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August 2007
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October 2007

Lotsa Socks

Jane had a Show Your Socks Contest last year, and this year, she's reprising it with a twist.  It's very easy…just show the first sock and the last (latest) sock you've knit.  If you've just knit your first pair of socks they could be the same pair, right!?  If you don't have the first pair (my first pair was 1993-4), don't worry. Jane is being very generous with her interpretations of "first and last" and she's very generous with her prizes, too!  Did you know she's knit 93 pair, so far?!  I'm not sure how many socks I've knit in the past 13-14 years, but I don't think it totals that many.

Veryveryveryoldsocksthatidontwear

Since the first pair I knit is no longer in existence, I've gone with the two oldest pair in my sock drawer.  Both pair were knit before I knew much about knitting socks in general and let's just say much has been learned since that time. The blue sock is from a mystery cotton denim yarn in a mystery pattern. The socks are hell to wear; hard, uncomfortable, stiff and almost painful on the feet.  The other sock is one I tackled before I knew much about two color knitting, but I did an OK job of it. It's the Finnish Sock from Folk Socks.  I have no idea what the yarn was, but it wasn't a good fit for the socks and I don't wear them much...thus they still exhist. It's a cotton/wool blend if memory serves. 

Monkeysthreetimes_3

My newest (latest) pair is another pair of Monkey's (my third), in STR Mist, started while visiting with good pals, as an easy, peasy project.

Socks have not been my number one choice of projects lately...I'm feeling a little socked out, but there will always be a pair on the needles even if they don't get much attention.  However, I did knit several pair in the last few months and will enjoy wearing them now that the weather is cooling down.

From the top clockwise:  Monkey the First, Monkey the Second, Loksins!, Thelonious, Jaywalkers, and a simple Picot Sock.

Showjaneyoursocksherearemine

Now it's your turn to show Jane your socks...go for it!


Delusions of Lace - Sigh...

Carolelookssofabulousinthelotusblos After seeing the ease with which Carole, TeresaC and Kim wore small triangular shawls, that lace bug has bitten me rather hard. I'm finding it difficult to resist new projects, new ideas, and new yarn.  Knitting on Jóhö has been slow and I'm still slogging away, albeit a little unwillingly. I'd love to start something new.  Focus must be maintained or I'll be off on another lace adventure with nary a look back. While this long slog continues, I'll just dream. 

Beautifulmorethanbeautifullacefromk

It's very, very difficult to hold off knitting with this beautiful lace yarn of Kim's.  It has invaded my every thought since she put it in my hands and I began the search for the perfect project as soon as I could.  While there are dozens and dozens of gorgeous shawls and stoles, nothing really spoke to me. Cara suggested designing my own with Evelyn Clark's book "Knitting Lace Triangles".  I'm playing with options now and, when done, ALL bets are off.

Susansbeautifulsingleforshawl_2 Susan spun this gorgeous yarn as a single a long time ago and, because she wasn't crazy about the color (too pink) she gave it to me!  Lately I've been feeling a bit sad that I haven't knit with it.  However, it started to call to me from deep within the lace bin and it has now been released into the light of day.  The project I've decided on would be the perfect melding of pattern (designer) and yarn...to wit, Susan's Spring Things Shawl.

Another lace project that has totally turned my head is Miriam's new Aspen Grove Shawl, in collaboration with Anne and Wooly Wonka (Look under On-line Store and then 'Kits'.) The shawl construction is a unique half octagon, which gives the fabric an elegant drape.  Anne dyed the yarn in two inspired colors, Quaking Aspen and Vermont Maples.  The Aspen colorway is exactly the color of the aspen forests in the mountains at this moment, there is just a touch of yellow as fall starts to show off its colors.   I'm rather partial to the Vermont Maples colorway, however.  If you order the kit before October 1st (you have just a few more days) shipping is free.

Kidsilksprayformuir But wait! There's more lace filling my head.  The most likely project I'll knit from the new Knitty is Romi's Muir.  It had been on my mind with no real idea of yarn or start date, that is until I saw this Rowan Kidsilk Spray at the LYS.  The shades of gray really caught my eye and there is nothing like it in my stash.  Muir and the yarn are banding together to sing a beautiful siren song, one I hope to resist for just a bit longer!

Yummypinkmohairsilkfromwoolywonka While drooling my way through Véronik's new book I fell for the Portrait Scarf , another uniquely constructed lace project, and have had my eye out for the right yarn, ¦the right color.  There were possibilities in my stash, but when I saw Anne's beautiful PINK Kid Mohair/Silk at the Festival, I knew it was 'just perfect'. 

Véronik also has a pattern called the Warm Wrap and that will be on my future list, at least for now it will stay in the future queue, it MUST stay in the future queue.

Speaking of a warm wrap, Ewe-tah grrl's, Cheryl and Lark, have teamed up to create two beautiful projects.  Lark is working towards 'living the dream' on her Skylark Meadows Ranch.  Her newly created yarns are so luxurious and Cheryl's designs show off the qualities of the yarn beautifully. The alpaca content is perfect for this warm wrap...I'm a little crazy for the vest, however.  There are so many talented artisans in our knitting group!

Meanwhile, I think I'll keep slogging along on  Jóhö.  She'll be done someday, don't you think? 

Sigh.


Color Me(me)

Fallberriesfromourwalk_2 It's the time of year when the talk of color is on everyone's lips.  The colors of fall are vibrant or subtle, always warm and inviting, truly rich and earthy. This weekend Birdsong and I had a long conversation about color.  She had her colors 'done' and learned some colors were better for her than others. Some were colors she already wore and loved and others were a bit of a revelation. 

Astheberriesturnorange It's time to change over the closets and so I've been thinking, gleaning, cleaning and dreaming about wardrobe fixes, too. Kristi steered my thoughts in this direction last week when she started her color series. If you have been curious about color, but never understood the terms or theories, you'll find Kristi's series very helpful.

Her first post had a meme with excellent questions about color choices. After you read  the color questions (which can be answered on your own blog), go back to her post on color theory, the first in the series. You might also find her answers to the meme interesting.

Over the years my ideas about color, my likes and dislikes have changed.  Trends have an impact on what we like (because of what we see), but with the process of aging eyes and changing preference, what once looked good to, or on a person, evolves.  It was interesting to think about the transition

Here are my answers to the meme.

What is your current favorite color?
Shades of blue & red catch my eye more often than any other color.  I'm drawn to bright clear color, but often find myself enchanted by something new, such as a color that hasn't been seen for a long time.

Had your favorite color changed over the years?
As a grrl-child my favorite color was hot pink (the rest of my bedroom was a cowboy theme), but I've always been partial to blue and other jewel tones. The colors I use, or wear, least are yellow and green and that much hasn't changed.

Is your current favorite color one that is currently trendy? (Do you see it in the fashion rags or on the clothes rack or in the linen aisle right now? How about 5 years ago?)
After checking with this site, I see that my favorite colors (clear, not gray) are out, in general. Plus, there is NO blue!? I'm not sure about 5 years ago, but two two years ago ago the colors were clearer.  Color changes so rapidly any more.  Is one color 'out' for long anyway? (Or maybe I just don't pay attention.)

What is your favorite color combination?
Right now it's brown and red, brown and blue, brown and almost anything. 

Is that combination a popular one? (Is it used in prints you see in the stores and catalogs and magazines now? How about 5 years ago?)
From the looks of the above link, brown is very in, as are brown 'toned' colors…bright is out and drab is in.  Maybe bright colors were more popular 5 years ago, I'm not sure. I'm not that conscious of fashion trends and often have trouble finding clothing in colors I like.

What is your favorite way of using color in your knitting? (Are you a stranded knitter? Do you prefer simple stripes? Do you prefer just accents at the hems/collars?)
If I use two or more colors in my knitting it's usually in a stranded project. Color choices also depend on the project. Socks in colorful yarns, multiple colored yarns are fun to knit and a good way to play with color(s), colors that may not be 'my thing'. 

What colors look good on you?
Blue shows off my eyes and bright, clear colors are best with my skin tone. People are often fooled by my color preferences as I'll knit any color in socks and even wear pants in colors that wouldn't be good close to my face.

What colors look bad on you?
The current fashion favorites…grayed or brown tones. (Birdsong and I found we are at opposite ends when it comes to what colors look best on us.  Opposites do attract.)

Do you wear colors that don’t look good on you just because you like them?
I don't wear any color I don't like and try to stay away from a color that doesn't look good, but sometimes I'll get a printed T-shirt just because I like the subject matter and only wear it around the house.

What is your favorite neutral color? black/white/ivory/tan/brown/gray – if brown or gray do you prefer cool or warm versions of those or does it matter? And, how dark?
Black has always been a favorite color, as well as gray…any shade of gray.  Pale neutrals (ivory or tan) don't work for me and, when I wear brown, I like red browns in darker shades.

Is there a sweater pattern that uses more than one color that you’d like to make, but you wish to change the colors from what is published? If yes, which one? What do you not like about the published colors?
I love Eunny's s Autumn Rose, but the colors would not look good on me. Sad, because if I change them it will no longer be Autumn Rose!

Beautifulsunfloweronlastleg_2Color study is very interesting and I enjoyed taking many classes on color theory when I studyied embroidery.  What I learned is helpful when I teach embroidery and the students enjoy learning tidbits along the way.  They find it easy to absorb the principles in small doses and when it can be used in a practical application.  Many people find it complicated and hard to understand color theory, but learning just a few basics will be very helpful to you when you dye yarn and/or pick colors for a project.  Check out Kristi's series...you should find it very helpful.

Skeinofcelebrationshetlandfromspunk click for big

Speaking of color...Amy does such amazing color work when she dyes yarn and roving.  This was the July selection in her Spunky Club...Shetland wool in the colorway Celebration.  I spun it in a partial woolen method and plied it in chained singles so the colors wouldn't mix together.  It was then wet finished (as in abused with a yarn plunger in very hot water and smacked around quite a bit) and it turned out beautifully!


Surprise!

Mountolywithfirstsnowonpeak

This was the mountain view yesterday and yes, the morning was nippy.  It's not unusual to have snow on the peaks this early, and as is also usual, it melts very quickly.  A warming trend is expected as the week progresses. Fall is an unsettled time of year in the mountains of Utah. 

Babysurpriseclassone_2 Saturday was the third installment of Susan's BSJ class. This project has been so much fun and each time I finish the class assignment I wish there was more to knit.  The picture on the right is the jacket after the first class, at the end of the mitered decreases.  In he next class we learned how to increase (at the same point) and continued to knit the body of the jacket. The class on Saturday took us through the process of creating a flap, picking up a few stitches and then, continuing with the rest of the body. The flap makes the bottom of the jacket flair a bit to fit over a diaper...how ingenious is that!?   

Theflapatthebeginningofthethridcl_2

Susan's handouts have been very helpful and have kept me on track, but reading the pattern thoroughly has also helped.  Don't read ahead as you'll find it confusing, but if you knit each step as you get to it, everything will fall into place.  The 'amoebous'  shape is intriguing and mind-boggling, but once you figure out which ends go together, the jacket takes form and you have something cute and exciting.  There will be more BSJs in my future.  And a note about the yarn, it's Serendipity Tweed (a new yarn) from Brown Sheep and I love it! It's similar to Cotton Fleece, but one strand is lighter in color than the others so it creates a tweedy effect.  There will be more of this yarn in my future as well. 

How cute is this!?  I'm nearing the end and looking forward to the next class on sewing and finishing.

Thejackettakesshapeandissocute

Angela is having a contest as a way to help her friend Nikki win a picture book competition.  She illustrated a children's book, What's Wrong with Mud?  It's SO darling and her illustrations are excellent!  You could win yarny prizes or a print.  How cool is that!?


September - Nine of a Dozen

Coloronthemountainsides
If you look closely you can see that color is starting to patchwork its way across the face of the mountains. The gambol oak turns shades of orange and the aspens are touched with gold.  Color hasn't started to invade the valley as yet.

The tomatoes hold on through the chilly nights. The corn stocks, long spent, are still guarded by scarecrows, and pumpkins, nestle between the vines, await harvest.
Thelastofthetomotesareready Thecornisspentbutthescarecrowisstil Thepumpkinsarereadytoharvest_2

Skydramabeforestorm_3 Everyoneisdeckedoutintheirfallduds Fall came in on a bluster wind and ushered in a bit of sky drama.  Rain, a wuthering wind and blustery gusts, foretold of what's to come. For now, the chill can easily be warded off with a hand knit or two.  While nature prepares for a long winter nap, the hand knits come out of hibernation and into the spot light.  Socks that were tucked into a drawer during the heat of summer can now be adorned to warm the toes, sweaters come out of storage cupboards and warm shawls wrap around a body to keep the chill at bay.

Awalkingtheparkmoxieseesacat
While the storm brewed overhead, we took a walk through the park.  It was a beautiful way to usher in the fall weather.  Winter is coming up the driveway and it is still far from knocking at the door. It is time to revel in the beauty of the fall days ahead and enjoy the process of the earth shedding her foliage as she readies to sleep...for as she sleeps, so shall she wake. 


What I (We) Did the Last 6 Days

It is hard to describe what it felt like to share 5 days with so many awesome friends. You might call it a slice of heaven.  There was much knitting, much eating, some drinking, and we took that 'be merry' part to heart. Laughter is the language of true friends.

The fiber festival that was small, but packed with fun.  The view couldn't be beat.
Wehadawonderfulfiberfestivalwithvie
We took a class and laughed a lot as you can see from Susan's post.

Wetookaclassanddyedsomeroving_2

We participated in a waulking with Anne Carroll-Gilmour (she sure has a beautiful voice) and laughed some more (and very heartily, too).

Allofusaroundatableasthewaulkingbeg

Wedidsomewaulkingwithannatthefarm    Wewaulkedafabricforanncarrol

We bought some good fibery things (my haul from Spinderella, Anne and Laurie) and you can bet there was laughter while making the transactions.

Fibergoodiesfromthefair

We laughed our way through dinner (and knitting).

Terryknittingatsilverforkwhileweari Weknitandlaughedandateanddrank_2
TeresaC in Charlotte's Web (must knit a second one), Judy and Kim at Silver Fork.

We walked around Silver Lake...the talk was punctuated with laughter and more laughter.

Wewalkedaroundthelakeandenjoyedthef Thegrrlsathtelakeitwassowonderfulto

We stopped by Black Sheep (again) to say hello to Anne Carroll-Gilmour (again) and did even more laughing. (I love this picture of Anne, Kim, Teresa and Carole.)

Ilovethispictureofthegrrlswithanne

Carole and I did some Monkeying around because Monkey's are easy knitting when you're doing lots of laughing. (You'll have to check her blog next week for the fabu Monkey's she knit in Kim's fabulous yarn. Mine is STR Mist.)

Monkeyingaroundwithmiststr

It has been too quiet since they left for home and I feel a bit pensive sans friends...it was such a good time.  Thank you for coming, grrlfriends, for being yourselves and for sharing it all with me. 

Psssssst, did you know today is Carole's birthday?


A Magical Time with Grrlfriends

Here's a quick post to show TeresaC modeling Anne Carroll-Gilmour's Enchanting and Magical Witch Hat while we hung around Black Sheep Wool Co.  (Look for Carole, Kim, Teresa and Susan, aka the Weird Sisters?, at Rhinebeck in their magical chapeau's.  I can't wait to see pictures of them all! Wish I was able to go again this year, but alas, no. Watch for me in 2008.)
Teresawearingwitchhatinblacksheep

It was so much fun to hang with grrlfriends from near and far this past week. I'm still holding it close to my heart while I try to catch up with work, home and life.  More details tomorrow.   


Don't Just Stand There - KNIT!

BlogFree Val knew I was a bit stressed last week before everyone arrived, so to relieve some of my guilt for letting the blog go dark, she sent her reply to a recent OpEd piece from the local newspaper. Val is knitting a sock while waiting with friends (who are drinking martinis!) at the Camp Cloud Rim. It's a pair of socks she donated to the Girl Scouts auction. Way to go Val and thank you SO much for the post!

Valwaitinginlineatcloudrimgrrlscout

Dear Ann,

Here's the perfect solution to productively and patiently standing in line: knit socks.  Now don't stop reading yet.  In the spirit of your columns, here are the top ten reasons for sock knitting in line:

  1. They are small, lightweight and fit in your purse, to be on hand at all times when you have a spare moment.  Say while checking out at Home Depot behind a contractor with a flat cart of sheet rock and all the requisite accessories.
  2. They are entertaining and always spark a conversation, which inevitably begins with "what in the heck are you crocheting?" and can lead in endless fascinating directions like economics, sheep husbandry, and bamboo versus aluminum needles.
  3. They are entertaining and can successfully terminate unwanted conversations with the simple "sorry I can't chat but I'm really concentrating here".
  4. Knitting is meditative and can instantly transport you from the nerve-wracking din of babble, crying babies and annoyed public service employees at the DMV while you wait an hour and a half to have the worst photograph of yourself ever taken.
  5. It has the magical power of having your doctor's nurse open the door and call your name at the exact moment you take the first stitch, saving you hours of waiting.
  6. It is satisfying to actually accomplish something while waiting for the snowplows to clear the road up Big Cottonwood Canyon, other than watching the other testy powder hounds pace up and down the closed road.
  7. Given waits for checking in, security, ordering a double latte, delays, layovers and baggage, at the end of traveling round trip from Salt Lake to Florida, you can actually have a warm and beautiful pair of socks to don when the door opens and you realize it's not 84 degrees anymore.
  8. It looks really difficult but is not, giving you a boost of self-esteem when others waiting in line roll their eyes in wonder and awe.  I'm certain it's wonder and awe.
  9. It is effective self defense because even while knitting, you can hold four double-pointed needles in such a fashion as to warn off any potential threats without actually having to arm yourself.
  10. At the end of the day when your kids'/husband's/golfing buddy's friends ask them "where did you get those cool socks?", they'll be able to say "my mom/wife/hacker made 'em!"

Just in case you forget the book and paper next time!

best,
Blogfree Valoree