Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dog Blog

Hi! My name is Salsa and I got to go bye-bye and have a snow day. Mom even put a warm scarf on my neck that she made just for me...

The snow was cold on my tootsie toes, but I didn't care! There were too many fun things to see and do. Like catching snow balls that my family threw for me... comes a big one!....

I'm ready for another one!

Ok...I think I'm tired and a little cold now. I'm ready to go bye-bye again, in the nice warm car, in my fluffy, cozy bed.

But, I wanna go again tomorrow! K? :-)'

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mesa Socks

I finally finished my Mesa Socks. What would have been a quick project (I had the first sock half done on the day I started it) ended up to be a challenge...not in knitting...but with yarn. I made these with Berroco Comfort Sock yarn. The colors are pretty and the yarn is very soft and affordable. So, I bought two balls of it in two different colors. It seemed like a great yarn, but...that changed quickly as I kept running into knots (lots of them) and sections where a knot held the yarn together with a thread that, 10" or so later, became yarn again. I came across the first knot at the heel of the first sock. I worked with it and tried to go on but I decided that a knot on the heel might not be comfortable. And, taking a big section out because of the thread and the knot would throw the colors off, making it hard to match the second sock. So, I ripped it out and started again. More knots! I don't remember how many times I started the second (third) sock before I was able to keep knitting without running across more knots. I finally gave up and just kept knitting. Luckily, I only have one knot to deal with in the second sock. And, I was able to match the colors up closely enough for them to look like a pair.

The very first sock was a 2x2 rib and I liked it. But, I decided to make them with a ribbed cuff and stockinette for the legs. I think it shows off the colors much better. I really love the colors. They remind me of colors I see in the desert, the soils and the glow of the sun on the rocks, with bits pale, sagey green, like desert plants. Pretty! And, like I said before, they're very soft. But, I really didn't like working with this yarn (aside from the knots). I'm not sure how to describe it except that where I picked up stitches for the gussets, it's like the stitches stretched out and it doesn't look very nice. It did that on the final kitchner stitch on the toes too. And, even though it's soft, it has an odd feel to it. Maybe I'm spoiled from using all natural fibers and the "weirdness" I'm experiencing with this yarn is the "fakeness"...nylon and acrylic. It's very affordable and I have tons left over but it's definitely not a good deal. I won't be making any more socks with it. I'm not sure what I'll do with the other ball of it that I bought.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Color for a Gray Day

We've had a lot of gray and gloomy days lately. So, today, when I was doing a little housecleaning, I decided pull out a red table cloth to add a little color and cheer. That looked nice...but it needed something. Hmmmmm? Flowers! But, were there any in the yard in the middle of winter? Yes! My trusty, ever-blooming (almost) Calla Lillies! I love the simple lines of them. They're so beautiful!

Since there weren't a lot of them to hold each other up in the vase, I decided to try one of the antique flower frogs that I have, but never use. I placed it in the bottom of a vase and pressed the stems down onto the points. They all stayed right where I wanted them. What a great little tool! I'll definitely be using that again!

Cheery color and flowers on a gray winter day! The next best thing to a little sunshine! :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On a Mission

We just got back from a trip to Tucson, Arizona. We had a lot of things we needed to do while we were there but we did manage to squeeze in a few sights. One of the things we saw was the San Xavier Mission. The white buildings really stood out in the brown desert and made it easy to find. It is located on an Indian reservation. Here's a picture of the front...(this was the only day on our trip that the sky wasn't blue)...(click pictures to make them bigger and see details)...

Notice the color of the building on the right side, with some stains. Then, notice how white the left side is. It appears to be going through some renovation.

Here are two close up pictures of windows to see the before and after.

I love the look of old things. But, I have to say, I do love the crisp white and the beautiful rusty orange color on the detail.

We visited on a Sunday morning. So, it was busy with people coming and going to mass and visitors. In front of the mission, Indian women were cooking fry bread, beans, and various other foods to sell. Most of them were set up under rustic shade structures made with ocotillo branches...

Besides the main building, there were several other buildings, including a school, a little place to shop for Indian jewelry and souvenirs, and a little building with bells on top...

They had a small museum inside the main building where we could see more details of it's construction and artifacts from it's history. Here's a little passageway...I wonder where it goes?...

The ceilings in some of the rooms looked like this...

It was all very pretty but didn't compare to the inside of the church. The details inside were amazing...from what we could see. Mass was going on and the church was packed and people were spilling out of the doorway. We could only get a quick peek. For a picture of it it click HERE.

Nature is always one of my favorite things, no matter where we go. I loved looking at the various desert plants and cactus. I love the little tufts on this one, and the colors...notice the bits of purple...Isn't it beautiful?!...

The Saguaro cactus' are awesome. I loved looking at them as we traveled down the highway. I think they're soooo cute! :-) Here's one that was at the mission... I'm not sure what the holes are but I'm thinking that birds make homes inside these...

Here's a picture of's kind of like moss. I realize that I have lichen pictures from lots of different places. I never tire of the beautiful colors...

I was able to pop into a few of the yarn shops in town. My favorite was Grandma's Spinning Wheel. They had a lot of spinning wheels for rent and for sale, along with a variety of things that aren't common at most yarn shops. They were really nice too. I bought a niddy noddy from them. Other than that, I was good and resisted the tempatation of some pretty sock yarns at Kiwi Knitting Company. I'm trying to stick to my mission of stash busting! :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's Done!

I started this project last spring and I can now say that the Crescendo is finally finished!

It took much longer than I had expected. After all, it's just a long rectangle, right? Well, I learned that heavily textured knitting isn't quick. I also learned that it takes a LOT of yarn. There were many times that I knitted on it a lot and felt like I'd made a lot of progress, only to find out that it had barely grown and inch or two. The slowness of it and the neutral color caused me to leave it alone many times. That's why it took so long. But, the texture and amount of yarn add up to a thick and very warm shawl.

It is a vintage pattern(click "pattern" to see it). I love the texture and that it looks complicated, but it's actually very simple cabling. I used about 16 skeins of Filatura Lanarota Puno, 100% alpaca for this project. The yarn is soft and nice to work with but it is a bit hairy and has a bit of a smell to it. I'm hoping it will smell better when I wash it. I'm also hoping that washing and blocking will make the ends look nicer. The bind off end doesn't look exactly the same as the starting end and has some waves in it. But, I think I'll wait to wash and block it until next week. I had made several deadlines trying to finish it and my latest one was Valentines Day. Since it's so thick and we have damp rainy weather, I'm not sure if it would dry in time and I'd like to wear it on Saturday.

Since I've carried this around and worked on it for so long, it feels strange that it's done. However, I now have a world of knitting project opportunities open to me that I can start on without guilt of an unfinished project. Hmmmmm? What will I do next?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love at First Sight

If you've been reading my blog you know that I've been trying to work through my stash and not add to it. Well...sometimes... uh...I just can't help myself. Like last Friday night when I went to the LYS for a stitch night and saw this yarn...

It was love at first sight! The colors are sooo pretty! I normally can move beyond that. But...I picked it up and it was soooo soft. I immediately put it to my neck and fell even more deeply in love. I just couldn't leave the store without it!

It's "Misti Alpaca", 100% baby alpacca, hand dyed. I'm telling's heaven to touch and the colors...ohhhhhh soo pretty! There was only one skein but that's ok. It has 218 yards. I'm sure I'll find something wonderful to do with it. I'm thinking that a neck warmer or simple lacy something to wrap around my neck. I've been searching for just the right pattern.

Oh, make it even sweeter...It turns out that the shop gives a discount during your birthday month and...this is my birthday month! Woooo hoooo! Happy birthday to me! :-)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday Driving

We've been enjoying some much needed rain the past few days and it's expected to continue through most of the week! Hooray! However, it politely stopped at each of the many times this weekend that we had to load or unload the harp. Whew! That was nice! Our daughter had two performances this weekend and orchestra rehearsal on Saturday.

After catching up on some sleep Sunday morning, we decided to take a drive to the local mountains to enjoy the snow, hot cocoa, and the beautiful scenery. We drove home through Garner Valley and we were so glad we did because we saw this...

Isn't it beautiful?! We couldn't believe our eyes at how red the ground was with these plants. Here's what they look like close up, dripping with fresh rain...

This adorable little cabin was parked on a corner with a "for sale" sign. Notice the carved eagle on the railing and the bear cub peeking out from the dormer...

We use to go out exploring a lot but we haven't been doing it as much the past few years as life has become so busy and gas was so expensive for a while. So, days like this are a real treat! We're trying to get out there more often. I wonder what we'll find next? :-)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fun Friday Foto

I haven't been posting as often as I had planned. But, life hasn't been quite normal lately. Life got crazy busy before Christmas and stayed like that through January. Just when things started to slow down to a normal busy pace I got sick. I feel a lot better but I seem to be getting a very slow start to my days lately. So, I haven't been as productive as I'd like...which leads to less posts. That was a long way to the point. But, hopefully, you get the picture.

I haven't felt like working on my Crescendo shawl for a while. I guess I'm kind of tired of it, it's not a happy color to work on, and when I was sick I didn't feel like having alpaca fibers flying in my face. But, last night I worked on it a bit. Good news! I measured and I only have four inches to go!!! So, I hope to get time today and this weekend to work on it and finish up the knitting part. After that I'll have fringe (fun) and lots of tucking in of ends (I've used about 12 balls of yarn so far). I think I may, possibly, be able to wear it for Valentines Day! That was my newest goal. :-)

Since I don't have any knitty, fibery fun pictures to show today, how about this...

We recently found "Chicken Pie Diner" in Poway and each table had a little juke box. There was one at each of the tables that were next to a wall. We think they all connected to the main juke box and played over the main speakers. They looked old with heavy duty metal and thick round glass. They had lots of oldies songs from the 50's, some from the 60's and a couple from the 70's. The diner was filled with pictures and things to keep our eyes busy looking around the whole time we were there. The food was pretty good too.

We love finding little out of the way surprises like this diner. Our daughter seems to have so many harp performances and events to go to these days and we use that time to explore whatever area we are in to see what great things we can find. It's a lot of fun!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tiny Hats for Tiny Heads

Every Wednesday morning I meet up with a group of ladies at a local coffee shop for a little stitching and girl time. Last week, one of the ladies told us that her cousin had just lost her baby at 23 weeks and that she wanted to make some preemie hats for her cousin to donate to a hospital in Chicago. Without hesitation, we all wanted to help out. So, this Wednesday's meeting will be all about preemie hats. However, knowing how I don't always get a whole lot of knitting done when we get together, I decided to get a head start. So, here are two hats I've made...

They're a lot of fun to make and take very little yarn. Both of them are made from stash yarns. I don't remember what the white yarn is called but has tiny little loops that remind me of terry cloth and it's super soft. The pink, eyelet one is made from Bernat Satin and it's my favorite. I followed a pattern that I found on Ravelry. It's great because it has five different preemie hat patterns on one. I hope these hats are the right size. It's been so long since my daughter was a baby that I don't remember how small baby heads are to know if these are smaller still. But, each one will fit a special little someone. And, each one is made with love and a prayer for a healthy, wonderful life!