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November 2004
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January 2005

What!? Me Organized!?

Bestmessdesk_2Claudia started it...'What's on your desk?' and then Cassie showed her desk yesterday. Well, I thought you'd get a laugh outta my desk.  I threw Clapotis on top just to keep this knitting related and becuase they both had knitting to show. (Claudia raised the bar by including good chocolate!)  I had to finish up a bunch of paperwork to even have room for the 'little splash'.   Do you see my Strawberry iMac?  I love that machine but it is in sore need of an update. And can you see the Knitting Calendar on the left and the postcard I got from Nathania, while she was visiting Italy, hanging from the self on the right?  And Cassie, the book shelf has loads of books on samplers.  The pictures above are the first two pieces of silk and metal needlepoint I did after a class at an ANG seminar.

The room my desk resides in at home is a combo of stasharia/guest room/studio/junque room/library. It is wall to wall bookcases, boxes, baskets and bags.  The closet is stuffed...incredibly stuffed with needlework. BUT, it is organized.  Would you call it organized if I can put my hands on any thread, fabric, book or yarn within a minute or so?  It's that organized chaos thing at work.

Knittingjournals To prove there is some organization in this chaotic place....I keep a journal of my knitting pursuits. The blue book holds lists of my stash, WIPs and FO's.  Each month I write down what project's are started with the beginning date. If it isn't finished in that month it moves to the next until I can place a star and end date beside it.  I have tracked a year plus of my knitting in this fashion.  It keeps (some) projects from falling by the wayside. In that same book I keep charts for the projects (if needed) and any tips that would be useful.  It also houses a complete list of my stash

The little black book with sock pictures on the cover is something I just started. It holds favorite sock patterns with tips (like Beate’s heel-see October 14th). Any sock that I will make again will be housed in this book for quick reference. The last black book with Salt Lake City on the cover is a 2005 Calendar.  My new thing for 2005 is to keep track of the amount of time I knit an item.  This way I can go back and estimate how many hours a sweater, sock or shawl took to knit.  It will be a diary of sorts for my knitting with added notes on the weather for that day. (I love weather like Sandy does.) All these books sit beside me on the futon where I knit each morning and evening, looking out my window at the dark of night.  I am so looking forward to the Winter Solstice!

Charybdis Clapotis

Charybdisclapotis That's correct...Clapotis has become my Charybdis. The Siren Song was just too loud, too constant and I had to succumb to its cry. The dropped stitches that should be ripples in the water have become the spirals in an eddy and I am damned doomed.

The Horstia MS as Susan said is PERFECT. Kate’s pattern is interesting to knit as you drop a stitch ON PURPOSE!  Each time I see the dropped stitch out of the corner of my eye my heart skips a beat until I realize it's part of the design. And the joy of running the stitch down to create the 'ripple''s just mesmerizing, even addicting.  Not to worry, Blaze isn't out of the dance...she just isn't getting my FULL attention. It's all good.

For the second day I'm enjoying the new Typepad features. Why not!?  Adding color to the post is bringing a smile to my face just as the strike through did yesterday. It's a time of joy and I need to be giddy silly to balance the hectic, hurried, harassed feeling that comes this time of year. It is that too crazy pace that usually puts me over the edge when it should be peaceful and joyful. I've decided to not go there!  So...I'm not.  It's time to enjoy, feel joy, feel at peace and do ONLY what can be done without stress.  May you all find a way to get back to that feeling.

My copy (a free copy!) of Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation arrived in the mail from Workman Press. If you look on page 135 there is a tip by ME!  Woohoo! When Debbie Stoller asked for tips or patterns I sent the tip that I learned years ago.  You can also see our SNB SLC group on page 131!  How cool is that?*

Let me introduce my sister, Neena.  She just started a blog and has awesome pictures of Southern Utah. Plus, she's a great cook.  You'll enjoy her recipes...the last one was really yummy!

*As per the Harlot’s disclaimer: Please buy the above book from your LYS rather than ordering from Amazon.  Small independent companies need your support!

The Agony Odyssey of Knitting

Blazemealong This weekend's knitting left me feeling a little like Homer on his Odyssey*. The Siren song of Clapotis and perils of trying to knit Blaze were a bit like navagating Scylla and Charybdis.  I had made pretty good time while knitting the body, and the sleeves were completed in a snap.  But when it came time to put it all together...where was my brain, luck experience?  "What size did I knit the body?, What do the instructions REALLY mean when they say...?, OMG, I need to tink back two full rows!?, AGAIN!?"  My Zen was put to the test. 

Even though I had knit one size for the sleeves and a different size for the body, (a quick try on and it looks to be fine) it should fit together despite the size differences. Reading through the pattern I also found that there shouldn't be a need to change anything when making neck decreases.  No reason to freak out, dive into the frog pond loose my head a fourth second time. It is now knitting up quickly and I should make my goal of completion by Christmas.  Perhaps....

Blazingsanta There IS the 'little splash' which is causing trouble with the voices in my head attention span. The song of the Siren is getting louder and louder and my strength is diminishing. So I made Santa don Blaze as a distraction...just for a good belly worked! For about 3 minutes.  Sigh.  Will Clapotis be my Charybdis? Will I make it through the perils of Blaze and continue on to the end without other distractions?  Will Santa like Blaze so much that he'll abscond with her it?  Will I continue to over use the new Strike Through feature? This is fun!

Will I finally take my lazy ass  make it out to do some Christmas shopping?   I'm not only living with 'Delusions of Grandeur' but also with the delusion(s) that everything will work out fine in the end. Another sigh. It's the Christmas Season! Enjoy, have fun, and pass the booze  punch !

*This is a very interesting site with a quick and entertaining explanation of Homer's journeys.

If It's Monday it Must be the Mountains!

It was a wonderfully warm weekend here in the land of the Salted Sea.  The sky was clear blue, the temps were in the high 50's and we enjoyed the chance to wear sweaters and scarves sans coats.  It was also the perfect time to head into the mountains and enjoy the clean, clear mountain air.   RoadblockWe were not alone in enjoying the mountains as this week brought massive amounts of snow to the peaks and resorts.  The avalanche danger is high to extreme but that didn't stop enthusiasts from going into the back country.   3 people were killed in avalanches and one other on snowshoes is missing and presumed buried. Rescuers are at risk as the conditions are beyond dangerous.  On our trip up to Silver Fork Lodge Sunday we saw rescuers looking for he lost snowshoer and at one point we had to stop for a helicopter to land on the road (bringing back a body) before it continued the search the second lost soul.  So sad that the warnings were not heeded by the most experienced mountaineers.

Threegrrls_1Meonfence_1Smith kindly took Jane, Camille and me, the three amigas, up to the beauty of the snowy peaks and we enjoyed breakfast together.  After our delightful repast we then headed to Brighton and Silver Lake to see the track skiers enjoy the warm temperatures and feel the sun on our faces.  Smith even caught me having a few minutes of quality time with some knitting.  Can you guess what it might be?  It was a perfect morning to enjoy the outdoors. 

BigweelsThatsmycarSmith  also wanted you to see what a REAL snowblower and plow look like!  That's a mmmaannn for you, he's looking at  the equipment while we enjoy the sights and sun.  We also celebrated Hanukka over the weekend  with his delicious latkes and grilled salmon.  AND he put the plates on my car so it's really mine now. In 1992 he gave me the vanity plates as a birthday gift.  He thought we should change it to something about Knitting or Stitch 'n Bitch, but the plates are 'me'.  My friends know it's my car and after having them for 13 years I just can't give them up.  He also  made sure the KNIT sticker was straight.  That guy sure knows how to spoil a grrl!

To my friends who read this blog but can't figure out the comments.  See the line just below?  It says Posted by Margene....  See the word Comments? Click on it and it will open up to show the comments that have been left and you can also leave a comment of your own.  Zach, Jana? 

Ending the Year With a Splash?

After reading blogs for almost a year it is apparent that most knitters are goal oriented. Not just with knitting but in their everyday lives as well.  The demands of daily posts (if you choose to do that), joining KALs, and having too much knitting on the needles helps to keep the motivation high in obtain these self imposed goals.  KALs have time frames and some even have deadlines and then there are the gifts at this time of year (or anytime) and desire for something warm and beautiful to wear.  A grrl can get overwhelmed with goals.

As we approach the end of the year I look back at the accomplishments and see how much my having a blog has been a motivation. It has also made me a better knitter and my production has been higher than at any time in my past.  (Of course other parts of my life are not so fruitful because of this blog.)  Looking at the KAL and FO photo albums makes me stagger at the time spent on knitting but 'oh so pleased' with the results.  A grrl can give herself a pat on the back.

It's too soon to set goals for 2005 knitting (which will mostly entail knitting the stash) because I must finish up things for 2004. The evenings have been a little too busy so far this month to get in much knitting time and my mornings are now compromised with a trip to the gym.  But the next two weeks there is little on the calendar and knitting time will be a big priority.

Look at the WIPs's just full of partially knit items that need to be finished.  My Domino and Seaweed are languishing and I don't want them to become UFOs. I'm putting the indeterminate goal of 'soon' on them.  Blaze will be first as she is very close to the finish line. The slow burn should heat up to a roaring fire this weekend.  My goal for Lotus is less ambitious as I'm shooting for the end of January. The Beaded Sock is a portable project and will be finished before the January 31st deadline and the Desert Sock has been declared DOA for the time being. The Oriel Lace Shawl needs to be ready by the end of March as a birthday gift for my second sister, so the pressure is off on that one for the moment (is it ever really 'off'?).  That really DOES mean I can blaze along on Blaze.  That's if I don't get side tracked by a 'little splash'.

Sharon sent a letter to Santa with her Christmas Wish List. She has some good requests.  My list, which isn't as creative, would consist of two things, World Peace and this. Keep smiling!

Happy Weekend!

Of Menorah's and Santa's

Menorah_3 We make a multi-celebration around our house during the Holiday Season.  Smith has his Chanukah menorah collection which we do enjoy lighting during that time and I have needlepoint Santa's that I have created over the years.  When we were first married we tried to decide the best way to meld our beliefs. His tradition is Jewish and mine has become a little eclectic over the years.  We do light candles for some nights of Chanukah (how many ways can you spell Chanukah, Hanukkah, Channukah?) and have enjoyed collecting a wide variety of menorahs over the years. If not careful we could burn the house with all his menorahs and they do make quiet a sight when all are lit.

Fruitsanta As a needleworker it has been fun to create ornaments as gifts and decorations. Santa has no religious meaning for us so we welcomed him into our home as part of my tradition. Over the years I have needlepoint many Santa's and Moresantachoir collected a few, too. We decided on Santa's that would sit on shelves or be made into pillows as decorations around the house. Each stitched Santa started as a handpainted canvas and I chose the stitches and threads that brought them to life.  Some were classes for my needlepoint students, but all were fun to do.  My favorite is one call the Fruit Santa and he pictured here. He stands about 5" tall. The others I will put in a photo album for you to enjoy.  And here is the 'choir' of Santa's in different sizes and shapes that we enjoy, too.

A note on the Desert Socks.  The yarn was from an Ebay seller and she hasn't had anything new for some time.  I DID frog it and will start again. The pattern called for size 2 needles and that's what I used (I'm a tight knitter). As Susan pointed out it would be too loose to wear well if I went up a size so, she came up with a fix.  The solution will be to add a stitch to the 2 purl rib between the design stitches. BUT, I just might pick a quicker easier pattern and make myself some socks NOW!

And another note on the wonderful 100 lists.  I want to be Katy if I grown up!

A Tale of Two Socks


Yes, that is green yarn you see and yes it isn't my favorite color...far from it.  Let me explain...

In the Six Sock Along we have six socks to do (in one year) in different techniques.  The new sock has beads around the ankle. I knew that ahead of time because I saw Susan knitting them at SNB.  The first yarn I found was pink! It's the lovely Jaeger Alpaca and it said "I would be a beautiful pair of socks with beads".  BUT, the last pair of Six Socks I did was in pink Opal.  I want all six socks to be different in color as well as technique, so the yarn was returned. I did NOT buy anything else (YNBA still intact) and traded it for GREEN! It was the only color that really spoke to me (besides the pink) and it would definitely be different than the other socks. Plus, I found the perfect beads to match. I took the path of least resistance on the beads by stringing them on to the working yarn and knitting them into place with a plain row of knitting between each beaded row.  The angel was a gift from my Knitters Guild Christmas party a few years ago. I believe it was in Knitters Magazine, also years ago.  Tonight I'll miss the Guild party as it's also my office party.  I talked the boss into taking us up the canyon to Silver Fork Lodge, my favorite place...sigh. The only problem will be if the weather is bad and the canyon is closed.  Keep your fingers crossed.

DernsockI'm in trouble with the Desert Socks. The pattern from the Winter IK is great. BUT, in my hurry to start I didn't remember (only having knit 100 pair of socks) that I should go up a size on the needle. It's called Retro Rib and it's fun to do but, it sure pulls in and makes the sock tight fitting. Therefore, the sock is going to be too small for my big  feet.  I like the yarn and the pattern but, if they are going to be for me this sock will have to be FROGGED.  I just can't do it! I just can't! So I'm considering alternatives.  Will my feet shrink if I wash them in really hot water 10 times?

A Slow Burn


Did you think that sweater knitting would ever return to this blog?  It's been a long time but despite its absence from this blog my knitting is growing...slowly.  Lotus had a few rows knit over the weekend, I started the Six Sock new beaded top sock (much more about that later), and spent some time with Blaze.  Blaze is a slow burn but she's still glowing growing. The yarn is as yummy as they come and the color is gorgeous. I can't help but think of spring flowers because of the soft violet color.  In 2" I'll be ready to join the body to the sleeves and start the yoke.  That should quicken the flame and put a fire under me to get going and to, perhaps, have her complete before the end of the year. It would be nice to wear during the colder days of winter coming up.  Alpaca is such a warm and lovely fiber and the soft twist on the Royal Spinnery has been a pleasure to knit.  It will bring a hint of Spring to come when I wear Blaze.

Silksusan Susan was right in the comments yesterday when she said I had the PERFECT yarn in my stash for Clapotis. She should know as it was yarn she gave me in a swap. I'm not sure what she got but I'm so pleased to have this wool/silk Horstia MS.  It's a lovely purpley mauve (for lack of a better name) and in fact it's similar to the color of my blog. I can envision Clapotis out of this yarn!  It's all I can do not to cast on.  I will find a suitable multi-colored yarn after the YNBA is over, however.  A grrl can't have too many warm and elegant scarves now can she?  (Fuzzy scarves, yes...warm and elegant, never!)

And, I started a new routine.  I don't believe in Resolutions at the New Year.  You either decide to change your life for the better without a 'start date' or to not change at all.  So, here's the deal...three days a week, after Smith leaves for work, I'm heading to the gym.  Our gym is between home and my office's easy to stop in, do the workout, and then head to work.  Monday was my first day and I liked it. It means giving up my morning knitting three days a week but,  The change comes because I haven't gained or lost anything in the last month or so. I eat the same thing everyday. The only thing I could change, besides adding to the workout, is to eat NO treats.  I don't want to do this...I don't eat that many as it is and a grrls just gotta have that occasional eggnog latte!  I am 2 lbs. from my goal BUT, the inches around the waist are the same..  A grrls gotta do, what a grrls gotta do and that means a change is in order. 

Now just for kicks and giggles how about adding a Counter-resolution at the New Year? Can you think of a BAD habit I could start that wouldn't be dangerous, unhealthy or illegal?  Why not start a new trend?

Wanting and Giving (Life's Complications, Contemplations and Contradictions)

When Kate’s  Clapotis came out in the fall issue of Knitty it really caught my eye as something that would be fun to knit.  When JuliaFC started her Clapotis Knit Along there were just too many things on my needles to start another project.  But, there have been so many fabulous Clapotis showing up around the blogs that  it has become hard to resist.  Add to that Cari's inspirational and very creative post and knitting Clapotis has become a priority!!   The YNBA will be in effect for another 60 days!  I  The yarn for this imaginative scarf will be first on my list to purchase and it will be my reward for sticking it out.  I WILL, I will, I will.   (I'm also having a little 'boot envy' since Laurie bought her beauties.  I LOVE the pink and turquoise pair she pictures but I will be Zen). 

HatsforlisaLast week was a time of reflection for me, so spending my knitting time on hats for Lisa’s homeless vets felt right. This pattern is  Bonne Marie’s free  Shaker Rib Hat  and it works up quickly, fits well and is cool  warm!  Two balls of  Cascade 220 made three hats.  Susan has  inspired me with her selfless giving of hand knit  items since we first met. She is a great example.  If you have little or no time to knit for others you might consider the Heifer Project.    Wendy and Deb have buttons for donations on their sidebars and hope to collect enough to buy 10 baskets.  This is a very worth cause so take time to read about it if you don't know what it is.  Tis the time of year thoughts turn to those in need of what we seem to take for granted...the very basics of life.  Passing  along the blessings that you have been given is truly easy.

And bet ya didn't know I was an SP3...true.  I was a super secret pal to Kae.  It was fun to keep her in suspence.  Sandy had been my inspiration as she was a super secret pal to Heidi. She knew how hard it is to be 'in charge' and not know who is giving to you.  Kae has already made a hat from the last gift I sent.  How fun is that?!

It was (is) so much fun to read the 100 Lists that broke out all over blogland.  You learn of so many commonalities as well as the things that make us each unique.  An eclectic bunch we are who make up this blogstew.

Following Suit

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments on the passing of our very dear friend.  Thom's family is very much family to Smith and I. They read this blog and will be comforted by your comments as we were.

Since I'm not in the mood to blog about knitting I'll follow suit.  This seems to be something in the air and we're among friends. Have a peace filled weekend.

1. I’m doing my best to age gracefully.

2. My hair is graying and I don’t care.

3. I had my eyebrows and eyeliner made 'permanent' (years ago).

4. I hate spending too much time on “maintenance”.

5. I was born in Idaho but we lived in Salt Lake off and on until I was 11 and then it was full time.

6. I was raised as a Mormon but never believed a word they said.

7. I married a Lutheran I didn’t like just to get away from Mormons.

8. It worked for the most part. I left the Lutheran but the relationship helped me find myself.

9. I can be a Mormon basher and don’t like that about myself.

10. Organized religion? NOT for me!

11. My life changed when I read the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita.

12. I didn’t study Zen formally but it speaks to the way I believe.

13. I did yoga for four years and it helped me through a rough spot.

14. I am cynical and skeptical about almost everything and have questioned authority from an early age.

15. My mother tried to 'change' me but it backfired.

16. My father is still alive and lives in Arizona.

17. His line of ancestors goes back to the Mayflower.

18. My great, great, great, great grandfather came to Utah in the first wagon train.

19. He was a polygamist. (My family is from his 7th wife).

20. There are 24 years between me and my youngest sister. (Same parents.)

21. My mothers parents were immigrants.

22. I learned to knit at 8 but hated it.

23. I relearned in 1974 and have loved it ever since.

24. I had mostly men friends until I started doing needlework and met truly wonderful women.

25. My two best friends when I married Smith were men. They are now two of his best friends.

26. Grrlfriends have made my life much richer.

27. Smith is the nicest, sweetest and most caring person I have ever met.

28. I wanted to date him when we were in college together but didn’t find him again until we were nearly 30.

29. We’ve been married 25 years this January.

30. I have a syndrome I don’t talk about (don’t ask).

31. Cleaning house is my least favorite thing.

32. Cooking is second.

33. Judgmental people make me sad (and sometimes mad).

34. Reading was my main hobby for years and then needlework took over.

35. I read 52 books a year for several years.

36. I blog too much now to read books.

37. I needlepointed a Christmas Stocking in 1995 for the White House.

38. The White House invited me to visit it and I did (along with 10,000 others).

39. I don’t drink much alcohol but love whiskey and beer.

40. I don’t care for soda pop.

41. I eat constantly.

42. I’m not overweight.

43. Healthy eating is easy for me as it’s what I like.

44. I love to teach and learn.

45. I’m the oldest of seven kids.

46. It’s one reason I didn’t try to have children of my own.

47. I have only one brother.

48. I have one sister that none of the other siblings like. We love her…we don’t like her.

49. I am now the matriarch of my family. (It makes me feel old to say that)

50. Shopping for anything other than yarn or needlework makes me anxious.

51. The mountains and desert feed my soul.

52. I look at the mountains several times a day.

53. It’s the main reason I live in Utah.

54. Smith and I had a family business but it went bust in 1998.

55. We were very poor for a couple of years.

56. We still struggle.

57. We are very blessed and never felt sorry for ourselves.

58. I rarely go to the Dr.

59. I always think I can tough through any problem (and I have).

60. I love music of most any genre.

61. I played the piano but gave it away to my sister.

62. My handwriting is illegible.

63. I’m not a grammar god or good at spelling.

64. It probably drives others crazy.

65. My house is a mess and full of clutter.

66. I have no idea how to get rid of it.

67. I rarely eat red meat.

68. I was a vegetarian for 10 years.

69. I still can’t stand the smell of meat cooking so Smith cooks it all outdoors (year round).

70. I have been to the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City every year for 25 years.

71. I used to collect several things but only collect yarn at this point.

72. I like things to go quickly and smoothly.

73. With knitting it doesn't matter if it does or is truly the process. One of the only Zen areas in my life.

74. I have a great sense of direction.

75. I’m not sentimental.

76. I'm a tough cookie.

77. I'm not as tough as I seem.

78.  I don’t make lists as a rule (except for groceries).

79. I wish I could be wickedly funny (or just wicked.)

80. I’m too serious.

81. Talking religion and politics get me into trouble. So I don’t talk about them much unless I know the person thinks like me.

82. I can’t argue.

83. I went to college for several years but never graduated. I hate math.

84. I was good at math until 10th grade. The teacher was a coach and refused to help grrls.

85. I can be a procrastinator but always make my deadline (barely).

86. I love to travel but can’t afford to do it much any more.

87. Green is my least favorite color (except in nature.)

88. I’ve never been outside the USA.

89. I wanted to be an artist and drew constantly in my teens.

90. My mother told me it was foolish.

91. I only took one art class, as a senior in high school (and did well).

92. I have delusions of grandeur and at one time thought I could do it all.

93. I wish I was better educated.

94. At times I feel like a self made person.

95. Other times I feel like a failure.

96. It doesn’t bother me to fail, to be imperfect or make's all good.

97. I’m not driven. I do the best I can.

98. I want to love everyone.

99.Most of all I crave peace of mind. 

100. I believe in faith, not hope.

101. I love community.

102. I find blogging addicting and often think of stopping.