My Unraveled Mess

26120970528_df76ddecb6_k

The photo may show a little bit of over-committing. Ever since I finished my last sweater I have had delusions of grandeur, as I once again feel as if I can be called a real knitter again! Fugue in Mosiac Miner is buried by the swatch for Sunday Morning, by the Electric sock, and by my stitching (almost too dark to see). AND there are three books; Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ties, by Domenico Starnone (husband of Elena Ferrrante), plus under all that, is A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucy Berlin. I've already read it once, loved it, but my book group picked Lucy's book to read in February and I am happy to reread. 

I guess it's no wonder I'm feeling like I have a lot on my plate even without my watercolour class or a Month of Letters, which starts Thursday. How lucky I am that it's all stuff I WANT to do, love to do, and can do two at a time. I love to read (audio format) and knit. I love to socialize and knit (easy knits like socks). And I love to just sit and read, book (or Kindle) in hand, quietly turning the pages, totally absorb by a story I can only imagine. And, I like to sit and knit, quietly watching as the stitches form, and relax into the rhythms of the movement. 

I wonder if I should go tackle the dusting or vacuum the floor? NOT REALLY! 

Do you over commit to projects (not WIPs) and books? I have a feeling I know the answer to that question! 

As always, I am Unraveling with Kat and friends. 


What's Up - Or Weekending

39948251981_171dfb13a1_k

Thursday afternoon we got a call from Smith's cousin to say he was in town for three days to ski and would like to meet for dinner. We quickly regrouped, as we had planned a night out for our 38th wedding anniversary, and happily met Jeff for dinner. You can see the family resemblance, no? It was fun to catch up, eat up some really good seafood, and commiserate on our miserable snow year. We're less than half what we should be this time of year, but that's another story. Jeff and his friends still had a great time given the snow we had that day.

Much of my weekend was spent with camnesia, a malady I often suffer from, but that only means I'm living more in the moment (methinks). Friday we went to a play (Don't Drink the Water) at a regional theater in a town just north of Salt Lake. (Thanks, Cheryl!) The play was corny, the characters funny, and we enjoyed the silliness and laughed a lot. 

39987033741_9ae9d69631_k

Earlier in the week the Sunday Knits newsletter arrived and the minute I opened it up I knew I'd found my next sweater. I had started a something gray sweater and decided it didn't suit my mood. Then I found a pattern and yarn in my stash, this time dark gray, and thought I'd enjoy knitting Merle, but when Sunday Knits new pattern Sunday Morning came along it hit all my buttons and I broke down Friday morning and ordered the kit, which arrived Monday! In Delft. I'm in the mood for yarn the color of spring! 

39948259251_04e9cd7ec1_k

Saturday I spent the afternoon immersing myself in the Liz Steel watercolour class. My head is swimming with water and pigment, brushes and paper, lines and puddles and my lack of control over all the above. I feel as if I am not absorbing much. My attempts at control seem to fall far short of "good", but I am determined I'll keep practicing, I know someday I'll find my own style. Regardless of ability, I find the pursuit of control to be fun and challenging. The amaryllis picture there as distraction. 

39263456274_33120aff53_k

Sunday evening I had the pleasure of meeting one of my long time blog friends, Lauren W. Our conversation picked up as if we'd been face to face the day before. Meeting friends for the first time, but feeling as if you've known each other all your life, and talking the night away, well, that's what having a blog does. Lauren and I started blogging around the same time, 2004. You may remember Project Spectrum, one of the many projects bloggers thought up as a way to learn and challenge ourselves. PS was Lauren's baby and we had a great time coming up with blog posts for the colors in a color wheel. Those were the days, my friends. Despite walking away from her blog we have stayed friends on Instagram (which is my favorite SM) and Goodreads (my runner up). How thrilled I was that she came to town and we were able to spend an evening together. 

Happy Monday Tuesday, everyone.


You Gotta See This

There is grace, laced with anticipation, as this stunning amaryllis shows off more beautifully than I imagined. She is a show stopper and to think there are two more stems with flowers coming, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I will have more of this beauty to watch well into February. 

39846034932_fd156c520f_k

The sweet, charming elegance of a petite double stemmed overachieving soft pink amaryllis is daily eye candy. Six small flowers balance perfectly on her stem, and to think there is still another set of blossoms to come. I am full of awe. 

39879099921_20cc9662d5_k

The deep red, shot with white, each petal perfectly outlined, the stamens reaching, swooping elegantly out of the center-this amaryllis is the most beautiful of any I've ever had (which, in reality) is few, but I think I have one that will be hard to top. With her three stems the show will continue for a few weeks to come and I will be watching every step of the way. 

39845932412_5ffb8ef1aa_k

Amaryllis watch this year has been a joy and has fulfilled my wildest dreams!  Happy Weekend, everyone. 


One, Two, Three

This could be a Throwback Thursday, as well as a Three Things Thursday. Last week I looked at my stash closet and thought it might need a bit o'organizing. As it turned out, I did not do anything with my 3 bins of stash, but I did find a box of memorabilia I hadn't looked through in awhile. 

38833579995_a4cbc78870_k

Inside I found my mother's eyeglasses and, according to the label, she wore them when she was 14 years old. Mom's name and place of residence are also typed on the label. The feeling I get in my chest when going through memorabilia is priceless. It's mix of joy, sadness, love, and a flood of memories. Mom drove us, her children, by the old house she'd lived in at that time. I remember the car trip very well. The house was big white Victorian, once a grand house, that had been broken down into various apartments, now in a bad part of town. Shortly after our quick trip past the house it was torn down. 

39818552431_08d467ecaf_k

Also inside the box was the sweater my dad had worn for a portrait about the time he and mom were engaged. He was 20 years old. The sweater was locally made of an unknown fiber, one that will last long after everyone of us has gone. 

IMG-4934

The sweater, and the little bootie below, took me on a search for the photograph album my sister had created for each member of our family.  I think my dad was very handsome. My parents were married in the spring of 1949 and in the spring of 1950 I came along. This is my 6 month portrait and I feel fortunate to be old enough that I have a hand-painted photograph. Not that I like being old, but you know what I mean, right? Surely color film did away with that profession.

38919580835_eaa2e30a53_k (1)

Don't you think I'm cute? I do! All the color on this photograph, including every single polkadot, is painted. I am wearing the red and white felt shoes, of which only one remains. These three items spark that joy everyone talks about and they will be in my possession until I am gone. The box is large and full of treasures. I wonder what else I can dig up. 


Imagining Unraveled

28046659249_e869d8f4e2_k

A couple of years ago I bought an Alabama Chanin Lata T-shirt, which has languished off and on. The last few months I have stitched the outlines of each leaf on all four pieces; front, back and both sleeves. That adds up to A LOT of leaves. When Vicki and Kym took their epic journey to Florence  Alabama for a an AC workshop I found myself inspired by their posts. Vicki showed several pictures of the sample books she found exciting and Kym's post here had a picture of a stitched leaf that sent off all sorts of ideas in my head. The possibilities of what I could do to embellish all those leaves was suddenly endless. I have all the AC books and they are also full of inspiration. It may take me the whole year, but I would like to have a finished T-shirt on December 31st. My T may well have to be a project on which I stitch on every day of the year. 

After finishing my last book, Nutshell, it took me a few days to decide on the next book to read. In the end, it was  an audio I'd purchased a long time ago, but that had not read made it to the top of the pile. Half of a Yellow Sun has been on my TBR list for too long, so it was time to dive in. 

I am all but Unraveled with Kat and friends


In The Red


39059115094_ac5f86722f_h

As Smith and I contemplated the best place for a photo shoot, Smith came up with the brilliant idea to head to Lone Star and use their amazing green wall. The temperature was 55, a far cry from the below freeing temps we're currently experiencing. My only instruction was to make sure he remember to take pictures of the sweater, the sole reason were were there (well, not the SOLE reason, but the MAIN reason, as we also had lunch). 

39736220512_3909976db3_k

The first thing he did was lop off my head, but continued on to a rather good photo shoot. Brickyard is one of the best and most comfortable sweaters I've ever knit and worn. Elizabeth Doherty is an excellent pattern writer and a consummate designer. This pattern was easy to follow and interesting to knit. I loved the way the yoke was constructed with short row shaping and exacting row by row instruction. The detail on the pattern, the bricked stitch pattern of the yoke,  the lateral braid which separates the yoke from the body, and the faux seams on the body and sleeves add so much to the overall beauty and interest of the design.

24898176177_ea892ddda4_k

Knitting this sweater was a pleasure, as I never had to wonder  what to do next or how to do any of the techniques Elizabeth used. It was fun, actually fun and interesting to knit this beautiful sweater. Of course, there is Kim's excellent yarn.  I used Emma in the colorway Clara Bow. One thing about pictures is they do not show the subtly of the dyed yarn. 

38868824505_c8ba0f1420_k
To ensure the yarn did not pool I alternated skeins every couple of rows while knitting the body in the round. The dyelots were very close and I found there wasn't much difference from one skein to the next. I wish you could see the rich, yet subtly quality of the yarn, but my phone camera is doing the best it can against this vibrant green wall (maybe not the best choice). 

38868808485_8c5c003f94_k

In any case, I'm thrilled with Brickyard, her style, her fit, and the joy she brought while I knit. Brickyard is another reason I love being retired, as I was actually able to spend more time knitting and finished her in two months time. Fast for me, wonderful for me. Happy am I! 


Weekend-ed

The big news of our weekend is that Saturday was the snowiest day of our winter! We woke to several inches of snow, thrilled that the nature had decided it was our turn to revel in the "white stuff". Our mountains have been brown and bare, the ski resorts barely able to open, and we have all been worried, but also enjoying our balmy temperatures to the fullest. 

39825095771_64e722ac1c_k-2

This is the first pure white mountain picture I've been able to snap all winter! Smith and I sat back, canceled a few plans and enjoyed a day of puttering around the house. As it turned out the roads were no problem and 8" of snow isn't quite "all that", but we enjoyed the day nonetheless. 

38926342745_9ccffc2c34_o

24949737727_152aabbaea_k

I spent much of the day in my "office" and since the most excellent amaryllis resides there, too, I took a copious number of pictures.  She doesn't have a bad side and my thrill is that she has two more healthy shoots growing quickly. Along with the elegant pink blossoms in the dining room, I'll have blossoms well into February. Already I have plans for an even bigger amaryllis forest next year.  Her beauty was quite a distraction while I worked on my watercolor class, did a bit of bookwork, and looking through my mail, but I still got a lot of work accomplished because of this snow day. 

39793503572_e6eb403b68_k

I'll set pride aside to show you my first attempt at watercolor and sketching from my Sketch Now Watercolor class. Controlling the amount of water on my brush is proving a little challenging, but since I'm only beginning I'm giving myself a break and going through all the exercises several times. Even if I'm not a great watercolorist, I'm having a super good time. 

25953731818_1719487cc4_b

One of my favorite parts of the day is when mail arrives. Saturday was a very good day as I got a note from a no-longer-blogging friend, a package from my sister, six postcards from the far reaches of the planet earth, and couple of Christmas/New Year cards (it's never too late). Last year, two of my sisters took a trip to Europe and visited The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. From each location they sent postcards (so much fun to get postcards from my sisters!) a couple of which arrived after they'd come home, but it was nice to know they thought of me while traveling to such beautiful places. In the mail Saturday was a desk calendar, just the style I like, with pictures of them while visiting many colorful and iconic spots. 

The best thing about this unexpected day at home is it included knitting, reading and all of the above, and morphed into an evening of watching The Crown and having a delicious dinner with Smith (he had the day off!). I can't help but feel very grateful for my life. 


Much Ado

  39736234002_8804d0f908_k

Can you stand another picture of an amaryllis? I hope so as I can't stop taking pictures of my various beauties. This lovely amaryllis monster happens to be red with velvety edges that just don't quite show in the photo. It is the most luscious color. I'm dying to see it fully open. She has 4 blossom on this stem and two more stems growing.

Along with a few other people, I have been playing around with the Google Arts and Culture app. My favorite part is upon opening the app you'll find several extensive articles on various arts or crafts. The first day I opened the app I found this informative article on Yodoe Umberlla's.  I have long been fascinated by the beautiful paper and bamboo creations and learn so much about the craftsmanship involved with each step. 

Yesterday I came across this article on Frida Kahlo's Wardrobe. I don't know about you, but Frida is one of my favorite artists and I enjoyed reading about her clothing and her life, her pain and sorrows. She had a style all her own. Which I apparently don't as you can see I was compared to "Micky" by the app. Quite a resemblance! Of the four or five choices, this was the one that made me laugh out loud. 

25896945278_8725a96be0_o

And, last but not least, I give you my Year of Colour by Makelight, via Instagram. Usually, I don't post often on Instagram (this year will be different as I am posting daily) so I only had a few "dots". Mostly I post pictures of my mountain which has either blue sky above or is shrouded in gray. My year of color is just as I would expect!

Unknown


Unraveled - As Usual

Dear Friends- 

Unraveled Wednesday is one of my favorite meme days, as I not only get to see your beautiful knitting projects, but also, hear about  the books you're reading, which introduces me to many new books and grows my TBR list. As we prove every week, reading is knittings greatest companion. All around the world I connect with knitters through Postcrossing and we are all readers. This is one thing I know for sure. 

As with any good letter, let me tell you about the weather. Yesterday the sky was clear blue! The temperature was in the low 50s and I think we could be in the high 50s by Friday. After that, they say winter will return. With snow. Inches of snow, which would be amazing. I don't even mind, as one cannot complain much when there really hasn't been much of the white stuff in January. 

So, let me talk about knitting and reading, two of our shared passions. Here it is a year later and I am finally working on Fugue in Mosaic Miner, which was Kirsten Kapur's latest TTL Mystery Shawl. I find I am a monogamous knitter, and when I have a large project, like Brickyard, I must be true. The yarn for Fugue is Kim's Opal in two colors, Blossom and Blush (I think). In any case, I'm moving right along while I contemplate my next sweater. Also on the needles, is a self-striping sock, because that just seems the right thing to do. I rather love Carole's Picot Sock pattern and the way it pairs so nicely with a yarn that does all the work. The yarn is White Birch Fiber Arts color Electric Slide. Electric it is! 

38833283395_091d15b9f4_k

So far this year I've read some really fantastic books. I'm still blown away by The Power by Naomi Alderman and was disturbed by the crux of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.  I just listened to Winter by Ali Smith, which comes on the heels of her first in a quartet of seasons, Autumn. I can tell it would be best to read each book as close together as possible and they will be worth rereading when all have been published. However, they do stand very well on their own. I found Winter hit close to home, as I am an older woman and could empathize with Sophia, who is struggling through her own later years. Ali Smith demands you read every word, slowly and with intent.  

On my iPod I'm enjoying, Nutshell by Ian McEwan, one of my favorite authors. This is a very witty story written in the style of Shakespeare. I'm enjoying its humor laced drama very much. On a serious note, I'm also reading a book my niece gave to me, A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming. I am learning how the civil war in Syria began and the story of one of its many refugees, a young woman named Doaa Al Zamel, survived. I am only a few chapters in and I feel the story is very important for me to know and understand.  

So tell me, friends, what are you reading and knitting this week? 


Last Week

Last week was seemingly busy, as there were appointments, classes, and distractions galore. By the time I got through all the blogs I wanted to read and other on-line sites I visit, there was little time left to sit and think through my own thoughts on the day. Limiting my on-line time (something that is a "thing" right now) has been berry, berry good for me. 

I'm an early riser and as soon as I get out of bed, my morning routine comprises of having breakfast and checking several places on-line. Since I need to be out the door by 8:00 to make my early swim aerobics class, my time is limited and I may not get back to the computer until late in the day (if at all). While I was working I only made it to swim class once a week, then change to two days a week when I retired, then three days a week, and now I go every day except Saturday, because Saturday's are just plain crazy at that pool. The workout is fun, different every day, we jump around in the water working our arms and legs and it's a blast. The big plus is my exercise out of the way early in the day. 

Our weather has been almost balmy, with temperatures starting out in the low 30s and heading right up near 50. Most days last week the skies were clear, but there have been a few bad air quality days, as well. I hear a change is in the air and winter may arrive this weekend. I'll believe it when I see it. 

38924225494_0ef176a59d_h

Last week I had a couple of doctors appointments and I am happy to report my cardiologist gave me a good report! He has a great view of our Oquirrh Mountains, the mountain range on the other side of the valley from where I live. This is the same view I had 8 years ago when I had surgery. Hello, view! I'm happy to see you only once a year. 

25787450118_7b9f31e0b0_k

Thursday night just as I ran out the door to snap a photo of the golden glow that topped "my mountain" the neighbor drove by. I only got one blurry photo taken before she engaged me in conversation. By the time we'd finished the golden moment hand passed, but, even a blurry photo of that gold capped mountain is magical. 

27859342929_6fc84cc17b_k

When I look back at my photos of the week I mostly see pictures of amaryllisi, that's multiple amaryllis. The first to bloom (and I know you've seem many photos of it) stands 30" tall and has 6 blossoms, each 7-8" across. The second plant has been slow, because it has a second shoot, but it is starting to open and I can see it has 6 blossoms as well, but I'm sure this plant will be more on the petit side.

25836026038_801a801cd0_k

The crimson amaryllis that sits on my desk has three shoots! The bulb had "crimson" written across it when I purchased it in December and I thought that meant the flowers would be red. As it turned out only the stems and buds are a deep red. As the flowers open, I can tell they are shades of pink. 2018 will be my year of the pink amaryllis forest. 

  27896016729_821dd883f6_k

But, wait! There's more! Can you believe I have an FO? After a wait of 4 years, and constant knitting for 2 1/2 months, I have finished Brickyard! I couldn't love her more, both the yarn and the pattern. She's even had her debut and she was a pleasure to wear. I promise FO pictures (soon) and a full report! The picture makes her look pink, but the color is more of a berry red.

39682772392_dbc19116e2_k
I have found other things to knit and there has been reading. There have been a couple of closets straightened up and a few things discovered, others discarded. Plus there has been painting, and planning, too. What will be my next sweater (yes! another sweater), will I be able to watercolor or sketch anything half decent for my watercolor class?  And in a bit of craziness I started thinking about February's Month of Letters, which is still a couple of weeks away. I just couldn't help it as I wanted an excuse to go to the stationary store and putter around. As fast as my days are going by it's good to be prepared for the future.