Friday, November 14, 2014

Margin, Too

I posted the other day about one of my patterns, Margin.  Here's more technical info on that!  The pattern is available from Windy Valley Muskox but we are working on the website - hopefully wrapped up shortly.

Yarns I used:
-purple is WVM Merino in 7015 Thai Basil, one skein.  This merino is heavenly, I also have stranded mittens in this fiber!
-gray is WVM Majestic Blend in 5030 Fog Bank, two skeins.  This yarn is a blend of silk, merino, and qiviut.   I have designed a cute hat with this one before.
This pattern uses just about every inch of these yarns!  That's a total of about 650 - 670 yards.  
You can find more info on the Ravelry pattern page, here.

I also had it test knit.  Olivia did beautiful work with this, including lovely in-progress and finished pictures.  So pretty, I had to share with you:

test knittting

Here's her finished shawl, I swiped this picture from Ravelry (with permission.)  Gorgeous, right?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things I Knit: Margin

I've been meaning to post a lot more about my knitting projects, but it always seems like I have too much or not enough to say.  So today's the day!

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE knitting.  I like it so much, it might be a problem.  I wash the dishes so I can use the sink to soak finished pieces; I do the laundry so I can have towels to block my projects on.  I clean the house so I can find all the yarn I've left various places!  I found my Thing in life; that Thing that makes me feel like I was born to do something specific.  I definitely knew it was not science!  I'm good at a lot of things, and I know not everyone can say that.  But for me, knitting is the thing that I'm great at, that flows with little effort and lots of joy.

Along with personal fulfillment, knitting has opened up a world of opportunities for me - meeting people, making money in several ways (teaching, test knitting, contract knitting), expanding my photography, and travel!  I started writing my own patterns almost immediately but have had mixed advice on whether to publish and where.  Along the way, I have had the good fortune to build friendships with some lovely ladies related to my local yarn shop, and Windy Valley Muskox, among others, and the opportunities to publish my patterns opened up.  

Okay, I can see I'm getting very short-story-long, here; let's cut to the case!  I recently published Margin, a shawl pattern for Windy Valley.

I absolutely love this shawl, I was sad to leave it with Dianne at WV when I left the show in August, but I suppose I could always knit another one!

I set up a shoot with one of my favorite models, and we got some great pictures including these:

This pattern grew from a concept my dad mentioned to me in the past year, about having margins - that is, space for life to grow - for friends to show up unexpectedly or to take care of yourself when problems arise.  Or for God to show me things I might otherwise be too busy for.  To notice that my boys are growing so fast.  To savor the beauty.  This is something that I also find in my photography, although sometimes I'm in too much of a hurry trying to find it.  Writing this pattern was an exercise, a reminder, to stop, to listen, to look, to breathe it in.

ETA Feb 2015:  Several people have asked about this pattern (I'm thrilled!)  It should be available at the Windy Valley website but as of this writing, that website is a bit under construction.  If you would like the pattern, you can write directly to Dianne at, or if you happen to be going to Stitches, you will be able to buy it in the booth, along with the yarn.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Things We Put in Jars

I think I might finally be done with canning for this season.  We didn't do as much of any one thing as we've done in previous years - like back when I only did apple butter, when I got a box of peaches from my mother-in-law, or when I bought a bushel of cucumbers.  But we did a bit of each, and a lot from home and local friends or farms.  I did have to buy peaches and apples at the store.  

spiced peach preserves - I always forget the cardamom, but I love that you can see the little vanilla beans.  

bread and butter pickles, by request

And finally, some raspberry jam - we separated the gold from the red, since they cost more.  What's the point of getting them if  you mash them into the reds??   The general consensus is that they do taste sweeter / better than the reds we picked at the berry farm, although our own red bush is sweeter than those as well.  We ended up with four small jars of gold raspberry jam, so we'll save those for a special Christmas treat.  

I also canned a bunch of dill pickles but apparently I didn't take any pictures.  Dills are speared and bread & butters are sliced.  That makes it easier to figure out what they are, in case I label them wrong - and sometimes I do, but usually just one before I figure it out!!

I have been doing a LOT of knitting, but more on that next time?  

Thursday, September 11, 2014


It's a cool and cloudy day, here; rather unlike that one 13 years ago.  My boys are home from school (teacher conferences) and we have an easy schedule, with room to appreciate our little life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

late August activities

Ah, August in Colorado; that perfect blend of summer-into-fall.  Some days ripe for watergun fights, some for knitting and sweaters.  Fresh veggies and fruits from the garden, ready for pickling, grilling, eating from the vine.  

This morning, my oldest son and I went to the farm where we get eggs; we've also been helping in the garden, mostly weeding, in trade for vegetables.  They've got greener thumbs and much more room than we do, though we do still have a little garden.  We came home with basil for pesto, cucumbers and onions for pickles, fresh eggs and zucchini for zucchini bread.  Since I'm doing pickles, I might as well do apple butter, so we stopped and got organic apples at the store.  I was happy to find golden beets again, so we'll be having grilled vegetables with our chicken and pesto tonight.  It's a rare day that I don't knit, but today other things need to be put in jars before summer is gone.  

It's Wednesday, and that means I'm home (instead of teaching at the yarn shop), and we have a little more time for dinner, and discussions, and Face Off.  And everyone asks for extra pesto.  Meals that we all find delicious are not that common!  

We will probably find a little time to read more from Huck Finn.  We've got to rescue him from the previous chapter!  

I don't know if it's getting older, or if some of my later-in-life hobbies (gardening, knitting, photography) have changed the way I feel about each month, but this has been a good month.  If I remember, I'll post pictures tomorrow of what we accomplished today.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Explored on Flickr!  It only took me several years and one trip to the ocean :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

fall knitting

It's about time to decide whether I'm knitting any gifts for Christmas, and for whom, and what will it be?  And which yarn?  

I've just finished a sweater for myself, which I'm excited about.  I'm in no hurry for cold, but when it does arrive, I'm going to be ready.  Ends are being woven in, today, and then it may live on a mannequin at the yarn shop for a week or two.  I've knitted several items of my own design; I have four new patterns available through Windy Valley, and will have another two or three at my local yarn shop next month.  If you went to Stitches, you may have seen the Windy Valley pieces.  A photo shoot is in the works soon!  Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of finished pictures, but I do have a few in progress pictures.

One of my new patterns, Margin, a 650 yard shawl.  This one's my current favorite...  

This scrumptious yarn is going to be Asunder, pattern from Lisa Mutch on Ravelry.  I'm about halfway done.

I'm looking forward to telling you more about my patterns; I've just got to get some details lined up, including what-would-I-wear-them-with? for the photo shoot.  In the meantime, we are getting ready for Back to School stuff at our house, and looking forward to some fresh salsa!

What are you doing this week?

Friday, August 1, 2014

summer's here and going fast

I do know it's been awhile, we've just had a busy summer.  Nice busy, lots of travel, family, company, knitting, swimming, gardening.  A few photos from our summer...

pelicans in La Jolla

the deep end!  

I was invited to a very nice tea party...  

sunset over the Pacific

of course, some knitting:  a sweater for me, 

and lots of samples, fun stuff, gifts!!  

More soon, I promise!

Friday, May 9, 2014

watermelon salsa


Watermelon Salsa 

One of our family's summer faves; a fresh twist on a picnic and barbecue staple!

4 cups finely chopped watermelon (no seeds)
1 cup finely chopped cucumber (no peel, no seeds)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet pepper - red, or your favorite color
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh mint leaves

4 tablespoons honey
1 lime, juice of, that is (no seeds)

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

Combine honey and lime juice.  Combine all fruits and herbs; toss in honey and lime juice to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Serve with tortilla chips. 

Make more!!  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

off the needles

I recently finished this shawl... for myself.  This yarn languished more than a year in my stash, as I contemplated whether I should write a pattern for it.  I go to all these yarn shows, wearing store-bought sweaters and my favorite hoodie; I'm a great knitter, and I looked like a scrub.  So in the end, I decided knitting it and wearing it was more of a priority than being able to say I designed it myself.  

Yarn:  Pure Qiviut from Windy Valley Muskox, 3-ish skeins of Red Valor, one skein of Scarlet
Pattern:  NoFa Shawl from La Maison Rililie - great pattern, easy to follow.
Mods:  I did modify the striping sequence because I did not know for sure how much qiviut I had, and I wanted to use it ALL!  

I think I finished this last week, but hadn't taken time to block it, which made me sad every time I went somewhere and thought, "I could be wearing my shawl if I'd block it already!!"  This week, I did finish a sample knit, as well as a sweater that was commissioned, and will NEVER be posted on my blog.  What we do for friends. 

I also planted a lilac this week!  Maybe it's time for a new header picture...  

Monday, March 24, 2014

tea cup

I collect tea cups but they're in a box, sadly.  They need a more illustrious home.  Maybe this year?  In the meantime, this one caught my eye at a local antique booth: 

114in2014 #62 cup or mug

And coincidentally (or not?) I am knitting with a similar color, something from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls book.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My mom wants to know what I'm up to!

I know, it's been a long time since I have blogged.  In the meantime, I have:

...gone to Vogue Knitting Live in New York!  
I was excited to go; I've been to New York City but it's been upwards of 20 years.  Plus a few more.  I was excited, but I was afraid of being mugged, I tell you.  I went with Dianne, from Windy Valley yarns.  

  • We stayed in Times Square - I loved it.  You can take pictures all night and they look like daytime; it was bright! 
  • Our luggage arrived a day late - after our free day for sight-seeing.  We waited for hours, and by the time we finally decided to go without make-up or clean clothes, we didn't have time to see much. 
  • I spent $33 on eyeliner, deodorant and aspirin.  Don't shop at the hotel.   
  • I did not get mugged, and after a day or two, I went outside and up and down a few blocks, by myself.  
  • There are so many places to eat!  We ate at Carnegie Deli, and I had a hot dog from a street vendor.
  • Central Park was disappointing; I'm assuming that's because it's winter, there was no snow, and I hardly had time to look around.  Maybe next time, it'll live up to all the expectations Hollywood has built up for me.
  • The highlight of the show was seeing my friend Allison, who moved from Denver to New York last year, and meeting her friend Michele Wang, who was very nice. 
All in all, I would love to go back with my little family, and see a lot more.  

As for the show, it was short - nice; colder and darker - bad.  If you were there to buy qiviut, it was great!  We did also walk over to the Qiviut Boutique, near the Plaza Hotel.  Gorgeous stuff in there; it's like Windy Valley yarns for people who have lots more money than knitting skills.

Central Park in winter
city view from Central Park

...gone to Stitches West in Santa Clara, California.
I enjoy going to the Stitches conventions; I know what's going on, I know the staff, I have a little time each morning to peruse the market.  I get to visit friends I've made during the last several shows.  It was a lot like the first and second time I went.
  • This time, I roomed with my friend Julie; it was fun to hang out with her.  She's actually how I met Dianne.
  • My one big purchase was sweater-quantity of Plucky yarn for a sweater.  I got there early; I hear it was brutal in that booth - lots of people, little space.  I guess that's good for Plucky?
  • Julie was also my sounding board for a lot of knitting ideas I needed to get out of my head.  
  • Maybe next time, I can sneak in time for a class.
Sorry, no great picture. 

...decided to be less of a photographer and more of an artist.  
I've got some photo projects to get out of my head, but I'm cutting back on what I do for other people, and waiting for warmer days.  I hate being outside in the dead of winter, trying to get the perfect shot with numb fingers.  And I'm kinda done with people who either don't get my point of view, or just don't want to pay for it.  I invest a lot of emotion - too much, really, in my photography, and sometimes I feel like I should have charged ten times more to put up with the people who hired me.  I don't always feel that way; sometimes I feel like I charged way to much to be part of a magical moment with beautiful souls.  So now, I'm just doing what I want to do, because it's what I believe in.  
I'm doing 114 in 2014, the Karen version.  In other words, not sweating the pictures I don't want to take.  I never get them all done, anyway, but it keeps me seeing new subjects in fresh ways. 

...been teaching and working more at my LYS (local yarn shop) and I'm updating their Facebook page.
Both of these take more time than they say on my calendar, but are rewarding creative outlets.  I love updating the cover photo on the Facebook page.  I could take pictures of yarn all day long!  Oh, wait, sometimes I do.  


...I've been knitting a lot. A LOT.
I made a list of 10 (really 14 or 16) designers whose work I admire, and whose patterns I would like to knit. That included Michele even before I met her - bonus!  Will I get to any of them this year?  Not so far.  Because... 
I'm knitting for hire; that sounds weird.  Knitting for money?  Whatever.  You know what I mean.  
I'm also working on some of my own designs, which includes some R&D, so I'm doing a lot of swatching, measuring, writing.  I was thinking of designing a shawl so I've knit several recently.  I don't know if lace is something I'm meant to design.  We'll see.

And I'm spending a few hours a week volunteering at schools.  I'm in charge of Friday Folders, and straightening up bookshelves in the library.  I love old books.  And I would like to tell you I do a lot of laundry but that would be a lie.  I do what I have to.  And...  this week, if I get a chance, I will be starting some seeds. 

Well, I think that brings us up to today, and hopefully it won't be so long before next time!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

113 pictures in 2013

For the 113-in-2013 photo challenge, I did not manage to get a great shot of each item that I was pleased with.  However, it did inspire me to get out and take pictures of things I would otherwise pass by, and that's the reason I do it.  Here are three of my favorites, all shots which I actually took specifically for this challenge.

#5 one word

#41 trees in a row

#99 somewhere to sit

You can see the whole set here.  I'm pleased that I got as many as I did - 74.  Better than the previous year.  I signed up for the next group, 114 in 2014.  I'm not sure how much I like this list.  In the past year, I found my self struggling to go out and shoot things, like "a baby picture of yourself."  I just don't find much room for creativity there, unless I spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with a crazy concept.  On the other hand, I know it stretches my thinking, and I enjoy the camaraderie of the group.  

One item I struggled with the whole year was 'bird on water.'  I couldn't decide whether to take the straight-forward approach, or whether I should find a more artistic view.  I also don't have a great lens for shooting wildlife.  I did rent a telephoto lens for a wedding in August, and took the opportunity to find some "birds on water."  Here's what I ended up with for my final entry.  

bird on water

I really like the color of the water, as well as the ripple of light on the left side of the frame, and the softness of the gray feathers.  I ended up making a whole set of my 'bird on water' shots.  I would love to know, which one would you have picked?  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas Traditions, Christmas Knitting

Just one more on Christmas, for my mom. 

Christmas traditions from my childhood that we've adopted into our home include the Advent Wreath, which I previously wrote about, wow, three years ago.  This year we finally incorporated the Thanksgiving Chain.  Each day in November, we each write something we're thankful for on a slip of paper, a link in the chain.  Guests for dinner also get to write something, and become part of our chain.  In December, we hang up the chain around the room and attach Christmas cards we receive on it.  It's a festive addition to the decor, and cards don't get lost!  In January, we take down the chain and put all the cards in a basket.  Each night at bedtime, a card or cards are drawn out, and we pray for the sender.  I like that we talk about who these people are, since my kids don't know all of our distant friends and family, and I like that they are so good about praying for other people.  It's very easy to ask for things for ourselves, it is nice to see they appreciate that other people need things too, and sometimes we don't even know what that may be, but we can still help. 

I wish I had the time for a whole post on what I knitted for Christmas, not to mention keeping up on my list of things I knitted this year!  Now that I look at my Ravelry projects page, it doesn't appear that I knit too much for Christmas, but I did make a few things.  I knitted a cowl for my sister-in-law, who is always cold; a hat for a special teacher, who mentioned several times how much she liked mine - she was thrilled; a hat for my mother-in-law, and I was pleased she wore it the rest of the day - it was beautiful yarn, too, if I say so myself.  And finally, the most pleasing project was a hat for BFJ.  I'd knitted a hat for some guy who came into the shop I work at, and wanted a hat but didn't knit.  I had yarn left over, and BFJ had modeled this original hat for me, and declared that he'd also like one.  However, he kept working from home and had days off, so I had to keep taking it to the yarn shop to work on it.  I was gratified on Christmas morning, though, when he was so surprised I'd actually made it!

hat for mother-in-law

BFJ is horrified that I try on hats and things that I knit for other people.  Hey, I have to make sure they work, don't I?  Actually, I do sometimes have to make sure they'll fit, but also I like finished pictures for Ravelry.  Seeing other people's projects is one of my favorite parts of Ravelry.

Monday, January 13, 2014

End of December

Rounding out the end of December so that I can move on to other things...!

One of the things we did in December that I enjoyed, was getting up early a couple of mornings for some frosty, wintry pictures.  It's cold; people complain, but then the fresh air takes over and we see magical things.  Unfortunately, we did not have a white Christmas, even at my parents' in the mountains; the frost and snow was all gone by then.