Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year-End F.O. Round Up

Let's see, how did I do this year? Thanks to Ravelry, I counted:

Baby blankets - 3 (plus 1 quilt)
Baby sweater - 1
Hats - 1
Scarves - 5
Shawls - 2
Socks - 5
Sweaters - 2
19 knit/crocheted FOs for 2008

Can I make it to 20? Which project should I finish?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy holidays, happy family!

It was a push to get it done last Sunday, but I finally finished the Cleite shawl for my MIL. I knew it was going to take a day (or two) for blocking, and since we left on Wednesday for our annual Christmas pilgrimage to the land of the families (SoCal), I needed to finish it by Sunday at the latest.
She loves it!

Pattern: Cleite
Yarn: Panda Silk in the Berry Smoothie colorway, 5.5 skeins
Needles: US size 4
Started Sept. 25, 2008
Finished Dec. 21, 2008

The other Christmas crafting project was for my 4 y.o. niece G. Her mom (my sis) called me Tuesday to say that G's PB (Polar Bear) needed a new pompom for his hat. So I made a tiny pompom (about 1.5 inches across), and in 15 minutes, a little crocheted scarf to match (1 double-crochet row each of red and white). It was wrapped up as a "Santa gift", with a note from The Man himself. When she got to it and she and I read the note together, the joy on her face was priceless: "Mommy, I got a pompom for PB! Santa got a pompom for PB's hat!" (yelled, while jumping up and down...) " I pulled out a tapestry needle and added the pompom to PB's hat while she still jumped up and down in front of me with the scarf. "Auntie Kathy, he can wear 2 scarves! PB, do you want to wear your new scarf?"

Everyone got what he or she wanted: Dork got an iPod Touch, Hubby got a gift cert for some ceramics classes from a potter in Los Gatos, and I got a Flip Mino. Didn't get any videos worth inflicting on anyone when I was trying it out though. But watch out, I may be videotaping you someday!

According to my sis, G's sister S is into making crocheted chain bracelets, so "I thought you might have some scrap yarn to give her, or some thread or something." HEL-LO! Of course I gave her all the leftover yarn I could scrape up, and then happened to see the 1.5 boxes of embroidery floss from my cross-stitching days. See what she made for me? Another crafty kid in the family! (Her mom sews and scrapbooks, as well as tries to corral her 3 kids...)

The next day, my dad and his youngest grandson, 1 y.o. Baby I, had to take a nap, and I had to take their picture!

Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season, whatever your choice of holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tag, you're it!

Thanks to Jasmin, I have a post, even though it's not related to knitting at all. Which is fine, because nothing is all that new in my knitting life, except the slog through the final 1.5 repeats of my MIL's Cleite shawl.

What I’m supposed to do is find the 4th picture folder on my computer. I’m to put the 4th picture from that folder
on my blog and tell 4 facts about it.

Fact 1: Taken at one of my dad's closest friend's son's wedding in China, October 2001. Brian (standing, 2nd from the left next to his bride, and his brother (Curtis), seated on the left) might as well be my cousins.
Fact 2: We were able to go because it was about 4 days before my brother's wedding reception in Singapore. As long as we were going to be in Asia anyway...
Fact 3: Dad is standing behind my mom, seated on the right.
Fact 4: Chinese weddings in China aren't much different from Chinese weddings here - lots of people, tons of food and lots of red clothing. There's just more people speaking a language that I completely mangle and maybe understand about 10% of what they say.

This was also a wonderful trip on many fronts. The Dork was 9 years old and he got to skip 10 days of 4th grade. Everyone agreed that it would be waaaay more educational for him to go on a family history trip than just hang out doing the same stuff every day at school. So the Dork and I traveled with my parents, 2 aunts and uncles on my mom's side, my sister, my "uncle" and "aunt" and another "uncle". My dad was
able to travel with 2 of his best friends.

We went to the house my dad grew up in until he was about 9 or so. The house still belongs to him and my cousins. This is Dork, me, Dad & my sister in front of the family altar. The photos are of my grandparents.

We also found the villages that my maternal grandparents came from. In my grandfather's village, we found a woman who remembered him and his brothers - and they left the village in the early 1920s! She showed us the house that she said the family lived in. Of course, a lot of the rural construction is adobe bricks, and the house had fallen down a few years before and was completely overgrown. This woman just clambered into the rubble and pulled up a couple huge earthenware containers and told us to take whatever dishes we wanted. We have no proof that these items belonged to my grandfather's family, but all of us took a few pieces home anyway.

The Hubby met us in Hong Kong to join us for the Singapore portion of the trip. He was working on his Masters' degree and couldn't take a full 10 days off from school. My brother's wedding was a complete contrast to the China part of the trip. This is my brother and SIL in her 2nd of 3 wedding outfits.

This is one of my favorite photos from the trip.

Hmmm, who should I tag? How about No-blog-Rachel, Stacie, Marie and Nathania?

Monday, December 15, 2008


Okay, as promised, here is a picture of the Secret Pal scarf referred to last night:
I finished it early this afternoon, realized that the sun was out, and ran outside to take pictures. We got some much needed rain last night and today. Between rain showers, however, our gardener showed up, and I got some pictures!

And yes, I'm feeling better. I'm glad I didn't worry about getting out first thing this morning in the cold, as my lungs weren't happy with the cold air yesterday. My sweetie took The Dork to school this morning and I turned over and buried my head in the covers. I'm going to head out to pick him up soon though. Finals begin for him tomorrow, so the studying needs to continue!

Only a few more presents more to buy, but several to make...wish me luck!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Yes, I'm finished - in more ways than one:

The bad: my respiratory system - 2nd cold in 3 months, which is very unlike my usual illness cycle. I'm taking tomorrow off from work and hibernating.

The good:
Finished a baby blanket:

Luca baby blanket
Yarn: Plymouth Jeanne in light green and white. The stripes are each exactly one skein wide, with the top and bottom border the only exception.
Needle: US Size 9 (5.5 mm)
Size: 24" x 32" (but very stretchy)

Almost finished a scarf for my secret pal:

Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf
Yarn: Baby Twist (alpaca with a twist) in a steel blue color
Needle: size 7 dpn
Size: about 4" wide, projected to be 60" long
Pictures tomorrow.

I "finished" off one of my former students, who is currently in 8th grade (my campus only goes up to 5th grade). She comes to hang out in the library while waiting for her younger sister. Two days in a row, she tells me I have to read a YA novel called Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Haven't had a chance to get to the bookstore yet... Then she sees a ceramic pitcher I have on my desk with a picture of Babar on it. "Who's Babar?"

"What, you don't know who Babar is? You have to read about Babar!"
"No, it's a kid's book!"
"Okay, let's make a deal - you read Babar, and I'll read Tunnels."

So she starts to read Babar, and I get an idea. There is another book called Tunnels, by Gail Gibbons, non-fiction easy reader, about the process of building tunnels for transportation.

"I'm done with Babar - not bad."
"I'm done with Tunnels too!"

Her mother, sister and I had a great laugh over the one I pulled on K. And yes, I now have a copy of the real book she wants me to read.

Off to hibernate...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

We have just enjoyed a wonderful meal - smoked turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, swiss chard, homemade cranberry sauce - and I'm now digesting on the couch. I'll be knitting as soon as I'm finished with this post. After the Hubby leaves to head to a gathering in Oakland, I'll roll myself in to the shower before heading over to Sandi's house for more fun and merriment.

I'm thankful for my family, my health, the weather (eating outside on the back patio in late November!), a roof over my head, food to eat and of course, all my friends, both virtual and in person.

Believe it or not, our garden is still producing! Those 2 Fuyu persimmons at the top were all we got off the tree this year - but we did not have to fight the squirrels for them this time. They've discovered someone else's tree in the neighborhood, and while running the fence line sometimes drop the persimmons in our yard. The Dog then gets something yummy! And yes, we still have some tomatoes. Those are San Marzano tomatoes but they're the last of the crop.

Hope your Thanksgiving was spent with people you love!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I really, honestly, truly mean to blog more frequently, but I don't know where the time has gone to. What do you mean "Thanksgiving is almost here"?

Part of my problem has been the time change. With it now being dark even before I leave school, I'm exhausted when I get home. It doesn't help that my students over the last couple weeks have been driving me crazy with their lack of sense. Since Halloween, any hope of academic success seems to have disappeared, not to return until after the New Year. And don't get me started about their parents...

When I've had a bit of free time, I've gone on walkabout (hey no-blog-Rachel - this weekend?), played with the dog and done some crafting - just not all fiber-related. Well, I guess it technically is fiber-related, just not yarn-related.

I've gone a little nuts with the rubber-stamping. I've been needing lots of cards lately, both for happy and sad events, and I keep telling myself that I can do better for less $. Ironically, I've also spent a lot lately in my search for the perfect supplies... (okay, never mind that I still have a lot of leftover cards from past years. Does anyone really remember who sent you which Christmas card last year?)

I even remembered that for several years (college and beyond) I made all my Christmas cards. Didn't have access to all these wonderful stamping supplies, but a bit of calligraphy, some clip art and a copy machine... but now I have a date with a heat gun and embossing powder!

And yes, there really has been knitting going on. Unfortunately, leaving the house before the sun is really over the horizon and returning when it's dark is not conducive to getting any reasonable pictures.

Here's another lesson that I learned the hard way: don't make major decisions about your knitting when you're tired! Working on Cleite, it felt about big enough after 8 repeats (pattern calls for 9). I'm using fingering weight yarn (Panda Silk) instead of laceweight, so I felt pretty good about it. I was pretty tired and having to hold my eyelids up with toothpicks to finish the binding off - by golly, I was going to be able to say I finished something this month! However, after binding it off, I realized that it wasn't quite there. Of course, with my luck, I'll wet- or steam-block it and the darn thing will grow and grow and grow. So, picking out the binding is the next step. At least I have plenty of yarn - another 2 balls.

Also started work on JD's Susie (Ravelry link)from More Big Girl Knits. We made the decision to switch yarns, from Plymouth Encore (color #668) to Dream in Color Classy (in "Good Luck Jade") since the cable definition in Encore was pretty pathetic at the gauge I needed. I'm liking the Classy a lot more, and we laughed that if she and I have coordinating sweaters (it's the same yarn that I used for my Cardigan to Love), we can double-team The Hubby!

Speaking of holding up my eyelids, it's getting late. With any luck this weekend, I'll actually be able to take daylight pictures to post here. Then I'll be at school for 2 parent-teacher conference days, then 5 wonderful days off for Thanksgiving.

See you at Purlescence's Pajama Jammie Jam at 6 AM on Friday after Turkey Day. The earlier you get there, the bigger the discount!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yet again, I play catch-up

Yes, I know that I've been a bad blogger. Yes, I know it's been another whole month since I last posted. But it's not for lack of content or lack of planning. You know you're a blogger when you make decisions based on whether or not your actions make good blog fodder.

However, the combination of lack of time and a top-secret project that I finally finished and gifted this past weekend is really the reason.

You see, CJ had a baby shower yesterday. She is excused from blogging duties because of baby brain. I knew she had knit a baby blanket for herself, and I knew that at others were knitting for her. So I decided to do something differently.

Behold - the Very Hungry Caterpillar baby quilt/playmat! The caterpillar and all his food is on the front and the butterfly appears on the back.

I had so much fun making this quilt!

Considering that I've never made a quilt before, I learned several things about the process:

1) I really need to do more sewing. I didn't realize how much I missed it.

2) If you're machine quilting, you really need a walking foot for your machine. I thought I had one, but if I did, I can't find it! There are a couple places where the fabric puckered more than I'd like.

3) This is another slippery slope that I could easily slide down and get lost in!

I went to PIQF a couple weekends ago and bought some gorgeous fabrics for a quilt for our house. Hubby wanted something with an ocean feel to it. What do you think?

I've also been spinning - mostly because I was on the phone last night with my best friend who lives in Las Vegas. It had been a while since we talked, so that's what cell phone minutes and bluetooth headsets are for. I'd show you a picture of my bobbins, but they are black and grey, with just a hint of lavendar and orange; in other words, not very easy to photograph. But it's the Black Sun colorway of Corriedale Pencil roving from Crown Mountain Farms.

On the yarn front - yes, there has been yarn action: Cleite is coming along. I've just started the 6th repeat. The crocheted hoodie has reached the 12" point, so I need to divide for the fronts and back. And I've finally restarted the Susie cardigan, but in Dream in Color Classy. Pictures on all of these will happen at a later time.

We had a day off from school, but now I need to get going and run a few errands. Spinning and blogging and it's already mid-afternoon. Or, maybe I'll just take a nap...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finally catching up

Okay, finally...a few minutes to catch up on the last month of craziness in my life.

There has been a ton of knitting in the last several weeks. To witness, I finally had The Dork pull out his camera to take pictures this evening before the light got too low (still haven't found the other camera).

Look: 4 FOs and more!


Yarn: Brooks Farm Four Play
Collar option
Needles: size 8 (5.0 mm)
Started: Dec. 2007
Finished: Aug. 2008

Cardigan to Love (Olympic Sweater Sprint knitting):

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Color: Good Luck Jade
Needles: size 9 (5.5 mm)
Started August 8, 2008
Finished August 24, 2008

Multidirectional Diagonal scarf:

Yarn: Yarnplace Bel Canto DK
Color: rust/blue/gold varigated
Needles: size 7 (4.5 mm)
Started August 2006
Finished Sept. 26, 2008

Baby Surprise Jacket
Yarn: Schaefer Lola
Color: Snoopy's Crayons
Needles: size 7 (4.5 mm)
Started Sept. 8, 2008
Finished Sept. 23, 2008 (except for buttons)

On the needles now -

Toe-up socks

Yarn: Regia Galaxy Saturn Color
Needles: size 1 (size 2.25 mm)
Started August 30, 2008
In progress - 1 sock finished, on the cuff on the 2nd

Lightweight crocheted hoodie
(sorry - no picture; I forgot to take one!)
Yarn: Regia
Hook size:
Started July 25, 2008
In progress for a shop model


Yarn: Panda Silk
Needles: size 4 (3.5 mm)
Started Sept. 25, 2008

I'm not planning to do a lot of Christmas knitting, but I really wanted to make a shawl for my MIL for Christmas. Then I saw the Cleite pattern from the Twist Collective. In the stash was the yarn (okay, I'd only planned to make socks with the Panda Silk, but Purlescence had more!) Perfect match! Must. Knit. Now!

School has been crazy with all the beginning of the year stuff, including Back to School Nights (yes, plural...). Now I'm settling in, and my goal this year is to leave at a reasonable time each night (more knitting time...).

Fencing season has begun too, which means tournaments every few weekends. More knitting time! The Dork has been doing well, too. It's amazing what happens when he listens to his coach!

Other than that - Happy Birthday to me! Yeah, I'm getting older, but I'm not older in spirit, and that's the most important thing! But I'm being more careful about what I eat and making sure I'm drinking enough fluids during the day. I'm still working on the exercise bit, but I'm feeling better about myself overall. [I could do better in the sleep department, though.] The idea that I'm getting older is making me a little more introspective about how I want to live the rest of my life.

Stay active, feel good and have fun while you're doing it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrrgh Mateys!

Don't forget, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! I'll be at Purlescence tonight for Late Night Knits (and pirate movies...). If you need any help getting yourself into the right mood, take a look at this translation site.

There has been knitting and crocheting, but no pictures taken lately. This School Thing (aka the full-time job) has kinda gotten in the way of good daylight. On the weekends, I've either been at the other job or at fencing tournaments - consequently no good daylight time then either. And then the camera disappeared...(The Hubby has it somewhere).

I promise, I'll have some pictures up by the end of the weekend.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Almost there...

Quick check in from the Ravelry Stadium on the Sweater Sprint. Just the neckline to pick up and knit, then add the buttons. I've already woven in most of the ends. Not quite down to the wire, but getting there, because I'd like to finish before I go to bed tonight. I don't intend to be up until 3 AM like I was last night! Pictures tomorrow when there's light.

Gotta go knit!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When in doubt...


Duh, Kathy, when the sleeve instructions start with Knit 4 Rows, then begin the lace pattern, and you read the body instructions and SKIP the part that says "Knit 4 Rows", and go directly from the cast-on into the lace pattern, does that make sense? You even questioned yourself and re-read the instructions, remember?!

Sigh! Frogged 233 stitches x 3 rows... about 2-1/2 hours of Olympics watching... And you can't blame equipment error this time, either.

I think I should go to bed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic update

Well, after the drama of the equipment failure over the weekend, I made the decision to switch out the faulty equipment and start over.

Much as I loved the Green Line Worsted, it was not the right yarn for the project. The realization hit when I'd gotten a couple inches into the lace on the sleeve, and it was a little too chunky-looking, not drapey like I wanted. Of course it wasn't apparent in the swatch.

Replacement equipment: Dream in Color Classy in the color "Good Luck Jade", which I thought was an appropriate choice for the Olympic knitting (and the fact that I need lots of luck to get this done).

Progress: The pieces are all knit from the bottom-up, so the lace portions are done first. I've done the first sleeve to the armhole, and the 2nd is well on its way. I should be casting on for the body by this evening. When that is done to the armholes (12" of lace, then the sleeves are joined and it's all stockinette from there! The color shows up better in the bottom picture.

Warning - Olympic-sized Rant ahead:
I've talked with a lot of people about the TV coverage of the Olympics. I've written letters every Olympic year to the networks about the fact that this is an International Competition. Every time, I have the same issues and lots of people have agreed with me! Why in more than 20 years isn't someone at the networks listening!?!? (and why am I so addicted to watching every minute I can, even though I know I'll end up getting angry at the broadcasters).

1. Please let us see some athletes other than the ones competing for the gold. Some preliminary rounds would be nice, instead of 15 replays of the gold-medal race.
2. Please let us see other nations other than the top-ranked, larger contingents, and not just the "feel-good, look how much this person has overcome" segments.
3. Please show fewer hours of basketball (because we can see all the same pro athletes during the regular season) and show some of the lesser known sports during prime-time.

Sure, I understand that there's a lot of pressure on Michael Phelps to get lots of gold medals, not to play down his incredible athleticism and the fact that he definitely rules the pool, but do you have to keep going on and on (and on) about it?! We know that he's gotten 9 gold medals so far in his Olympic career; is there anyone who doesn't know that?

Yes, there is more TV coverage than ever, but there are those of us (and I know I can't be the only one) who don't have HD televisions yet. And, those of us who don't have Tivo either. So, if you have something called "a job" and have to be "physically at the job site" during the day when a few of the less popular sports are run (if they're televised at all), you're out of luck unless you can get your VCR to work. I was able to see a badminton match (but only one and only because it was a US athlete) yesterday morning only because I didn't have anywhere to be until 1 PM.

Yes, I know that I can see some of it "on-demand" through Comcast, but not much. Yes, I know that there is a lot of online content. However, I'd need to get a new computer in order to take advantage of the online videos, as NBC's videos are not available for the Macs that are running PowerPC chips, only the Intel versions.

So, I'm wondering if it's all a conspiracy to get the American public to spend more money on the latest technology while leaving those who can't afford or can't justify the increased spending on new equipment.

End of rant!

Gotta go knit!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Yes, I have been knitting like a crazy woman. No, I haven't finished everything that I said I'd finish...and I only have 10 days before I need to be back at school. Ack! Where did the summer go?!

But, I need to cast on for the Ravelympics 2008!

Project: Cardigan to Love by Lynda Cyr
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted
Color: Dusk (purples!)
Gauge: approx. 18 st/4 inches
Needles: size 8 for the lace, size 9 for the stockinette

But a spectacular equipment failure has set me back several hours already!

I swatched last night at Purlescence's Knit Night. The yarn was a little stiff and it felt like a lot of lanolin or spinning oil was still in it. But I thought it was okay to work with. After a brief water bath, it was soft and supple and I was pretty close to gauge.

But this morning, after an early morning rise (no, not 5 AM for the opening ceremonies), I started. But after finishing 2 repeats on the lace, I realized that I was heading for an injury if I continued to use the yarn in this form. The more I knit, the stickier the yarn felt.

And, take a look at this! See the dye on my hands? It only took a couple of rows worth of knitting to get my fingers this color. (It's very hard to take a picture of your hand stretched out in front of you - sorry!)

Into a water bath all 5 skeins went! Now I'm waiting for it to dry so I can wind it and re-swatch.

Meanwhile, there really has been other knitting:

Exhibit A: Adult-sized hat to match the scarf that The Hubby knit
This one is a seed stitch rib (thanks Sandi!) in the round. The scarf doesn't exactly match (Broken Rib stitch), but it coordinates quite nicely.
Yarn: Fiber Fiend's worsted wool
Color: Woodland
Needles: Size 9

Exhibit B: Socks (in progress) - this is my "purse knitting" that comes out whenever I have a few minutes.

Exhibit C: Twist (really!), 98% finished, just waiting for the collar to be knit, a full blocking, and some pewter clasps.

But - runs outside to check how the yarn is drying - I want to work on my new sweater NOW! (This way I'll have 2 new sweaters for the beginning of school.)

Doesn't hurt that The Hubby and The Dork are heading to family camp tomorrow AM early and won't be back until Wednesday night. I can stay up and knit as long as my hands hold out!

Oh, and speaking of The Dork, Mari gave me this awesome T-shirt the other day! Thanks, Sis!

Okay, gotta go check on the yarn again!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Notes to Self:

My Tour de Fleece challenge is finished! All 16 oz. of fiber have been spun and plied and I've learned a lot in the process. Of course, I want to keep spinning other stuff now.

Note 1. You like to spin. Doesn't really matter how the end product turns out, you are a process spinner, as you are knitter and crocheter. However if you spin with intention, you might surprise yourself.

Exhibit A:
Crown Mountain Superwash Merino, 8 oz.
Color: Layla
3-ply, worsted weight, 325 yards
Divided into 3rds, top, middle, bottom
Comment: more muddled color & slubby than I thought it would be. Also overspun.

Exhibit B:
Lisa Souza blue-faced leicester, 2 oz.
Color: Berry Poppins
3-ply, aran weight, 80 yards
Divided into 3rds lengthwise, and pre-drafted
Comment: tried to intentionally match last year's spinning of the same fiber. I think I did pretty well, but it ended up being a little thicker.

Exhibit C:
Grafton Corriedale batts, each 2 oz.
Colors #1, 5 & 9
3-ply, light worsted weight, total of 325 yards

Note 2. Batts must be spun from the fold in order to align the fibers in a spinnable fashion. Until Sandi told me that, I wasn't enjoying this fiber. Now...I think I need to get more batts in the same color so I have enough for a shawl! I love these colors, and think I'll call the combination "Purple sunset".

I also, for the first time, played with the ratios on my wheel and found the one that for me, produced a perfectly balanced yarn. It had less than a half-twist in it before I set/whacked it.

Note 3: Before you wet-finish by whacking the heck out of the wet yarn, make sure you tie the skeins securely, so when you rear back with the yarn over your head and accidentally drop it behind you, you don't get a tangled mess.

Note 4: When you try to salvage the disaster you've created by laying out the yarn so you can rewind the hank, don't sit down on the ground with the dog outside. She will think it's an invitation to play, or to roll in your wet yarn!

If there was a videocamera around, it would have been a candidate for America's Funniest Home Videos. The Dog rolling in the yarn, tangling herself, me trying to stop laughing long enough to untangle her before she tries to run off...

Note 5:
My guys are now both knitters! The Dork decided that he would like to make himself a sweater. Specifically, a hoodie with a zipper. After looking through my books and Ravelry, he chose to make an Adult Tomten, using some stashed Noro Kureyon (discontinued color #55). He has swatched, we've done the basic calculations and cast on. Wish him luck! He'll be working on it while we're at the SF Giants' Stitch & Pitch game on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


through the Tour de Fleece and I'm a little behind! [So why am I taking the time to write a blog post, huh?!]
Anyway - there has been progress and learning!

Part I --
Crown Mountain superwash merino
Color: Layla
8 oz. = approximately 250 yards of 3-ply worsted weight.

Part II -
Lisa Souza Blue-faced Leicester
Color: Berry Poppins
2 oz = ???

This one, I'm spinning very intentionally, trying to match last year's spin of the same fiber. My prep includes remembering to pre-draft the fibers, as they were pretty tightly braided. I didn't remember to do this with the Crown Mountain, and I'm not entirely happy with how it came out.

Part III - 3 Grafton batts (pictures later).

Back to the wheel!

Monday, July 7, 2008


See, I really was spinning! This is almost one-third of the original 8 oz. of superwash merino. In 2 evenings I filled this bobbin. It feels really good to work on this, because I haven't spun since last February. I'm aiming for a 3-ply worsted-weight yarn that I have no idea what to do with yet. But it's purple!

Do you like my spinning studio? Right now, it is after 11 PM and it's 84 degrees inside the house. It's much nicer to sit outside in the evening with a bit of a breeze. There's not a very good breezeway through my house, and the air quality has been pretty poor. With Dear Hubby's sinus infection and breathing issues over the last week, having that poor air inside is causing havoc in his lungs. Can't open the window in our bedroom, even with the HEPA air filter, because it can't keep up with the crud in the air. He was happy playing with the dog, but had to go inside after only a couple minutes.

This spinning time has also given me a chance to make a bunch of phone calls to girlfriends I haven't talked with in months. Love my Bluetooth headset, and plenty of cell phone minutes that I pay for and never come close to using up!

All the pictures in this post were taken by The Dork who took a photography workshop at the Summer Nationals, specifically dealing with fencing photography (high-speed, poor lighting conditions), and he practiced some of what he learned by taking action pictures of The Dog and some of my spinning wheel in motion! (she's about to take off after her ball...)

Next bobbin...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Le Tour de Fleece

Okay, I've entered! I've needed to get back to spinning, and as my knitting mojo has deserted me for the last couple days, I'm going to start Le Tour de Fleece. Basically, my spinning goal is to spin and ply at least 16 oz. of fiber before July 27, the end of the Tour de France.

Stage 1 (I started a day late). I have an 8 oz. bump of Crown Mountain Superwash merino in the color Layla - purples, of course! I sat in my backyard last night, on the phone with a girlfriend and just started spinning. It felt right to be spinning again. Yes, I used my phone headset to leave my hands free! Pictures later...

Between that bump, purchased last November, 3 Grafton batts bought last month that I intend to ply together, and another 2 oz. of Lisa Souza BFL I got at Stitches West in February (matches the stuff I got from her last year), that should take care of the 16 oz. challenge. There, of course, is still plenty more fiber in the box that I can choose from.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Now you see it...

The first set of disappearances is that of a delicious brioche & blackberry bread pudding that my Dear Hubby made for dessert tonight. We had half of it, as you see in the picture (forgot to take a "before" picture).

now you don't!

In less than 5 minutes it disappeared, when I walked briefly outside to take some garden pictures.

Here's the culprit!

I thought about blaming The Dork because he was coveting it, and acting like it was going to disappear momentarily. However, we had just finished discussing the matter, and had agreed that he could have some for breakfast tomorrow.

I'll have to take some of the blame for leaving it out though.

The 2nd set of disappearances is that of about 3 boxes worth of junk that was in front of my crafting bookcase. The boxes were a convenient landing place for laundry that needed ironing or dry-cleaning, yarn that needed putting away. Okay, so I haven't ironed the clothes yet, but I did get the huge pile of magazines sorted, inventoried, and into magazine boxes.

A couple boxes into the recycling bin, a couple bags for Goodwill, a large stack of stuff to take to the used bookstore...(anyone want any cross-stitch magazines from the early 90's?). It's not quite the way I want it yet, so no After picture. However, you can see (and get to) all the books and one of the two shelves of magazines which had been completely hidden.

Part of the problem has been that my knitting mojo has deserted me temporarily. Once I finished the Grumpy socks, I've been trying to find something that keeps me interested. I've tried and ripped out a sock in Koigu 4 times now because nothing that I try looks right. I have to rip a few rows out on the Susie cardigan that I'm making for our housemate because I have an undiscoverable mistake in it and haven't had any brain power to figure it out. I can't muster up the energy to get excited about finally finishing my Twist, or my Ribby Cardi, which I really, really should do.

But I need something small and portable to work on, because I've been spending some of my time at the Fencing Summer National Tournament, which is taking place at the San Jose Convention Center (through Thursday). There are over 3000 fencers in town for this major tourney! If you're interested in watching some of what my Dork boy does for fun, go over sometime during the day. They start fencing around 8:30 AM, and stagger the start times for different events.

He is NOT fencing, though! He didn't qualify in his division. But it's fun to watch and cheer on the fencers we know, and he's been coaching some of the younger kids.

Oh, and Happy Belated 4th of July! Dork and I went to Nationals for a while, then out to the San Jose America festival a block away. The fencing club had been asked by the local NBC TV station to put on a demonstration, as part of the festival. It was tied into the Olympic coverage that they're starting to heavily promote. Some of the kids were filmed sparring behind the Weather Guy, while a few of us parents tried to prevent oblivious people from walking into their strike zone. Gotta love those Lookie-loos who are so busy watching the cameras that they fail to watch where they're walking. NOT!