Saturday, October 19, 2013

Autumn Beauty

Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
                   ~ George Eliot

Just today, a friend was lamenting the drabness of the clouds, and the lack of color in our trees. But I see beauties and surprises everywhere I look.

For instance, we came across this purple cauliflower at the market last week:

And in recent walks, I've been surprised to discover flowers, still hanging on, in spite of the changing season:

On Parkview, by
Asylum Lake Preserve

Friendship Village gardens

Friendship Village woods

I love light (Mom used to regularly complain, because I insisted on turning on lights in the house - but I crave light, and abhor even the hint of shadow). This time of year, I love catching light through the trees.

I've not yet seen solid banks of color, but Bonnie and I continue to find bits of color and beauty here and there are on our walks.

Here are several photos from our walk last Saturday at Asylum Lake Preserve.

And these are from recent walks at Friendship Village:

These are birches in Frays Park, by our house. They are a wonderful yellow, splendid even in this morning's rain, although I struggle to capture their beauty (I have many photos of these trees, I'm afraid!).

Knitting and Quilting

I finished knitting my hat for the Seita Scholars:

I'm not sure I ever shared a photo of the matching scarf:

I'll take these to our Guild meeting next week, and pass them along to Gina. That leaves me with not a whole lot on the needles - my sky scarf, of course, and a scarf for Ministry with Community, and my Hitchhiker scarf. (I started the Hitchhiker so I'd have something in the works, to take on our trip to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago - just a few weeks off!). So far, I'm holding the urge-to-cast-on at bay.

As for Quilting... I am not a quilter - I do not have the patience and attention to detail it requires (I know that knitting requires the same, but I believe it is different flavors of patience and attention to detail. I apparently have one, but not the other.)

That said, I love to look at quilts. So, last Saturday, Shanna and I went to the Kalamazoo Log Cabin Quilters quilt show. We had a great time! We admired the quilts on display; watched a quilt turning; browsed the vendors; and showed off her cute little guy.

Here are some of the quilts I admired. I've done my best to limit the quantity (this was hard; there were lots of marvelous quilts), and to identify them.

This is Moody Blue Selvages, by Edda Kraynak.

Here's a close-up, showing a square pieced from fabric selvages:

I love the cool colors in this quilt - it made me think of winter. This is Stars for a Perfect Day, by Stephanie Peterson:

Honeycomb, by Pauline J Par:

Isn't this quilt fascinating? Michigan Beauty, by Ann Berger.

Village, by Doris Frost. (This reminded me of cross-stitch samplers I used to make.)

This untitled quilt is by Lois DeWolf. It made me think of a desert, with oases of water here and there. This one got my vote for show favorite.

My friend Sandy George made this quilt, Twenty-Five Years, to celebrate her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, by Leah Peters (Is Mister Rogers around?!?).

Sense of Direction, by Joanne Dubnicka:

Garden of Love, by Diane Schlanser. I liked the stained-glass look of this quilt:

Almost makes me want to try quilting again... but not quite!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

General Conference Weekend, Complete with Beagle, Knitting, and Apple Pie

Last weekend was our church's General Conference - 8 hours of watching the prophet and apostles and other leaders speak. We watched most of it at home, and a bit at a friend's house.

Lots of good messages, such as this talk from Elder Vinson, a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He shared a story about his grandson, who was amazed because the car doors kept 'magically' unlocking and locking. The grandson declared “It’s amazing! I think it’s because Poppy loves me and is one of my best friends, and he takes care of me!” Our Savior loves us, and is our best friend, and will take care of us. But, Elder Vinson explained, he doesn't just remove our challenges.
. . . rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him, and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him is His goal.
Here is the challenge Elder Vinson offered, which I have been pondering (and for which there is no simple answer):
God should be the center of our universe—our literal focal point. Is He? Or is He sometimes far from the thoughts and intents of our hearts? (see Mosiah 5:13). Notice that it’s not just the thoughts of our hearts that are important but the “intents.” How do our behavior and actions reflect the integrity of our intents?
* * * * *

While watching the sessions of conference, I knitted (of course!), and finished my Limited Edition Cowl:

Wear it as a cowl...

...or as a hood

Jim and I tried our hand at making single serving pie in a jar:

Macintosh apples, from the farmers market - terrific!

We baked and ate two right away; they were yummy! We have four more in the freezer, waiting their turn for a taste test. (The recipe said to use half-pint jars; we used 4-oz jars instead, which seemed to be a good serving size.)

Bonnie worked on being cute, and then rested from her exertions:

I wound a new skein of yarn for my sky scarf:

This is not your traditional umbrella swift. I bought this cherry swift at the Michigan Fiber Fest, this past August, from Knitting Notions. It is satisfying to use - the wood is beautiful, and it's very relaxing to wind the ball as the swift turns. It isn't a fast process - that would require a ball winder - but I was in no hurry.

With that blue yarn, I made more progress on my sky scarf. This is the photo from a few days later, at the October 9 point (8 months!) (see those solid blue sky days, near the top?!?):

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Early October: Looking Like Fall

This is one of my favorite seasons of the year. I love seeing the trees begin to turn to their fall colors. Here are a few recent photos, most of them from this past weekend.

Just a hint of color

At the farmers market

Love the leaves at the base of these birches


The changing light fascinates me, although I
seldom do a good job capturing it with the camera