A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

My Photo
Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Sunday, July 31, 2005

Small Treasures

Today is a "craft store" day for me, meaning I am trying to work on items to put in the coop shop, in between loads of laundry and other household duties. It is very hot this afternoon, and a good day to be working in the cool house. I thought I would share photos of some of the tiny treasures you can find at our shop.

First, two tiny sweaters decorating my bay tree. Beatyanne makes these, and even though I have a pattern, I know I don't have the patience. She sells them at our shop for $4.95 each, even though we have all begged her to at least double the price. You can write me about getting a few for your bay (or Christmas) tree. Posted by Picasa

Next, a beautiful shawl pin, designed by Leslie, who provides us with a great selection of jewelry,favoring glass and stone beads and pearls. Posted by Picasa

This is Leslie's first "pennanular" shawl pin (I have Sallee to thank for getting that term correct). She researched and designed it at my request, in exchange for the black sparkly scarf I knitted for her daughter earlier this month. It is hammered copper with a green glass bead on its "hairstick", and you could convince her to make more of these, in a shape of your desire, either copper or brass, for around $25. (Shamelessly promoting my friends here, but that's what friends are for).

And, here is what I have been working on... angora baby booties. Posted by Picasa
I have finished the red pair, have the teal blue in progress, and need to make up the green angora and a pair in charcoal alpaca, left over from a couple different scarves. They go fairly quickly, about an hour and a half a pair, and the design is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

I have also been working on a design for a felted cell phone pouch, modeled after the cute neoprene ones for smaller, fold-up phones I am seeing in the stores this summer, with an I cord handle and button arrangement so you can take it on and off a larger purse, backpack or briefcase. I sorted out some yarns to begin knitting up my prototype later this week. Once I get the pattern the way I want it, I will post it here.

Now, don't start sympathizing with my DD, Nikki... tomorrow we are attending a lengthy training, where the front of her tank top will move briskly toward completion.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I Wind Wool

Haunted by images of a difficult day
First, frightened child, crying through two stitches
Wanting grandma, standing outside the room, afraid of blood and tears.
So much fear and pain already in only three years
I tell the truth
No, he is not abandoned again,
and promise he will get through this,
My heart and his heart hurt together.

Then, racing to town for co-workers,
I drive past dead donkey
Same one from four days ago
Lying next to drive
Nobody has taken care of
Is it West Nile?

My heart hurts for this unloved animal
I dedicate my practice at yoga class
Promise the unloved animals crossing the Rainbow Bridge at this moment
Wait for me
I will honor the promise of domesticity
When I cross, join my herd.

Still, unsettled at home tonight
I remind myself this is my dharma
I was the one who asked for
A compassionate heart.
Can't pick up knitting
Too jittery for stitches
Haunted by images,
I wind wool.

Watching the jewel colors spin on the swift
Colors blur with images
Swirl in bright abandon
I wind wool
It helps.

 Posted by Picasa

This poem came out of a day of unexpected events and course-changes yesterday, that left me exhausted and troubled. I pulled out these beautiful skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Angora, and wound and wound... it wasn't enough, so I wound the Cascade Yarns "fun" that I got Thursday as well, all six skeins... still not enough, so I wound up the eight ounces of alpaca I bought at Black Sheep Gathering to make a Clapotis... the ball winder got jammed and I had to divide the skein into two balls, thinking "its ok, I know how to splice, even though I hate to splice, I know how, its ok". I was finally tired enough, though still sad.

Today was a better day. I started on a pair of baby booties with the dark red angora (all three colors are destined to become booties to sell in the crafts coop). We held a work day at the child care center, and had some measure of success towards repainting the schoolhouse. The little boy with the stitches is doing fine, and I loved and brushed my animals, and thanked the goddess for the many gifts living with animals has given me. We all do what we can.

NB: About the swift.... this is a tabletop model made by Dragonfly Turnings out of wild cherry. It assembles with simple pegs, turns smoothly and has little rubber feet on each end to better grip the table. It was also about half the price of most other swifts. Check out their website for more details. I was hypnotized.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Body Image for Knitters

Reading over my comment in yesterday's post about wanting to stay the size that makes this new tank top fit, got me pondering my life-long battle with myself over body image. I have always fretted about my weight, my entire adult life, even when it was the right one. Now, in middle age, I have gone up and back down a few times, trying to get to a healthy diet that works for my aging metabolism... when I was in my twenties and thirties, I ran really fast on sugar and coffee, and hardly gained anything. Not so as I approached and crested the hill of 50. Now, I really need to be health-conscious to keep my energy up, food allergies and destructive cravings down, and to maintain a healthy body-fat percentage. I have been so skewed in looking at the scales over the years, that I turned to research on healthy body-fat as a balancing factor, only to learn a week or so that I had been reading the charts wrong, and a higher percentage was ok at my age (is this a pattern?)

Actually, there are a few things that have helped me to perceive myself better in recent years. About five years ago, I dropped twenty pounds and could wear flattering clothes again. I am only 5'3 1/2 inches tall, so a little bit can make a significant difference. When I went out to buy new clothes, I mostly bought petite sizes. These clothes were proportioned to fit my shorter body... amazing, they worked! The waists and hemlines appeared in the right places and I could enjoy what I was wearing and face my reflection in the mirror.

I also had to have a complete physical three years ago, when my employment changed. I "discovered" that I was shorter than I had thought, and even freaked out and called two doctors that I had seen over the past fifteen years to make sure I wasn't shrinking with age... actually, it was just that all along I had thought I was taller, and I was - when wearing shoes! Sigh... I was already the shortest person in two generations of my immediate family, but I still had to adjust my perception of myself slightly. I made a firmer commitment to not buying clothing that was too big (i.e., too long) for me, and have stuck with it to the point of really despising clothes shopping. Now, I order a lot of things from catalogs, and am thrilled to find a Penneys with a large petite department. However, I find cookie-cutter clothing to be dull, which brings me around to knitting (I know, you were beginning to wonder if I was EVER going to get there).

Knitting allows a person to love the body they have, since you need to measure and adjust and construct something that is the right size for you. You also don't get to try the garment on until you are pretty close to done, avoiding misconceptions about you not being the right size... when really it is the garment that isn't the right size. This promotes a healthier body image...and I am thrilled to have made a tank top that I love the fit of. I also tend to turn to clothing in my closet that I like and measure the actual clothing to get an idea of adjustments in length I should make for a particular pattern, and in this instance, measured two tank-style sweaters to make sure I was on track before making the armholes.

I am still learning to love an aging body, with skin that isn't as elastic any longer, and a tummy that has decreased with the rest of me, but still isn't very flat. I think this love is one of my life tasks, but knitting for myself has helped me to have unique garments that fit the me that I am, not someone else, and to love my body more. I hope it works for you too...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fun with a New Camera

I went to Chico today with my son and daughter to help them arrange their lease... they are both moving there to complete their Bachelors degrees, Nikki leaving home just before her 22nd birthday and Cody leaving Lake Tahoe, where he has lived for eight years. I took advantage of the journey to purchase a replacement camera, and I am very happy with it. I chose another Sony, but the shutter speed is much faster, and it came with a Zeiss lens, which I had been wanting for a while, as the quality of photo tends to be much better. Here are a few examples...

Cody took this photo of me at Fibers, the local Grass Valley yarn shop where we stopped on the way back home. I am handling alpaca (surprised, anyone?), and modeling my completed hot pink tank top. When I put it on this morning, I was so pleased with how well it fit; now I just need to keep eating right and exercising so things stay that way :) Posted by Picasa

Nikki at Fibers. Posted by Picasa

Here is Nikki's tank top, which I have been knitting this week.. the back finished and on a holder! It is going much faster than I expected. Posted by Picasa

While at Fibers, I purchased enough of this turquoise Cascade Yarns Fun, to make the Audrey top in Elsebeth Lavold's book four. Posted by Picasa The pattern calls for Silky Tweed, but the colors available all are too dark to look good on a paleface like me, but I have loved the design since I saw it earlier this spring, and am hoping this will be a good substitute. It is a viscose/cotton blend, and I plan to start it as soon as Nikki's top is finished.

Or maybe I will use this pretty cotton blend from Austermann, called Batika Color that I found on sale for $2.00 a skein last week, to make Stefanie's One Skein Wonder. I bought two just to be safe! Posted by Picasa

My last photo for you tonight is this beautiful wool from Ironstone, a gift from Jenny... who doesn't have a blog to direct you to, but was the lucky winner of my sock kit contest last month. What a sweetheart to send a thank you in yarn! I am saving it for a winter hat. Too bad you can't feel how soft it is... but it does show how good my new camera is at capturing true color. Posted by Picasa

A last note ... I did something I don't normally do, and consider cheating... I discovered that I had never published my story about last week's viewing of MacBeth, but only the photo Cody sent... so, I added to an already-published post. Not cool, but I do want to let you know more about the fabulous Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, so check out the enlarged post below... and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shakespeare Under the Stars

We had an awesome time Thursday night at Sand Harbor, where we attended the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, along with a fairly large group of friends. Nikki and I rode over with my fellow crafts coop member and high school teacher, Peggy and her husband Mark and daughter Caity, where we met up with my son, Cody, and two other teachers from our school, husband and wife Lynn and Steve, who both are also coop members (Lynn sews and crochets, and Steve does turned wood items). The seating is open, on the sandy beach facing the stage, with incredible Lake Tahoe and surrounding mountains as a backdrop. We had not opted for Early Admission, and our line was short, since we still had a half-hour to wait. Along came three co-workers from my other school, Alan, Kathy and Cheryl (our birthday girl of the day!), and since they had early admission tickets, they staked out a great area for us to have a gourmet picnic dinner. At intermission, we were treated to shortcake and fruit, with a birthday candle for Cheryl, thanks to Alan, and to a cheesecake concocted by Caity, home for the summer, who cooks gourmet dishes after she gets off work from our local pizza parlor (lucky parents!).

I inquired about Kathy's husband and (adult) son, but she said that they are Shakespeare snobs and don't want to go unless the play is in Ashland. Now, my two kids with me and I have been to several plays at Ashland over the years, and it IS really fantastic, but I had to second Cody's opinion, that it doesn't get any better than this, watching Shakespeare at the lake.....

The play of the evening was MacBeth, which we had selected, partly to see it, and partly because the moon was full last night. However, there was pretty heavy cloud cover and even thunder in the background early in the play, so we didn't really get the full effect of the moon. It did peek through during the witches' famous "Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble" speech.

This play is one of Shakespeare's darker works, dealing with issues of passion, ambition, and evil that are still with us in today's world. Director Lynne Collins' interpretation focused strongly on the passion between Lady MacBeth and MacBeth as the root of their combined evils... without their coming together and their devotion to jointly attaining power, neither would have taken the steps that led to her eventual madness and his becoming a hated tyrant. We all appreciated the fantastic interpretation of the three witches provided by the actresses... they appeared to be apparitions rather than earthly people throughout the performance, and great special effects, including sulphur, were employed to add to their magic. I was also deeply moved to the choice to focus on MacDuff, including a side tableau of his parting with his family to flee from MacBeth, and his pain and grief on learning of their murders.

Many of the actors were part of the Foothill Theatre Company, and familiar to us from other plays; most were professional members of Actors Equity. The quality of the performance was very high, and we had a wonderful evening.

My son Cody took this photo of me knitting while we were waiting for MacBeth to begin the other night! I must have been saying something sarcastic ... I am working on the hot pink tank top, which I finished knitting on Sunday, and edged the bottom and one armhole in a crochet trim last night.... almost ready to wear. I spent two and a half hours at a meeting yesterday and was able to get Nikki's cap sleeve tank back completed up to the armhole bindoff... thanks to those really cool Addi turbos. I will have to take back what I said to her the other night "See, big needles, almost done (hot pink tank), small needles, never done (light pink tank). It is going much faster than I thought and I will have to take a WIP photo and post it. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Art of Gift Giving

My husband and I had a discussion about what to give his daughter, whose birthday is tomorrow, and it led us into a general conversation about culture and gift-giving. I have been mulling it over for the past twenty-four hours and thought it would be worth getting some insight from fellow knitters.

When it comes time to think of a gift for an occasion, do you think of knitting something first off? I had done this earlier, planning to make a felted yoga bag, since Amy is a yoga teacher... however, it is WAY too hot to work with that much wool (45 inches long before felting), so I have decided that would make a better Christmas gift.

My husband comes from a medium-sized family, and gift-giving, although done, has taken some awkward turns in recent years. We decided to draw names at Christmas so that the expense wouldn't be so great; that lasted awhile, then the push was to give gifts to the children only. But then many of them began to reach adulthood, so we have returned to a name drawing, including the adult children. My one brother-in-law, also inducted into this family by marriage, expressed some frustration last Thanksgiving while this was being debated, saying "It's just not that hard to get any one of you a gift!". I had to agree. I can watch someone for a while, discover what colors they wear the most, what their likes and dislikes around food are, what their favorite hobbies and activities are, and end up picking a gift that will mostly be appreciated and/or put to use. Only occasionally will this match be something knitted, although knitting a gift gives me more pleasure in the making than selecting something from a store or website. I have to think of the receiver more than myself, though, so I try to let them guide me to the proper match, keeping in mind that there are items I won't buy out of my own belief system.

I can easily knit for one son, who will take any and every "beanie" that I make for his dear little head, however, it gives me the most pleasure every time he pulls out his digital camera to snap a photo when we all get together, because that gift was my inspired idea, and has gotten the most use of any item I have given him over the years (except, maybe, shoes!). I can't do as well coming up with a knitted gift for my other family members... although picking something for a fellow knitter or quilter is no sweat, and also great fun!

It is the inspired gift, the one that brings the thrilled, "This is just what I wanted" response, that we are seeking in gift-giving. We want to bring joy to the other person, and improve their life in some small way. Some of the gifts I have received and ended up cherishing the most have been small, everyday items that were exceedingly beautiful, and that I could pick up and put to use frequently. Some were immensely practical; my husband's first Valentine gift to me was a double-bit axe, that I used for several winters while a single mom trying to keep my cabin warm with only wood heat. I treasured that axe and the concern for me behind the giving of it.

This afternoon I filled one of my monthly shifts at our crafts coop, where there is a very cute cartoon placed on the counter... a mother is berating her teen-aged daughter, saying "I spent seven months secretly quilting you a prom dress, and all you can say is 'Um...'". You can envision for yourself a patchwork, quilted dress with puffed sleeves on a teenaged girl with pierced nose and eyebrow. Have you had the misfortune to spend hours creating something that was poorly received?

I hope you will find yourself pondering this subject as well in the next few days, and that you take the time to share your thoughts with me.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Jackets in Summer and a Contest

Even though the temperatures have been in the high 90s, I am still finding myself attracted to jackets! I fell in love with this pattern when I stopped by my LYS, Meadow Farm Yarn Studio, the other day. I also ordered Jean Frost's Jackets, which I am anxiously awaiting. This would make a great work jacket for the fall, so I better start hunting around for the appropriate yarn! I really like the simple lines of most of Oat Couture's patterns, and this pattern has already been adjusted for three different yarn weights, DK, worsted, and Aran weight. How thoughtful of them! Posted by Picasa

I also decided that a small contest would liven up my summer... the first person sending me an email to birdsong_s@hotmail.com, with their name and address, and requesting that I mail the latest issue of Knit n' Style to them will be the winner. I was happy enough to have a free preview, but decided that this mag isn't a very good match for my personal style. Didn't find a single thing in there to displace any of the items on my lengthy to-do list, which says something, doesn't it? But that doesn't mean someone else won't fall in love... that's part of the beauty of knitting, it can be so many things to so many people!

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The bad news is that I have not found a solution to my camera's problem... if you have any advice, please give it! Nothing appears on my preview screen, and even though the camera thinks it is recording a photo, nothing appears to be in the file when opened on the computer.... sigh, does this mean I will have to give up yarn shopping and buy a new one?!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Camera Frustration

OK, now this really stinks! I just got home from town, having swung by my local yarn shop, Meadow Farm (I was feeling a little disloyal, since I hadn't paid a visit since before going to Black Sheep), and wanted to take some pictures to share with all of you. My camera won't work! I have changed the batteries, changed the light, checked to make sure that the lens cover is opening properly and fully, and that the flash is flashing and still I am only getting a totally dark picture, which lightens up to have no content when I mess around in Photoshop... in other words, nothing is being recorded. The camera has been sitting in the truck since Saturday, and I am just hoping something didn't get fried in the 100+ heat.

I am venting here, before switching memory chips and trying again.... hoping to be able to show you all my great summer sale finds (I could pick only one ball each, at $2.00 a ball, of an assortment of close-out cottons).

My primary reason for stopping was because I wanted to purchase a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's book, The Opinionated Knitter, locally, rather than ordering it. I did succeed and might just have to console myself reading away the rest of the afternoon.

More later....

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mid-July Progress Report

Here it is, the middle of July, and the middle of a heat wave, the type we usually see in August or early September. The temperatures in Downieville and environs have been in the mid-90s and don't show a dip to the more reasonable mid-80s till next week! Out in the toasty Sacramento Valley to the west of us, the range has been between 104 and 107, making it seem cool here in comparison (hah, NOT!)

We spent a big part of the afternoon at our long-time favorite swimming hole down on Oregon Creek, near our high country cabin (this is our "first home", having lived there for thirteen years before purchasing our "main house", fifteen miles further west and 1500 feet lower in elevation - way too hot this time of the year).

First, we had to clean up debris from last winter, then add rocks at the downstream end to raise the water level up a bit. Most of this activity was done in the shade, while standing in mountain spring water, making it all tolerable. Must have lowered our core body temperatures, as we felt a lot cooler for at least an hour after leaving the creek.

I had intended to truly start Nikki's summer top, but left my bag of tools at home, and couldn't accurately measure my gauge swatch. I also couldn't think straight enough to know how to make any changes if needed because my gauge worked out differently. So, I pretty much finished up my last special order, the handles and most of the body of the cranberry felted bag. This order is for Mary, who is also getting a turquoise bag. I had wanted to do the felting over the weekend, since the Forest City house is my felting home base, but couldn't find a tapestry needle to sew on the handles and button loop. I will have to felt next weekend, when we are back up in the high country. We are planning a bar-be-que with our neighbors at the swimming hole, expecting still more hot weather.

So, how am I really doing on that July "To-Do" list? I have managed to plow my way through almost all of the special orders, excepting final felting, and have my tank top with me (in Schulana Supercotton), which I haven't knitted on since my train trip at the end of June. I had not wanted to let my DD see me working on it until hers was done, but it is much better to take to the river, where I plan to spend this afternoon, since I am only working in the morning today and it is too hot to return home (air conditioned cars still have to contact the hot asphalt to drive down the highway; better to wait till evening to return home). It is hot pink (pictures soon, I promise) and half done.

I did cast on the pale pink top for Nikki, and at 11:00 PM last night was doing the first few rows, just to be able to say I had started it. I will have both finished by the end of July, so am right on target. I was amazed to discover last night that the different yarn than called for had knitted up to gauge! The LYS owner and I both had figured I would need to make adjustments. However, I am still going to drop down to the extra-small size, as my DD is young and slim, and this type of top should not have any ease, but actually stretch a little to fit.

I did have a little time to browse through some other blogs yesterday, and was happy to see that there are now a lot more people on the California Knit Blogs ring... check out my button to start surfing with us Cally grrls! I located another cool top, Lelah, that I want to make for my DD for her birthday at the end of August... we figure in our climate that there are two to three more months of tank-top weather to show off knit finery.

Try to stay cool, and knit small, light projects!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Hot Time in the Old Town (of Reno)

My sweetie husband, Glenn, has been on a fire assignment down in northeastern Arizona for the past two weeks. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service since 1992, in a variety of capacities, including archaeologist, trail builder, and law enforcement, and has passed the tests to be fire-line qualified each season, a feat he is pretty proud of, especially now that he is on the other side of 50. This assignment involved providing camp and public security for the Cave Creek fire complex, which eventually grew to burn over 250,000 acres surrounding the Verde River. He spent most of his time either on road closures or in the southern fire camp at Camp Verde, where daily high temperatures ranged from 110 to 116, so I was very pleased when he called Monday night to ask if I could pick him up at the Reno airport the next day.

I ended up being able to head out of town early, and got to the airport about 20 minutes before his flight from Phoenix was scheduled to arrive. I even found a close-up parking spot in the shady parking garage, noting that the outside temperature was 103. I went to check the arrival board and was dismayed to learn that his flight had the words "cancelled" next to it. I tried calling America West, and was told that they could locate his name on the flight manifest for the cancelled flight but could not find him listed anywhere again. Now, he might be fit and trim and manly, but this is the technological dinosaur of the family, so of course he had declined the offer of taking a cell phone with him. There was no way to contact him. I decided to go check in at Circus Circus, where I had reserved a room for us, and hope that he would have the good sense to call there and leave a message. He hadn't.

At least it was air-conditioned. After driving across town, even with the car blasting out cooler air than the surroundings, I was a little fried and had to drink a bunch of water to get clear-headed enough to make some more calls. The heat in the desert always feels like a furnace blast, every single time you come out of a car or building that is climate-controlled, and even when you leave the shade. I don't experience high humidity often, but the desert feels like a sauna without the possibility of a cooling shower in the summer time. No wonder the night life is so active in Reno; its the only time it is safe to come out!

The America West staff person I talked to this time refused to give me any information, since the federal government had made his flight reservations and not me. She did tell me that there were two more flights leaving Phoenix to Reno still, but the first one was sold out and the second wouldn't be arriving until 9:15 PM. Now, some of you with clearer heads would have been scheming around trying to find a local yarn shop or two to visit... me, I was wondering if the pool was located in an air-conditioned portion of the building. The same clerk gave me the Phoenix airport paging number, and I left a message and sat down to wait.

Remember, my motto is "Always take knitting", so I had packed some cotton yarn and the pattern to cast on a bath mitt to put in the shop. I got up to the thumb shaping before I got a call back; it had taken 45 minutes to get a response to the page, and my husband said that they don't pay airport workers enough money to care about their jobs, as none of the clerks he approached could tell him where a courtesy phone was located in the vastness of the Phoenix airport. Turns out he was ticketed for the flight arriving at 9:15 PM, and America West had only offered a free lunch in sympathy for inconveniencing a whole plane's worth of passengers (I don't think they will be getting any of my future business). I felt worse for him, as his brother Dave, had already called about meeting up with us, and had offered to take me along to a sports bar where he and some work mates were going to watch the (baseball) playoff game. At least I would be having some food and a cold beer, where Glenn had already seen all of the Phoenix airport once and still had two hours to wait. I told him I was getting another phone for him tomorrow, before we left Reno.

The sports bar and crowd were entertaining, and the Bass ale and lettuce wraps and veggies and dip filled me up. I learned that most of Dave's co-workers at PC Doctor had come to Reno recently from California. Many California companies have relocated major offices to Reno in the past decade, as the land and taxes are far cheaper. However, there is such a building boom there, they may actually start running out of water (after all, it IS the desert, even though the eastern side of the Sierras loom over the town). I also learned that smoking is still permitted in Nevada restaurants, and that I am still allergic to second-hand smoke... ended up needing inhalant.

I made it to the airport about a half hour ahead of the plane, and was disappointed to learn that the coffee vendors were on the other side of the security checkpoints and available only to ticketed passengers. I had knitting, though, and started on the thumb shaping.

I was very glad to see my cute husband wasn't the very last debarking passenger, and he was very glad to see the outside of an airport. The temp had dropped to maybe 80, even though it had been dark a half hour or so already by the time we collected his luggage and headed for the car. I sure am thankful I don't live in Reno.

We did have a nice stay and were able to meet up with Dave for a different meal, as well as visit the toy store, get a phone, and stop and see the son who is a firefighter (at a higher elevation, where the afternoon temperature yesterday was much more tolerable) along the way home, but we were both glad for the greenery and the swimming tank awaiting us when we got home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On Sunday, my son Cody, daughter Nikki, and I attended the 9th Annual Italian Street Painting event sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Arts Festival. This year's venue was the parking lot at CalNeva, located right on the state line between California and Nevada. The artists generally had sponsors, who paid for their squares, and had three days to complete their chalk masterpieces. I have been strongly attracted to this art form for many years, after first viewing a program showing people producing such art on the sidewalks in Italy. It's the process.... but the art is fabulous, too, as you will see. Posted by Picasa

A nice, simple graphic design Posted by Picasa

A winter mountain scene, that shows some of the blending techniques used to create many of the chalk paintings. Jake's is a famous eatery that offers a bar and seating area on the shore, open only during the summer months. Cody worked there several years ago while in college, and they would jump in and take a dip during the afternoon lull between lunch and dinner crowds. Posted by Picasa

Artists had a variety of working styles, but umbrellas for shade at 6200 feet were favored, as were skateboards for low stools. Works that echoed the Great Masters were popular creations. Posted by Picasa

A close up of Madonna and Child Posted by Picasa

We took this photo for grandma Diana, who loves lighthouses and lives on the coast in Fort Bragg. Posted by Picasa

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This painting of Yoda was one of our favorites. Posted by Picasa

We thought this was a cute theme Posted by Picasa

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As you can see, many styles of painting turn up in these works. Posted by Picasa

"Work in progress" must have a totally different meaning to these artists than what we knitters bring to mind. Posted by Picasa

There was also a great art fair and live music. I found a cute pair of earrings featuring a work of knitting on one and ball of yarn on the other! I also picked up a copy of the fall issue of Interweave Knits, although I don't want to think about giving up summer any time soon. There are a few things in there I might want to make in October.... check it out and tell me what your favorites are. I am sure someone is starting up a knit-along someplace already :)

Carolyn and others have commented recently on what a lucky life I have... I truly felt it spending the day with two of my wonderful adult children, in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. While it is true that I am not rich or worldly, I have been fortunate to live in the Sierras all these years, touched by the energy of the mountains, and to be surrounded with good, creative people. I am also fortunate enough to realize my good fortune!

I hope everyone else is enjoying summer as much as I am.