Sue the Ewe takes a Walk

I had a lot of fun this afternoon walking around the yard with Sue the Ewe, my miniature wooly friend.

Day Fourteen: Scale & Observation was the task at hand and I was to experiment with scale.

Sue nibbled away at every green blade she encountered.  She looks right at home, doesn’t she, in this lush environment.

Sue the Ewe nibbles away

Sue the Ewe nibbles away

But in the following photo she is dwarfed by the wild daisies in my yard that are, at most, six inches tall.

Sue and the Daisies

It’s time to go in and stop playing with Sue.  I just felt a raindrop and you know what?  A raindrop will make little Sue fall over because she is just two inches less a quarter.

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Rained Out on the Shootin’ Star

Hubby and I purchased our annual Florissant Fossil Beds pass this morning and then headed off to hike the Shootin’ Star Trail.

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The sky looked a little threatening but our weather app on the phone said no rain for another hour so we thought we would still give it a try since we had our hiking boots on.

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The trail crossed a verdant meadow abundant with wildflowers.

 

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And then the trail climbed into the ponderosa pine forest covering the neighboring hills.

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More wildflowers….

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And then right when we dipped down into another meadow we felt raindrops.  Hubby thought it best to turn around and I thought not …. but nonetheless complied with his wishes…

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I lingered behind to take one last photograph of wildflowers that always grow along streams –

IMG_1553I took one last glimpse of the beautiful meadow with Wilkerson Pass in the distant haze –

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I made it to the car seconds before a torrential downpour and then enjoyed a lunch of apples with Dubliner Cheese as great thunder reverberated through the meadows.

 

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Rocky Mountain Pop of Color

There is a special time in early evening when the light is soft and magical.  It was very breezy tonight as I walked around my yard.  The wildflowers are vibrant this year and just starting to come up.

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Tour de Fleece 2015

It’s right around the corner, spinning friends – Tour de Fleece 2015. I am pulling out the spindles and finishing up things on my wheel so I will be all set and ready to spin!  My spindles will be spinning some Hedgehog Fibre I got in Ireland a couple years ago.

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The fibre is from Corriedale sheep and this is the first time I’ve spun Corriedale.  It’s a little    fuzzy but running it through the diz a couple times has tamed it some.

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What are you planning on spinning?

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Connections

One aspect of knitting I find intriguing is how different pattern combinations give the overall appearance of connection.

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I’ve just started a scarf for my husband to wear come autumn.  This twelve row pattern is very, very simple with a cable twist on only one of the twelve rows yet the overall appearance is one of a little more complexity.  I really like how each repeat connects to the one above and below it.

When I was in London a few years ago I was tickled pink to see one of the earliest pieces of knitting that has survived in the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Displayed in a temperature controlled case was a pair of Egyptian hand-knit sandal socks and I immediately connected with that sock and the person who knit that sock.  I admired the person who knit those red socks at such a teensy gauge and I had lots of questions I longed to ask.  I wanted to talk to that knitter.  A connection was made, across the centuries.

With each passing year I realize that the world of knitters is also one big connection.  All I have to do to prove this theory is to take my knitting into public places.  Strangers make their way across the room to tell me they once knit a pair of argyle socks or their grandmother used to knit thus and so for them.  Children in particular always want to know what I am doing and are not the least bit shy asking me.

The connection seems to be even more evident in times of war.  I’m reading a fascinating book called Knitting for Tommy (more about that book on another day) chronicling the knitting craze that swept across Britain as men, women and children knit  for their ‘Tommies’ to keep them warm in the trenches.  The following illustration was in a 1915 newspaper showing an army of women in silhouette sharing one huge ball of wool connecting not only to their ‘Tommies’ but to each other as well.

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Once again – connections!  

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Solitude

As my world spins faster and faster—or maybe it just seems that way when a text message can travel from Italy to Colorado in fractions of a second— I have looked for ways to cope with the resulting pressures.  This last year I have found it more than necessary to maintain some semblance of balance and some sense that I am the one steering the ship of how my time is spent.

I had begun to feel overloaded, overreacting to minor annoyances and feeling like I could never catch up. One of the best ways I found to cope was by seeking, and enjoying, solitude.

a lonely, uninhabited place

a lonely, uninhabited place

There is a world of difference between solitude and loneliness.  They sometimes look a lot alike because both are characterized by solitariness but the appearance is only on a surface level.

Loneliness is a negative state, marked by a sense of isolation. One feels that something is missing. I remember a friend once telling me that you could be in a room full of people and still feel lonely.  On the other hand, solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely.  In this state you provide yourself with wonderful and sufficient company and you don’t desire to be with others, you simply desire to be alone with yourself.

In my moments of solitude I have spent time reflecting on whether I use time efficiently for the projects and activities I engage in. I’ve searched within myself to determine if I do these activities because I want to do them or if, instead,  I have been heavily influenced by someone else often resulting in an end project or outcome that isn’t even ‘me‘.

In solitude, when we are least alone. ~ Lord Byron

In solitude, when we are least alone. ~ Lord Byron

In moments of solitude I’ve had time to experience the beauty of nature.  I’ve had more time for deep theological reading, meditating, memorizing and prayer because these are the backbone of my life and gives me great joy.

“Solitude suggests peacefulness stemming from a state of inner richness. It is a means of enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings that is satisfying and from which we draw sustenance. It is something we cultivate. Solitude is refreshing; an opportunity to renew ourselves. In other words, it replenishes us.”

In my solitude I have concluded to buy the best quality yarn that I can afford.  Why?  Because there are just as many stitches in an article knit with poor quality yarn as there is with good quality yarn.  The article knit with poor quality yarn will not last through half a dozen wearings whereas the other will be an heirloom quality creation.

Solitude brought me to realize that there will always be more new and exciting things to knit, spin or quilt around the corner, never-ending in fact.  It helped me realize that there is great value in finishing the TKGA Master Knitting Courses and I need to beware of  projects that distract from staying the course for they will always be there.  The time is now.

This is to be alone; this, this is solitude.  ~ Lord Byron

This is to be alone; this, this is solitude.
~ Lord Byron

In my solitude I remembered what my mother taught me about choosing friends. She told me that if a ‘friend’ tore other people down behind their backs then that friend most likely was doing the same about me when she spoke to others and I shouldn’t trust that ‘friend’.  And, in my solitude I remembered the proverbs which tell us not to associate with those who have hot tempers lest we learn their ways nor with those who betray the confidence of others.  I was betrayed this year. But no ill usage has branded its record on my feelings.  Life is too short for nursing animosity or registering wrongs.

We all need those periods of solitude, although our different personalities will differ in the amount of solitude we need.  I have a friend who loves being with people and her worst nightmare is to be stranded on a desert island.  Solitude looks different for her than it does for me.  For me, solitude is essential so that I can regain perspective and see what I should prioritize in my life.   It renews me for the challenges of life. It shows me when the schedules and demands start running my life and it allows me, once again, to become the Mistress of My Domain.

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Bliss

 

Bliss: complete happiness, great joy, paradise, or heaven.

Bliss: complete happiness, great joy, paradise, or heaven.

What is your idea of bliss? Is it an image of your family, laughing at the dinner table? A state of total relaxation, while lying on the beach? Your latest painting, drying on the canvas? My idea of bliss?  Spinning with my wheel on a rainy day.

 

 

 

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Water

 

It's been a nice hike but now it is time for some real fun!

It’s been a nice hike but now it is time for some real fun!

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Street

IMG_7246For almost sixteen years I’ve been traveling a highway to and from Colorado Springs.  Pike’s Peak, the beautiful mountain before me, always takes my breath away and I have always wanted to take a picture at this spot on the highway.  That hasn’t been possible in a moving vehicle but today, after all these years, I decided to drive alongside the highway on a side street so I could take that shot.  With only my phone camera in tow this isn’t as clear as it could be but this fourteener, it is still breathtaking even with a phone camera.

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Master Knitting Monday

Still plodding along, trying to master the fine and ancient art of knitting……

The two lace patterns have been written and the corresponding swatches have been knit.  I have to weave a couple ends in and attach the swatch labels and I can check these off my swatch list in TKGA Master Knitting Level Two.

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There is a lace gauge worksheet I’ve been putting off doing along with several questions on gauge issues with lace.

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Barbara Walker’s Knitting Treasuries have been an excellent pattern resource to help me choose the two lace patterns I went with.  I have the first three Treasuries and hope to get the fourth Treasury soon.  The above swatch is called English Mesh Lace.

The one below is an Openwork Diamond pattern.IMG_1305

Most of the research has been done for the questions that go along with these swatches.  Several dealt with what ‘multiples’ were in a pattern and what ‘repeats’ were.  A couple of my resources seem to contradict what I think the committee is looking for (based on an article in Cast On Magazine by a committee member) so I’m not sure if my answer will ‘pass.’

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Five book reports are required for this level and I just started reading the first of five.  So far it is very interesting and I feel like I’m sitting listening to a grandma who has years and years of wisdom under her belt.  If I glean any purls of wisdom then I will pass them along in another update.

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