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January 2006
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March 2006

Roses in the Snow

KarenandbenatjordanpinesIt was such an awesome weekend.  50's in the valley and the mountains were so clear and spectacular.  We took our newest Stitch 'n Bitch grrl, Karen* and her hubby, to our FAVORITE SPOT so they could see why we love it so much.  (Karen dyed the wool and knit her beautiful sweater.)

SilverlakeonlastsundayinfebrAfter breakfast we headed to Brighton and Silver Lake, just for the view, and then back down the canyon to Jordan Pines where we like to take photos. The snow, pines and surrounding peaks are so beautiful in the sunshine, to take advantage of the sun we walked up the road a piece.  Karen's sweater was enhanced by the light but, poor Rosarie was blinded by the abundance of pure white snow.  With an old camera like mine (maybe the settings need to be changed) we are never sure what we have until the pictures are on the computer. Drat!
This is the best picture of the bunch.

So, Smith and I tried again on the Zen patio.
It was a little better and Rosarie decided she was ready for her close up.

Rosariereadyforhercloseup_1Click to enlarge.
Rosarie is warm, comfortable, beautiful and I'm thrilled to have her as part of my knitting repertoire.

Pattern and Yarn kit: 'Rosarie' (Rosaraie de l’Haye) by Jade Starmore purchased from Virtual Yarns. Special instructions to lengthen by Jade.
Yarn: Hebridean 2 Ply 
Colors: Calluna, Kelpie, Poppy, Red Rattle, Clover
Time to knit: January 1, 2006-February 18, 2006

Tomorrow Zeneedle will be off line in the afternoon so, today we'll take care of the contest business.  The winner of last weeks prize is Tracy of Wool Windings. She is a very generous knitter who knits the most beautiful baby clothes for The Preemie Project.

Thank you for the many lovely comments that came with your contest answers.  There were too many to answer each one but, I read them all.  Now, as you read the first paragraph of this post our favorite Sunday spot is: 

Silver Fork Lodge in Big Cottonwood Canyon

This weeks question is:

How many pair of hand knit socks do I have in my sock drawer?

All who guess, whether correct or not, will be in the drawing for this weeks the prize.

Green Chibi, Sockina Colori, Bollicina - silk/cashmere (3 balls - taupe), chocolate (of course) Sheepy tape measure and a box to hold your knitting notions.

Please send your answer to the above question to zenbirthdaycontest at gmail dot com. On Friday the random number generator will help me pick a winner which will be announced next Tuesday along with the last and most fabulous Grand Prize.

*Karen dyes the most fabulous yarns. Check them out!

Do, Do, Dooo, Lookin' Out My Front Door...

DododolookinoutmyfrontdoorMyfrontdoorwithmoxieinthewindowCara and Stephanie live in places very different than mine. Stephanie lives in the wide open spaces of the West and Cara's place is what I expect in many big American cities.  Our condo is a townhouse style, in a row with 6 others, and a big front lawn and trees out front. You can't see much in any direction from the front door except the neighbors door. A picture of our front door will show the beautiful stained glass window a friend made for us several years ago. That's Moxie looking out through the glass.  The view we love, and show you most often, is out the back door and a short walk away.


GloriapiecesonehalfsleeveThis week has been busy and it was difficult to fit in much knitting time.  Tuesday night I did work on a sleeve for Gloria and hope to have the another complete this weekend. Seaweed is calling as she wants her time in the sun.  It might be good to keep things simple this weekend and finish up these two projects.  Since Project Spectrum begins on Wednesday that should be a perfect day to cast on Cutaway.  I can't wait to tell you what I have planned for her!

Enjoy your weekend and yes, a photo shoot is scheduled as it will be a picture perfect weekend in the mountains. Rosarie will have her place in the spotlight soon.

Stash Happens

AllmystashinoneclosetSo...I took a dive.  This is the main stash closet.  Four bins, a grocery bag and a black tote bag full of yarn.  And yes, this is all of it.  The black tote holds yarn that didn't work out for Rogue, the grocery bag holds all the yarn suitable for charity knitting and bottom bin on the left holds all the odd balls and leftovers that are kept on hand 'just because'. The red box is Holiday stuff...not yarn.

SockyarnstashthatisntenoughOne bin holds every last ball of sock yarn I own...about 50-60 balls. Yes, this is a bit excessive, but I have confessed and owned up to my addiction.  I do knit sock often  and have 30+ finished pairs of socks to wear (many more have either been gifted or 'darned') and the rest of this yarn will be knit or gifted at some point in the future.  Too much of a good thing, which means sock yarn, isn't enough and that's my motto.  The StashAlong has helped me keep further acquisition in check, however.

AllthebeautifullaceshawlsyettobeThis bin is about half full of lace yarn. Some 'skanks' have assigned projects and are just waiting for their chance to be on the needles. Many of the other yarns were purchased 'just because' they were super special (like Plain and Fancy Wool lace weight from Estes Park last year) or I just loved the color. Seaweed has taken so much time to knit (it is huge and hasn't had as much attention as it should), so it might be a bit longer before I can dive into this bin for inspiration.

The last bin (bottom right) holds all my future sweater projects. In fact, there was little in this bin before I started to blog (actually there were no bins before I started to blog).  The oldest project is Grant Avenue by Alice Starmore, which I purchased from my LYS more than 2 years ago.  The second oldest yarn is 10 large skeins of Euroflax in Eggplant.  It was to be the linen lace jacket in Jean Frost's Jackets.  I never could get gauge with the yarn and found it very stiff to knit, so the yarn sits awaiting new inspiration.  The other yarns all have projects in mind and are as follows:

7 sk.- Beaverslide Rosewood Heather - future comfy cardigan (fall of this year?)
16 b.- Silk Garden #201 - Bought for Butterfly (rethinking options)
10 sk. - Rowan DK Tweed - Anne and Teri talked me into this discontinued Rowan yarn (it was nicely priced). I love the color and feel of it and think it will become "Storm" from "A Season's Tale".
Curiousmurphyandcalmeryarn9 b. - Calmer Peacock - This yarn was purchased for another NBaT but, I changed my mind and bought a little more to make Audrey. However, Rowan 39 has a sweater called Flotsam & Jetsam that would make a nice summer cardigan. It looks interesting and fun to knit.  This may be my next StashAlong sweater.
7 b. - Debbie Bliss - Cotton Cashmere pink, left over from the Eyelet Cardi.  This maybe become Picovoli.
8 sk.- Black Water Abbey - 5 Chestnut (left over from Brier), 3 black, 1 red. I could use this for a felted bag but, my first choice would be a simple cardigan.

That's not so bad, eh?  It certainly is enough to keep me busy and not acquiring more yarn.  Must make it through 5 more weeks!

Almost There

RosairereadyforherblockingThere is a sense of relief and freedom that comes when a major project, like Rosarie, is finished.  Saturday night at 10:00pm the last threads were woven in, but by that time I was so tired I couldn't celebrate and just headed for bed.  The next morning was cold, gray and snowy and,even while Rosarie sat next to me, I just couldn't find the energy to block her and sew on the buttons.  If the sun had been shining, and there had been hope of a photo shoot, surely I would have found the energy.  As it was I stayed in my PJ's and knit the day away on Gloria, finishing up the second front.  Thank goddess we started the Sunday Stitch 'n Bitch group as it was only for this reason I dressed and left to be with the grrls. Tonight will be the best time to sew on the buttons and block my long time companion, Rosarie.  Maybe then my feelings for her will change and we'll be best friends again.

SeaweedonmylapforknittingThe last time I had strong feelings at the end of a project was when I finished Hanging Vines. That feeling was closer to mourning as this lovely project would no longer be 'in process'.  I quickly turned to Seaweed for comfort and found it in her beautiful waves and spaces.  Seaweed has again become my comfort and I tured to her throughout the weekend.  It would be very easy to exclude all other knitting as she is a joy to knit after the dense fabric of stranded knitting.  There seems to be a hole in my life if something in my knitting life isn't creating holes.

GloriasleevebeginningGloria is quick knitting and the sleeves have just started to grow.  She should be finished before the end of the month and that means two sweaters will be complete, both from my stash.  If Seaweed doesn't take over completely there will be some sock knitting to show soon.  I might take a stash dive tonight and see what else pops up.  Each month I keep a running list of projects to document and date each step.  This month the list has stayed rather short compaired to other months.

*Rosarie 1-1-06 to 2-18-06
*Teri's Bag 2-05-06 to 2-09-06
Gloria 1-29-06 - In process
Child's First Sock 2-07-6 - In process
Seaweed - In process

Swatching for Cutaway continues. It seems that over the last month the last swatch shrank or I was over zealous and didn't count carefully enough. I'll keep you posted.

And The Winner Is...

SaharaKnits - Lisa wins the first birthday give away! 

Thank you for the fun guesses and comments.  Hobbies have always been a part of my life.  My first hobby was reading and it is one that has continued on until Blogland came to eat up my reading time.  I did get through this months book club pick, for a change, however.  Crochet was my favorite hobby in the early 1970's and then I learned to knit. I have been a happy knitter ever since.  For about 10 years I studied embroidery of all sorts, in depth.  I never gave up knitting completely, as it was a nice traveling companion and easier to do in tight situations. 

Being outdoors is a big part of my life and it was this blog that started my interest in taking pictures. I do an adequate job, at least for this medium, but I wouldn't call it a hobby. Blogging seems to bring many of my favorite things to do together in a wonderful way. However,  I could give up blogging but, never knitting.

So, KNITTING is the right answer.

This weeks question may be rather easy if you've been reading for a time and easy to find if you're new here (or skim as some readers do).

What is our favorite spot for Sunday breakfast?

Please send your answer to the above question to zenbirthdaycontest at gmail dot com. On Friday the random number generator will help me pick the winner for this yarny prize to be announced next Tuesday along with yet another prize.
Opal Rodeo, KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud (Horizon), Trekking XXL (pink pastel stripes), green Chibi with one large and two small needles, a sheepy sticky note pad AND chocolate, of course.
Good luck!


Thursdaywasabeautifulday_1 You may click for a bigger pic.

We had snow Saturday and Sunday which meant no travel up the canyon. In fact we have more snow on the ground than we've had in the last three years. It is a beautiful winter wonderland. The picture is from last Thursday, which was very cold and clear.  I can take the cold if the sky is blue.

Today is one of the rare and cherished days of no work, no one around, no obligations and a chance to do nothin' but knit.  To make my life even easier this post is brought to you by the letter D.


This is D Street in the Avenue's area of Salt Lake City. Across the street is Black Sheep, a favorite LYS.


This is a Double Dip ice cream cone that many of us have seen our whole lives.  It stood in front of a favorite local ice cream parlor called Snellgrove.  As kid we would watch the ice cream scoops as it they were regularly painted in new flavors.  It was the best ice creams around, but sadly it was bought out by one of the 'big guys'. The double cone is now a part of Squirrel Brothers advertising.


Friday night before we went out to celebrate Smith's birthday (he thanks you for all your good wishes) I had a cut and style.  The new Do is feeling pretty good.

I'm off to Do some knittin'.  See you tomorrow with the contest winner and a new contest question.

Quick Saturday Post

Many knitters have started using the word Fair Isle for ALL stranded knitting. Fair Isle is only one interpretation of stranded knitting. In order to clarify the situation I turned to one of the best knitters of all things stranded, Nanette, to explain the differences.  Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions.  Nanette's book "Stranded Color Knitting" is full of information that you may find helpful. I sure did.

Wendy is also very knowledgeable about the different types of stranded knitting and perhaps she will weight in on the subject, too.

Ann has started a charity KnitAlong which you can join and knit for others through Lent. She even has a pretty button for you.


Enjoy your weekend!

What I Didn't Get To This Week

The title refers to the knitting I didn’t get around to showing you this week. Oh, and the spinning, too.  Wednesday evening I practiced a bit with the park and draft method which did help my fingers get the idea (once again).  One of my problems is that I get the spindle moving too fast for my fingers to keep up. After awhile things started to click a little better and I was able to spin a small amount fairly wellCate’s comment from Monday ran through my head and helped me to focus. She cautioned that the learning curve was quite steep in the beginning and I do find this true.  Patience and practice will pay off eventually.

At Stitch ‘n Bitch on Tuesday we talked about the StashALong and how hard it is to stay true.  The taste of new stash purchased on our free day may have been too much for some.  We do love color and texture and to stay away from the beautiful yarns that come our way is mighty difficult.  We’re half way and the end does seem a long way off.  What keeps me going is that by the time the StashAlong is over I’ll have knit 3 sweaters (and hopefully some smaller projects) from my stash…Rosarie, Gloria and next up, Cutaway. One sweater has been added (the Beaverslide yarn) so, the stash has/will decreased over all.

GloriaisgrowingslowlyMost of my knitting time as been spent bouncing back and forth between Rosarie and Gloria, my (current) favorite grrls.  Rosarie is very near completion and if all goes well there may be a photo shoot this weekend.  If not, well, she’ll have her day soon.  Because of her easy going stockinette, Gloria has been the perfect change from Fair Isle knitting. The luxurious yarns, and the simple elegant lines of this design, are about as satisfying as knitting gets.  Two sleeves and half of a half of the front are left to do.

RedhotsocksforsockpalI’ve been reading at work instead of knitting socks during my lunch break, so there has only been a little progress on my SockapalOOOza sock.  I love the yarn and it shows the pattern off nicely.  It’s the Child’s First Sock from Nancy’s Knitting Vintage Socks. Next week I'll be able to spend more time with it.

Read Tuesday's post and get in on the contest. Today is the last day you can enter.  The winner will be annouced Tuesday along with another gift for one of you!

D is for Dear, Darling, Dashing, Delightful Smith. Today is his birthday. Thank you for being a fabulous husband and for loving me.

Steeking Cut

Sunday while the Stitch 'n Bitcher's were together Michaele started a two color, stranded child's sweater for her nephew.  It is her Olympic knitting project and a challenge as she has never knit with two colors.  We talked about the difficulty of knitting two colors on the purl side and said she could steek it if she wanted.  She couldn't imagine ever cutting her knitting and asked if I would bring Rosarie and cut a steek at SnB on Tuesday.  Since that was about the time I’d be ready to cut the front steek for the button bands, I obliged.

Rosaneckarmbandsbuttons_1Here is a picture of Rosarie with her finished neck and arm band (plus the buttons for the front) and other picture of the inside of the body, which shows the floats.   The first time I cut a steek it made me nervous enough that I thought of taking a stiff drink to build up some courage. The fear of making a mistake when impaired was stronger so instead I picked up the stitches around the armscye, before I cut the steek, to ensure the stitches would stay.  On the second arm I forgot to pick up before cutting and nothing happened…nothing, not one stitch moved.

Backofrosariefloats The nice thing about knitting with Shetland wool is it works like Velcro as the yarn has 'tooth' which adheres the strands together well.  As the sweater is worn the edges felt a bit and it becomes even less likely there will be a problem.  Therefore, you if don't want to finish the inside of your sweater (apparently the people of Fair Isle don't) it isn't a big deal. I usually just neaten up the edges by cutting away the shaggy ends. The picture on the right is the inside showing the floats.
Two places I've found good steek information is on Wendy's finished knits page (look under Help  and Eunny's sidebar under techniques.

So, back to Tuesday night…while the grrls (Karen*, Karen and Michaele) look on in horror, the front steek is cut.



Front button bands are next!

Thanks Susan for taking the pictures.  Check out her free sock pattern on KnitPicks. Plus, she has a beautiful new scarf pattern, Mountain Stream Scarf available, too. The scarf is a nice introduction to traditional Orenburg techniques. If you are as intimidated by them as I am, it is a good beginning, so it will soon be on my needles.

*Karen is our newest Stitch 'n Bitch grrl.  She has her own hand dyed sock yarn company and sells her gorgeous yarn here.  We all saw sample colors last night and it is all beautiful!  We're very excited to have her in our group.  I foresee more sock yarn acquisition.