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Archive for January, 2009


Colorado Fun Fact

Dear Ellen,

dscn0869.JPGdscn0867.JPGdscn0865-1.JPGOne of the things I’ve noticed about living at altitude is that things that journey here from lower altitudes swell up if they don’t breathe.  Boxes that arrive from Amazon are always swollen because they use those “air pillows” for padding the contents.  Food products can look spoiled unless you know that it’s just the lower air pressure causing them to bulge.  If I don’t prick a hole in the top of my Yoplait containers, they will burst at me when I open them using the tab.  It seems I need to start breathing more too, as I just took a “before” picture for my “Fit and Fine in 2009” campaign.  No, I won’t post it here.  It is in a sports bra and yoga pants.  Nothing is left to the imagination.  It is proof that the truth can be scarier than fiction, but will also serve as motivation.

dscn0846.JPGdscn0847.JPGdscn0859.JPGKnit group this week was extra fun as we commenced the “party sock” dscn0848.JPGproject.  I’m not participating as I’m working on too much right now and decided to resist.  Nonetheless, it was fun to watch the preparation and take part in the discussion.  Those in on the act each contributed a skein (or two — enough for a pair) of sock yarn.  Anne and Brie took charge of separating them all into 10 smaller balls.  Everyone got that sampling of 10 cakes of about 10 grams of yarn each to go towards whatever sock dscn0855.JPGdscn0851.JPGpattern they chose.  It will be VERY interesting to see the final products.  It was also fun to see all the little cakes of yarn like muffins in a bakery window.  I worked on Allen’s sweater and am almost to the armhole of the front.  It’s going well, but I lost my schematic.  Since I drew it up in the first place, I can do it again, but a bummer.

Love, Jan

Nothing up my sleeve

Dear Jan,

13.jpg23.jpgDoes this look like a 3.5″ of ribbing to you?  It does to me, and with that, I’ve cast off my Bohus Forest Darkness, which I’m calling Deep Into the Forest.  Though (and I hesitate to say this, lest the knitting fates curse the fit or something like that) the knitting is done, there is a heck of a lot of seaming, and then buttons yet to go.

I guess there is nothing for it but to get started.  But I can only seam in bright daylight on this baby, so Karen’s shawl will be in the works, too.  Info on that to come…

Love,

Ellen

TGIM

Dear Jan,

22.jpg32.jpg12.jpgThe first week of the month I am actually happy to have Monday roll around.  Yes, it is knit-night.  Annie once again hosted us in her lovely old home in St. Paul.  We filled the joint.  I hope Gerry wasn’t trying to rest, as the roar of our laughter must have made that impossible.  Gigi didn’t have any issues with sleeping, however.

41.jpgPeggy scored high marks for amusement with her classic slippers.  She has 5 pairs of these but somehow can’t find two that match.  Christina admitted she might have one of the yellow ones in her closet.

……………………………

61.jpgAnd with the help of some friends, we did a test fit on sleeve length of the Bohus.  We decided another half inch and I’m into the ribbing.  And the new yarn hasn’t arrived yet, so I am good to keep knitting tonight.  If I get another night to work, I think I’ll have finished the knitting.  And you know, I didn’t promise I wouldn’t seam any after January 1!

Happy week to you,

Ellen

New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Ellen,

ediets.JPGCan you guess what one of my New Year’s Resolutions is?  Okay, so it’s not that hard of a guess…almost everyone makes the one about taking better care of their physical being.  Once again, I’m doing it, and once again I’m hopeful.  I’m less certain of success, but maybe that’s a good thing.  This last year I’ve really felt what it’s like to feel unhealthy what with the tendon rupture, the fibromyalgia flare-up, the development of a wasp/hornet/yellow-jacket allergy (results are in, honey-bees are still my friends), and more flu-like episodes in a year than I can remember.  The whole year has me a bit rattled about my immortality, therefore the lack of surety.  But it’s also scared me enough to be really serious about sticking to some basic principles like just getting out there and moving more.

dscn0826.JPGdscn0828.JPGdscn0825.JPGDale and I did just that on Saturday.  We took a simple, but stimulating walk around Prospect Lake (with side detour to make the walk at least 2 miles long).   We worshiped the sun gods at the funky sculpture and Dale got to try out his new hand-held GPS.  (He can download our track into his computer and save it for posterity.)  There were many Canadian geese, but their poop irritated me and I dscn0831.JPGdscn0830.JPGdscn0194.JPGdid not take any pictures of them.  I did like this little squirrel — convinced that I had peanuts in my pocket.  Sorry, little squirrel.  My cheeks got cheery.  Do you recognize my headwear?  We saw a grizzly bear.

dscn0833.JPGdscn0834.JPGI have other resolutions too.  My physical health is not the only thing in need of a little housekeeping.  We had never really finished settling in to the house here — my office was dscn0836.JPGdscn0835.JPGassembled, but much had been shoved into crannies put away without real thought or organization and as a result it became a real heap — a junk room.  It did not make me feel calm to do any work in there.  Its upheaval and the lack of order were really jarring for me.  I took advantage of the slow time over the holidays to tackle this chaos.  And I am very pleased with the results.  Now I have an actually clear twin bed on which I can stretch out if I so desire.  My books are not in stacks, but in the dscn0838.JPGdscn0840.JPGbookshelf.  The closets have lovely plastic drawers and decent boxes.  With some rigged shelving I am making better use of vertical space.  And talk about vertical space!  How ’bout the great stash storage?  Dale hung the chain for me.  The skeins are attached with simple S-hooks.  Yes, there’s light exposure, but that’s an incentive to a) rotate it and b) knit it.  Plus, it’s in a corner away from the window.  The rest of the stash is in the guest bedroom in hanging shoe and sweater storage.  I kind of like that the yarn is in sweater storage units…dreaming of being sweaters.

My other resolutions are represented by these pictures.  1) Finish dscn0820.JPGdscn0842.JPGdscn0844.JPGBasics, Basics, Basics and consider moving on the Master’s classes.  dscn0845.JPGdscn0822.JPGfamily-and-friends.jpg2. Brush up my Italian — I’m not talking fluency, but a return to some basic conversational capability…getting my ear back. 3. Read for pleasure.  I’m thinking the more mindless the better, but I might throw in some Jane Austen. (It’s always good to throw in Austen, you know.) 4. Spend some time focusing on spirituality.  5. Build connections with friends and family.  Knit group counts.

Love, Jan

If the mails are slow…

Dear Jan,

I promised Karen that as of January 1, I would stop knitting on the Bohus and start knitting on her veil.  But to do that, I need yarn, and I haven’t been happy with any of the yarns I’ve swatched so far.  I’ve looked all over locally, and everything is gorgeous but handpainted in brilliant colors, not really what we’re looking for.  Hence, I’ve bought myself some time by ordering two more yarns.  As long as they don’t show up, I am knitting Bohus with impunity.

5.jpg6.jpgActually, I’m so close I am going to be tempted to ask for a pardon on the promise anyway.  Here is where we are at with Deep Into the Forest.  Check out the sleeve length compared to a commercial sweater whose fit I like.  About 4 more inches and I’m done (knitting, that is).  This is when you feel really smart about having done both sleeves at once.

21.jpg31.jpgOther happenings here include a birthday party for Wilson.  He received real gifts from his adoring daughters – a childhood favorite book from Jenny and a Wii game from Karen.  He received virtual gifts from me, including the console upon which to play the Wii game.  One of my resolutions for this year is to give Wilson actual gifts for at least 12 months – I still owe him two others and he is being a really good sport about it, but eventually something will have to give.  (Apologies to anyone other than Helen and Karen who are looking in – this paragraph was really for Wilson’s mom and away-from-home daughter so they could see how cute he looked on his birthday.)

11.jpgAll that excitement wore Judit out.  Me, too.  Time for bed and then a 5 day work week.  Sigh, this is going to hurt.

Love,

Ellen

A Good Start

Dear Ellen,

It sounds like your family had a great time together to close out 2008.  Stories like these are why Dale and I admire the “small house” movement, but will not be part of it for a while to come.  We want to have a large, welcoming home to which our brood (our two and any other comers) can come to connect.  It has been more prominent in our minds lately and I expect that this may be the year we buy land.  It’s kind of exciting to be taking concrete steps to move towards our next chapter, even if we won’t really get there for another 4-6 years.

We concluded the sub-chapter that was 2008 rather nicely.  Jim and Kathy Nelson arrived around 10:30 PM New Year’s Eve from Norfolk.  We got them settled in the guest room and then had time for some wine and snacks before walking out to where we could see Pikes Peak.  Right at midnight the Adaman team continued a longstanding tradition and set off fireworks from the summit — it was beautiful.   Some of the bursts actually illuminated the summit quite well.  It was a bit surreal and made us all feel a bit magical as we kissed our sweeties and wished each other a Happy New Year.

dscn0797.JPGdscn0794.JPGimg_4909.JPGdscn0803.JPGThe next morning we enjoyed a big sausage and egg breakfast and set out to the Garden of the Gods.   We took a nice easy hike through the amazing rock outcroppings and climbed about img_4914.JPGdscn0811.JPGa bit on the rocks.  It was a good way to get fresh air and shake out the cobwebs from drinking prosecco late at night with the added bonus of gorgeous views.  Dale saved me from certain death.  And Kathy scored some amazing earrings at the “ranges from touristy crap to museum quality artwork” gift shop.

When we got back to the house Kathy and I fixed a great dinner of spice-rubbed grilled steak; brussel sprouts sauteed in garlic with fennel seed and finished with balsamic vinegar, fingerling potatoes oven roasted with cayenne, garlic, salt and pepper; greens and purple-hulled peas (I couldn’t find any black-eyed peas, so got the next best thing!) with a bit of lemon peel and lemon juice and some really good salads with romaine, carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, pine nuts, grape tomatoes, feta cheese, olive oil and lemon or real balsamic.  We enjoyed it with some great Italian wines and after clean-up, retired to family room for football and sock knitting lessons.

Kathy is a wonderful knitter, but had never tried socks before.  She also hadn’t done anything like a Turkish or round cast-on.  I taught her Judy’s Magic Cast-On and though it was awkward for her, she prevailed and started a perfect sock toe.  By the time we went to bed she had completed the toe and started the patterning on the instep.  She chose a simple 2 row slipped stitch pattern that is turning out quite nicely.  In the morning we held sock anatomy class using half a dozen different pairs of socks that I’ve knitted so she could have a good grasp of how the pieces fit together.  She chose a slip-stitch, no pick-up gussett for her socks and we walked through the instructions so that she can complete it on her own.  I have every confidence that she’ll do so and marvelously!

dscn0814.JPGWhile Kathy was working on her efforts, I got the front to Allen’s sweater cast on and about 2 inches completed.  (I also finished blocking the back — here it is off of wires.)  I can’t share too much about it because of publication prohibitions on showing dscn0815.JPGdesigns in public fora before they are published.  No, I don’t have publication lined up, but I am keeping notes to this as I go and think it will be wonderful, so I do have plans to try to get it published somewhere.  The back and the fabric swatch is all I plan on showing here till I know whether or not it has a future in a knitting magazine. I also did a few rows on the Noro Striped Scarf that I’ve started for him.   I’d thought about one for awhile, and if you check out my Ravelry project description, you’ll see why I’ve gone ahead with it.  I can tell it will be fun to watch the interplay of the colors and should be a fun knit.  I’m really glad to have two efforts going again…dscn0818.JPGdscn0819.JPGI don’t think knitterly monogamy suits me that well.  The last few months I was pretty loyal to single projects and I found I flailed a bit in between them when I completed the project and didn’t have anything else on my needles.  I’ll also probably cast on some socks before the New Year’s weekend is complete for that extra WIP security.

We so enjoyed having Jim and Kathy’s company.  While Kathy and I cooked, knitted and chattered, Jim and Dale were having their own good time playing with computers and talking business.  I’m grateful we had the chance to share the opening of the new year with good friends.  This, and the fact that our bayberry candles burned to the nub on both Christmas and New Year’s Eves, bodes well for the rest of the year.  I hope we can share our hospitality with you and Wilson sometime soon (or vice versa)!

Love, Jan

Weaving in the ends…

Dear Jan,

Here is the final post from me for 2008.  Nothing too momentous to report on – just a few more days enjoying family and knitting.  Well, I suppose that is momentous in this crazy world.

20.jpgThe last days of the trip kind of blended together with walks and games and food and shopping (much better prom dress selection in Huntington, WV than in Kayenta, AZ).  img_4494.JPGimg_4501.JPGWe extend Christmas to the 26th, enjoying the traditional reading of Silver Packages (handkerchiefs required) and opening stockings which had been delayed due to United Express losing Marty and Paula’s luggage.  1.jpg109.jpgThe 27th was incredibly warm, which meant we got some outdoors chores done, and the brave kitty got to spend much of the day on the screened porch watching birds (the scaredy cat spent all her time in the basement).  3.jpgWe had poetry reading and carols2.jpg and games on the 28th, I think.

I don’t have photos for the end of the month.  I think that is OK, as I started this holiday journal just after Thanksgiving and it is feeling finished.  Really, seeing 2008 out tonight is not much more than weaving in the ends.  We won’t be doing any formal celebration, just snuggling up together on a cold night and being happy to see one more year start with each other.

I hope your 2008 ends happily and your 2009 starts out wonderfully well.

Love,

Ellen