Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quick Update

Man, I haven't posted in forever!
Life's been crazy - I took the first part of my board exams in August (I passed!!!), Oscar opened the restaurant in September, I travelled to Germany and changed jobs in October, went to a conference for the old job in November........
It's all great changes, but exhausting nonetheless.

Now I'm finally settling back into some sort of routine and I'm posting again.

On the knitting front the biggest development is the socks!!!
I made a pair for Oscar, following Silver's tutorial to a "T". It worked!

They are in a superwash sockyarn that he picked out himself at my LYS, but I can't find the band and do not remember what it was. They are nice and warm though and I gave them to him for opening day of the restaurant!

And I promptly moved on to socks of my own:
Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks. Yippee!

I'll catch up on the rest later...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Help out a double good cause

there is this wonderful knitter in Canada, Dorothy, whose flock I was in for ISE4. She is walking on June 8th and 9th as part of the Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. She set up a fundraising blog and is hoping to raise $2,000 for this very deserving cause by the time of the race.
I encourage you to hop on over and see if you can help out at all. Even small amounts help!

To add to the incentive, she has prizes that she will raffle between all who donate (they're all fibery and gorgeous!).

So here's the first good cause. Go and help to find a cure to cancer and make treatment accessible to those who need it -- and possibly win some knitterly bliss.

But, there is a second good cause. See, the situtation is this, when Dorothy came up with her fundraising goal, the Husband laughed at her for aiming at such a pie in the sky number. Now she is calling on all knitters to prove him wrong.

Wouldn't it be something if we could help show him not to underestimate the Wife -- and how wonderful the knitting community really is... ;) He will publicly apologize on her blog if she reaches her goal.

I did my part, but now I just found out that she is also selling flower seeds and stitchmarkers that a friend donated to benefit the cause. I may just have to go back there...

I hope she makes her goal. Wish I could get some goodies from her bake sale this weekend, too...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Thank you Mandy!

My ISE4 package arrived on Friday before we went on a little trip over the weekend and I'm so happy!
Look at this:

Not one scarf, not two scarves, no --- two scarves, a hat, and mittens! Plus two gorgeous sets of stitch markers! This is incredible, it's like Christmas in May! I love everything that Mandy sent me!
The lighter colored scarf reminds me a lot of some textiles (belts, scarves?) that I've seen in travel pictures from South America. I'll add a link when I can find it. It's gorgeous. It's pure silk, too! So soft and gorgeous. I am wearing it right now and delighting in its gentle warmth and beauty.
And when Oscar saw it he had to try it on immediately, too. I predict some struggles as to who will get to wear this scarf in the future... :) He looks cute in it, too!
The red variegated set is beyond words for me - it is just so super cute! I love the curly scarf, so whimsical and soft and the colors are so cheerful. That will be great for the coming grey winter days. Around here, you kind of have to use colors you wear and surround yourself with to liven up the winter drab. I am so impressed that Mandy just kept on knitting at that point after she had two scarves for me already. But she did. There was plenty of the variegated Alpaca yarn leftover so she made me the cutest hat with cables and mittens! I will be totally stylin' when I walk the dog in colder weather! And the yarn feels so yummy on my hands and around my neck. I'll keep this out so that I can easily grab it for those colder nights through the summer, too.
Thank you so much Mandy!
You have totally hit my style right on.
Nobody has ever knit me anything in my life, so this is the most special thing to me about this whole exchange. I'm very, very happy!

Oh, and I cannot forget about the extras that Mandy included: Stitchmarkers! Don't you love these orange ones tied with the Argyle ribbon? I do. And the little horn ones are just adorable as well! Truely jewelery for my knitting. I can't wait to try these out!

Thank you so much, Mandy for knitting for me and wrapping me in such thoughtfulness and friendship. I will cherish your gifts for a long time and think of you whenever I wear them, which will be often.

I am so glad I joined this exchange. It was my first one, and what better introduction to exchanges could you have? Thanks also to the organizers, sharon (the stripey tiger) and my group hostess Dorothy. You guys rock for making this possible and you deserve highest praise for keeping everybody up to date with information and posting.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Done and done!

Allright, I have two finished objects (FO's) to show today!

First, to tie in with the last post, I am done with my portion of the Second Oddball Charity blanket. I did the butterfly pattern from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Vol 1.
The yarn I used is Caron Simply Soft Tweed in Autum Red on the size 7 circular needle that came with the blanket.
Here's my summary:
-- The Good: It was really easy and fun and went pretty quickly while I was watching movies with Oscar to take his mind off his hurting teeth. I love how the slipped stitches transform into such convincing butterflies! And I really like the color combination of the butterflies in the red sunset with Dangles' ocean blue and Shaneh's sandy beach. :)
-- The Bad: I went a little over my allotment of 3 inches because I wanted two rows of stockinette below between and above each row of butterflies. The other thing that did was to make me run out of yarn one row before I was completely done! Argh! How good that I had bought two skeins, but how awkward for the next person to have yarn ends dangling from both ends of my portion! So I decided to weave in the ends on the yarn joint and only leave the true end piece dangling. I really should have left out the two stockinette rows between the butterflies, though!
-- The Ugly (at least potentially): The pattern ended up bunching quite a bit! I'm sure part of it is because there are 300 stitches bunched on 32" of needle, but I'm just hoping that it will smooth out with the next sections knit on top of it. :(
Also the stitches on the right edge of each butterfly turned out very loose and I couldn't get them tighter because I had to leave the slipped stitches very loose. No idea how I could have fixed or avoided this problem...

Obviously this pattern is not reversible. However, I have to say that the back side looks much better than say, the back side of a cable panel. It just gives these indentations on the reverse stockinette, which kind of make a neat geometric pattern. It bunches a bit, too, though!

Anyways, I sent this off to the next person, AnreeAce in Oregon yesterday. I also included some sock yarn for her in a gorgeous blue and purple handdyed colorway. I found it at the Weaving Works when I met Dangles to receive the blanket so it is kind of tied into the project. I also included some stitchmarkers that I made with little purple flowers on them (forgot to take a picture, though). Some Ghirardelli caramel chocolate squares and a Mini Burt's Bees Hand Kit rounded out the package. The postal service says it should arrive by tomorrow, before the long weekend! Yippee!

This was so fun to contribute to! What a beautiful thing we are making for some person in need of the snuggly hug of a handmade blanket. It is so nice to see this taking shape. And what a great way to get to know some more knitters!
I can't wait for Oddball #4 to get to me, plus I will get to hand that one off to the next knitter right in my area! It's great to know that I'll be involved in this for a while!

In other knitting news I finished knitting the two halves for my ISE 4 scarf.
It was another running-out-of-yarn-just-2-rows-before-the-end experience. I don't know what it is with that lately... Luckily I had a second skein here, too (for a scarf for my mom), but it was a different dyelot and so now there's a small lighter section in the middle of the scarf. Yuk!
I guess that will be my humility mistake. -- Someone posted on the ISE4 blog that she made a mistake in her scarf and whether she should rip it out or leave it as a sign of authenticity or wabi sabi. Many people commented and some talked about how the Amish (and the Navajo?) usually include a "mistake" in their works on purpose because only God makes perfect things. I liked that idea and Neko_Loco's scarf is gorgeous! Anyways I decided to leave the lighter section. I hope it won't make my pal cringe everytime she sees it!

Then it sat for a couple of days while I gathered courage to attempt grafting the halves together (and knitting on the oddball blanket). - This was my first time using Kitchener stitch. It went okay, but it sure would have been nice to have practiced it before, with this yarn. It looks okay, actually, but not perfect.

Finally, I went to block the scarf. Washed the new blocking wires I had bought, prepped the couch with towels and more towels and set to work. I pinned it to the towels stretching it out, and then misted it well with warm water, blotting with a dish towel to evenly get it damp but not wet-wet. Then it sat overnight and the next day.
It's amazing how much difference blocking makes, just compare the before and after pics!

Here's the glamor shot:

Looks pretty nice, I think. Actually, I think this is the nicest thing I have ever made so far!
I really, really hope my pal will like it, too! I'd take it back and make something else for her if she doesn't... LOL

I wrapped it all up, included some other goodies and off to the post office it went yesterday. Should also arrive by tomorrow, hopefully!

I'm kind of in a finishing mood now. I want to finally get through the Tempest Wrap. Just a couple more inches of stockinette and I can graft and block (both with so much more confidence now!) and then attach the ribbed edging.

And after that it's on to SOCKS!!! I have Silver's Tutorial printed out and the yarn and needles to start. I'm excited!

Have a great long weekend everyone!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Knitters are wonderful people

A while ago the online knitting bug stung me and started an addiction... I signed up not only for the International Scarf Exchange 4, but also for contributing to some Oddball Charity Blankets that Shandeh from the Knitting Help Forum started. She came up with the idea to start a blanket for the first couple of inches, then send it on to others who would each add another three inches, creating an oddball blanket that is to be donated to charity. The idea caught on in a big way and there are actually four blankets being added to around the country by now, we even have a blanket tracker now! I am signed up for blankets #2 and #4.

I am the third knitter on blanket #2 and last Thursday it was hand-delivered to me by the previous knitter, Dangles, from Canada. She was on a weekend trip with her family and passing through Seattle. Yippee!
It was wonderful to put a face to another KH knitter and to see who else was contributing to this blanket. What a great project that brings knitters together for a good cause!
Thanks Shandeh!

I had great fun meeting Dangles, her very patient husband and their two adorable kids. Their daughter is almost three and very outgoing and friendly and their son (9 months) is cute as can be and he was very flirty with me. We met up for some yarn shopping at the Weaving Works' Mothers' Day Sale and then had dinner together. It was a great experience! Hopefully I can meet them again sometime, they only live a couple of hours away!

Plus, I got to take home more than just the blanket!
Dangles included some great goodies for me: a beautiful and very sweet card (can you see all the details? The cake stand has silver wire, the cupcake forms are pleated paper, and the vase and flower are so pretty!), some Earl Grey tea (love it!) to have while I knit my portion of the blanket, a locally made and very pretty stitchmarker from Steveson, BC , and --- Sock Yarn!!! It is Lana Grossa's Meilenweit in Bosco (so soft and such great colors, I want to bathe in this!). She knew that socks are next on my list to try out with Silver's Tutorial, so this is perfect! And the colors are so yummy, she interperted my favorites exactly! I will have to save this yarn for the second pair, though, so that I'm sure I won't screw up.
Thank you Dangles!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Puppy pics

Well, I thought I really should post some pics of our lovely Rosa. No blog is complete without pics of our wonderful animal companions, right? Anyways, here she is last year on the beach with us.
Rosa is a Jindo, a rare Korean dog breed. Jindos are hunters that hunt independently of their owners and bring their prey back home. They hunt anything from rodents to deer and wild boar (the latter in packs). They are independent dogs with a very strong bond to their owners and much aloofness to strangers. Jindos are often mistaken for large Shiba Inus or small Akitas, both Japanese breeds in the same Asian Spitz family but with no close genetic links.

We are Rosa's home #4 or 5. She came to us a little over a year ago from her previous owner D. who was very good to her. He took her in when she showed up in his yard in Southern California and she stayed with him for about 5 years, moving up to here with him and their cat. D. made the hard decision to put her up for adoption when it became clear that he would be travelling a LOT for work for a while. He posted her on the Jindo Rescue Board which is where we found her. I commend him for making this decision even though it was very hard for him. Rosa is extremely shy and very nervous with strangers. She would have been very unhappy to have him gone for long stretches all the time.
D. figured out a lot about her previous history when he by chance took her to a vet who knew her! Apparently she had belonged to an elderly couple who wouldn't take her with them when they moved from their house to an apartment. She stayed at the vet who
tried to find her a home. She escaped at some point and after that is when she appeared on D's lawn. It took him a VERY long time to get her to let him touch her but he worked on building trust and took her to training and just did a wonderful job with her.
We are so lucky to have her now! She is the best dog ever!
It took her the better part of a year to fully warm up to us but I think she finally came to the realization that this is her new home, she can trust us, and we'll be good to her.
She loves other dogs (and cats!) and we are carefully looking if there is the perfect second canine for our pack. She loved her foster brother Wolfie who was with us for a couple of weeks. He made her so happy and more outgoing. She was the best model for behavior with him. He learned the ropes in no time! It was the cutest thing to see her do the happydance when we let them out together when we came home. We'll have to see if anyone can fill his paw prints...
Here's our Queen of Sheeba Jindo - still our one and only.
(Last three pics are thanks to nabe L.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ISE scarf progress

Wow, it's been a long time...

I promised pictures of the ISE scarf and had our lovely neighbor L. come over to take some with her camera a while ago already... Luckily she is very talented with the instrument and we had great light to work with, so here are some pics.

This is the "full" shot of the scarf as it was then. It looks more like a swatch than the real thing except for the beads at the end. By now the scarf is more than three times longer, meaning it is half-way done. Hopefully I will be this far on the second half in no time.

I'm very happy with how it is starting to come out! Oh the fuzzy goodness of mohair! Yum... And the pretty simple pattern is perfect for this, even the edges seem pretty even...

I like the beads at the end. I decided on different sizes and different colors (size 6 silver lined amethyst and size 8 metalic violet aurora borealis) mixed together in a pseudo-random way. That was Oscar's suggestion when I couldn't decide for one or the other after my test swatch. Good call!
I also made the lower border two rows longer to fit some more beads on.

Obviously the lace pattern will show better after blocking. But the against-the-light shot gives a glimpse, and it also shows how light and airy this scarf really will be.

I really hope my pal will like it.

So many people at ISE4 are already done with their scarves and a couple have even been received already! I feel a little slow, but I officially still have 6 weeks. All scarves have to be in the mail by June 7 to be received by US Independence Day.

As an aside, and you can see my very first attempt at making my own stitch markers in this project. A long while ago I was gifted a box of beading materials by a friend who stumbled upon them in the storage area of the condo he had just bought. They sat admired but neglected for a long time in our apartment - until the stitch marker bug stung me. I spend the first week that Oscar was gone experimenting with what was in the box, these markers were the first ones that came out: Then I went out and spent way too much money at the local bead store and have made many more fancy markers since then. And some wine charms. And some earrings. And... Maybe some nice pictures for a future post?

Back to stringing beads for the second half of the scarf...