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June 2005
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August 2005

Loose Ends

Cassie has been able to use her powers of obsession persuasion to talk many of us into trying spinning. It is through her encouragement that many a new spinner has been brought to the spindle and/or wheel. There are also several others working with her in this crusade of changing the world through spinning. Let's pray it works.

I have been practicing a little every day.  Achieving the right amount of spin, not too much so that the 'tornado effect' (as Laurie so aptly named it)  happens, and not too little so that nothing happens, as been the challenge. I have had several minutes of success in drafting and keeping the spindle moving on a couple of occasions. Somedays are better than others.  I want a wheel but it isn't going to happen soon.  The other day Smith was in the room while I practiced.  He watched me for all of 5 seconds and said, "I see what the problem is.  You need something to keep that spindle moving. You need a wheel."  (I think I'll keep him.)

The reason for my wheeless life is the 'not so new' car.  Neena kindly brought it up from Cedar City on Saturday.  Smith found it the day after 'the car previously known as mine' died and it proved to be the best available at a good price.  Thank you to to Camille and her sons, who so kindly offered their extra cars while I was without wheels of my own.  Smith and I were able to share his car for a few days.  The casualties of taking him to work, and picking him up, were my morning workouts and time to knit.  The bonus was extra time to chat with him. 

When he was looking at cars he knew not to look at anything green or any other bright colors.  A friend once said that cars, as well as appliances, should either be black or white.  I'm inclined to agree but, when buying used you can't always choose. The 'not so new' car is a boring gray.  When Neena handed me the bottle of touch up paint from the dealer it read 'Antique Sage'!  That was almost a deal breaker.  Everyone assures me it is gray...not green at all. 

Because of the car (two car payments, now) I will sadly need to give up Tyson, my trainer.  I'm going to have to work extra hard to work myself extra hard. At the gym there are signs all over the place advertising  I didn't add a link because there is nothing there! I was hoping this would be a good substitute...baah. Guess I can wait a bit longer before I buy an iPod.   

And just so you know, I'm continuing my sock obsession. Here is River Rapids Sock from the  Sock Bug (in Pure and Fancy Wool) and the start of the second Birch Leaf.


Ya, I got nothin' today. Have a great weekend!!

July is for Socks

July is such a crazy month around here.  During the month there are a couple of holidays, our trip south mid-month and general summer fun going on.  The last week of the month is usually rather busy in the office , but in July we are preparing for our annual golf tournament.  I can barely keep up with it all.  Throw in the blog,  a daily post, and I'm in overwhelm.  Please pardon my hit and run (mostly it is hit and miss) blog reading and commenting.  I'm looking forward to the first of August and a little 'down' time.  The perfect thing to knit during the busy, too hot, summer remains to be socks.  I've been burning up the needles (when I can) and have three and a half pair of socks under my belt, with not much else to show this month.

The Frilly Petticoat socks were such a fun knit.  The pattern, by the Sock Bug*, was so enjoyable, easy to remember and perfect for the lovely Opal Petticoat yarn. (Thanks again Cara.) The pattern shows off the color changes very effectively. Feather and fan variations seem to be the sock of summer 2005.


Graycesockyarn_1I finished up the Sockapal2za Socks (2 pair!) and should have pictures soon (time, time, need more time!) and also have one more Birch Leaf sock to finish up (I'm knitting as fast as I can, sorry Susan, but I AM). Also on my mind is what's next in line for sock knitting. (I've become obsessive in my sock passion!) While rummaging through my considerable sock stash, thinking I might want to knit red socks, I found this newly acquired yarn. This is Pure and Fancy Wool's sport yarn in the colorway 'Royal Blue'. I've started Sock Bug's 'River Rapid Socks', which are looking good, and I love Grayce's yarn, too!

*Sock Bug calls the pattern Lacy Scallop Socks, I've named my pair 'Frilly Petticoat'.

The Hills Are Alive...

...with wildflowers! After a year of near record breaking snows and a very wet spring, the pay off is a plethora of mountain flowers.  So many of the meadow flowers are small and not very 'showy'.  The little blossoms are unassuming, mostly small in size, and subtle in color, unless you are standing there in 'first person'.

We are very lucky to have this gorgeous landscape as our 'back yard' and it is the main reason we stay in Utah (that and my fiber grrlfriends.)  If you've been reading here for awhile you have no-doubt heard of our frequent trips to Silver Lake. It is at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon in the town of Brighton. The Lake is 25 minutes from our back door and just up the road from our favorite place for breakfast, Silver Fork Lodge.  We often visit and walk around the lake (3/4 mile), taking in the mountain splendor during every season*.

Irisatsilrfklk The wildflowers around the lake come and go quickly.  We caught a  Columbineinwhiteatsilverfew of the last Rocky Mountain Iris on the lake.  Two weeks ago the whole meadow was full of these gorgeous flowers.  I'll make sure to be there when they bloom next year!  Most of the other wildflowers we saw are now in bloom in both Cottonwood Canyon's.  Monday, on our trip to the Albion Basin, we saw much of what we had seen the day before, but in larger meadows.   Many of the wildflowers are white and many are lilies. The natural columbines are so delicate, small, and pure white. (Cara needs to come out here and bring her camera!)

Whiteflowersinbunches Whiteflowersonastemtall

Rest assured there is color, too. In yesterday's post you'll see wild roses and yellow composites.  We have mountain orchids in purples and pinks and geraniums in white and bright pink.

Mountaingeranium_1 Pinkorchiflwres Moutainorchids

There are so many more, like Tushar Paintbrush, Penstemon, Blue Flax and Rock Cress. We couldn't begin to name them all or take pictures of them all.  The knitting went along both days (much to her delight), and I took a picture of the Hanging Vines stole, out of Judy’s lovely yarn. The rose tried to steal the show.


Now run over to Anne’s place and give her a big Happy Birthday!

*A Google search(on my side bar) for Silver Lake will bring up photos of fall and winter.

I've got a Cecret

If we could have designed our day off it would have started with cool temperatures and blue skies.  It would have included a trip to the mountains to see the beauty of the canyons and a hike to a secret spot. The trail would be strewn with wildflowers, clear mountain brooks and maybe a quick mountain shower would have sprinkled the area as we walked along. The air would be full of pine forest scent and a soft breeze to cool the face. As luck would have it, that was the day we had on Monday.


ClearwaterinmountainstreamWildflowersinthealbionbasin_3Cecret Lake is just above Alta Ski Resort and this year with all the snow and late rain, the area is green and lush.  The wildflowers are abundant and glorious in all the canyons and the Wildflower  Festival is next weekend.  Most years as you walk along the trail there might be a little trickling stream you need to hop over, but this year we had to walk right in as there was no way around and it was too wide to jump. The water was as clear as it can be and it is cold, cold, cold as it is snow melt.  Thank goddess for my Teva's.

We found large snowfields along the way and lush areas of green. 

Snowstillnotmelted Lushgreenalongthetrail

This winter the lake was hit by an avalanche of snow which still has to melt and at this point it is doubtful that it will before the snow flies again.



Best thing we saw in the parking lot after the hike. 

Now that's one smart Iowan.

We had a lovely, relaxing day. In fact the whole weekend was wonderful.  The Cowboy Junkies were superb. If you're a fan, don't miss their new CD which is only available at their concerts or on the web site. It has covers of songs by Bob Dylan (Leeann!), Bruce Springsteen (Cara!), John Lennon, and U2, as well as a couple of original songs.  It's great!  I have more pictures of wildflowers for you tomorrow AND some knitting!

Having Fun, Wish You Were Here

It's a Holiday in Utah and last night we were out late enjoying the Cowboy Junkies. This is a quick post today because we're still enjoying our holiday.


Mountainviewinreflection_1Feel like your world is upside down?  You may feel disoriented, but no need to turn your monitor on it's head.  This is the sky and a mountain peak at Brighton Resort, as reflected in the waters of Silver Lake. The picture on the right is a full view. Feel better?  Smith and I had a lovely day walking around the lake and taking pictures of wildflowers which will come your way later in the week.  Today we're heading to Alta and we'll hopefully see more wildflowers in the Albion Basin.

Saturday morning I spent knitting at the Jitterbug Coffee Shop with Kristen.  It would have been wonderful to have more time together, but the time we had was super.  We talked about medical school, blogging, Utah, our favorite bloggers, knitting, family and, well, I think we could have talked forever! (Oh,and we did some knitting, too).  After searching for some 'regional goodies' to share with her family when she returns home, we took a drive along the foot hills of the Wasatch Mountains. She was duly impressed and kept saying, "They're right here, right HERE!" I wish there had been time to take her into one of the canyons. Next time Kristen!  It was another great meet up and all because of Blogland.  I hope to see her again soon.


So, enjoy your day...we are!

Romancing the Spindle

I have no memory of the first time I heard the name Sarah Swett and/or learned of her work. It was either an article in a magazine or the book 'Knitting In America'.  Or it may have been when friend asked if I would like to attend a lecture and art show, at a local gallery, because it was on fiber art.  I do remember seeing Sarah's incredible works of art, hearing her tell us of the enchanted life she lead, and watching her spin with a drop spindle.  It was at the moment I became enchanted with spinning, spindle spinning.

Was it watching the ease with which she spun, the hypnotic spin of her spindle, or the story she spun of a life made perfect because of spinning, dyeing and weaving?  She had a fairytale life and admitted it freely. Who wouldn't want the same perfect life?  At that moment I wanted to learn to spin more than anything. It took all my strength to fight off the desire as I knew it would suck me in. I knew it would take over my life. I knew it would force me to discard all other hobbies and, possibly, all other responsibilities.  I overcame the sure addiction urge and knit on.

Spindlepracticewithcrack Then I started blogging and met the Bermuda Triangle of spinners. This triangle consists of those who make it easy to procure fiber crack, those who are spinning pushers, and several other  junkies who talk constantly of the easy 'high'.  Many a knitter has been sucked into into the dark side by this three sided coven.  The list of new addict's devotees grows daily, in frightening numbers.  My resolve has begun to break down, evidenced by the recent purchase of bunny crack, despite the fact that I cannot spin.  This is a conspiracy of epic proportions and one which is futile to fight.  I give up and submit.  Look for me in the dark alleys and fiber dens.


Summer Socks

Is there any knitter out there who doesn't knit socks (or want to)? Even Norma* has succumbed. (Is that pair finished yet, Mz Norma?) When did you knit your first sock?  Was it recently?  Was it because you saw someone knitting socks on a blog?  Do you love wearing your socks as much as knitting them?

I knit my first sock in the mid '80s with cotton yarn. After one sock I gave up as I hated it (it was the yarn, of course).  A couple of years later I picked up the unfinished second sock, as I really wanted to knit socks, and finished the pair.  Cotton socks are not fun to wear as they are hard and ungiving, so I didn't really care for them.  I tried again at a time when my arms were aching and knitting on tiny needles caused too much pain.  I was almost ready to give up knitting altogether, because of the ache, when I figure out that I was highly sensitive to flax seed oil.  When the evil stuff was out of my system I began to knit socks with a vengeance and haven't looked back.  It's been nearly 10-15 years that I've been enjoying a run of obsessive sock knitting.  This obsession to learn to knit socks, and the drive to do so, can also be blamed , in part, on the fact that we have a sock maven in the 'hood.

IheartopalyarsnAs with all sock obsessed knitters, my sock yarn stash is over flowing.  Cassie said yesterday that sock yarn is a fall back purchase when you don't need to buy more yarn. That's exactly why it piles up so quickly.  Opal is one of my favorite sock yarns and my stash of it has grown lately.  It has a rich assortment of colors and many  people I know collect it obsessively. (Sock knitting and being obsessive seem to go hand in hand.) 

BestkoigusockyarnBearfootyettouseKoigu is another favorite of many sock knitters (I know of one junkie in particular).  The colors, the softness, and the twist of the wool,  make addiction certain from the first touch. I have Koigu in the stash for other projects (another Charlotte's Web) and only a few skeins designated for socks (ok, maybe more than a few). Also in my sock bin are three skeins of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, which I have yet to knit, but I hear it is wonderful, too. 

LrnlaceturqlullabyYummyoddballyarnsLorna's Laces is also a lovely sock yarn, but I only have a couple of skeins. There are several socks in my drawer already knit with this extra soft yarn, however.  In the stash are also three odd ball yarns.  Shaeffer's Anne (a gift from Nancy for helping her with her new book), Twinkletoes (it's the center pink skein and a great yarn!), and an unknown red that I purchased from an Ebay seller in Australia.  It is a gorgeous red and just might become my next sock.  I can knit a red sock and make it a 'three for all' (like Cara)...Year of the Sock, Knit Red, and the Summer of LaceSo, gang, tell me your favorite sock yarn.

First I must finish up knitting this big ol' pile of socks.  With this heat the only thing I can stand to pick up and knit is a sock. It is small, portable and not big enough to sit in my lap.  We might have rain this toes are crossed as I'm using my fingers, thank you very much.


*Font size changed for Norma.

Knitting With Will

The Utah Shakespearean Festival has been a part of our summer for 26 years.  It never disappoints and is a highlight of our summer.  In recent years we have also enjoyed visiting Neena and Don in their lovely home.  Neena knows how to throw a party and can cook up a storm...all by herself.  Another highlight was meeting Heather. You can see a picture of 'the grrls' on Neena's post.  Next time we meet, Heather, we'll have more time to chat!

NeenasfrontstepsUsflearLast year I told you about Neena's new home and our trip to USF in this post. Check out the rock wall she and her dh have been building. This year they have been working on the steps that will lead up to the road.  All this rock, the wall and the steps, has been carried and placed by hand.  Neena is one awesome grrl. Each year I love to visit with Will, Lear and Juliet.  It's always fun to renew their acquaintance.  Lear still has trouble with his knitting and has a bad reaction each time he drops a stitch.  Lace was more than he could handle, I'm afraid.

KnittedcostumeKnittedchainmailCamelot was our favorite play this year (all the plays were wonderful but, this one really stood out).  The costumes for the soldiers were knitted!  They used a heavy weight nylon yarn and then painted the public side with gold paint.  It was very effective chain male. I wonder who knit all that armor?

Will is always waiting with open arms to embrace me and my knitting (note sock in his right hand).


This year Juliet tried to get away with my FBS, just as Neena did last year with Charlotte.  And while she did look beautiful in the violet color, I just couldn't part with it.  Maybe I can teach Juliet to knit next year.


It seems that taking my knitting to the top of Utah and to Kolob Canyon has made it possible for me to be inducted in the Extreme Knitting Challenge started by Teri.  Now that's cool. 

Flowers in Kolob

FbsattopofkolobdriveMy inclination was to tell you more about the trip and make you wait for picture of the shawl, but that, most likely, is what happened yesterday.  Tomorrow there will be more details of the trip and today you have FBS, as promised. We had such a good time, over all. The weather was very warm and the first night our play was out doors (Romeo and Juliet).  The Flower Basket Shawl was the perfect cover, as the night grew cooler while the play progressed. I could barely feel the shawl against my skin as the yarn is so light, soft and draped so elegantly.  I will think of Katy and the sweet gift of this Zephyr yarn each time I wear this shawl.

Friday afternoon we took her to Kolob Canyon, which is only 20 miles south of Cedar City, for the photo shoot. After leaving the Visitor's Center and driving up the orange/red road, we took a turn and  immediately gasped at the vista. 


FBS unfurled against the green of the foliage and red stone was just as magnificent as imagined.  The picture below shows the true color of Kolob's sand and rock, while FBS lounges and shows her beauty.


FbscloseupatkolobThis is also truer to the color than the closeup at left.  This is my third Flower Basket Shawl, which made it  feel like I was knitting an old friend. Few(er) errors were made and I enjoyed the process just that much more. The "Summer of Lace" is a delight so far,  and tonight is a good time to start my next project with Judy’s beautiful yarn

Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark
Zephyr Lace Weight (Silk & Wool) - Violet
Needle size 4
June 9th - July 8th 2005

Many of you know about  Kerstin’s recent loss.  Annie is looking for volunteers to knit squares for an afghan to be donated in John's name.  Please check her post  here for details and help if you can.  My heart breaks for Kerstin and her family.

Kolob Canyon and the Car

On Friday, before everything went to hell took a wrong turn, we enjoyed a jaunt to  Kolob Canyon, a part of  Zion Park with it's own desert geography. The sand and rock here a color of red you will not see anywhere else in the state.  The contrast of the varied shades of green, with the red orange of the rock, is just breath taking.  It was very hot, but we enjoyed taking the 5 mile, one way, drive to the top of Kolob.  Kolob get's its a name from Mormon scripture and is the star nearest to God. 

In this photo you can see that the road is paved with the same red rock of the canyon. All of Zion Park's roads are paved the same color.


There are few flowering plants in this desert landscape, but one cacti we found at the Visitor Center was just beginning to open it's bright yellow flowers.


The vista's here are spectacular and panoramic.  Every turn of the road offers a new view of  unique rock formations, vivid color and blue sky.



See, it's pure eye candy every where you look.  Zion Park is such a jewel, as are all our unique Parks, and we take the time to visit whenever we are nearby.   Hopefully we'll have more time this summer to visit some of the other Parks we love.

ThatsmycardoaWe have decided the car isn't worth fixing as we have no idea what more could be wrong.  It might be throwing good money after bad, and after talking to several people about it, this seems to be a sound decision.  A new (used) car is in my future...sigh.  This is the shortest time I have ever owned a car, 8 months.  The Honda I had before this was the longest I had owned a car, 14 years.  The good part is that it couldn't have happened in a better place or a better time.  We were very blessed to be saved and safe and to have a ride all the way home.  We may even have found my next car in Cedar City, which will be delived to my door tomorrow.   It's all good.

FBS pictures tomorrow.