Tuesday, June 14, 2016

As The Needles Click

I have not been well for awhile. The last time I mentioned that things were not right was in April. I thought I was on the mend back then, but it wasn't to last. Since then I have visited many a doctor and been probed, scanned, and prescribed. After ruling out some really scary things, I made it to my nutritionist and it looks like we may have found an answer. I'm on a rather strict diet of meat along with certain fruits and vegetables now. I won't lie, I am mourning the loss of cheese, butter, and grains in my diet. (We just bought fancy cheese! Drat.) But if this works, I'll finally feel better.

While this has been going on, I've done my best to keep on knitting, designing, and being generally creative. I've had quite a few days of being exhausted, so progress has been slow. Never the less, I do have a little knitting to show off. I've been working on some shop samples. A baby giraffe hat and the cow variant of the baby giraffe hat.
After the second hat is complete, I'll put together the ears and horns

With all the doctor visits, I've snuck in a round or two of my Geographer socks. I was almost at the toe, but I noticed that there were two consecutive rounds that were rather loose. I don't want these socks to wear out prematurely, so I went ahead and ripped back a little to fix the problem.

Now that the Pucker socks are done, I feel I can use the white to mend my Sheep May Safely Graze socks. It turns out that the white I eventually chose, Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy, is really too weak for the heels. Heels are my wear point and after wearing the socks three different times, I have had to mend the heels two different times. I'm planning to rip out the heel (and maybe the toes for good measure) and replace it with some Baa! La Jolla in the La Perla color. I think the Rosy Green Wool will last just fine for the rest of the sock. I'm looking forward to being able to put my sheep socks back into regular rotation.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pucker

When I started the Pucker socks back in the beginning of January, I had visions of finishing them by the end of January. That didn't happen.

I didn't realize when I started that I was going to have to do a 72 stitch sock rather than my usual 64 stitch sock. 22% more sock knitting was going to go into these socks. When I do color work, I often end up doing a 72 stitch sock. No big deal, I told myself. I'll be done in February.

It took a bit longer than usual to get the leg to the length I wanted. I figured I wasn't used to the pattern. When I finished the first heel of the first sock, I read the gusset instructions, which said something like: decrease the gusset every third stitch because mosaic knitting is tighter and you'll need to space out the decreases. Aha! That is why it was taking so long. I needed to knit a third more rounds in order to get the length I needed. All in all, I was going to have to do 55% more knitting than my usual sock knitting amount. I gave up on guessing when I was going to finish.

By the time May rolled around I had come to terms with the fact that I was going to be knitting these socks for the rest of my life. So after finishing some deadline knitting and decided that I was going to be completely monogamous with these socks. Why not? We were clearly going to have to get used to each other now that we were spending the rest of our lives together.

Lo and behold, after spending time on these socks and only these socks, they decided to finish themselves. Maybe they realized how long our lives were really going to be. One sock is slightly bigger than the other. (I'm putting that one on my bigger foot.) And now I can knit new things!

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Midsummer's Night Knit

At Stitches West in 2014, I got to talking with the wonderful people over at Dragonfly Fibers. I left with a skein of yarn and a plan. Despite my vision, the stitches didn't play nice... until now. I'm so happy to present to you all the two piece collection: A Midsummer's Night Knit.

The first piece of the collection consists of the Titania Cowl. The cowl has a triangular bottom that is blended into a more traditional cowl shape. I'm always surprised by how even a gauzy bit of knitting can provide so much warmth. I was pretty cold when we took these photos.... until I put the cowl on.

The second piece to the collection are the Oberon Mitts. Fit for a fairy king... or those who aspire to be fairy royalty, these mitts have a leaf motif on the top of the hand as well as in the thumb gusset.

Both the cowl and mitts can be made from one skein of Damsel. I used the Spanish Moss colorway.

The collection, which is at a discounted price together, can be found on the bear-ears.com and ravelry. They can also be purchased individually. The Titania Cowl can be found at these links: bear-ears.com, ravelry, and craftsy. The Oberon Mitts can be found at these links: bear-ears.com, ravelry, and craftsy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dinosaur Ridge/ Rocky Mountains Pt.2

The next morning, we all got up at a rather early hour to hike in the Rocky Mountains. Mason would have liked to sleep in, but I saw that a storm was coming through, so early morning it was.

The highest I'd ever hiked to was 10,000 ft. Today we were going to be at 11,000. I was glad to have spent time in Denver (5000+ft) to have had a chance to acclimate from our usual 100ft above sea level.

The destination was Dream Lake. I grumbled a bit going up the mountain. It was cold and I, unlike Connor and his family, haven't ever lived through a white winter. Snow is something you drive to and have a day in. 
On our way up we saw a Dusky Grouse. It made a mating call at me. Connor said something about me being "taken." On and on we went until we made it to the lake... or so we thought. Other helpful hikers let us know that we were at Nymph Lake. Thanks guys.
Nymph Lake

The trail was unclear, so the groups who were going on to Dream Lake split up. We wandered to the left. The views were unbeatable.

Turns out we did not take the right trail. Our trail eventually met up with the proper trail: the one with stairs. After slipping around for around an hour, we made it. Dream Lake. The jokes about why Dream Lake was called Dream Lake started to come out: You'll dream about reaching it... etc. 
Dream Lake

We climbed back down the icy trail much faster that we did going up. I might have crouched down and "skiied" with my shoes down some steep bits. When we reached the bottom, Connor's mum decided she was cold enough and went back to the car. The rest of us went around Bear Lake, which was so white that I didn't realize I had gone all the way around and almost went around a second time. I'm glad Connor noticed that the trail looked familiar again.
Dream Lake

The next morning, before going back to the airport, we stopped by the Stanley Hotel. The Stanley Hotel is most famous for being in The Shining... or as Connor pointed out, "It was in Dumb and Dumber!" Yeti couldn't help but take a selfie in front of it. 

I'm glad we were able to spend some quality time with part of Connor's family. Vacations that have a bit of adventure in them are my favorite. I hope it isn't long before we are able to join them again.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dinosaur Ridge/ Rocky Mountains Pt.1

A little over a week ago Connor and I visited Colorado for the first time to meet up with part of Connor's family. Connor's father had a work meeting, so Connor's Mum and brother joined him. We flew into Denver quite late, looking forward to the next day's adventures. Connor's father had one more day of meetings, so the remaining four of us went out to see what could be seen. And what we visited first was my choice: Fancy Tiger Crafts. I've been curious about the shop for years, but never thought I'd get to visit it myself. It's lovely! I didn't take any pictures since I was busy petting yarn. Then I was disciplined and left with nothing....
Just kidding! I have no discipline when it comes to yarn. But these are the last skeins for a long time. I really need to knit down the stash... or give some away... or something. It isn't fitting anymore.
Hue Loco Tweed Sock in Fuschia and Fancy Tiger Crafts Heirloom Romney in Poppyseed

After Fancy Tiger, Connor's brother Mason gave us some options of where we could go.
Mason: We could see Red Rocks or Dinosaur Ridge.
Me: What's at dinosaur ridge?
Mason: Dinosaur footprints.
Me: Dinosaur footprints?!?!
So we went to Dinosaur Ridge.

We opted to walk up the road rather than do the official tour. It was much more relaxing to go at our own pace. We walked up the hill and saw that there was a point of interest. I'll say. Look! It's a dinosaur track. It looks grey because some charcoal has been added to help make the track more visible.
Connor's hand for scale

Then we looked up.... More tracks. It was so cool. Just the day before I had been talking about my personal goal in life to see dinosaur bones. I didn't know dinosaur footprints were a possibility.

Now these prints were quite neat, but they weren't from my personal favorite dinosaur: the brontosaurus. But further up the road I got to see it: a cast of a brontosaurus foot. This was created when a brontosaurus stepped into soft mud. Eventually the underpart eroded, leaving a cast of the foot. The smooth bit you see is the underside of the foot. You can even see its nails. This guy was facing towards the left.

It started to rain as we say the brontosaurus print, but there was one more point of interest up the road. I'm glad the rain didn't deter us, because I was finally able to fulfill my lifelong goal of seeing a dinosaur bone in person. There were bones embedded in the rock everywhere. This area had been discovered when the road was being put in and the scientists decided to leave some bone so that people could see what they looked like still encased.
Connor's arm for scale

We walked back the way he had come, chatting along the way. Before heading back into Denver, we took some pictures by the dinosaur statues.

That evening, after picking up Connor's father, we drove to Estes Park, the entrance to the Rocky Mountains.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Being Still

It has been slow going here at the Bear Ears household. After getting better from one illness, another set in. And as I started to recover again, my poor computer developed a crack in its screen. (I was told it was flaw, not something I had done. I knew that. I baby the thing and the crack appeared while sitting quietly watching a video.) All of this occurred right before leaving for a trip we had been planning for a few months. Knowing that there was no way to go on the trip unless I got better, I dropped everything and became still. I'd forgotten how important it is to have times of silence and thoughtfulness. I had run myself down much lower than I had realized. Not just physically, but emotionally and creatively as well. Being sick was a blessing in disguise. 

While being more still, I also was able to finish up a design that has been in the works for the past two years. (Knitting counts as still, right?) It is off with the test knitters at the moment. It is everything I wanted it to be and it only took many months of hair pulling to get it right.

As with everything else that has slowed down, so has the sock knitting. Two months ago I was putting the toe into my Pucker sock (left) and working on the heel of the striped sock (right). I've hardly made it down the leg of either second sock.

I do have a little bit of happy yarn news though... well happy for me. While we were gone on our trip, a new skein of yarn appeared in my mailbox. I purchased it in March and waited to have it dyed. It is the Monopoly Money color way from Desert Vista Dyeworks. It is pretty and I love it. It seems like the kind of future socks that would be great to wear at a game night.

I'm a bit more motivated to get a sock done so that I can play with my new yarn. Mmmm.... new yarn.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prance Past The Poppies

These socks have been a long time coming. Back in 2014 I was knitting away at these socks. Life got in the way as it likes to do. But with the help of my friends, the socks have been tested and tweaked. I am pleased to finally show off the Prance Past The Poppies socks.

Knit from the top down, Prance Past The Poppies are inspired by the California Poppy display that can be seen in Antelope Valley, California around March and April. These poppy socks are meant to be a cousin to the Fern Canyon socks, another California inspired pair of socks.

So forget about tip toeing through the tulips. It is much more glorious to Prance Past The Poppies.

The Prance Past The Poppies socks are now available on ravelry, bear-ears.com, and craftsy.
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