Sunday, October 31, 2010

"I can't have nuts!"

That's what the kid just said - loudly!- as I started to put a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and a KitKat into his Hallowe'en bucket. Mind you, the Reese's are at the bottom of the bowl so that if (cough) there's any leftover candy, it'll be Reese's.

So I swapped the Reese's for a box of Hot Tamales.

"I can't have hot!", he claims.

I'm tempted to say, "Look, kid, I already gave away all of the boring stuff!", but give him two KitKats instead.

Back in the day (after dirt, but before dinosaurs), we swapped the stuff we didn't like with our sibling or buddies. It's Halloween, and I really can't take the time to say "ground or tree?" when a kid says he can't have nuts.

Two leopards just came to the door. The girls were MAYbe 4 and 6, and were as cute as cute can be.

When did I become a curmudgeon?

- - - -

Knitting - and Rhinebeck - has occurred. Susan and I got to spend two days at Rhinebeck. To my amazement, Anne Hanson (aka KnitSpot) recognized my shawl (Wing of the Moth) and asked if she could take a picture. As if I'm going to say "no" to the shawl's designer? (As if I weren't flattered beyond words?!?)

After Rhinebeck, Susan and I headed to Northampton (aka, "WEBS"). The brilliant and lovely Marcy (aka knittinggolfer) met us there for fun, yarn, and lunch. We posted pictures of each other on Twitter, but I neglected to take a For Reals picture.

- - - -

And, at almost-8 pm and with three almost-teenage girls (one vampire, one witch, one vampire-witch), I'm out of candy. There's one (one!) Reese's Peanut Butter Cup left. Time to turn off the porch light, have a piece of candy, and knit.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sekrits, Rhinebeck, and otherwise

Two of the five secret projects I've been working on have been delivered (see This And That for more on those two -- and I cannot express how delighted I am to have been part of the surprise!), and three are part of Something Big And Wonderful, and wait on someone else's timing.

Now that the Sekrit Projects are complete, I've gotten a moment to work on my own knitting. And, as of yesterday, Wing o'the Moth is finished and blocking, just in time for a trip to Long Island and Rhinebeck!

It's always a guess, what to pack for Rhinebeck and WEBS. It could be cold, could be raining, could be cold AND raining, and it could be positively tropical, tank-top weather.

This is the first time I've been on the west coast and headed for Rhinebeck so, while I'm tempted to pack my entire wardrobe, I'm trying to be a bit more judicious. Current forecast is chilly (but not all of the way to "cold") both days, and windy on Sunday.

Kingscot[e] is definitely going, as is Hypotenuse. And Wing (even if I have to wear it over a coat!), but I think other, lighter shawls (Diamond Fantasy Lace, fex) will have to stay home.

I do have my List Of Things To Look For (but am not feeling obligated to buy anything) but, even better, have my List Of People I Want To See. (WEBS and Marcy on Monday!)

Before Rhinebeck, though, I'm headed to Long Island to see Susan and folks with whom I used to work at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Swell fun!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Still alive (honest)!

Time seems to be zooming by faster than I can keep up. Between work (recently grant-writing, which seems to eat 30 hours of every 24-hour day) and life (family and friends' birthdays, friends' about-to-be grandkids, and the not-work of working for Tina), things seem to have gotten away from me.

That's annoying, because I actually have knit! I wore the Diamond Fantasy Lace shawl and Kingscot[e] at Sock Camp... and I have exactly zero pictures to prove it.

Currently on my needles: Traveling Sweater in five Raven colorways, Spring Forward socks in a BMFA Rare Gem, and a project that I can't write about.

In the near future is World-Wide Knit In Public Day and Black Sheep Gathering.

Further down the road, I've just booked the plane tix to go to Rhinebeck this fall with my dear friend, Susan. Tracy and her WonderSweetie may be on a parallel path; it'd be fun to see them on the other coast.

More soon... I hope!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yarn Torture!

Sivia Harding's pattern for the Diamond Fantasy Lace shawl says, and I quote, "block severely". Not "aggressively", "severely".

Done, and done.

This is Blue Moon Fiber Art's amazing Seduction (50% Merino, 50% Tencel) in Winter Solstice. Love, love, loved knitting with it!

I'm not a particularly loose knitter, but this blocked 9" longer and almost 20" wider than the pattern size. (And no, I didn't do an extra pattern repeat -- in fact, I just went and recounted!) Mind you, I'm not objecting to the size. I'm tall, and I was thinking about adding a repeat or two if it looked like it was going to be small.

Now the hard part: waiting 'til it dries!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Milestones, Albeit Odd

Two years ago -- well, 25 months ago to be accurate -- I bought a 200 foot roll of plastic wrap. I'd just moved back to the Pacific Northwest, was living in a studio apartment, about to start working for Portland Fire & Rescue, and househunting. And while the studio apartment had some amenities (two plates, two coffee cups, two sets of cutlery, etc.), it did not include dishwashing soap or plastic wrap.

Tonight's dinner leftovers mark the end of that 200-foot roll.

At 25 months per 200 feet, how long will the recently purchased-from-Costco, double-pack of 750-foot rolls of plastic wrap last?

(Comparing my personal use with what Tina and the Barn Gals go through every day at Blue Moon Fiber Arts amuses me greatly!)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tracy and Jen's Grand Adventure: Results

I may have mentioned that Tracy and I won a grand prize basket in last week's Portland Yarn Crawl. Today, we finally had a chance to catch our breath, meet up, have lunch... and then we headed back to her house to spread out our booty. We fondled, we discussed, we divvied, and we're both quite thrilled with the amazing gifts in this basket.

Seriously, thank you to the vendors who donated and THANK YOU! to Northwest Wools for participating.

This, gentle beings, is everything spread out.

This Lantern Moon basket is staying with Tracy. (You'd be proud, Susan: Tracy's stash still fits in baskets!)

The Lantern Moon needle case and Destiny circ came home with me; the Sox Stix stayed with Tracy.

I've now got Knitted Socks East and West and Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans; Tracy has Knits Men Wear, a Pocket Pals pattern, and the winter edition of Knitting Traditions. I expect to borrow Knits Men Wear, she expects to borrow the afghan book.

Two skeins of Aslan Trends cotton - we've each got one,

and two skeins of Asland Trends Pima classic -- again, we've each got one. The brown Poems sock yarn came home with me, as did the Classic Elite Alpaca sock yarn.

Berroco Ultra Alpaca and a pattern book, and Imperial Stock Ranch yarn and pattern. We, um, didn't feel compelled to keep the bits together -- so I've got the Berroco yarn and Tracy has the pattern, and Tracy has the purple Imperial Stock Ranch yarn, and I have the dark gray. Tracy has the Tahki beret kit -- she'll actually make it and wear it!

Frog Tree chunky alpaca and Classic Elite Silky Alpaca lace -- both Tracy's colors. I somehow managed to miss taking a picture of Lanaloft bulky from Brown Sheep that's pretty close to the Silky Alpaca green -- also Tracy's color.

In the top picture, you can also see bottles of Unicorn Fibre Wash and Rinse (I've got the wash, Tracy has the rinse -- trust us, there's a logic to that split!) and a sample of Bar-Maids salt scrub.

So, keeping in mind that this is HALF of the stuff that was originally in the basket, here's Tracy's basket:

And my half, pretty well filling a Yarn Crawl bag.

Again, thank you to the vendors who donated, to the shops that participated -- especially Northwest Wools, who picked my name out of the hat -- and thank you, Tracy, for sharing the adventure!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Patience is...

Patience is a nuisance, sometimes. Seeing no viable alternative, that's where we're stuck.

The Portland Yarn Crawl was last weekend. What with one thing and another, Tracy and I had exactly one day -- Friday -- to participate. We agreed that, in the unlikely event that one of our names was drawn for a prize, we'd split it. It doesn't cost to dream big, after all!

We went to nine stores in seven hours (we had a plan and a GPS), hitting stores we'd never visited before (Close Knit (need to go back, now that we know what they've got), Yarn Garden (lovely space, lovely people), Happy Knits (near Yarn Garden, lovely people, entirely different lovely stuff!), and Northwest Wools (kind, helpful people, and they group yarn by color within weights!)), favorites (Twisted (love), Dublin Bay (love), Knit/Purl (love - and Tracy knits samples for them), All About Yarn (more love), For Yarn's Sake (hadn't been there since opening day, and were even more delighted with them now)) and, had we not run out of time, two more favorites (Knitting Bee, Kathy's Knit Korner) would have been included.

Yes, that's a lot of stores but, as I said, we had a plan. And we didn't just stop in, sign up for the prizes and leave; oh, no!

One of us -- and usually both of us -- found something that HAD to come home with us at every single store.


Today, Northwest Wools called, and said we'd won a grand prize basket.

Okay, technically, they'd pulled my name out of the hat. But it could have as easily been Tracy's. So, from my perspective, WE won a basket. I did collect it on the way home from work tonight.

But here's the "patience" part: I'm up to my eyeballs in grant writing this week. Tracy is up to her eyeballs in family stuff this week. We won't divvying stuff up until Sunday.

We may need another prize for "remarkable restraint"!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Personal Best

(which is a kind way of saying "Knitting Olympics FAIL")

As you may recall, I signed up to make Sivia Harding's beaded Diamond Fantasy Lace shawl for Steph's Knitting Olympics. Might have worked, too, if I'd remembered a) my schedule and b) "beaded".

After Sivia's class at Madrona (see how clever I am? I signed up to knit something with a teacher and instructions!), my shawl looked like this:

A week-plus-weekend-plus-another-week later, my shawl looked like this:

The final weekend, I admitted that I wasn't happy with the start:
- the first bead was on the wrong side,
- Sivia (herself!) said that she'd probably use a different double decrease if she were writing the pattern today (and then taught it to us),
- errors fudged into compliance,

but I also knew that I seriously loved the fabric created by Tina's BMFA Seduction (oh, BAY-bee!).

To make a long story short ("Too late! Too late! ," I hear you cry) I cut off the first attempt. I started over on Friday morning of The Final Weekend.

I didn't manage an entire beaded shawl in two-and-a-half days. But I did manage enough that Sivia's pattern calls it a "scarf " and I'm well on the way to producing a shawl I'll actually wear and enjoy.

(note to self: If you're knitting a shawl, you probably need an Addi Lace longer than 24" Good thing that Tracy will remind you at PDX Yarn Crawl!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm amused

I've been going through the prove-you-don't-need-money-so-you-can-borrow-money process of refinancing my house.

Wells Fargo had the original mortgage.

The refinance process is complete, and the original mortgage has been paid off by the new mortgage company...

Wells Fargo.

I'm sure this is logical in some cosmic sense but, in the meantime, I'll just be quietly amused. (And ahead on my mortgage, thankyouverymuch!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


It's a silly thing I miss from my old, married life.

MAJOR qualifier: I love my current life. I am truly blessed. Last weekend, I was at Madrona with Tracy, who wrote one of the nicest Valentines I've ever received. This weekend, I was at Cannon Beach, listening to one of the most inspirational speakers I've heard in a long while.

But life - and laundry - goes on, y'know? I've been home for a couple of hours. It's back to work tomorrow morning. I'm tired and my muscles ache. What do I miss from my old, married life? Not something in the relationship. It's something from the house:

My decadent (for me) bathtub.

Nothing fancy -- no spritzing jets, no whirls or vortexes -- just a "garden" tub long/deep enough that I (!) could stretch out enough that my knees and shoulders could be under water at the same time.

I think I'll go take a vertical bath.

p.s. Olympic knitting? Exactly where it was a week ago...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Knitting Olympics

WHAT, pray tell, was I thinking?!?

When Steph decided that she was actually, factually going to organize the 2010 Knitting Olympics, I thought, "Heck, YEAH, I'm in!"

I had the perfect project in mind: a beaded lace shawl, Sivia Harding's Diamond Lace Fantasy. A stretch, but doable. I anticipated pure pleasure knitting this in amazingly wonderful BMFA Seduction. Even better, (here's the sneaky bit) a class at Madrona last Sunday, by Sivia, about this specific shawl.

I mean, y'gotta love a plan!

I knew I had two evening meetings this week (I can knit and look interested at the same time), an all-day workshop (ditto), and an all-day event with downtime (ditto). And that's just week one! It's still a stretch (I can't actually talk and knit lace, but I can listen...) but I'll be okay.


Except I forgot about the "bead" part.

It's one thing to quietly make hand motions under the table. It's another thing to break out a box of beads, a crochet hook, a pattern, AND try to knit quietly under the table.

In Olympic terms, I may not make it past the quarter finals.

What was I thinking?!?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ma-dro-na! Ma-dro-na!

Arrived in Tacoma with TracyBird last night (late enough, after we'd both worked all day, that we were a bit crispy fried), found hotel, slept...

And today. Class all day with Evelyn Clark (Icelandic Lace Knitting). Friends met and hugged. Projects pet and ogled. Acquaintances renewed.

Brain very, very full...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rogue, complete

Speaking of knitting, it was a relief to finish this one!

My sister asked for a Rogue sweater. Can do.
But, maybe, a cardigan instead of a pullover? Okay, can do.
Not too fond of the thick hems, though... Okay, there's help for that, too.
Now, about the color... It took five months (and swatches from several mail-order companies) before she made a decision.
I bought yarn, swatched, got approval, and (because *I* wasn't entirely happy with the feel of the fabric), knit the sleeves first for Sis's approval.

She liked 'em.

On I knit, through tidy (thin!) hems, cables, pockets, back and forth, until I got to the armpits... and then the entire thing went into a box so I could move across the country and back to the Pacific North West.

On occasion, my sister would delicately clear her throat and murmur something about how nice it would be to have a green sweater. "Haven't come across the box it's in." "It's July. Too hot to knit a wool sweater." "Erm, yeah." My excuses got weaker.

So, in October, I dragged it out, figured out where I was (rarely have I been so glad that I write notes to myself on patterns!), and carried on.

And now it's done. And my sister is, well, happy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good intentions, lousy execution...

(I suspect that I may have said that before...)

I'm hoping that, by posting something (ANYthing!), I'll get past the "there's too much to tell" bump I hit a couple of whiles ago.

Long story, short: Knitting has occurred. Job has been maintained. Holidays have been celebrated. And, five days after my last post, I had a complete hysterectomy for (and I quote) adenoendometrial carcinoma. So far, things are okay (aside from "granulated tissue" that made my oncologist frown - but the biopsy says "normal" and "healthy"), but I'm still a bit twitchy about the whole "cancer" thing.

Some dear friends have kept me sane: my sis (who spent a week holding my hand in person and continues to do so long-distance), Tracy (who listens when I need to grump and doesn't go weird on me), Tina, the Barn Gals, and the Sockateers (who expect me to just show up and be helpful - and that's a good thing when I'm overthinking too much), a sympathetic and supportive Chief and colleagues at Portland Fire & Rescue, and a bunch of folks who held me in their thoughts and prayed for me.

And now I'm going to hit "publish" so that I can get back to documenting knitting projects!