Thursday, December 24, 2009

May the Lights of this holiday season shine upon you!

We're on our annual trip down to Southern California to visit our families. One thing for sure, there will be lots of food! But more than that, it's all about hanging out with various family members, goofing around with the nieces and nephews (tickle fights anyone?) and being there for the stories of the year.

Wishing all my friends the best the holidays have to offer you, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day or any other variant of your choice!

Merry/Happy/Joyous Holidays to you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blanket update

Yes, the blanket is finished, ends and all. It ended up being about 33x36". I was aiming for 40" square, but ran out of time.

Ends were woven in during Late Night Knits last Friday. As the caroling finished, so did the weaving.

Anyway, this is just a quick post before I dash off to give it to its new family! Then the rest of the day will be Christmas/Yule shopping, home to cook, a Solstice dinner and knitting time.

Got to finish the one Christmas gift I'm knitting - that I cast on on Sunday and need to gift tomorrow! And I said I wasn't going to do any Christmas knitting...

Friday, December 18, 2009

24 x 3 =

... the number of ends I need to weave in tonight. Tomorrow (today?) is the last day of school before winter break, and I need to send this blanket home with its new mommy. FYI, I do not enjoy weaving in ends in garter stitch...

 Random Stripes Blanket
Yarn - Cascade Cherub Collection DK, 12 colors, 6 brights and 6 corresponding pastels
Needle - US size 6
 Begun Nov. 27, Finished Dec. 18
40" x 35"

Figured out my color sequence, then used a Random Number generator for the basic number of rows of each color.

Why am I blogging? I need to weave in ends before I go to bed! 'Night!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


From, a Christmas gift from my friend Danny. Hard to see, but there are numbers by each hole from 00 to 17 (US sizes - not metric, although the seller also has metric gauges) moving clockwise around then in towards the center.

Needle Gauge = awesome! (would have been more awesome in purple, but the seller doesn't make them in that color, yet...)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Odds and Ends...

Wrap-up of projects:

The Dork's homework project (a Shinto shrine) that he and his class partner decided to make out of Legos:
Side view. The roof wasn't quite right because they didn't quite have all the pieces they wanted.

(And yes, that is a stormtrooper on the roof!)

Bird's eye view, including interior


From the other side

Dork placed 3rd (tied) in a saber competition. He's the one on the right, and he's giving me the "don't take my picture, Mom" look.

As a reward, we ate at Joe's Cable Car Restaurant (mmm, patty melt and onion rings).

I've finished my fingerless mitts (and have been commissioned for 3 more pairs by members of my family).

New Stuff:
Started a Scrunchable Scarf in Mirasol K'acha as a mindless project to take to the theater when we saw the Reduced Shakespeare Company in "The complete works of William Shakespeare (abridged)". Fun yarn (not purple!), fun pattern, even more fun show!

I've started (and restarted, and restarted) a baby blanket that needs to be gifted by Dec. 16th. Nothing that I've tried has really resonated with me and I'm getting bored after only 2-3 inches. I may give up on the dk weight yarn I'm using and find enough worsted-weight and just crochet a fast giant granny square to get it over with! The older brother got a giant granny square blanket from me 3 years ago. Or I'm intrigued with the thought of knitting random stripes...

I'm thankful that I have enough yarn in stash that I can change my mind.
I'm thankful that my family is healthy and happy.
I'm thankful that I'm happily employed and that my husband is too.
I'm thankful that we have a happy, well-adjusted Dork Teen.
I'm thankful that I have great friends that I can laugh and cry with.
I'm thankful that we have a roof over our heads.
I'm thankful that we have enough food to eat and clothing to wear.
I'm thankful that we have a producing vegetable garden and access to fresh local produce.
I'm thankful that we have access to this fabulous communication and research system called The Internet.
I'm thankful that I have enough brains (usually) to solve minor house repair issues (the kitchen faucet this time) by searching the Internet for information.

I'm thankful that I can contribute to other people's fund-raising efforts. Stacie is raising money for the Lymphoma Research Foundation through her Etsy shop. I sent over a scarf for her to sell (and I'm looking for a couple other ones that I know I have around here somewhere...). You must see her Incredibly Soft Vibrating Scarf!

And with that, I'm thankful that we have options for our Thanksgiving meal this year. It will only be the 3 of us and an out-of-commission oven. We were smart enough to realize that we don't have to heat the entire smoked turkey at once, so I carved the turkey when it arrived home Tuesday. We have a small convection oven that we've been using, but there was no way to get even a smallish turkey into it! The bonus: getting to eat leftovers before we've even had Thanksgiving dinner!

Hope your Thanksgiving is a joyful one for you!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Homework report heard this afternoon:

"Mom, I have to create a Shinto shrine by Wednesday. And I want to do it in Legos.

Yeah, I know I need to get the bin out of my closet. I think it'll be mostly white and red.

I kinda got the idea from this Lego Golden Temple."

I'd forgotten just how many Legos we owned! The blue bin is a 30-gallon tote.

And how crazy is it that my Librarian brain said "we should probably sort them out better...hmmm - by size, color, type of piece (windows, angled roof, Technics...)"

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Last Monday was so cold in the morning when I left for work that I scraped ice off my car windows. The thermometer read 40°F. My hands were so cold that I did what any good knitter does - cast on some gloves right after I got home. The left one is done (sans thumb ribbing) and was super easy. It's the Mitt Envy pattern from Weezalana. Nicely written, the pattern was easy to follow, cable pattern was intuitive. There are mirror image instructions for the right mitt. I'm using Handmaiden Casbah (yummy cashmere-blend) in a beautiful rich purple that refuses to photograph nicely.

So I started the right one. This is the point at which my brain says "I know what I'm doing. I don't have to read all the instructions through because the cable rows are the same."

Yeah, they are the same - but I managed to miss one crucial part. Here's a picture of the two mitts next to each other.

Can you spot the mistake?

Can you see it now? It wasn't the cable pattern that I goofed on. I missed the "K8" part after the cable and BEFORE the gusset increases.

Now to rip out 21 rows...sigh!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hello?! Is anyone out there?

So, after my last post (has it been over a month already?), I hunkered down and tried to regroup my energy. I haven't felt like I was very productive, but in looking at the pictures I've just uploaded, I guess I've done okay.

See, there was knitting!

Two socks were done. But too bad that they are not mates to each other. However, one is for me (the top one in Regia Galaxy) and one is for The Hubby (bottom, Dream in Color Smooshy), so I guess they are mates after all. I'm working on the matching socks.

Remember this post about my epic Olympic project equipment failure last year? Well, the yarn has been resurrected as the Farmer's Market Cardigan from the Fall 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. The pattern actually calls for Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted, which is what I have, in the Dusk colorway. I realized that there was still a lot of excess dye on the yarn, so I would need to wash it again. This time, I used the hottest water I could and a lot of vinegar, hoping to wash and set the color. You can see how much dye there was! I'm still getting a little on my hands, but it's not bad now.

And it's working up beautifully! Since my skeins were from different dye-lots (I had to get one extra, just to make sure I had enough), I'm alternating a few rows from one skein and a few rows from another. So far, so good; I've reached the waist decreases.

The Sea and Shells Stole is finally done!

Pattern: Sea & Shells stole
Yarn: Malabrigo Merinocash in PearlTen
Needle: size 4 US (3.5 mm)
Started: May 12, 2009
Finished: September 29, 2009 (on my birthday!)

Crocheted a baby blanket for a co-worker's baby born last week.
Pattern: Rainbow Blocks (a Leisure Arts pattern)
Yarn: Lion Brand Woolease in Blue Sprinkles, Hunter Green Sprinkles and Ivory Sprinkles
Hook: size I US (5.5 mm)
Started: October 3, 2009
Finished: October 20, 2009

In garden news, we got a grand total of 5 butternut squash this year. The smallest of these is a little over 1 pound, the largest is almost 4 pounds!

Remember the pumpkin plant that tried a takeover? Well, we got a total of 6 off the vine. The largest is 19+ pounds, the smallest (a surprise that we just discovered last week under the basil) is about 2-1/2 pounds.

And a friend from school finds these gigantic Fuji apples every couple years and brings me one. The tape measure does not lie - it is almost 13" around (4" in diameter).

So then I see a post from Norma about butternut squash, plus apples and onions with a little cinnamon and brown sugar. This turned into our version, butternut squash, apples, onions with a little curry powder. Yummy! Sorry, no picture - it was eaten up too quickly.

Oh, and then there's The Dork and his new best friend, Ellie. Peek-a-boo!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


...of hearing bad news. I've just found out about a teacher who passed away from cancer this evening. He'd been ill since May. Another former coworker of mine passed away from a different form of cancer, less than 2 weeks ago - she was a few months younger than I am, and she leaves 2 young children. I'm trying not to be pessimistic, but it's been hard in 2009. In August, a friend's father (cancer) and one of Hubby's cousins (unknown how he died); in May & June, the last of my great-uncles (Alzheimer's complications), my father-in-law (heart and Parkinson's disease), and one of my dad's best friends (cancer).

Please consider supporting the American Cancer Society so we can find some answers to the many forms of this horrible disease.

Also, I'm tired of knitting on my Sea & Shells stole. I'm really close to the end of the skein; in fact, there's only about 10 grams left. If I'd stop playing Bejeweled, I could be done with it tomorrow! I'm not allowing myself to work on either of the sweaters I cast on recently until this is finished. Pictures will be forthcoming when it's finished and blocked.

However, I'm not tired of looking through the paperwork that my parents found when they went to the National Archives in San Bruno looking for information about my great-grandparents' immigration to the US from China. Mom apparently found about 90 pages worth of info, and I've been fascinated by it.

Turns out my great-grandfather was born in San Francisco in the basement of a building that housed his father's shoe store, and a white-owned saloon in the Chinatown area in 1877. We have the transcript of the interview that proved his identity as a native-born US resident, as well as the entrance papers and interview transcripts of his wife, and pictures of his twin daughters (I didn't know they were twins - I never met my great-aunts) and baby son, the great-uncle who died in May. My grandfather was the oldest of the children, and he decided to stay in China with his grandmother.

The transcripts provide a view into the world of Chinatown before the 1906 SF earthquake, and I'd like to map out the addresses given and correlate them with the historical records. I'd also like to try and look for more info on my great-great-grandparents, now that I have their names and when/why they came to the US.

Okay, Kathy - get off the computer. You're also tired and need to go to bed, especially since you are walking with No-blog-Rachel tomorrow morning. And then you need to take The Dork shopping for new pants before his senior portrait session tomorrow afternoon. Okay, now I feel old...

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Yup, The Dork is making brownies. He requested them for a club meeting tomorrow and was told that if he wanted them, he had to make them.

It smells really good in here right now!

(He wants to learn to cook more. Chalk it up to his dad's influence!)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Best!

That'd be you, Alison!

You see, I was "Alison-ed" on Friday evening. Apparently, after she made her deliveries at Stanford, she had a scarf that wasn't quite right for anyone. Then it dawned on her that it was destined for me. Me?

The Purlescence Girls were the deliverers of the scarf. I wasn't able to be at the shop on Thursday evening, but could stop by on Friday. I'm not often speechless (as many of you know), but... Yup, Alison is the best!

(The scarf is much more purple than in the picture.)

Now I'm off to catch up with my sister and her family. They're on their way up to Northern California, but stopping in Campbell tonight. So we're meeting for dinner in about an hour. Their kids don't start school until after Labor Day. My school started last week - sigh! And Mom & Dad will be in town on Wednesday...

And then there is the pumpkin plant... It's now trying to take the patio table by force.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


How did this happen, this "growing up" thing? And how did it happen so fast?

"Mom, stop taking my picture! I don't understand why you have to do that."

"It's a mom thing. This is the last time I'm going to take your picture on the first day of school, so deal with it!"

(I couldn't find the kindergarten you get one of him in 4th grade.)

At the end of their senior year, students (usually their moms) make a collage of pictures from their school years. I have a feeling that many of us will be verklempt going through the photos. Now, where's that box?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Stars!

(Warning: lots of pictures!)

Last week, I sat out in the peacefulness of my backyard and watched about a dozen shooting stars zoom over my head, courtesy of the Perseid meteor shower. It gave me some time to reflect on Sock Summit and Portland, Oregon and the wonderfulness of the Purlescence crew who gave me the opportunity to attend this event.

Friday was the first full selling day, and it was a loooong day! The market was open from 8:30 AM to 6 PM, to accomodate class attendees. It was also my shopping day. But first, Jade and I participated in the Guinness World Record attempt at the Most Number of People Knitting Simultaneously". The rules were - 2 needles only, knit for 15 minutes without stopping. (And yes, Jade is wearing her handknit socks pinned all over her clothing. She thought it would be an excellent way to show off her work - and I agree!)

We sat with Irishgirlieknits and Christy.

This is where I started

And 15 minutes later, here's where I stopped. Because I don't actually own any long straight needles anymore, I bought some Kollage square double-pointed needles. I liked them a lot! This is the Ann Norling Short-Row Multi-directional Scarf in Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, color 113 (tropical ginger).

This is the scarf I knit on for most of my time on the show floor; it ended up being about 5" wide x 80" long (it took 2 full balls of yarn).

Saturday and Sunday were comprised of more selling and more shopping and meeting more people and more inspiration and more....

Star Purchases:
This is all Sandi's fault! Socks that Rock Lightweight, destined to be a Charlotte's Web Shawl. From L to R: Lauma, Mermaid, KMBFLA, Beached, Tanzanite, Jubilation. (luckily for my wallet, I already owned the Tanzanite and Jubilation)

Other yarn (L to R): Black Bunny fibers, MacKintosh Yarns- Iona in color Taurus, STR Lightweight Rare Gems (2), Kangaroo Dyer, Huntington (Valley Yarns), Meg's Royal Purple from Periwinkle Sheep, Laceweight Colrain (Valley Yarns)

There were more purchases, but most of those weren't photographed before they became gifts.

The fiber (L to R): Crown Mountain Superwash Merino in Purple Rain, Huckleberry Knits Targhee top in Twilight, MaryJane's Attic.

Remember my button purchase? I'm pretty pleased that my color memory was just right!

More Stars:
SuperPurlescence Heroes - courtesy of Handknit Heroes.

Speaking of Stars, here are the Rivendell socks from the Sock Museum. Liz knit them in Dream in Color's Starry yarn, color - Grey Tabby, that has sparkly bits in it - don't know if you can see it in the picture.

Here's one of the cutest stars you'll ever see! Ellie was hugging these big knitted snakes at the Skacel booth. Never mind the man who was knitting 7 pairs of socks on one big (120") circular needle!

At the Luminary Panel. This closing event was absolutely awe-inspiring, tear- and laughter-producing (both in quantity) and worth all of the time on our feet. The Knitting Stars were out in force and we all benefited from their wisdom.

Portland was definitely the Star destination of the weekend. It was a joyous, green, comfortable place. I would go back in a heartbeat!

All in all, Sock Summit created such a knitting euphoria in everyone who attended. I hope that it will continue, in whatever format, as often as people are willing to step up to the plate. The Organizers (ST-1 and ST-2) put together a magnificent event, and I hope they will be able to do so again in the future.

Speaking of socks, I've finished my Mini Mochi socks in the Sunday Swing pattern. Love the pattern, loved the yarn, and they're nice and squooshy on the feet.

Here's a sample sock I'm knitting out of Flat Feet. Well on the way up the cuff, and so far have used less than half the first sock blank.

Other knitting on the needles:
1) Still working on my Sea & Shells stole; maybe about 75% done now.
2) Desperate to start the Farmer's Market Cardigan from the new Interweave Knits (Fall 2009), but must deal with a dye issue first.

3) If I couldn't start the Farmer's Market Cardigan, and needed to work on larger needles to give my hands a rest, then I should start another sweater that has been at the top of my queue since I don't know when, right? This is the Laurel Seamless Cardigan, from Knit 'n Style, April 2007. I've had the yarn (Schaefer Laurel) in stash since well before 2007.

I'll leave you with one final hurrah, from the pumpkin plant that hasn't figured out when to quit! It's come through the brick wall that divides the veggie garden and the patio and there are 2 small pumpkins on it, plus another flower.

And with that, so ends my summer! School begins next week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sock Summit - Day 1

It's really happening - Sock Summit has begun!

There is so much fiber and yarn in thousands of beautiful colors that I've been drooling as I've walked by some of the vendors. My credit card will never be the same!

Purlescence Yarns booth:



Nathania thinks we did a pretty good job.

And then there are the Purl Up & Dye colors - gorgeous! The One-of-a-kind colors are on the tall rack and The Dye for Glory colorways are in the corner, Melantha, Oregon Berry Harvest and Purplescence on the bottom. They're next to the Flat Feet sock blanks. Lots of Mini Mochi, fiber, spinning accessories are also available.

A video taken before the Marketplace opened is in this blog post (about halfway down). I didn't see it because we were on the other side of the doors, but have been smiling and giggling ever since I saw it.