Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Great Balls...

this time it's a dog toy!

The Dog was given a toy ball that had been used as a prop during the Kindergarten show mentioned before, the one that I made the huge yarn balls for. She seems to really love it, playing with The Dork.

Here, she's playing with the same toy, 15 minutes later. Notice anything missing?

In knitting content, The Hubby's socks are finally finished and I started The Dork's socks. The Housemate's sweater is actually starting to happen too! Pictures will be posted in a few days when I can photograph them in something resembling natural light.

The Dog doesn't get any socks or sweaters...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Great Balls of...


"...I need to acquire/make a giant ball of yarn. Round ball. The size of a basketball at least. I was thinking of using a cheap ball and gluing yarn or rope to it. But then I thought I should at least ask the yarn guru if anyone actually had one..."

After I stopped laughing at this email from my friend at school, I knew exactly what to do. You see, she's is getting props together for a play the Kindergarten classes are doing. 1/2 of each class are playing dogs and the others are cats. Of course, cats need yarn balls, right?

The purple ball is about 7" in diameter, the rainbow boucle is about 8-1/2" to 9" in diameter. Not quite basketball-sized, but I think they'll show up pretty well onstage. But I can't remember what the yarns are - I think the purple is a Rowan super-bulky, but I've lost the ball band from the other one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now you see it...

Now you don't:

And this is why:
See those 4 lovely gathers down the middle of the back? Not so lovely on me. It made me look hunchbacked.

Now, this is certainly not the fault of the designer (yet another thing I cannot blame her for!), or the marriage of the pattern with the yarn. It all has to do with me and my "process".

I know that I'm not the only one who does this, but you'd think I'd have learned something over my many years of crocheting and knitting - Sheesh!

Here's my process:

1) Excitedly cast on.
2) Show everyone what I'm working on, the pattern, any pictures I can find, make them feel it, etc.
3) Gauge, what gauge? It's a shawl and I like the fabric I'm getting. I'm not worried about the gauge. I've got plenty of yarn and so far I really like what's happening with it.
4) Knit obsessively for a few weeks.
5) At somewhere over the halfway point, step back and think for a little bit. Is this doing what I want? Decide that, Yes, this is how I like it.
6) Getting close to the 3/4 point, stop again and take a look. This time, think longer about it. It's no longer "throw into the purse" portable, so it's harder to find the time to work on it. Does it still work for me?
7) Decide to add more repeats because as the pattern is written, it hits me at an unflattering spot.
8) Continue for still a few more inches
9) Slowly admit to self that: A) it isn't fitting right; B) it isn't flattering; C) I don't like the size, which leads to D) there won't be enough yarn E) and "I guess gauge might have been important after all"
10) Throw it in time out for a while
11) Rip it out.
12) Think about starting it over with a few modifications (larger needle size, check the gauge)
13) Remember that I still really like this project and should restart it right now.
14) Cast on a new project, something entirely different to give myself a break.
15) Repeat...

So what has been cast on instead? The Montego Bay scarf that I tried and ripped 3 times because I couldn't count to either 3 or 4 (finally figured out how to read the stitches, so it will be almost mindless knitting for a while). I also need to cast on for the Susie Hoodie (from More Big Girl Knits ) for our housemate - I've only been promising her a sweater for 2 years...Oh yeah, I should seam my Twist..., and there's another partial sweater that isn't quite working out either, and I could work on the Midsummer Socks and ...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Recovering from Spring Break

You know how you always dream of taking an extra day off at one end of a vacation...well, this was not the way to do it.

I'm spending some time recovering, not only from a busy Spring Break, but from this ugly upper respiratory thing that I came down with a few days ago. I hate rediscovering muscles in my mid-section that are really sore from coughing. It really hit on Saturday when I drove up to Chico with the Dork for a fencing competition. Not easy to drive while you are sneezing and coughing!

Dork did well in the Foil competition, coming in tied for 3rd place out of 11. In Epee, he was seeded at 11th out of 28 and lost in the second direct elimination round to a crafty older guy who happens to own a fencing club in the East Bay! But it meant leaving the house at 5:45 AM and arriving back home at 9:30 PM. The short kid in the picture is The Dork, fencing against a guy who has to be at least 6'8", more than a foot taller than he is! He lost this bout - his opponent is a top-rated fencer.

Knitting content: I finished the foot on Hubby's Midsummer sock #2 during this competition. Almost no knitting, however, while I vegetated at home yesterday. Hubby took Dork up to the other competition in San Rafael.

It's Spring!
Everything has decided to start growing like, well, wildflowers! Poppies, ceanothus, elderberry... (click for bigger)

By the way, we are on the list for the California Native Garden tour again this year, to be held on Sunday, April 20 for Santa Clara County. If you'd like to see how people have landscaped using plants native to this area, please sign up for the free Going Native Garden Tour. After you register, you will be provided all the addresses to the gardens and you can choose which ones you'd like to see.

Alternately, email me and you can drop by for a private tour and knitting!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Very Random Posting...

As Loopie Chick said "I'm not dead yet." And by the way, has anyone seen the month of March? I seem to have completely missed it this year!

Well, it's coming on the end of Spring Break, and I'm not ready for the end! There's way too much to do - especially knitting.

What has happened over the last month:

Made a few cards (and spent more money doing so - thanks Emy!) :

Went to Monterey Aquarium and got not very good pictures of lots of things - which I will not subject anyone to! The Dork took his really good DSLR camera with him and got very picky about framing his shots, with the result that not much was useful. But the day really was gorgeous!

Went to SoCal to visit family last weekend. Lots of stuff got sorted out - a good time was had by most people, most of the time. Got a couple pics of the cute nephews: Baby I is 9 months old and his big brother N just turned 3. (Sorry, these are pics from my cell phone.)

While down there, went to a book presentation (spur of the moment with my parents) by Jennifer 8 Lee (yes, her middle name is the number 8) about her book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. It's a fascinating look at how non-Chinese a lot of Chinese food really is. The link is to her blog - she took pictures of the audience just like the Yarn Harlot does (without the sock, though), and I had to laugh at that. [However, I did finish one Midsummer sock for Hubby and warded off SSS by starting the mate while enjoying her presentation]. I'd like to spend a little more time at Nixon Library and explore a little more of the history. When you're living it as a kid, you don't really understand much about what's happening! We just didn't have enough time that afternoon, as Mom and I rushed off to my aunt's house right after the talk was over. Dad, however, stayed to get several copies and have her sign them.

Then there were the old coins hidden in various places, including a hideous plastic lion bank from when we were kids, and the safety deposit box. The librarian in me kicked in and I decided that we needed to know what we have. So I started inventorying and photographing them! I have no knowledge of coin values and many were not in great shape, but I do know that we had some coins that from the 1800s and early 1900s (buffalo head nickels and Mercury dimes, and silver dollars when they were really had silver content).

In other knitting news - there's not a whole lot, really! I'm excited to finally be on the last part of the second sleeve to my Twist. I was cautiously optimistic that I could get it done this week, but that hasn't happened (doing "work" stuff on vacation time - 4th grade research begins on Monday). The Blue Jay Shawl is also more finished than a month ago, but not quite done yet. Sigh! Pictures later when a) I'm more coherent; and b) there is sunshine for me to take them.

Wish us luck this weekend - I'm taking the Dork up to Chico on Saturday AND to San Rafael on Sunday for two different fencing competitions.