Monday, December 28, 2009

Scenes from the Living Room

Not much holifrazzle this year, thanks in part to Macy's, which was open around the clock the few days before Christmas. Who'd have thought that shopping at 1:30 in the morning could be so peaceful? The store was certainly not crowded, but there were more people there than I would've thought. The clerks were in a friendly, chatty mood, there were some great deals and parking was a snap. If it hadn't been for the snowstorm, it would've been perfect.

Speaking of the storm, even ye ol' Christmas village took a hit. Trees were uprooted:

There were straight-line winds:

and one abominable snow kitten.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What is 'I am Fly'?

I don't know, but this will make you smile. It's from Knitting Daily, let's hope you don' recognize any of them:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This is Not A Commercial, But ...

This poor yarn can't catch a break, either by Henry the Hambone ...

... or by knitters, as far as I can tell. It's called Old Western, a seemingly nice worsted weight, wool and acrylic (eek! the A word!) blend by Artful Yarns/JCA. It's been sitting quietly on the shelf, where I see it every Friday when I'm at the shop. It has only just a little bit of that giveaway waxy hand (fiber content: 65 percent wool, 29 percent acrylic and 6 percent nylon) and is knitting up quite nicely into a beret whose pattern is on the ballband. In other words ... if you need a last-minute Christmas present, this might be your answer.

By the way, if you are one of the lucky ones caught up on your gift list, please consider adding just one more evening's effort. Knitters are a charitable lot, and I can't think of a better cause. Pass it on ...

Monday, December 14, 2009

It Is (Way Past) Time

In the words of the great Rafiki, it is time — to finish a couple of things that have been hanging around a bit too long. As much as I love the Isager sweater,

and it's coming along nicely, it's at one of those points -- about 7-8 inches up the back -- where i have to sit by the table with the book open while I work on it, so it's been set aside for just a week or so. Or three. It's difficult to find that kind of time just now. But! This is what you get when you multiply 36 stitches by 450 yards of sock yarn. Look what is finally finished, all 7-1/2 feet of it:

I don't know what happened here, but the scarf is not shaped like this. It's supposed to show how the color and pattern are nice together, not that I laid it out crooked. It looks good worn over a white blouse and jeans:

When traveling for the Thanksgiving weekend, and in the middle of two 14-hour drives (and Illinois ...), there was plenty of time to turn this:

into this:

And this:

into this (except for the felting part, natch):

One more distraction to the sweater, the excuse is that it's a Christmas gift. That odd pompon 'yarn' that is this season's lukewarm novelty? I decided it was worth 2-1/2 skeins and an evening. It's from Lana Grossa, called Ginocchi. The blue-and-brown is my crush color combo this year.

By the way, be sure to check out the new storefront for Shepherd's Choice in Anoka. The owner has changed a ratty my-junk-is-your-antiques store into a cozy, friendly shop. There is a lot of Blue Sky Alpaca, some Cascade, some of the owner's handspun and, of course, her soaps, lotions and even the fresh eggs she had out in East Bethel.

I Know. I Know. I Know.

It's December. It's snowing. Traffic will be a mess tomorrow. But isn't it lovely?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pictures of Patience

Riley is the sweetest, most patient dog in the world.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Who Needs Mice?

A certain someone has been busy. He's very clever — the crimes tend to be committed when no one is looking — and he's enlisted an accomplice, who double-dips as an accessory after the fact.

About three weeks ago:

This is a great hat from Nashua Handknits' newest magazine. I used Kid Silk Aura (one skein of each and several additional repeats, all on size 8s, for those who might be inclined). This hole reveals a hole in my knitting skills (what? another one?) Um, would anyone be willing to fix it for me?

Two weeks ago Friday. Another hat, this one out of the Creative Focus Kid Mohair:

It was a mess, but the stubborn in me wouldn't quit picking and pulling and untwisting. With a little, um, doggedness, I knit, untangled, knit, untangled and viola! no yarn was broken in the salvaging of this fuzzy project (which is waiting for the decreases and it, too, will be finished).

I was ironing a blouse one day last week when I heard the sound of merrymaking. Someone had taken advantage of a bag of Silkroad DK:

Who is that little dark spot in the upper right? Perhaps he knows something. All of it had been in bags, safely — or so it seemed — out of danger. Silly me. It's all rewound and, while it might never be the same again, it is now suspended from the ceiling.

OK, it's just in the basement.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Mindless Knitting, Please

Maybe we should get more bad news every day. My house would sure be cleaner -- I've been dusting for the better part of 30 minutes and I'm still so unsettled. It was silly, I guess, to think that emerging from bankruptcy meant the end of this and that we could relax, even if only a little. The mood in the newsroom tonight was grim, the humor dark. There was only one topic of conversation.

Newspapers are struggling -- death throes? I don't think so, but clearly they have to change. For now, I just want to clear my head. Where's that Isager sweater? Some low-stress knitting is just the ticket. Garter stitch. Knit-knit-knit. There's nothing to be done tonight about what the future might bring. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Try This at Home. I Dare You.

I guess double-dutch just doesn't cut it anymore. This takes a few minutes, but it's worth it. These kids are amazing:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Not a Total Wastrel

I have no more sweeping mountain vistas to offer, but, to show that knitting hasn't been completely tossed aside, here is evidence that a row here, a row there in stolen moments starts to add up. This wavy item had several inches ripped out a couple of months ago.

Happily, what was lost has been restored and even a few extra inches tacked on for good measure. Consider the color shift an example of daylight vs. incandescent bulbs:

Say what you will about the flu*, when I was able to sit up, I was able to put some mileage where it mattered. Before illness:

After illness, one front is done and we're marching up the back. There is some short-row shaping at the shoulder, by the way. I am eager to see how it fits:

I would guess that normal people get spring fever. I got Lopi fever, and started this sweater, sure that I could crank it out by fall. Last spring (um, move over, Gunnar):

It's fall and ... well ... at least the back is done. I"m grateful that Mr. D. is a patient guy:

Please keep the family of Ann Swanson (one of the Two Old Bags) in your thoughts. She died Friday in Rochester. Knitting was the least of her talents. Thanks, WoolyJooly, for passing this along.

*It couldn't have been The Flu. I was only laid up for five or six days. Do not doubt the restorative qualities of a nap in the sun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What I Did on My October Vacation

Viewer discretion advised: Today's knitting portion of the show has been pre-empted by travel pictures.

It's been three weeks ago, already, this little getaway. I can only blame [insert all the usual reasons here] for not posting before now -- I'd rather think that I've been in one of those post-vacation time warps. You know, where it seems like forever ago, but really it was just last weekend and there just hasn't been time to post. I don't buy it, either, but I'm trying.

Not being able to go on our yearly trip to Fort Robinson, Neb., we were invited to visit by some friends we've made over the years at the park, and instead go to Wyoming, where one of them is a cattle rancher. Heck ya. And ride, too? Double-heck ya.

There are a few advantages about Wyoming that are, at the same time, disadvantages, such as the four-hour drive from Salt Lake to Daniel –– it allows one to settle in. There are a few advantages to being tall that are, at the same time, disadvantages, such as height. Especially when wedging into a rental car and wondering whether you will be able to get out. Hunkering over the steering wheel did, however, allow me to point and shoot through the windshield. It's OK. I was steering with my belly button. This is near Kemmering along Hwy. 189:

There's a lot of sky in western Wyoming. This is the view from my bedroom at the ranch. Those black dots are cattle; the horizon is Kara's property line:

The first day's ride was at a place called New Fork. When we saddled up, it was 10 degrees, I assume above zero. The weather rallied nicely, and it was nearly 40 by the time we clamored up on a snowy rock for lunch. There aren't many people in these pictures because a) there weren't that many of us and b) I got tired of taking pictures of the backs of heads.

Nothing arty here, just blurry. But it's clear how narrow the trail was at times. That chestnut ear was attached to a very smart mountain horse named Herbie. He was my boyfriend for the weekend.

Copper in the water is behind this loveliness:

The next day's ride was just as fabulous! And we had a larger group, so I had a larger audience when my horse jumped and I had a spectacular crash. After playing it over in my mind a zillion times, it was probably for the best that I came off right away instead of trying to manhandle him back on the path. It would've been a long way down and he already knew what to do to regain his footing. Look at that smart boy – that's him on the right in both photos, carrying the load:

Look! It's the native species! Yes, they really wear chaps.

We're almost done, I promise. On Sunday, given that I was "stove up" –– to use the lingo –– and that it was snowing, we drove up to Jackson for the afternoon. We ate well here and dined like fancy folks here. Trout filled with mushroom and crab stuffing. O. My.

Between meals, we strolled round town and hit some of the shops –– when a stranger walks up and says you look great in a suede jacket, you buy it –– and took a short drive north, past the Elk Refuge. It's where they gather the shed antlers to keep all four of these astounding structures in top form. There's one at each corner of the park in the middle of town.

I would like to think that it was Mother Nature encouraging us to stay another day, but it was merely a fall snowstorm overnight. Come Monday morning, the most difficult part of the drive back to Salt Lake, and our real lives, was the 50 feet of driveway out to the gravel road. Before squeezing in and hunkering around the steering wheel, this was my parting shot:

With luck, and another invitation, it won't be my last one. Thanks to Kara and her family –– and to J.B., keeper of the Advil, to Melanie, keeper of the camera and to Michelle, keeper of good humor and gossip. It was a grand weekend. And now, I know where you live.
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