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March 2006
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May 2006

Inch By Inch

Life is lived in little increments of time. Chances are that while in the middle of a task, thoughts will turn  to the future, or the past, and not stay in the 'now'. The future wool market, tonight's Stitch 'n Bitch, or the conversation we had three days ago, may come to mind more easily than awareness of the moment.  Rarely do we look at the here and now as part of life, or at least until it is the past, and then only if it is memorable in some way.  With the focus of our daily lives being more about the past and future than the present we miss out on 'living'.

Knitting is created in much the same way. As the stitches are formed thoughts of the finished product dance in our heads.  If the need to back track or frogging becomes apparent we bemoan the 'lost' time.  Knitting in the now, the present, knitting for the joy of the process, takes a back seat to 'progress', the joy of creation.

Yesterday Sylvia sent me to Sara Lamb's blog.  Because work is hectic at the end of the month, I have been too busy to get around blogland much, and was please for the 'heads up'.  Sara's post on Wednesday speaks so well of the reason we create with fiber. Please read it.  She explains so well how we still go on and continue to knit despite a knitting disaster or the need to frog.

After reading my Daily Zen horoscope a few days ago, the realization came to me why I seem to have lost 'the process'.  Knitting hasn't stopped but, it isn't in my lap constantly as it has been for the last 5 years.  The horoscope said "You may find your attention being pulled in many directions... your thoughts may wander down a number of different avenues, even after you have made a decision... making a choice will move you toward what you want."

I understood immediately what had slowed my knitting mojo.  Bonne Marie has a new design, CeCe which is so perfect for summer and it would be fabulous in the denim color of Hempathy that I bought for Tilia.  However, Hempathy is too small for CeCe and I have also decided that I'd like Tilia in a brighter color. That means the Hempathy will sit in my stash, an unassigned yarn (which goes against my  stashilosophy) and I will need to buy yarn for CeCe AND Tilia if I am to knit them anytime soon.

To complicate matters, I bought Stria for a new cardigan and while I would like to knit it soon I want to finish Cutaway first. Plus, there are two summer patterns in the latest Rowan that are calling to me and there is no stash yarn for either.  All my stash seems to be wool.  The delusions of grandeur that I suffer from on occasion seem to be coming along well with the warmer weather. And all the choices before me have seemed to stop me in my tracks.

AllmyknittinginaprilMim's Eleanora socks are on my needles and grow slowly and beautifully. However, the delusions carry over into socks as well. So many socks to knit...you, know how it goes. I'm tempted to take up knitting half a pair as Cara does.  Mamacate inspired a button that Colleen made for all of us who knit Socks for Sanity. See it on my sidebar? Socks seem to be comfort knitting for so many of us. And, stashing sock yarn can be just as comforting, as Amanda has proclaimed in her post on Tuesday.

To abate the former ennui, and what has now become the delusional mind, I have been heading to the gym a little more frequently and walking on an inclined treadmill (oh, my aching butt). Time to get ready for summer hiking season. For motivation, and fun, I've joined the I'm Fit and I Knit group.  New buttons are rather fun, eh?

May the weekend will be filled with knitting, and not just turning around in circles, as I try to make a decision and, hopefully, find 'the process' again.  Maybe some shopping looking around the LYS is in order (and/or a new sock or maybe I should just cast on the Stria or perhaps there is something.....oh well...sigh.)


Crazy Grrls

Every Tuesday at Stitch 'n Bitch is a fun evening and it often gets a bit crazy.  We laugh...a lot, and tease, and share and laugh some more.  It's a great group of grrls that come to the meetings.  Last Tuesday was especially fun as we had several birthday's to celebrate.  Eliza's birthday was yesterday, Valoree's was last week and Michaele's is the early part of May (she'll be in Italy for her big day, poor grrl).

ElizawiththebeautifulyarnsusandyedjustfoSusan has been dyeing up a storm and naming the yarns for someone in our group. Valoree received the "Margene" yarn and another beautiful yarn in a celery color was dyed for Eliza. I'm not sure who it was named after, however. Susan also gave Val and Michaele each a pair of hand knit sock earrings.  They are tiny but, oh so chic, eh?
Michaeleinsusanssockearrings_1 Valoreeinsusanssockearrings click

Michaele gave yarn cupcakes to Gwen (her birthday was in March), Val and Eliza...candles and all!  Now that's a good idea!
Birthdaygrrlswithyarncupcakesfrommichael

LauriehasaspecialmomentwithlegosnapeTerisavedbylegosnapeOur 'Crazy for Harry' grrl, Teri, has been entertaining us with the Adventures of Lego Snape. Laurie has missed out on his visits and so, she had a moment of quiet communion with Mr. Snape.  Unfortunately, Teri met up with a misadventure of her own and got stuck behind the couch! Snape was quick to help her out of the jam.

This weekend the SnB grrls are getting together for 'high tea'...avec HATS (no red hats allowed) at the Beehive Tea Room!  I know ya'll come back next week to hear about that adventure. Everyone is invited!

OrangeteeshirtformePostcardfrompaulawoolerinaTo finish up the month of April for Project Spectrum here are the last few pictures of yellow and orange.  First...hey Dave! I bought an orange T-shirt. Cool enough? (He told me I'd be wearing orange before too long.) Second...a PS postcard arrived from Woolarina and it full of flowers and beautiful things in yellow and orange. Cool, too?  And last but not least, PS Tulips! How cool is it that they bloomed just in time to show off for Lolly.  It's all cool around here;-)

Psapriltulips_1


Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

...gently down the stream.  This time of year you will not find many gentle mountain streams in Northern Utah.  The only one around today is my beautiful blue Mountain Stream Scarf.

Mountainsreamfindingwateriscloseby_2Mountainstreamontherocksbirches_1Susan's Orenburg style scarf is perfect for any lace knitter, whether you are a novice or advanced, and the Douceur et Soie yarn is heavenly to touch, wear and knit.  This is one yarn that I'd love to have a nice supply of in the stash. The construction of Orenburg lace is very clever as you knit the bottom border and then pick up stitches along the edge to continue on to the body. With only 11 stitches on the provisional cast on, and that many in the end, even I was able to Kitchener them successfully.  Despite the constant errors made and, in the end, 'the not so stellar job' on the top border, the scarf did turn out to be beautiful.  Mountain Stream is truly gentle and forgiving. 

Mountainstreaminthesunontherockaroundmyn While taking pictures by the creek in Big Cottonwood Canyon a motorcyclist drove by and gave me a wolf whistle.  Just goes to prove that 'man riding by on horse' can't see wrinkles or gray hair. (Or perhaps, it was the Jaywalker's that got his attention.)

Mountainstreamcloseronmyneck_2The scarf is a bit smaller than it should be as I  used size 6 needles.  My knitting can be overly tight, and for some reason I didn't adjust as normal.  Next time I will use size 8 needles and should end up with a more open and lacy look. The best thing to do is to cast on again right away while there is still some residue of the pattern (and the desire to do a better job) in my head.

Moutainstreamrunningintotherunoff_1

Pattern: Mountain Stream by Susan
Yarn: Douceur et Soie color Cornflower
Time to  Knit: March 19-April 22, 2006 (shouldn't take this long)
KAL:Mountain Lace Along 


I is for.....

Inches!

For most of my early years I was taller than other kids my age. In fact that is the story of my life as few women seem to be in the 72 inch range.

Picofmeandhowmanyinchestall_1

Howhighisthesnowifim72inches In the mountains snow fall is  measured by inches. 500+ inches fell this year, which has packed down to a base of over 150 inches, mid-mountain. The parking lots in the resorts still have piles and piles of snow that will take a month to melt. If I am nearly 72 inches, how tall is the snow (and the peak behind)? The peak would be about 120,000 inches, just so you know.

Mimssocktwoandahalfinches As American knitters we produce inch after inch of knitting instead of centimeters as our knitting friends from other countries produce. Carrying a measuring device, or two, in our knitting bag is a must. We don't want to knit one more row than necessary.  At the moment Nancy's Knit Knacks Needle Sizer is my very favorite measuring tool. It is accurate and has ALL needle sizes, as well as inches and centimeters.  If you can't tell the difference between your size 1s or 1.5s, this is a must!  There is something wonderful about a sheepy tape measure, too.  As an embroiderer, I have several other favorite measuring tools. There is a need to measure fabric and thread length but, the best tools are just for decorative purposes. The 3 inch ruler is an old piano key that was etched with a rose bud and my name.

Myfavoritemeasureres_1

Mountainstreamis47incheslongWhile I knit and enjoy each stitch there is little reason to measure inch by inch. 'The process' takes you beyond the need to see where you are and where you need to go so, you can just enjoy the moment.

Yes that is Mountain Stream in the blocking stages. Full disclosure tomorrow.


Spectacular Weekend

Frontdooratsilverforkapril2Silverforkentranceinaprilaftermuchmeltin The snow has piled up in the mountains all winter and it is  now starting to melt.  The picture on the left is the entrance to Silver Fork on April 2nd and on the right is the entrance yesterday. Last Monday over 2' of snow fell  but, as you can see, much of that snow has melted away, plus more. Spring may be taking her time but, she is on a steady course.

Fewbravesoulstriedthechillydeckopenforth The deck at the Fork was open and ready for breakfast and a few hardy souls tested it out.  The wind was cold, which brought many people in doors after only a few minutes if they weren't prepared for the chill. We sat inside by the window to enjoy the view. In the next few weeks it will be warm enough to enjoy the deck and the return of the hummers and swallows.

Blueskiesatbrightonapril_1 Runoffnotveryhighasyetinapril Most of the ski resorts are closed for the season and it was Brighton's last weekend.  There is still plenty of snow but, by now everyone is thinking of gardens and golfing.  The spring run off is just starting and with all the snow we recieved during the winter it will be weeks until it reaches peak in the mountain streams.  The situation will be watched closely as flooding along some streams is likely, especially if we warm up too quickly.  The sky was the same color of my own Mountain Stream, and a photo shoot for it, fit nicely into the day.

PurplelilacsinthesunwithmtolybehindPstulipsinapril It was such a beautiful day and after we came back home we changed from socks and coats to sandals and t-shirts.  The blossoms are in various stages of growth and the purple lilacs are just a bit behind the white. Yellowprimroses_1 The red tulips are mostly spent but, the yellow are just coming into bloom, with the white tulips tagging along behind.  I also found some beautiful yellow primroses to celebrate Project Spectrum. The neighbors mini-garden is a very fine example of a garden planted in PS colors.  It was a picture perfect weekend. 

Projectspectrumgardenofgen  


One More Thing (Or Two)

Fifth Rule- After a pair of socks has been completed, cast on for a new pair as soon as possible. Knitting a sock is good for the soul.  It isn't a bad thing to cast on for a second pair of socks, either...however, more than that can be distracting and dangerous.

Mimseleanoraredsock

Mim's Eleanora sock is turning out to be great fun to knit.  The person of long ago who knit the sock for Eleanora de Medici, probably didn't realize their historic legacy.  It is especially wonderful to be knitting it in red just as the original was (they were silk,however, and mine are wool). It is a thrill that Mim brought this beautiful piece of history to the 21st Century knitter.  I may have found my solace knitting with this pattern, as it is interesting, not too complicated, and gives me a real since of being one with women of the past. The red Sheepjes wool that Ande sent is just lovely and shows the stitch pattern well.

If you are intimidated by a provisional cast on, do not worry, you can still knit this sock.  I'm all thumbs when it comes to the provisional cast on so, my fix was to cast on in Long Tail, over two needles held together. This insures enough give and that the stitches are easily seen when they need to be picked up.  There is no problem, that I can see, in employing this method and I now well into the cuff.  Do what will work best for you.

Sixth Rule- Review all rules before knitting each day.

Startingtheedgingonmountainstream Since I don't really like being told what to do (not even my own good advice, apparently), I didn't pay attention to the First Rule Wednesday night. The top border of MS was  moving along nicely but, when I got the end...it wasn't MY end.  I frogged, reread the instructions, tried again...and again, and again.  Nothing made sense at that point and I just couldn't see, or understand, how the last rows went together.  I frogged back to the beginning of the border and went to bed. 

When I woke from a good sleep my first thought was of the lace and the second thought was like a revelation. I'm sure the room lit up when the light bulb over my head clicked on.  A vision of how the border should end and how it would fit together came to me.  My only regret was that there was little time to knit before work.  I may even tackle the grafting but, just in case, be ready to help at Stitch 'n Bitch on Sunday Susan!

Enjoy your weekend.


New Rules

Beautifulmtolyafteraprilsnow_1 click

It may not be the last time this season that our mountains are covered with white.  Tuesday was partly sunny while snow flurries made their way across the valley.  It was cool to see snow and sun at the same time.  Snowbird, the place where my P-Word socks 'hung ten', had up to 27" of  new snow in two days, with a total of over 550" for the season.  May it all come down very slowly. By afternoon the skies were clearing, the day was beautiful and held the promise of more clear days ahead.  It should be in the 70s today!

Susan so aptly named her Orenburg-style scarf Mountain Stream. Mine has been growing slowly...too slowly, because it seems I must knit 4 rows and frog 2.  I now know the vulnerable spots intimately but, it took me too long awhile to figure them out.  The first two stitches of a row can readily slip off the needles as the work is turned. This problem is found at least 4 rows beyond where they were dropped which results in more frogging.  This problem occurs so frequently that it finally dawned on me to check the stitches on every row when I turn the scarf.  Other errors include adding rows and sticking YOs in the wrong place. A rumor has been going around that I may be crowned the 'Princess of the Frog Pond'. The reason I can't be Queen is I work my way out of the pond, eventually.

Despite frequently flowing into the frog pond, MS continues to grow and show her off her beauty.  It is only this (and Susan will think I'm a weinnie) that keeps me goin' with the flow. I had intended to make it longer than the pattern but, Susan, who saw it in progress at Stitch 'n Bitch on Tuesday, thought the length was fine. (Laurie has decided we are really BITCH 'n Stitc, but that's another story).  Yesterday morning I frog back a few rows (there was a mistake to fix anyway) and started the top border.  The Douceur et Soie has been fabulous in the face of all this frogging and holds the stitches in place so they are easy to pick up.

Beautifulmountstreamatendoffirstball

My limited learning powers have led me to create a few New Rules for my knitting.

First Rule - Never knit anything complicated after 9:00 pm.  Keep simple knitting nearby so there is no excuse. Otherwise, continuous frogging will be the only thing accomplished between 9:00 and 10:00 pm (bed time).

Second Rule - No matter what time of day it is do not continue to knit if you're head is bobbing from lack of sleep (note to self...eat more). Mistakes will be made that will not be found until the next row or, more likely, after it is too late to fix easily.

Third Rule - Follow the chart religiously, do not become arrogant or complacent.  Mark with a yellow marker the decreases or YOs that are different from row to row or from section to section. Move your sticky note with EVERY row you knit so that it is easy to find where you are in the pattern. Don't assume you will remember. Make sure the sticky note is STILL sticky when you put your knitting away.

Fourth Rule - Remember that under any circumstances, especially stressful moments, that "It is the process". This cannot be over stated.

Knit on!


PS and Mother Nature

Yellowjonquilinapril

WhiteminidaffodilsThis month of Project Spectrum colors have been fun to look for as the world is full of yellow and orange flowers.  Flowers are always beautiful no matter the color and such a welcome sight.  However, it is a rare winter when the flowers of spring aren't covered with snow at least once or twice. Luckily I took pictures of the flowers in our neighborhood over the warm weekend.  The miniture white daffodils were so pretty!

Treesareawinterwonderlandinapril Mother nature has a way of teasing us and forcing us to play guessing games. It is difficult to figure out what will happen day to day.  Sunday, as you can see from yeterday's post, was a full of sun and blue skies. But, Monday the snow came early and we had near blizzard conditions on a day that felt more like February.  Tuesday we woke to a winter wonderland.  The poor lilac buds were under a blanket of white.  Good thing spring blossoms are hardy little folk.

Poorlilacscoveredinsnow

WorkingonpostcardforpsCardmakingpapersandsuppliesProject Spectrum has been instrumental in stimulating the learning of something new.  For some time now I have wanted to make my own greeting cards and just didn't quite know how to go about it.  By making a few trips to a scrap book store and reading a couple of magazines, I  have been able to collect a small supply of necessary items. Each card I make encourages new ideas and another trip to pick up more supplies.  Each month the shop gives a 20% discount off one item so, next month I'll buy a paper cutter. This month I bought a set of chalks. Paper crafting is much more fun, and more creative, than I thought it would be. If  I make enough cards, it will be less expensive than purchaing cards, right?

Tulipsanddaffiesatknudsencorner_1Many of us feel the 'funk' or have a real sense of ennui about our knitting and, perhaps life in general, as mother nature changes her mind.  Having the likes of four seasons in one day can lead to an unfocused feeling.  We want to play in the garden but, its too early and muddy to plant. The sky is blue one minute and raining, or snowing the next. The warm clothes we don in the morning can't come off fast enough as the afternoon heats up.  Nothing feels right, nothing is enticing...but,  maybe that's the point. It's time to relax and let spring come, as it will, and then we'll know just what to do.  Let's suspend anticipation and desire and just 'be'...just sit back and enjoy mother nature's antics.

Flaxrobefrommasondixonbook_1 Maybe all that we can do
Is to cast on something new
Take time to refocus,
Knit and take care of you. 

The Euroflax robe from MDK is now on my needles....ahhh, that feels good.