Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Summer Fun

Like everyone else in Ravel land, I have become, obsessed..with the February Lady Sweater. I tried casting on from stash in 3 different no avail. After 3 sets of 6" of garter stitch...I was not happy. I decided to order some old standby Peruvian Highland Wool in one of my favorite colors "Fiddlehead Green". Logging on, I noted a bag sail of "Superwash Bamboo Shaded Solids" (sold out or I'd link you...70% superwash worsted and 30% bamboo" in a kettled-dyed look shaded solid (my favorite flavor of solid color thank you!). The price was fabulous at $14.85 for a 10-ball bag. And the colors...a gorgeous "Cedar" and "Claret" caught my eye. They arrived on Friday and were cast-on at hospital Friday night. Look at the subtle color changes, admire the silk-like sheen of the bamboo!!!!

The yarn is soooo soft..I'm totally in love with the knitting of it....a nicely, smooth twisted 4-ply with the sproingyness of wool, the slightly more fluid drape/hand of bamboo, and much much softer against the skin than I'd anticipated. Like merino soft. Yes, the Cedar cried out to be February Lady Sweater.

Still waiting for summer weather's been mostly cool (50's...which is why I can work with wool...I saw you southern/western folks cringing!)
a little rainy, cloudy to partly cloudy. I like it but wish for a touch more sun for the sake of Vitamin D and mood and all. All the gardens are lagging about three weeks behind normal. It's effected several vendors at the local farmer's markets. As a gardener, I don't mind too much and am optimistic that this will just segueway into a longer cool autumn (equates with longer growing season here) instead of an earlier winter. Here are a few shots from my garden as of today.

The Siberian Irises are spectacular this year (year 4), as are the Trollius (year 3).

This bed is so far behind...and it gets as much sunlight as the others...

one thing I've noted lately, as my child begins her launch into the bigger role as a parent is shrinking acutely. it truly is a sense of loss...the question of "what do i do now" looms. it's a transition for everyone, and even though it's still quite a ways off before the cords of dependence are severed, they are certainly stretched. it can be quite uncomfortable at times.

how do i change my focus? i have hobbies (ok..obsessions)..a rewarding career...a good relationship...I am blessed beyond my wildest hopes frankly.....and yet I feel unsettled. Have you experienced this? How did you get through it? What did you do?

Knit on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Fun

Project: My Prismatic Scarf
Yarn: Manos-DK, 70% wool/30% silk (DC Souvenir yarn from WoolWinders)
Needles: KPOs #7s

Love the yarn, soft,supple, glowing color from the silk...the pattern...enh...i'll go another couple inches and decide if it's a keeper or not...

My knitting Mojo has turned into knitting NoGo.....every project I've started in the past month has been a disaster, frogged, etc. I started the February Lady Sweater 3 times in 3 different yarns and got about 6" into it and the frog pond. But since I am ever so determined....I ordered more yarn (isn't that the cure for everything?) and will try a do-over with an special offer (sold out now or I'd link you!) of wool/bamboo worsted. It should be here tomorrow or Friday (Day Off Whoo!) and I'll try yet again. Until then, you just get scarves and squares.

Me and BFF MK on another "Big Walk", Summer Solstice (yep, it was pouring!). But isn't my neighbor's Mock Orange Tree a stunner!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kitty Fun

Bella Blue and I were blog-surfin' this morning. We linked around a bit and found THIS

As you can see, she was very insistent that we enter the WHISKERS ON WEDNESDAY contest!

You can too! If you do, tell 'em we sent you over. And give a little credit to DarcyKnottyKnitter too! Have a great knitterly or kittenly day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Remodel Hell

It's been a while since i posted. Lots of stuff happening these days. Alaska summer (or at least what passes for same up here). It's been very cool and overcast mostly. A few sunny days here and there. The garden is trucking perennials.

I miss my kitchen/dining room/living room. I really hate living in chaos. I know it will be worth it and gorgeous when it's done, but gee, once things are torn out, you find more problems that need to be solved...such as...rewiring to code....subfloor support beams nailed in 1/2" lower than 2 other i guess it really wasn't earthquake/ground shift or whatever that caused our dining room to not be level with everything else on the first floor. Our house was built early 80s.....economic boom times here...not a lot of building code enforcement. sigh. oh well it will be done correctly now. just more delays in the final project.

But...I've been moaning about it for so long, I guess I'll share my misery.

Here is my galley kitchen with pass-through to the living room in the before pics. Nice , workable kitchen but the tile floor was cracked the length of the kitchen (definate earthquake related) and the counter tiles were cracked, some broken, grout coming out in little chunks all over, a bear to keep clean. The cabinets were OK but again, old, coming apart in places, a drawer door was gone, appliances were functional but not efficient...

We tore out the wall/passthrough between kitchen and living room, and will replace the tile kitchen floors and the old hardwood floors (remnant small pieces) in the living room with wide red oak plank flooring across the entire open sweep of kitchen/dining/living room hallway. Much more open and spacious...much cleaner feeling (if you don't count all the crap shoved into the living room right now..yuck!)

It will come to's just my patience that is getting a good workout.

Hope you and yours are enjoying the season. More soon.

Secret Project Teaser's wonderful peruvian Highland Wool in Harvest Heather.
Size 6 KPO's
Candle Flames pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury (the blue book).
Secret project.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Best of Times .....

I know...I know...bragging is so tacky. But I just can't help myself. And I really wanted to post these pics and memories before I forget too much. Part of my job includes periodic visits to assigned outlying villages. My villages are Mentasta and Chistochina which have road access between Glenallen and Tok in the Upper Copper River the edge of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

On an overcast spring morning (AFTER SCORING ELTON JOHN CONCERT TICKETSS!) I loaded up the Dodge pickup with the "Clinic in a Box" (one large suitcase full of disposable gloves, speculums, pap medium, assorted tools for obtaining various bodily fluids, doppler, drape sheets, gauze pads, IUDs, Implanons, etc...One tacklebox with prepacked antiobiotics, birth control pills, various hormones and other crap.), one large backpack with jeans/sox/underwear/tshirts/sweatshirt/hygiene products), 2 cases of bottled water, a small cooler with fruit/yogurt/cheese, large picnic basket of nonperishible foods and gourmet chocolates and utensils, large knitting bag with 2 projects, magazines and books, a map and 20 music CDs...filled up with gas (OWWWWCH!) and hit the road.

A long bit of the drive had me tracking the Matanuska Glacier...the edge of the sheet of ice you see there is 50ft tall in many places...gorgeous even with the overhanging clouds. Not much traffic heading north....summer places were just beginning to open for the season. Lots of sprucing up. On one roadside lake i noticed 2 large white duckbutts sticking up from the water. As I got closer, they righted themselves and I realized they were wild swans. I saw several more along the way. Gorgeous. I would've stopped and gotten pics but the lighting was just crappy. Also saw a 2 moose and a fox
along the way. Aahhh...I love Alaska.

I reached my destination for the night, the Hart D Ranch, a long time lodge and now B&B and RV camp. Located in Slana, it's operated for over 50 years by the lovely and gracious artist and
hunting guide ------- DeHart. This lovely little gem is really an oddity for the area. Art gallery, B&B, RV park, former hunting And it's for sale due to health/life/no family etc. Right on the edge of the Wrangell-St. Elias Park, it would be a great opportunity for the right person.

The next morning I drove another 20+ miles up the highway to the turn off for Mentasta......the tiny sign pointed to a narrow road..Mentasta 7 miles...

about 7 miles in...

Mentasta has quite a history of independence from the Federal Government and is one of the few remaining sovereign nations within the U.S. Reading these words causes an emotional response in many people..and controversy will always surround many issues of financial assistance, politics, and resource management. Amazing microcosm within America that few people are aware of. Check out the links for more info if you are interested.

Here is the building that houses the Clinic/Tribal Council Office/Community Center.

The clinic is staffed full-time by Nora, the Community Health Aide. She has worked there for over 7 years andis working on getting a larger, better equipped, stand alone clinic for the village. If she takes after her mom, notorious subsistence rights activist Katie John, she probably will get her way!

Overall the clinics both went very well. There are no microscopes, so you pretty much have to treat itches and drips empirically. Luckily Flagyl and Diflucan combined will cure a multitude of ills. And so will Zithromax and Rocephin. I also saw a lot of older postmenopause women. Which I've gotten out of the habit of seeing frankly in the last 4 or 5 months. Since we've been shortstaffed, management decided to bump the yearly exam patients over to Family Med Clinic. Set up LOTS of mammograms and colonoscopies. Did lots and lots of diabetes follow up and teaching and referrals. But all this means a trip to Anchorage for at least a couple or 3 days. Enough said.

I hit a few snow flurries in Chickaloon on the way back, but still a scenic and peaceful 5 hour drive. Had the weekend to catch up on laundry, but have been just crazy busy ever since!

I did finish weaving ends in on the Forest Canopy Shawl. And did catch up with my BFF MaryKay (mmmmwwwaaaahhh! Love you sweetie!) It was her birthday gift. She liked it very much I think!

On Friday night, May...., the man and I went to the Talkeetna Lodge for another fabulous "Wine Dinner"....mmmmmmm....6 course gourmet dinner.....7 lovely different wines to try....interesting and fun conversation with acquaintences old and new...and a nice hotel room with the husband I adore.

Have had LOTS of babies lately....

The remodel work at home is slow. The main floor of my house is gutted to the wall studs and subflooring. The dust is miserable. I have no idea where many of our belongings are. Cabinets should be going in next week or the week after. Floor should be releveled the week after that. The good news.....GRANITE counter tops. Yeah, changed my mind from the quartz composite after looking at over 170 different 8'x10' polished pieces of different types of granite at our local valley. This stuff looks like art. It took my breath away...swirls of deepest rust, charcoal, steel gray...and look, see those sparkling crystals...a half inch thick vein of amethysts running the length of the piece...stunning. I'll post pics maybe next week....

Oh...and I painted the exterior of my house over Memorial Day Weekend and the following few days! Whoohoo! Our house rises 3 stories on a very hilly lot. I have painted it with only an extension ladder in the past. Twice. But now I am older and much more fearful of breaking a bone. So...we rented...a BOOM LIFT! four wheel drive with a cherry picker basket...the man and i drove that thing around for 4 days. What a hoot!...Sadly, when I was at work one day...the man had a little run in with the back corner of our deck. We planned to paint the deck this weekend...but he'll be doing some board sawing and hammering for a day or so before we'll be ready to tackle that project.....

The Elton John concert last Friday night was INCREDIBLE. It was everything you could have hoped for. No opening act. No backup band. Just Elton and his piano. For over 2 hours straight. He was the consummate professional. Standing and bowing and waving to the audience. Taking sips of water between songs. His voice and music rang true even with the marginal acoustics of the Sullivan Arena. I was in awe. He opened with "Your Song" and crossed the decades with hits including "Crocodile Rock", "Benny and the Jets", "Rocket Man", "Candle in the Wind" and so many many many more. The tickets were well worth the money.

If you made it this far, you can see why I haven't posted much lately! I've hardly even knit much the past few weeks. Right now, in my WIP basket, there are the following items...

1) Soleil...almost finished but thinking about the frog pond...unless this softens up with blocking...i'm not going to like it.
2) Rippled Cardigan....Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece...the back is finished...not sure if I like it well enough to go on to the fronts. enh...but love the yarn.
3) Roped Shell cover from IWK Summer's Luna. Love it. Finished the cable bottom and now through the first pattern repeat....oh please let this's stunning and I LOVE the Luna...

So i will close for now. I plan to spend the rest of the day weeding in the perennial beds. I did make up the window boxes with pretty annuals. Due to the unusually cool weather we are having, few things have bloomed yet. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and getting what you want out of your life right now....may it also be your "best of times"! Knit on!