small sample of my crazy quilt embroidery

About Me

I am a consumate crafter. I knit, quilt both sane and crazy, scrapbook, bead, mosaics and any other thing I can think of along the way. Someday I also hope to do real glass jewelery and stained glass but those have to wait until I have room and more time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Hiking Holiday

With a sky like this how could it not be a perfect day. It had been forever since DH and I had gotten up the gumption to go out and hike in the Wichita Mountains. And with our time in Oklahoma slowly drawing to a close, we figured we better get our selves out there while the gettin' was good. So with a picnic lunch in tow, cameras strapped on and our walking shoes laced up, off we went.
The first walk of the day was to the Narrow's area of the Refuge. It is only a mile up and a mile back and for the most part it is not to strenuous. The Narrow's itself is carved by a stream thru a granite boulder canyon. The amount of water present depends on the season. Being at the end of a fairly dry summer left the pools of water low but still enough to be a cool oasis at the end of a hot hike.
These people were actually illegally rapelling down this small cliff!!
This is DH once we were down into the Narrows
After our hike out we found a shady picnic table and ate our picnic lunch with just the Blue Jay's to keep us company.
Our afternoon hike was planned for the Charron's Gardens area. The trail is officially 2.5 miles in and 2.5 miles back. But they don't tell you how much up and down you are going to do along the way. The first half mile in was thru cool shady woods. But very suddenly the woods go away and leave you with a spectacular view of the true back country wilderness.
The trail along the way had many places that are not well marked and I was glad that I had someone with me who had the intrepid pioneer spirit and was willing to lead the way. On the way in we took the more travelled path and found ourselves having to navigate over some monster boulders. Some of which were not all that close together. And in between-huge deep chasms that could snap a limb or even worse!!

This crossing almost got me!! I was pretty sure I was going to be done for.....
But we managed to get over and thru. Others on the trail turned back at this point so we felt pretty smug being able to still do this at our ages!! Again we passed thru some nice shady narrow areas..

And some wide open spaces..
We passed some deep canyons with rainbow walls

And then around the back side of Elk Mountain where many of the younger folks were climbing to the top the hard way. Not us old folks-we enjoy the view from a safe distance. See how tiny the people are in the picture-helps show the size and scale of these rocks.
The whole backside of the mountain
There were times when we had lots of human company on the trail and then times when all we met were these little guys...

There were balancing rocks, arches and small caves to explore along the way.

This is at the furthest point of the trail. Time to turn around and head back.
It didn't take much to decide we needed to go around the huge boulder area that almost ate our legs on the way in. The sites were not quite as amazing as it took us out of site of Elk Mountain. But after everything we had put our bodies thru we probably would not have made it over without some horrible mishap.
No one who hikes in the Refuge all day needs to have to go home and cook dinner. So we stopped on our way out in historic Medicine Park, Oklahoma to partake of some of its charm and to stoke our furnaces. We took a short riverside stroll past the old swimmin' hole and down to the dam, then headed back to eat at the Old Plantation Inn. We feasted on burgers bigger than the buns they came on and enjoyed the atmosphere of the old place. Then we strolled the river one more time before finally heading back to our ranch.......This was truly a day to be remembered as a highlight of all our days in Oklahoma

Random Snippets of Color

While so many suffered the wrath of Hurricane Ike last week, this beautiful sunset was all we had to endure. Both DH and I sat out in the backyard for about half an hour just soaking in the glory. Then I thought of actually taking a picture and went and grabbed the camera. Still not bad for the very last second.This amazing beauty has been in abundance in the zinna bed this last week. They are incredibly hard to photograph cause they are always in motion and don't trust humans with little black boxes hanging from their necks(cameras). And of course my only good pic is one where the zinna was in horrible shape, way past it's prime!!
This bountiful basket of yarns is already in the process of becoming a sweater. It is all fingering weight and hand dyed with natural materials. It is 75% wool/25% nylon, intended for sock knitting. But at 8 stitches per inch it is also perfect for a nice light weight fine gauge garment such as the Mismatched Stripes sweater by Fiona Ellis, shown in the Spring 2004 issue of Interweave knits. Once I started dyeing my own yarn it was easy to come up with the 8 coordinating colors needed for this design. I used cream(barely dyed with an exhausted walnut dye), pale pink(cochineal exhaust), medium pink(cochineal), red(very strong cochineal), maroon(cochineal overdyed with walnut), brown(walnut), tan(walnut exhaust with a very slight contamination with cochineal), and spruce(black hollyhock). In just a week I have managed to crank out the back for this sweater. I did have to make some design adjustments but I think I will save those explanations for when I have the actual sweater to show you.

Our move is still progressing a bit slow. The buyer has had a few minor hang-ups with his buyers but he let us know today that all is still well. So it may still be at least 3 weeks before we can hit the road. But we are feeling like we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yesterday we went out for a final hiking trip in the Wichita Mountains Wild Life Refuge. And with that I am going to close out this post so I can make another post dedicated totally to the amazing pics we were able to get on what had to be a perfect fall weather day. Stay tuned cause that post should follow in pretty quick order-Ciao

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Long Time in Coming

Isn't this a cute picture of Jack?? It seems knitting just exhausts him and he had to take a snooze after only a few rows on my current sock project!! But he does like magic loop and toe-up construction cause he can stop at any time and not worry about what he did with his needles!!
Unfortunately this sock did not stay on the needles much longer than it took to make this picture. I got just far enough to try it on and realize it was running a bit small. Which is too bad cause it was all cables and a way lot of work in just the few inches I got knit. And this was version 2 of this sock. Version 1 got knit quite a bit further and was way to tight. I have decided this yarn is just too thin to be knit on my size 0 circular so I will not restart till I get my act together and order a size 1, Addi turbo lace needle. Meanwhile I have plenty of other projects to keep myself more than occupied.
You may have completely forgotten about my aran cardigan I started last winter. It was intended to be a saddle shoulder design ala Elizabeth Zimmerman. I marched thru the body, trudged thru doing 2 sleeves at once on magic loop, I connected body and arms and sailed thru the yoke to find I did not like how it looked at all. So I frogged and reknit with some minor changes hoping to be happier with the end result. But no-not happy at all. So it sat all summer waiting for me to finish up other things and come back fresh to fix the fit problems. So I ripped out to the arm join once again and made the decision to take the easy way out and make her a raglan. Trusty, easy raglan. I still worked with EZ's basic raglan instructions which differ from book to book. I kind of took the middle ground each time her advice differed. I tried it on alot in the last few inches and thought it fit pretty well. Then came the scary part where I had to cut thru my very first steek. I read everything I could on steeks and made the bold decision to not reinforce my steeks cause they were plenty wide and I had knit with good sticky wool. So I just cut. Then time to pick up stitches for the buttonband. The steek edge never ravelled more than just into the first real stitch and I have handled it pretty roughly with picking up stitches and now having knit on the button band. I still may go back and crochet a row just inside the buttonband. Then wash the sweater and then trim up close to the crochet. Once it is washed the first time the yarn should felt itself just enough to not allow for any further ravelling. So all that is left to finish is to sew up the underarms, weave in ends, place the buttons and shorten the sleeves. Then I will block it and take a much better pic. Beleive me, I have tried this beauty on and it looks much better on me than in this photo.
I also finished up with some socks knit for a friend going thru chemo. These are simple garter rib, toe up socks made with Austermann Step yarn. It is very soft and the yardage is very ample. I did a garter stitch top instead of my usual ribbing and I very much liked the effect. I am hoping they fit her well and can warm her feet along with her heart while she sits for long hours of chemo.
Of course I have been dyeing since my last post. I did some indigo but since there are no pics to show I won't elaborate. I will do my best to get some pics taken and make a post all by itself. But I did get a pic of some wonderful brown obtained by just using some very immature pecans. I was under the impression that ripe hulls would naturally give more color. But several wonderful more experienced dyers filled me in on the secret. GO GREEN. So the other day after a good rain storm I found about 10 young pecans on the street. Into my pocket they went. I threw them into water, simmered for about 20 minutes and then let it sit a day. After straining I threw in some yarn and simmered for another 20 minutes. The little bit of yarn was dyed first in concentrated stock. It is a gorgeous dark brown with reddish overtones. The bigger bit of yarn was done with a slightly diluted stock and except for a littel lighter tone it is just as wonderful. I can't wait til I can dye up a much bigger batch of this awesome color.
The best news of this post is all about the house. It is finally really sold. That is the people who signed the contract to buy ours have sold theirs. Well as long as their home inspection goes well which with all my friends saying extra prayers for me, is a sure thing!! So hopefully next post I will be in real moving mode. And of course since my knitting travels with me I can always tell tales from the road!!