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July 2007

How'd That Happen?

So, you do realize that Sunday is the first day of July, right?  JULY!  July 4th, the quintessential day of summer is this Wednesday...then it's all down hill from there.  How does time go by so quickly? Must stay in the present and enjoy every day of summer, even days when it's extra hot.  I have been knitting, just not as much as I'd like and with varying results - details next week. 

When I bought yarn from Kim for the comment contest, I actually bought this colorway, Rosemary & Thyme, to give away and the Iggy Pop to keep for myself.  When it came right down to it, it was harder to give away this color than it was Iggy. Isn't it beautiful?

Kimsrosemaryandthyme

I think I know what happened...it was after seeing Anne's finished Pond Scum socks that I changed my mind.  Rosemary and Thyme should make a perfect pair of Pond Scums, eh? Because Kim's yarn  is so nice...I just had to spread the love and decided, with a bit of a sigh, that Iggy needed a new home.  I also bought some of Judy's yarn to make Pam's  Marigold Socks. So much yarn, so many fabulous patterns, so, so, sooo little time!  Umm, yeah, I know...not very Zen.   

As I was making breakfast (while thinking about Megan's fabulous Fiberlicious Flickr group), I noticed that Iggy was the same color as a red onion.  Thus, my first Fiberlicious picture!

Fiberliciousonionsandbananas

And since it is Flower Friday...pictures of beautiful lilies that my neighbor planted. I had no idea they could grow in our dry climate or be as beautiful as they are.

Pinklilyforflowerfriday

Loverlypinklily_2 Duoofliliesfromneighborsyard_2

(They grow larger if you click.)

Have a wonderful weekend...get out and take a hike!


Before the Summer of Socks Began...

I knit Monkeys.

Crazyredrockmonkeysocks

Crazymonkeysockinredrockcanyon Monkey Dos* are done...fini....off the needles. It was just as fun to knit the second pair as it was to knit the first and I made the same modification...a picot cuff (and my toe is slightly longer).  This is my last Monkey. There are just TOO MANY fabulous sock patterns to be knit. A long row of sock yarn, avec patterns, sits on the floor of my 'fiber studio'. In addition, Sunday will be the first day of my Sock Club for One!  It's already time to pick a package from the wrapped up yarns in the sock club bag.  This is truly turning into the summer of socks and I wish for the ability to knit faster! (Yes, I know IT IS the process and I do enjoy it, but the desire to knit so many different patterns has me wishing the process was faster. Not very Zen, I know.)

Speaking of the Summer of Socks...

Strawberryfieldsshockwave

Meet Shock Wave, knit with my very own Strawberry Fields (Spunky Club) handspun. While spinning, I wasn't that careful about spacing the color changes and I'm sure the socks will be fraternal, but so far the sock looks pretty good!  I've heard it said the little joins that happen when you ply in chained singles will disappear in the fabric of knitting and I am finding it to be true.  Knitting with this tightly spun yarn is much like knitting with any other sock yarn, except it's not quite as perfect.  It lets me know it is MY yarn - yarn spun by my hand, a humble yarn that meets the need and fills the heart with the happiness of a job well done.

*Monkey2 is knit with Red Rock Canyon STR and took about 1 week...you gotta love that!


Making Friends In Blogland

One of the reason I like to join a good swap is for the chance to make new friends.  Lately, many new swaps haven't been of the secret variety and that affords a whole new opportunity to get to know someone.  Instead of scouring someones blog and asking/answering questions in secret, you can come right out and ask.  It's a great opportunity to chat and get to know someone on a different level and it's a good chance to make a friend, someone you know will be part of your blogging life from now on out.  Renee, my pal for Lynne’s Special Swap, is just such a person. I've enjoyed reading her blog as she is a movie buff and I'm not much of a movie goer. Her posts offer a great chance for me learn of movies I might enjoy. She is also a fabulous knitter as you can see by this fabulous baby blanket.

Renee certainly figured out my likes and sent a wonderful package full of garden goodies. Lynne's swaps have a special theme and this time it was "In the Garden".  From the looks of it, Renee had as much fun with this theme as I did.  (Hopefully the package I sent out her way on Monday will arrive today!)

Funfungiftsfrommypalrenee

There were so many fun things wrapped up in the package.  Look at the charming colorful plates with garden motifs, and napkins, too. I love the herbal note cards and tiny pots of plants. (She has more faith in me as a gardener than I do.)  There is soap to wash away the soil  from digging in the garden (nice, lovely soap) and a candle so we can enjoy a romantic dinner in the garden, too. (You may notice the little bag of Jelly Belly's, which I am noshing on as I write this post.)

Maligrgoforbabyhatisjustperfect_2 Best of all is the yarn.  I know it will be hard to believe, but I haven't seen Malabrigo yarns around here. Renee included a beautiful blue, Indigo, skein of Chunky, as well as a pattern for a darling baby hat!  My brother's wife is expecting their second baby (second grrl) and there maybe a complication (we're waiting for word).  I'm going to knit this little hat for her and fill it with prayers in every stitch.  This part of the gift means more to me than you can know, Renee.  It feels as if you knew what I needed to help get me through this (hopefully small) crisis.

Now look at this....

Themostbeautifulchpeverever_2

I must say that this is the most beautiful colorway of Claudia Handpaint I have ever seen and it has a perfect name - Purple Earth...totally cool, totally!

Thank you so much Renee!  You are a superb swap pal.

Speaking of pals...each day this blog is getting a little closer to 29,000 comments.  By early next week that should happen and one of you will receive this yummy sock yarn, Iggy Pop, from the dye pots of blog pal Kim. I must admit it is very difficult to part with this colorway.  There will also be a few other things included if you are the lucky 29,000th person. Then it's onto 30,000!

Iggypopfromkimwoolenrabbit_2


Take a Hike - We Did!


SelfportraitfromthemiddleofthestreaYou are so smart! Many of you knew the purple wildflower was an Elephant Head. It grows along side the  Bog Orchid around the banks of Silver Lake. Before we took our stroll around the lake we took a hike up to Donut Falls.  Donut Falls has been closed to the public for several years, but last year Salt Lake City purchased the land to preserve the watershed.  It is now open to the public, so if you're willing to take a bit of a hike (trail unmarked) and get your feet wet, you'll have loads of fun.  At least it's a lot more fun IF you DO get your feet wet.
Brightredtoesfromwalkinginthestre_2

Donutfallsisfromthebottom_5 Mountainstreamview_3 The water is as icy cold as it can get (thus the very red feet) and Chaco's or Teva's are the perfect footwear.  It was so cold it hurt, but it was that hurt that hurts so good!  It felt even better when I pulled my feet out of the water into the sun and I did just that over and over again.  Hiking in the mountains makes me feel like a kid.

Donut falls from the bottom isn't so photogenic and you must be willing to climb up the rocky face to get a good view (I was a bit trepid to give it a go), but the views all along the way are well worth the trek.

Mrlightwasaveryfinemantotalkwithono Just as we finished the hike the realization hit that we were not ready to leave the canyon, and so, up to Silver Lake we went.  It was a fabulous day at the lake and we had a chance to meet the volunteer ranger, Mr. Light.  This was a fun and serendipitous meeting! We have seen, and spoken to Mr. Light before, but not in any depth.  As we strolled around the lake he share some of what he knows about the wild flowers and animals. (A moose was sighted about 2 hours before we arrived). We also learned that Mr. Light was the owner of our favorite spot until about 15 years ago!

Mrlightmeasuredthesetwotreesandesti As we walked around the lake, identifying wildflowers and the like, Mr. Light showed us two very large pines. He had just measured them that morning and determined that they were about 375 years old.  He also remembered the first year the wild iris' showed up at the lake. They have prospered and now surround the visitors center, and made good subject matter for a Monkey progress picture. (This is a knitting blog, after all.)

Monkeysockatsilverlakewithwildiris

It was such a lovely day and our visit with Mr. Light made it all the more enjoyable. The lake was as pretty as it can be and we'll be back to visit again soon (as you well know!).

Silverlakefromfavoritespottositan_3 Silverlakeissobeautifulandserene Wewereworriedthatheforestwasdrybutj


June - Six of Twelve

We didn't go to the UAF  (although we usually do and should have again-it was just sooo hot).  I also didn't make it to Sunday SnB (I was having too much fun in the mountains).  We did take a nice hike Sunday morning to Donut Falls and also, walked around Silver Lake before heading to Silver Fork Lodge (yes, again) for a late lunch. Since we were away most of the day and had little time to get ready for the work week, I'll make this post short.

June is a perfect month to be in the mountains and to do almost anything you can think of doing.  The end of June is the time that wildflowers start to show off and are easily found by those willing to walk the mountain trails.

Beautifulwilkirisareinbloomaththela Pinkwildgeranimums

Wild iris are seen to surround the visitors center at Silver Lake and wild geraniums dot the edges of most mountain trails.

Wildcolumbineusuallywhite_2 Butterflyonofallthingsadandylion_2

Columbine (almost always white) are just beginning to bloom and make their ghostly appearance.  It was also very exciting to capture a butterfly sitting (unfortunately) on a dandelion.

The columbine below just seemed to shimmer as I bent to take its image. (Click for big.)

Columbinefromourwalkuptodonutfalls

Elephantearplantatsilverlake(Click for big.)

This flower is one I've seen in wildflower books, but never really knew how to find it...well, find it we did.  Tell me if you know what it is and I'll tell you tomorrow if you're right. (If you don't know what it is, tell me what it looks like.)


Wrap Up of a Week

Animals!  Estes Park Wool Market had barns full of animals...goats, alpaca, llama, sheep and more! The goats are such funny creatures and they have a way of enchanting me with their 'look'. Their various horns, bleating sounds, fleece varieties and shapes seemed to bring a widening smile to my face as I walk through the pens.  The llama and alpaca barns are quiet (except for an occasional hum), but walking through the sheep pens one becomes aware of the symphony of sounds.  Each animal has its own tone and tenor of baa-ing and maa-ing...it's impossible to leave without laughing.

Youlookingatme Goatatestespark  Ijustcantseeonelittlething

Fastfriendshangingnouttotgehter  Averyfinepacawithprettyfleece Yesihaveamouthfullofstraw

Twolittlegrrlsathtefestival Yesiamabitmaniacal Hellowtherehowareyou

Estes is still on my mind, and in my heart. I've enjoyed reading other posts about the Festival experience.

Fjpiecesaregrowingquicklynow FJ was revisited after my return and it seems the separation did us both good.  The back has been finished and the fronts are growing nicely.  It took considerable effort for my brain to figure out how and where to start the front "slope", as the v-neck decreases are called in the pattern, in comparison to the armscye decreases.  Now that all that has been determined, the knitting is going along swimmingly.  Both of us are well behaved and happy. Our future together looks long and lovely.

Johoissafeandhappyshelives Hidcote  hasn't had much attention, but that should change this weekend and, despite recurring, seemingly unstoppable rumors, Jóhö rests quietly, happy in her hibernation. Despite the "Free Jóhö" campaign she will stay behind the scene, for now.

Prettyinpinkonmybobbin Emmylou and I have had only short bursts of time together and so, progress is slow on the Spun Stitches project.  When we do get a chance to spin time flies by...but it's still a bit of heaven.  I'd like to fill a bobbin with the lovely bunny crack by the time the weekend is over.

In more spinning news, did you see Tour de Fleece?  This sounds like a great way to spend July and I'll be joining in the fun!

There has been an  ongoing contest here, as the comments on this blog approach 30,000. As of today they are half way to 29,000.  Next week the 29,000th person will receive a box of goodies and I'm trying to think of something special for the 30,000th comment. 

Last weekend, when we arrived at Val's home after our ride back from Estes, I walked around and took pictures of the flowers in her yard (don't you always type 'yarn' first?).  The beautiful yellow lily you see here was in full sun and I wasn't sure the pictures would turn out.  What a nice surprise and a perfect way to start Flower Friday.

Alillyforflowerfriday_2

Alilyforflowerfriday_2

May your weekend be as beautiful!


June 21st - First Day of Summer

There has been a  flurry of knitting going on in the Garden of Zen.  So far this month I've finished two pair of socks, a third pair is well on the way, FJ is near completion (and behaving) and Hidcote could see the finish line shortly (maybe).

Mystrawberryfieldssockyarn

Today is the first day of summer and, therefore, the first day of Summer of Socks.  This big summer event and KAL demands a special sock, a special beginning.  To wit, I’m knitting with my first true good handspun sock yarn…Strawberry Fields (from the Spunky Club). The yarn is from a Corriedale roving that I plied in chained singles. It's going to be interesting to watch the color change as I had no plan when I spun or plied.  The pattern is one I came across some time ago on Abigail's blog called Shock Wave and it should break up the color in an interesting way.  I'm raring to go and will start today as early as possible.

Monkeysockthesecond Once the Loksins! were finished, I did some (more) Monkeying around.  The second Monkeys are as addictive as the first pair and I predict another quick knit. The yarn is STR in the colorway Red Rock Canyon and it does a good job of mimicking the colors of the red rock canyons in So. Utah. One sock is complete, the second should come along quickly.

2007 seems to be all about socks. This wasn't my intention at the beginning of the year, but it's the way the cookie is crumbling.  There should still be a sweater or two this year and, hopefully, a shawl or two.  However, sock production will be way up (or at least it appears that way at the mid point of 2007).  Because of the Summer of Socks KAL I've decided on a few patterns I'd like to knit over the next few months.  In no particular order here are a few in my queue.

Naturespaletteoddduck Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks- This has been on my 'to knit' list for years and I have the yarn ready to go. It's Nature's Palette by Hand Jive in Odd Duck.
Purplectrsolid_2 Also in the queue, is Anne's Summer Fun Sock. This might be moving up the queue as soon as I decide on a yarn.  It's a simple and elegant style which I love!  ETA: This CTH Purple is just perfect, so this sock just moved up my queue! (Hmmmm, looks like my sock knitting is going from blues to purples.)

Another sock is Whisper Lace Socks (there is also has a free pattern, Chain Lace Sock, which you can access from the same post) designed by Rachel. The pattern isn't quite ready, but the socks are fabulous! Choice of yarn has yet to be decided, but I'm dreaming of something in a soft orange.

Anne (WoolyWonka/Ewe-tah Grrl) has a beautiful new sock kit, Ceilidh (pronounced "kay-leigh"). It should be very pretty in the Seashell colorway she's offering.

This is only a the very beginnings of my loooooong list of socks to be.  Other yarns and ideas are bouncing around in my head at about a mile a minute.  So many socks...so little time. 

I've been keeping a queue of future projects on Ravelry and also, have entered much of my stash yarn.  This is such a big help in keeping track of what's on the needles and what's on the 'to knit' list. It has also helped me stay out of the on-line shops (to some extent) as I can shop in MY stash.  Many of you are still waiting for an invite to Ravelry and I promise it will be worth the wait.  You can check out many of the features in the preview and, if you're already a member, you might consider giving a bit of a donation to help keep it growing.


Loksins!

Count my feet very happy!  The second Loksins! was finished while riding in the car, for hours and hours and hours, on the way to Estes. I fell, cuffs over heels, for my own blue dye job and this pattern was well suited for it. What a good time this sock affords a knitter. It didn’t live up to it’s name of FINALLY (translation for Loksins) as it was a very quick knit.
Loksinsinthegardenonmyfeet

The elasticity of the yarn  makes for a snuggly fitting sock that feels good on the foot. Reynolds Soft Sea Wool has a very tight twist, quite a bit of bounce and it dyes beautifully. Ashford dyes are excellent for intensity and take up. There was no leftover color in the pot and very little came out of the yarn when washed.

Loksinssideviewofleg

The design on the socks is not only fun to knit, it has wonderful texture and gives the impression of wings going up the leg.  This pair of socks knit up as if I had wings on my fingers! The easy to memorize pattern repeats made for very quick progress. Stitches could easily be added to the stockinette panels on the front and back of the foot, which makes it easy to adjust for any size. Overall I loved the yarn, color and pattern so much, I just couldn't stop knitting!  I don't remember the last time a pair of socks took less than two weeks to finish.

Loksinsinthezengardenfoldednicely_2

Zloksinsareprettyasyoupleaseofffeet

Pattern:  Loksins! by Cassie
Yarn: Reynolds Soft Sea Wool - Hand dyed with Ashford Dyes, Blue and Teal -color Blue-tiful
Time to Knit: June 4 – June 15, 2007
Modifications:  Rolled cuff consisting of 6 rows stockinette stitch, extra heel rows and gusset stitches to insure the sock will fit my higher instep, Purl Swirl Toe.


There's More Pretty Grrls Than One*

The mountains of Estes Park are imprinted on my brain and so, 'my' mountains look somewhat new and foreign.

Viewfromourlogcabin

Viewofesteslakefromstanley Paradeofgoatswithspectaularview

Snowcoveredmountainsfromstanleyhote

The trip was over so quickly (sigh).  It wasn't so much about fiber...it never is.  I wouldn't travel that far (8+ hours by car) to buy even the most precious of spinning/knitting fiber...ever.  I would drive longer than that to meet up with the best group of grrls on the planet. 

Agaggleofgrrlsatthestanleyafterdrin Lauracherylchriskaren Miriamwassohappyshewasdancing

Laura, Karen, Jane, Cheryl, Mim, Imbrium, Chris, Val, & Anne (in no order)

Lauraandmebeforeleaving Thefiveutahgrrlsbeforeleavingestes Valsatbythewindowwherethehummerscam

Laura & me,  Cheryl, Karen, me, Val, Mim, Val

Marisaandmimknititngwithourveiw Wesatandknituntilthedrinkscame Kareninherprettyblueskirt

Imbrium & Mim, the whole group at The Stanley for cocktails, Karen

Happyshoppersatestesjulieandfriends Estesskyandllamaparade Kristiwithherspinoffsocks

Julie (in red) and friends, llama parade, Kristi avec her Spin Off Socks

Michaelestacykimandothrs Llamawalkingaroundfairgrounds Erinandlisafromco

Michaele, Stacey & Kim, grrl with llama, Erin & Lisa

It was so wonderful to spend extra time with Laura and Chris, both who stayed in the 'Luxury Log Cabin' with us, the Utah Grrls, and to see so many more friends at the festival.  As it turned out, I was a lazy shopper. Not much spoke to me and I came home with little fiber, a bit of yarn, two spindles and a head full of wonderful memories.

PrettyspindleandfluffforspinningGraycesplainandfancywoolsagegreen_2 The only yarn to come home with me was from Grayce of Plain and Fancy Wool Co. It's Sage Green with Mixed Reds and it is a colorway that has been on my mind since last years Estes!  The only fiber I bought (for myself) was a gray cashmere blend, along with a pink 'everything' blend, from Bonkers. I had to have something to spin on my new polymer spindle. The other spindle is from Tracy Eichhelm and since Val, the hummingbird whisperer (they follow her everywhere) was with me, that's what I got, in her honor. Both spindles spin like heaven.

Tracyspindleswithhummersontop

There wasn't much in the way of fiber that was different or unique.  With the wealth of fiber shops in Blogland and the amount in my burgeoning stash it's hard to find something I 'had' to have.  So, that's it...more memories than fiber finds, which is just perfectly fine. 

*Lyrics by Woody Guthrie
Silly You-Tube version by the Avett Brothers