Sunday, September 28, 2008

20 projects


17 of which are pictured in the basket above. These are the "small" projects I picked up during the shop hop. All bagged up with their perspective patterns. Most of these are the 1 skein projects, but the basket also includes other 2 or 3 sk projects I picked up along the way.

This does not include the other 3 full sweater sized projects that I also picked up during the shop hop. That makes 20 projects all together. This also does not include the yarn I bought -- um, just to buy. Yarn that was either on sale or the last of it's kind, or both. Yarn that I don't have plans for. Thankfully there wasn't much of that. Well, as much.

Now what am I going to do? The stash room is full. It's been full for quite a long time now. I don't finish projects as fast as I can buy them. There was a comment on my last post about knitting all this up by the next shop hop. Not a chance. I only got one thing from the last shop hop done and that was just a hat.

I gotta either knit it, stop buying more of it, or give it away. We already know I don't knit that fast. And the last two stash busting/freezing enterprises failed, miserably. I can't seem to part with it once I acquire it either, although today a skein walked out in the hands of my buddy Lisa. But she left some ribbon behind in it's place. Sigh. There's no hope. Stash reduction is a myth. At least in my house. But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shop Hopped Out


That's just a sampling of my treasures, but you can see most of them here. On Days 2 and 3, I brought the pink wristlet with the 3 SWTC shopping bags neatly folded inside into each store. But I forgot to use it at our first stop at Continental Stitch so I ended up with a bag from there -- at least it's paper. When I used up the red bags I used the Tinkerbell sack at our last stop for the day. It was just me doing my part to go green and I was rewarded at Commuknity and Full Thread with an extra point toward a discount at one and an entry for a monthly drawing at the other, respectively.

Day One: Friday, 9/19, 6 hops
The hop actually started the day before but since Kelsey wanted to do it again** (we did all 16 shops last year) I had to wait until she got out of school. Promptly after 3pm we met Sylvia at the Knitting Room and got our passports. Our next stop was Commuknity, then Bobbin's Nest, followed by Yarn Place, Purlescence, and Yarndogs our final stop for the day. We had a lovely dinner at Thai Pepper. Each shop had a one skein project and I picked up Commuknity's beaded shawl with matching beads from Beadz occupying the same retail space, Yarndog's neckband in Curious Creek and Purlescence's mitts in Dream in Color Classy for Kelsey. I also scored 3 skeins of Manos Silk Blend in a beautiful black multi at Purlescence.

Day Two: Saturday, 9/20, 7 hops
Saturday was our biggest day. Starting at Continental Stitch I picked up the crochet one skein project -- a lovely beaded mobius in Schaefer Susan, and a sweater's worth of Berroco Jasper for Joyella. We took the long drive south and headed for Carmel. At Knitting by the Sea I found a new-to-me Noro called Taiyo. The huge 100g sks were a cotton blend and I only needed 5 for Klaralund, a sweater out of Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton 2. Our next stop was Monarch Knitting in Pacific Grove where I picked up the one skein mitts from Monarch (a pattern I saw previously at The Knitting Room and got the yarn w/o the pattern). We had lunch in Monterey at Sea Harvest then made our way up Highway 1 to A Yarn Place in Capitola and of course, Gayle's. Our next stop was Swift Stitch where I got the makings for a lovely knitted/woven scarf and their one skein beret using Chasing Rainbows Texas. From there we went along to Golden Fleece's new location -- which we passed on our way to their old. I picked up a button for my Anthropologie Capelet and a pattern for a Circle Shrug in Boku. Our final stop for the day was Luminous Threads which we arrived after 5pm. There was a large container full of strawberry lemonade waiting for us. Here I found enough K1C2 Paint Box for the Circle Shrug pattern I had just got at Golden Fleece.

Day Three: Sunday, 9/21, 6 hops
This was by far our best day. Kelsey, Sylvia and I were joined by Cris, Carol and Fae. Yarn, Paper, Scissors was our first stop, the one furthest north. Kelsey, who was picking up things here and there all along the hop had her eye on an origami kit and we both found a sock monkey hat kit for Lindsey. Before we continued on to Nine Rubies we all trotted down the street to Peets for a cuppa. At Nine Rubies we all were enthralled at the beaded bag. I got a skein of the recommended Art Yarns for Kelsey and a skein of Baywood silk for me. Cris, Fae and Sylvia bought some cotton for the same project. From there it was down to Creative Hands, Fae's last stop. I got a skein of sock yarn for their crocheted mitts. After we dropped Fae off the rest of us made our way to Los Altos. At Uncommon Threads I found copies of Rowan Studio issues 1, 2 and 3 -- I love Sarah Hatton. They were one of 2 shops* that had a sock pattern which I got with a ball of Opal Feeling. I also scored 6 sks of the now discontinued Kidsilk Night in a beautiful light pink -- no surprise there, eh? We walked a couple of blocks down to Full Thread Ahead our penultimate stop, where Hollis the shop owner proceeded to show us their one skein projects. She's a hard sell and we happily got both, a hand dyed sea silk shawl in LuLu's Marinella and a Louet linen shopping bag that folds into itself. Our last and final stop was Green Planet Yarn back in Campbell where our knitting group meets once a month. I think I'd had enough one skein projects so I skipped their's but I just might pick it up when I return this week for our meeting. We all turned in our passport page and made our way down to the new bakery for a well deserved treat.

*Bobbin's Nest had the other sock pattern and I got that too, the first day, with a skein of Hazel Knits.

**Links to last year's shop hop here and here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What we did on our Summer Vacation

Kelsey and Lindsey leaning in front of NY, NY


Lindsey leaning over Hoover Dam


Kelsey leaning on the Grand Canyon


It was a 9 day vacation and I brought 8 projects with me in hopes of finishing some of them. I got to work on 3, and I finished one. Here's my undulating waves scarf, knit mostly in the car on the way to LV and back while listening to Harry Potter book 6.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Where are all my dpns?

The other day I went to my needlebox to find a set of dpn's. I was looking for US 10.5, and found none. Then I started going through the box to see what I did have and noticed that most of my needle tubes weren't there. Now I have multiple sets of each of these sizes but I keep the tube that contains all of them in with whatever project I'm working I searched all the UFO's...

My size 6's are here:


size 7's:


2's, 3's AND 4's, stuck in this:


And my 5's and 8's are here:


It turns out I don't own a pair of 10.5 dpns which was remedied by a quick trip to my LYS, but OMG -- all those UFOs? And that's just the one's that use dpns! Ok, that's it -- this is way outta control (even for me) so this summer? It's the summer of knit. All the UFO's are listed on the sidebar -- ALL OF THEM. 15 UFO's. The goal is to get myself down to 10, by Labor Day. Do you think that's reasonable? What's your all time high?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bagged by Vivian

Vivian wants to know:

What was I doing 10 years ago? Hmm, that would be June 1998, that would make L almost 4 mos and K 3yo. I was knee deep in diapers? Just returning to work with 2 small kids. It was a circus act I tell ya. And later that year I joined a startup. I guess I thought I could do it all. It was tough, but it was from this point on that things started to get easier. DH just got his MBA and a job that didn't require a 2 hour commute. Definitely better.

What are 5 things on my TO-DO list for today? Wait for the A/C guy to come in and fix a wire -- very important wire connecting the switch to the relay that turned the fan 0n, $100. Take the girls to see Indiana Jones. Make dinner -- DH's favorite. The dishes. Blog.

Snacks I enjoy: Today? Ice Cream and cookies. Other days? Chocolate and cheese, but not together.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire: I'd retire to this house.

Places I have lived: California, that's pretty much it, first Southern, then Northern.

Jobs I have had: If I count the last five they would be programmer, programmer, programmer, programmer, and programmer. Oh and before that, programmer.

Monday, May 26, 2008


In the last 5 months 3 of my local yarn stores have closed or are in the midst of closing. The first was The Rug and Yarn Hut -- 10 years ago I learned to knit and this store was easily the one I frequented most. At the time there weren't as many yarns stores close by. Besides the Rug Hut here was also The Knitting Room, The Braid Box, Continental Stitch and Uncommon Threads. In the 10 years that followed The Knitting Room relocated (still in the area), Knitter's Studio opened, and so did Commuknity, Yarndogs, Full Thread Ahead, Purlescence and Bobbins Nest. Yarn Place opened and carried it's own line, and The Braid Box was sold and moved across the street to become Knitting Arts. About a month ago Knitter's Studio announced it's closing and last week so did Knitting Arts. From 5 to a dozen, now down to 9 there are still many choices for a south bay area knitter such as myself. So why do I feel sad?

Today I went to Knitting Arts to see what was to be had on the 3rd day of their "Going Out of Business Sale" on a busy Memorial Day weekend. They decided to just put the whole store on sale for 30% off -- yarns, notions, books -- patterns were 50% off. I was out of town for the long weekend so it wasn't until after 2pm that I finally made it into Saratoga. The place was almost empty, bereft of its usual splendor. At the other closing sales I made small token purchases. At the Rug Hut I came by twice to see Karen but missed her both times, I bought 3 balls of a 50/50 silk and merino blend and a book I already had. At Knitter's Studio I bought 4 sks of Malabrigo cashing in my Frequent Knitter's card. That's it. The Rug and Yarn Hut's closing didn't come as much as a surprise, it was slowly coming to an end anyways. I didn't really frequent Knitter's Studio all that often although I usually bought when I did. And Knitting Arts? I came pretty regularly, I rarely missed a sale and for a couple months our group was meeting there. As I walked around the store looking for what was left of the pink, I began to stuff my basket and found that I couldn't stop. I brought home 6 sks of Misti Alpaca Chunky in a rose/gold twist, 6 sks of Alchemy Vita in a pinky mauve, 21 sks of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in a medium pink, 4 sks of Rowan Purelife in a nice rosey pink and 3 sks of Cascade Quatro because it had pink in it. After that I made another pass around the store and found 3 balls of Rowan Kidsilk Spray in taupe and 2 sks of Alchemy Haiku in almost the same colorway. There was a bundle of Lorna's Laces roving in Tuscany, a felting kit and at the register I found a lovely pink glass button. While waiting in line I perused a nearby basket of beads and found 7 tubes of rosy red ab and 1 tube of pink. I just couldn't stop. Was it the because of the 10 weeks of stash dieting? Through the years Knitting Arts sponsored many events and classes none of which I had attended. I came in only to pick up yarn whether at a sale or just when I needed it. And now it's all but gone.

When I left I almost went to Yarndogs. I wanted to go in and just check its pulse, see if it was okay. There are other yarn stores that are close by. I can't possibly visit them all, but by choosing to support a small portion I guess I cast my vote on who gets to stick around. However, if it were up to me, my vote would have been to keep Knitting Arts, it will be sorely missed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Game Over

10 weeks. That's how long we lasted. A couple days ago Cris and I mutually decided to end the game. You read the rules. Here's how it actually went. When we first started this both of us were getting ourselves organized on Ravelry. We were uploading our stash, queuing patterns, finding yarn for the patterns. But sometimes we didn't have the yarn for the pattern. So when Cris wanted yarn for her Urban Aran she gave me a bag of Silky Look and I let her buy it. Then when I wanted yarn for my Sahara I gave her some Suri Alpaca and she let me buy it. And when I had to use (or lose) my frequent knitter's card from The Knitter's Studio she bought yarn with me (I mean, what are friends for). Before she left for camp stitches I bought yarn from Webs so she would have a budget. While at Camp Stitches she bought extra yarn so I wouldn't be so far behind. See what such good friends we are? Through it all we knit. We had to and that was the problem. We HAD to.

But that's all over with now. Now I can knit what I want (and not weigh what's left or base any considerations on the game). And what I buy, I buy, period. Although I do like the idea of keeping track of what I knit. And weighing that against what I buy's not a bad idea either. Ravelry helped us both examine are stash and use it. This isn't the year to reduce the stash for me. But maybe, I'll make better selections. Maybe I'll buy smarter. I'm going to keep track this year. See what I do knit. I'll adjust the stash reduction to count the whole thing as I finish (not just what was knitted since March 5th -- so there'll be adjustments).

The Lamb's Pride above? That's what I picked up at Green Planet Yarn last night at our knit group. Cris and I both let loose. I'll use it as the main color for Candy, the contrasting color I already have in my stash. ;) Oh, and when we ended the game, I immediately ordered a lace sampler from Knit Picks and some odds and ends from Discontinued Brand Name Yarn. Not sure if I'll continue to track of stash additions...I don't think the side bar is long enough.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strength is Irrelevant

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
Remember the Webs 2 month sale? The one where they would announce one set of sale yarns in April and another whole new set in May? I perused the list in April and came out unscathed. I resisted, I was strong. This month's list? Not so. Firstly, there was the last 20 balls of soft pink chunky cashmere from Debbie Bliss. Perfect for a Wanderlust Hoodie. And having just finished Lady Eleanor, I just had to have more cashmere -- even if it was a mere blend. DB's is extra soft and cushy. 1420 yards.IMG_2412Then we have Sulka from Mirasol. More of a heathery lilac pink. Who could resist this alpaca, merino, silk blend? I can't believe this is worsted -- it's pretty thick. At 1870 yards (yup that's 34 balls) this will be enough for the Tweedy Aran Cardi by one of my favorite designers Norah Gaughan. Right, the game. Yeah, I've fallen way behind. The knitting machine's looking mighty attractive these days. However, my buddy Cris is at Camp Stitches this week. She purposefully left with no room for yarn in her suitcase. However, I received a text message that she arrived safely and that she was encouraged to buy another suitcase and fill it with her purchases. That could even things up!
And yes, I've noticed -- only pink yarn is worth losing the game.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Lady Eleanor

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
All done with my version. Since I only had half the amount of yarn I reduced the pattern from 7 rectangles per row to 5. I estimated this would make it about 6 ft in length. I was close, in the end it came out to 5.5ft. I love how the colors change and I'm glad I found a pattern worthy of this yarn. The yarn, Classic Elite Embrace is 100% aran weight cashmere.
IMG_2341 This is how close I came to running out of yarn. That little bundle to the left of Elsa's nose is 4yds. The thing is, if I didn't have enough for the last row of triangles then I would have to go back 2 full rows of entrelac in order to finish. Each row of rectangles is offset from the other, causing one row to have 2 end triangles. The shawl must end with a row of 5 triangles. This caused much consternation while knitting. I was on the last row of 5 full rectangles when I thought I may not have enough. As I knit I watched the ball slowly wind down. Half way through the finishing row I didn't think I'd make it. I knit faster, needing to know the outcome and this is how it ended. I actually knit the last row twice, the first time I knit it the gauge was all wonky and it ruffled as seen here w/ Elsa. The next morning, knowing I had enough, I frogged the last row and reknit it, s-l-o-w-l-y, and w/ smaller needles.
Since I started this before the game only the remaining 4oz of the ball count. Less the 4yds, 280yds.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I Make Mistakes

The Yarn Harlot was at the Maker Faire today. When I found out last week that she was coming I bought tickets for the whole family. K and I brought our knitting and enjoyed her talk while L and the hubby checked out the mouse trap.

I was knitting merrily along on my socks and turned a heel while listening and casting sideways glances at K to see if she was enjoying herself (she was). Afterwards we got in line to have her sign my book. I wore my olympic effort and introduced K. I didn't make the blog...but she did.

Later there was a knit-with-the-Harlot event. I had trouble finding it and got there late. I stood in the back and got this shot as she was talking to Jasmin -- can you see Jasmin? -- she's the one with the pink hair. Jasmin also scored some lovely pink handpaint. Better her, than me.

The Harlot finally got a mic and I finally got a seat, but I wasn't paying attention. I was lost in this mess. After the heel I found that I had made a mistake so rather than take out the entire heel, I strategically dropped a few stitches.

And correctly knit them back up. What happened was somewhere before the heel flap I got off by a row (or two) in the pattern -- it's cabled and when cabling you do your crosses on one row and on the following row you rest (knit the knits, purl the purls). I must have crossed when I was suppose to rest, resulting in well...something I couldn't live with. So it had to go.

Other mistakes? Earlier this week I got tripped up at a yarn store and bought yarn (see suckage note on the sidebar). Shortly after that, Webs announce part deux of their 2 month sale and I had a bit of a falling down (how hard will be reported later after the mailman delivers the damage). So at the Maker Faire? Rather than avoid the vendors all together (which I should have) I collected business cards. This doesn't fix the mistake...for which I will pay, dearly...but it's a sure sign that I'm on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Lure of Pink

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
Definition of lure from
Main Entry: 1lure
Pronunciation: \ˈlur\
2 a: an inducement to pleasure or gain : enticement b: appeal, attraction

Yeah, so much for goldmines. This weekend I dropped by Knitting Arts on a errand. They were having a bag sale, 50% off, shawl kits and just bags of various overstocks. I resisted and left w/o buying any yarn. I also went to Yarndogs to pick up a prize I won (a set of Euculan Woolwash) and also left w/ no yarn. So today, when I went to Commuknity to pick up a pattern I felt confident. As I was browsing the books (I can buy all the books and patterns I want, notions too), I spied a shiny pink mass on the bargain shelf. I tried to ignore it but I thought I'd just check what it was and I touched it. Then I counted it. 6 balls of Bouton D'Or Ksar. Silky soft. Pink. On sale. I'm such a sucker. Total yardage 546.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Veritable Goldmine

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
I've struck gold. 6 weeks into the game and I was feeling a little desperate. The game was suppose to give me time to go through my stash and get it up on Ravelry. It was suppose to give me the resources to find projects for the yarn I have. So far it's been great! I've got lots of things queued up and yarn to knit it with. But by getting most of the stash up I found that it was lacking. When you buy with no project in mind you buy for the yarn. And for me that meant it was either pink, handpainted or both. While knitting the Sweetheart socks I was finding that I really liked cables and that I'd love to make a cabled sweater. So I hunted the stash for some great cable sweater yarn and found nothing. It's been 6 weeks and all I could think of was going out and buying what I didn't have. Something blue, maybe tweed or heathered. And then this weekend I found this: 10 sks of Patons Rustic Wool in heathered denim...not in a store, in my stash! Yay me!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No points for re-knitting

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls

Lately I've been hanging 'round the frog pond. When I took this sock on a trip to Paso Robles for Easter weekend all the knitting I did the entire weekend I ended re-knitting because of a mistake I made early on. Then I got to the toe and knit a little too long...can you see my baby toe? Nope.

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
See the needle on the left? That marks how long the sock should be. But because of the change in the way the pattern ends (as a single, unnested heart, not all that visible here) I have to frog all the way to the needle on the right. Ugh. Good thing I like knitting.

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
I finished this sock this morning while waiting at the doctor's office. It's about 173 yds so I'm adding that to my points now and I'll be casting on it's mate at my UFO group tonight. Here's the finish caloriemetry, it's a little big -- but works well and was very fun to knit.
Addendum to game rules. Cris sold some a lot of yarn recently so we ammended the rules to only allow 20% of yds sold to count as points. She's ahead, of course.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Resistance is Futile

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
It's been almost a month and I haven't purchased any yarn. I've been busy getting organized on Ravelry. I've been taking pictures of my stash, queuing up projects and assigning yarn to them. Currently I have 76 items in my queue, 48 of which I have the yarn to make in their entirety. 48 things. Sweaters, shawls, bags, socks, mitts and hats. You've heard of armchair gardening? This is internet knitting. And so far it's distracting me from buying. Except that Webs just announced, today, their anniversary sale which goes on for two months. I've already gone through the list and came up empty, whew. However, this year they're having a set of yarns on sale in April and another, different set on sale in May. So next month I get tempted again with a whole new set of sale yarn. What's a girl to do? Cast on. Here we have Calorimetry knit with Patons Soy Wool Stripe in Natural Pink (of course). The yarn sheds more than my shepherd but it's soft and shiny and pink!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Knitting Game

I'm done buying yarn. I ended up buying more after Stitches West than during! Don't get me wrong, buying yarn is way fun! But I need to be reminded of the main reason I buy it and that is to knit with it -- and I've got plenty to knit. So Cris and I thought up a game to help us (mostly me) not buy anymore yarn for the rest of the year. Yeah, yeah, I know, been there done that. We all know how Knit From Your Stash 07 went...badly. We also know why, there were too many exclusions. This time it's different. While there will be no restrictions on buying yarn, it will count against you.

Very simply it goes like this, starting March 5th (because I was buying yarn up thru March 4th) to December 25th we get 1 pt for every yard hand knitted. For every yard purchased it's -1 pt. Here are some guidelines that we discussed over im:

Jocelyn said: only finished projects count and projects in progress at the beginning only count per remaining balls

Cris said: we need to keep track of: how many yards we knit and the number of yards of new yarn we buy

Jocelyn said: just purchasing yarn counts as a negative

Cris said: and you get points if you knit with it. so if you buy yarn and knit it up the result would be 0

Cris said: fiber counts

Jocelyn said: (reluctantly) ok let's go with a worsted count for fiber so buying 4oz would be -200yds, and if it counts then knitting handspun would count too

Cris said: charity knitting will count

Cris said: I'll be knitting some scarves for charity and I'll be using my machine so instead of 1 point/yard it should be 1 point/2 yards

Jocelyn said: I'm planning to sell some yarn that should be by half as well

And finally, the prize:

Cris said: the winner gets to choose ANYTHING from the loser's stash!!! and the amount they get to choose, will depend on how many points they won/lost by

I still can't believe I agreed to that. But it's been 10 days and I haven't bought a thing (and dudes, that's good, because I'm constantly bombarded with opportunities to buy). And while I'm still uncomfortable with what's at stake (I do so love my stash), I don't plan on losing...Game On, Cris.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spinning and Spinning Wheels

I started spinning again. I learned to spin in 1997, a year after I learned to knit. Since then I started a collection of spindles and wheels. This is my Journey Wheel. I chose it because it was the only truly portable double-drive, double treadle wheel. I like the ease of double treadling and since taking a class with Judith McKenzie-McCuin I prefer double drive spinning. It really is a matter of preference, which I won't get into here. Like turning a heel or knitting Continental vs English, we all tend to do what we learned first. BTW, I prefer the flap heel over the short row and Continental over English.

I'm spinning some very colorful superwash merino beautifully dyed by Lynne Vogel. It's been awhile since I spun and it's a little over twisted so I'm going to navajo ply it and hope for the best. As you can see here, I'm using the color changes to remind me to change hooks.

Now that I'm spinning again, my oldest daughter decided she wanted to learn. This is her first attempts appropriately done on my first wheel an Ashford Traveler. I'm very proud of both of them.

The oldest wheel in my collection is a Wee Peggy. I rescued it from a friend who was ready to toss it. It WAS a single treadle, double-drive wheel. I loved the way the tension is adjusted, but I hated the single treadle. It was a real ka-thunker so, I removed the treadle. This wheel is no longer made, but a similar wheel, by Baynes has a double treadle kit, which I bought.

With that and some fancy-work from my father-in-law who's handy with a welding torch (original part on the left, 1st prototype of dual axle spinny-thingy on the right -- it took 2 tries) we were able to turn my ugly-duckling...

Into the beautiful swan she always was meant to be.

It has since been finished. She has a mere 14" diameter drive wheel and while she's slow, she's smooth as silk.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Very First Steek!

I took 1 12-hour class at Stitches West that ran over 2 days. The class was taught by Beth Brown-Reinsel and on Saturday, 2/23/08 at approximately 10:30am I cut my first steek, that afternoon I cut my 2nd steek and I still have one left to go:

Here it is the remnants of my first steek. Beth let me pick up for the sleeve first and I knit through the first motif postponing the inevitable.

She showed us various finishing techniques but I liked this one, using a hemstitch I tacked the steek down with the ends tucked under to the purl bumps on the wrong side.

We had to cut the front steek BEFORE picking up the band. I made a mistake reversing the colors of the rib, so I ripped back to the pick up and with all the fiddling and doing the buttonholes twice, it still didn't unravel!

Note: I added links to yesterday's post and a purchase I missed (Yarn Country Cashmere). Enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bi-Annual Stitches West Haul and Longaberger Basket Parade

This being the 2nd year of the yarn haul/basket parade, it's now a tradition (the first was in Feb 2006). Longaberger retires certain baskets the same time Stitches West comes along, splitting my re$ource$ between baskets and yarn.

Yarn: Jade Sapphire Cashmere Silk 4-ply in Tahitian Garden

Baskets: American Work Baskets in now discontinued colors sage (8") and merlot (10") and a 12" in warm brown.


Yarn: Cashmere 4-ply in natural and periwinkle.
Vendor: Newton's Yarn Country

Basket: Large Recipe

Fiber: (l-r) merino/tencel in atlantis by Chameleon Colorworks, merino/bamboo naturally dyed from Tactile and Sea Wool from Creatively Dyed Yarn.

Basket: 11" American Craft Traditions Round Keeping

Tools: Lady Anne and Flower spindles from Asciano

Basket: 2008 Sweetheart Basket w/ locket tie-on

Yarn: Fine Kid Mohair 4-ply
Vendor: Wagtail Yarns
Basket: 2008 Hostess Appreciation

Yarn: Malabrigo Superwash Merino *Test Sample*, you had to know the secret passphrase to get this not-yet-available yarn for FREE!

Basket: May Series Mini Sweet Pea

I'll have more to report later, but tonight's the Oscars and I gotta get take-out...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

4 Things...

I was tagged by Vivian:

4 Jobs I Have Had
JC Penney's in the Candy Dept. ask me anything about any candy
Intern at Grumman, maker of the F-14 Tomcat
Sold Jafra and Avon (but not at the same time)
Lab Tech in college

4 Movies Watched Over and Over
Ever After
French Kiss
All Nighter
Moulin Rouge

4 Books Read Over and Over
Mists of Avalon
Pillars of the Earth
Into the Wilderness

4 Places I Have Lived
Oxnard, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Sunnyvale, CA
Santa Clara, CA

4 Shows I Watch
(I don't watch TV regularly)
editied later (9/11);  at least then I didn't, now?
True Blood

4 Places I Have Been
Longaberger, OH
Seattle, WA

4 People Who E-mail Me
Gail (my Longaberger rep)

4 Favorite Things To Eat
French Fries w/ Ranch Dressing

4 Places I Would Rather Be
On a cruise

4 Things I Look Forward To This Year
Stitches West
Summer Longaberger at Jelly Belly
15 year anniversary

4 People To Tag
(I don't tag)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's Mine Now

Vivian finished her Muir. When she started it I looked at the cool pink yarn and wondered what inspired her to buy it. You see I'm nuts for pink (have you noticed?) and Vivian's, well...not. So I watched her work on this shawl. When she finished it I saw that she had some yarn left over, so I made some snarky remark about how she must be sick of it and she offered to trade. Hmmm, trade. It's wool/cashmere. I countered with perusal of my sock stash...I mean, I have tons of sock yarn -- surely I could give some up for wool/ pink no less! And we made a date for her to come see the stash.

On Thursday, our guild night, she came in and dropped the remaining ball and an extra skein totaling nearly 1400 yds in a pile in front of me. It felt yummy in my hands and we've already established that I liked the color. A few people came by to pet it and I proudly beamed, "It's mine". So around the table we went, doing our usual show and tell. It was Vivian's turn and she modeled her beautiful Muir. We oohed we ahhed and I pet my yarn with a smile. It was a very big meeting and it took an hour and a half to hear everyone. Afterwards I got up to mingle. I was discussing my RoundTrip sweater (which I wore that night) with some others when Vivian came up to me and handed me the bag containing her Muir. I don't even remember what she said (something about me loving pink). The room became a blur (because I was near tears) and the next thing we're hugging. OMG. Vivian GAVE ME HER MUIR! Not just the leftover yarn -- the whole dang thing!

Now it's one thing to give away baby sweaters and hats to perfect strangers, or even knit special items for family and friends for their birthday or as holiday gifts. As knitters we know the time and effort involved and it's no small thing to receive a handknit item on any occaision. But this, 3-4 months out of her knitting life, just because I like pink. Well, ok it's more than that, I mean, we are friends, but still! We're talking handknit...cashmere...lace! There are no words. I was truly honored.

I brought it home and the next night wore it around the house and I made up my mind that when she came she was welcome to whatever she wanted. She came over the next day. She hadn't seen the stash before. I think she may have been overwhelmed. I showed her around the room and she dug through the sock stash that was spilling over at her feet. I told her I'd be happy to pull a bin out, any bin, they have their contents listed on the front. She took a cursory glance, but stuck with the sock stash. I think at this point I was relieved. I wasn't sure how'd I'd feel once she found something and actually took it. I was grateful for the Muir and the yarn but this was getting scary. I was letting someone other than a blood relative a shot at my stash. She found 1 skein of some handpainted yarn I got on eBay, and I offered her another. She also found some fingering weight merino I had dyed myself and asked, a little hesitant if she could have one. I could refuse her nothing. I have the Muir. Thankfully she stopped there and happily left with her newly acquired stash.

Here's me with the Muir, I'm wearing it upside down because it makes the trees look like hearts. I re-skeined the leftover ball (for easier storage), and it and its mate are sitting back there on the desk. Does it look like it was worth the hole in my stash? It is, however, that was filled with a few clicks on eBay.

Up next: Another meme...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Year's Meme

New Year's Eve -- do you like to stay in or go out? In
Do you like to stay up or just go to sleep? Up
Any special plans this year? Nope
What's your favorite New Year's memory? Searching for an open grocery store to find food to cook for dinner with my new boyfriend who's now my husband.
Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Kinda, it's more like guidelines.
Feel like sharing them? Knit more, Spin more, buy less...
Do you do anything special on New Year's Day? On New Year's Day, I like to have the house clean, and things in order -- it sets a precedent for the rest of the year.

Every year for the last 8 or so, I've spent the first weekend of the year at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond with the South Bay Knitters and friends. This year there was a storm making the trek a bit difficult. Our party didn't make it past Los Gatos -- 17 was closed due to mudslides so we went up the next day. See Vivian's entry for a map of the road we took here. See Lisa's entry for the barriers we hit here. We didn't have power all weekend and in the end we left the Quaker Center via the route that stopped us in the first place -- right under the tree that fell being held by a high voltage wire -- it was like that the entire weekend.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

End of an Era

I owe you a meme, among other things. But I can't really focus right now. I just got back from my lys which is closing it's storefront tomorrow. The Rug and Yarn Hut opened it's doors in downtown Campbell in January of 1997. I was a new knitter having learned just months before and I joined a knitting group that started meeting there. I learned to spin there, taught by none other than Karen herself, the owner. With her encouragement I taught myself to weave. She sponsored classes where I met Lily Chin, Margaret Stove and Judith McKenzie McCuin. A lot of my stash came from that store. I bought my first wheel there -- I bought my last wheel there (well, the last wheel I bought was from there -- I have six and while I'm not currently entertaining the thought of buying another wheel -- I'm not ruling out the possibility). There are lots of knitting stores in the bay area, so it's not so much the yarn I'll miss, and some stores are now carrying fiber so I won't miss that either. What I will miss is being able to just go and plop myself down and knit. Since she moved to her new location that became even easier. When I lost my job I'd stop by in-btwn picking-up or dropping-off the kids. Anytime I was out running errands and the store was on the way, my car would veer into the parking lot of it's own accord -- the kids would laugh, "What? It's not me it's the car!" Karen was always there with a smile. There was a relationship growing in the last 10 or so years -- and it's ending. I'll have my memories but I will miss this store.