Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nearing the knitted finish line

Ok, so I haven't sewn the underarm seam as yet.  Small detail.  But this is how the project looks at the moment.  It is half sweater, half shawl.  Interesting, eh?  It's called a one-sleeve wrap, from the Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine Fall/Winter 2011. "This one-sleeved knit in one piece with moss-stitch edges and an intricate cabled panel; the free side drapes around, creating a show-stopping coverup."

I am anxious to finish the final details and wear it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Knitting something interesting...

This was a fairly quick knit...and it's off the needles.  But, what is it?  This is what it looks like in the blocking stage:

I really enjoyed knitting the section of cable along two edges.  I hope the edges stay blocked and don't curl as I wear it.  It's taking quite a while to dry!!
The color in this photo is true.

I used bulky superwash wool yarn and size 10.5 needles.  Length: 72"  Width: 35"

I will have to sew only one seam.

Friday, October 26, 2012


It's been at least two months since I've seen the antelope roam my property.  They were here in the spring and early summer, but then they suddenly stopped coming up for a visit.  What a pleasant surprise to see them again!  As drove into my driveway about 6:00 p.m., instead of the usual 4 antelope, I counted 11 of them hanging out on my road.  Perhaps the babies are now big enough to be more out in the open and go with the herd to feed.  It was a treat to see them, but not easy to get a good picture. 

Yeah, only had my iPhone handy.  Wish I had my other camera... blah, blah, blah...

I'm getting really close to having another knitting project completed.  Perhaps by Monday??? Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Birds of a feather...

On my way home last night, I couldn't believe the number of birds that were perched on the powerline.  I had to stop the car and try to get a shot.  If I had only had my camera with a telephoto lens on it!!  I've learned my lesson!? (Learning curve has been a bit steep lately.)  The iPhone camera shot had to be sufficient for this moment.

As soon as I got out of the car to possibly get a little closer, the birds flew up in a wave of blackness and swirled like a ribbon around the olive tree-line several times.  It was quite a dance. 

I'm assuming these feathered ones are gathering for their journey further south for the winter months.  I hope I see them again...I'll be more prepared.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I love art history...

I received the following in an email some time ago, but was reminded of it with the recent art thefts reported in the news...
Edgar Degas (Wikipedia)

A Thief in Paris

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre.  After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings and made it safely to his van.  However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, "Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings.  I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What goes in your boot?

I saw this idea in Anita's wool shop and thought it was a very clever use of a cowboy boot that no longer fits on one's foot.  The sole of the boot may be shot...but what a great way to recycle the top portion.  It makes a purse that is not only very "western" in style, but is just the right size to hold a wallet, a cell phone, and some lipstick! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pamper yourself...

I hosted a Pink Papaya party over the weekend...and the girls really enjoyed the mini-pedi portion of the party.  By the time the afternoon gathering ended, the girls had the softest arms, hands, lips, and feet.  A little pampering felt so sweet!  Relax, exfoliate, hydrate, laugh, do something out of the ordinary, meet someone new, chat with old friends...

Have you pampered yourself lately?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autumn in Illinois

(Effigy-Fire Point.jpg,

When I enrolled in a college in Illinois, I was transported to a different world.  First, I noted the autumn rain and the humidity…ugh. What’s happened to my hairdo?  And trees, more trees, and rolling hills everywhere.  You couldn’t see more than a mile or two in any direction!  At least the campus was located high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, and the scenery from that vantage point was most spectacular. So were the mosquitoes; they were unbelievably big! The locals said they had mountains to the south.   I knew mountains, and the Ozarks were NOT mountains,… at least not by Rocky Mountain standards.  The water tasted…umm…really different.  Yiicchh.  Did they truly get it out of the river?  September was hot and muggy, and the dorms had no air-conditioning. When was it going to cool off?  This was a different kind of environment alright, and I guess I never did fall in love with Illinois (even after 4 years), but there were some things about it I so appreciated.

I was treated to a beautiful array of colorful leaves like I had never seen before!   A walk along a path on the river bluff was worth the time away from studies.   And the old English architecture on campus was a wonderful lesson in building and history.  My dorm mates were from all over the United States, and they brought great diversity to our daily interactions.  One of our adventures in this “new world” was to continue the student tradition of an afternoon of apple-picking. So, off we went.   I had never seen such a huge orchard, ever!  

My friends and I started picking apples, putting them in a basket and moving on down the line, looking for some real beauties.  Near the end of our time in the orchard, one of my friends from Colorado decided to pick one of the apples and eat it.  Another friend from New York nearly  went into shock when she saw this happening! With wide eyes, she shouted,” You can’t eat that!!”  The rest of us looked at her with disbelief.  “Why?”  The re-headed New Yorker was absolutely sure you couldn’t just eat an apple off the tree!   In her world, evidently, apples come from a store, not a tree.  So, I guess that just wouldn’t be healthy…or something.  We laughed at this outburst and assured her it was FINE to eat an apple off the tree.  And several of us grabbed an apple to eat, just to prove our point…much to her horror!  

This is the same gal, who, back at the dorm,  insisted that we couldn’t cook up some popcorn in a saucepan on the stove!  Ahh,… yeah,  ya’ can!  Jiffy Pop was her only reference point …and she was AMAZED  that we could do it without all the fancy packaging.  

On cooler autumn evenings,  we laughed ourselves silly recounting these experiences…  all coping in a  different environment…

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Perhaps because I am now home during the day, because I have time to watch the skies and the trees, because I have moments to reflect, I am enjoying this autumn more than ever.  The changing of colors is not nearly as dramatic as in other parts of the country, nor does it last as long, but it is desert beautiful.

In past years, I was so busy with long hours in the classroom, it felt like I only snatched brief moments of the beauty of autumn.   I watched the clouds creep over the mountains on my drive to work, noted the changing colors of the leaves and the lake as I drove home near sunset, heard a flock of geese honking as they passed overhead, spent a few crisp Friday afternoons announcing the home football games, raked up fallen leaves on the weekend, and lamented with others that the days were getting shorter. 

Without realizing it, I probably more closely related other things to the fall season.  How about diving into Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” Poe’s “The Black Cat,” “Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Raven,” Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Thoreau’s Walden Pond, the adventures of  mountain men like John Charles Fremont as they opened the West, grammar lessons, and creatively using the changing seasons to craft memorable similes and metaphors in writing? Oh yes, and add to that the rehearsals for the November Dinner-Theatre production.  Those images, ideas, themes, and activities shaped my autumn days for many years.

Perhaps today I better understand the ideas and emotions which guided these authors to say the following: 

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
Emily Bronte

The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head... The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun.
Steve Sabol

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another felted pine branch

I wanted to see what I could needle-felt on a dark brown wool mat, continuing with the Christmas theme.  It was interesting to use a cookie cutter to create the ornament hanging from the branch.  I would like to experiment a little more with this idea. 

I think a mat this size could be used for a coffee mug mat as well as a candle mat.  More possibilities?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wood for Winter

I still have about two cords of wood which are "well-seasoned" and will burn very well.  But, I'm pretty sure I'll need more split to be ready for this winter.  So, in casual conversation with my friends about getting things "winterized" around the place, I mentioned that I needed to get some more wood split before the cold temps hit and stay. 

My friend Kris offered her log-splitter, but we would need our go-to guy, Mike, to get it started and see about the best way to get it transported to my woodpile.   So, the plan was sort-of set in motion.

I got a surprise phone call late Sunday morning.  Was I home? Could Mike bring out the log-splitter?  Absolutely!  Zip, zip!  He was here in no time.  After showing me the procedure for starting it, he asked if I wanted to split some up while he was here.  Sure!!  So I grabbed some leather gloves, threw on some tennis shoes, and we got to work.  With two of us, the work went quickly and efficiently.  Within an hour, we had a cord or more split and thrown into a woodpile.  Yippee!  Many, many thanks to Kris and Mike!!  I have wood for winter!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Those who quilt...

Yes, those who quilt... amaze me!  A couple of the gals in our knitting group also do a wonderful job of quilting.  Perhaps you've seen many of Nancy S.'s quilts on her blog; they are so beautifully designed, sewn, and quilted.  Another gal in the group, Sheri H.,  does beautiful work too.  I happened to catch a "showing" of her latest quilt at knitting night, and we all loved the Halloween details.  Don't you love the expressions on the cats and spiders?? 

Thanks, Sheri, for letting me photograph your work and show it off a bit. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last Sunday's Sunset

I just happened to take a glance out the window to the west after the sun had set, and I was stunned by the beautiful sunset colors still reflected on the clouds.  I ran for the camera and out to the porch to see if I could quickly capture the colors before they disappeared with the night. 

Sunset over the Wind River Mountain Range

Looking a bit more to the south, I caught this picture (below).  See that knife-edged peak (just left of center)?  The Cirque of the Towers is just to the right of it.  It's one of my favorite hikes (but a good 12 miles of hiking to get there!) in the Wind River Range. Many "foreigners" like to make a trek into the Cirque, which includes Lonesome Lake at the base of Pingora Peak. It is a beautiful spot.

Looking even further to the southeast, Wind River Peak was beautifully silhouetted.  My dad always referred to it as the Old Man of the Mountain.  The large sloping peak (Wind River Peak) is the old man's beard. The old man is lying down, looking up at the sky. So to the right of the beard, you see the outline of his nose and then his forehead. 
Wind River Peak, the highest peak in the southern part of the Wind River Range.

I really enjoyed this spectacular sunset!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Leafin' me for winter...

Although many trees here are now in fall colors and are just beginning to lose leaves, this particular tree has already signed off for the season.  It's leafin' me for winter.

Because of the snow and cold temps a few days ago, much of the smoke from the forest fires has been cleaned from the horizon, fires are doused or under control, and I can see the mountains again!!  Yahoo! I hope we continue to have blue skies, crisp temps, and a colorful display of falling leaves for many days to come. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First snow

The first snow of the season fell on us Friday evening/Saturday morning, Oct 6th.  I was so surprised to wake up to about an inch of snow blanketing the area!  I'm hoping we have a few more weeks of autumn weather before being launched into winter!!  However, the cold front put me in the mood to do some needle-felting samples (using a winter theme) for a class I'll be teaching in about a month. 

I have a few different colors of felt mats to supply those in the class, and as I looked at a few gray-colored felts, I wondered how they might be used for a winter scene or theme.  Gray... gray skies ...falling snow flakes... snow-laden evergreens...  snowmen... dancing snowmen.  "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." Those ideas translated to this:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wingspan Scarf

It's off the needles!  My first Wingspan Scarf is blocked and ready to go.  

Wingspan by Tri'Coterie Designs Jan 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Who is at the door?

I read a quote last week that has really kept me pondering its significance.  It was this:

           "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet." ~ Gandhi

What a profound statement.  The "dirty feet" that got me thinking are those negative mental footprints of anger, hatred, confusion, criticism, condemnation, complaint, stress, worry, or fear that  parade through our thoughts and try to find a place to park if we allow it.  What a great reminder to stay alert at the door of thought.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's with this yarn?

My friend Jane has been attempting to knit a scarf with some yarn from her stash.  Problem is...the yarn keeps breaking!  What's the deal with this yarn??  She discovered that it's a blend of wool and recycled silk; we (her knitting buddies) are of the opinion that the fibers are short, and that's the reason it keeps breaking. 

We encouraged her to abandon that skein for the scarf project; there was even talk of dumping it in the "round file."  Suddenly it occurred to me that it might be salvageable as yarn to add to a needle-felting project.  Jane immediately donated it to me.  Well, I think I may have found the right job for this yarn : needle-felted pine branches on a felted mat.  Turns out that this worked well. 

So, here's a picture of the results. The pine cones do not show up well.  In fact, they look a little funny here, but not so much in real life.  I may continue to tweak it a bit. Various angles make it look different.  Thanks to Jane, the project I wanted to try came together with the right materials. I owe her one!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Knitting project

On my needles I have a Wingspan scarf, a very popular pattern by Maylin Tan, Tri'Coterie Designs.  I'm knitting it on size 4 needles, using a fingering yarn (80% mohair, 20% wool), hand-dyed by Colleen Jennings.  I have completed 5 wings, with 3 more to go.

I think that once it is blocked, you'll really be able to see the rows of lacy yarn-overs I have added to the garter stitch pattern.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Needle-felted chair and table...

Looking through a magazine for inspiration, I found something I wanted to try: a chair (and I added a table).  How about a needle-felted book, waiting for you to pick up and read while relaxing on a cool Fall day?  I may have to add a pillow or afghan draped over the chair.  I tried putting a candle on the table.   The felted mat and candle works out fine placed on an end table in the living room. I will be trying out some other colors of candles, a flower vase, etc. to get just the right combination. 

I took this picture outside, so there is an unwanted dark shadow behind the candle.
Another idea from Pam: Make a place for a glass of wine in the evening.

Pam liked the idea and has created a smaller version for herself on which she can place a glass of wine.  Her felt is dark brown, featuring a red wing-backed chair and white table.  I've only seen pictures of her finished piece, but hope to see it soon.