Sock Stories

In October of 2009, a time I was known as an obsessive sock knitter, I signed up for Kirsten's Mystery Sock. I liked the pattern so much I started a second pair, and knit them so quickly, both pair were finished by the end of the month, which was quite a feat (hahaha). However, one pair was uncomfortable, the only difference being the yarn used. Both yarns were lovely, but, perhaps there was a difference in row gauge. The other pair I still wear all the time and they fit nicely, but the uncomfortable pair was relegated to the back of the closet.

Sock knitting waned from my usual habits in 2011, which means my sock drawer has had no replenishing. If a pair wears out, a hole is left in the drawer with nothing to fill it and, sadly, as it turns out, 2016 was a very bad year for the drawer. Many of my longtime sock companions bit the dust, some of which could be repaired, but many were beyond hope or help.

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Because I could see the attrition rate was high I knew something needed to be done. My feet cannot tolerate anything other than hand knit socks and the solutions were few: start new socks (and I did) and, (two quicker solutions) stitch up a few holes, and rescue any abandon projects. I dug around the closet, found the banished sock, ripped the toe off (it was painless, I assure you), and picked up the stitches. Thank goodness I had plenty of yarn, as the used yarn was quite a curly mess. To make sure they fit this time around, I added a repeat, then reknit the toe.

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You can count me one very happy person as the Sunshine socks now make my feet very happy!

You might remember the one and only pair of socks I finished last year. I loved their red/black/gray stripy-ness and decided I had to use more of my stash and knit more stripy goodness. (My sock stash has been gathered over many years and holds much secret potential).  This time I picked a Knitterly Things Vesper Sock called Fire and Ice. How I love this colorway! I was totally entertained and the only thing that slowed my progress, this time around, was knitting two shawls (not one, but TWO. I'll tell you about them later, we're talking about socks, remember?) 

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As you can see the Fire and Ice socks came out beautifully and I am thrilled to have them on my feet. It is still winter in Utah, although spring does get a day or two to call her own once in awhile. The momentum of sock knitting is still with me, which means as soon as one pair is finished another pair is cast on. For color inspiration I went with spring! 

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See? More stripy goodness (and there is still more in my stash!). Deets later, friends. 


Yes! Howdy March!

I've been waiting for you ALL WINTER!

I LOVE you March! Let me count the ways.

1. I LOVE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME! You can hate on me all you want, but I love it. Time change is a sign of spring and I love spring! Plain and simple. #bringitonicantakeit

2. Well, March IS my birthday month so it would hard not to like March for that reason alone! Right? I may be getting old (my body lets me know daily), but I enjoy a good reason to celebrate and any birthday is worth celebrating. cheers

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3. May may be known as the flower month (April showers and all that), but March is when the first colorful blooms start to show off. Pansies are coming alive (if you planted them last fall) and bulbs, bulbs, bulbs! Daffodils, jonquils, crocus, and early tulips have a way of making their way out of the ground and into the added sunlight. They will make themselves known by growing up through several inches of snow and they will survive, even thrive, after being pounded down by the worst of weather conditions. Spring is intrepid and so are her flowers. #lovemesomeblossoms

4. Sunlight, sunlight, sunlight, sunlight.  Nuf said.

5. March is a month of varied conditions, which (can) include many warm days, days that are all about patio time! I enjoy the fickleness of March weather. Sun, snow, rain, or all three on the same day...I'm speaking of pure entertainment. There may be  acts you don't care for, but it's a matter of hours, or maybe minutes, before better weather comes along. Spring is a roller-coaster ride of conditions. Wheeee!

IMG_0061This was last week--the sign now says 2 weeks to Spring Planting!

6. GARDEN! Time to plant root vegetables, broccoli, cabbages, and if you're very brave, peas and lettuce. You'll only lose a few seeds if things freeze. This is a gamble worth taking, believe me! #justdoitidareyou

7. March is my Bloggiversary! Vicki tallied our time in blogland at 13 years! OMG! It all started in 2004 and that seems eons ago. There was a "gang" of us, many of whom no longer blog, but we're still friends (phone calls, emails, snail mail, Instagram and FB (which, if you can stand it, is a good way to stay connected).  I'm happy to (still) be here. 

8. March is the beginning of long, light-filled evenings. On Thursday evenings throughout the winter a group of us gardeners g0t together at the local burger spot. We talked garden talk, making plans, egging each other on, and betting on who would have the first peas. This month we plan to meet in the garden and cook our own burgers on the grill. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can enjoy our first garden evening (maybe towards the end of the month). 

9. Renewal! Everything I've mentioned about March helps awaken me from the funk of winter's dark and chill. The changing sky, the warming air, the longer days, and the smell of the earth, fill my senses. I am reminded that life is ever changing, that the worst is oft short-lived and, always, from the dark comes light. Spring fills me with hope as I reconnect in a visceral way to nature. I no longer need to stay deep within my home, cowering from the frost and gray--I know the light and warmth are coming.

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10. I am looking forward to seeing the gardens at Red Butte come alive during March. February, your snows covered the little snow drops, which I didn't get a chance to see. BUT, March days will surely be warmer and the bulbs will start to show off, creating beautiful flower beds of many colors. (The new water conservation area opens in May!) #gardensforever

Welcome, March! I LOVE YOU! 

Think, Write, Thursday brought to you by Carole and Kat


Blog Limbo (or Limbo Blog)

Thank you, for your emails, messages, comments, and snail mail! You have lifted my spirits and made me feel appreciated and loved. I have to admit, the luster of blogging has worn a little thin and I am struggling to come up with content. It isn't that I'm not "doing" stuff, I am knitting (and have several finished projects), reading (book after book), hanging out with friend here and there, and, admittedly, dealing with winter's blahs (maybe not so well). 

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Not to sound down on myself but (what is is), my Month of Letters never really got off the ground. I have loved receiving letters and I'm working my way through replies, but my daily missives have been more like "once in awhile" missives. I struggle a bit with the "daily" thing and I can't really tell you why. I knit daily and read daily, but they feel like a reflexive things, something ingrained and a part of me, not something extra. This is the first year I've had a problem meeting the MoL goal. Writing and receiving mail is a real treat and you can't do one without the other. I guess I could make the excuse that life is busy and I have felt stressed, but busyness is just an excuse for not following through and it is time for a change. (Don't you just love the new Oscar de la Renta stamps?)

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In any case, I've come to say hello and to try and regain the habit of blogging, because I need to do a better job of staying in touch with my friends. Have you missed my mountain? In January we had day after day of the "dreaded inversion", but the air has been cleaner since February 1st. This is the time of year for crazy mixed up weather and, after several days in the 60s, winter has returned. The good part is all that mountain snow! Look at how the peaks are weighted down with the glorious white powder. Makes me wish I could ski! 

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During the warm spell, a few of my crocus decided to make an appearance. Their day in the sun was short-lived, as nature goes through her usual tug-o-war. Just wait 5 minutes... 


Traditions

December traditions have changed over the course of my lifetime, but each and everyone has created a wealth of wonderful memories. One of the greatest gifts I have ever received is that every Christmas has been safe, fun, exciting, rich with tradition and abundance, plus I have always been surrounded by people I love.

P_r14alkwjxc70039My second Christmas

For many years, Christmas Eve was the best day of the Holiday festivities. Last minute baking left the kitchen warm and aromatic. Mom would lay out a feast on the table for us to nosh on, and we "pieced" our way through the evening of joy. Freshly baked breads, cakes, cookies, and candies  are among my favorite childhood memories.

Every year mom made each one of u (4 girls!) a new flannel nightgown, which we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve. Mine was usually pink or blue, with ruffled yoke and hem. How I loved the first nights wearings of  that fresh, crisp gown, which was well worn by the next Christmas. 

We'd listen to Christmas songs, or we'd gather around the piano and sing our own carols, always waiting and listening for the sounds of Santa. Later in the evening we'd watch the news on our old black and white TV as the announcer tracked Santa's progress from the North Pole. We went to bed when he warned children the needed to be asleep or Santa might not stop! 

I'm thinking of the years there were 5 of us kids, a house full of noise, laughter, laundry, lights, gifts for the neighbors and baked goods abounding, the piles of packages under the tree, and the general chaos of life--that is what I think of when asked what Christmas means to me. Many traditions have changed through the years, and I can't think of one year that Christmas wasn't full of magic and joy. Riches beyond words, that's the joy of Christmas tradition. 


The Beauty of December

December is the season of lights, which I admit, bring to me a sense of wonder and awe. I can stand before a display of lights my mouth agape, my eyes wide with joy,  oblivious to the world around as I am transfixed by beauty I behold. I love the light (as I'm sure you know by now). 

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We spent Thanksgiving with our friends Monica and Steve (a wonderful day) and as we were driving home that evening we caught sight of a well lit tree off in the distance. We drove up a side street that led to a small cemetery and found at its center a very large tree covered with white lights. It was ethereal, magical, and we exclaimed to each other, with delight and wonder, how beautiful it was. As rarely happens when you're an adult, we were filled with awe. It felt like a gift to be among the first to see it.  

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The sunrises and sunsets are quite wonderful this time of year and the cloud displays before, after, and during a storm can surround the mountain tops with garlands and crowns. You know I love my mountains and winter can really bring out their unique beauty. White, snow covered mountains and clear blue skies are are also commandingly exquisite. 

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This time of year the golden glow glorifies our view in a way that isn't seen during the other seasons. December's light is the beautiful of the year and I must fill my heart and soul with this beauty before January's dingy skies move in.

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December is filled with with wonderful people, friends and family, parties and gatherings, (which is when I keep my phone in my pocket). I'm hopeful there will be time for Smith and I to be together this month, as well. 

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December offers more time indoors (demands it, actually), and that means more time to knit (maybe blog). I hope to be able to show you the TTL Mystery shawl I finished, and the Julianna shawl that's nearly off the needles. December's cold and snowy days offer the gift of knitting and reading time.

Just as Bonny said in her December post, December marks the beginning of the return of light. Solstice is a day of celebration and joy. I so look forward to the shorter nights to come. 


Saturday Sky - Hello!

Today I am grateful for friends who check to see what I'm up to when I haven't posted for awhile and who remind me I have a voice. 

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I am very grateful for the long, warm autumn we experienced, however, quickly it ended with the northern winds bringing in the cold and snow of winter. It was 73 degrees one day and within 36 hours the high for the day was 36. I am grateful for my ability to make something warm with woolen fibers. We hope for more snow because we are in great need. 

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More than snow, I am in need of the positive energies of friends, of community, of beauty, and the joy daily life can bring. I am grateful that many of my dearest blog friends have been posting daily. I am grateful for their voices, for their guidance, their calls to action, and for their strong sense of community. I am grateful you are here and grateful for your friendship. 

Hello, friends. 


That Very Best Breakfast

Camping

It's been years. Back in the 80s, which is so crazy. How can it be that long ago? Let's say it was 1983, during the years we spent camping, sleeping on the ground, often without a tent, and cooked breakfast and dinner on an open fire. We often reminisce about the amazing meals we had. Like the time Camille readied a huge prime rib roast to cook as soon as we arrived at our campsite. We would head off to the wilderness of the High Uinta mountains and four-wheel the mountain trails until we found the perfect spot. We liked to have a creek or a lake nearby, which made life a little easier, but was not necessary. As soon as we found the perfect place we'd build a fire and get the coals red hot. The rib roast was slow cooked in a pit, surrounded by hot coals, and it was the best piece of beef we ever had. We were starved by the time it was ready, but it sure was worth the wait.

But, I should be talking about breakfast as it's Kat and Carole's "Think Write Tuesday".  When we were on our camping trips, breathing in the fresh mountain air, our appetites were enhanced. We took extra care in planning our meals, as one need not eat tin foil dinners when four-wheeling in the wilderness. Our friend Dave was the chef and everything he cooked was delicious and memorable. I could go on and on about his meals, but his mountain breakfast is something we still talk about, brag about, really.

Dave was always the first one up in the morning and he'd start the fire and put on the coffee. He would make sure there was a flat rock on the edge of the fire pit for his big old fashioned enamel coffee pot to rest. He'd get the water boiling and then tossed in a big handful of coffee and let it boil until it was dark and strong. When you wake up in the wilderness, nothing smells better than strong coffee.

The next thing he did was cook up a ton of bacon in his well seasoned cast iron skillet. When the bacon was nice and crisp, he's slice a bunch of bagels and crisp them up in the bacon grease. The best way to eat a crispy bagel is to slather it with cream cheese and topped with crisp bacon. The bagels were the perfect appraiser to what comes next, mountain eggs!

Mountain eggs are the pièce de résistance. They cannot be repeated without an open fire, a wood fire, in the middle of the wilderness. To begin Dave would add a cube of butter (yes, I said cube) to the leftover bacon grease, and as the butter melted, he crack a dozen eggs (or so) into a bowl, stirred until fluffy, then poured them into the skillet. As the eggs cook, he'd add in chunks of cheddar cheese and a big bunch of sliced jalapenos. The addition of the "mountain pepper", ashes from the burning wood, was the true seasoning for the eggs and that just happened as they cook. When the eggs were the right consistency, Dave liked them custardy, he'd serve them up to the hungry, waiting gang.

Food and friends make the best memories.


Prisma Color Wednesday

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While it's still Wednesday, I thought I'd create a watercolor with the Prisma app. This is a picture I took while at  Red Butte Garden's several weeks ago. The Rose Garden was full of blossoms of every color and variety. This is the effect, made with "Breakfast", which highlighted the perspective and softened the colors which were quite bright in the original.

Yay! The week is half over and I looking forward to a long weekend.