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October 2006
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December 2006

Good Bye Sweet Prince

Coldnearlyclearblueskyonwednesday

It was a clear, cold, beautiful morning yesterday when our sweet Prince, Murphy left this world.  He was full of heart and fight right up until the end.  He was too smart, too smart for his own good, as we had to put a childproof lock on the garbage to keep him from opening the door.  He taught us early on what he would chew up or eat (i.e. carpets, furniture, buttons off clothes...to name a few). He was an opportunist and took advantage of every misjudgment we ever made. Murphy lived life his way, carried himself regally, and that's the reason we called him our Prince.  Thank you for 14 wonderful years, sweet one.  We'll miss you everyday.

Grumpylittlemurphy

Murphy
October 8, 1992 - November 29, 2006


X is for...

Bestchocolate_inutah
Xocolate
Chocolate just has never been a favorite flavor of mine.  As a child, when other kids eating the usual chocolate bars, I was enjoying Big Hunks or or perhaps a Butterfinger. Caramels and bars with nuts were my favorite choices. It wasn't until adulthood that I feel head over heels for chocolate.  REAL deep dark chocolaty goodness....GOOD, real chocolate.  Having one piece of chocolate is often enough for me, but one a day is a must.

Peppermintbarkandcarmels
Caseofhandmadechocoates Giftchocolatesineverynook Xocolate opened in Salt Lake City a few years ago and it has been difficult to stay away.  Their chocolate is fine, delicious, and completely addicting (in a good way).
The shop is very small, simply decorated and has beautiful xocolate on every wall. Right now they are featuring gift tins of Peppermint Bark for the Christmas Season. Gift boxes and bags are always ready, so you can run in for a quick gift or a special treat for yourself.

Have you been keeping up with the ABC-Along?  If you have a post for every letter of the alphabet then Anne and I have a special treat for you.  We'll pick our favorite "Z" and randomly draw names from all the ABCers, who made it to "Z", and both winners will receive....XOCOLATE! (You must email me so we won't miss your post.)

Giftofxocolategoodies

Post your "Z" before December 31st and then email me (on side bar) so we can check out your post.  Anne and I will pick a winner the first week of 2007.  Now, put on your thinking caps!


Bad Things Happen to (Fairly) Good Knitters

A huge snow storm loomed all day yesterday, but not much happened, except wind and the threat of snow. The mountains were covered with a layer of clouds and, by the end of the day, Snowbird had over a foot.  Very little (or no) snow had fallen in the valley by 6:00 last night when a thin layer finally covered the lawns.  It sure feels and looks wintry, but the large amount of snow promised didn't arrive (as yet).

Simpletrekkingsocks Sunday's knitting turned out to be good, bad and then simply ugly. Two of our family obligations were canceled (both good and bad), but it gave me a chance to knit and I finished the second of Mim's Simple Trekking Socks. She'll be Kitchenering the toe for me tonight and I think they are great!  It's not that I can't Kitchener...I just choose not to. So there you have it...the good and bad. It's doubtful that I'll knit any more socks this year.  This year I only knit 12 pair and that's a bit shy of what I usually do. You can blame spinning, I guess.

Quitesimplyanightmare The ugly turned out to be my Estonian Scarf!  Now you'd think that a knitter who has years of experience, has knit many different and complicated techniques, and seems to know what she's doing  (most of the time), could knit a small scarf without incident. But, this little scarf has decided to turn mutinous and has succeeded in pulling the wool over my eyes.  As I was finishing up my knitting on Sunday night I noticed the pattern looked wonky. There was a distinct ridge about midway up the fabric and tried to figure out what had been done. Was it just one row? After studying it carefully I realized it was a much bigger problem than just messing up one row.

Ontrackwithestonianscarf Setting this little scarf aside for awhile was a very big mistake.  It seems when picking it up again last week, I had not consulted the pattern and just blithely knit what I THOUGHT was the pattern. Oh the arrogance! It wasn't the same at all, it wasn't pretty...just funky and weird, as you can see. Why, oh why, had I not noticed this sooner!?  For a brief moment I though of all the time 'wasted', as more than half the scarf was frogged. BUT, (we must end with a good, as Carole says), frogging means  knitting with my own handspun for a little longer.  The Scarf is back on track and I'll keep a better eye on my progress.

Kuohatsandredscarf The hope is that I can finish the scarf this week (baring anymore ugly situations) and then dedicate December's knitting to Jóhö and Ariann. Also, on the schedule is more knitting for KUO and a RSP as I'll be knitting for charity right on through the end of the year. Knitting for others sounds like a good way to stay sane during the holiday frenzy.


Spin, Spin, Spin

Yes, yes...it was a rather lovely, long (but really TOO short), weekend with knitting and spinning happening here and there.  Emmylou and I are doing well, but we have a long way to go before we can truly say we are 'in tune' with each other.  Time with her is well spent and the learning process continues with each session. 

Spinningfiberfrommydyedtop This fiber top was orginialy dyed in yellow, gold, orange and red, with the results a bit bright and lively.  Sections of red and bright yellow/saffron were divided so they could be spun seperately.  Both bobbins were filled this weekend and plied.  Sara Lamb, a fine spinner/knitter/weaver, said this yarn was the color of Buddhist-monk robes and that sits very well with me.  Therefore I am naming it "Tibet".  Here it is alone and with the more saffron colored skein I did last week.

Tibetyarnredcolorway Tibetyarninbothcolorsequen_1

Thrumsfromspinderella_1 My curiosity got the best of me and I tried to spin up some superwash roving.  It didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped and it will be put on the back burner until I have more of a handle on just how TO handle it.  Tawana did a beautiful job with her colorways from CMF and I have to say I'm a little envious.  Next up, because I'm still curious about spinning something other than 'wool', I'll try spinning Spinderella’s fun, textured thrums. As much as I want to spin well on Emmylou, I want to try different (wool) fibers to see the qualities of each type. Each time at the wheel is a learning experience which I am enjoying.

As per usual, Blogland has been a wonderful source for spinning knowledge and inspiration.  The Twisted Knitters KAL has many wonderful participants and you can see their progress and learn so much about dyeing and spinning.  Jessie has been a jewel to share much of her knowledge and progress, as well as comment and encourage nearly every one who has posted.  You can still sign up and join us until the end of December as we'll be dyeing, spinning and knitting until March 31st.

The spindle is still my favorite way to spin, and this weekend I spun up a little more of the Ashland Bay top. The Estonian Scarf (from Piecework) is coming along nicely and while I have two smallish balls, I would like to use up all the AB top and make the scarf as big as I can. Knitting with my handspun is as enjoyable and as exciting as everyone said it would be.

Handspinningrestofashlandbaytopforestoni_1

There is SO much information that can be gleaned by reading bloggers who spin very well.  Sylvia has been always encouraged me with and made good suggestions that have helped in my learning process.  She has a very good post  which every beginning spinner should read.  Another very, very informative blog is Jenny’s. You can learn so much by going back through her archives, as they hold a gold mine of information. 

Marcy is a fabulous spinner, but her blog is almost all pictures. She has unique pictures of spinners, fiber animals and other items that pertain to spinning.  Thank you to all the wonderful spinners around Blogland who have helped me learn the process of spinning and entertained me in the process.  And, to answer Birdsong's question of last week...No, I am not yet a project spinner on Emmylou. That process is going to take a lot more practice, but I'm enjoying the simple creation of yarn.


Thanksgiving with Flat Scout

Coldandfrozensilverlake
Thanksgiving morning was very warm and blustery, but at Silver Lake it was down right cold.  The lake is now frozen over, but not quite covered with snow.  The Nordic Center is readying for snow shoers and Nordic skiers.

Neena and her friends spent the day with us and it was a very enjoyable and relaxing Holiday. Silver Fork was packed to the rafter with diners, but it was worth the wait to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in our favorite dining spot. We also had a special guest, Mz.Flat Scout. Wouldn't you know that someone from the warm climate of Albuquerque wouldn't bring warm enough clothes for the Utah mountains. She gamely walked through the snow, however. She also enjoyed warming up in the sun that come through window at Silver Fork and then, helped us down a bottle of wine.

Flatscoutatsilverlake Flatscoutatsilverfork Flastscoutlovedthewine

She'll be heading back home as she needs to get ready for her special appearance on TV with 'real' Scout!  It was fun to have you here FS.

Laceuarybutton Victorianlacekalzen_2 Stephanie and Jacqueline are hosting a Victorian Lace Along inspired by the new book Victoria n Lace Today  After the first of the year I'll decide on a shawl from the book and join in.  Knitting lace maybe the best way to get through the dark gray months of January and February.  So I'm dubbing them Lace-uary.  We can beat the winter blahs by knitting up our own unique snowflakes, which could be in conjunction with any KAL or by knitting lace on your own for those two months. Take the button (and save it to your own computer) and let's knit lace.

Yarnmuseum Whether you are a new or experienced spinner you can submit pictures of your newly spun skeins to the Yarn Museum. Cara had a very descriptive post about the project here. It will be very informative and interesting to see what other spinners produce.
 

After a few errands this morning, I hope to spend the rest of the day with Emmylou.  May you have a knitterly, spinningly wonderful weekend, too. 


Walk with Moxie this Wednesday

Justignoremurphyhestooslow

Hi I'm Moxie!  Please come and walk with me in the cool urban park that's in our neighborhood. It's full of places to sniff, pee and play.  Oh, that's Murphy on the bridge with me...just ignore him he's so slow and old.  Let's GO!

Blueskyfullofgeese Moxiejigglesthecameraallthetime Oooo, look up! The sky is blue and the birds are so noisy!  I like to be noisy too, but no one is in the park so I can bark at them.  Oh, look over THERE!  I love this path covered over with leaves 'cause there is so much good stuff to sniff.  There is mud to play in too, but Mom and Dad won't let me off the leash.  In fact Mom is scolding me for running ahead and making her camera shake when she tries to take a picture of me.

Pathwaywithinterestingtreeshapes_1 Mtolythroughatangleofbranches The area is a small wetland and it's full of old trees and a little summer stream.  We come here often in the summer and it's one of my favorite places.  I can walk fast and go right past the things that don't smell, but Mom likes to look at the views.   

Moxieinatreejigglesthecamera Oldtreesittingdormantinfall The old trees make shade in the summer, but right now they have no leaves and look a little spooky. I'm a bit of a scardy-dog and strange things make me run with my tail down. I really didn't like climbing this tree, but Dad thought I looked cute.  I couldn't hold still as it was a little scary.
Mom  kept stopping to take close ups of things she thought were interesting and had good 'texture'.  I don't know what that is and I just wanted to run up ahead and  have a good time. 
Cattailsdriedanddormant Redberriesmixedwithreedsanddebree Softcolorsoffall Whiteberriesthatleavefluffywhitebehind

We won't come back here in the winter, as the path isn't clear, so I will miss walking in this park until next spring.  I think there should be more urban parks in the suburbs. Don't you?


Urbanparkplaygroundandsmallforest

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend from me, Mom and Dad, oh OK, and Murphy, too.   
 


Zen Think - Think Zen

Thecolorsofsunrisewereamazing

Zen is being aware, being in the moment, being mindful of the process.

During the hectic days of last week I could only think about spinning, as there was little time to sit, let alone spin.  Thoughts of Emmylou and of how best to learn the process of spinning (as in, more quickly) danced around in my mind.  As the week came to a close, I had an awakening of sorts...I realized how unZen-like my approach to spinning had been.  Learning to spin, or learn anything new, with the mindset of conquering, controlling. or speeding up the process, will only prolong, or even abate, said process.  Friday, when a bit free time opened up, I opened myself up to Emmylou.  "Sensei, I sit before you with a humble heart.  Please teach me."   

Setting ego aside, allowing Emmylou to take over, led to a fulfilling time at the wheel.  Spinning became a quiet practice, a purely Zen time, and there were several 'ah ha' moments. Emmylou, the wool and I worked as one, producing yarn along with the best Zen moments of my learning process.   Awareness of teadling, the drafting process and the creation of yarn brought a deeper understanding of Emmylou and what we could accomplish together. A second bobbin was quickly filled and it was time to ply.

Redpoppyyarnfromspunky_1 Comments from my last post (after a rather disasterous try at plying) suggested several things, including "don't use the Lizzy Kate" and "don't use the plying head".  They were rejected out right because of curiosity (why does the wheel come with these items if I shouldn't use them?), stubbornness (I CAN do this) and determination (I WILL figure out how to use this wheel).   All are traits that may be seen as unZen, but there you have it, it is what it is. When I did manage to set the ego aside, Emmylou became a good teacher.  Overall, plying was much easier than the first time around, but there was room for improvement and still, a bit too much 'struggle' in my approach.  In any case, the second skein of wheel spun yarn came off the plying bobbin and it was a lovely sight. 

Basketfullofcitrusinthesun Because the process had been fairly successful, I immediately set up to spin the roving I dyed last September.  This glorious color has been named 'Citrus in the Sun' and it is one of the happiest colors ever.  As long as I stayed mindful of the process the singles looked better, but mindfulness is a discipline that needs to be learned, and there were lapses when the process came undone. CitrusinthesunskeinofyarnBy Saturday morning the second bobbin was filled and it was time to try plying again. A few adjustments were made as we started out; where did the Lazy Kate work best, what settings on the plying head helped or hindered?  Within a short period of time, plying was nearly as easy as spinning and this time around there was not a moment of struggle, the process was heaven.  The yarn that resulted was the best yet. What a feeling to see that the knowledge of spinning has begun to sink in and the connection between what I know and what I can accomplish is becoming clearer. Staying in the moment and being aware of all aspects of this process has taught me much about myself and spinning on Emmylou.

Perfection isn't the goal.  The need for perfection may stop one from even trying (how can I begin at all if I can't do it perfectly?). Perfection IS unattainable.  Life is perfect as it is, spinning is perfect as it is.  Behold...three perfect skeins.

Threeperfectskeinsofwheelspunyarn


Waiting for Another Weekend

Andyetanotherpictureofmtolyonsunday

The weekend weather was delightfully perfect, with blue skies and temps in the 60s.  The ski resorts are partially open and it would be nice to have more snow, but no one would really wish this weather away.  Winter will have a grip soon enough.  I drove to Stitch 'n Bitch on Sunday with my windows down and a cool breeze blowing through my hair.

Aonehomelesshatfinsihed It took the weekend to catch up with myself after the hectic schedule of last week.  Piles of laundry are much smaller and we even did a bit of house cleaning in anticipation of guests on Wendesday.  Most of my free time was spent with Emmylou or knitting a hat for KUO. The hat on the right is now finished and a second has been started.   

SetupmyspinningcornerSecondskeinofspunandpliedyarn_1 Emmylou now has her own corner in my junque room/studio and she and I have been making better music together.  It is rather exciting to watch my progress with each skein of yarn created.  The Poppy roving turned into yarn that is better than my first attempt, but more practice is still needed. And practice I did. 

Bobbinsfullofnewsingles The basket beside my chair is full of roving that has been readied for predrafting and spinning. It's the yarn I dyed at the Great Basin Fiber Festival last summer during Kate’s class. The intended colors were to be more like a Georgia O'Keefe painting, deep gold with deep poppy reds and oranges. The colors turnout a bit brighter, but I'm turning that in to a happy happening and spinning it up in chunks of color and will then mix and play with them while knitting.  Progress is being made and I'll update you as soon as I can on this process of learning, spinning, and plying. 

Today should be my last commute of the week to Utah County, as I need to work on the last vestiges of my old job.  I'm still at the same company, although we have a new name, and I still work with the same people.  So far change is good.  Spinning and my 'new' job are bringing more challenges on this path called life.  It's the process and I'll have much more to say on that subject, bet on it.
 


Knit Unto Others 2006

Tomorrow is the official kick off for Knit Unto Others.  For the next two weeks, Carole and I ask you to join us in giving thanks for the bounty we have by giving of your knitting time. Knit anything you like and give it to the charity of your choice.  There are so many places around Blogland that have put out the call for warm knits and a few links can be found on the side bar of the KUO blog.

Homelesshatsforknituntoothersnov I'm already knitting a hat that will go to the Good Samaritan Society where Blogless Val volunteers her time.  I use Susan's Amber Hat  as a template as it makes for very quick knitting.  Soft wool yarn makes very warm hats. 

Stacey is in the process of knitting loomed hats for KUO.  She took a fall while at work and dislocated her elbow.  During the visit to the ER to have it realigned, the Dr. broke it  (can you believe that!?) and she had to have surgery. She's now healing and doing well in physical therapy.  Stacey believes that if she can contribute, then anyone can.

Many bloggers have stepped up with prizes for the participants.

Gkpixievoucher75

KPixie has generously donated a $75.00 gift voucher to their shop. Carole and I thought this should go to the person who knits the most items over the next two weeks (Nov. 18-Dec. 2, 2006).

Other prizes (names will be drawn randomly from the participant list):

Susan and Laurie are teaming up. Susan will knit face clothes and soap socks to be filled with Laurie's fragrant soaps. Blogless Karen is donating a skein of her fabulous Sleeping Dragon Yarn and Mim will donate three of her fabulous patternsCrown Mountain Fibers and Scout's Swag will also supply us with gifts as will Carole and I.   There may be a couple of other prizes, too. We'll draw names on December 3rd and announce the winners on Monday the 4th.

Leaving a comment on the KUO blog is enough to sign you up so you can give of your talents and perhaps receive a lovely gift in return.

Enjoy your weekend!