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June 2014
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August 2014

I Did What I Often Do

Mt Milly Reflection
My goal was to see a moose and I knew chances were better if I went to Silver Lake before 8:00am. It was quiet at the lake with few people about, and no moose to be found. I slowly walked around the lake, looking into every nook and cranny, and still saw nothing but the tiniest of wildlife creatures.

The views were still as wonderful as usual, and with few people about, it was quieter than  expected.

Silverlake Snapseed

The foilage is vibrantly green, as summer hasn't been as hot as past years. The water of Silver Lake was calm and reflective, the sky clear with only a stay cloud floating by.

It felt good to be out in mountain air, watching the sun as it started its climb into the sky, and being in my favorite spot. Even though I was alone, I wasn't going to forego another favorite place.


I stopped by Silver Fork Lodge (just beating the Sunday crowd by minutes), and treated myself to my favorite breakfast of trout and eggs. How does that saying go...

Life is good.

Back To School

I remember when Carole got her first iPhone she called it "my precious" and now, after having a smart phone for a couple of weeks, I completely understand the sentiment. Having every part of my life in hand is very helpful, and the camera feature (the reason I wanted the phone) is as wonderful as I thought it would be.

Cache Valley PPP2light Cache Valley PPP2light snapseed

Everywhere I went this weekend I had my camera, which was not the case with my pre-smart phone habits. The Big Picture Class, which is iPhone based, but has still helped me understand smart photo photography and the apps I can use to enhance my own photos. The first picture above is straight from the camera and the second shows how I was able to enhance the light and mood with Snapseed, which might be my favorite app.

The class is updated every other day with a new assignment and suggestions on composition, ideas to consider, and the apps the instructor used to create their photos (and so much more!). So far our lessons have been focused on light, action, lines, silhouettes, landscapes, with the newest class on vantage points. 


My favorite subject, as you know, is the sky and the mountains near by, and in this photo, I was able to fulfill three assignments at one time; light, silhouettes, landscape, and you may even consider the clouds as lines. With a little enhancing in Snapseed, I was able to give my photo a painterly quality.


Teaching my eye, and my brain, to look at other things (other than up) can take a conscious effort, but my walk through Sugarhouse offered the opportunity to capture a couple in silhouette as they walked through the tunnel hand in hand. I love the way the light played in the windows in front of them.

Denoise lines

I've also learned about denoising and used the technique on this photo to bring out the leaves and the texture in the wall. I'm having fun reading through the instructors notes and suggestions and trying out their effects and ideas on my own photos. It's fun to learn, to play, to create, but I find it a little addicting. There are times I put the phone in a drawer and lock it away so I can concentrate on other tasks and creative endeavors.

But there are times...

Vscocam instagram

..I stop in my tracks and snap a photo. I play with it later to get the effect I want, in this case, a dramatic shot of the rainstorm that moved in Monday night and caused havoc as I drove to my book group.

Having a smart phone is one of the best things I've done for my creative life, but not to worry, there is still plenty of knitting, reading, and a secret project on the horizon, too.

I'm Playing Favorites

Carole brought up a good question for ToT this week by asking which 10 patterns we'd be willing to knit again. There are very few patterns I've knit more than once, as a trip through my Ravelry projects will attest. However, I have considered knitting a number of sweaters and shawls again.

Some sweaters no longer fit, or didn't fit right the first time, and I (now) know what to do to make the second one fit better. There are any number of shawls I loved the process enough to knit it a second time, but that being said, it's unlikely any of them will be reknit. I like looking forward.

First, and foremost, I'd make more Ragtops, and I probably will. I love the Ragtop pattern and wear every pair I've made or have had given to me. They're warm, multitasking mitts that fit almost any winter need. I've worn them over the top of gloves and by themselves. I love my Ragtops. LOVE them.


Second, I'd knit another Germinate, as I've worn the one I made almost every day since it came off the needles. In fact, I'm considering colors as I type.

Third, I'd love to knit another Twist as the one I have is a little too large and, if it fit, I'd wear it year round.


The forth item I'd be willing to knit again would be Cleite. I love the shape, the process of knitting, as well as the wonderful yarn I used, which was Kim's Opulence, a favorite! This time I'd keep it for myself.

Fifth, I'd willingly knit another Foglifter, as it is a great fitting shawl and very versatile. I made it in a sport weight yarn and would love to have one to wear in a lighter weight yarn. The first I gave away.


I'd also knit, for my sixth choice, Tempest, which ended up being a bit too short for me. I'd make the bottom stripe longer so I could move around without  pulling up over my jeans. This one also was given away.

The seventh item on my reknit list might be Blue Whale, although the color and yarn I used, String Theory's Handdyed in Shale, would be hard to beat.

Eighth...I've though about knitting another Lily, as I enjoyed wearing her while I had her. She met an unfortunate incident with the dyer and I've mourned her ever after. She was fun to knit the first time, so a slog wouldn't be involved. 


Nineth, I would consider knitting another Hayward, as I like wearing the one I have.

And, tenth, I might knit another Fortnight for Smith. He likes his very much and another might make a nice gift this winter. In fact, this one may go into the queue.

BUT FIRST! I want to knit Cactus Flower. The colors I have are gorgeous and I'm making good progress. Stay tuned for the NEW.

True to My Word


As it turns out, I stayed true to my word and stopped by to see Parley P. He stood majestically overlooking the canyon named in his honor.  It was a little surprising to see a stone with the names of Parley's wives etched into it. Wife number seven, Sarah Huston, is my g-g-g-g-grandmother. ETA: Some comments asked about the last wife who did not take the Pratt name. Parley and Eleanor have quite a story, which includes Parley's murder! You can read more here.


From there, I drove a short distance to Sugarhouse Park, where I took a stroll through the tunnel that connects it to the business district to its west.


As I walked down the pathway into Hidden Hollow, I happened upon a bronze sugarbeet, which I found a tad surprizing. I felt like a tourist in my own town, as I didn't even know they'd saved Hidden Hollow, let alone there was a sugarbeet sitting in its midst. 

I took loads of pictures for my Big Picture Class, spent time with friends, as often as I could, and, when possible, spent snippets of time with Smith. We spent Friday morning weekend the garden for TWO hours, but rewarded ourselves with a lunch at our favorite tacqueria.

All in all, I'd say it was a good weekend and I'll share more about it as the week unfolds. 

Did you have a good weekend? 

Pie & Beer Day


Today, July 24th, is a holiday in Utah. Pioneer Day, is a big deal and almost everyone is celebrating in one way or another.  It all started in 1847 when the fist wagon train came into the Salt Lake Valley. But, instead of giving you a history lesson (you can do your own bit of search engine-ing), I'll tell you a bit of my history. My great-great-great-great grandfather was Parley P. Pratt (I've linked you to the local "lore" so you can see what a big deal he is to the culture) and he was on the first wagon train.

Parley's Canyon, the main route going East, I-80, is named for my g-g-g-g-father.  He was the surveyor of the canyon and much of the area around SLC. In 2006 a park was built and a statue erected in his honor. I am  sorry to admit I have never bothered to visit and instead of giving you a bunch of excuses, I'm going to try and stop by this weekend to pay homage to my heritage. I may not be of the predominate religion, but I am, regardless, the g-g-g-g-daughter of a Utah Pioneer.

Pie & beer in the title, you ask? That's become the mantra of the Utah "counter-culture". A little tongue in cheek never hurt anyone. The best part is I have 4 days off work! There will be celebrating.


This Week So Far

Saturday my mother's family had their annual reunion, which is the only time I see anyone on her side of the family. Her younger brother is now 81 and is doing quite well. It is by his doing the reunion happens at all. (Mom would have been 84 this year).


My grandfather worked for the Rio Grande railroad and was involved with the retirement center in his golden years. When the center closed he "inherited" an old bingo set, complete with the cage and balls need to call a large bingo game. We play evey year.


My card was an unlucky one, as I never came close to winning a game. It matters not, as we had a great time.

Sunday a quick rainstorm blew through the valley and left its signature, a double rainbow. I only caught the last little bit of it. The rain washed away the heat for the rest of the day and I happily threw open all the windows to the breeze.


The storm blew away all the smoke had filled the valley from fires to our north. Monday's sky was as clear as a bell.


But, by afternoon another wildfire had flared up and filled the valley with smoke once again.


I like the way the sun is reflected in all the cars in the photo, but the evening light was filtered with a golden haze, and the day ended with an eerie yellow glow.

The Doorway

Carole's ToT gave me pause. Yesterday was hectic and I had little time to think through what I wanted to say, but thoughts on thresholds were bouncing around my head all day and I couldn't shake them. What is a threshold? OK, well it's a entrance, a portal, a way into (or out of) something. We cross hundreds of thresholds a day, most without notice, and rather than show you all the doorways I walk through to go to work and back home again, I thought I'd be a little more esoteric.

1. Each day I cross the threshold into life. I get to wake up!

2. Each day I cross the threshold of choice: how to start the day? Joy? Hope? Love? Grumpitude? All of the above? 

3. Each day I cross a threshold of pain, into and out of, throughout the day. Most of my days are good, but on some, my back hurts too much or my joints ache...blah, blah. 

4. Each day I cross the threshold of doubt. Do I want a lunch today? And then I make one.

5. Each day I cross the threshold of desire. "Look at that beautiful handbag!"

6. Each day I cross the threshold of insight. "I really don't need another handbag."

7. Each day I cross the threshold of inspiration. "Hey, why didn't I think of that sooner?"


8. Each day I cross the threshold of guilt. I went for devils food. 

9. Each day I cross the threshold into home; love, warmth, and joy. 

10. Each day I cross the threshold into sleep. 

I am one grateful person. 

Thursday Last Week

Instead of Weekending, I'm going back to Thursday night when Smith and I took a little road trip to Logan, a town about an hour and a half from SLC. The drive isn't very picturesque until the last 20 minute, when the canyon is filled with farmland nestled into little dales.


The reason we took the trip was to meet up with a friend who lives in Grand Junction, who had driven her 50 year old car to a vintage car rally in Logan. She's 10 years older than me and drives a 1964 Corvair, no air conditioning, no power breaks or steering, and no "juice", miles and miles just for the fun of it.  She's an inspiration. May I introduce Jean. 


She's the first person I ever met on the internet and we've been friends since 1998. It was 10 years ago I drove to visit her and blogged about it here. The next year I drove to Grand Junction again and, once again, shared the trip in a blog post. Th

This time she came to Utah and Smith and I had a chance to meet her son (who drives his own 1963 Corvair) and his family. We all went to dinner and chatted for hours. You might notice she has a wounded hand, but it doesn't stop her from doing the one of the things she loves, driving her vintage car. Like I said, she's an inspiration and I was very happy to see Jean again. 

Cache Valley PPP2light

As Smith and I drove home I took a picture of the sunset, but as you can see, I didn't capture much of the color in the sky. The subject of the first Big Picture photography lesson was light and I knew the sunset would give me a place to start. 

Cache Valley PPP2light snapseed

Given the tips on apps, and learning a few tweaks of the subject, I was able to create a more dramatic photograph. I'm playing around and trying a few other tricks to enhance my photos. 


The class has given me a little more understanding of what apps might work to create more interesting pictures than what I'd get on my own. The Big Picture Photography Project is going to be a blast. 

The New

I find it hard to make decisions. It takes me forever. I think about all the what ifs I do and what ifs I don't. I vacillate, hum and haw, back and forth, and sometimes, quite often, actually, I miss out on good opportunities. Sometimes I'm impulsive and just jump in, but not often.

The last time I just jumped in was the TTL Mystery Shawl, which worked out in my favor, although past history had more to do with that decision--as did the gradient yarn. The last time I hummed and hawed was when my friends wanted to knit another shawl.  We were talking about Germinate, which I did last year and LOVE, but then, as I was spending time looking over possible color selections, Kym mentioned Cactus Flower. The debate I had with myself over which shawl to do went on all afternoon.

After I'd placed my order with Kim, I debated even more over whether I'd made the right choice...on yarn, on color, and shawl pattern. The discussion in my head went on until the yarn arrived (a couple of days later) and then the discussion went on even after I purchased the pattern. I hate to admit it, it might still be going on.

ALTHOUGH, look at this luscious yarn...

The colors are darker than they look in the photo...deeper, richer, warmer. I'm feeling sure about my choice of Cactus Flower, but I have to admit, I looked through Kim's colorways to see which color I'd add if I went with Germinate.  A girl has to keep her options open.

On another note, I've had my smart phone just over a week and I haven't spent much time exploring its possibilties. However, I have signed up for an on-line photography class, The Phone Photography Project 2, which was recommended by Mary. I thought about it for a couple of days, but finally, decided the class was the best way to explore and learn smart phone photography. I'll be snapping pictures right and left, learning as much as I can, over the next month.

5 Shades of Gray

When you have an excellent experience knitting a project, you have all the confidence you need to do something similar again. Last year I took on Kirsten Kapur's Mystery Shawl and won big with my Germinate a shawl I have worn almost daily since its finish.

Not the best photo, but I like it

The minute I heard about the gradient yarn from Black Trillium I knew I had to use it and, of course, I fell for shades of gray. Crater to be exact. It was the idea of gradients that enticed many a friend to step into the mystery with me.


Some knitters are afraid step into the unknown, take the clues as they come, and wait for the mystery to reveal itself. Knitting time is precious and the fear of ending up with something you don't like is visceral.

I've knit mysteries shawls I've ripped out, giving up after the first clue, and, in the end, I was happy I did. I would not have liked the end product, but I trust Kirsten and her design process. She has a multitude of shawls I'd like to knit and I was very happy to follow her into a mysterious place.

Just as I did with last years mystery, Germinate, I have worn this Mystery Shawl daily since its finish. How the gradients would fit together, the flow of the design from one pattern to another, as well as the border of the last clue, were all amazing to watch as they fell into place.


A mystery leaves clues throughout the story, but the final reveal is left for the very end. The mystery shawl does not reveal its true story until it is blocked, the lace is unfurled, and the richness of the color and pattern are shown. Only after that does one understand the truth of its beauty.