28 October 2006


I must have some sort of very special luck which allows me to get the best Secret Pals. Today--already!--I received my first package from my SP9 Pal. She's obviously been reading about my love of Kureyon, and there are also 2 balls of dreamy soft alpaca (it's Misti Alpaca, the same yarn Leanne used for my ISE scarf, but in blue this time). There was some chocolate in there, too, but...ahem...it seems to have disappeared. There were also two lovely postcards, including my first from Stockholm. And it all came in this wonderful Lantern Moon basket:

You can fold the top half of the basket down inside. I've been eyeing these for some time and trying to justify buying one for myself. Thanks to my Pal, I don't have to think up an excuse! :-)

Thank you, Pal!!

27 October 2006


I started physical therapy today for my CTS. The therapist says I have to use my hand less. I have 80 midterms waiting to be graded, weeds that need pulling and plants that need planting, a house that needs cleaning, and a sweater that's 75% done. Hmmm. Which thing(s) should I skip?

24 October 2006


Today is Ruthie's 8th brithday, but I'm the one with all the great swag. Here's what came today from Leanne, my Secret Scarf Pal:

The scarf is gorgeous, absolutely perfect. And the goodies! She sent chocolate from Switzerland and Canada; a keychain, beaded animals, purses, and dried mangos from Africa; and cards from Africa and Ottawa. What a wonderful package to receive! I am so lucky.

And that's not all. My tote exchange bag also arrived from Ana Maria:

She included pretty stitch markers she made herself and a great magazine, too. I love the entrelac bag!

I don't believe I've ever had such a great couple of weeks package-wise. :-)

23 October 2006

Return Home

We're back home! We never made it to the beach yesterday, but that was okay because some of us snuck in visits to The Black Sheep and Common Threads in Encinitas. Both nice, both open on Sundays. Here are a few pix from our trip:

This is one of those giant spiders. This one was nearly 3 inches in diameter when her legs were fully extended. Very pretty.

And here are the Things at Legoland. I don't normally dress them in matching outfits; it just worked out that way. If they both look drenched, it's because they were. Legoland has a fun new pirate-themed waterplay area, but Bad Mommy had neglected to bring swimwear. Obviously, that didn't deter them. Fortunately, it was warm out.

And here are the pumpkins again. Thing 1 dried out fairly quickly, but Thing 2 got chilled, so she acquired a Legoland t-shirt. And a wand, so she could "make things disappear." We've been reading a lot of Abiyoyo.

Here are the Things yesterday, deep in an art project with their grandmother and great aunt. Don't they have a beautiful deck?

So today we drove home, which normally tales 6 to 7 hours. We made reasonably good time through LA, and then, just as we came down off the Grapevine into the valley, our tire suddenly went flat. We were 20 miles from Bakersfield, aka the Middle of Nowhere. So we waited for a tow truck (Hubby could've put on the spare, but with traffic whizzing by at 80mph, decided someone else could do the honors). Then we drove on the spare to Bakersfield, where we had a truly obnoxious experience at Sears. End result: we are $200 poorer and we wasted three hours. (The flat, btw, was caused by some road debris that punctured the tire.) We finally got home 9 hours after we'd left San Diego.

And there were packages waiting for me!

All of these wonderful things were from Alvina, my GYS swap partner from Singapore. Fabric! Yarn! Treats! Two pairs of fabulous earrings! And so much more. What a wonderful swap, and I owe Alvina such a big thank you.

As if Alvina's package wasn't enough, this sweet bunny came from Myriam in the Netherlands. She made it herself. It's just plain adorable. A great big thank you to Myriam!

Now, on top of all that, apparently another package awaits me at the post office because it needs a signature. What fun!

21 October 2006

Blogging from San Diego

I'm blogging from northern San Diego County, where we had beautiful weather for a day at Legoland. Here is how much I love my children and make sacrifices for them: there are several nice yarn stores nearby, nearly all of which are closed on Sundays. But instead of visiting them, we did the theme park, because we can't do Legoland tomorrow due to football game conflicts (ahem--notice just which parent made the sacrifice!). But we did have a good time, the Things behaved very well, and I can survive without more yarn. For now. I'll post pics in a few days, after we return home.

I'll also try to get a good pic of these enormous spiders that are all over the place here. They build these huge webs and sit in the middle, waiting, I guess, for big bugs. They're really pretty cool looking, but I've never seen such spiders, other than tarantulas. There must be a run on them now: there are many in my in-laws' yard, and we even spotted some today at Legoland. Appropriate for the season, anyway.

Tomorrow, our goal is the beach.

I do like San Diego.

19 October 2006

Qiviut Synchronicity

Okay, this is very strange. On Monday I received my ball of qiviut yarn from Knatolee. On my knitting pattern a day calendar, Monday's pattern was for a qiviut hat. And in today's issue of Knitter's Review, the subject is the Alaskan Yarn Expo, which featured...qiviut yarn.

Obviously, the gods are sending me a message.


It was official as of yesterday: I have carpal tunnel sydrome in my right wrist. Fortunately, it doesn't hurt when I knit. We're going to try anti-inflammatories and physical therapy for a few weeks before contemplating surgery. If any of you have experience with this, I'd appreciate input.

Who needs a right hand anyway?


The stingrays are out to get us.


Yesterday I got another postcard from Africa from my Scarf Exchange Pal. This means I've had great surprises in the mail every day so far this week! :-)


I also received the first issue of Craft magazine today. It has an interesting range of projects, including some that involve skills way out of my league (such as wiring LED lights onto a shirt). I don't think there's any project in this issue that particularly calls to me, but it was interesting to read, and could be a good source of inspiration. I do have one quibble: I don't consider making hard cider (one of the projects in this issue) to be a craft.

The Things and hubby and I are off to San Diego tomorrow for a long weekend. Legoland calls.

17 October 2006

British Swap

Today I got my package from Jean, my GYS swap pal in England. It made it here in a week, which is amazing, considering it takes longer than that to get packages from within the US. I'm now in pleased possession of five ahem, four Curly Wurly bars, as well as a sizable stash of other chocolates, plus yarn, a stamping magazine, a Lush bubblebar (I love Lush!), and a very nice necklace that Jean made herself. Jean also sent a Scottish snowglobe for Thing 1.

Qiviut and Curly Wurly. Who could ask for a better week?

16 October 2006

Happy happy joy joy!

I have known lust in my heart.

For years, I have drooled and pined over qiviut yarn, but I've never actually owned any.

Until today.

Just now I received a surprise package from Knatolee, my favorite person on the planet. The customs form said "yarn," but it should have read "heart's desire," because the package contained a ball of beautiful, precious, scrumptious qiviut yarn. I'm going to lose sleep trying to decide what project is worthy of this treasure.

If I were on the other side of the camera lens you would see a huge, foolish grin plastered across my face.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Knatolee!!

Now I must return to skipping gleefully about the house.

15 October 2006


We made our annual visit to the pumpkin patch today. Some would ask why we would buy pumpkins when we already have two.

14 October 2006


A while back I posted pictures of the wire bins I attempted to assemble in order to organize my stash. Hubby ended up finishing the assembly after I spent several hours cursing quite colorfully. Here is what it turned out like, and I am pleased with the final result. I have to admit, though, that this isn't all my stash, just a big chunk of it. And there is an organizational scheme, although that may not be apparent in this picture. For example, the top left square is all sock yarns.

This room is the guest room/craft room. It's also the room where Furgie the cat sleeps, but fortunately she hasn't been tempted to nap on the nice soft yarn in the bins.

12 October 2006

Home again

What should have been about a 3 hour drive home today turned into a 5 hour marathon, as Caltrans edneavored to torture me with constant obnoxious construction projects. But when I finally arrived home, there were surprises waiting!

There were packages from 2 Natalies in 2 different former British colonies, each package containing snow globes! It was a Natalie jackpot! As you can see, Thing 1 is delighted. Thank you so much, Knatolee and Natalie!! Her collection is getting quite impressive.

And for me, there was a postcard from Mozambique from my wonderful Scarf Exchange Secret Pal. I don't know where in the world you are right now, Pal, but have a safe trip home. I've so enjoyed the postcards!

There was also a package from Habu Textiles. My scarf kit arrived. :-)

11 October 2006

Living with rejection

Thanks for the sympathy for my rejection, ladies! I drowned my sorrow today with a trip to Jimmy Bean's Wool. I'd been to their Truckee location, but never before their Reno place. They carry a bunch of Manos, Lorna's Laces, Nashua Handknits...let's just say I had no problem cheering myself up. :-) And Dee, thanks for the Island of Misfit Patterns idea!

I'm having a nice time here. The conference is good and my presentation went well. Most of my department is here, along w/some graduate students, and we had a lovely dinner together. Now I'm looking out my window towards the moon--very pretty.

And another cheery thing: Alvina in Singapore and Ada in Romania both received their swap packages from me today. It's such fun to know someone thousands of miles away is opening a package you send them! I also received my pal for Secret Pal 9 today, and I already have some ideas for her. :-)

10 October 2006


I may not be clever enough to get published on Knitty, but I am clever enough to figure out how to get a pic from my new camera phone onto my blog. Here's the view from my window. Ain't technology grand?


My brilliant idea didn't get accepted for Knitty. :-( The editor sent a nice rejection note. I'm disappointed, but the note said they received 5 times more submissions than they had room for. So I will post my brilliant idea here, but not for a few days. I'm currently blogging from The Biggest Little City in the World, where I am at a conference for a few days. I plan to visit Jimmy Bean's Wool; I've never been to their Reno location. I wish my camera could speak to this computer, because I'm looking out at quite a nice view toward Mount Rose.

08 October 2006


Ruthie and Thing 2 were playing tug today. Guess who won.

07 October 2006


In celebration of Thing 1's birthday we decided to feed the town's children to snakes.

Actually, we had the Travelzoo guy come, and he entertained the crew with various reptiles, birds, and bugs. He managed to keep a dozen or so kids (plus various neighbor kids who happened by and joined the audience) enthralled for 2 hours, which is a minor miracle.

Aside from the critters, the other highpoint was the Cavity Candy Cone. I got the idea last year in a magazine, I think. Last year's theme was Halloween, and of course this year's was creatures. That's styrofoam under the icing.
The kids loved picking all the candies off and eating them. Of course, there was cake and ice cream too. Then we sent all the kids home, full of sugar.

06 October 2006

Romanian swap

Thing 1 is showing off some of the great stuff I received from Ada in Romania, as part of a Gimme Your Stuff swap. Those are children's books in Romanian and Hungarian, as well as a cross-stitch kit. It's been a while since I cross-stitched, but I'm definitely going to have to take it up again for this kit. As Peg pointed out, Thing 1 is looking fairly vampiric with the missing front teeth, so it's entirely appropriate for her to be holding books from Transylvania. :-)

And if you haven't already checked out Gimme Your Stuff, you should. I have swaps going on three continents right now, and that is way fun.

02 October 2006

Monday Bits and Pieces

  • New MagKnits is up. I like the pumpkin basket.
  • One of my computers died the other day. Time for a new one, I guess.
  • Lindsay the Lizard, who hadn't been sighted in some time, made a reappearance this weekend, sunning herself on our garden wall. She's gotten considerably larger.
  • I'm going to buy that scarf kit from Habu. My Mom said I should, and one should never argue with one's mother.
  • It's fall here. It even rained a bit yesterday. This morning I saw a woman wrapped in a coat and scarf, I suppose because we'd reached those frigid lower 60s.
  • Thing 2 lost another tooth today. We're digging the gap-toothed look.
  • Just when you think politics is strange, it turns surreal.
  • I think CLusterMaps is having issues. For the last several days, it claimed nobody visited my blog, and today it says there were over 4000 visitors yesterday. Wow! I'm suddenly so popular!

01 October 2006

Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I much prefer natural fibers. A few of my very favorites are Kureyon, Lion & Lamb, and Manos. I'm generally not very fond of acrylics and novelty yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
My straights are in a needle roll I sewed myself, my circulars are in a file folder thing from Costco, and my double-points are in a shoe box-sized plastic container.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
My Mon taught me over 20 years ago, when I was 17. I guess I'd say I'm an advanced knitter, although of course there are always new techniques to learn.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
You could say that! I think it has about 160 items on it! I have one at Powell's, too. :-)

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I'm generally not too fond of florals except lavender, which I like a lot. I like fruity scents, especially citrus and mango, and spicy scents.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I certainly do! Anything chocolate or caramel is a-ok. One of my very favorites is Curly Wurly bars, which of course are nearly impossible to find in the US.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Mostly I knit, but I sometimes like to do other creative projects, too. I'll try almost anything.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like dinosaur rock (Beatles, Stones, Kinks, etc), punk (Ramones), blues, and world music the best, but I'll listen to almost anything except country, rap, and religious music.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like cobalt blue, deep red, aquas and teals, and deep purple the best. I'm not generally fond of pastels.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have two daughters, ages 3 1/2 and 7, a Saint Bernard named Ruthie, and a 17 1/2 year old cat named Furgie. And a husband. :-)

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
No ponchos, very rarely hats, occasionally gloves (I have very small hands that are hard to fit), and frequently scarves.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I don't think I have a favorite. I like to knit pretty much everything!

13. What are you knitting right now?
A short-sleeved pullover in Lion & Lamb.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Most definitely! I always appreciate the time and talent they take.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Straight, I guess, although I use both. I prefer wood or bamboo straights and Addi Turbo circulars.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, I own both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Well, back in grad school, maybe 18 years ago, I started an acrylic afghan I never finished. I still have the pieces. THat's my only UFO, because I only work on one project at a time.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween! (I don't celebrate Christmas, by the way)

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn and books. :-) I have a postcard collection from all around the world, and I've begun collecting plastic souvenir floaty pens.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I own a lot of knitting books, but check out my wishlists for more. I don't think there's anything I MUST have right now. I subscribe to Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and Knitter's.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Hmmm. I'm not sure. Nothing comes to mind, but I'm always willing to try something new.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I do like to knit socks. My feet are 8 1/2 inches from heel tip to toe tip, which makes for fast, relatively cheap socks. :-)

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
March 21.