Monday, January 28, 2008

Socks for a dreary winter weekend

The weekend was gray and cold with intermittent snow flurries. I went out once on Saturday to fill the birdfeeders and once on Sunday to shovel the driveway. Other than that I cheered myself up by working on some socks that are the opposite of gray and dreary. The yarn is some commercial superwash wool that aways back I tie-dyed with black cherry Koolade. Then it sat for over a year because it was oh-so-ugly, brick red and white. Last week I tossed it in a bright yellow dye bath and, voila!, it is transformed. These will be my first toe-up socks, using short-row toes and heels. I love the technique! It is from my favorite sock book: Simple Socks. The lace pattern is "Small Capitals" from Sensational Knitted Socks. I chose the pattern because it looks kinda like flames. Sort of.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Can you spot the hidden goldfinches? A whole flock is hanging out in the winter skeleton of the mock orange. Despite the drippy, snowy, frigid weather they are sprinting back and forth to the thistle socks on the back porch. Only two quail have been so brave, scuffling around below the seed feeders. There is also a scrub jay, sitting on the fence, ready to do battle with anyone who dares to raid his suet feeder. No one has shown up to take the challenge. Too cold and drippy, I guess.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First Finished Project of 2008

I cast on for these mitts on New Year's Eve at the Motel 6 in Beatty, Nevada. I made the pattern up as I went along. Been pretty busy so I have just finished them. I have made fancy lacy alpaca Delicato mitts before, but they are reserved for chilly days at the office. I wanted some hard-wearing no-nonsense wool ones for field trips with the camera. These are made from 1.4oz of handspun, hand-dyed grey coopworth wool.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quail Graffiti

Quail scribblings from my backyard:

Roughly translated, I think they say, "Fill the birdfeeders already, Dammit!"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2008 non-resolutions and wishful thinking

As soon as I make a resolution I am doomed to feeling stressed about not achieving it. The new year should present a wealth of possibilities, rather than a list of new deadlines and tasks to complete. If I want the adrenaline of multiple deadlines I can always turn on the computer and read the thousands (I'm not exaggerating) of work emails in my inbox. So instead of resolutions, I present to you a short list of possibilities for 2008. I could:

- build a lovely rock wall in my garden and plant a cloud of white lavender around it.
- Spin and knit a snuggly mystery project (it's a surprise) using a very special fleece from my stash.
- Burn and paint a wild folk art pattern all over my kitchen table (why not?).
- Visit Yosemite with my Dad.
- Make pine needle basket desk accessories so I can remember the mountains while toiling at my computer. Felt a mousepad while I am at it.
- Paint blue sky and white fluffy clouds across the side of my little vintage trailer and spend a few weekends with it parked under a pine tree, far from internet access.
- Spin up crazy multicolor wool and knit it into a bouquet of wild looking socks to keep my toes oh-so-cozy.
- Find the perfect chewy molasses cookie recipe and try out my javelina cookie cutter.
- Build an entire wall-sized cat scratcher in the front hall to make Zach very happy.
- Take lots and lots of photographs of any cool thing that catches my eye.
- And of course, find lots of big and little opportunities to spin/knit/hang out/laugh/eat/laugh some more with friends and family.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Welcome 2008!

I spent the holidays in Tucson visiting family. I drove down in my truck and Mittens made her first road trip with no problems.

Christmas Eve in my Dad's neighborhood everyone puts out luminaria. If you are not familiar with them, they are lanterns made by putting a scoop of sand and a candle in a paper lunch-size bag. (Be sure to fold down the top to avoid sudden little bagfires.) Some folks have fancy metal ones, but the glow from the paper bags is warm and friendly. All of the streets of the neighborhood are lined with the lanterns and families go out walking (or driving) to see the show. This year there was also a great big full moon to add to the atmosphere.

I headed back towards Reno on New Year's Eve. Traffic seemed pretty light so I took the road across Hoover Dam. Just to spite me, there was an accident on the Dam, so I spent an hour waiting to cross. That gave me time to take lots of pictures. If you have never driven across the dam, you may need to do so soon. A bridge is being built to have traffic bypass the Dam. I don't know when it will be finished. Currently you can see the huge supports in the distance that will take traffic over the Colorado River at a very scary height.

After an uneventful night in the Beatty Nevada Motel 6, I drove the rest of the way up Highway 95 to Reno. Winter in the Great Basin leaves the high desert scenery pale and faded, but a lucky confluence of jet trails made for some interesting photo shots near Walker Lake.