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December 2005
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February 2006

Despite What You Think....

..there is plenty of counterculture in Utah and even more caffeine.

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C is for - Counterculture with Coffee at Caffé Expresso, one of my favorite local drive through coffee spots. There is always someone happy and colorful to greet you at the window with your favorite coffee vice.

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The coffee drive through nearest my house isn't very good, so rather than patronize it (I only have a latte once a week or so), I backtrack a bit to the another fabulous place, Java Joe's.
Javajoesverygoodcoffee
We do have the 'big guys' in abundance, including several grocery stores, but the local spots have much better coffee drinks and I do believe in the 'buy local' campaign. Fortunately there are many great local coffee spots from which to choose, including Beans and Brew, Salt Lake Roasting Company, Brew'D Awaking, and Daily Brews (to name a few).

C is also for Camaraderie, too!

JitterbugsignJitterbugcafeThe Stitch 'n Bitch gang meets in the Jitterbug Coffee Hop.  Bruce has good sandwiches, a nice selection of drinks other than coffee, and a great atmosphere. It sits on a main thoroughfare, is centrally located, and has easy freeway access, so many people can join us from all over the Wasatch. It is one of the few places large enough for our group and it feels like a home away from home.

We have also started to meet on Sunday afternoons at a new place, Highland Perk.  It's much smaller (and so is the Sunday group), but has enough room that we're comfortable.  The food and coffee are also excellent.
Highlandperkoursundaysnbspot

C is for Katherine's (she spelled her name 'wrong'!) Colorful shoes, which she wore on Sunday.  I fell in love with them.

Katherinescolorfulshoes

Dorothy, eat your heart out.


Good Things

As in many places in the country, our winter weather has been warmer than normal this year but, this past week true winter has returned to Utah.  At our home on the east side of the valley we had a couple inches of very wet snow on Friday. Saturday was just gray and cloudy, with the threat of snow that never came to fruition.

That doesn't mean it wasn't a good weekend! The snowfall was deep and powdery in the mountains, which is always a very good thing, as good snow means tourists (our main industry) and water to drink. (Mountain snow made for unsafe travel and we stayed home on Sunday). Snowbird has had 130" this month and 24" the last couple of days and you won't believe the pictures (check their web page) of skiers enjoying the "Best Snow on Earth".

Friday I ran by the Post Office to pick up what I knew was a package from my Better Pal.  It was all I could do to wait until my arrival home to open it up.  Inside were many wonderful good things.  The red yarn in the mug is a ball of sock yarn (Sheepjes Invicta Extra) and the ball of blue rag style yarn (Confetti) is, too! I love both colors and have not seen the brand names before (btw-there were two balls of each). This one of the fun things about having a BP in a different country.
Bpspecialpackageofyarnandgoodies
There is a skein of Hip-Hop in colors that remind my BP of the colors of Utah and I think she's right!  The mug has to be my favorite part of the gift. I love wonderful mugs and have 3-4 that I use regularly.  The KickAss Coffee is strong and robust and we enjoyed it this weekend. Each weekend morning we enjoy a sweet treat and coffee in bed before starting the day. Good coffee will make it that much more special.  There was also an 'XMan 3' ball cap included, which Smith snatch right away, and a tube of "Ice Cream Sandwich" lip balm.  I have been eating it off my lips all weekend, yum!  Thank you BP for another wonderful package and for spoiling me (too) rotten.

Saturday afternoon I made my first trip to the new yarn and spinning shop in town, Three Wishes. When I walked in, local fiber artist Judy Jackson recognized me and introduced herself. Thank you Judy, and all the ladies in the shop, for making me feel very welcome. Judy has been instrumental in  putting together a local Fiber Festival over Labor Day weekend.  The location is very near my home at Wheeler Farm. This will be a real FF and not like the Faux Festival from last year. Hurrah! Another good thing! And can you stand one more good thing? I signed up for a spindle spinning class on February 11th. Don't worry, Kim, my StashAlong goal is intact, as only a BP gift was purchased above the price of the class. (It was difficult, however as the shop is full of wonderful fiber and yarns.)

Saturday night we headed out to Anne and D's to meet Digger and Happy before our dinner out. In the 20 or so minutes it took to drive from our place to theirs the weather changed drastically. Within a mile of their place the roads were a sheet of ice and the snow was whipped into fog like clouds by high winds. At least 6" of snow covered the yard with more coming down hard and fast.

AnnecheckinganunhappyhappyTo make matters worse, Happy was unhappy and D. was worried about her.  Anne has learned so much about caring for the horses in the last few months and sheTwocutebunniesatannes decided it was likely a tummy ache. Walking Happy around the pasture  (in the driving snow) seemed to help as she came back and started to eat nibbles of straw. Smith enjoyed a chat with Digger while D. and Anne were busy with Happy and I scratched the bunnies behind the ears. We were safe from the driving snow inside the barn but it was very cold.  Digger and Happy both had very furry coats and so did the bunnies.

Smithwithdiggerinthebarn

Dinner with Anne and D. was wonderful as we had time to chat, talk about (their) adjusting to life in Utah and other important things before D.'s worry took over and we all headed home. The good news is that Happy is doing better.

Sunday I met up with a few Stitch 'n Bitch buddies at our new hangout and on the way home the sky started to clear and the clouds lifted from the mountains.  It was a gorgeous sight to see Mt. Olympus with the sun on it's snow crusted face. 

Mountolyinthesunonsunday

Beautifulboyzaftergrooming_1Another good thing was to see the boyz beautifully clean and smelling good run to meet me.  It was a great weekend full of many good things.


Star*More

Do you remember the first time you heard the name Alice Starmore?  I'm not sure I do but, it was surely at the Wooly West.  At one time Nancy carried several of Alice's yarns and pattern books.  About 1995 I started hanging out at Nancy's shop on a regular basis.  She offered classes, had a wonderful selection of yummy yarns and all the other things a good knitter needed as supplies and inspiration.  I bought my first Alice Starmore book from Nancy, as something to aspire to, rather than something to 'knit now'.  The hobby of needlework took precedence during my leisure time in the 1990s.  I’m not sure which book was first but, I bought most of them as they were published.  When someone said she wouldn’t be publishing any longer I bought all the books available that I didn’t have.  Most of these books can command very high prices today and I’m glad my aspirations paid of in some form.

At first it was AS's Aran designs that I loved but, Fair Isle and the color blending she did soon took over my imagination.  In 2003 I decided to jump into a FI sweater with both feet.  At this point Wooly West had been sold and turned into Black Sheep but, the fabulous range of classes were still available.  I signed up for a class call 'Fair Isle sweater from start to finish', took my color inspiration from Alice and designed my own sweater.  It was so much fun to knit and the following year I knit a vest. That's about the time I started blogging, too.

The long and short of this is that I had never knit an Alice Starmore design, despite owning her books for over 10 years.  Then someone told our Guild about Virtual Yarns, shared her experience of meeting Alice and buying the beautiful Birdsfoot Scarf, while on a knitting tour of Scotland.  I looked up the web site the next day and ordered the kit.  The scarf was on my needles as soon as the kit arrived with an autographed pattern.

BeautifulofseaweedinthesnowandsunNearly two years ago, shortly after I started to blog, I ordered Seaweed and Rosarie.  The only reason I didn't start one or the other right away is that Blogland has swayed my attention more than once with Knit Alongs or 'new' patterns.  Seaweed has been in my knitting basket this last few months and I so enjoy knitting the beautiful lace with the tweedy, rich wool.  While I had already thought of knitting Rosarie after the first of the year, it was Kim's StashALong that sealed the deal.  Rosarie is a Jade Starmore design and she has learned how to blend color as well as her mother. Rosarie has been my main project this January and is now just past the third repeat and up to the armscyes. Every stitch is a pleasure as the colors change and the beautiful pattern emerges.

Roserierepeatnumb3

When I ordered Rosarie I asked how much more yarn I needed to lengthen the design.  I was told that Jade wanted to write an addendum for me so the pattern would work out properly.  Each pattern comes autographed by Jade or Alice anyway but, to have Jade write the changes and then sign it…'For Margene, with my best wishes, Jade' was such a thrill. Pleasantly I am on target with a repeat a week. One and a half repeats to go until the body is finished.

Rosesareredwithblueandalittlegreenforyou_1

More quality time is expected with Rosarie this weekend and Seaweed should get more love, too.

Thank you for your many good wishes.  We do hope to make it 26 more years.  Oh yes, and Smith fixed the camera! For the time being it's working...but the problem may be intermitant. If future pictures have that acid trip look, you'll know I'm camera shopping.

Enjoy your weekend!!


What A Day!

MyflowersinpsycedeliccolorsYesterday morning when I walked into the kitchen on my usual early morning coffee trek I found a large bouquet of flowers and a darling card. It was our anniversary, and while I do love my Smith, I had forgotten!  Deciding to make up for it with a picture of the flowers and a post, I grabbed the camera and snapped a picture...great, eh? Camera now only takes psychedelic pictures....sigh.  It was purchased in 1999 to put pictures on Ebay and with a month or two it was paid for 10 times over. The last two years I have taken pictures with it nearly everyday, so it really owes us nothing. But still....  Since Smith reads this blog everyday I wanted to post the psychedelic pictures and proclaim my love for him.  But, even that was not to be, as the cable was out...no post possible.

PyschedelicglovewithholeBefore Smith left for work he handed me his Polperro gloves. There was a hole in the left hand pointer finger. If you knit gloves you know this day will come and I had plenty of yarn to fix such a mishap. Remember this post when I admitted to knitting two right hands in error and had to buy yarn for a second pair?  Being a big cynic I knew that if one glove was lost or damaged it would be the left hand...and it was.  (Only the right hand of the extra pair exists...still.) At least the hole looks pretty in this picture.

This weekend we will celebrate 26 years of marriage by having dinner with Anne and her D.  We'll also be purchasing an anniversary gift (something we rarely do) of a new camera.  Smith will have two warm hands and all will be well.  Maybe I should just knit that second glove now so he'll have a back up PAIR.


Knit Well With Others

First off, I have been a bad KALer with the Knitting On the Road group.  Both the socks I have finished were knit before the KAL even started. The intention to knit the last sock, Whitby, was strong but, other things took over my knitting time I never got to it.  I will back track at some point and get it done. The next sock may be the New England sock which would be just right for my red Bearfoot. That means I could knit two KALs in one...the Red Hot Sizzling Socks and KOTR, which would be perfect as I'm in a serious sock mojo.

ProveittobabyThe first Prove It All Night, Fancy Silk Sock is finished and oooh baby, it is wonderful!  STR is everything Cara says it will be. The pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks is interesting to do as it has a very lace cuff which switches to a lacy rib leg.  StrazureheavenIt has been perfect for the yarn and color.  I promise a better picture when the second sock is finished.  At SOAR last November I bought a few other colors of STR and this gorgeous Azure Malachite is begging to be knit into the charming picot edge Jaywalkers like Anna and Cara knit.  Yes, another pair of JWs may be in my future.

And if you didn't hear about the Sockapaloooza yesterday, I'm afraid it's too late to sign up today. I enjoyed the last two so must go for a threefer.  The May 2nd deadline for mailing is doable but, I like to do my deadline projects early, just so I don't have to face any dreaded knitting.  This sock may take precedence over any other.

But here is a project you can sign up for now. Lolly has a wonderful idea called Project Spectrum. You don't even need to knit for this one, as it can involve any medium to show the color in your world.  It doesn't start until March so start thinking now about how you want to participate.

Most of us in Blogland have a great time playing with others.  It brings new people into our lives and opens up the world at large to us in so many ways. Do you think there has ever been so many things to do, to knit, together in this wonderful Blog World we've created?  We're doing well with spreading the love!


Quick Red Knitting

Moxieisagreatscarfmodel_1RedscarfonzenlanternMuch knitting went on over the weekend (when I wasn't out playing with friends or teaching a needlepoint class). The second red scarf is finished and Moxie once again came to help model. He was less enchanted with the process of a photo shoot this time than last, however. As the pattern suggested I knit from each end and Kitchenered down the center. YES, I Kitchenered! It was much easier than Kitchenering a sock toe and turned out pretty well, if I say so myself. Debi are you impressed? Sorry the photo was too blurry to show but it really does look good.  Hopefully one more red scarf will be finished before the weekend deadline.

 

Every weekday morning is much the same as the day before.  At 5:40 the heat comes on (I love our thermostat) and warm air starts to fills the house.  Being a light sleeper, the sound awakens me and I head straight to the kitchen to check on the coffee maker.  Smith gets the coffee ready the night before, but sometimes forgets to turn on the timer and, on occasion, as even forgotten to fill the reservoir with water. 

The only difference from day to day is what’s in my head as climb out of bed. Monday my first thought is “Where did the weekend go?” and on Friday it is, “Yea, the weekend is coming!  Yesterday started out the same as usual until I entered the kitchen.  The coffee was already made but, the pot was cold.  A check of the timer showed it had brewed at midnight.

As I said Smith makes the coffee every day and because of that I have little knowledge of the amount of coffee to grind or water to add. But he is not a morning person and a mug of hot coffee must be run under his nose to get him going.  I quickly dumped the coffee and pulled out the grinder and beans.  His voice was in my head from the last time I had to make coffee…’About 3 and half scoops should be good’.  Was it 6 cups or 8 cups of water during the week?  So, I filled the grinder and in my usual way turned to do two things at once. 

Just let me say you cannot do two things at once when grinding coffee beans.  One hand must hole the cap on and one must push the on button.  In a split second coffee beans, both whole and partial, were strewn into every corner of the kitchen.  Now that was a wake up call.

Messcleanedupaftercoffee

With a sigh I started over, ground the coffee, filled the pot with water, fixed the timer, turned on the pot and went off to check email. I couldn't face the mess, just couldn't face it.  Each morning I check to see if my blog has published and to write to a dear lonely friend who lives alone in CO.  We have written nearly everyday for 7 years.

It was only after I took Smith his coffee, had the boyz dance on his chest to help wake him up, and sipped a little coffee myself, that I headed back to the kitchen to clean up the mess…with camera in hand.  You can bet I’ll remember to hold the cap on the grinder from now on. What a way to get the kitchen corners spotlessly clean, eh?


Go UP!

MountainsjustabovesilverforklWhen Park City is full of Hollywood stars and the Sundance Film Festival is in full swing, where is the best place to be?  In another canyon on the front of the Wasatch Range, of course.  So we did what we do on many Sunday mornings and headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Silver Fork Lodge is in the bottom of this picture, which is of the two peaks you can see when you drive down the canyon from Brighton. The sky couldn't have been bluer on Sunday morning.

HousesatbrightoncoverwithwhiteWhentheskiisblueweheadupThis is the first time we've been able to make it up on a Sunday since January 1st.  It has snowed often over the last couple of weeks and the homes, cabins and lodges of Brighton are buried under several feet of snow. The blue, blue sky against the bright white of Utah powder is one of our favorite sights.

Jordan Pines recreation area is just below Silver Fork and we took a walk up the road for more pictures of this beautiful place. Several people enjoy the area and use it to Nordic ski, snow shoe or sled . The creek flattens out and forms meadows and marshes in the summer but is mostly covered with snow in the winter.  We often walk up the snow packed road and soak in the sights and the sun.
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It was wonderful to be back in the mountains with the cobalt blue sky. 

Later in the afternoon I went to a new coffee shop with the Stitch 'n Bitch grrls.  We had a great time meeting and knitting together for a couple of hours. A more perfect day just couldn't be planned than enjoying great scenery, time with Smith, and knitting with grrlfriends.  Oh, for more Sunday's in a month!


Everything In Its Time

MountainsafterthestormonsunSunday winter returned to Salt Lake after a long, long absence. The day before we hit a record high of 58 degrees! The long awaited snow started about 10:00 am and came down all day long with only an accumulation of 3" on our lawn. The lake effects where and how much snow falls, so some places had more, others less.  Smith went to a car show and I sat in front of my big window and knit while watching the snow.  It was better than a movie, as the snow was ever changing, from large fluffy flakes to small hard compact dots, including everything in between.  It was like watching a ballet of white as the flakes danced in and out of my view.  Later, while taking the boyz for a walk, the only sound was the crunch of snow under the weight of my steps. On Monday the sun came out to show of the beauty of our mountains covered with white. It was our last day of sun and the last couple of days there has been more snow.

RosariefoldedoversectiontwodoneIt was a pleasure to sit with my knitting all day Sunday and I enjoyed more time with Rosarie. It took 10 days (finished on Tuesday) to knit the second repeat of 38 rows, which means I'm not too far off my goal of one repeat a week. (Red scarves took precedence.) On the 35th row of the next repeat the armscye steeks will begin.  I'm so grateful that Jade Starmore took time to adapt the pattern to my extra long body.  Don't you just love the color blending?

Closeupofrosariesectiontwo

ProveitsockhalfdoneThe STR Prove It All Knit Night, Fancy Silk Sock (from Knitting Vintage Socks) continue's to grow, albeit at a snails pace.  The pattern and yarn together create a very Victorian look. I do love Socks That Rock yarn, as it knits like silk, eh Cara?

KnitredsockswithbeckyAnd just because I'm a glutton for punishment socks...I've joined Becky’s Red Hot Sizzling Socks. The only red yarn in my stash is Bearfoot (Ruby River) sock yarn. As soon as the STR socks are finished this will be my next sock. Must keep knitting from the stash (12.5 weeks to go)!

And just in case you're keeping track, Seaweed grew a full 8" this week. Knitting continues apace and on through the weekend. Enjoy them both!


There She Goes Again

Cassie had a post last week about the search for beauty,  which was inspired by a hand made card a friend had sent to her.  The post was, in turn, inspiration to me.  We all love to behold, create, and have beautiful things in our lives.  Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but it can also be in every little part of our daily lives.  Every thing we do in the course of the day is a part of the process of our lives and it seems a shame to ‘hate’or dislike any part of the gift of life.

Admittedly cleaning the house isn't something most of us enjoy but, what if we looked at it with gratefulness, a joy at what we have that others may not.  Instead of complaining about the need too dust or vacuum, perhaps we could acknowledge each item we own as we dust…touch it; honor it as the gift that it is and the beauty it brings into our home.

As we clean the floor imagine what it would be like to have a floor of dirt or no floor at all, just a bit of sidewalk.  We should all be more aware of our surroundings and feel blessed to have what we do have.  All the things we dislike in our lives are still a part of the daily process.  Even the smallest pea adds flavor to a large pot of soup.

The same can be said of knitting. As we pull out and restart a project we can become upset, unhappy that we didn't do it right. Instead of angst, we can be thankful we have the ability to see the error and redo, that we have nice yarn and knitting needles with which to knit and in many cases we have a stash of yarn that will keep us knitting for years to come without purchasing another thing.  Part of the process of knitting and of life, is the ebb and flow, the ups and downs, the good and bad.  Nothing is perfect, nothing in life goes without a hitch, and without loss you can’t be grateful for what you have.

It looks like Stephanie’s  Knitting Olympics has hundreds of participants.  It will be quite a feat to knit a challenging project in 16 days.  There are already two challenging projects on my needles, but I want to do my best to meet a challenge of Olympic proportions.  There can be no project acquisition as I have the StashAlong goal to meet (that alone is a challenge!).  I am not a Type A personality and don't handle stress well and dislike deadlines, too. So, what can I do in 16 days that will keep me knitting with the hoards?

In the spirit of Eddie the Eagle  this is an alternate challenge.  Eddie gave the Olympics his best shot even though he could not win. He trained and played his best, while he had fun and enjoyed the process.  If ever any athlete was about the journey it was Eddie.  If you want to knit during the games and enjoy your knitting, without deadlines or duress, you can join me in an Eddie Along. It’s all about the process here.  Pick a project, knit for the love of it and soar like Eddie. If you finish…good for you, if not, you win anyway.

Eddiejumpingenjoy

This button is for you any who would like to enjoy the process without pressure.  There are only two roolz:

1. Cast on (or knit a long neglected WIP if you choose) February 10th (any time you like) and end during the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games on February 26th, or not. 
2. Enjoy the process, each step, forward or back. It’s all good.

You could actually join both KALs but, that would mean little or no complaining (well, let's say no hissy fits) if you make an error or need to frog.  Everything in 'the process' is good.

Takeyourlifeintoyourownhandsandtakeaflag_1Thank you for all your fun comments on my Jaywalker socks. To address the questions about the orange flags I'll give you a bit of background.  Downtown SLC has very wide streets for which we thank Brigham Young. He wanted a street in which he could turn around a wagon and four horses easily. Plus the blocks are very large as seven blocks are about 1 mile.  Anyway, there were too many auto pedestrian accidents a few of years ago and many people were not only hurt but killed. 

With a big campaign to make drivers and peds more aware of each other, changes were made to the crosswalks.  The main cross walks now have a big LOOK sign painted on the ground as you enter the street and there are also count down clocks so you know how much time is needed to get across the (very wide) street. Because the blocks are each so long there is a crosswalk at the mid-point of the downtown blocks. Each one, especially a crosswalk without lights, was set up with a bucket of orange flags (Martha, you had that vision right!) so any pedestrian can easily be seen if they carry a flag.  There have been very few auto/ped accidents since the changes were implemented. So now you know the rest of the story.

Liz of Pocket Farm has a new home! (Please change your feeds.) It's a great new place, Liz.  Does this mean we'll see more of you?

One more thing...did you know there are mittens in Utah's desert?


Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Jaywalkinisdangerous

In Salt Lake City you need an orange flag to cross the street in a crosswalk, so you can bet that jaywalkin', and all that jazz, is a very dangerous way to go. 

After a couple of false starts my Jaywalker socks took off running. It's all in the yarn, folks. A yarn with a little more substance than some of the thinner sock yarns is much better for this pattern.  In the stash was a beautiful bright Dorchester Farms Hand Painted yarn that Cara had sent from Rhinebeck. It turned out to be the perfect weight, similar to STR. 

Jaywalkerspenguinstyle

Everything went well (and quickly) once the fit issues were handled and it was fun to watch the yarn do its thing. I ended with a round toe, instead of my least favorite, the Kitchener toe. The socks made my feet  very happy.

Takearideonthewildside_2

My advice, if you don't want to Jaywalk, is to take a ride on the wild side. Cara you can now change my icon to a walkin' happy face.

Jaywalkerstakinaride

Pattern: Jaywalker from MagKnits by Grumperina
Yarn: Dorchester Farms Hand Painted (no color name)
Time to knit: December 6, 2005 - January 9, 2006 (two false starts)
KAL by Cara
(This was to be my one and only pair, but I LOVE Cara's Two Pop Rocks Picot socks. As soon as this Stashalong is over...I'M GETTING MORE STR!)