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July 2008

Soundtracks

One of the things I love most in life is music and, while I do enjoy silence, music is often playing in the background of my daily life.  Music was a big part of my childhood.  Dad loved music and we had the biggest (and first) Hi-Fi in the neighborhood. It was the main entertainment in our home, used far more often than the television.  Dad had a huge library of records and, during our early years, we learned more about music than most people do in a life time. As kids we acted out and sang every Broadway Musical from Guys and Dolls to West Side Story (I still remember most of the words). 

The music played in our home was a varied mix; from Dave Brubeck, the Big Bands, opera, symphonies, and even the popular songs of the day…we heard it all.  Dad's first love was Classical music and our education was broad.  One of my favorite memories is sitting next to him while we read through a libretto of The Flying Dutchman or La Boheme.  He made learning the ins and outs, the themes and 'jokes" in the music fun and I was often wide eyed with the information he passed on.  How did he know so much?

Cdilovetolistento

From an early age I've enjoyed everything from the Beatles to Beethoven...a cliché I know, but it was and still is true. Music awakens the spirit, sets a mood, brings back memories and fills the soul with peace (or angst).

I thought about putting together a list of Desert Island albums/records/cds, but that proved an impossibility.  So I'm going to link to a few of the tunes I'm listening to and love today. Everyday it changes.

The current song of the day that runs through my head most often is The Step and the Walk by The Duke Spirit. The song has a very classic sound to it and I love the lead singer's voice. You can find them on Myspace, too. Myspace is a great place to find the bands you love and hear their latest music (free!).

The music genre that gives me a big kick is classic country. (Don't get me started on the "hat country" of today.)  A good country song will make you laugh out loud, wanna cry in your beer and/or give you a gen-u-wine feeling that you want to get drunk and beat someone up.  Seriously, this music, the good ol' outlaw country music, is one of my faves and Hayes Carll is my newest love. His website plays several tunes from his latest album and "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" runs through my head quite often. His Myspace page has more good tunes.

Bela Karoli is flying under the radar, but this groups sound is unusual and stunning.  The haunting voices, blended with acoustic instruments, evoke the past and future of music at the same time. Check their Myspace page and listen to Summertime.

I leave you with my favorite music video of all time...pre MTV.

Yes, M is for Music.


Keeping Up With 10 Minutes a Day

Theviewfrommywheelpotition Carole's 10 Minutes A Day has been a great jumping off point, but like many spinners who joined the ranks, I've been able to spin a little more than a mere 10 minutes. The spinning wheel has been moved to the living room as it's much cooler on the first floor than in my fiber studio on the second. The boys like it better as they can stay close while keeping watch out the front window and the back door.  They do their best to warn me of impending danger and keep me safe. 

There are many spinning groups on Ravelry with unlimited information about technique, wheels, spindles, fleece, supplies, etc.  It's been a good resource and I peruse the spinning boards more than any of the others. In the10 Mintues a Day Group Hillary asked if anyone had suggestions on how to keep fiber off your clothes and from spreading around the room. Let me tell you, fiber has a way of spreading around a room very quickly. Plus, the little bits of fluff that love to attach themselves to your clothes are very hard to remove. This is the bane of many a spinner.When first learning to spin I had a way of spreading fluff from one corner of my room to the other.  As a way to keep it in check I put a paper bag next to my chair. With a little more experience the fiber love isn't spread quiet as far, but it's nice to have a place for it to go and stay contained.

Spinningapronandfiberbag_2
The problem of fluff covered clothes was solved by a simple, useful, lovely gift (how many days did I go to work with a thin layer of colored fluff all over my pants?). Katherine (Ravelry link), a blogfree Stitch 'n Bitch grrl, made a spinning apron and I've found it the perfect thing to throw over my legs while at the wheel.  It ties at the waist, but most often ends up laying in my lap, protecting my clothing from the fiber and the fiber from the buttons, bows and fabric of my clothes.

Even with spinning everyday it's taken a few weeks to spin three bobbins of the beautiful orange superwash.  The third bobbin, now on the wheel, should be finished up today with plying to happen this weekend.  Doesn't it look delish!?

Peachesinthesunroving


What's Next?

After finishing a successful knit it's hard to get back into the swing of another. The weekend was spent in the search for something that would fill the need. 

Sokcmojodoesntcareforicetea What better time to bring out the Sock Mojo than the first day of the Summer of Socks? Saturday the temperature on our patio was 99, but it was nice to sit in the shade and feel the heat on my skin. (The cold winter has yet to leave my bones.)  With a cold glass of tea by my side, and the Flickering Flames socks on the needles, I started to knit anew.  Row after row of stitches quickly became a slog and slogging did not fill the need. It seems the Sock Mojo has once again made his escape and headed off to places unknown.  He has a wandering spirit and I must accept him as he is. There is no joy in Sockville. 

Stayingcoolonthepatio_2 The next idea was to knit a scarf with some lovely purple Manos Silk Blend.  This time I sat with something a little stronger to keep me cool...a yummy pomegranate martini.  The pattern and yarn played together, but after dozens of mistakes (not caused by martini sipping, no sir-ree)…it was apparent this project was not to be.  At a loss, at near wits end, I wandered the house in confusion.  Why is it so hard to settle on a new project after a successful knit is off the needles? 

Since the Sweater Mojo and I have been attached at the hip, I decided a sweater it would be.  A search through the stash brought the right yarn out of hiding.  The bright and happy Shocking Pink Silky Wool was a sight for sore eyes. My first thought was a cardigan out of this yarn would be the juuust right.   Ravelry offered up a couple of ideas, but they just didn't sit right or feel right.  A search of my knitting library revealed nothing and neither did a trip to the LYS.  My confusion grew…how to find just the right thing, the perfect thing, the best thing for my knitting need?

Slowlygrowingsunshinefromlaura_2 With a sigh, I settled down to knit the tried and true Laura's Sunshine shawl. Maybe monogamy was the way to go for now.  It was the act of wrapping the beautiful handspun around the needles that brought solace and contentment to my knitting angst and it wasn't long before the inspiration light bulb came on.  Suddenly, I knew just what to knit...a pullover was the answer and I knew just which pattern. 

The yarn is wound, the needles ready….and I know we're all made for each other.

Salinaandsilkywoolsweater_2


Living in the Red Sweater

Wheeler Farm  is just around the corner from our home and it's a place we often go to walk the dogs.  It's a recreation area owned by the citizens of Salt Lake County and every time we go we say how fortunate for the neighborhood that it was saved.  It's a great spot for a picnic, a party, a fiber festival, a walk, or a photo shoot, as there is so much to do and see. 

Ridingayellowtractorinaredsweater
It was fun to ride a tractor or two (ok, maybe I just sat on them and pretended to drive), climb a big ol' gnarly tree, and talk to the animals (yes, the farm is full of animals).

Drivingthegreentractorintheredsweat Bigolgnalrytreeandredsweater click to bigify

Talkingtotheburrosintheredsweater_2
Little Cottonwood Creek runs through the property and gardens surround the old farm house.

Redsweawterbytherushingwater Redsweaterandhollyhocks
This sweater has been one to love from the first stitch.  It's easy knitting, classic styling, great yarn and can be worn all year round.  The pattern is very well written and so simple it would make a great first sweater.  Simple styling does not preclude elegant detail and this sweater has simple elegance in spades.  The sleeves feature very nice detailing along the shoulder seams and the little bit of garter stitch at the hems adds an attractive edge. The style can be dress up or down and the yarn (my first time using CF) is everything you'd want in a yarn.  It's all good down to the last stitch.

Detailofsleevedecreases Detailofhemandbuttonband_2

Pattern: Fitted Cardigan by Louisa Harding from the book Modern Classics
Yarn: Cotton Fleece - Barn Red (6 skeins)
Needles: Addi Turbo #5 and 6
Time to Knit: May 25 – June 20, 2008
Modifications:  Lengthened body by 2" but no need to lengthen sleeves (?)


Goosey Goosey Gander

While at Wheeler Farm for the Red Sweater photo shoot we were suddenly overtaken by a large gaggle of geese.
1sevenadultsanddozensofgoslingsatth

Seven adults and an untold number of young cut us off at the pass crossed the road in front of us.

2gaggleofgeese

And then made a run for it (the water) kicking up dust as a disguise.
3theruninfrontofusonthepath    
I did get away with a couple of feathers, however.

Ididgetawaywithacoupleoffeathershow
 


Where I Do What I Do

Myofficethereceptionarea

Doentthemonkeypawlooklikesitspeekin This is where I make my living.  When you walk into my office (the front office of the business) you'll see me sitting at that old computer monitor slaving away working (I'm trying to get the company to pop for a new flat screen). On the desk is my morning snack (yogurt and fruit) with my Sigg bottle nearby. The best thing about this space is the thermostat control is for my office only and I like it warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter than most people. 

The tree behind my desk is not living…it's a living nightmare of dust and cobwebs.  I can't get to it to clean it as it's stuck in a corner blocked by the recycling bin and other big boxes.  The plant in front of my desk is a living, breathing plant called a monkey paw.  It is the only living plant I have been able to keep alive at work or home.  Everyday any water that is left in my Sigg, or anytime the water gets too warm to drink, it is dumped into the planter.  Ms Monkey Paw is very happy with this arrangement and she thrives.

Viewfrommydeskatwork From the desk I can see across the valley to the Oquirrh Mountains, but as you can see it has been rather hazy (heat and pollution created ozone). The view just outside the office door is a little better (but still hazy).  The mountains change as the sun moves across the valley during the daylight hours  The shadows are constantly changing. It's a dynamic and sometimes dramatic view and wonderful to see in all seasons.

Viewfrommywindowatwork
If you could hear what's happening in my office you'd hear KCRL streaming live (or my own music mix) playing softly in the background, the noise from the agents who reside down the hall (do they need to speak so loudly?) and the occasional sound of a ringing phone.  All in all it's a quite spot, a fun place to work and best of all, it's close to where I live

L is for where I make my living.   


Going Batty

When plans change and a grrl can't do what a grrl wants to do, a grrl should do what she can to ease the pain of disappointment.  The main reason I wanted to go to Estes Wool Market was to meet up with my grrls, my people. There isn't much that can be done about that (except hang out with friends here), but there is something that can be done about missing out on the shopping part of a wool market.  Tan tried to entice me with a link to some nice batts, but I decided to forge my own way and ended up on Etsy. To ease the pain of a fiberless weekend and came up with this beauty...

Battsfromlindaleeetsy

2585727830_51e95260d0 Meet Mojave Nights batts from exclusively linda lee. Linda knows how to treat a customer. Just look at how carefully she wrapped each batt.  Also, included in the package was a gift and a note for future discounts.  The batts are so soft, so beautifully carded that the spinning should be easy.  I can't wait to spin up a bit to find out how the finished yarn will look. But, first things first...

When my eyes were bigger than the amount of time I had to dedicate to spinning, I made the pronouncement that I would spin three different items for the month of June.  Common sense has now prevailed, I am only working on the superwash portion of the Ravelry Spinner Central challenge. The roving is Spirit Trail's gorgeous superwash merino from Jennifer's Fiber Club.  I do believe the beauty of this roving, and the resulting singles, has calmed my delusions of grandeur. At least I hope so.

Bobbinoneofsuperwashmerino_2

Battfromcrosspatch Carole's 10 Minutes A Day has inspired me sit and spin every chance I get. It's easier to slip behind the wheel than it is to pick up the knitting needles if there are only minutes to spare.  A few minute a day have added up to quite a bit of spinning over the last three weeks.  When spinning a very fine single with superwash becomes too much and I want to have some spinning fun I put on a bobbin of this textured Signature Batt from Crosspatch Creations.

This batt was a custom blend for the 2006 Northwest Regional Spinners and it's a blend of Romney X with Merino and Romeldale, tussah silk, bombyx silk, faux fur (angora), cut bombyx silk and silk noil.  It's a riot of color and texture and a blast to spin...totally opposite of the fine, controlled spinning for the superwash.  Amy and Bellwether both have good posts on the best way to spin batts....which are always an adventure.

Maybe I will get through much of this fiber stash by spinning for 10 minutes (or more when I can) a day.


Knitting, Breathing

While trying to write an "L" post for the ABC Along it became apparent that Typepad blogs were "degraded" (as the status blog put it) yesterday.  If I had any know how (or energy for it), I'd move this blog, but it sounds like so much work and the learning curve for another platform would be more than I can handle. This blog is not the only area of life I feel like is not within my sphere of control. In fact, several events have lead to the feeling that the my world is spinning out of control. Is the control we think we have only an illusion anyway?  This feeling will likely pass.

This is not a complaint...but the temperatures are in the mid-90s with single digit humidity.  That's right...it took exactly 3 days to go from a cold, wet winter to hot, dry summer.  The a/c was turned on the minute I got home from work yesterday and the boys were very grateful to sit in the basement with me while I cooled off and knit.  This too shall pass.

Sweaterpiecesreadyforsewing

The only part of my life I can control is what I'm knitting (for the most part).  The red cardigan has been a tried and true friend, calm and serene and true blue.  All the pieces grew steadily, without any problems.  True trouble free knitting is a solace. All the pieces are finished...ready for blocking and sewing together into a very fine, simple, yet elegant garment.  This pleases me to no end.  It is a bright spot in my life.  The resulting photo shoot this weekend should be a bright spot, too.

Lauraissunshineshawlisslowlygrowing Speaking of bright spots…the Sunshine from Laura Shawl has brought added joy to the daily going-ons around here. This is not a shawl that grows quickly...the fabric is dense and the rows become longer and longer as the shawl grows.  There may come a time it will take a full evening (or more) to knit one 6 row repeat. But, this isn't a race and knitting with Laura's beautifully spun handspun is pure joy.

Our boy Max has been a bright spot, too.  He is so sweet, so willing to please and a delight to have around.  It's been interesting to watch as he evolves and settles into our lifestyle. He's a very smart boy and can shake, sit and comes on command. We learn more about him as he learns more about us and we're all very happy to be together. (Yes, even Moxie).

Maxshakeshandsandisverysmart


A Most Excellent Adventure

Friday was a near perfect day. The weather was as good as it gets, the sky was as blue as can be and, within an hours drive, we would have lunch in one of the most beautiful places in Utah.

The drive up I-80 is quick, but as the road ribbons through the Heber Valley and around Deer Creek Reservoir, the view changes and becomes more dynamic. The water reflected the blue of the sky and Mt. Timpanogos grew more majestic with each mile. Nestled in the canyon at the foot of the Mount Sundance is a lovely place to spend an afternoon or a week.  It's only been in recent years that the mountain has been bared of snow during the heat of summer as the crevasses once held age old glaciers. This year the mountain pockets are still full of snow and ice....winter has just bid adieu.

Skyandwaterarethesamecolor

TheViewfromtheroadabovesundance mountains around Sundance haven't been this green and lush in years, but before we took a walk around we decided to enjoy lunch on the patio.  Dining alfresco at the Foundry Grill is a real treat as it is a secluded little nook with the sound of a burbling brook to serenade us. It is nicely protected from the sun and the food  alone was well worth the drive.  We relaxed, enjoyed a delicious lunch (and good beer), and found it very hard to leave this lovely spot.

Thepatiowascoolgreenandlovely

Mewiththemountainsinthebackground We strolled the grounds walking past a famous person or two (we don't know names and we wouldn't tell if we did) and looked up at the majesty around us.  Breathing in the clean, warm air was such a treat.  Sundance does like to show off its beauty and the pond is a very nice place to meditate and relax.

Sundancepondandindian_2
Once again we left our hearts at Sundance, but we knew the drive over the Alpine Loop was as breathtaking as it gets.  We saw eagles, wild flowers, the aspen forests just beginning to leaf, and more majestic views.

Wesaweaglesandhawks Amazingviewsofmountainsandnewleaves

Theaspenforestisjustrurninggreen Greenandlushincanyon

It was when the view of "our mountains", the back side of our mountain, came into view that we knew the day was almost over.  We were very amazed and impressed at the amount of snow that is yet to melt.  The run off season has been long and cold, which means it really couldn't have gone more smoothly.

Majestyofwasatchmountains_3
The day was the best way to start a long weekend and we only wish we could bottle it and keep it always.  The memories stay close and we talk of how much fun, how relaxing and beautiful the day was and we know we'll do it again soon.