The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January 007

In January, in the high desert, everything goes dormant. The Christmas decorations are finally put away, except for the few stragglers that always seem to get overlooked and end up hanging around until Easter. The children have all gone back to school and the house is quiet. (We shall not mention the fact that it suddenly becomes much easier to walk around the house during the night without wondering what clothes/shoes/duffle bags/laptops might be stumbled over.)

The house is quiet. Too quiet, after the holiday hijinks. The yard is quiet. Everything has gone dry and brown. The yard begs me to get outside and trim away all the skeletons of the last year's growth. And it is a good time of the year to do yardwork; it's certainly not too hot, and sunburn isn't the issue it will be in a few short months.

The unending brown of the yard will certainly depress me by the end of the month. It would be better to see everything covered in snow, but that seldom happens. When it does, it's a wonderful thing to see the spiny cactus pads take on new and unforseeable shapes.

But the snow never lasts for long, and before you know it, the brown, wasted garden has reappeared. Even the skies are frequently dreary and drizzly, not that we mind the sprinkles, but it would be so much nicer to have another snowstorm, or at least a decent day's rain.

Even heading out for the mountains provides little relief from the miles of brown desert landscape. I sometimes wonder what the pioneer wife thought about, assuming of course that she had the time to meditate on the scenery around her. The miles and miles of unrelieved dryness, the wind and the cold and the general dreariness of it all. At least I can retreat to the warm house, make a pot of pomegranate tea and play my Native America flute CDs while I knit.

And I can dream of summer. January means it's time to plan the summer's camping trip. And to call and book our reservations. Can you guess where we're going? Again? To that grand hole in the ground where we can leave behind the entire rest of the world.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More FOs

I have a few more finished objects to show you. These have been knit over the last few months as my stuff-into-the-purse sit-in-the-car-and-wait-for-somebody knitting. So each of them took a while to do, but hey, who's in a hurry?

Yellow and Blue Mason-Dixon-Knitting style ballband dishcloth. Knit from Peaches and Cream in -- surprise -- yellow and blue, on Size 7 bamboo circulars.

Multicolor Garterlac dishcloth, knit in Sugar and Cream "Midnight Magic", also with the Size 7 bamboo circulars.

Baby Genius Burp Cloths, the quintessential Mason-Dixon knitting. Done in various colors of Peaches and Cream and Sugar and Cream. Done on some Size 6 old aluminum circular needles. The back left one is done with solid blue and solid yellow; the middle is done with a solid light blue and a variegated pastel; and the top right was done with two balls of bright variegated color.

Very nice, easy, carry-along knitting for those desperate moments in life when unavoidable boredom threatens to strike.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

4 Corners Dishcloth

Pattern: Abigail's Four Corners Dishcloth

Yarn: Sugar and Cream in something variegated.

Needles: Size 7

Once past some initial wonkiness (don't start new patterns late at night after a long day at the office), everything turned into a smooth, simple knitting experience.

Definitely worth repeating. Probably in a smaller needle size for a little firmer knit. The eyelet rows really make this nice.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pepper Salad

Today I got out some peppers to make pepper salad. I love peppers, and looking at the three colors on the counter made me decide to do a post about them. I have grown peppers in the yard for several summers, and I have numerous recipes which I use them in. I got this recipe while living in Germany; we had potluck dinners on a semi-regular basis and this salad was frequently brought by one of the German wives.

Remove the seeds and inner membranes from the peppers. I like to use one of each color of bell peppers to make a colorful salad. Chop into bite-sized pieces and salt and pepper to taste.

Add some onion slices as well; I use sweet onions if I can find them. Add a couple cloves worth of minced garlic. Splash with some red wine vinegar and drizzle with olive oil.
Chop about four ounces of feta cheese. This feta I'm using today is a garlic-herb blend; you can use any flavor or type that you prefer. The best cheese for this, actually, is sheep's cheese, if you can get it. Add it to the salad and toss gently. Allow it to chill for at least a couple hours. Toss again before serving.
I have brought this salad to potlucks myself and it has always disappeared. It will keep for a day or two if you should have any left over.
And now Buddy is ready to go for another walk. We have gotten up to 32 miles now since the first of the year. I'm quite certain that I wouldn't have walked this much if we didn't have Buddy. He certainly has been a good addition to the family.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lichen Ribbed Socks

Pattern: Lichen Ribbed Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush

Yarn: Socks That Rock in Pebble Beach, a gift from Ann

Needles: US Size 1, four DPNs

Finished: January 23, 2007

My sixth pair of socks. And this was my first Nancy Bush pattern. I will definitely make more of her patterns, as I love how these turned out. And there is even a small ball of yarn left over! I enjoyed working with the STR and I would definitely use it again. And thank you again to Ann, for hooking me on the stuff! Someday I'll have to try a chevron pattern with this yarn.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What, No Snow Day?

There was ice on the sidewalks. There was ice on the side streets. Every school district in Southern Arizona, it seem, including Tucson, was closed for a snow day. Except ours.

Barbara was not happy.

I was happy. I got up to take Barbara to school and then went back to bed. I slept until 10:30! Then I did laundry and dusted and vacuumed a little. I cleaned up some files on the computer. I took Buddy for a walk after the sidewalks melted. Buddy thinks snow is weird.

Little Cat says, No way am I going out there!

All the melted snow is supposed to freeze tonight. Travel in the morning may be interesting.

It certainly was a fun day.

Except for Barbara.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


We interrupt our nightly sock knitting and heel-turning to bring you a winter storm update. We've had some snow warnings before this that haven't panned out, but tonight may bring a change. It started snowing about an hour ago, just as it got dark, and it is piling up on the trees already. We haven't seen anything like this for a few years. Let it snow, we need the moisture

And Barbara wants a snow day.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Comfort Knitting

Today the long-awaited move to the new building began. Since my little department will be the last to move, due to the fact that our portion of the building is still at least a month away from the interior being finished, I got to watch everyone else wade into nearly total chaos. File cabinets and boxes of documents were loaded into pickup trucks and carted to the new building, where they found that the construction crew still hadn't cleaned up all the debris on the floors. So the first day's move got called off after only a couple hours. Supposedly chaos begins again tomorrow. My crew and I don't mind watching. We figure that by the time we move, the worst of the hassles will be resolved.

So, since there wasn't much else to do today, I hauled out the STR socks that have been languishing since October and began to knit while I watched the file cabinets head out to the trucks. I very quickly realized how much I have missed working on these. The STR is such a pleasure to work with, and my hands appreciated the small, smooth needles. Most of all, though, knitting round and round on the leg of the second sock was so relaxing, just like comfort food. Pot roast and mashed potatoes and gravy on a knitting needle. I ate off and on all day.

It was a good day.

Over the weekend two Fun Fur hats were finished. Work on these is halted until more goofy yarn can be obtained from WalMart this weekend. The rest of the trip I spent working on the Sock Yarn Log Cabin blanket. And I barely touched the books I brought.

Since I don't have more yarn for Chemo Caps, I cast on for Joe's watchcap. Rows and rows of ribbing will make easy television knitting in the evening.

And I'm 1/5th of the way to my 100 miles by April 1! There's nothing like some incentive -- and an energetic dog -- to get me moving.

Meantime, some sky pictures from this evening:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Travels With the TSA

The weather on the coast was cold, windy, and on Saturday rainy as well. Who cares? The ocean was grand and wonderful and totally calming. The rain kept the local population mostly indoors and out of sight and sound. The hot tub was excellent, as well, and mostly everyone else was avoiding it because of the cold and rain. I got in eight miles over the weekend to add to my Runagogo total; there would have been more, but I have to admit that a couple times it was just a little too cold and windy even for me. One advantage to the rainy day is that the clouds can make for a grand sunset. This was Saturday evening as the rain clouds were finally dispersing. This made for an excellent walk, although it was a short one due to the low temperatures off the water.

Flying can be so much fun. While waiting to board the plane in Tucson, I knit merrily away on a Fun Fur hat. The man standing in front of me asked me about it, and for a few moments I entertained everyone in line with the story of chemo caps and kids needing hats and knitters who send out an appeal for help. And as it turned out, he and his family had the same destination we did, and we spent the weekend crossing paths a couple times a day. Always asking about the hats.

Once back in Tucson, by the time we got to the baggage carousel someone had walked off with one of our bags. How did we figure this out? Everyone else had gone and only one bag was still making its' way around the carousel; it looked an awful lot like ours, but it belonged to someone else. Southwest tracked the owner of this abandoned bag down and sure enough, she had picked up our bag. (Fortunately it wasn't the one with the knitting in it.) The bag got delivered to our house last night, safe and sound and none the worse for its' adventure.

And a story that any sock knitter will appreciate:

Taking off my shoes to go through the screening process on Friday morning, I realized that in this sea of business people taking off dress shoes, pumps, and sandals, I was wearing my Jaywalkers. My bright, handknit, waves of color Jaywalkers. No subdued grays or blacks or naturals on this grandmother; my socks were screaming "Pull this weirdo over to that side area and pat these suckers down". The TSA lady motioned me through the metal detector and as I walked through I could see her eyes on my feet. Serious, she was oh so serious, and then she looked up at me. This is it, I thought...and then she smiled and began to laugh. The TSA lady laughed!! "Those socks of yours just made my day!", she said, and wished me a pleasant flight as she waved me on.

I may not have been knitting socks in public, but I guess I did my bit for sockknitters everywhere.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Let's Try This Again

What does an Arizona Girl think about in January, when the mountains and valleys have turned brown and gray and there is very little green, or rain, in sight? We are in a drought situation that has persisted for quite some time. It's nice to think that you can plan activities pretty much any day of the year and can trust that the weather will be clear and sunny, but the other side of that coin is that everything is so very, very dry. Including my hands, feet, face, etc. Skin cracks and fissures painfully at times. I have to keep watering the young trees in the yard so they don't dry out. Driving along the highway, one can see acres of trees that have died because the groundwater just isn't there anymore. There is, though, a certain austere majesty to the long vistas of gray and brown mountains. But there is just no water in sight.

So, now that I have escaped work again and am once more officially on leave, what shall I do? Pack a book and the hat knitting, take the walking shoes, grab the Silk Garden hat and the hubby, and just the two of us take off for the weekend. I refused to tell anyone at work where we were going.

But I'll give all of you a hint. There will be vistas rather similar to this involved...

See you all again next week!

Silk Garden Hat

Silk Garden Hat

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Color 211, one skein

Needles: US Size 7 circular and 5 DPNs, Crystal Palace Bamboo

Pattern: Live Dangerously No Swatching Hat

Finished 01-07-06

Number 2 in my new year's series of hats.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Walk With Me Wednesday

Or, why I haven't posted a picture of the finished Silk Garden hat. Or, then again, why I haven't updated my sidebar. Because in the middle of my vacation week, I got snatched back to work for two days. (Do not ask. Do. Not. Ask. Because it was totally unnecessary.)

However, Buddy and I got to sneak in a quick walk before I left for the day. And there is a picture to go with it.

Nature does provide a beautiful and necessary counterpoint when things aren't turning out as planned. How do people manage, who never look at a dawning sky or a beautiful lake or a meadow or a silent red-rocked canyon? How poor life would be without the glories of creation.

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's a Hat Thing

So today I went to WalMart and picked up some Lion Brand Fun Fur for the chemo caps. It's very soft to the touch and isn't hard to knit with at all. I went with some pretty wild colors; my WalMart has quite a selection.

I also picked up some acrylic in black because Joe decided that he wants a hat now. And it needs to be very washable. I'll be making him something in a watchcap style. And possibly one for myself as well...This is really turning out to be a hat-happy start to the New Year! My Silk Garden hat was finished last night and I'll probably post a picture tomorrow.

Buddy and I went for three walks today, for a total of 2.5 miles. I'm definitely not used to walking this much. Or to having my family ask for knits! You know how it is, everything just takes a little time!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Some New Projects

No, southern Arizona has not been inundated with snow. Although it would be nice. This picture was taken at Bryce Canyon, Utah, in June 2005. We woke up one morning to find that it had snowed overnight; I insisted on taking a drive to see the Canyon in the snow. Sometimes I really start longing for snow, and around here I seldom get it. I have to go to places like Utah in the summer to see it...

There are always tons of knitalongs to join, and frequently it becomes a question of what to pick. Time is in limited supply, and I've decided this year that I'm not going to join anything with a strict timetable or requirements involved in it. Having made that declaration, I've decided to join Runagogo; if you haven't seen it yet, the goal is to run/walk/bike/whatever and do a hundred miles by April 1. I may not make the hundred miles, but I figure that anything involving exercise has got to be good for the body and soul. I only had 1.5 miles last week, but today I took Buddy and we went for two miles in the afternoon sunshine. I've been feeling a bit under the weather and the fresh air and exercise felt good. I intend to post my mileage in the sidebar as an incentive to myself. I've taken the next ten days off from work just as a treat for myself; although I will be working around the house I want to do at least two miles a day for that time period.

Another no-stress "along" will be the Friday Night Spinners. I ran across this one on Margene's blog. The concept is to just spend some time on Friday nights spinning, with a sense of solidarity with all one's fellow spinners. I like the idea of devoting one night a week to spinning; I want to do more spinning than I have been lately, but often it gets lost in the daily grind. I still hope to do more spinning than just one night a week! But I am certain that I will enjoy the feeling of working in harmony with everyone else on that one night.

Project Spectrum is starting up again next month, and I hope to do better this time! I think I will, since there will be two months devoted to each color group. The first group of colors includes grays, and that will be perfect for working on Joe's socks. I think I will do a pair of socks for each color grouping this year.

Finally, I decided to knit myself a hat like Barbara's (see last post), using up more yarn from the stash. This is a skein of Noro Silk Garden. One of my New Year's resolutions last year was to knit something with Noro; I'm only a few days late on it! I really love the way the colors blend and progress in this hat. They are not quite as bright as in this picture, though.

And lastly, thanks to the links from both Margene and Susan, I am going to go out tomorrow and get some furry yarn for Kate's chemo caps for kids in Boston. I'm certain I can knock out a few by the end of February, and some of those eyelash yarn colors are really wild and fun looking. If you aren't already signed up for this, why not? And give a teen a fun hat to wear this spring.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The First One of the Year

The first project done for the new year! I started Barbara's hat on Sunday the 31st, and finished it on the first! It's some wool I had in the stash; there was no ballband, but I'm virtually certain it's Brown Sheep Worsted. The pattern is Susan's Live Dangerously, No Swatching Hat.

And now Maria says I can make her the same hat in lots of different colors. As if I have nothing else to do with my time!! ;-)

I got yarn today for Joe's socks. It's not wool, but it's nice and smooshy and it ought to make some nice warm socks. I got lots -- I should have enough for those size 13 feet! Now I just have to figure out a pattern. I'm aiming for something from Folk Socks. I'll let you know once I decide.

Hope you have all recovered from the New Year celebrations!