Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Watching the Sun Go Down Again

Every day the sun is not completely hidden by clouds, I like to watch it settle into the hills(as you can probably tell by all my sunset pix!). Here we are perched on the path up the hill behind the chicken coop, me, my blue heeler Janie, and my calico cat Sheba. Sheba likes to walk and wander in the woods with me and Janie, too. They're very pleasant company(except when Janie rolls in deer poop!)

Monday, January 29, 2007

I've Seen It Raining Fire in the Sky

Today's gift, utterly unique, never to be duplicated. Of course there's an infinite string of gifts to come. All I can say is "Thank You!" Where were you when the sun went down?

"Blood knowledge, oh, what a catastrophe for man when he cut himself off from the rhythm of the year, from his unison with the sun and earth. Oh, what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and setting of the sun, and cut off from the magical connection of the solstice and equinox. This is what is wrong with us, we are bleeding at the roots..." D.H. Lawrence

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I'm a Pyro-thang

Even though a fire has been living in the woodstove since the middle of October, I was in the mood to build a fire, so I made a big one. Got some exercise throwing logs and stumps around(had a little bit of help from my son). It felt sooooo good to sit by the fire at the end of the day and watch the sun go down. Eventually I'll put the ashes on the corn patch in the garden(free lime).
This is a special place I like to visit on the hill behind the house. We call the hill Indian Hill because the local rumor is that Indians are buried here--they brought up rocks to cover the graves, that's why there are so many rocks. The hill is a huge deep rock pile. Probably a pile pushed together by the glacier that carved the Willamette Valley. This small pile of moss covered rocks nestled into mossy tree roots is just plain pretty. The squirrels think it's nice too, every once in a while I find a nibbled mushroom or a dissected pinecone left atop a rock. This light on the rocks only happens a few minutes on the few days the sun is shining through the trees in this particular place as it sweeps across the western horizon year to year.
The sun and the rocks and the moss and the trees. I laid down in the leaves to get the angle. I really didn't want to get up. After all that log tossing I was ready for a nap.

Chicken Hike

Buttercup, Tasty, Yummy and Sucky(short for succulent) go for a little hike up the hill.
Time for some trail mix!
Everybody stay with your buddy!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Me and My Shadow

Lately I've been intrigued with including my shadow in pictures insteading of getting an angle without it. Shadow as portrait, or just enough of a portrait, just enough to include my presence in spirit. Or as a fleeting image, just like I see a familiar bird shadow sly over the land, or the flash of a deer's white tail as it disappears into the firs. (I did mean to say "fly" instead of "sly", but then I thought "sly" sounded right, too.) Shadows can be reality seen distorted, or in a new way. Here I have long tall legs, the better to walk this land of up and down.

My daily shadow walking the dog.
I really liked this one in black and white. I like how the real grass and the real tree is light in front of their dark shadows, but there is only my shadow, not the real me ;0)

Cloud Watching

Today the clouds flew in feathers and scrolls. I think these are called "mare's tails", which foretell a change in the weather, the arrival of a warm front. The barometer is going down, and it is usually windy here before a front--so my guess is RAIN! (like that was hard!)

The short little contrail shows how hard the wind is blowing at that high altitude.


January 13, 20’s all day, cloudy, occasional fine snow

I love being out in the cold air. It’s a dry cold and it feels so clean and healthy. Being out in it, walking or chopping wood, I feel like I’m breathing in a good medicine, purifying and cleansing. Out with the bad air, in with the good air; out with stale thoughts and clouded vision, in with new true thoughts and clear seeing, fresh and alive. This air doesn’t carry dust or smells, just a clean invigorating energy that wakes up all the senses, sharpens and fine tunes them. And then to look at the blanket of snow and realize it is made of uncountable snowflakes, each individual and unique in its account of the forces upon it as it traveled to earth. (I wonder if this air is part of the addiction of Alaska?)

And then there is the silence. Nothing moving, no wind. Occasionally the teeny tiny tink of fine snow flakes(or perhaps unsprouted snowflake seeds?) I hear them before I can see them.
Saw a red headed sapsucker peck a fencepost, its vermillion toupee vibrant against the winter-grey world. And then a Stellar’s blue jay, BLUE!

January 15

Tonight an arctic sunset(as I imagine it)--fire all along the horizon. The snow has “devolved” into sand, tiny glass balls. The snowflakes have lost their points. The snow evaporates during the day, yet grows again in the night as frost crystallizes from the thin air. The frost grows in long, tiny daggers.

January 16

Today the land is among the clouds. Fog, mist, ether. Freezing rain, then an inch of snow in the early morning. Quiet--not silence, but quiet, still small noises. A gentle bird whistle, a shift of a branch balancing its snow.

After noon the birds came out, calling to each other. Lots of bird tracks stitching everywhere(why are they walking so much, or do the tracks just reveal how much they do walk?). Curious thawing shapes in the pond, stars with arms shaped like roots branching outward.

January 26

A boldly wandering east wind makes the trees sing. I love to listen to it, and spend time outside chopping wood, walking, cleaning up the garden. The wind is cold, yet not-cold--as I work and warm up it all comes to a perfect balance of sweat and cool.

The coltsfoot is swelling with pale green knobs, daffodils and irises have begun pushing up their blades. Dovefoot geranium and miners’ lettuce have put up the first “seed leaf”, and also a tiny and delicate, yet headstrong first true leaf, even under the remaining rotten snow. Many deer out today, weaving the firs, flashing into the bush, as if the wind excites them to run for the heck of it. Buds reddening and swelling on the Indian Plum and catkin trees(birches, hazelnuts, alders). The swiss chard is shoving up new leaves.

Half moon skimming the treetops midday, bright overhead at night. The stars truly are like diamonds in the sky. Venus sits full and satisfied (a 50 carat diamond’s worth???)above the horizon in the long remnant red of dusk.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

(ok I admit it)A Free People KnockOff

I saw this hoodie in last years Free People catalog, and had to make it. It's the first sweater I've "knocked-off". I had all the colors in my stash. I used worsted wools and wool blends. I knit it top down from the neck, and went up from the neck for the hood. It has 3/4 sleeves, and scalloped crochet edgeing in a favorite color-magenta(that was a sock weight wool). Another drawstring, and mismatched buttons finish it up. I did add the texture in the stripes with occasional garter ridges.

I like mixing heathers with solids in stripes, I think it gives an added depth or some sort of interesting energy to the pattern. Heathers: light blue, brown, med grey, bugundy, fir. Solids: hot pink, rust, cream, hunter green, lime.

Christmas Sweater 2006

This is sort of a knock off of a little short sleeve printed longjohn top in this winter's Anthropologie catalog. I made mine in worsted wool of various brands from the stash. The main color is a nice marl of cream and taupe. I added the drawstring because I love drawstrings and it adds a folky touch.
I used red, burgundy, charcoal, heather grey, olive, lime, and sky blue and the cream marl.
The charcoal snowflake came from an old museum sweater in the book Nordic Knitting, by Susan Pagoldh.

Personal FO's

Here's a few sweaters I made last summer. I really like this shape on me--cap sleeve yoke cardigan. The first sweater is made from yarn I bought at Stitches away way long time ago when they used to be in Portland. It is a dk silk/viscose blend in a beautiful chartreuse(greeny gold)--not the yellow here. I had 18 skeins and had the problem of coming up with something to use up that yarn. I chose a simple lace pattern that I could make decreases within easily around the neckline, and I used the yarn doubled. I ended up using every scrap of that yarn(I win!). I like to wear this over tank tops or a long sleeve t or turtleneck. And guess what, chartreuse was "in" this fall. I loved this color/yarn, it went well with so many colors as an embroidery yarn, or used just a teeny bit in fair isles. I also used it is a few 2-strand Prism-type-tied-together mishmash projects and it was such a lively spark.
This cardi I knit in Cherry Tree Hill's North Country Cotton(mill ends), and used Classic Elite Provence for the crab st edging. The last lace zigzag repeat works the decreases in by being a smaller version of the zigs gone before. I used up every scrap on this one too, coming out just right.

What's On the Hat Rack

Recycled Poncho

I started out 7-8 years ago and made a table runner for Thanksgiving. Then I decided I really liked the colors, and made enough squares for the fronts and back of a sweater, and planned to knit the sleeves. It sat and sat, I decided I didn't have enough brown for the sleeves, and couldnt' find anymore. So I sewed it together in a poncho. And it hung on my peg rack awhile, never worn though, since in the end I realized I'm not a Poncho Person. So the other day I took it apart and made a table runner...
And a square "table topper".
And now I'm happy. I really like the colors(these pix don't show them very well, alas): espresso, milk chocolate, cinnamon, saffron, mustard(spicy colors), plum, violet, hot pink, magenta, coral, persimmon and teal and royal in Tahki Cotton Classic and Classic Elite Provence.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Design Big--Seattle Space Needle

The Space Needle is one of my favorite Big Design Objects. Here are a few pix my dad took in 1962, at the World's Fair where the Space Needle made its big debut(Thank You Daddy!). It seems so shiny and brand spanking new in these pix. Just goes to show great design is always fresh and mind-boggling! Even after 45 years!

Here are some fun design facts from the Official Space Needle website:

"Construction, managed by the Howard S. Wright Construction Company, progressed quickly. An underground foundation was poured into a hole 30 feet deep and 120 feet across. It took 467 cement trucks an entire day to fill the hole, the largest continuous concrete pour ever attempted in the West. Once completed, the foundation weighed as much as the Space Needle itself, establishing the center of gravity just above ground.
The five level top house dome was completed with special attention paid to the revolving restaurant level and Observation Deck. The top house was balanced so perfectly that the restaurant rotated with just a one horsepower electric motor. In keeping with the Century 21 theme, the final coats of paint were dubbed Astronaut White for the legs, Orbital Olive for the core, Re-entry Red for the halo and Galaxy Gold for the sunburst and pagoda roof. The 605-foot tall Space Needle was completed in December 1961 and officially opened a mere four months later on the first day of the World's Fair, April 21, 1962.
The Space Needle's elevators were the last pieces to arrive before the opening, the last one just one day before the fair opened. New, computerized elevators were installed in 1993. The elevators travel 10 mph, 14 feet per second, 800 feet per minute, or as fast as a raindrop falls to earth. In fact, a snowflake falls at 3 mph, so in an elevator during a snowstorm it appears to be snowing up.
Storms occasionally force closure of the Space Needle, as they did for the Columbus Day storm of 1962 and the “Inauguration Day” storm of 1993 when winds reached 90 miles per hour. The Needle is built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour. The Space Needle has withstood several tremors, too, including a 2001 earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale. The tallest building west of the Mississippi River when it was built, the Space Needle has double the 1962 building code requirements, enabling the structure to withstand even greater jolts. "

I really like how the speed of the elevator matches rain speed. And my first thought after hearing about the Seattle earthquake in 2001 was that it must have been quite a ride in the Space Needle, and wished I'd been there ;0)!!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Princess Has Taste


A childhood friend, Lavonne, crocheted this lace for me as a wedding gift. I hung it on this window as a curtain because I like to look through it to the woods and sky beyond. Today we were in the clouds, and the mist simplified shapes into paper cutouts. Some shapes are just as delicate as this lace, like the twisty oaks branches and the feathery firs.
My eyes are used to seeing lots of detail and variations in the color of the skin of the forest--mosses, lichens, leaves, bark, a thousand greens and browns. It is refreshing to see things simply, to see only outlines. Everything is shades of one color--grey. Occasionally the sky would brighten with the flat white disc of the sun, letting me know the tops of the clouds and a brilliant blue sky were just beyond the treetops.
Each tree becomes an individual, and I can easily see how the tree uniquely fills its space. The mist dampens sound in the woods, it is very quiet. And yet the small noises of a bird seem amplified, more intimate and near. I can hear the first tap of the tip of a deer's hoof as it clips the snow.
This is Good Medicine.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today's Walk

Freezing rain fell this morning, and then an inch of snow. Somehow this combination of particular weather made the snow stick to the twig parts of the fir branches--usually the snow collects more blobbily. And so the structure of the fir's branching is revealed...
And is similar to the structure of little bird feet, in the angles between the toes. I found delicate little bird tracks everywhere today, looking like schematics for a dance step. The bird tracks collect in circles round the base of trees, and hop in long trails out in the open. A lot of walking/hopping to find food. I saw Stellars Jays, Juncos, Towhees, and Winter Wrens out and about. Other forest critters were out looking for food as well. Deer travelled their paths and stopped to nibble old blackberry leaves, and paw in the snow for something-anything green. Down around the pond raccoon prints lay on top of my own footprints of the day before.
The rose hips are particularly plump and glowing this year, a carmine orange-red.
My camera lense got wet in my pocket(bad but serendipitous girl!), but I loved the blurred effect it happened to make here. See how the four trees grow together as one. For the most part each bends to the outside, away from the others to arrange its own branches to best capture light. They still fill the same spherical space a lone oak would, but are sharing, playing well together.

A Room With A View

In the morning I like to sit at the table, drink my mocha and "do" the computer(like I used to read the paper). My kitten comes to sit with me...she's probably watching the blue jays pick through the compost I throw out in the garden. (Like my rabbit skin "doily"?)
I found this stump up on the hill. My hubby drew our initials on it with a chainsaw: DP+CP in a heart. I didn't know it was there! It's a perfect place to sit and watch the hillside.
The day ended with fire in the sky, all along the horizon, almost 180 degrees worth. As I took this picture I heard the small "chuff" of deer hooves in the snow. Two deer were going down to the pond to drink in the dusk. They stopped to look at me, too, drinking in the dusk in my own way.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

In the beginning was Pink

Every morning when the sun comes up naked, unveiled by clouds, there is a moment when the light and the air it travels through is a warm coral pink, everywhere and on everything. Today that pink was breathtaking on the snow. I had to run outside(because the light is that fast) to try to get a picture, but of course the camera couldn't even begin to get the pink. PINK--hibiscus pink, shell pink, grapefruit pink, rose pink, a fleeting, rare, surprising tropical summer tint in the middle of winter's black and white and shadow. This photo may look blue, but imagine a lush pink band along the horizon and glowing through the trees and upon the snow. The far hills to the west were glowing pink as well, pure pink on the snow. What the camera did get was the brilliant rays of the sun, so sharp and daggery. And then, just like that, the pink was gone. And the clouds rose up and hung above for the rest of the day.
Here's a shot of my "under 25 degrees outside/under 60 degrees in the house sweater". A fairisle in bulky wool, it's almost windproof. It's too hot to wear in any warmer conditions, but perfect in these last cooold days. An old scandinavian braid technique trims the collar and cuffs and hem, and it's long enough to cover my butt, and the sleeves go almost to my knuckles. "Just right" like Goldilocks said, for the weather I wear it in. I love it when I can make something(anything) that works well for the task it's needed for. And it's just right for walking in the snow, or chopping wood.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow Day

After the whirlwind of banging out 5 sweaters(and Christmas!) it was so refreshing to walk in the snow, in the clear cold air, and even get a little sunburned cheeks(vitamin D!). The forms of oak boughs were beautiful, detailed with a trace of snow.
These almost remind me of a bouquet of snakes...
The pond is starting to freeze over with these curious circles--what makes them? Can you find the smiley face? The pattern looks like cells dividing, or frog eggs with the dark nucleus.


The camera kept catching sunbows. Off the back deck...
Up on the hill...
Down by the pond...

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Biggest Christmas Present I Ever Got

My grandpa was a builder and he built this playhouse for me and my sister when I was about five. He built it in his yard, and we had fun watching it grow and playing in it even when it was just framed.
Here is the little kitchen, with a working(unplugged)stove, a tiny refrigerator, and a sink that ran water when you hooked up the hose. It also had outlets, and lights, and a heater.
When it came to our house it was like a parade, he brought it on a flatbed trailer and everyone stopped to see the castle go by.

We spent a lot of time in the castle, even in high school, doing homework, working on projects, or hanging out with friends. I'm the one with kneesocks, with my sister.

My Place in the Sun

My Place in the Sun

Ribular Hat and Mittens

Ribular Hat and Mittens
Buy my pattern at Ravelry! (Click pic!)

Jambo Afghan

Jambo Afghan
Buy my pattern at Ravelry! (click pic!)

Where You Can Find My Knit Designs

  • ZigZag Yoke Pullover for Women/Classic Elite Yarns
  • Swing Coat/Cherry Tree Hill Yarns
  • Generation Gap Kid's Scarf and Hat/Fall 2006 Knitter's Magazine
  • Doodles Hat and Pullover for Kids/Fall 2006 Knitter's Magazine
  • Headin' East Women's Kimono Jacket/Fall 2006 Knitter's Magazine
  • Snow Bunny Girl's Cardigan/January 2007 Creative Knitting Magazine
  • Snowman Dance Kid's Pullover and Ornament/November 2006 Creative Knitting Magazine
  • Monster Pillows/September 2006 Creative Knitting Magazine
  • Pebble Rib Women's Jacket/September 2006 Creative Knitting Magazine