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Shades of Gray

Unique title, don't you think?

Sweatering

Gray, rainy days provide extended time to sit with ones knitting and I spent part of my rainy afternoon with Hayward. The dolman sleeves have long raglan seams with many, many, many decreases. Even though, I used a very visible decrease that Susan shared with me, the charcoal gray fabric made the decreases hard to see.

I marked every decrease with a coil-less safety pin and used straight pins to hold the body and sleeves together at every other decrease. It's what I had to do to see and ensure I matched each decrease with its partner. I sat under a strong light and slowly sewed together the seam, which, at first, felt like an arduous adventure. Dark gray fabric and old eyes, even with correction, made it difficult to find a rhythm. Once rhythm of mattress stitching was attained, seaming went smoothly and I was able to completely seam one sleeve. Over the next couple of days I hope to sew in the second sleeve and complete the other side. I should have a finished sweater by the weekend!

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At this time I have a "thing" for one shade of gray, as Merle will be knit with a charcoal gray Silky Wool that's in the stash. I've also cast on my next shawl, Promise Me by Boo Knits, with Anzula Milky Way, in (you guessed it) Charcoal. It seems I am keeping up my reputation of knitting in color streaks and the color of moment is CHARCOAL!

I have a one track mind.


I'd Have to Go Away First

Beachy

At this time of year winter seems interminably and I feel sure it will continue on until it's once again time for cold weather. I start talking non-stop about warmth and going away and saying we should go south for a few days, but then, we never do. We rarely have a chance to get away. We rarely create a chance or find a reason to take a vacation.

Then we have to take into consideration all the places we'd like to go, can afford to go to, and if we want to visit anyone, or if we should make it a total getaway. What to do, where to go? There is a world full of place to go and we're thinking about the possibilities.  Carole's ToT has me thinking about coming home before I ever get a chance to go away, but here's my list:

1. There is no place like home (I expect to see this on nearly ever list for ToT).

2. We'll see Moxie again! It would be very difficult to leave him in his current fragile condition, so this could be the deal breaker in leaving. However, he is doing very well at this time. We feel grateful.

3. Ever since I was a child I have loved coming home to our mountains. They fill my soul and I miss them when I'm away.

4. My bed! Sometimes hotel beds are better than my own, but being surrounded by ones own dwelling and under ones own bedclothes, is the best way to get a good nights sleep.

5. Seeing my friends again, going to SnB, and chatting and knitting together.

6. Exercising at my gym amd getting back to pilates and feeling my muscles come alive again.  Even if there is active time while vacationing, it's not usually as strengthening, as my regular regime.

7. Having better choices for food. Even good vacation food leaves something to be desired and "cheating" is easier when you use vacation as an excuse. At home, it's easier to make good choices.

8. My stuff! Having all my wardrobe choices (minimal though it may be) and all my jewelry (which is also minimal), and being surrounded by things I choose to have in my life, is comforting and calming.

9. I almost always take an extra day off to catch up with laundry and to decompress before getting back to work and a routine. I always build in time to relax and enjoy my own home.

10. Sitting down the day after returning to plan the next getaway!


Rainy Saturday

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Saturday we saw little of the mountains, as they were mostly covered by shrouds of gray clouds. It rained much of the day.  April seems to be ending on a cold and dreary note. 

Good things still happen on a cold and rainy day...

~Cheryl and I had lunch together to celebrate her upcoming birthday (later this week).

~The rain washed the mud from my car, mud left by the last dust storm, turned rain storm. 

~A rainy day means the house is a little cleaner and sewing a sweater together is a good creative activity. 

~ Moxie doesn't like walking in the pouring rain, but I had a rain coat which made it comfortable and (almost) enjoyable. 

~Smith and I had a nice dinner out Saturday night, after splurging on dinner Friday night. We enjoyed a weekend of meals out and a nice quiet dinner at home on Sunday. 

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For a short time on Sunday the sun graced us with its presence and showed off the newly snow capped mountains. It was a very good weekend. 


Moving Forward

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Hayward's pieces are in the process of being blocked. It feels good to have a sweater off the needles, as it's been a long, long time. There is a fair amount of seaming ahead, but seaming isn't that big a deal. It just takes time and over the next few days I hope to find the time to make it to the finish. 

It's taken me 4 months to knit Hayward, which, lately, is about par for the course. I don't mind, I knit when I can. And, at the same time, I was knitting the red mistake. I didn't take many pictures of the Acorn Trail, as the yarn was not photogenic and I was never very happy with the process. I finished the back and one front, put it together to see how it fit, and fell into total dislike. I would never, never wear it, which isn't to say it isn't a nice design. This is all about me and the poor job I did of making the correct adjustments for fit. A snug fit is uncomfortable and it won't be worth the work to finish. I am moving on. Don't cry for me (or for Acorn). Sometimes I knitting break up is just what is needed to put you on the right track.

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For sometime I'd been looking for my next sweater project and hadn't quite decided which direction I wanted to go. Was there a cardigan I loved, or a pullover that struck my fancy? I just wasn't sure what yarn, which pattern, yada, yada...I was getting a little frustrated with myself. And then, Tuesday morning Wool People 7 was published. I fell in love, with more than one thing, and I started planning and stash diving immediately. It felt good to find my direction and to set off on a new course.  Stay tuned!


Carole's Gone

However, I'm sticking with the 10 Things strategy, as I have a few photos from my weekend, some with Claudia's camera.  I'm using the "auto" setting as it takes me forever to get the focus set.

Blossomtree
I tried my hand at close-up photos of flowers, but this one turned out to be a little faded and looks more vintage than fresh.

Herecomesthesun
I had better luck with the large sun on my patio and, perhaps, that has to do with the metal and its ability to reflect the light.

Lateorangecrocus
My best photo may be of the late blooming orange crocus. Seeing this bright orange darling pop up in my garden brought instant delight to my day.

Mountainstreamsnotrunning
Sunday I took a drive up the canyon to see how the snow pack was holding up. The mountain streams have barely started to fill with run-off, but it won't be long before the water rises and the stream beds fill.
Silverlakephotocc
The ground at Silver Lake is still too covered with snow to allow walking without snowshoes. Think soft and melty, almost too soft to hold any weight. I walked out far enough to snap a couple of pictures.

Mountmilly

From the parking lot I captured this one of Mount Millicent (oops, the lense needs a cleaning!)

Beaverdampool

On the way down the canyon I stopped and took a photo of a beaver dam and the moss-filled pool that surrounds it. I enjoyed my trip up the canyon, especially because there were few people in the canyon and I felt as if I had it to myself. 

Duckfamily
My odyssey over, I headed over to the garden, this time carrying my point and shoot camera. I captured photos of the very first duck family I've seen on the canal this year.  I do believe I counted 14 babies!

Gardenchivesme
Smith confessed, before garden season began, that he'd ruthlessly dug up all the chives and there would be no chive flowers for spring. How sad I was to lose the large patch I had grown for 14 years. But, I was very happy I was to see a smal plant survived his ruthlessness and he's promises to leave them untouched from now on.

Mymountainme
As you can see the weekend was full of blue skies with signs of spring everywhere. What isn't blooming is turning green and, while we may have a cool day on Wednesday, the tide has turned in favor of spring.

How was your Holiday weekend? I hope spring has arrived in your part of the world and you have blue skies above! I, also, hope Typepad's problems are over and you can leave a comment. 


Why Sew

Toysforme
My mother hand embroidered and sewed together this little elephant while she was expecting me. She stuffed it with nylons, which I can see through a tiny tear on the top of its head.  The little white bear was made by my grandmother, who was a master seamstress. One Christmas she made little bears to give to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I was in my 30s at the time and commented on how sweet the bears were. She told me to keep one and I'm so glad I did. I'm not sentimental, but these two little toys are very dear to my heart.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent much of my Saturday cutting up t-shirts, tracing the pattern, and sewing together the pieces to create the Alabama Chanin Bunny. The pattern is available to anyone in the resources section of the AC website. I learned more than I wanted to while stitching this project.  Sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time caused pain in my hands and arms, not to mention my back. It took me a few days to recover and was a good reminder of why I gave up embroidery in the first place. It's hard on my back to be bent over the needle, as I don't pay good attention to my posture when absorbed in the process.

Over the past weekend I worked for a shorter period of time and paid careful attention to my posture and the position of my arms. I was able to finish sewing the bunny together and stuff it with beans (which may or may not be a good choice).

Mycutetoys

The reason I decided this bunny would be my first AC sewing project was the heritage of the other two toys. Why not make my own toy to keep company with the elephant and bear on my shelf? The three of them will make a great team.


The Important Things

Wordhome
My story begins anew every day with Smith and Moxie by my side. Moxie stays close (underfoot) while we scurry around the kitchen making lunches and preparing breakfast. It's a great way to begin the day.

Wordfriends
A couple of times a week I am able to meet up friends to knit, or for dinner, maybe for drinks, and sometimes other fun things. Family and friends are the two of the most enjoyable things in life.

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Added to the mix of life are the many little things that make life sweet and enjoyable.  Some of my favorites are a loved ones laugh, a good friends smile, a bite of delicious food, a piece of excellent chocolate, an interesting cloud moving by, and the feel of the sun.

What little thing are you enjoying today?


In The Wild

Skybeautiful

My list for ToT of 10 things to do Outdoors is:

My favorite outdoor activity is sky watching. Not only do I watch daily from my favorite spot, I watch when I drive, when I'm eating lunch in the park, and anywhere else I can catch sight of even a sliver of the sky. The sky is the reason I love being outdoors.

Being in the garden is a big draw in the spring, summer, and fall. Spring is planting season and I enjoying watching the plants peek through the soil and their (almost) daily progress as they grow. Summer I do what I can to help with weeding and watering, but my back prevents me from taking too active a part. In the fall I am the principal harvester, or at least the harvest spotter.

All year round we like to be in the mountains, enjoying the views, and the changing seasons. Within minutes we can access any number of canyon and hike the trails in summer and winter. Winter hiking involves microspiking which is a whole lot of fun and sometimes easier than hiking because your feet have more grip (no sliding on small rocks).  Given my back issues, we may not go far or on some of the harder trails, but we are out, enjoying the clean mountain air, and feeling the sun on our faces.

Lonestar

I love to picnic in the canyons, or have dinner al fresco on our patio. Our favorite local taqueria has a delightful patio and, if you're lucky, you can find a seat under a colorful umbrella.

I love to read while sitting on the patio, as I love the warmth of summer on my skin. Smith bought me an e-reader and I'll either use it or read a "real" book, while I sip on an ice tea.

Walking is far more fun out of doors than using a treadmill inside. You never know what you'll see when out for a walk and this time of year it's especially nice to be out in the fresh air.

Farmersfun

Although it involves walking, wandering through a farmer's market is not quite the same. Farmer's markets involve more of a stroll-like pace, as I like to check out the produce or handmade items sold at the markets. It will be a couple of months before the opening of our valley markets, but I'm looking forward to visiting my two favorites as soon as they hang out a shingle.

Knitwithgrrls

Knit! Almost anything you can do indoors can be done outdoors. In the spring and fall the patio takes over the duties of the living room and we enjoy being out on our evenings. Smith reads the paper and I knit or read. May, some years into June, and September, even into October, are usually the best months to enjoy the open air. Before the height of summer, the sun is a good angle of the sky to keep our little area shaded.

The very best place to take pictures is in the outdoors! There are textures, colors, animals, and people, flowers, and other surprises around every corner. This involves walking and/or wandering and being aware of the world around you. It's also good for you to move even if for only a few minuts a day.

I love to go for a drive and see the sights around our beautiful state. It's been awhile since we're been on much of a road trip together. I hope we find the time to enjoy one or two trips this summer.

Is that 10? Do you have a favorite outdoor activity?


Moxie Weekend

Moxiedog

Moxie says "hi, I'm doin' okay".

The weekend was spent worrying and caring for our little guy. Saturday was a rough day for him, as he had no idea where (or who) he was. He slept most of the day. But, Sunday he was back to his okay self, albeit a little unstable (he is old, after all). We're feeling a little relieved for the moment, but very aware things could change on a dime. Moxie lives up to his name.

We had a nice weekend with a dinner out Saturday (sushi!) and a nice dinner at home Sunday. The garden boxes on the patio are full of lettuce with leaves large enough to eat (yay!). An arugula, lettuce, and spinach salad accompanied our dinner. Our first home grown produce! It must be spring.


Blue Skies

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Thank you for your kind thoughts for Moxie. He's holding his own and we're hoping for improvement. He is a Wonderdog and as long as he is willing to stay around, as long as he is happy, as long as his body stays strong, we're in.