All posts tagged grand canyon

Keeping a Tradition Alive

Somehow without planning it I have made a tradition of knitting or crocheting an afghan for family wedding gifts. It started a long time ago. I remember receiving an aran-patterned knitted afghan from my new husband’s aunt. We used it for years… until it fell apart. I really loved that blanket!

The first one I crocheted was for my brother and his new wife. I think I could still find the pattern I used. It was a black, brown and white large circular motif. My sister-in-law told me recently that they still have it, but it is fragile now and packed in her trunk. I was glad to hear that. Well, this last spring my brother’s daughter was getting married near Phoenix, AZ. My parents, sister and I were taking a few days before the wedding to see Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t wait. But first, I needed to get started on the wedding gift…

This is the original afghan photo using Lion’s “Amazing” yarn.

I get weekly patterns via email from In one of these emails I found a knitted afghan pattern that I really liked.

A mitered squares afghan that used a yarn called Amazing. Only problem with that was … it’s a wool yarn and I can’t use wool. While looking for yarn to substitute for the “Amazing” yarn I found yarn whose color was named Painted Desert. I loved the colors in it and decided it was meant to be!

Now finding enough skeins of yarn was another thing. I didn’t care about the dye lots. I actually preferred to use different dye lots to give this afghan some variation like the original. It took me several trips to different stores to gather enough skeins for the project, but since it was made in squares that was fine. I could still start the afghan.

I’d never made a mitered square before, but once I understood the pattern and saw how the colors were going to work… I loved it! Instead of making separate squares and then sewing them together, this pattern has you pick up stitches along the edges of previously made squares and then continue working the square. You end up with four triangle shaped pieces. I didn’t quite finish before the trip to Arizona and since it was turning into quite a large afghan, I didn’t take it with me. I would finish it as soon as I got home and send it to the newlyweds. Time out for a long needed vacation!

View from our hotel in Sedona.

After landing in Phoenix and picking up a rental car our first stop was Sedona. After a long day of flying and driving we were ready to eat and settle in for the night. The next morning we watched the sun come up, a very peaceful feeling, and gorgeous. The sky was so blue and clear and those red hills are just beautiful! Another thing I noticed since landing in Arizona…. no allergies! I definitely could have spent a week there, but we were scheduled to hit the road to visit the Grand Canyon.

The Sinaquas, an ancient Indian Tribe, built the cliff dwellings called Montezuma Castle about 700 years ago.

Not far off the road to the canyon we made a stop to see a place called Montezuma Castle. Montezuma Castle is a five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling that sits in a recessed area into the cliffs. It was a short hike to the caves, but again very peaceful. A river ran close by and the sound was very soothing. I’m still amazed at how a primitive culture was able to build the caves we saw and that they are still standing to this day. It is sad to think that for some reason the ancient Indian Tribe, the Sinaquas, disappeared and that the archeologists don’t know why.

Onward to the Grand Canyon… It was such a beautiful day that we were pleasantly surprised; we had expected colder weather. As I drove the long straight road to the canyon I kept expecting to see something that would tell me I was close. I guess I never really thought about what the terrain around the canyon would be like. For some reason I expected hills. But as I drove and we left the hills behind us I was surprised at how flat and sparse the vegetation was. Because all I’d ever seen was photos looking down into the canyon I had a vision that everything would look mountainous.

View into the Grand Canyon. Some snow still in the shade.

So it was truly awe inspiring when we got to the Grand Canyon National Park, parked the car and walked to the area that gave us our first look at the Grand Canyon. Absolutely amazing! Snow was still on the ground in the shaded places of the canyon, but we didn’t even need our jackets. We hopped on a tour bus and off we went. The views were wonderful and the educational information that explained how this all came to be was mind-blowing. Very hard to wrap your mind around the length of time it took to make this formation. Wow!

Chapel built into the red rocks of Sedona.

Before leaving Sedona we went to see  The Chapel of the Holy Cross. There are lots of visitors to this chapel that was finished in 1956. It sits in a beautiful spot close to red rock hills. On a bright blue day like we had, the colors of the rock, sky and what greenery there is, was absolutely fantastic!

Okay time to switch to wedding mode…We had reservations for three casitas on a golf course. The three casitas were to be all in the same area, shared by a nice courtyard, but only two were. So one of us would have to go clear across to the far corner. My sister went for that. I think we were all ready for some alone time, which was probably a good thing. Dad was itching to play some golf!

The plan was to catch a shuttle to the venue from the hotel I had moved to that morning. I volunteered to be close by in case a babysitter was needed for my grand daughters. Not much of a hardship for me!

Stonebridge Manor at dusk… and my independent granddaughter, who didn’t want to sit with her family for this photo. I gave up after this one!

The wedding venue was a place called Stonebridge Manor. Well, after getting all beautiful and ready to go, there was a glitch. Unfortunately there was only one bus and the manor was 20 minutes away. Needless to say, many frantic phone calls later we finally got on the bus, but were already more than 40 minutes late. My sister who was already there called to say not to worry they were delaying the wedding until the last bus got there. That was a good thing because the bus was full of friends who came from California to see this wedding! The party just started early. The bus ride was very entertaining!

I wasn’t quite sure where this Stonebridge Manor was, but as the bus turned into an industrial park I got worried. He ended up turning around, but still stayed in the industrial park. Next question was, if we are his last load, why doesn’t he know where he’s going?! Oh well. We finally came to a parking lot. Believe it or not… the place was fantastic. You would never know you weren’t surrounded by countryside.

My finished afghan using the Homespun yarn called Painted Desert.

The huge Manor stood surrounded by beautiful gardens, pool, lawn and large tent set down where the reception would be held. The amazing thing was that there was another wedding going on the other side of the manor. We couldn’t hear a thing! Fantastic weather, food, music and people made for a wonderful time.

It was a beautiful wedding ceremony and the reception was full of great food and dancing. Especially entertaining was watching my two-year-old granddaughter as she danced circles around everyone! Oh, to have that much energy!

All-in-all a great time in Arizona…great weather, awesome sites, and a loving family to celebrate with!

Back home to finish knitting the wedding gift. Didn’t take me to finish the knitting. A little work to sew the four triangles together and it was ready to pack and send to the newlyweds!