Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Breath of Cool Air in God's Country

God's country...that would be Idaho. Four days of breezes and altitude and cool nights and no air conditioning necessary in Sun Valley visiting my friend Marge, the secret knitter. It was wonderful. Here is the view from Marge's terrace!

And for a bit of kitty content, here is 18 year old Spike being walked on his leash on that terrace.
The BF and I went for the opening of the spectacular new amphitheatre in Sun Valley, complete with an amazing performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and mezzo Denyce Graves. But we managed to catch the Sun Valley Arts Festival in Ketchum, too. 100 booths of carefully chosen artists from around the country.

How's that for scenic surroundings? It rained for the first time in quite a while that first morning, but the sun broke out just in time.

Booth after booth after booth of sculptures and glass and wooden carvings and pottery and paintings and jewelry. Strolling and perusing made for an interesting afternoon.

These overalls were actually a sculpture made from buttons and glitz. Oddly enough, there was little fiber related goodies, just one weaver. The BF snagged a bronze sculpture of two crows sitting on a pedestal. I fell hard for two of the jewelers there from California but didn't make the big purchase, although I'm still debating. Teri Pelio worked with Hill Tribe silver in stunning designs and Sally Bass with a lot of vintage bakelite. Here is one of Sally's necklaces done with shell, peridots set in silver and green pearls.The flowers in Ketchum are stunning everywhere. You really feel you are in a Swiss village. The food is wonderful. Jeff at Vintage is so creative, blueberry pancakes and celebrity spotting at Christina's bakery, dinner on the terrace at the Lodge.

Hemingway is buried in his beloved Ketchum next to Mary. I'm not sure what the tradition is for leaving coins on his grave, but there are plenty of them.

The gravestones are under this little bouquet of trees in a cemetery with headstones dating to the earliest settlers, or possibly passersby who didn't make it further.

One morning we headed out in the crisp of dawn, over the Galena Pass to Stanley just to have sourdough pancakes at the Baking Company. Definitely worth the early wake-up and the drive. For many years, Stanley had a national weather station which regularly posted the coldest temperatures in the country. The weather station has moved elsewhere and there is not much left in Stanley but a few hardy souls, including the two sisters who run the bakery and are renovating an old, old log built hotel there.

We continued up the road, following the Salmon River from it's modest headwaters into full blown raging rapids. Impressive. We stopped at the salmon hatchery project, which I thought would be boring but was anything but. They've been working at it for years, trying to reintroduce sockeye back into the streams and had almost given up. Last year only 4 or 5 made it upriver, the year before 2. This year to date...111 and it's only mid season!!! No one knows why they are suddenly showing up but it is causing a lot of excitement. It was fascinated to watch these big fish, some spotted and some very red, leaping up the series of ladders. We also visited Redfish Lake, high in the mountains, which got its name from the fact that there were so many salmon in it that it looked solid red. No more. Knitters, Nancy Bush is teaching at a retreat there in September at the Lodge. I would soooo love to be there.
You may note in both the above photos that the clouds are hanging almost below us in the valleys. Mysterious. A bedraggled group of hikers arrived while we were there. Said they had been pelted during the night by hail for a couple of hours, ripping all their tents to shreds. There is a lot of hiking done in Idaho. As lush as all these photos look, there is a lot of parched, desolate and empty land between Salt Lake City and Sun Valley.
You ask, was there any knitting involved on this trip? Well yes, some. I took two projects, one was Rivolo, a Little Nothing Scarf from Anne Hanson of Knitspot, supposed to be an easy travel project. Well, I think my knitting was negative on that one. Although certainly not a difficult pattern, I couldn't keep track of it when with people. Think I knitted it back to break even, or perhaps a couple of repeats more on the plane ride home. But the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Seduction in Rooster Rock is beyond beautiful. Love working with it.
And then there was a bit of progress on Argosy. I had hoped to find a skein or two of different colors of Noro Silk Garden to add in, but Isabel's in Ketchum has stopped carrying Noro. Darn. Here is the Argosy Wrap with five different colored skeins knitted in, definitely the shawl that will go with everything in the closet.

Marge hadn't been into the knit shop all summer, waiting for my visit. We went together and I did allow myself one purchase at Isabel's. A glorious skein of Blue Heron Mercerized Cotton Lace. There is 1000 yards in the skein, enough for Hanami or possibly Muir. We shall see what it wants to be when it has time to mature in the stash awhile. Marge bought several colors of Koigu to use in a pair of stranded mittens.

On the personal front, Steven is hanging in there, although there is some concern that the leukemia is trying to come back. They are taking him off all the anti rejection drugs to let his donor's system fight it full out. We shall see. There is finally some hair starting to grow on the back of his head. We are so accustomed to "bald is beautiful" that we will have to readjust. And 89 year old Dear Dad is being basically thrown out by Stepmother so I've put down a deposit on an assisted living apartment for him and am scrambling to set everything up and buy an apartment's worth of smaller scale furniture to move in when the current tenant decamps. Fun, fun, fun. I am so not a shopper.

Sadly, CairoKate's brother Robbie lost his battle with leukemia today. My heart goes out to her and her family. I noticed at the Baylor Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic today that they are having a bone marrow donor drive this Sunday at the Highland Park Methodist Church on the SMU campus from 10 to 2:30. It is free and only involves a cheek swab, no blood donation necessary. If any of you have been meaning to sign up, this is an excellent opportunity. We bless Steven's donor every day.

Did I mention it rained yesterday? Totally wonderful glorious rain. I went out in the garden and stood in the rain in the middle of the night. The temps have been down for a few days, although it hit 100F on Thursday. This morning is a frigid 71F with a high of only 88F expected. Just a hint that the heat will be over before too long.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Shawl of Many, Many Colors...Noro of Course

How are all of your summers coming along? Not as miserably hot as ours in Texas I hope. Several days in a row of 100F plus temperatures have reduced me to a quivering lump of humanity, emptied my brain and drained my energy. One day my garden thermometer said 108F. The air was so dry you couldn't suck it into your lungs. Then after a couple of rumbling thunderstorms accompanied by a pathetic few raindrops, the heaviness of the humidity made it feel you could drown in plain air. Yes, it's true, I'm not a devoted fan of high temperatures.

Still managing to knit a tiny bit, although holding a lapful of wool is not the most pleasant sensation in stifling heat. But having been totally inspired by a wonderful Argosy Wrap (from In a Happy Camper) done in Noro Silk Garden draped over a rack at The Shabby Sheep, I came home and tossed out some stash and dove in. I'd been meaning to make this for years, in fact had challenged CelticMemory to join in with me last year. Of course, the colors I had in stash didn't work so well together, so I've actually frogged a couple of skeins back out of it. And since you probably know of my aversion to blue, you won't be surprised that I have removed whole sections of it from the skeins as I knit. In the photo, you see a little ball of extracted blue which is going to BookGrump, a worthy cause. It will end up decorating an Amigurumi of some sort, I'm sure.
Here is an early photo. I'm double this by now as it is a very addictive knit. I originally intended to use eight skeins, all different. But I couldn't begin to find eight skeins that would work together even after hitting two LYS. Argosy may have to marinate a bit until I can locate another skein or two without blue in them. Or much red. One of the skeins I frogged out was the most beautiful red but it totally clashed with the other colors and finally just had to come out. Stupidly, I forgot to take a photo before frogging all those skeins. It would have made an interesting study. My knitting group was pretty much laughing at me, but I knew it would always bother me, so out it came.

I thought this would be perfect travel knitting for an upcoming jaunt, but it seems not so much. It's getting heavy and a bit bulky, so I need to search for something else to take along. Not boring but not so complex I can't talk and knit. Not heavy for sure (thank you airlines). Seems that all my WIPs are at the wrong point of development to travel. Perhaps one of Knitspot's Little Nothings in a sock yarn would do the trick (how much do we love instant downloads?). Goodness knows I have the sock yarn for it.

There will be a follow-up report with my final decision, although around here a decision is never final.