Monday, July 12, 2010

Double Rainbow

Here are two of the reasons I live in the Rocky Mountains; DOUBLE rainbows after summer rain storms:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meet Enrique

Meet Enrique, my new triangle shawl that I finished yesterday:

Here's my darling Enrique, when he was just a baby, looking pretty scrunched-up and unattractive. He's 100% merino wool, but has a very different feel from Jean Claude (May 5th entry) , who is also 100% merino. You may recall that merino wool is renowned for being possibly the softest sheep wool out there. The yarn used to create Enrique has quite a bit of twist in it. Hey, anyone out there a spinner? Can you explain why the yarn is so twisted? One of the advantages is that this yarn looks almost silky, and has quite a sheen to it.

The pattern for Enrique is on p. 134 of Victorian Lace Today, by Jane Sowerby. This is my first triangle shawl, and it is so much fun! I started at the point with one diamond, then two, etc., until I had fifteen.

The triangle shawl is very different from a rectangle or a square because of what's known as bias. If you sew, you know this means cutting the fabric obliquely or diagonally across the grain instead of with the grain. A bias-cut skirt hangs differently than one cut with the grain. You can actually get some stretch by cutting diagonally across the grain. Enrique was incredibly stretchy just by virtue of being triangle-shaped, or created across the bias.

Here's a detail photo of the crocheted picot border around the neck edge:

View of the front:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Photo of the Day

I took this photo at the Denver Zoo a few years ago. Talking about paw prints in yesterday's post reminded me of it. When I approached the gorilla enclosure, a female was asleep near the glass. I found the sight of her hand lovely in repose, yet somehow tragic as well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interesting Footprints; Or: Hey, Lynn, You Out There?

We saw some awesome critter footprints on our hike. At first I assumed the prints in this photo were that of a raccoon. But then I wondered if they could have been made by one of the busy beavers:

I am amazed by the footprint (paw print?) of this fellow--looks so much like a human hand:

Who could have made these prints? I think we need an expert to tell us. Dr. Lynn, world-famous veterinarian, do you know? I know I'm putting you on the spot here, but then, you are amazing...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Hike

Biker Chick and the Hell Hounds and I got up early yesterday morning and decided to go on a Mother's Day hike.

I took the camera along, even though I have photographed this same walk countless times. Taking photos in the Autumn is a no-brainer, but really, there are things of beauty and things that are fascinating each and every day.

The first thing I noticed was how busy the beavers have been:

I mean, they have been REALLY busy. I was stunned to see the size of this tree that they felled:

Still in a state of disbelief, I got in for a closer view:

Click on the photo below so that you can see the size of the teeth marks:

Beavers are the second largest rodents in the world. Did you know that rodents comprise 40% of mammal species? I did not. Ro-dents (dent=teeth) are noted for having two continuously growing incisors that are kept short by gnawing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Joyful, Joyful

Everyone has those days where nothing goes right. I hate to say "What a bad day!" because it is as though I am giving a few bad events the power to influence my happiness.

But I do love to say "I am having one of those days where everything is joyful." I awakened early this morning before the alarm went off and scampered down the stairs to see how Jean Claude was doing. He really was dry last evening, but I didn't want to take a chance and unpin him too early. Our eyes met in the light of the predawn, and I told him how gorgeous he was. He smiled sheepishly at me, which was to be expected.

He is by far the most wonderful thing I have ever knit, and I am feeling proud of myself.

For those of you who want to know, I estimate it took somewhere around 40 hours. Each complete row of the center panel took about fifty minutes, and there are thirty some-odd rows. Each repeat (the points you see) on the border took eleven minutes, and I think there are 92 of those. Adding the border onto the center panel was WEIRD, as you have to knit almost perpendicularly to the center panel. It took me days to figure out how to get the hang of doing that; once I figured that out, it was easy and I still don't know why the concept gave me fits.

Then I took the hell hounds for a walk around the Lake. While we were there, I saw a woman who was picking up trash around the perimeter of the Lake. We spoke briefly. I asked her if she were a volunteer, and she told me she was not. She just does this on her own. I thanked her for making the Lake a more pleasant place. It fills my heart with joy when I witness people doing good things. Just one more event in my joyful day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meet Jean Claude

Meet my new lover, Jean Claude. I have spent so many hours with him that I can say with certainty that I know every fiber of his being.

When I finished attaching the last of the border today, I loved him, but I knew there could be more between us. He was rather scrunched up and stilted, unable to express himself. I find this tragic, as I know he has the soul of a poet:

So I convinced him to seek therapy, specifically, the blocking therapy, which would unleash his inner beauty. Off to the sink he went to soak a while with some Eucalin soap, which requires no rinsing as it leaves no residue:
Because this therapy can be so traumatic, I simply pulled the plug and let the water drain. No sense in letting Jean Claude be damaged by wringing him, or letting him stretch, especially when we've come this far together.

He stank like a wet sheep, which was no surprise, as his heritage is 100% Superfine Merino.
I carefully wrapped him in thirsty towels to rid him of the excess water:
Then I stretched him gently, wired and pinned him in place so that all the lacy holes will show, and all the border will be pointy and beautiful:
He started getting quite dry by the time I was done pinning, so I squirted him a bit with a water bottle so that he'll be sure to keep his shape. Here's a close-up of the new Jean Claude; he'll be dry in 24 hours, so make sure to come back and see him tomorrow.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Buddha, Willie Nelson, and Middle Child

I'd like to take this opportunity to remember the three gentle souls in the title, as all three of them were born on this, the last day of April. Middle child was supposed to make her appearance in May, but I really wanted her to arrive in April, as no one in my family has an April birthday. And she did come, in the last hours of the day. She was a gorgeous baby, with giant blue eyes, a lovely smile, and a gentle and loving disposition. She has been a joy ever since.

And for this occasion, as she turns nineteen, I made a quilt in her favorite color of lime green, with lavender accents. In the photo above, Sparky and Mojo are inspecting my handy work, making sure that it is fit.

Here's a close-up of the Irish Chain pattern:

A closer view of the border and the back:
A view of the back, a Laurel Burch kitty fabric:

I also made a pillow with some of the leftover fabric:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Finished With the Center Panel

I finished the center panel of my lace shawl last week. Now I am adding a lace border. Finally, I will block the lace, causing it to stretch by 30 percent, making the pattern pop gloriously. You'll see much more of a lacy look, with the holes enlarged, etc.

I thought I'd show you what it looks like now, before the border is added, and before it gets blocked:

Here's a different view showing the length:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Evening Walk at the Lake

Finally, Spring seems to be on its way. We've had consistent warm temperatures, and the ice is melting on the Lake. The Geese are still able to walk on the ice rink, but not for long.

This photo shows the edge of the ice on the right, the clouds reflected in the water, and what appears to be some oil in the foreground. Hope I'm wrong on the oil--I've never seen any in the Lake before.