Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

No pics today. I managed to forget my card reader at the office and hubby didn't pack one with the laptop.

We have mostly survived our first water oriented camping trip of the summer. I say mostly for the following reasons:

A. We are still at the camp site ( at least I am )
B. Hubby went out on his PWC with the explicit intent of finding big boats with big wakes to jump - some days that ends well - others not so much.

Survival will be complete once we get the rig back into it's parking place at home without any one yelling or having a fit or simply wishing the day were over.

So I am hanging with the dogs in the lovely AC in our wonderful motorhome checking the internet and working on a shawl I'd like to have done by June 7th.

Today my thoughts go out to our troops in Iraq, those troops that have been lost in that war and others past, and all service members past and present and their families.

Friday, May 25, 2007


That's Right! The Yarn Harlot is showing up at our very own Copperfield Books in the downtown Petaluma, CA in less than two weeks!

I. Cannot. Wait.

Copperfields is being smart and handing out tickets with any purchase of a Harlot authored book (they are probably out by now - of the tickets, not necessarily the books - there are 4 different ones available after all).

The TICKET is supposed to guarantee the ticket holder an actual seat at the event, but we will see when we get there. We all know that regardless there will be people jam packed, sitting and standing at the bookstore that night.

A colleague of mine and myself will be hitting McNear's Saloon and Dining House before the event for food. It would be a great place to drag, um take, Ms McPhee to post signing for a pint.

I don't know how McNear's feels about knitters, but let's try to shock 'em anyway.

Should be a blast.


Not that anyone actually reads my blog, but I will be out of touch for the next 3 days.

This is our first Delta trip of the year and the first time we've been silly enough to book it on a holiday weekend. So it might well be the last time too.

We are off to what is usually our favorite camping spot in the Sacramento River Delta - Snug Harbor, if for only the reason they reopened our favorite camp unit which basically has a private dock attached to it for the personal watercrafts.

Hubby is currently finishing up the packing, loading the dogs (he BETTE
R) and then picking me up from work.

I am currently working furiously (I keep having to the frog the frakking thing) on a shawl for a friend that will be in town in less than two weeks. It's such a no-brainer pattern that I just cannot do it right. I keep getting the center point and poof I think it's the end of the the row and turn back. Dork, dork, dork am I.

A little yarn porn to get you through the weekend. This is the Harmony Lace Weight I scored a couple of weeks ago.

Still have no idea what I'm going to make with it, but it will be lace and it will be HUGE. There is 3500+ m of that stuff.

Happy Memorial Day to all y'all.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A roving we will go...

Okay. Let me first state that I do not spin. I repeat. I am not a spinner. My sister knows this.

In spite of knowing that bit of information, she gave me this back when I still just a crocheter. It was a combo wedding/birthday present. Thanks sis.

I admit to many failed attempts to take up knitting that usually ended u
p as a huge donation of yarn and needles to the local woman's shelter. Trust me, I bet they have a pool going on how long it takes me to give up this time.

This is supposedly 100% sheep wool (I have no idea what type of sheep it came from) that is supposed to be easier for beginners. It also came with a drop spindle that I have NO IDEA how to use. Now I
am normally a pretty bright person (I had to be to get that physics degree), but this has me stumped.

Now why is this a problem? Jenn - why can't you just find someone to spin it up for you and let that be the end of that?

Well THIS is why! An absolutely gorgeous Merino roving in Brown with a streak of a purplish maroon was included with that innocent looking natural sheep roving.

This stuff is a joy to just sit and pet (you cannot convince me that you wouldn't sit and pet it too if you didn't know how to spin it into fiber), but I want to MAKE something with it. And for that it has to be spun and so it continues to sit in the little baggy it came in. So, for almost four years this innocent enough looking roving has been lurking in my stash and I can't do anything with it. Help!

Along with that lovely, doomed to torment me forever gift, were 7 skeins of handspun from the same person, my darling sis got the roving from. It's 100% wool in a lovely variegated blue with purple mixed in. I think it's worsted weight. I am thinking about attempting a sweater for me with it. Now sure yet. I do know I want a ball winder before I do anything else with it.

Center pull balls really are much easier to deal with. Especially when you are knitting with something as cute as this on your lap (okay chest - she likes my [pillows]) that was just made to chase an errant non-center pull ball that got away from you.

This is Marley Persiphone. The latest addition to the household of a friend and co-worked of mine that also happens to be a knitter. I get to kitty sit every now and then (okay every minute I can convince her that Marley needs to come in and sleep on me). I am happy to get my kitten fix through my friends since I do have 4 cats in addition to my 3 dogs and we are NOT getting any more. Period.

Perhaps if I keep telling myself that it will be true. :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Parades and Star Gazing

Saturday was an eventful day and it all started Friday with a call from the local Humane Society.

Cliff the Mutt and I are a Pet Assisted Therapy team. Meaning I drag him to convalescent hospitals where little old ladies and charming old men get to pet and tug and pull on him and his ears and his legs and he just stands there looking at me with that " But MOM do I have to do this?" look on his face.

The Tail Waggin' Mobile (mobile pet adoption trailer) needed people to walk in the parade with dogs. I was going to bail on it this year because I was slated to be up at the Observatory till late Saturday night. Getting up at o-dark thirty is not conducive to staying awake till all hours of the night start gazing. But since I cannot say no, sign me up. Cliff the Mutt and Scrat the Brat went with me, while Mr Excitable in a Crowd (aka Oscar the Dog) stayed home.

So we walked in the parade. Scrat thought the candy being thrown was toys and spent the entire time lunging after it. Cliff just walks along the side sniffing everything and letting the kids pet him. They put horses behind us, so it was fun keeping Cliff away from the great big 'dogs' that are just so COOL he must try to play with them. This is the dog that won't play with anything, not even Scrat. Horses are totally different though.

We get to the end (thank goodness - it was HOT) and hubby honey comes down with Oscar the Dog. All three mutts (aren't they just the best kind of dog?) managed to get themselves in a tangle while Ken ate lunch. They may not be the brightest, but they certainly are cute.

We all headed home for a nap. Then I hightailed to a friend's house to feed his cat and then up to the Observatory for an evening of explaining to 6 to 10 year olds why they can't look through the CCD Scope, they have to look at the pictures on the computer. Though I have
to admit the kids were getting it better than some of the adults.

While waiting for clouds to clear I managed to finish a pair of gauntlets for a fellow docent. Unfortunately, she wasn't there, so I will have to wait to deliver them.

Yes they look like two ENTIRELY different sizes! I'm cursed. Completely and in all ways cursed. I need to work on something that doesn't require a pair to finish (says the chickie with two pairs of socks on needles).


Thursday, May 17, 2007

In my Room...

If for no other reason then what I'm about to tell you here, my husband is definitely a keeper.

It all started in January when I was about to bury the dogs
with all my craft stuff in B4 (we have a four bedroom house and the rooms all have numbers).

ubby honey got a little sick of me complaining about the disaster that was the craft/dog room. So one Sunday he decided to pull ALL MY CRAFT STUFF out of the bedroom so we could get an idea of how much storage space I needed to contain everything.

Now most of you
are probably gasping in horror at the thought of your husbands/partners/roommates/parents knowing EXACTLY HOW BIG YOUR STASH IS! I just about threw an ever loving fit because I knew the end result was going to be NO MORE YARN or fabric till I finish about half the things I already had going. Needless to say my attempts to divert his efforts were soundly thwarted. He's bigger than me and I'm very ticklish.

So the room is empty, stuff is in piles in the living room and dining room by craft. To give you an idea...

I have the following hobbies:

Cross stitch - I know - but I'm good - have a Best in Show in Blackwork to prove it
Crochet - sorry - learned that first - my mother still has the afghan I made her 17 years ago when I first learned
Rubber Stamping - how to blow a LOT of money really fast, but you touch my House Mouse Stamps and I hurt you
Beading - thankfully that's contained to two
small bins
Scrapbooking - very minimal
Quilting - oh the fabric I have
Knitting - oh the yarn I have

Now B4 is the smallest room in the house. Pretty much the reason why it stopped being the guest bedroom (during which I would bury the bed with craft stuff) and became the dog room. You know yo
u spoil your pets when the pets have a bigger room than guests.

So that was Sunday in January. A ton of craft stuff piled up in two rooms.

Monday was a call from my hubby in the afternoon.

Hubby: Honey will you please see if you can go to my doctor's appt in the city with me today? I'll have to pick you at 1:00pm
Me: Um er eh - it's a little bit short notice baby (not to mention I'm crazy busy - and I really don't like driving into San Francisco)
Hubby: We'll go by IKEA on
the way home and get the stuff we need for your craft room
Me: Give me five minutes. I'll make it happen. (You cannot convince you wouldn't have done the same thing)

So off we go to the doc and then off to IKEA across the bay. Week nights are MUCH better nights to go then say Saturday morning. If you hate crowds IKEA is NOT your store and crowds scare me to death.

Hubby is armed with an AutoCAD layout of my craft room, a tape measure, clipboard, an architect's scale (he was a CAD drafter in a previous life) and my credit card.

Needless to say we spent 3 hours there picking and choosing and measuring and then cramming everything into my Explorer - note to self: next time bring Ford F350 Crew Cab with camper shell. I ate my knees the whole way home.

He decides we have to see how hard it is to get one of the items put together that very night. It's already past my bedtime and I'm grumpy from lifting and carrying and toe smashing when also dropping. I leave him to it and tell him we'll put it all together Tuesday. I swear he channels the Energizer Bunny.

Tuesday - off to work. Please note that hubby honey (aka Ken) works from home. I'm running behind in leaving the office that night and lo and behold my cell phone rings and I KNOW I'm in trouble for not leaving on time to help with the construction.

Me: I'm in my car. I'm on my way. (not even a hello - nip the I know I'm late lecture in the bud quickly)
Ken: Can you go by the grocery store, we are out of cereal and I really want some bananas?
Me: (Stunned that I'm not getting the Why aren't you home helping me lecture? yet) Um sure babe, anything else?
Ken: Just the staples, milk, bread, yogurt, etc.
Me: Okay, see you in a bit....

The grocery store TAKES FOREVER. Why is it that whenever you are in a hurry you end up behind some dingbat that keeps forgetting stuff or argues about the price of something? So I end up home an hour late.

I walk in and Ken is at the door with a not too happy look on his face. Remember we put all the unbuilt IKEA stuff in the empty room the night before and all my craft crap was basically strewn around the house when I left for work that morning.

All of my stuff is missing from the main part of the house. WTF! Where's my stuff? Thoughts of a monster goodwill donation happening and me trying to steal it all back ran through my mind.

Ken: I have a client coming over so I just crammed everything back in the room
Me: Oh ok (keep reading - I'm an idiot and a gullible one at that)

So I put the groceries away and ask where the dogs are?

Ken: They got in trouble today.
Me: Sigh. What did they do?

Ken: Took exception to all the IKEA boxes and peed on a few
Me: Great. So now I have a mess to clean up
Ken: Yeah. Could you take care of it before my client gets here
Me: Sigh. Okay (they are my dogs after all)

So I grab paper towels and the vinegar and the Nature Miracle and head into the room. Yeah I've done this before, how'd you guess?

Guess what I find:

Those are the Two PAX cabinets we bought that just BARELY fit on the short wall in the room and leave space to put the dog bed and doggy cave (aka crate).

The interiors of the PAX cabs are filled with the SKUBB canvas bins and plastic pull out drawers that I can get lids for if I want. One Cabinet now holds all my quilt fabric and the other all my yarn and knitting stuff, with a bit of cross stitch mixed in.

On the angled wall are the Billy shelves, which again fit perfectly with room to open the bedroom door all the way (couldn't do that before). All my books, and sewing kits, the stamping markers and plastic bins fit on those shelves with room to add more stuff.

The table is also IKEA. If you look at the photo to the right, you'll see that it appears the end of the table closest to the mirrored closet doors is two pieces of wood stacked on top of each other.

The Table has two leaves on either side that slide in and make the table square and SMALLER, or pull out and make it long enough to quilt a queen size quilt without most of it dragging on the floor!

(that would be my latest yellow brick road quilt which is MINE all mine - topped with a ball of Kid Merino that I haven't stuck back in its SKUBB yet.)

Now note that my stash is by no means complete because there is still lots of room on those SKUBBs. The black ones and the four on top of the cabinets don't even have anything in them yet.

So hubby honey essentially spent all day putting everything together and trying to semi organize my stash before I came home from work. The grocery store request was a stalling tactic. :-) I will give him credit. He really did have a client coming over and wanted the house to not look like a Michael's or Joann's had exploded in it. But he got it all put together. I didn't have to lift anything and I got to spend the evening organizing everything and wishing I had more stuff. LOL

Thanks babe. I love my room and the fact that the important stuff, yarn and fabric, are safe from fur and I can vacuum the room with ease.

You're the best.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Talk about Score!

There are no pictures in today's post, because, well I'm lazy.

Got a call from my mother-in-law yesterday. She absolutely loves the Moebius I sent her for Mother's Day. She has decided that I get all her family quilts and needlework that has been passed down from generation to generation. Granted given that my husband is her only son, she doesn't have all that much choice in the matter. Hehe But it does help that she likes me.

I love making stuff for her because she just takes great pleasure from it.

So that was score number one.

Score number two was 4 balls (at 880 yards a piece) of Jojoland's Harmony superfine wool in HC10 - a neat varigated lime green. I love it! I have NO idea what I'm going to make with it, but it's mine all mine. I'll probably have to find a scary lace shawl to work it in. Eep!

This stuff is SO soft. My hands are still recovering from our wall building travails of the past couple of months and snag on just about anything. Not this. I cannot wait to play with it.

New to the needles today (okay last night) is a pair of fingerless gloves (using Koigu) that I realized I need to have done by this Saturday night. Thank goodness the ACM awards are on tonight and I can knit during the show.

I also just realized that one of my co-workers will be in town in a few weeks (she works out of our Jersey office) and I STILL haven't finished the crocheted shawl I started for her last year. Time to get cracking on that too. It's such a no brainer pattern, I don't know why I don't have it done yet.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

It's that time of year again. The day when we all call our mom or go see her and thank her for tolerating various levels of snotiness from us when we were growing up, and allowing us to grow up in spite of that.

Not being a mom of two legged creatures, I do not yet get to partake as a Mother this day. I can however, take my four legged canine babies to the dog park and that is exactly what I did.

Does this look like a happy dog to you?

This boy LIVES for tennis balls. Okay, he actually lives for just about anything you are willing to throw, but tennis balls are his favorite. We essentially spent two + hours at the dog park and I had more fun then I have ever had there with any of my dogs.

Scrat - the little dyno mutt - is an absolute joy to be around. I wish I knew how to bottle his energy, because I would make a fortun
e. This little 12 pounder out ran, out swam, out foxed all the other dogs which outweighed him by at least 40 pounds all afternoon.

Hubby showed up after we'd been there about an hour or so and the fun really began. How many dogs do you know that you can swing through the air with a tennis ball because they ABSOLUTELY refuse to let go of it?

That's my hubby, at 6'1" standing straight up with the dog hanging from the tennis ball.

This is Scrat jumping up and managing (the little booger) to grab the tennis ball right out of my hand. Now granted, I am MUCH shorter than my darling dearest (5'2"), but this little guy jumped above my waist after spending the previous two hours swimming or running non stop.

NOTE: heads are chopped off the bodies because well, my picture taking ability s
ucks. Also note that light colored jeans are a REALLY bad idea if you intend to let your dogs play in water and mud.

This is all four of my 'boys'. Oscar the Dog, Cliff the Mutt, Scrat the Brat (or maybe rat lol) and hubby honey.

Cliff is my darling. I've had him since Christmas Eve of 98, when he was 4 months old. He'll be nine this summer and he's the best dog I've ever had. He's a cross between a Boston Terrier and a traveling salesman. Only reason we know what Mom was (the boston) is because he was born at the local Humane Society.

Oscar the Dog, is my nervous norvis guy. He's about 9 too, we think, and we've had him 3 years. He's come a long way from the fearful abused boy that I brought home, to the playing fetch and frolicking with Scrat boy he is today. Terrier Mix through and through.

Scrat the Brat, we think is about 1 to 2 years old. He's a chichuahua something cross. He just showed up on our driveway March 18th and never left. This was in spite of repeated efforts - newspaper ads, found dog reports filed at local shelters, craigslist posting, neighborhood signs - you name it I did it trying to find his rightful owners.

Apparently the fates decided that we could handle another dog (thank goodness he's little) and he is here to stay. He loves to fetch and adores the water, which makes him the absolute perfect dog in the world for my husband, whose lap he is curled up on right now while recovering from his day.

The cats are still on the fence as to how they feel about him, but they are figuring out that they can take him since they out number him and together outweigh him, so he's learning his place with them. Helps that he's pretty much a wimp around cats too.

On a knitting note, during a lull time in Scrat's activites, while were waiting for 'Dad' to show up, I started a swatch for a sock. My friend Taunya, gave me a skein of Opal sock yarn from an auction she won this week. I was allowed the pick of the bunch - so I choose the Opal in Silver Spiral.

Now why on earth am I doing a swatch, when I don't do swatches? Well for this sock I decided to try the Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe from Knitting Rules! and she actually talks about swatching. So I bit the bullet and cast on 40 stitches to do in stockinette to see how tight my stitches are before I start a DPN sock. Plus the color change in this one is interesting and I want to see how they all line up so to speak so there won't be any major surprises (yeah right).

It will be interesting to see how her sock turns out compared to the one I started in Lorna's Laces, Jungle Stripes, with Cat Bordhi's circular needle socks. Either way I think I'm (or someone I know) is going to end up with some really cool socks by the time I'm done.

Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends. I hope you know how lucky you are.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Babies, babies and more babies

Today is the day of the baby shower for two of my colleagues. Shhh, it's supposed to be a surprise.

Needless to say I was up much later than normal last night finishing everything (including something that hadn't even been started yet!).


For Kelly and his wife Judy:

Baby booties in Koigu (yes babies deserve this stuff too ;-) ). I absolutely adore this colorway. They are doing the munchkin's room in Aqua, Brown and White, so it doesn't get much better than this. I have also made a pair of gauntlets out of the same colorway. Talk about soft.


For Robin and my co-worker Josh:

There will be baby booties, but like the dork I am, I left the yarn at home, on the coffee table, in an open zip-loc baggy, where the new yarn thief puppy can reach it. Thankfully hubby works from home.

I did however manage to make the quilt I wanted for her last night. Start to finish 2.5 hours. And I cheated all the way. Sigh. But it was the only way to get it done. I will never ever machine sew both sides of the binding again. It just doesn't work and my corners bite big time.

The backing fabric carries on the theme from the front panel.

Maybe some of you knitters can help me out with a problem I have. This is the second set of booties I have made. So, yeah I'm just a beginner, but still. I SWEAR I'm knitting the blasted things the exact same way and the second one still ends up looking bigger than the first one. What am I doing wrong? Exact same needles, same yarn, two WAY different results (let's NOT even talk about the dropped stitch I found on the second one after I bound off).

As a way to hopefully make them seem closer to the same size, I soaked the second one in scorching hot water then threw it in the dryer. Note to self - empty dryer of clothes first if you intend to be able to find the bootie quickly. The dryer seemed to do the trick. And boy do these things get even softer after a run through it.

Next set is being done at the same time on the same set of needles. Period. Let's see if I can nip this in the bud.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


That's right. I succumbed to the desire to knit my very first non test Moebius earlier this year.

I used Paton's SWS - the Soy Wool blend - in Natural Earth I believe. Size 15 Addi Turbos - length 60" (that's only 2" shorter than me).

It is from Cat Bordhi's Treasury of Magical Knitting - the Purl Ridge Scarf.

It was intended for me, but well it's HUGE, so I thought it might better suit my husband's mother and she is always appreciative of handmade items.

Well I'm off to enjoy our local JCs Day Under the Oaks. If I'm lucky there will be yarn to be had there, else I'll just have to hit a yarn shop on my way home. If I'm ever going to attempt that lace scarf I want to make, I'll need another set of size 3 addis, since I don't feel like pulling my first real adult sock attempt off of the two I already have.

Then it's back home to get cracking on the rest of the baby presents I told myself I'm making.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Friday, May 4, 2007

And so it begins

Well here goes nothing.

First blog post ever. Thought I'd show all y'all something I enjoy.

That would be knitting.

Something else I happen to enjoy are babies, even though I don't have any, so knitting helps to combine the two.

Lots of people in my department are expecting little two legged munchkins in the VERY near future, so I am learning to knit socks by knitting oodles of baby booties.

That is Cat Bordhi's "Baby Life Ring Socks" pattern in Cascade Fixations in Green Apple (not at all impressed with that yarn). I left off a couple of the life rings. Current pair is being worked up in Koigu (man I LOVE that stuff) and I am enjoying it much more than the first pair.

Currently attempting a baby sweater, but I am TOTALLY hating the yarn I chose, so we will see how it turns out.

I actually have my first pair of socks on the needles using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Jungle Stripe. Doesn't come much better than lime green and purple.