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August 2013
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October 2013

Reflective Walk

"… I think it is very very dangerous for our future generations, those of us who believe that the world is not only necessary to us in its pristine state, but it is in itself an act of some kind of spiritual thing. I said once, and I think this is true, the world did not have to be beautiful to work. But it is. What does that mean?" - Mary Oliver, in an NPR interview

Saturday the southern wind warmed the day and cleaned the air. The blue skies and mountains beckoned, which meant a quick drive up the canyon for late afternoon a walk around our favorite lake. We're hoping for a long fall, but snow could come at any time and we never know when our last chance for a walk will be.

Watersky
The sun was at the wrong angle for pictures of the mountains, but it was the perfect angle to create sky reflections in the water.

Waterripples

Children were playing on the rock outcropping where I usually take pictures of Mt. Millicent and, while they consented not to toss rocks into the water, when I took my picture, they just could not stop. The ripples made the picture all the more interesting, in any case.

Skyview

With Smith's crazy work schedule it was relaxing for us both to take time to walk, talk, and reflect, while at the same time, looking forward to calmer days ahead.

Last week I had the honor of reviewing two lovely knitting books and giving away copies to two of my blog readers. I used random.org to pick the numbers and, without further adieu, the winners are (drum roll please)...Grace Y. and Sprite! Congratulations to you both!

 


There is a Point To This Wordy Blog Post

Saturday we decided to take a quick drive up to Silver Lake, as the temperatures for the rest of the week were forecast to be much cooler. While we knew the colors were only beginning to change, we thought it would be worth walking around the lake, as it could be the last time before winter settled in.

Oaksareanemic

The lower elevations of the canyon are covered with Gambel oak, which in a normal year turn a vibrant red-orange. This year the colors are anemic from lack of water. The drought has hit the canyons hard. Pray for (tons of) snow, but not until next week, please.

I'll share pictures of the lake with you later, but today I'm going to talk about books...TBR books, as well as a few others.

Becky commented that she would like me to review some of the books I read, as well as give them star ratings (they're on my side bar if you haven't noticed). The reason I do not write reviews is my lack of confidence when it comes to words (which may seem strange since I write a blog). Before I decide on a book I read all sorts of reviews from NYT, to New Yorker, NPR, Goodreads, book podcasts, plus book stores, and friend recommendations. By the time it comes to writing my own review I am at a loss for words and I can't explain, in a unique way, the impact the book had on me. I let the stars do the talking. 

A five star review means a book was a perfect in every way, the story, the language, the strong feelings it left behind. Four stars mean it was nearly perfect, and so on as the ratings drop. I would not recommend two or one star books and admit to sometimes not finishing or skimming until the end. The stars on my blog are my personal rating system and what you like to read and what I like to read may be completely divergent.

Well, that was a long digression.

Carole asked us to list 10 books on our "To Be Read" list (my Goodreads list is 52 titles). I could go on and on about this list, which changes almost daily as interesting titles come to light.

1.The Revolution of Every Day by Cari Luna

2. Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

3. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

4. Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

5. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

6. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

7. The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig

8. Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss

9. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

10. American Pastoral by Philip Roth

What's next on your list?


Oh My

The garden goodies are winding down, as the tomatoes seem to be stuck in limbo. The recent rains have confused them. The vibrant green fruit refuses to turn red, but if it does the tomato has end rot.

Fabulousshishitos

Instead we're harvesting peppers, what will surely be the last of them. This is our most recent batch of shishito peppers, the not hot, not too sweet, totally tasty, treat. I followed this recipe from Food 52 and was blown away with the deliciousness. We'll grow more of these delights next summer.


Legendary

It is a pleasure and an honor to be a part of my dear friend Anne's book tour. Anne's Legendary Knits, Vol 1 will take you on a stroll into romance, elegance, and the rich luxuriant textures of the past.

Anneslegends
The designs were inspired by mythological legends or by folk and fairy tales. Anne has infused her love of historical clothing and ancient symbols into every stitch. Legendary Knits isn't just a beautiful picture book, although the photography is of that quality, it is book of very knitable, wearable, and stylish garments.

Favoriteredsock
You had to know one of my favorites would be the fabulous Icarus Socks. It's true, I love red, which happens to be The Woolen Rabbit Sumptuous Sock. I also love the pattern stitch and I can see a pair of Icarus in my future. (Of course, no one said you had to knit red. Knit your heart's desire.)

Jewelcowl
Another favorite design of mine is the Sleeping Beauty Cowl. The colors Anne uses give the cowl a jewel like quality, as if it were knit with beads, or gemstones. What fun to colorwork pattern would be and the color combinations you could use are endless.

6swans

This first volume of Legendary Knits has two pair of socks, a cowl, a shawl and a stole, two women's sweaters, and one men's sweater. Both women's sweaters are elegant, romantic, and chic. Six Swan's is one of my favorite patterns in the book (have you noticed a theme?), as the colorwork design evokes the look of needlework.

6swansdetail

I have one last favorite to tell you about (although I could go on) and this one is a shawl. I was unfamiliar with the story of Rappaccini until I read about her in the book. Not only does this shawl have a delicate lace pattern, and an elegant border, it sits on the shoulders and stays, which is my new criteria for a shawl. 

Rappaccini5 (1024x683)

May I recommend you try Anne's Wooly Wonka Brigit Lace for this project? (Anne is a multi-talented Renaissance woman.)

Anne pays attention to detail in her designs, as well as, her pattern writing. Detailed, easy to read charts accompany patterns of colorwork, texture, and lace. The charts for colorwork are in color, which include stitch symbols as needed. I found them easy to see and to understand. Every sweater has a schematic of measurements, which for me, is an important feature.  Anne has made sure this book has all the information necessary for a knitter to be successful.

The designs in Legendary Knits are available individually on Ravelry or as a complete collection. If you buy the collection you'll not only receive all eight patterns, you will, also, be sent a copy of the book, a beautiful bonus.

Anne sent a copy of the book as a gift for one of my readers and, to be in the running, all you need to do is leave a comment. However, I have one requirement. At the age of six I demanded my mother call me Snow White. Did you also have a fantasy name when you were a child? You have until Monday, September 23rd at 5:00pm MDT to leave your comment on this post. Good luck!

KALs for the patterns, as well as other designs by Anne, are available in the Wooly Wonka Group on Ravelry. You'll want to keep an eye open for the next two volumes of Legendary Knits, as they are certain to be just as fabulous!


Taking Steps

I started once. But, when moving onto the next step it became apparent my count was wrong. Was I surprised? No. Imagine When is not a difficult pattern, it simply requires a knitter pay a certain amount of attention and keep track of each row.  Why do I go on when that niggling voice tells me I shouldn't?

Notveryattractive

Instead of giving up or frogging back, I started fresh. The second time through I've kept perfect count, checking off each row as I go. This time I knew what to look for, where any pitfall might be, and after one incident of reverse stitching, I was able to successfully arrived at the end of section 1. I'm well into the section 2, and I'm can see I'm right on track!

From now on I'll  be even more careful with my count, as knitting short rows, increases, eyelet rows, as well as a picot edge, I must be vigilant. I shall not be knitting this shawl in public, which means I can now give myself permission to start something new!

Great Little Gifts

You know you've been thinking about gift knitting. You know you have, as Christmas is quickly approaching and now is the perfect time to start. You need a few quick, fun, and creative things to knit. As it just so happens, Jean Moss has a new book full of great ideas for your gift knitting.

Last year I interviewed Jean when she published her previous book. She shared insights into her exciting, colorful, and creative knitting style. In that vein, the projects in Jean's new book, Great Little Gifts to Knit, are just as colorful and just as fun. Babyblocks

The sweetest chapter in Great Little Gifts to Knit is "Baby" and I've fallen head over heels for the bean bags and I can see the chubby tiny fingers of a happy baby grasping one after the other of the bags, as the colors and textures capture her attention.

Will-o'th-Wisp shawl

Jean also included separate chapters for "Hers" and "His" gifts. One of the most charming patterns in the book is the Will-o'th Wisp Shawl. It would be a fun wrap to toss over the shoulders whist sipping tea on a cold wintery afternoon. I can think of several color combinations, some contrasting and funky, some soft and elegant, that would make this shawl a delight to knit and wouldnnn't it make a luxurious gift for a dear friend or family member?

Not to leave out the men in your life, in the "His" chapter you'll find one of the quickest projects in the book. I got a kick out of the smart phone cover with a pear on the front.

Checkers_cushion

My favorite chapter in the book is "Home". I would love to knit every one of the items for myself. The Welcome Toran would be a beautiful greeting on a festive day and the Tea Cozy is so creative and adorable (I really must make one)! But, it's the Checkered Cushions I find speak to me most and I would love to have several color combinations scattered across my couch.

Everything you need to know about a project is in the book. How long a project will take, how much yarn, as well as instructions and how to pages. In the back of the book there is a picture index of projects, which I found to be very helpful. Jean did a beautiful job of giving a knitter of any ability the information and techniques needed to make any of the lovely gifts in this book.

To win a copy of Jean's Great Little Gifts to Knit leave a comment on this post, by Thursday evening 5:00pm MDT, and tell me if you have started your Christmas knitting! You can buy a copy of your own here.

Check out previous posts for the book and continue the fun by reading even more about the book in the next couple of weeks! Enjoy!
Monday 2 Sept - Wendy Knits Wendy Johnson
Wednesday 4 Sept - WEBS Kathy Elkins
Friday 6 Sept - Getting Stitched on the Farm Kristin Nicholas
Monday 9 Sept - Stolen Stitches Carol Feller
Tuesday 10 Sept - Knittedbliss Julie Crawford
Wednesday 11 Sep - Black Bunny Fibers Carol Sulcoski
Thursday 12 Sept - Rhythm of the Needles Joanne Conklin
Friday 13 Sept - Tiny Owl Knits Stephanie Dosen
Monday 16 Sept - Just Call Me Ruby Susan Crawford
Tuesday 17 Sept - Zeneedle Margene Smith -ME!

Wednesday 18 Sept - Redshirt Knitting Erika Barcott
Thursday 19 Sept - A Friend to Knit With Leslie Friend
Friday 20 Sept - Craft Sanity Jennifer Ackerman Haywood
Monday 23 Sept - Connieleneknits Connie Lene
Tuesday 24 Sept - Knitsofacto Annie Cholewa
Wednesday 25 Sept - Ulla Bella Anita Tormoen
Thursday 25 Sept - A Really Good Yarn Julie Schilthuis
Friday 27 Sept - Urban Yarns Alexa Ludeman
Saturday 28 Sept - Linda Marveng Linda Marveng
Monday 30 Sept - Yarnings Jen
Tuesday 1 Oct - Tentenknits Margaux Hufnagel

Buy your copy of Great Little Gifts at your book seller or at Amazon USA or Amazon UK.


Skyful TGIF

Rainyweek
We've had rain off and on for days, cooler temperatures and beautiful skies. Fall is creeping in with every passing day.

Earlymorninglight
Next week will be quite eventful here on the blog, as I'll post reviews of two books.

Tuesday I will post my part of a blog tour to indroduce a new book by Jean Moss. You can catch up with the tour links through her blog, More Yarn Will Do the Trick

Friday I'll post about my friend Anne's new book, Legendary Knits. It is her first book, but it won't be her last. During the week you can read other reviews on the following blogs:

Sept 16th: Andi,  My Sister's Knitter 
Sept 18th: Tina, Peacefully Knitting 
Sept 19th: Carole, Carole Knits
Sept 20th: Margene , Me!

TGIF, friends!

Red is THE Color

In celebration of four years going strong, I'm showing off my latest cherished object. Long ago (during my short run at spinning) I joined a fiber club  and one of the luxury fibers was a vibrant red cashmere/silk. I was in love. It was my dream to turn into a Rumpelstiltskin and spin the elegant blend into a find thread. (Of course, after spinning I would then turn into a very kind and caring princess.)

A few months ago a very kind and caring princess (one of many) came into my life and offered to turn the amazing fiber into an amazing yarn. What else could I do but take her up on the offer? When her hand spun yarn arrived I was floored by its beauty and its softeness.My dream had come true and I never had to turn into Rumpelstiltskin.

Happyshawl

Sweet Dreams was a heavenly knit. The pattern was easy to follow and the yarn was one of the most elegant I've ever knit. I felt very fortunate, and loved, to have this luxuriousness in my hands.

Itsthebeads
The color of the beads is very close to the color of the yarn, but they are lined with silver, which adds a subtle "glint". The sparkle, also, adds light that shows off the lace and their weight gives a touch of reality to the ethereal fabric.

Redcape

A picot bind off doubles the number of stitches along the edge, but its effect is well worth the effort. Its delicacy matches the beauty of the shawl and continues the integrity of the lace right to the end.

I'm having Sweet Dreams of Sweet Dreams, a very special and elegant shawl and I couldn't love her more.


Stay @ Home

I'm not much of a traveler and rarely take the opportunity to pack a suit case and get a way.  I miss everything about my home when I travel. Meals are a pain when you're GF, strange beds are uncomfortable when you have back problems, and when you're on the road, it's just not that easy to come by a good cup of tea. If money wasn't an issue I'd be a little more willing to figure things out, but it's really so much easier to stay home.

The end of September I'll head (all of 15 miles) up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta for Knitter's Retreat. YAY!  Then, in October, I'll be heading to Flagstaff to visit my Dad. He's 86 years old and he still walks or hikes nearly every day with a group of guys who are around his age.

Dad and friend
Dad (on left)

He loves it and he passed on his love of the outdoors to me. We camped under the stars from the time I could walk. I was taught to appreciate and to love the landscape around me.

Dad in the rain

We camped and hiked in all weather and you can see he still does. When in the mountains you must be ready for all weather. That's my Dad. Still going strong, I can't wait to see him!

Picture Ode to August

August 23
Autumn's cooling and colorful days are a welcome break from the white intense heat of summer. This year we've broken or tied or sorts of temperature records and it will turn out to be one of the hottest summers on record. July was the hottest month ever recorded and August continued in that vein to continue the streak of days over 95.

August 24
But, August's skies offer full study of white in all its shades, tints and tones. The clouds play, bringing to mind shapes, foretelling the weather and painting the blue canvas with every shade of gray. In August the light starts to soften, and defuse, the heat takes frequent breaks, and nights become noticeably longer.

Darkandstormynorain
I love September, the changing of color from summer's green, to autumn's golds, the softening of light, the golden glow of the air, and the cooling days, but I confess to shedding tears September 1st.