitting a sock while listening to music.  I missed my knitting over the Holiday as we were just too busy with family. This weekend we'll make up for it, however.

I don't sleep in even when given the chance, so I'll be up early today, knitting, sipping some coffee and having a treat before we decide just what we want to do (and I might check a blog or two). 

Ah, it's going to be a nice, relaxing weekend.  Enjoy yours!!


Nearing the End

It's been fun to read about the Holiday fun, surprises and gifts others have received.  Smith made sure there will be more stash enhancement in my future, a nice buzz from caffeine on my way to work (I love local drive through coffee places) and car wash coupons so there can be no excuse for my car to remain dirty. (He did this to make it easy for me to stop and wash so he doesn't have to for me.)  To insure maximum entertainment while knitting, several KnitCast's have been downloaded to my new iPod and a wide variety of music is also ready to accompany my trips to the gym...just so I'll stay on the treadmill a bit longer.

The weather dolts people now say the expected cold front will stay well north of us. Over the next week precipitation will come in the way of valley rain and tons of good powdery snow in the mountains, while the unseasonable warmth continues. You can't complain about weather like this, really, and I now wish I'd learned to ski.  Skiing conditions have been near perfect since Monday. Maybe I'll head back to the ice rink.

Bluefunnelneckbysallydec05Rosarie seems to be the runaway favorite in yesterdays poll,at least so far.  Julia, Rachel H, and others, suggested something easy for the first project of the year. That's how I'm ending 2005, however, with Sally's Funnel Neck Sweater from her new book 'Color'. This sweater was started the first of December as an easy way to knit through the Holiday frenzy.  Even with less time to knit the project has grown and it has been a nice way to relax.  Not much thinking or fiddling is necessary because there is little shaping and no patterned stitches. 

Funnel is the first time I've knit with Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool and I find it wonderful!  The fabric created has a nice hand, it is soft and easy to knit, and the color is interesting and beautiful.  The finished pieces don't grow when blocked (yay!), but you can manipulate the gauge a bit if need be. It's a solid, soft fabric and this sweater will be one that can be worn for 3 seasons. It should be finished, or nearly so, this weekend.

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Smith and I have a four day weekend starting tomorrow.  There will be lots and lots of knitting and a trip or two into the mountains. I'm so-o-o ready!!


New Beginnings

The house is quiet, company is gone and we have a four day weekend starting Friday.  Everything at the office is finished up until after the first of the year.  The weather has been warm and beautiful and the little bit of  rain that came in Monday night didn't dampen our spirits.  Valley snow is expected tomorrow.  It all looks good from here.

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New Years Day is not only the trifecta holiday of Chanukah, New Years and a birthday for Cara, it's a time to start new knitting...new, wonderful, special day knitting.  I'm trying to decide what my special something should be. 

Mygloriousglorianora_1Kim is starting a Stash-A-Long which could help with two possibilities that have been in my stash for TOO long, Gloria and Rosarie. Gloria has been sitting on top of my stash bins for the last couple of months, with intent...intent that has not come to fruition (color on the right). She would be nice to wear before this winter is over.  Rosaire was ordered from Virtual Yarns a long, long time ago. When I asked about yarn the amounts needed to make it a bit longer, (this 6 foot body of mine requires a couple of inches be added to nearly all sweaters), customer service said that Jade Starmore(!) would rewrite the pattern so the buttonholes would be placed in the right spots. Every pattern from Jade and Alice are autographed, but this was an added bonus to have Jade's help.

Another project that is calling me is the Bi-Colored Cable Cardigan by Annie Modesitt from the Winter 2005 IK.  I ordered the yarn  the day all the Stitch 'n Bitch grrls went shopping at the Wool Cabin and it should be in by the 1st. Instead of joining the Crossed in Translation KAL, I could be a bi-colored crosser.

All three projects are on the slate for 2006 knitting but, which would be more fun, most rewarding and best way to start the New Year? Do I jump in with both feet and knit with colors bright and fair, should I knit a simply glorious sweater, or cross my cables and hope to play, eh?  It is hard to decide since I like them all so much and know they will all be knit the coming year.

Here is a poll so you can help me decide.  I may just wake up January 1st and see which project speaks the loudest but, I'd still like your input.

Not much knitting was accomplished over the Christmas Holiday, as we had too many other things going on.   This weekend is quiet and a photo shoot is scheduled in the canyon, weather permitting, which will show progress has been made on Seaweed.  Tomorrow I'll put together a post to show you how Sally's Funnel Neck sweater is progressing, too.


A Fun and Fabulous Day

Snowingatbrightonin1226_1Christmas Day was full of family fun, mostly food, drink and lots of chat.  Monday was even more fun as we left the house and headed out to our favorite spot with Neena, her DH Dongeek and Smith's brother and sister-in-law. It was raining in the lower areas of the canyon, but it turned to light snow as we went up in elevation.  As we usually do after breakfast, we headed up to Brighton to view the peaks and see how many skiers were on the mountain. It was a treacherous drive as the road was snow packed with ice underneath and very slippery.  It was 4x4 only weather and many cars were unprepared.  The snow was flying, no peaks in sight, and the skiers were in abundance! 

After breakfast Neena and Don headed off on their Eastern Utah, Northern Arizona road trip (check her blog next week for fabulous pictures), while the rest of us filled the day with a visit to Miss Emilie's (we finally found her home long enough to gift the socks) and a walk around downtown SLC. It was warm and cloudy but dry in the valley, quite different from the morning in the canyon. 

IwishicouldskateoniceKarlaandiontheiceatgalivanTowards the end of the day we made our way to the downtown plaza to await the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah. Rabbi Zipple had rented the ice arena for everyone to enjoy a little skating time before the ceremony. I haven't been on skates since the age of eight but, Karla and I gave it the ol' college try. Smith and his brother were too chicken shit busy to come out and join us. After only 20 minutes I could at least keep my balance but, dare not let go of the railing.  It would have only taken me about 10 more hours to find my 'ice legs' and make it around the rink.  The lighting took place inside a warm and cozy space with the lights outside shining through the windows.  It was a very nice way to end our day.

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New Year is coming and a long for day weekend that I hope will be full of knitting!  Where did I leave my knitting project?


And So This Is Christmas

A very Merry day to you all.  The sky was blue and beautiful yesterday and the temperatures more like March.  Today is cloudy, as tomorrows storm approaches, but it is still beautiful and warm. 

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It has been enjoyable the last couple of days to read some of my favorite bloggers and share their season of joy.

Kim has a link to the best Christmas laugh of the year.

Cara is (still) counting the days to January One.

Liz shares a childhood memory and enjoys a simple Christmas.

Carole made cookies galore!

Sara* starts a new adventure and a new blog.

Cassie amazingly finished all her Christmas knitting.

Peace and happiness be yours for this day and always.


Heading into the Holidays

This meme comes at the right time as it gives me a chance to say how much I enjoy having a blog, reading your blogs and having friends in Blogland.

Grumperina’s meme came to my attention at Pumpkinmama's.  Few of my 'real life' friends knew about this blog when I first started. Few still do, really.  As time has passed it has been more comfortable to share my blog with a handful of friends.  Many read daily, like Camille and Jana.  Many people I've told just don’t get it and don't bother to visit. 'It's about knitting? Oh, well then...' A few other friends check infrequently. I’m not very private on this blog and with Google search the blog surely could be found.  Neena is the only family member who knows and reads regularly, oh and Smith reads daily, too.  Not a single co-worker knows, but they do all enjoy ogling my knits when I show them off. My boss is very excited about my socks and he checks daily to see what color I'm wearing.

I'm honored that anyone reads my blog.  Blogging is mostly about the people you meet in Blogland, those with and without blogs. I love the interaction, the chance to meet people from all over the world, other knitters with the same passion as mine.  It is a delight to share my knitting life with so many.

This land of Utah, with which I have had a love hate relationship most of my adult life, I now see through different eyes. To share the beauty that is around me, with people who may never see it in person, is a joy.  This can be a peculiar place but, the landscape is constant and beautiful.  It helps me keep a better perspective on this 'Pretty, Great State' (a silly old State motto). By having a blog I have met many friends here in Salt Lake City and have started a few of them on the road to blogging, too.  The Stitch 'n Bitch grrls are the highlight of  the week and we all love Tuesday nights. Knitting has become an even bigger part of my life and friendships have expanded in wonderful ways because of this blog.

Smith has family arriving on Christmas Day and Neena and her Dongeek will arrive, too.  It is the first time we'll have both sides of our families together and we'll be very busy. I may not have time to do much blogging until later next week but, I will do my best to stay in touch.

Thank you to all of you who have made life richer, more vibrant, and who enjoy this landscape along with my knitting.  May you have the best Holiday Season ever!

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Love, joy and peace to you all!


A Beautiful Day

Yesterday morning while knitting, I watch the first morning light creep into the sky.  The color changed from pale gray to pale blue with the dawns early light, and the mountains from silhouettes to 3D.  There was no hint of pink in the sky, just the growing light of the first day of winter. It was such a peaceful time as the longest night faded away.

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The day was very warm and it was nice to walk around in a light jacket. The expected clouds never materialized, except as a perfect backdrop for the mountains.
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It was a perfect Solstice Day and stayed that way until the very end.

Like Claudia, baking is not my forte, but I took some time last night to make a batch of Liz's Pumpkin Cookies. I had everything on hand, or so I thought, but a trip to the cupboard for oil proved fruitless.  The dry ingredients were mixed and ready, the egg mixture awaited the next step.  Only a trip to the grocery (thank goddess it is a short distance away) would do. 

Let's go back to Monday when my Better Pal emailed to say a package was on its way and should arrived  Friday, just in time for the Holiday weekend.  In the mailbox on Wednesday was a card from the mail carrier telling me a package would wait for me at the Post Office the next day. I decided to call in late for work and be the first person in line to pick it up the next morning.

MybetterpalpackagewithtreeAs I made my way back from the quick trip to the gorcery what to my wondering eyes should appear?  The Mail Carrier!!  He was taking a break in his usual spot so I stopped to ask if the package was still aboard.  He followed me the short distance home, picked up the card, and handed me a package wrapped in brown paper with a lovely Christmas Tree drawn near my name! See the groceries still in the bag? I had to open it before returning to the cookies!

Goodiesgoodiesgoodies

Look what was inside! Xtremely yummy smelling coffee (for Christmas morning!)  Treats for my  fuzzy faced boys...Manos in a gorgeous red...a Monet calender in the perfect size to fit above my desk, AND beautiful wooden needles that feel sooo good. As if that wasn't enough, there is hand dyed Blue Face Leicester Aran from the Fleece Artist and Drops Alpaca in the most beautiful blue/purple that will, that MUST, become a nice big scarf to wrap up in when it is super cold. I could hardly stand the excitement of receiving such a lovely package.  Not one of the items is available in my area, and in fact, I have never heard of anything except the Manos.  Better Pal you are truly a fabulous pal.

After fondling, ogling and sighing over my luck at such a wonderful package, I returned to the task at hand. Smith isn't too keen on cranberries so I'll put in just a few (for me) and few more chocolate chips for him. Everything went together quickly and the cookies were soon in the oven.  They baked up into the most beautiful color and tasted so very good.  It has been years since I spent time baking up goodies at this time of year and this was such a positive experience I might make more. Santa would surely love a batch!

Yummycookesbylizforsmithandmeohandsanta

Thank you Liz. You can see I finally did it!


Light

Chanukahlights Xmas1acandlesKwanzaababs

Today is the shortest day of the year.  Is it a coincidence that many of the winter Holidays are celebrated with lights and/or candles?  The coldest and darkest days of winter are ahead but, every single day will now be a little longer. The light is slowly returning to the northern hemisphere and with it faith is renewed in the return of spring.

The celebration of the solstice has evolved from ancient times to today through many cultures and religions.  Christmas lights adorn the inside and outside of many homes and festively cover the bit of nature also brought in, the Christmas tree. Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights, each day is celebrated with the lighting of a candle and Kwanzaa is celebrated in the same way.  Each tradition and culture celebrates this time in different and interesting ways. Light, feasting, sharing and blessings are common to many.

In the frenzy of this Holiday season it is easy to forget the message of our traditions.  Is there joy in your heart, and good will towards all you meet, as you rush through the preparations of your tradition?

There is a deity in every soul.  The Buddha is in everyone.  The solstice reminds us to keep the faith that winter will end, spring will come again, and earth will reawaken and be renewed. May the light of this season remind us of our belief that each and every person as worthy of respect.  May it remind us to respect all cultural and religious traditions and, most of all, may it remind us that all people can live in peace.  It is a time to share love, joy and light with all the souls with whom we come in contact. 

Keep this light in your heart and light the way for all.


Growing Knits

We did enjoy our short lived winter wonderland. It is doubtful the mountains or blue sky will be visible much this week as warmer temperatures have brought rain. All the valley snow maybe washed away and our white Christmas with it.  The mountain resorts have received tons of the nice white powder, however...so it's all good.

Taking time to knit a hat this weekend didn't stop the other knits from growing a bit.  Sunday was the day of catch up time around the house and laundry was the main problem.  Laundry and knitting go hand in hand, as you should take a break every half hour or so while knitting.  The washer takes a little less time than that to cycle.  Knit...change clothes from washer to dryer...knit, fold clothes in dryer...transfer more clothes to dryer, fill washer...go back to knitting. A potty break, time to grab a snack, and a bit of stretching were also included in the brief interludes between cycles. Now all my socks and hand knit sweaters are clean and ready to help me celebrate. It was a very nice way to spend a day.

Seaweedinthesnowasitgrows_1The two main knit squeezes the past week have been Seaweed Wrap and Sally's Funnel Neck sweater.  I am enjoying SW almost as much as I did Hanging Vines (the patterns are very similar), and while the yarn isn't as wonderful as Judy's, it will be the perfect wrap for cold winter days.  The pattern is easily remembered so progress is made smoothly and quickly.

The Funnel Neck Sweater is relaxing, super easy knitting. It is Stockinette stitch for 10" or so, then a few decreases for the armscye and another 8" of SS.  FunnelsweaterinthesnowElsebeth Lavold's Silk/Wool is marvelous yarn.  I love the hand and sheen of the knit fabric and the beauty of the color, which is slightly mottled shades of blue.  The first piece has now been blocked and the second, identical one started.  I may have a new sweater for New Years (but there is no pressure).

Since the Christmas frenzy doesn't visit us, I've been thinking about what would be the best project to start 2006 off in the right way.  Don't you think that something new must be started on January 1st?  Something different, wonderful and exciting? (Something besides a Jaywalker sock, Cara?)  It should be something to ring in the new year in in a positive and happy way.  I think I'll go stash diving.


Deja Vu All Over Again

It was quite a surprise to wake up last Friday morning, check Blogland, and feel like you were living the movie Ground Hog Day. What? It's December 9th all over again!?  Where did the last week go? And where are all my grrlfriends who have Typepad blogs? Where is Typepad for that matter? I did miss visiting all my favorite grrls, but in a way it was liberating, while disconcerting.

It was also amazing to me that by Sunday morning all had been repaired, republished and restored.  That was a miracle to this non-geek. If it had to happen the timing was good, as Blogland seems pretty quiet anyway, with everyone working hard to be ready for Christmas. Technology ain't perfect, but it is what we have at this time and it is great to see things back to normal...as normal as things can be one week before the big Holiday season.

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This is what the last week has looked like around here (when we could see the mountains at all). Sandy asked what my sky looked like and here it is, gray and dreary.  No blue, hazy too, and not enough snow to cover the ground. On Sunday morning the weather people said it wouldn't snow much until after Christmas. By early afternoon it was snowing and the tune had changed to warmer temperatures (read lifting inversion!), rain and snow the rest of the week and a very likely white Christmas!  The best part is the resorts have several inches of perfect Utah snow stacking up. Warmer, chance of blue skies, no haze and new snow...winter conditions are now looking up.

Last week was full of Christmas parties including one for the Salt Lake Knitters Guild. Friday we had a delightful night out with dear friends and Saturday night was a special party with grrlfriends, old and new. This week is quiet and should afford more time to relax and ready for the downward slide toward 2006. Smith and I have taken a big step back from the Holiday frenzy. We give few gifts and make time to enjoy friends in festive ways and not by exchanging gifts. The same is true in our family and we only give to the young families who struggle to make ends meet. It has been liberating and we have much more fun with people when there is no gift expectation.

I did get some knitting done here and there during the last week and found it was the best way to relax.  My boss gave me an iPod (the only thing on my wish list), so what do you do for a guy you gives you the only material thing desire?  Knit him a hat of course!  I can't show it to you as it was a test knit for someone, but he's going to love it.  I should be able to read a book while knitting now and spend more time on the treadmill at the gym, too. 

During the week there will be more of an update on what's on the needles. It just feels good to be back and to feel connected to this community once again.

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If you click on this picture, move it to the right of the other, you'll see our full view. Maybe later this week I can catch a picture of the white mountains and blue sky.