29 August 2007

Ruthie Goes to 3rd Grade

Well, today was a red-letter day for Ruthie: she got to be a show-and-tell subject in Thing 1's class. There are few places in the world she would rather be than in a room full of kids. Of course, the kids enjoyed it, too. Notice the girl in the red pants in the second picture, petting Ruth with her foot. T1's teacher is very animal-friendly. Also present today was a mini schnauzer puppy, 2 beta fish, a praying mantis--and one girl's grandfather. :-) It was a bit of a zoo, but the teacher said a room full of 3rd graders frequently is. Poor Ruthie is now off recovering--it's 100 degrees out today, so she got quite hot in the car.

28 August 2007

Very quick FO

Even though I'm a slow knitter, it only took me one evening to make this hat. I used a double strand of leftover Kool-Aid dyed worsted, so it should keep some kid in Afghanistan nice and warm. I like how the colors turned out--I hope they make the kid happy.

27 August 2007


Thanks to Postcrossing, I have recently learned a little about Finland. It appears to be a beautiful country with friendly people who like to swap postcards. So I won't hold this against them.

And Knatolee, you have to watch this.

(Both of the links via Neatorama).


Gonzalez has resigned. I'm sure the President will continue his fine record of appointing qualified, capable, respected individuals.


I love Ben & Jerry's. How could I not love people who invented flavors like Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, Black & Tan (which none of my local stores carry--alas!), and Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream? And their company is environmentally and socially conscious. And they have a fun website from which you can download a virtual cow. But why is it that neither they, nor any other ice cream company that I can find, sells lemon custard ice cream? Surely I can't be the only person on the planet to like that flavor??

Socks and hat

Here is some of what I plan to send to afghans for Afghans. I'd made the hat some time ago, and the socks I finished last night. They're worsted weight, so they went quickly--the second one took me only 2 evenings. I'd never made socks with short-row heels before. I like it--no having to pick up stitches on the heel flap. I hate picking up stitches. The yarn is some green Australian wool from my stash, plus bits of Knit-Picks yarn I'd Kool-Aid dyed (grape and black cherry). They exactly fit my size 5 1/2 feet, so they should be good for an older kid. Which is perfect, because they're especially needing things for 7-14 year olds. I hope to have time for another hat and a vest before the October deadline.

22 August 2007

Stuff and nonsense

I have several things for today's post.

First off, in case you didn't know this already, Knatolee ROCKS! Not only did she address my tragic yarn shortage by sending me some beautiful yarn, but it's exactly the colorway I would've picked, had I been lucky enough to be wandering around sheep farms in Nova Scotia. And the yarn smells like warm sheep (it's 100 degrees out and it's been locked in my mailbox all day) and vinegar, in a totally, totally good way. Thank you Knatolee!!

Second, Thing 1 began 3rd grade on Monday. Much rejoicing was made. Her school is brand new, which is pretty cool. And today she announced to me that Wednesdays are sharing days, and that today someone brought goldfish and someone else brought a dog, so can she bring Ruthie next week? I can think of few things in this world Ruthie would rather do than be shared with a classroom full of kids, so we'll see if we can manage it next week.

Third, I've been working really, really hard to try to meet a writing deadline of next Friday. So today I was typing away at work, when an airplane started buzzing around. It was trailing a sign advertising this guy, who's going to be doing some sort of thing on campus this weekend. Like it's not enough that they've torn up the ampitheater erecting bleachers, or that there are signs on every streetcorner, or that they've put bumper stickers on every frigging minivan in town. Nope, they've got to distract me with low-flying aircraft now.

Fourth, I saw a link to this video on Neatorama. I've never heard of Anita Renfroe before, but this clip is great!

Finally, you probably know about these folks already, but if not, check out afghans for Afghans. The deadline to get them stuff for the current campaign is October 12 (Oct. 1 for Canadians). I've got a hat already finished, and I'm currently working on a pair of socks. I'm going to try to get at least 1 more hat and maybe a vest done.

19 August 2007

Finally, a knitted FO

I bought this scarf kit at Stitches this year, and I've been working on the scarf for a while now. I finally finished the thing tonight. The yarn is Bouton d'Or Songe, and those are a zillion clear glass beads. I like the completed scarf, but I don't think I'd recommend the kit for several reasons:

  1. 1. The kit came with only one ball of yarn, which would've made the scarf too short. I had to shell out $15 for another ball (there were, however, plenty of beads).
  2. The yarn has mohair in it. This means the beads were hard to slide as I worked, and little fluffs of fiber ended up all over me and my surrounding area.
  3. Both balls of yarn had knots in them. In the first ball, the knot was buried deep inside, meaning I had to restring a lot of beads when I discovered it. I was not happy. Fortunately, the knot in the second ball was visible before I strung any beads.
  4. It was pretty boring knitting: Ten million rows of seed stitch, with 3 beads placed per row. Which meant it was boring and slow.

Anyway, the scarf is very pretty and elegant. Now I have to find an opera or something to wear it to.

And am I on roll this weekend for completed projects or what?? Remind me of that as I write almost an entire chapter that's due September 1.

Various weekend doings

When my Mom was here last week, we went to one of those ceramics painting places. I was able to pick up the finished pieces yesterday.

From left to right, that's my Mom's cupcake box, the football box Thing 1 made for Hubby, Thing 2's castle box, and my butter dish. The ladybug was a joint T1/T2 collaboration.

Yesterday we also attended Modesto's Art and Wine Festival. They had lots of kids' activities. T1 and T2 had a blast trying out a saxophone and tambourine, respectively, and building houses out of clay.

And I'm very happy because today I finally finished the scrapbook of our February trip to Florida. It took forever, but I'm extremely pleased with the results. Now, which of our 19 years worth of photos should I tackle next?

17 August 2007


Thing 1 and I engaged in a water rescue operation this afternoon. A green darner dragonfly was clutching the edge of the pool cover, unable to get itself out of the pool due to surface tension on the water plus a pretty stiff breeze. We managed to fish it out--miraculously, without either of us falling into the pool--but it was too wet to fly. I was afraid one of the resident pigeons would eat it for dinner, and everytime we tred putting it down somewhere, the wind started carrying it back toward the pool. So we put the dragonfly in amongst my rather overgrown lemon verbena, where I hope it was able to hang on, dry off, rest up, and continue its buggy existence.

The side benefit of all of this to us was that we got a really close view of a gorgeous animal, and I even managed to get a few decent pictures. That's a water shoe liner it's hanging onto in the picture on the left. You definitely should click on the picture for a closeup view.

14 August 2007

Some of us are green with envy that Sharon can just pop into her local yarn store--which happens to be the wonderful ImagiKnit--even though she doesn't even knit (yet!). Then I suppose she just strolls over to Samovar Tea Lounge for snacks and tea. Lucky Sharon!!

My Mom, Thing 1, and I went to Berkeley on Sunday. We headed over to Solano Ave., one of my favorite neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the Himalayan restaurant, which I've been wanting to try, was closed for lunch. But it's not like there's no place else to eat in the neighborhood, so we survived. We went to Stash, one of my fave yarn shops. Do I need more yarn? Not exactly. Does that stop me? Of course not! Later, we headed to Berkeley Hort, a fabulous nursery.

I think T1 is coming along quite nicely. First she insisted on buying some yarn at Stash. Not even 8 and she already has her own yarn stash! Then she begged for a goldfish plant at the nursery. As we were driving home, she said, "Mom? Can we please go to that nursery again?" Yep. Quite nicely.

Of course, T2 could use some early training, too. So here's what we did with her last night:

My Mom's back home tonight, T1 begins 3rd grade on Monday, and I really have to write the chapter that's due to September 1. I guess summer's pretty much over.

11 August 2007

End of summer adventures

My Mom is visiting this week, and we're having fun making some trips around the area. Thursday we took the Things to Gilroy Gardens, a nice amusement park a couple of hours from here. The rides are all pretty tame, and they have agricultural themes. In this picture, the Things are enjoying the artichoke ride.

Wednesday, Mom and I took an hour's drive to Sonora, a goldrush town in the Sierra foothills. There's a friendly yarn store there called By Hand Yarn. It's in a beautiful old building that was once a pharmacy. I'd been there several times before. This time, I was discussing yarn addictions with the woman there when she pointed out the word set in the pavement outside the door (I'd never noticed the word before). It said, "DRUGS." How appropriate! I came home with some of Regia's new Kaffe Fassett sock yarn. I'm not exactly desperately in need of more yarn, but I couldn't resist these colorways. I also picked up Interweave's Felt magazine.

05 August 2007


I hardly ever post pictures of Furgie here, so here's one I took today. She's pretty deaf--she turned 18 in March--so I was able to sneak up on her while she napped. I got Furgie at the animal shelter in Lincoln, Nebraska in July of 1989. She was just a tiny kitten. My best guess is that she's a tabby/Siamese mix (she has stunning violet eyes, which of course you can't see in this shot). She's named neither after the princess nor the singer, but rather her full name is Furgood Marshall. I name most of my pets after Supreme Court Justices. Furgie has always been rather, um, pudgy. But I've long since stopped trying to slim her down. I figure a little extra weight's probably a good thing for a senior kitty. When Furgie was young she liked to play fetch with the plastic rings from milk carton lids. We'd find them all over the house, including in the bed, under the sheets. Now, she mostly naps and cuddles. And meows loudly at me in the middle of the night. She didn't much care for the Things when they were tiny, but now she and Thing 1 are good pals (she tolerates T2). She has the world's softest tummy, which she loves to get rubbed. She occasionally has a senior moment now and pees somewhere inappropriate--like that casmere/merino yarn, which I could not salvage and had to throw away--but I figure that's a small price to pay after all these years of companionship.

SP11 Questionnaire

I had such fun with the last Secret Pal I participated in--and got to know the wonderful Eve--that I've signed up for SP11. Here's my completed questionnaire.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Probably Noro Kureyon is my all-time favorite. I also especially love Manos, Lorna's Lion & Lamb, Blue Sky's cotton, and anything silk or cashmere. But basically, I'm happy with most natural fibers. I'm not fond of most acrylics and novelty yarns. Mohair's also not my favorite, although I do knit with it now and then.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
My straights are in a needle case I sewed, my circulars are in a file folder, and my doublepoints are in a plastic box. I like my system for the straights and circulars, but could use better organization for the double points.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
My Mom taught me when I was 17 and a freshman in college. I'd consider myself advanced.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Oh, you might say so. ;-) Here's my Amazon list, and here's my Powell's list.

5. What's your favorite scent?
I'm not sure. I generally like spicy and fruity scents, and I'm usually not too fond of florals. I like lavender a lot, though.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I sure do, but I'm trying to cut back on junk. My favorite, of course, is Curly Wurly.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I've been doing scrapbooking lately, and I've also done some quilting and sewing. I took a ceramics class in the spring and hope to take another this fall, and I really, really want to learn glass fusing. I don't spin, but I'd like to learn.

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 blues, world music, classic rock, reggae, and punk the best. But I'll listen to almost anything except opera, country, or religious music. And yes, I can play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I prefer rich colors and jeweltones, especially cobalt and deep red. I'm not a pink person (except sometimes hot pink) and I usually don't care for pastels.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm married and have daughters who are 4 and 7. I also have a Saint Bernard named Ruthie and an 18-year-old cat named Furgie.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes on scarves, no on everything else. Our winters aren't very cold and I usually only visit the snow once or twice a year.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I don't know. Right now I'm having lots of fun with the Lizard Ridge afghan, but I enjoy knitting just about everything. I like to alternate bigger projects with smaller ones. I like to felt, too.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Well, Lizard Ridge is ongoing, and I'm in the midst of a beaded scarf.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I prefer straights in wood or bamboo, but I do always love Addi turbos. I tend to prefer pointier tips.

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

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I generally only allow myself 1 project at a time, or I'd never finish anything. Lizard Ridge is an exception because I've been doing that 1 square at a time, in between other projects. However, I do have 1 really old UFO haunting my closet. It's a sampler afghan I began in 1988, my first year in law school. It's in red and cream Red Heart acrylic, and it's a bunch of squares, each with a different pattern. I'm never going to finish it, but can't bear to throw it away.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Hmmm. Probably either Halloween or Thanksgiving.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Is there anything I don't? ;-) Apart from yarn, of course, and books, I collect postcards and 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?
Nothing specific comes to mind, although there are some ideas in my Amazon wish list. I subscribe to Interweave Knits, Knitters, and Vogue Knitting, as well as Cast On.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I can't think of any, but I do like trying new things.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I love hand-knit socks. My foot is 8 3/4 inches long.

23. When is your birthday?
March 21.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

03 August 2007

Home again

My family just spent a few days with some friends in Sonoma County. We visited wineries, of course. Also a couple of parks: Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve near Guerneville and Howarth Park in Santa Rosa. You can see some photos in this Flickr set. Armstrong was especially nice--it's very cool among the giant redwoods, and the walk is easy enough for even little kids. Howarth Park has pony rides, a carousel, a train, and a killer playground. Also paddle boats, but we didn't try those out this time.

We stayed in the town of Windsor, which I discovered has a nice little yarn store called A Good Yarn, as well as a bead store, a scrapbooking store (which was, alas, going out of business), a children's bookstore, and a toy store. There is also a really great candy store called Powell's Sweet Shoppe, which has every imaginable candy, including, of course, my beloved Curly Wurly.