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November 2007
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January 2008

Spinning Past and Present and Future

Deb wanted to see a Spinning Year in Review and since she got a new wheel for Christmas, I can see why.  Enjoy your new baby, Deb. It's bound to bring you hours, and years, of enjoyment. 

Naspimomo_button_3 The first of 2007 was much more conducive to spinning progress than the last.  It may be I ran out of steam, but more likely, the knits just took over and Emmylou has been neglected because of that.  It's so hard to find time to do all the things one likes when one has multiple interests...something or other always gets a short shrift.  My fiber stash is overwhelmingly large and something must be done...something like SPINNING.  So, I declare January NaSpiMoMo.  To join you just need to spin more (easy peasy), and take Carole's fabulous button if you have a blog. Plus, there is a Ravelry Group. (Ravelry makes KALs/CALs/SALs so easy!)  You set your goal and spin.

Most of the yarn spun in 2007 was from the Spunky Club and you can see the glorious results in my Spunky Flickr Album.  It was fairly easy to keep up with the monthly fiber and, even knit something from it, until July when sweater mania hit Zeneedleland.   

Nightshadesinglesforshawl400yds_2 The very favorite of all my handspun hand knits is Susan's Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl.  The yarn was my first single and the project was easy and enjoyable. This was the May selection, Nightshade, and Amy, as usual, did a magical job with color.  This shawl is so easy to throw on with anything and I wear it often.

Forestcanopyatsilverlake

There are several skeins, spun early in the year and still hanging out, that I'd love to knit. Maybe 2008 will be the year. 

Zengardenalpacaoberon

This is a skein of the most beautiful fiber.  It's one of the first I bought from Anne's Wooly Wonka.  It's 60% gray alpaca 20% gray angora, 18% purple/blue dyed silk 2% angelina and I ended up with 600+ yards. It's so yummy...why does it sit?

I'm rather fond of this beautifully dyed "Giverny" also from Anne's shop, as it was a gift from Birdsong.  There is enough for a small shawl and maybe I should just make another Forest Canopy.  I'd love to be wearing this now, instead of just petting it.

Zengivernyfrombirdsong

The next yarn just might be the last I spun, with any success, and I do remember how excited I was about it.  This is Celebration, the July offering from Amy's Spunky Club, which I plied in chained singles.  It's about a worsted weight and should make a great hat.  It's one I pet often as I did such a good job of spinning and finishing it. 

Shetlandcelebrationneedsporject

Let's hope NaSpiMoMo will bring the return of the spinning mojo!  It maybe a great colorway will help, too.   Amy's December offering is called Party Dresses, 80s Party Dresses!! 

80spartydressesrovingfunkyhat_2

When I opened the package I laughed out loud.  The colors are so happy, so vibrant and a perfect way to brighten dreary winter day. Think I might just dive right in...

(Turns out I had bronchitis, but with modern meds I'm feeling much better. The Near Year should start out "in the pink". )

Happy New Year, everyone!


The Year in Knits

Knitting in 2007 started out rather slowly, only socks and scarves on the needles for several months. I just couldn't seem to get any knitting momentum.  Socks were the main distraction, 18 (two were small) pair knit this year and that's pretty much a record. The 2007 Photo Album shows off the years knitting results.  The year ahead holds more desire for sweaters and shawls than socks, at least sitting here, just days before 2008 begins.

Today seems as good as any to review my  favorite knits of  2007.

Ceildhandthelonioussocksarefavs The sock that's at the top of my favorite list is Anne's Ceilidh Lace Socks.   I love the yarn, the color and the pattern.  They were fun to knit, the leg is nice and long, and they feel wonderful on my feet. Despite all the Monkey Mania, Thelonious is my second favorite pair for the same reasons as Ceilidh, great yarn, great pattern, great fit.

Scoopbuttonedandlookingood Blueberry Scoop has the distinction of being my favorite sweater of the year.  It's been worn more than any other sweater. The reason may be it's a cardigan and perfect for this time of year. I do wear the other sweaters, but not as much. Blueberry is perfectly versatile.   

Mittensknitin2007weresomuchfun_2 I'm very partial to the Mitered Mittens and Bird in Hand. Mittens have rarely been part of my winter wear...I like my fingers individually clothed, for the most part. But, I do enjoy the warm, thick fabric of a worsted weight mitten and how perfect they are for snow.  Both pair were fun to knit and they are both special to me for different reasons.  It makes me smile just to see them sitting there ready to start a snowball fight!

JohoenjoyingthesunatgrandcanyonBeautifulhidcoteontherockwallofdr_2 Hands down, my favorite knits of 2007 were Langsjal Jóhönnu and Hicote.  It might be that both photo shoots involved traveling to exotic locations.  With the cold weather I've been wearing Jóhö more, as she's knit with warm, soft wool, but Hidcote is a favorite for cool summer evenings.

So the totals go like this:
Sweaters – 5 (including BJS a baby sweater)
Socks – 18 (two small size for charity)
Scarves– 4
Shawls/Wraps - 4
Bag – 1 Crochet
Mittens – 4 (two small size for charity)
Mitts – 1
Gloves - 1 (the Woolen Gloves WILL be finished before NYD)
Secret Project - 1

Now, onto 2008!


What I Knit Over Christmas Vacation

Flu of last week morphed into a sinus cold this week, energy and motivation were kept at bay. Searching for them daily only led to disappointment.   Knitting sat idly in the lap as often as it was in the works.  The worst part of being sick for so many days is the delusions you set for yourself are not met, not.even.close.   Even so, there was knitting accomplished.

Swapprojectforoneskeinready_2 Friday night, during a long bout of insomnia, I worked on the secret project for the SLC SnB Grrls One Skein Swap for our anniversary party.  There was a revisit of motivation and a simple, quick project seemed just the right thing to knit.  Things didn't start out well and went to hell rather quickly, but for some reason a stubborn streak set in. It was a "set in cement" stubborn streak, and I couldn't back away.  Knit, knit, knit, tink, tink, frrrooooog, restart...knit again.  That's the way my hands worked for the next 5 hours and I never thought about stopping.  From the vantage point of a few days, it's easy to see it was a flu induced mania, one best not to analyze too much.  As it turned out I knit through the whole night...yep, until 5:00am (between loads of laundry and other duties), slept for one hour and never felt tired until 10:00pm that night.  No wonder the flu morphed into a cold.   In any case, by 4:00 that afternoon, 10 hours later, instead of 5, I had a finished project and found it very satisfying and enjoyable. I even learned a new technique...all will be revealed after the swap. 

Loganwrapisfinishedandworn The next day, Sunday, I tackled the Logan River Wrap, which was only a few inches from completion.  Everything went well with this project (oh, thank goddess, that something went well) and by Monday morning it was blocking in all its glory.  I've been wearing this luscious wrap and its warm, soft fabric has been a comfort and kept the chill away.  When the eyes aren't so bloodshot, and the nose is less red, we'll do a photo shoot for your pleasure.   I learned many new things with this project, too. Short rows (I haven't been very good at them) YAY! Provisional cast on, hurray!  Kitchenering! Huzzah!  Okay, I did learn to Kitchener earlier this year, but it's still a thrill.

Firstwoolengloveisfinished The one project I was most excited to finish, and share, was the Woolen Gloves by Véronik.  It's the one project that, even with the desire to knit, I couldn't over come the lack of motivation.  It's a wonder that one glove is finished, but no wonder that I love it unflaggingly.  It's warm, soft, rich in color and blue-tiful.  The yarn, Apple Laine, Apple Pie, is THE perfect yarn for elegant, warm gloves.  The color (Royal Blue) is full of character, the wool/silk/mohair content has such a luscious sheen, and the yarn knits up smoothly and beautifully.  It would be SO easy to buy one of every color! (But, I am going through the process of learning to do with less and must stick to it.)  The yarn was a gift from Lisa and I can't thank her enough for the introduction.  I have more colors in my stash, from a swap with Elizabeth, so, for now, I'm a happy camper.


What We Did over Christmas Vacation

Smith and I are enjoying one more day of vacation.  It will be so nice to work only two days this week and then have four more off.  It would be very easy to get used to this sort of schedule, but we know January will prove, long, break-less and dreary (to say the least).

Over the years our holiday celebration has turned into a non-commercial, non-consumer vacation.  We relax, renew, rethink and rejoice the past year.  An addition to this year, inspired by mamacate’s solstice post, we also considered what our intent for 2008 might be.  The decision was made to make the year ahead more meaningful.  The plan includes doing with less and continuing to work harder on our non-commercial, non-consumer ways.  This will be a process that will take practice, the intent is to carry it on into the rest of our years.

Vacations have a way of slipping by too quickly, so our intent was to do something special each day. Saturday the special 'thing' came to us serendipitously. As we drove home from a delicious dinner we came upon a cemetery covered in paper luminarias. Treescoveredwithwhite Every grave, and there were many, had paper bag with a candle flickering inside.  The ground was covered with 8" of snow, the trees, both pine and deciduous, were draped in white, and the snow covered mountains made a ghostly appearance in the background.  Rolling hills of lights and small wreaths dotted the landscape, along with the luminarias. It was truly beautiful and amazing.  Often I have wanted to take pictures of the winter ghost mountains, because we can see them so clearly...the white against the dark sky. That night the opportunity was there and I hope you can see, even just a little bit, how wonderful this evening was. (Make bigger.)

Ohholynightwithluminairesandghost_2

Sunday we had breakfast at Snowbird and watched as the skiers scampered towards the lifts.  Wintry, snowy conditions produced new powder for the slopes, and that's just what brings a skier to the Bird.  For us, the food is good, the air is crisp and clear, and the trip is a mini-retreat from our daily routine.

Snowbirdsnowingpowderwithhappyskier

The winter wonderland of the last week had disappeared with warming weather, but on Christmas Eve mother nature brought snow, and we woke Christmas Day to another delight...a white Christmas, complete with clear blue skies.

Beautifulsnowydayinthecanyon_2

We hope you had a delightful Christmas, too.


Saturday Sky - Winter Solstice

You know you're sick when you can't knit, can't eat chocolate (or much of anything else) and only wish for sleep.  If one must get the flu then it should only last three days. Today is a better day and I do, finally, feel like knitting. Thank you for your good wishes. The first day of winter brought a big storm, but who can complain when the day ends up this beautiful?

Itjustdoesntgetmorebeautifulthant_2

Whitesnowblueskiesitissopretty

Again, Merry Christmas, Blessings of Solstice, and Joy of the Season to you.


My Year, My Pictures!

As luck would have it, it looks like I'll be battling the flu all weekend. Hopefully by Christmas I'll be feeling better.  It's been years and years, since I felt this poorly.  This post was ready to go few days ago, otherwise there would be nothing.  Instead of a picture from the first post of the month I went with my favorite. It's my meme and I'll do what I want to.

January (no linkage this time)

Smithandme011980z
Not only the SnB has an anniversary in January...Smith and I do, too!

February
Smithandmeatsolitudeinthesunandsnow
Hanging out with Smith at Solitude Ski Resort on a sunny day. We love the beauty of the canyon's during the winter months.

March
Kimsvisitinmarch
KimG came to visit and we've met up several times since.  She's a doll, fun to be around and a wonderful friend.

April
Aprilgreengrassandredtoesandwarm
It was warm enough to bare the toes. w00t!  (I can't wait to do it again.)

May

Shearingathealpacafarm

Shearing at Sunrise Ranch with Deb and Jim.  Hopefully you two aren't too cold and buried in snow!

June

Lauracherylchriskarenatestespark
Hanging with the grrls during our Estes Park trip. This was so much fun and it was great to meet Chris and Laura.  Are you grrls coming back next year?

July

Hidcoteinhergloryatbrycecanyon
Hidcote's debut in Bryce Canyon.  A very nice trip, a beautiful day in a very unique place and a wonderful photo shoot!

August

Maniseshandspunyarn

I had more FOs in August than any other month, but my favorite thing is Manise's handspun. We had a little swap and I think I got the best end of the deal.

September

Kimterryandcaroleatthelake

Carole, TeresaC, and Kim came to visit for a few days...it was heaven.  If only it could happen more often.

October

Timewithsmithathtegrandcanyon
Spending time at the Grand Canyon with Smith was the highlight of the year.

November

Mittensfromhandspun

Mittens from Manise's hanspun!  I couldn't love them more!

December

2115642971_9a0703bc3e

Blue mittens and blue sky!

Merry Christmas to you all!!


EPSing

Swatchofsilkywooltogetgauge
The gauge swatch in Silky Wool is growing slowly, mainly because there is no need for it to grow quickly.  Already there have been lessons learned and ideas are starting to form. Silky Wool is heavenly to knit and should make a warm, yet light weight, sweater for cool weather wearing.

In the category cloud on the right side bar you'll find a new category, EPS 2008.  Any post on this project will be housed there as reference, if need be.  If you join in you're encouraged to leave a link in the comments of a post so we can follow your progress, too.  The goal is to keep this simple for everyone, but still offer support and suggestions. The main thing is to enjoy the company of others while we knit.  A Ravelry group, EZ EPS has been set up as a way to stay in touch, too.

Epsbooksyoucanuseforsweater I've enjoyed going through all the Elizabeth Zimmerman books, of which four have the pattern:  Knitting Around, Knitting Workshop, The Opinionated Knitter, and Knitting Without Tears. BooksfrommegswansenforepsThe basic sweater is the same in each book, the only difference may be the yoke style.  Meg Swansen, Elizabeth's daughter, also has two books, Handknitting with Meg Swansen and Meg Swansen's Knitting, and both offer versions of the EPS.  Her yokes are different still, very creative, and would be fun to do now or later.  (All books are available from Schoolhouse Press.)

The one thing you must do with this sweater, like it or not, is knit a swatch....a big swatch in the round to determine the best gauge for your yarn and the resulting sweater. If we follow the EPS rules carefully we should all end up with sweaters we'll wear and wear. 

Perhaps it's a bit too early to decide, but visions of Scandinavian patterns dance in my head.  So many patterns, so little room.  A sketch pad will be close by as ideas bounce around and land. First there are miles of stockinette to get through before the yoke, but I remain a stockinette avenger and will enjoy this easy peasy knitting. Hmmm, maybe I should start some lace on New Year's Day, too.


Hats Off to Debbie Stoller

Theslcsnbgrrlsatanniversaryparty07 The SnB Grrls feel like we owe a debt of gratitude to Debbie because she planted the seed in Laurie's mind that SLC NEEDED a Stitch 'n Bitch group. We may not have known how much we needed this group, but in the all of it, we couldn't live without it now.  Within a short period of time we went from meeting bi-weekly to meeting every week.  We also share so much more than 2 hours ever Tuesday.  How cool is it that we're no longer all grrls…we always have guy, at least one, who can put up with us all!  Our tightly knit group will be celebrating the beginning year five on January 8th!

Debbiesigningbooksatlibrary When we heard Debbie was coming to town we knew the only thing to do was let her now how much we appreciated the idea that brought us all together. Her books have brought great knits to beginning knitters everywhere, as well as more members to our group.  Last Thursday night Debbie shared with us how she learned to knit, why she knits, and the historical aspects of knitting. She is one savvy, witty, warm lady with a great attitude that has carried her far.  Knitting has had a big resurgence and there is no denying her hand in that surge. Her books and ideas take knitting across lines of age, gender, and thought, and into the region of the cool, funky, sassy and edgy. (If only more pictures had turned out well!)

Cherylinskullymittens  Susanandjessinhatandsushi

Jessinnijamaskandsusanlaughing Badpictureofdebbieandadrianssweat_3

Debbiesawesomenewlbooks The newest book, Son of Stitch 'n Bitch, maybe the best book yet.   It's full of creative, unique  and classic knits for grrls who knit for guys and guys who knit for themselves. We were all impressed with the patterns, many of which cross lines of age and gender.   Many of the projects were  things we knit for ourselves.  It was fun trying on the items that Debbie let us 'manhandle' and goofing off for each other.  We, the crowd at large, were very impressed with the variety of projects, techniques and yarns used. 

It was a great night and we love Debbie all the more.


Truly Better than Two in the Bush

Twobirdsonthethumbsofmittens_2 While I haven't succumbed to Mitten Mania, I am a little maniacal about this pair of mittens.  I can also truly tell you that one on the hand (thumb, actually) is truly better than two in the bush, especially when one is playing in the snow!

Scoopingupasnowballofsnow
Makingasnowballofsnowthatwontpack Scooping up snow and trying to make a snowball can be a difficult proposition with the "greatest snow on earth".  Utah snow is soft, fluffy and powdery and doesn't pack well.  Making a snowman can be quite the challenge, but skiing conditions are pretty darn good.  (Just be very careful in the back country, as we are prone to avalanches.)  But, back to my very happy hands clad in warm and beautiful mittens...I couldn't love these mittens more!

Mittenisholdingcoldsnow

Using worsted wool made a big mitten, bigger than most people could wear, but they fit me well (as luck would have it).  They are thick and tightly knit which keeps the wool from absorbing much moisture (not that our snow is comprised of much moisture anyway).

Proofthemittensarewarm

As I said before, my mittens are far from perfectly knit, but the color, fit and warmth make me a very happy knitter. I'm satisfied with my below average ability, because the mittens are so pretty and soft. Blocking helped to even out the texture of the fabric and playing in the snow softened them more. What could be more fun than playing outdoors in such beautiful mittens, on a blue sky day, in the whitest of snow? Nothing!

Playinginthesnowonablueskyday

Patterrn: Bird in the Hand Mittens  by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Cascade 220  - Blue 9468 White 8010
Needles: Bamboo DPNs #3
Time to Knit: 12-02-07 – 12-16-07
For KAL: Knitting Like a Latvian

Bluetifulbluemittensinwinter


Making the Best of Things

Clearblueskyandsnowymountain
While the weekend was full of fun, frivolity, fiber and friends, it wasn't full of Norma and I missed her terribly...we all did!   Every time I saw a beautiful view or had a great time, I thought of Norma and how she should be here.  We will make up for it when she comes out later, but you were missed so much Norma!!

Alessredredforeps After we found out Norma wasn't going to make it (Kim was able to cancel her flight) Anne let me know she was still up for some fun on Friday. I was more than willing!  We had breakfast with Cheryl and then headed to Black Sheep for some retail therapy. Susan met us and helped me find a red better suited to the other colors of my EPS. (Thanks Susan!)  It was such a beautiful day all the way around and it was great to spend time with Anne.

Maricamesusanandteriat3wishes Saturday, that wonderful thing called serendipity did come our way as Susan and I met up with Teri at Three Wishes and promptly bumped into Marcia (literally!).  It was fun to fiber shop, laugh and chat together.  (I did purchase some goodies, but they're gifts.) Retail therapy did it's job this weekend as did time with grrlfriends!

Thesnbgrrlsatcherylshouseandanicesp Saturday afternoon the SnBer's were invited to Cheryl's for a Holiday gathering. Cheryl knows how to host a party and we enjoyed wearing our crowns of gold from the Christmas Cracker's she had for each of us. The SnB gang now has a signature 'adult' beverage called the Mimsical.  It's the creation by our dear Mim (who apparently does a good job of designing more than knits) and comprises of a G & T with a bit of pomegranate liquor...we call it yummy and festive, too!

Bigskeinofhandspunforfeatherandfa_2 Bluebeginningofwoolenglove Because the guest room went unused there was time to finish plying the beautiful Cosmos singles and now have about 700 yds for a Feather and Fan Stole.  A little quite time here and there gave me a chance to start a new project...more knitting the blues, as I started Véonik’s Woolen Gloves.  Don't you just love the Apple Pie Cornflower Blue yarn?

Blueskyandtreesflockedwithsnow Smith and I made it to Silver Fork for the first time in weeks and it renewed our frenzied souls.  It was wonderful to be in the mountains with the blue sky and pure white snow.  We also carried off a successful Mitten photo shoot...details to come!  Happy Monday, everyone.