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Showing posts from 2017

when knitters are in the forest

We made our annual visit to the National Forest to cut down a Christmas tree last weekend.  This tradition is important in many ways: we like to spend time with family, we like to spend time outdoors, we like that we're helping our local forest service by thinning the forest - and we know firsthand about forest fires.   Most importantly, although I don't know of  a direct tie-in from Christmas trees to the meaning of Christmas, we are so blessed to celebrate the birth of Christ.  So if you're a knitter, and you're walking around in a high country forest, what do you wear??  I'll tell you!  ~ a qiviut blend hat, pattern Aisling .  ~ a wool cowl, pattern Folsom Points ~ a hooded, long, wool and alpaca sweater, pattern Cobblestone Trenchcoat ~ some stranded-colorwork wool mittens,pattern Now with Thicker Frosting! ~ and don't forget wool socks! pattern, my own recipe   Picture by my husband, and yes, we found the perfect tree!  

pattern: Tree Delivery, a hot water bottle wrap

Of the many ways that learning to knit has changed my life, one of the most obvious is through physical warmth.  (I was surprised what a difference a real wool hat made over the cheap imitations I'd been wearing.)  And then, there was the hot water bottle cozy.  After seeing them on Ravelry through the years, I bought the first hot water bottle as a gift for a friend who is always cold.  I thought, maybe I need one, too.  I knit hers a snugly cocoon before giving it, but I never got around to knitting one for mine.  Until now!   This basic little invention has warmed my bed, my chair, my feet, while I read, knit, sleep; in the car on a cold, early drive, and in a hotel room when my roommate likes the A/C cranked!  I use it when I'm sick, and every now and then, I surrender it to a sick little boy, who humbly asks if he can borrow it "just for one night."  I fold up a woolen blanket and place it under my desk, and throw the hot water bottle on top for hours of

butterflies abound

Several Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies have stopped in our garden on their migration path this year.  Isn't it magical?!

Photography

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.  Ansel Adams Ah, light.

oh, the sunflowers

late-August delights

A beetle on a recent photo shoot. I didn't think the eclipse would be a big deal, and it was my first "normal" day home, alone, in months, so I made no plans.  As the moment arrived, I did go outside and spend time enjoying the changing shadows -I  had no glasses or other viewing equipment.  What a regular/expected thing, and yet so glorious and unique and bonding.  I wish I had made the effort to share this experience with someone I love, but I'm glad I didn't miss it.  Celestial events like this always remind me of the short story, All Summer in a Day .  Heartbreaking.  

morning tea, now it is political

Early morning tea...   I recently read a discussion on Flickr about whether and how to capture steam (from food) and that it is often faked with smoke.  Not my first shot of a hot, fresh cup of tea; I'm thinking tea stays steamy longer than bread.  I enjoy all my senses getting involved:  the smell of the blend in the tin, watching the color disburse in the water, the sound of the sugar granules breaking the surface, the warmth of the cup, and of course, the taste.  Having tea is one of my favorite morning rituals.   I recently realized that my favorite variety of tea has begun an affiliation that, to put it simply, I find appalling.  And out of character - or so I would have thought.  I am heartbroken to lose this little, daily moment of savoring what is good, what is simple, what is home.  And I wonder, what should I do about it?  Does this company really mean that they've joined up with the anger and hate?  Or did they feel pressured?  Extorted?  Or am I overthi

local history: Estes Park and the Stanleys

Estes Park has long been a favorite day-out excursion with friends and family, and although it can seem very touristy, there are lots of fun things to do.  Currently, my aunt (Aunt Banana) and uncle live there, and we spent the night at their house to have a little extra time to explore (and because we like hanging out with them!)    We had never been to the famous Stanley Hotel , although it is a grand presence above the lake as we enter town from the east.  It is said to be haunted.  We walked up from our parking spot on the main strip to get a closer look at this lovely example of Georgian architecture.  Luckily, we encountered no ghosts.   What a gorgeous staircase; we learned later that the four different balusters on each step were designed to represent the four seasons.   What we didn't realize when we planned this trip was that the town of Estes Park is celebrating its 100th year this summer!  Aunt Banana called to ask if we would be interested in t

pictures of July

The new school year is looming near; we are savoring the end of summer! ETA:  the last picture is just fun with water balloons and a needle.  

Donna's Hat

Donna was my mom's friend, but she was my friend, too.  She was an incredible crafter.  She did everything from knit and crochet to ribbon embroidery, beading, and was a beautiful quilter. Quite a collector, she gathered fat quarters, of course, and miniature perfume bottles, Jim Shore figurines, antique hand mirrors, thimbles, and steins.  She was great fun on a shop hop! Her son was my first boyfriend - we were three!  Donna's mini perfume bottles In early 2013, Donna passed away from breast cancer.  It was at least her second battle with the disease; she had also had it many years before.  At her funeral, her casket was draped with a gorgeous quilt. In October of 2013, I had been working with Windy Valley Muskox for a couple of years, and wrote a hat pattern for them in honor of Donna.  I started a post about this, but I just didn't know what to say about Donna.  I did not want to give the impression that I would profit from her family's loss.  And

July: halfway through the year

The last few weeks have been busy with few things concrete enough to post about (or photograph).   As we are about halfway through the year, and our busiest weeks of summer are now past, I am hoping to savor this week, to reestablish routine and remind myself of the things I want to accomplish this year.  I haven't crossed much off my list of goals for the year, but I have crossed off a few.  It is nice to have a benchmark, to know I am not just treading water.  And there is still half the year to enjoy, a little time to reach a few more goals.  I see my kids spending a lot of time bored, with their imaginations limited by charging cords and gaming limits. I think, I hope, we will spend some time in the next two weeks, offline: drawing, hiking, walking, reading, knitting, exploring, photographing, tasting, smelling, hearing.  Maybe I'll finally get the finishing done on this beautiful jacket.  I'll let you know!

roses

Stopping to smell the beautiful roses (which smell wonderful.)

knitting, and other almost-summer activities

Today, I finished painting, and then planted, the flower box I've wanted ever since we built the shed.  Unfortunately, it's been long enough since we built the shed that it needs a new coat of paint, as well!  We get eggs from a friend with lots of chickens, and made scones today.  We had a nice morning in the shade, including fresh scones, cherries, tea, coffee or milk, and a few games of checkers.  And now, I will be attempting to finish reassembling the screen door I took apart last week.  Then I might have time for weaving in a few of the thousands of ends on the Oriental Jacket I am working on.  The knitting is done, at least!   What are you working on this weekend?  Finishing any projects?  Reading any good books?  

artist: Scott, luthier

Back in January, I spent some time with Scott, a luthier.   You might wonder what a luthier is; he is a maker of stringed instruments . At one time, I had a boyfriend with a roommate whose step-dad made guitars.  When I started my artists and craftsmen series , I knew I had to include him.  My boyfriend, (who has stuck around many years after marrying me) thought it was a good idea; so here's a little of what I experienced on a wintry day with a luthier who makes stringed things by hand.  Literally, he carved on an archtop guitar while we talked.   He built the guitar and the harp in the first picture, most pieces carved from blocks of wood.  Other things he does by hand: fills out receipts (on paper), writes books (in notebooks), plays guitar.  And I will admit, I was pretty enamored to meet someone who still has a phone that is  completely attached to the wall.  I really enjoyed talking to this kindred spirit; we discussed synesthesia  (another word yo