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March 2008
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May 2008

A Grrl Can Change Her Mind

The weekend offered a little bit of a finishing flurry with CeCe and Persephone coming off the needles within a day of each other. It was rather exciting to have nothing on the needles for a short time. (If you want to stay my friend you will not remind me of the two languishing socks).  No time was wasted in contemplation of what would next embellish the needles…I have a queue! 

Miriam's Persephone and Judy's yarn made beautiful music together and the experience was wonderful.  The mix of patterns, from leaf motif to faggoting and back again, was enjoyable and not too complicated. Judy's yarn has a crisp, yet soft hand, a beautiful sheen, and a texture that enhances the stitches.   Nice work, both of you!
Persephoneonthematerhornrock_2
Persephone
Pattern: Persephone by Miriam Felton
Yarn: Yarn: Ball and Skein Arbori (50% Merino, 50% Tencel) - Purple Haze by Judy (Kits available)
Time to Knit: April 12, 2009 – April 25, 2008

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The other scarf on my needles (maybe it's my time for scarves, not socks) was the handspun Scroll Stitch (the one I shared with you last week), but I've since changed my mind.  The pattern just wasn't lacy enough to show off the glorious halo of the alpaca/angora blend. While the yarn is slightly overspun it still knits up beautifully. The Lace Ribbon Scarf by Véronik Avery was deemed (by me) to have the right amount of lace (big holes!), to be soft and lovely to wear around my delicate neck, and to be interesting and fun to knit. The change has been good.

  Shetsoiefirstfewrows

My participation in PS (Earth) Elements was at a low point this month. As many of you know, I'm not a big fan of green and since the Sock Mojo is nowhere to be found I can't even knit a pair of appropriate socks.  My love of brown comes to the rescue, as does a very pretty pattern, found via Ravelry, for a simple garter stitch feather and fan shawl, Shetsoie. How lucky that the perfect yarn for this project was in my stash...Alchemy Haiku in  "Twig" brown. (YAY!)  The shawl is growing nicely as there is minimal thinking involved, although the tiny needles (#3) make the going slow.  The shaded brown yarn, with the feather and fan edging, should make this more interesting in the end than it is now.  I can't help but think charred Brillo Pad.   


CeCe and Me at the Bird

Maybe it is true...I can't stay away from Blogland.  But, posting a picture was easy and quick compared to writing a whole post about the weekend.  It was so nice to spend extra time at Snowbird, do the Sunday errand run, and then spend the afternoon at Stitch 'n Bitch, without worrying about sorting through pictures and writing a post. It was a delightfully relaxing weekend and I plan to take more.
Tramcomingintoviewathebird  

The snowpack in the Wasatch Mountains reached near record depths this winter and most of it has yet to melt...or even start melting!  Wednesday brought new powder to the slopes (2 feet!) and the skiers are still able to ski right up to the Plaza at Snowbird.  The worry is that temperatures will climb quickly and all that snow will come down at once...not a good scenario.

Smith and I decided not to worry about a thing.  It was so enjoyable to sit in the abundant sunshine, relax and watch the fully clad skiers come and go.  It was warm enough that the shawl I'd brought for extra warmth was soon sitting on my lap instead of covering my shoulders.  CeCe  was perfect for the day.

Ceceinthesunatsnowbirddeck

Already I can tell this is going to be a favorite summer sweater, a perfect uniform to wear over a t-shirt or tank.  The color looks great with denim (my favorite), brown or black, and should be good with tan or khaki, too. Since I haven't found (or taken time to look) for a button, I'm wearing some of my fun collectible pins (more on that later). 

Cecebacklookingoverthefence Ceceshowingoffathebird_2 (Click)
The texture of Classic Silk (a cotton/silk blend) provided just the looked and feel I sought.  It's soft, nubby (like silk noil), lightweight and was easier on my hands than pure cotton would be. (The silk content dried out my finger tips...the only drawback I could see.)  The yarn seems to wear well and hold up nicely, so this should be a good long wearing, classic sweater.

Knitting went smoothly as the pattern is easy to follow, well written and works up quickly.  The sweater is constructed in such a way that there is little finishing, and with only a few ends to weave in, a button to sew on, in no time at all you can be walking around with attitude as soon as the knitting is done.

Imlovingceceandsheslovingme_3  

CeCe
Pattern: CeCe by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Classic Elite Classic Silk - Coneflower - 8 balls
Needle: Addi size 6 (used for whole garment)
Time to Knit: March 15, 2008 – April 25, 2008
Modification:  Lengthened the body and sleeves by 2".


Picture and PSA

Sunday, sitting in the sun at Snowbird was pure heaven...wish you were here.

Imnotsleepingbuticouldhavestayedi_2

No I'm not asleep, but I could have stayed all day.

Remember Romi's new earrings...the pair I wanted last Friday? Well, ALL Romi's jewelry is on sale...so hurry over!

Wooly Wonka has a sport weight Cormo 2-ply "Limited Edition" yarn that is to live for!

See you tomorrow!


Because a List (or four) on Friday has Become Der Rigeur…

Beautifulyellowtulipfullyopen

Tuesday was a much better day than Monday (maybe it was a better nights sleep) and while dressing for work I looked in the mirror and said to myself, "Damn!  You look great for someone who is near 60 years old." (Big Zero birthdays have never bothered me, but 60 feels a little daunting.) 

That morning I read Nora's post on loving your body for what it is.  May I impart a bit of advice to you younger souls.  Enjoy your 30s and 40s; they are your body's best years.  Around 50+ you start dealing with aches and pains and other age issues.  This year has been a difficult one for me health-wise and so I'm going to talk about the "good stuff" and stay positive.

It's All About Me

  1. While dealing with pneumonia, et al., I lost a few pounds.  The goal has been to keep it off.  So far, so good.
  2. My hair is still mostly dark with some swaths of gray and I'm fine with it as is.  Coloring is not an option for this simple reason: I am too lazy to deal with it myself and all that time in a salon would make me nuts.
  3. My new haircut looks cute and (dare I say) sassy.  My earrings show and I love that, too.
  4. Thankfully I'm not a snack food eater.  I don't like it, it doesn't like me. Give me yogurt and berries (perhaps a few nuts) over anything else and I'm happy.
  5. My neck has a few wrinkles, but has no wattle…thank goddess!!
  6. My lungs have gained strengthened in just the last couple of weeks and I should be able to start working out. Yay!
  7. My body looks ok, but it's weak and I must start walking (farther) and lifting weights (which I can now do...see #6.)
  8. I'm at the age when what's in and what others think doesn't matter much...it's very freeing.
  9. I dress and look younger than I am. My clothes and shoes don't show my age.  I never want curly blue hair.
  10. Friends don't let friends act old and you'll help me out, keep me on the right track….true?  Now, that's a reason to keep blogging.

Grainybadbathroomselfportraita

Changes (Sob)

  1. The soundtrack to my week was KCRL Community Radio…Radio Free Utah.
  2. I have loved this station for many, many years (over 25!).
  3. They are changing formats as of May 5th...to paid programmers!
  4. Can you believe they fired all the volunteers!?!
  5. I have been very upset and continue to grieve over the change.
  6. They did hire three of the volunteers…two are favorites of mine. (Thank goddess!)
  7. I'm still worried that the music I love will change.
  8. The volunteers have given years to the listening public and I will miss them with all my heart.
  9. Many of the volunteers didn't take it lying down and have started their own web-based radio, Utah Free Media.
  10. Utah is full of renegades...and don't you forget it.

Mtolympusonthursdayafterstorm

This is for Sallee who asked for more mountain pictures. Mt. Olympus taken on Thursday afternoon.

It's Friday!

  1. The weather has been wet (snow, hail, rain) and cold this week. (See the new snow on the mountain above?)
  2. Please, please, please let us have a few warm days in a row.
  3. I'm tired of bitching about the weather.
  4. Next complaint will be in July when it's over 100.
  5. Fridays are the best because I can wear blue jeans to work.
  6. I LOVE wearing blue jeans (and lace).
  7. Wearing lace and blue jeans together is even better.
  8. I need want Romi's new earrings to peek out from under my new hairdo.
  9. There could be a CeCe photo shoot this weekend!
  10. I'll be taking Mondays off from blogging now that summer is coming. I'd rather be having fun in the sun than spend Sunday afternoon going through pictures and writing a post.

Reasons Not to Post on Monday

  1. Spending Sunday outdoors (or anywhere away from a computer) sounds like fun.
  2. Blogland is slow during the vacation months of summer.
  3. Knitting all day Sunday (if not out of doors) would be more fun than typing.
  4. More time to spend with Smith and Moxie.
  5. This feels like the right time to slow down my posting schedule.
  6. Maybe I'll have a dinner party...barbecue anyone?
  7. I'd like to read a book (or two).
  8. Maybe I'll be better at correspondence. (I suck at answering emails.)
  9. Many Sundays this summer will be spent traveling or recovering from travel.
  10. Why not!?

Happy Weekend, Everyone!  See you TUESDAY!


Back to the Process

The process has been part of the conversation on this blog for a long time…right from the start, actually.  Part of the reason I thought about starting this blog was to share how I felt about different techniques, stitches and problems that arise with knitting and how "the all of it" was part of the process…the good, the bad and the ugly.  Honestly I just didn't (and still don't) see how stockinette can be boring.  That isn't to say I don't get sick of some processes more quickly than others, but it's usually my mind that is galloping on from the desire for another PRODUCT, not another process. 

Recently Shelley, a long time friend of mine, found a vintage pattern she wanted to knit, the Crescendo Stole. To get the look she wanted she knew it was going to take some trial and error and the first thing she had to do was find the right needle size. The pattern called for size 13s, but there was no way to tell what type/size of yarn was used.  Shelley's chosen yarn was Cascade 220 and she quickly found 13s were too big.

Swatchesforshelleysshawl

She jumped down to a 9 which made a very dense, no-drape fabric. Next she went up to a 10 which was still too tight, then went to an 11 which was just a little too loose.  Using a 10.5 proved to be just right and she's now on her way.  Now, you must realize she wasn't knitting small swatches, as she wanted to see how wide the finished wrap would in the end. On every needle she knit at least 8" of pattern and, after finishing them all, they were laid out so she could determine the needles size and number of stitches needed. The process took her a couple of weeks and she was just as enthusiastic at the end stage as she was in the beginning.  Now that's someone who LOVES the process.  Her shawl will be exactly what she hoped and she is now enjoying the process of knitting miles and miles of cable stitches.  The smile on her face continues.

Shelleywithcrescendo

Apairofsleevesforcece The smile on my face is growing as the end of CeCe draws near.  I've enjoyed the process of CeCe, but the idea of actually wearing her is more exciting.  Knitting the body went well...no problems, smooth sailing, few mistakes that needed more than a stitch or two of frogging.  But the sleeves gave me trouble...trouble caused by my inept counting and lack of attention.  One sleeve was completely finished when I realized it was four stitches too small and had to be frog back far enough to add the extra increases.

It was a very happy moment when all the pieces were correctly knit and joined at the armscye.  The yoke is now growing, the raglan decreasing smoothly, and a new sweater for sprummer wear is now nearing completion.  I can't help but think about the next sweater in the queue as lately I seem to be more about the product than the process.


What to Post Wednesday

Monday afternoon it was sunny, but very cold.  My heart was cold and heavy, too.  Instead of sitting near a window to see the blue sky and sun (which would have been good for me), I sat in the TV room and watched the foodnetwork while I knit CeCe.  I couldn't watch the news, couldn't bear the drama, angst and sadness it brings.  Can things really be as bad around the world as they report?  It frightens me and brings me down.  Is being an ostrich a bad thing? 

The only way I've found to deal with the heaviness is to look around me and count my blessing. I have learned this is the best way for me to deal with overwhelming situations. I did this after 911, after the Tsunami in 2004, and after Katrina.  Reminding myself of all I have keeps me sane at times like this.  The Ten on Tuesday came at the perfect time (even if I am a day late).

Ten Things you Love About Your Life

  1. The people; from Smith, to my flesh and blood friends, to my on-line friends, to my family.  You make living rich and fulfilling.
  2. The mountains, "my" mountains, the landscape I see every single day fills my soul and heart with awe. It is hard to imagine living without this infusion of daily wonder as I watch the sunlight fill the sky from behind Mt. Olympus. 
  3. A kitchen full of food.  I've never been too poor to have the food I need.
  4. Water on demand.  Every day of my life I have been able to turn on the faucet and have any amount of safe water I needed.
  5. A roof over my head.  There is never a time I didn't have a proper roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in.
  6. Clothing and I have had a love hate relationship.  As a youth it was hard to find things that fit (I'm taller than average), but I love(d) good clothing.  Today it's easy to find well fitting, inexpensive clothing and I'm at a point in my life where the "right" label isn't as important as it once was. I am fortunate to have more than enough clothing to cover my body (and shoes for my feet).
  7. A job that pays well (and is very easy to do).  When I've wanted or needed to find a new job it has been an easy transition.  The job I have now is enjoyable, has great hours and offers me a little free time on-line (yes, while on the job). 
  8. Music has always been a big part of my life.  My father loves music and we listened to every genre.  Jazz, show tunes, classical, early rock, opera and pop (and my mother liked country)...it was all a part of my life from the earliest days.  I still love it all and listen non-stop throughout the day to a huge mix.
  9. Love.  Every day of my life I have had at least one person (actually dozens of people) who feel love for me.  That maybe the greatest gift of all.
  10. Knitting and needlework have brought so much to my life. Not only is my life better because if needlework and knitting, they changed my life for the better.  The lessons learned, people I've met (teachers and friends) have had a lasting impact on who I am. This rich and rewarding hobby is the highlight of my life.

(Knitting with) A Yarn of My Own

Susan was taunting me with her new handspun scarf. When she posted it to her project page on Ravelry I saw it and told her how much I liked it. It's the (PDF!) Swirled Scrolls pattern from KollageYarns.   She encouraged, enticed goaded me into starting one of my own with handspun yarn, as I'd just posted about how much I enjoyed knitting with handspun.  To show solidarity with my knitting friend, I did what any self respecting knitter/spinner would do….I cast on for the same scarf and joined in the fun! (Isn't the yarn pretty!?)

Mywoolywonkaoberonyarn

It's a fun pattern and it's working up beautifully in my Oberon  handspun.  This was one of the first rovings I purchased from Anne, even before she started Wooly Wonka Fibers.  My beginning spinning didn't do it as much justice as it deserved, but it's still a nice yarn and will make a soft, warm scarf (which I will love to death!).

Scrollsscarfpatterninmyhandspun

Out of curiosity I looked for the stitch pattern in my collection of stitch pattern books and found it in A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker (blue cover). If you're on Ravelry you can check the patterns from Barbara's book and find several people who have made beautiful scarves with this stitch.  It's also in a couple other stitch books and it really does look like rolled up scrolls. My yarn is very fuzzy (and extra soft because of the angora content), which obscures some of the detail, but should make a soft, warm fabric to wrap up in next winter.

No, I haven't thrown over Persephone…she's growing, too.  As soon as both scarves are finished I'll be casting on for another shawl and the beautiful Indigo Moon robing might be ready to knit. I've been dreaming about what shawl pattern to use and Sivia's Norwegian Woods Shawl might be the right thing.  I'd rather knit shawls, but I think I'll love wearing the scarves, too.


In a Nutshell

There wasn't very much happening this weekend that was interesting.  It was not a good time to head into the mountains as we had two very windy days that filled the air with dust.  Every time we left the house Smith ended up having a sneezing fit and becoming congested.  You could feel the dust on your skin, in your lungs and nose...it was most unpleasant. The only reason we could see the mountains at all is because we live so close.  Another mile away and they were completely obscured.  It was rather hellish, to say the least.
Skyisfullofdustbutthetreesaregree_2
Now, don't fall out of your chair, but I did some cooking this weekend and actually enjoyed it.  The recipes that attract me are easy to do , use simple ingredients and are very tasty, of course. This eggplant gratin was the perfect dish for the organic eggplant from this weeks food delivery.  The organic produce box has different items each week and it challenges me to try something new.  The internet makes it easy to find recipes that fit my criteria and it's been fun and enjoyable to try new meals.

I also did a bit of shopping at the LYS, Unraveled Sheep.  After seeing Julia's finished Tree Jacket I've been wanting one of my own.  This gray to black Araucania Nature Wool caught my eye and should make a beautiful sweater.  While on my Araucania kick I also picked up a deep rusty orange Ranco.  Buying sock yarn has done nothing to entice the Sock Mojo back from vacation, however.

Arcunanaturewoolworsted Arcunarancoyarningorgeouscolor

One thing I tried to do over and over this weekend, to no avail, was to get a good picture of Persephone (kits now available).  The colors in Judy's yarn elude the camera (there is much more brown and more depth than you see here), but this picture shows the texture (unblocked) of the pattern.  I'm enjoying it because it's not the same stitch pattern over and over.  When I sit to knit Persephone I must make sure there is time to finish a repeat (of about 75 rows or so) because it is addicting and invigorating to do.  Two repeats are now finished...hurray!

Closeupofpersephone

I also did a bit of spinning. It's taking a long time to spin a bobbin of this gorgeous Indigo Moon roving, but if I say so myself, it's looking a bit like Malabrigo Lace Weight.  I'll be happy if it's half as nice as that.  The color is totally gorgeous!

Fluffandbobbinofindigomoonroving

More knitting was accomplished, a bit more spinning (as on a spindle) and even time with grrlfriends...but if I spilled it all today I'd have nothing for the rest of the week. 

Did you all have a good weekend of knitting and/or gardening? Despite the cold weather it's looking more like spring here everyday.


Friday! What's Up with You?

How is everyone?  It's so quiet in Blogland and I'm wondering if it's just me. Has everyone moved on to Ravelry and/or Flickr?  Tap, tap, tap...who's out there?

The week is finally over and I SO need a quiet weekend. It's been a crazy week and I've had little time to knit or relax.  I'm planning some down time, a haircut and loads of knitting on Saturday and Sunday.  Because life has been a bit busy I could only come up with one list today.   

Random Bits

  1. Monday the high temperature was 81!
  2. Tuesday and Wednesday it snowed (and didn't reach 45)!
  3. Roller coaster spring weather is rather the norm this time of year and more cold is coming.
  4. At least the snow pack won't melt too quickly. (Looking on the bright side.)
  5. Because the Sock Mojo has forsaken me I have forsaken the purchase of any more sock yarn.
  6. However, Rebecca has a sock yarn I don't think I can live without.
  7. This week the soundtrack to my life has been Chris' fabulous CD mixes and the Drive By Truckers new album.
  8. It's their irreverence...gotta love that!
  9. Yes it is an album even though it's a CD.
  10. A collection of anything (like music) is an album.

It may still be on the chilly side here in SLC, but the lilac buds are growing each day!  Hurray!!
Budoflilacgrowingbigger

That's it from me! Enjoy your weekend.


Spinning My Wheel (and a Spindle or Two)

Nearly ten years ago a friend tried to talk me into handspinning.  She had a new wheel and loved the process, thought I would too, and continually pushed me to give it a try.  This was at a time when my main focus was embroidery and I was immersed in constant study of various techniques which took all of my leisure time.  Spinning was something I knew would be enjoyable, but I just had no time to give up.

After starting my blog, I watched as many knitters made the progression to spinning and knew I had to give it a try.  It took a couple years before I talked myself into a spindle, another year to talk myself in to learning to use it, and several more months before I bought a wheel.  While I have spun a bunch of yarn and knit several projects with my handspun, spinning has been something I could take or leave.

Pileofhandspunforknitting_2

I'm not meticulous or obsessive about spinning like some people I know.  I admire Susan and the perfect yarns she creates (SO exquisite), but I am not Susan,  I am not the precise spinner she is.  Her last two handspun skeins are breathtaking and I wish you could touch them both (and I'm happy that I could!).  The merino singles are incredible and will make an amazing shawl.  Her three ply looks like a commercially spun yarn...it's so perfect!

H is for Handspun

Pileofbluefluffforsingles There is usually something ready to go on the wheel and I can slip into place and spin when the mood strikes.  It takes awhile to get through a spinning project because I rarely sit at the wheel for more than a few minutes. My favorite handspun yarns are singles and 3-ply.  Currently I'm working on a single with a gorgeous Indigo Moon roving of a merino/silk blend. It was purchased from Rhinebeck and is a delight to spin. (Sadly the company is no longer around.)  I do enjoy watching it slide through my fingers and form an interesting yarn. The plan is to follow in the footsteps of Cheryl, who knits with her beautiful handspun singles and creates the most amazing shawls.

Jared has started a series on handspinning that will be interesting if you’re a knitter and/or a spinner.  Just his pictures are worth a seeing, but I think you'll find the series very informative and enjoyable.

Beautifulhandspnandgiftiesfromlaura This week a package of sunshine arrived on my doorstep from Laura.  The box was full of sun colored gifties, fun gifties!  Flower power coasters, a little handmade dish (for orts?), the most darling stitch counter I've ever seen (a pink martini!) and a skein of yarn!  When I picked up the skein of yarn I realized it was her handpainted, handspun and I was so touched. Isn't this skein  beautiful?! It's has summer sun written all over it! (EPos for Sandy) It will become a shawl and I'll have sunshine on my shoulders any time I need it.   Thank you, grrlfriend!

Take a closer look...yum!

Laurasbeautifulhandspunyarn