Valentine's Day 1926

My parents are in the process of moving. To say this is a poignant time would be an understatement. Treasures and memories are everywhere in the house. We've had to be brutal in the culling. Some things, though, are just too special. Like this Valentine from my grandfather to my grandmother in 1926, the first year they were married. Printed in Germany by a company called Loving Greetings.

They were married 59 years.

To one and all, and to my very special longstanding Valentine, much, much love.



The year that was and will be

2013 wasn’t the luckiest of years here at chez Nake-id, but there was certainly a lot of lemonade to be had from the lemons.

The losses have been the hardest: Our grand old man passed on, leaving us with lessons in aging with dignity and grace. He was an Olympic-caliber cuddler and stouthearted soul. He is deeply, deeply missed.

Our neighborhood matriarch, who greeted every new neighbor with muffins and smiles, and until her ninth decade was climbing out on the roof to install Santa, packed St. Dominic’s with mourners on a brilliant December morning. The ‘hood will never be the same.

A number of friends lost mothers this year and our hearts go out to them as they navigate the world without that constant love in their lives. Our niece showed courage and resilience in the wake of a senseless tragedy and is proving herself to be a remarkable adult. Others are suffering grave illnesses and we hope that we can be as much a source of comfort to them as they have been a source of inspiration to us.

Grandpa Nake-id took sick this fall--bad sick--throwing the family into the miracle and maelstrom of the American health care system. He is with us today because of the wonderful care he received, and he continues to regain his strength. But the handoffs from hospital to rehab to home were dislocating and confusing and pushed us to confront questions of how do we deal with an ailing loved one. The system isn’t so helpful there. And speaking for myself, I have felt helpless and ineffective in the face of it. 

His illness has precipitated a bit of downsizing on the part of Grandma and Grandpa Nake-id and we hope that 2014 finds them more congenially situated and thriving.

2013 had its bright spots; the bees have been a source of endless wonder and delight. Work brought new projects and the opportunity to write for magazines I’ve long admired as well as the chance to explore the data around knitting and mental health. It’s just as I’ve suspected, knitting is the answer.

We traveled to Tahoe and Telluride and took in the sites (and goods) at the Salida Fiber Festival. And we celebrated 20 years of marriage, which brought with it a sense of enormous gratitude and the recognition that no matter how long you love someone, you have to do the work and play of love every day.

Nake-id Knits got short shrift in 2013 and I don’t yet know what 2014 will bring for this old blog. Expect a few changes, but don’t expect me to shut up. There’s still so much more left to say.

Blessings and good health to all in the coming year. May 2014 be one of health, discovery, growth and plenty of good eats and knits.

Wild and Wooly Boots

It's been a wild and wooly time here at Nake-id Knits, what with life surprises, deadlines for new-to-me pubs (requiring best-foot-forward work), birthdays (you wouldn't believe the number of Scorpios in our lot) and the time change. Who else has wanted to curl up on a down cushion and sleep for a week?

These were accomplished, the fabulous Moonkoosa Boots by Tiny Owl Knits. Ours are more "dready" than the originals. Having a congenital predisposition for impatience, I couldn't bear the hand felting. In order to shrink the boots to fit me and not Sasquatch, I let the 21-year-old Maytag do its job.

I'll be teaching a class in making these wild things in January at Wild Yarns. Come play!

Salida Fiber Fest

Quilts by Linda Heltzel. Amazing quilts by Linda Heltzel! (The above photo by Sally Gilchrist.)


Tapetes de Lana and Mora Valley Spinning Mill, a nonprofit that trains rural New Mexicans in weaving and fiber production

Hat from Paxknits

Lassitude, deadlines and wonderful distractions like mountain vacations have allowed this post to languish since...Sept. 8. 

The day was splendid. As you can see, nuno felting was trending at the Salida Fiber Festival. Mr. Nake-id is wearing a wet-felted boa with aplomb. Our Denver neighbor Sandy came home with a gorgeous silk-and-wool wrap (not the one she's displaying above). And Ms. Nake-id. An extravagant hank of Fusion Yarn from Cat Mountain Fiber Arts. The "mallard" colorway. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

Naughty Bohemian Knit Skirt in the Mountains

Naughty Bohemian in the Mountains

The stores in Telluride were full of down-filled minis, to the point that I actually carried one over to an associate and brandishing the thing asked, "What in the world does one do with this?"

Tights and boots. (Alrighty then. So off I go to the Interwebs where the copy describing a North Face product unfortunately monikered, the Thunder Skirt, advises: "Look way cute whether you're at a condo, cabin, yurt, or snowshoeing with a special somebody. You won't just look cute, you'll also stay warm because this skirt has 800-fill goose down insulation keeping you nice and toasty all winter long."

Has this copywriter ever been snowshoeing? You want frostbit lady parts, you wear a skirt in the backcountry. The way the wind blows in the Rockies? For pity's sake!

But it got me thinking, how much better to rock a much-more slimming, more comfortable wool version, at work or curled in front of the fire post snowshoe?

Hence the restyle of my black knit pencil skirt (pattern available here) ala Telluride. Pair it with thick leggings and winter accessories and off you go. It looks so adorable, I might have to dig out my old Lopi and take it for a spin in the wind.

Telluride style


Just back from leaf-peeping in SoCo, including a couple of days in Telluride. Colors were just starting to splay out on the hillsides but that didn't prevent Mother Nature from bestowing a little snow.

Vendors at Telluride's Friday Farmer's Market were shivering, clutching steaming cups of coffee and hoping the hardy souls in attendance would think salad was a good idea on a very cold day.

Every town has its own look. And with the colder temps, Telluriders brought out their boots and knits. We bought very little: A hunk of cabra blanca (makes me feel very fancy to type..."cabra blanca") from Avalanche Cheese, a fabulous, non-barny goat; and a bottle of San Juan Mountain Beer Mustard Steamworks Backside Stout, a tangy-sweet condiment that we loved with eggs and fried potatoes.

And do you see the photo of the booth with the organic clothing? Yoga friendly, comfy, plant-dyed goods from Damselfly Organics, cute-and-righteous-enough to inspire a yoga tog upgrade from hiking shorts and old tees.

Love the relaxed, thrown-together vibe of the locals. So-not-Aspen. Ready to go native?

Why I won't wear camo

She breaks the silence for this?

On the brink of a U.S. attack of Syria? Why, yes.

Camouflage prints come and go much like animal prints; they always work, but at times, are particularly a la mode. To my eyes, camouflage has been having a moment--nay, a full decade--since our attack on Afghanistan in 2002. Shirts, pants, jackets, bags, shoes even prom dresses. Sixteen-year-olds can look like they're ready for desert warfare; make sure they carry a wrap and an m16.

Frankly, I like camo prints--not overdone (seriously, evening gowns?) but a pair of cargo pants or t-shirt peeking out from beneath a jacket. Not this. But this. And this! Cute, fun, classic even. Completely versatile, almost a neutral.

Won't do it. As long as we have men and women serving our country in harm's way.

My boycott makes no statement but to remind me that we are at war. Rightly or wrongly. Justifiable or no, when we are at war--and that's what's at stake when the President talks about a punitive strike on Syria--it's so easy to sit in front of our computers as if our morning was the same as the morning for women in Damascus. Are they taking their tea in front of their iPads today? Or are they setting aside provisions, anticipating an attack?

This may or may not be a righteous move on the part of our government. But to think that one strike or series of tactical missions will end the Syrian civil war is naive. To address the humanitarian issues in the country means to take Assad down; it means nation bulding in a place where the leader we hate might be better than the leader we install. We shouldn't kid ourselves; it means war.

So the camo stays off and the prayers for peace continue.





Put a fedora on it or in praise of hipsters

Just got through writng a story about Denver's creative class, and no, that's not an oxymoron. Young and not-so-young people here and all over the country are rethinking the way we work, dine and even wrap our produce. They're opening vegan groceries, nano breweries and, um, unique gallery spaces. They're opening bookstores that do more than sell books. They're making hats, yarn and soap. They're co-working and collaborating and cooking and contriving to make this one really cool place to live.

Whether it's the devastation wrought by the economic collapse of 2008, a lack of interest on the part of Millennials to work for the man or a realization that if we don't raise a few vegetables, dye some yarn or upcycle clothing, our way of life is going to become so unmoored from earthy, tactile things as to be unreal.

It's easy to poke fun at the handlebar mustaches or the writers lugging their typewriters to coffee shops (puh-lease, what editor is going to take paper copy? Sorry, but really.) But I tip my fedora to y'all, who are making your livings in ways that make this city that much cooler.

Getting buzzed at the state beekeepers meeting

Being curious new beekeepers we found the prospect of a day's worth of bee education on the Western Slope irresistible, especially when followed by a five-course dinner with wine and mead pairings.

The Colorado State Beekeepers Association summer meeting was held at Paul and Nanci Limbach's Western Colordo Honey bee farm and animal sanctuary. Bobcats and foxes and bees, oh my.

Their hives produce several different types of honey, depending on where they're located including rabbit brush, honeydew (from the sweet secretions of aphids, ah nature) and wildflower. (Their honey can be had here.)

When you consider that bees visit 2 million flowers to make a pound of honey it gives you a sense about how miraculous these critters are.

Speaking of flowers, here are some things we learned:

As you know, bees need all the help they can get. if you want to help, eat your honey, plant bee cuisine (currently they're going nuts for the salvia and dabbling in the poppies) and eliminate pesticides (the bees don't need it and who wants Junior to play on the Weed and Feed then suck his toes?).

This organization is doing a lot to build and sustain research around bees.

This is your brain on honey.

Beekeeping is part art, science, luck and a whole lot of wisdom.

Can't wait to try these fabulous honeys (and more). And these gorgeous beeswax candles.

It was one of those days that felt big and full and rich with many fine folk and bees. We left feeling that our world was just that much larger.

Bee stylish in a bee hat

Yes, I'm exploiting the neighbors' dog as a model. And Petey was none too happy to find himself in an earflap bee hat. Avec antennae.

Better than poor Mr. Nake-id, who's done star turns in many an FO.

(Look, another pet pressed into service.)

The hat was crocheted with Lionbrand Vanna's Choice (lots of great colors, proceeds go to St. Jude's, lots of splitting, too). The intended recipient is a hard-working, swarm-chasin beekeeper, so the 100 percent acrylic yarn was a must. It strikes just the right amount of silly, don't you think?

Should you want your own (of course, you do!), the pattern is available here.

Hope your week is full of good buzz.