Monday, January 30, 2006

Snow Shadows

Don't you wish you could come over to my house and fondle this fiber for awhile?! Okay, I know all you fiber people out there will know what I mean, even though some of my non-sheepy friends may think it strange! This incredible 'Snow Shadow' is 8oz of Cormo, wool, angora and mohair, gifted to me from my friend Trish from the Christian Artisans list! Wow! She wrote me the most beautiful letter which I am going to keep, and which made me cry. It was like God knew I needed a little boost today and he sent me a special missile via His daughter Trish! She read on the blog that I like purple...oh yes! The photo is a little blurry because I took it without flash to get the natural color better. This is pretty close. I need a spinning lesson ASAP! I want to spin this beautiful fiber, but I don't want to "mess it up"! She purchased this from ebay user spinner115 at

Trish could not have known this but my Aunt Grace is an artist who hs specialized in oilpainting. Growing up, Grace took me on all kinds of adventures, put a sketch book in my hand, taught me much I know of photography and also how to see colors. When I saw this and I saw the name was Snow Shadow, I immediately thought of Grace and how she taught me that when you look at a tree it is not just green. And when you paint snow, if you only used white it would be flat and boring! The shadows in the snow are many colors depending on the lighting, the location, the time of day. I never thought much of it at the time, but learning to see all the colors in nature has brought me so much joy over the years and I have been able to bring this knowledge into my fiber arts.

I have not used Cormo before. I googled and came up with this if you want to see what they look like:

Okay, I'm off to fondle the fiber now! :o)


This photo shows my progress on the Creatures of the Reef Shawl from (yes, I'm being lazy and not using html, because I'm too tired to look it up right now!). This is not blocked and the photo is a little bit darker. It is indigo but is dark/light, giving it a weathered look. I am nearing the end and getting a bit nervous as I posted before, wondering if it will block big enough. I guess I will have to wait and see! My friend Melissa on the Christian Artisans list wanted to see the progress so I got busy and took a picture. She is making one from Lorna's Lace's Shepherd Sock in the Tahoe colorway which I think will end up being stunning!

Simple Scarf, but a FO Nonetheless!

This photo is slightly off on colors, but not too bad. I had one skein of some Classic Elite from years ago (over 10) and I think it was called Mohair Applause, but I'm not positive. It has one strand of mohair and one strand of a silk/rayon (the turquoise and taupe color). I separated the strands, with help from Mom while she was visiting! :o) Thanks Mom! And I made this scarf while they were here at Christmas. I wanted something to keep my hands busy but not something I had to think about while we were sitting and visiting! It's a little short, so I don't know what I am planning for it...maybe for a child.

Trekking XXL UFO

This photo doesn't show the true color well. It's not quite that 'royal' of a blue. I've never used Trekking XXL before and I really like the subtle color changes. Hubby likes it too. He told me he 'wouldn't mind a pair of socks out of that'! Of course he doesn't know that for his size 12 feet it would probably take two balls and a small dent in the wallet! LOL I haven't gotten far on this because I work on it when I need something "mindless" to work on, like in the waiting room at the doctors. I'm using Priscilla Gibson Roberts' 'dream sock' pattern, which I found in the online section for Interweave Knits when they had free access this winter. I don't think I'm going to make it as long as recommended in the pattern though and I will probably use some navy "Jawoll" that I have to do the heel and toe so that I don't run out.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Knitting Content, What's That?

You really didn't expect me to post knitting did you? Actually I have been busy knitting. I have the Creatures of the Reef shawl 75% done and I am getting worried that it is going to be too better block out bigger! No, I did not do a swatch. I always knit looser and was not worried if it would be too big, but I am using Knit Pick's Dye Your Own lace weight and it is probably just a little finer than the recommended Zephyr wool/sillk. So I did do this to myself! Acknowledging that does not keep me from having anxiety. This shawl was being knit on a schedule to be sent out through my shawl ministry for someone very, very special and it will be super disappointing if it is too small. The colors and all were chosen specifically for her and so it will be difficult to find someone else this shawl will work for. But, I'm going to plug along and keep knitting and block it and never know until the blocking is done! I have a few finished objects, as I mentioned before but need to weave in ends and block them.

So, what's with the picture?! Well, that was taken about 10-12 years ago near where I used to live. That's the peak of Mt Shuksan, near Mt Baker in Washington State. This was a GLORIOUS hike I took with my best friend Shelley. I have been missing her so much lately and homesick for her. Cleaning off things on the desk and computer today, I ran across this photo. It's one she took. I put it up for inspiration for me...both in remembering the wonderful times Shelley and I shared as SPICEs (Single People living In Christ's Example), but also to remind me of how much I enjoyed a lot of physical activity like hiking! I am on a health journey and am seeking to lose all 80 pounds I've gained since this picture plus some more!! (I have lost 10# and have 190 more to go! But, like my Christian Artisan's friend Deborah says, "That's 19 more sucesses" and I have to think of it that way, less intimidating that losing a whole person off of you!) Even though I was overweight in that photo, I was pretty healthy and strong and did a lot of hiking. I forget how much I miss that until I look at all the incredible photos taken on those trips!

Shelley...Maybe next summer we can hike??!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Just for Fun...

Four jobs you've had in your life:
Photography Assistant/Photographer
Respite Caregiver
Clerk in a Christian Bookstore
Certified Medical Assistant
Four movies you could watch over and over:
Anne of Green Gables
Fiddler on the Roof
The Sound of Music
The Hiding Place
Four places you have lived:
Washington State
Four TV shows you love to watch:
ISU Figure Skating coverage/Figure Skating exhibitions
Divine Design
Clean Sweep
Designed to Sell
Four places you have been on vacation:
Europe (England, Scotland, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Italy)
Yellowstone National Park
Yosemite National Park
Pacific Ocean in WA, OR and CA
Four websites you visit daily:
Christian Artisans Yahoo Group
Four of your favorite foods:
Maple Bars (but not the kind they make in CA!)
Four places you'd rather be right now:
Anywhere alone with hubby (with 3 preschoolers, that doesn't happen much!)
A cabin at the ocean
A cabin in the mountains
Our dream home
Four bloggers you're tagging:
I'm letting you off the hook...I figure if you want to, you will! :-)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

California Snow

No snow here! But all the flowers are confused with a week of warmer weather in the 60s in between two rain storms, they don't know what they are doing! My white azalea is in full bloom and looks like snow! The pink one is mostly in bud but will be beautiful in another couple days. Yesterday I took advantage of the cold, but clear day and worked in the yard. I do mostly container gardening because 1) the clay soil is like cement and 2) the 99-105+ degree heat in the summer is not conducive to growing a lot of pretty things. People who have yards with shade do okay, but we don't have an ounce of it. So, I've quite fighting it and have temporarily laid aside my dream of having an English cottage garden, and I go with the flow. Roses do well and other plants like Geraniums that crave full sun. I have a small window of time in the spring before the heat raises and in the fall after it begins cooling down, that other flowers grow well. So I plant and enjoy annuals in the spring. I don't have those yet...but I did get my bulbs planted finally! It rained so much in November and December that I did not get them planted sooner. They are already sprouting. In another month, expect to see tulip pictures on the blog...they are one of my favorites! I spent several hours, cleaning about ten flower boxes, planting bulbs, weeding and dead heading and pruning roses. It felt so good to accomplish something.

Continue to the next post to see some real California snow!

On the knitting front...well, even though I have been a bad blogger, I have been getting quite a lot of knitting done. I finished the Irish Hiking sock from Hello Yarns, I started a sock with Trekking XXL and I have about 8" done on my Creatures of the Reef shawl from Fiddlesticks. I'm working on starfish now. I'll have to post some more pictures later. The gals on my Christian Artisans list have been tempting me to start an EZ Pi shawl, but I haven't given in yet! :o)

I have been itching to do some spinning but have not yet. Over the holidays a lot of stuff got stuffed in the area where my spinning wheel is. I did purchase some non-detergent motor oil to oil her up and get her running and I have been contemplating a name for her. Next on the agenda, after pay day, is to do some investigating on finishing her (an Ashford Traditional). I left the wood natural with an oil finish when I bought her about 1993, but she has been in storage and neglected a long. The wood has aged a beautiful medium red color and so I don't want to stain it and I am a bit wary of varnishing...thinking of drips and imperfections. So I am going to go to the unfinished furniture store near me and ask some questions and see what other options there are. I have seen some furniture on tv shows that were done with some type of a wax so that the natural wood came out, but it had a little bit nicer finish than just oil. I don't really know anything more than what I just saw though.

Well, I have to go to watch Sarah Hughes and Friends, ice skating. I have been watching all the competitions leading up to the Olympics. I have been following figure skating as much as possible ever since I lived near the Canadian border and could watch both the US and Canadian stations' coverage. It gives me a good excuse to knit too!

Real California Snow...

Okay, If you drive far enough this is what you see...real snow! These are the Sierra Nevada Mountains as seen from Apple Hill near Placerville, CA. The first week in January we took the kids up to get apple donuts and just get our noses out and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. The temperature was in the high 60s. I even got a chance to stop in at Lofty Lou's and buy a couple issues of Spin Off magazine. Not much time or money to look at yarn, but it was fun to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air! IF there is no smog, we can actually see the mountains from the hwy here, but usually the view is blocked by smog!

Friday, January 13, 2006

And The Beat Goes On...

A few years ago when Memory Makers, a scrapbooking magazine, published their book on quilt pages for scrapbooks, one of my pages about my Grandma Hopkins was featured. It was entitled "What I Learned From a Kindergarten Teacher". When I sat down to make the list, I was AMAZED! Even though my Grandmother and I often had personality clashes (which I have since learned is because we were similar in our personalities and the things she didn't like in herself, she didn't like seeing in me!), we did spend a lot of time together. She either directly taught me or indirectly influenced me in nearly every area of interest and creativity in my life. She was almost 96 when she died 4 years ago this coming Monday. She did get to see the page published about her and she did get to meet my little guy, her first great grandchild. But I often wish now that I could say "Look Grandma, I'm using these things you used in your classroom and at home with us, to teach my son at home." My Mom is proud of me, my husband is proud of me, but somehow I think that she would have been most proud of all of some of the things I am doing because she would understand all the layers of the things I am experiencing right now. I am so thankful for the godly woman that she was and for all the things she taught me and made me think about...including knitting!

In 1972, I was five years old and I remember sitting on our old brown "Davenport" next to Grandma learning how to knit. I had short, green, plastic Boye needles, size 8. They were the color of Granny Smith apples. I still have them...even though I am a bit more snobby with my needles these days! I believe my first project was a garter stitch "bookmark" (poor book!). It was probably Red Heart yarn, which btw, was wool then! Anyway, in the days leading up to December, my son watched me knitting all kinds of holiday and birthday gifts. He strokes the yarn, he asks questions and he loves to be a model for FOs! I told him that one day I would teach him. "Are you going to teach me to knit a scarf today Mommy?!" So for his Christmas stocking I got him a ball of Lion Brand Wool Ease and children's beginner needles in size 10. I was going to get short bamboo ones, but decided the color difference would help...besides they are just too dog gone cute! :o)

So, the beat goes on...Daniel started learning how to knit. We can only handle a few minutes a day...and I do mean "WE"! LOL I don't think I have the gift my Grandmother had with children, of course she may have been exasperated with me too and I just didn't know it! But we are making progress. It seemed to work best if I held his hands and the needles because he is a bit overwhelmed with everything to do at once. I am not going to rush him. We will work on it as he wants. He doesn't need to work on his Master Knitter at age 5 so we do have some time! If anyone out there in blog land has any helpful advice on teaching young children to knit, I'm all "cyber ears"!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? I do prefer natural fibers but have occasionally used man made for certain projects like baby items. I do not use Red Heart at all but might consider Lion Brand depending on the project. I do not like Boucle textured yarns. I made a child's poncho out of boucle and was I glad when it was done! While I am a yarn snob, I would never look down on someone who uses these yarns or who would gift these yarns if they were not able to do something differently.

2. Do you spin? Crochet? I am re-learning how to spin (didn't do it for ten years, now starting up again) on my Ashford Traditional. I know how to crochet but generally don't because there is not enough time in the day to knit! LOL

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I love to sew and have been making some needle rolls, experimenting with different designs.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Advanced Intermediate

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Unfortunately I can't do scents and skin products or even unscented candles due to asthma problems and allergies.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I do but I'm trying to tame it! LOL Caramels and toffees are my favorite and chocolate in combination is good. I'm trying to learn to eat healthier occasional treat never hurt anyone though! :o)

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I sew, am learning quilting, scrapbooking/genealogy and spinning.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Yes my stereo/computer play MP3s. I like contemporary Christian music, classical, 80s rock (what can I say?!) and country.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? I am a "winter". My favorite color is purple but I also love blues, burgandies, magentas, pinks and cool tone greens. I dislike orange!

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am married and have a 4 yo son and 2.5 yo twin daughters. We have a gray tabby named Abbie!

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Scarves, hats and mittens, yes...ponchos for myself, no.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? I love hand dyed/painted or other pretty color ways. Definitely hands down, natural fibers are my favorites.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Acrylics that feel tough and scratchy. Boucles, as mentioned above.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? Lace, but I also love to knit anything traditional, Fair Isle, Norwegian/Scandinavian, Arans.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Shawls, Sweaters, Scarves

17. What are you knitting right now? Creatures of the Reef Shawl from Fiddlesticks, the Irish Hiking Scarf from and a worsted weight Fair Isle design using Philospher's Wool Company yarn and pattern.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circular for large projects and I do use straights for smaller ones, depends on project.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Addi turbos are my favorite, then bamboo for circs and straights and Brittany wood for dpn.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes but one day I would like to own a wooden swift.

22. How did you learn to knit? My Grandmother taught me when I was 5 and Elizabeth Zimmerman tapes and books got me hooked back on it in 1990.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? About twelve years, mostly because I changed size!

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? No favorite animated character, I like killer whales, sheep and cats.

25. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving.

26. Is there anything that you collect? books! LOL

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? None at the moment, but have been considering Spin Off and InKnitters.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? The peacock shawl shawl from Fiddlesticks and I'm considering doing the Crossed in Translation Aran from Japan but the books is pricey so I'm thinking about getting Bauerliches Stricken which has charts for crossed cables and designing my own similar in style.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Spinning with a hand spindle.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes, but have not recently knit for my big feet, size 10ww, so I have not measured them.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) June 19th

Thank you for reading this far. I hope I have not been too picky and that you have fun in this exchange! I can't wait to get my Secret Pal too!