Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Engaging Contest! ...IK Holiday issue....

This morning my sweetie surprised me with a proposal!!

We weren't really doing gifts this year but last night he started saying, "I've got a present for you." Oh great. The beanie I'd been knitting for him was cast aside; I just didn't think it was good enough. There was no way it was going to be done. I'm just too tired, no focus. Then it was Christmas morning, "I've got a present for you." No... he's just putting me on. Making breakfast, "I've got a present for you." "Nooo," I whined. (Yes, I whine sometimes but I was getting desperate. I didn't have a gift to give!) That's when he proposed! I was teary and happy and excited - overcome. And I said yes :)

No date yet, no need to get ahead of ourselves. However we have talked about the ceremony - very small. Thank goodness! I'm uncomfortable as the center of attention and that's pretty much what a wedding is all about.

So here's the contest...

For a copy of the 2007 Interweave Knits Holiday issue and 2 skeins of Patons SWS in Natural Geranium, leave me a message with how your sweetie proposed. Or you can leave me a note that you've linked this contest on your blog for another entry.

I'll pick the lucky winner out of a hat on Dec. 31st!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Red to the Rescue

Well, I finally feel better. It's with the assistance of a Rx which under normal circumstances I adamantly oppose. But today I wasn't reminded of my random pains every few minutes or more. I could just barely tell that they were still there but thankfully very dull. Fatigue and fog were lifted. My bf even commented that I was more jovial, upbeat and had a sense of humor. A trip to the gym even crossed my mind. In time I'll get there but for now I'm enjoying the success.

So in celebration I put up my little tree. I love Christmas. I love the color red. Less than a week before Christmas. One strand of lights, most of the oddball decorations and a tree skirt. That's it and I'm happy.

Tall, thin and slightly crooked. And blurry.

But there's more to putting up my tree than just feeling better. Claudia's post yesterday mimicked pretty much how I felt about this season, or this year even. I didn't really care to pull out the bins, "fluff" the fake tree or look forward to putting it all away in a week. She reminded me that Christmas makes me feel cozy inside; that it helps make things seem normal. I've been sick and it's really sucked. The pain wasn't going away and after 4 months that just gets depressing. I haven't been myself for what seems like forever.

The topper was going to see my family in Seattle last weekend. I was tired the whole time and in just enough pain for it to be annoying. The other thing: Whenever they asked if I was okay or how I was doing, I couldn't look them in the eyes. I'm not ashamed of what this illness is doing or how I feel but it hurts that they care. I can see it in their eyes. They're as helpless as I am. I've gotten used to it but they haven't been around to see so it's pretty new to them. I'm sure they researched FM. I know they did. My mom's a nurse, my sister's in the field and my other sister brought an article. They love me. They care. But they didn't see the regular Ursy that visits - chipper, bubbly and ready to SHOP. It's hard to see someone you care about when they're sick. I know. I don't like to see it either. This is a chronic thing so it'll just take time for everyone around me to get used to it. Thankfully now though I've found something to help me. Definitely something to be thankful for and a great way to end a year that brought way too many challenges... But I'll save those morsels for the end of the year post.

I think it's time to do a little baking :)

And I can't forget.... A big thank you to Claudia! *HUGS*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh No. I've Found Etsy.

I must thank every one of you knit bloggers for subtly referencing Etsy, showing off hand-made stitch markers and row counters from swaps, needle cases and just the cutest stuff ever. Chan's gift from Mary's shop put me over the edge. I'm in and I'm in trouble! Is there a support group? This internet thing is seriously getting in the way of my knitting - if I'm not on Ravelry I'm reading knitting blogs or searching for patterns or chasing down yarn sales and now Etsy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Doc Says

Well, just one day shy of four months and I have a preliminary diagnosis - Fibromyalgia. Yep, four months of wondering, reading, documenting, knitting and resting. Doesn't sound so bad except sometimes my hands hurt too much to knit. A few other complaints but really I feel a lot better with a diagnosis. Rather than poking around aimlessly, I now have a path to follow. Two weeks more and we'll see if the blood tests find anything else.

Speaking of poking - Damn! The Rheumatologist went through the pressure point exam, got to my hips and asked if it hurt. No? I couldn't tell. Two hours later I was almost crying. That's one of the things with fibro. You hurt where you get touched... and not right away and not every time. Without rhyme or reason. That was an eye opener! Or rather, wincer. Yikes! Still hurts today even :s

And special thanks are long overdue. Gianni has been wonderful through all of this stuff. I don't know how I'd do it without him. He goes to all the appointments with me. Reminds me to rest. Makes sure I eat when I'm so tired I can't think to do it myself. Turns on the little space heater every morning so I get an extra 2 hours of sleep. Seriously, so many little things that it's hard to keep up with it all and thank him. And yes, he makes me laugh so I can forget about hurting or laugh about being sick. I'm incredibly lucky he's in my life and I've never been happier. I'd do the same for him in a heartbeat but pray that we're never faced with that.

I love you, Gianni!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Slow Knitting Track Day

Yesterday was the last track day before the end of the season race. Cold. Cold. Cold. Thankfully the rain had stopped in time for the track to dry out. Good day - only one crash to speak of but it was two riders. One was knocked out and broke her arm, the other broke his collar bone. They always brought in the helicopter for knockouts because of potential head injuries. Healing wishes go out to her.

Knitting. Early in the morning I casted off the beanie at the size of a headband. (No pic, not worth it.) This was my first shot at a beanie and my first project substituting 2 circs for DPNs. I really like the 2 needle method although I wish they were shorter (24 and 36 inches is overkill). Next I'll see about magic loop. My headband is reminiscent of my first projects - laddering, weird looking purls, wavy ribbing. Not sure what my problem is but that project/swatch is in the books!! I'll cast on again tonight for a beanie this time :) Why so slow? I just couldn't keep my eyes open. I fell asleep twice in fold-up camping chairs. The first nap was early in the morning with the heater blazing under the circus tent awning with zip up sides. Just me and the bikes sleeping away. My second nap was in the chair circle with everybody sitting around! I'm not really a day sleeper and that is sooo out of character for me. The rest of the day I just wasn't motivated to move. (Going to the rheumatologist this week.)

The guys are getting ready for the Zuma race next weekend. Getting anxious actually. Over the course of the day we bumped tires with other Zumas, exchanged threatening grimaces, etc. and as this all got more aggressive, my front fender became a casualty. This fun little race has been dubbed "Zumassacre." Get the picture now? No points, no contingency money, possiblity of injury BEFORE the day is done. BEFORE the points race is over. Racers are a unique bunch.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Gianni, You Don't Want to Read This

Whelp. This post is going around my knitting/blogging friends so here goes:

Post 8 gross things about yourself.

1. My mom was giving my sister and me a bath and she pooped in the bathtub.

2. The sound of puking or even talking about it almost makes me puke. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Last year at Christmas dinner we used the new gravy boat - a chicken with a hole in its mouth for the gravy to come out. The family thought it was HILARIOUS to pour gravy on their turkey while making puking noises. I came very close to puking that day.

3. I was driving to work one day, stopped to pay my pager bill (loong time ago) and didn't feel so good. I had been taking vitamins that made me a bit nauseous and thought I had eaten enough. Well, no. I opened the car door and puked. But it doesn't stop there. The vitamins also had an unpleasant intestinal effect... For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.

4. I can and will put my foot in my mouth. Literally.

5. I am a reformed picker and loved to analyze the catch. (Now my complexion is clearer. That was a long lesson to learn.) There are still classic, memorable moments that bring back a sense of achievement.

6. The smell of cows takes me back home. We didn't have cows but we drove through the Snohomish Valley nearly every day when I was little. Filled with cows and fertilizing sprays - "poop sprayers" as my dad called them.

7. I kiss my dog and well, every now and then she licks the back of my teeth. Horrible.

8. I slept in the lower bunk of the trundle bed my sister and I shared. One night she puked over the side of her bed which was directly on me. Mom came in and cleaned everything up, took care of my sister and I didn't even wake up! Next day at school I rubbed the back of my neck and couldn't figure out why it was kind of slick.

Who I tag: If you're reading this and any of the other gross posts and haven't been tagged, consider this your tag! Come out of lurkdom and share!

Contest Alert / Rainy Weekend

I was reading Knit'inCrazee's blog this afternoon and she sent me over here for a little contest. The Lady Knits is celebrating her 1 year knitting anniversary. Send her congrats on some great projects and take a look at the prizes and yarn - Yummy!

Finally letting up but it's been rain, rain, rain for two days straight here. A lot like Seattle. I think the gray skies are making me sleepy. I almost fell asleep in the car on the way back from getting one of G's tires swapped for tomorrow's track day. Last track day before next weekend's race.

Project for this weekend is a beanie which about an hour ago became a swatch/headband. My purls are laddering on the right-hand side. So while I continue to knit and figure out the purl problem, I'll cast off when it reaches headband size. I'll also be able to check gauge/sizing to see whose big head it will fit. Back up project: Caleb's baby bell bottoms.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cryptic Gift Breakdown

There's so much to think about these days, a list is the best way for me to omit confusion:

  • I casted on for Jess's object. I only have one skein and just realized I probably need two. Unless I make it shorter, she's not that tall after all ...
  • Finished Ana's object - I think it might be too short, she's a tall one. Needles and spare yarn already in the Seattle Box.
  • Haven't touched Francie's - I'm saving it for the plane and the weekend in Seattle. She doesn't arrive until after I leave so I am using that extra time.
  • Mom's is done but I think I'll make a matching piece for her.
  • Trying not to think about the three man gifts until Jess's is done.
  • No idea what to do for Dad.

Okay, it's laid out in front of me. I still think I have enough time to get all this done. Oops! Caleb's pants! Darn it! I'm pushing it now...

Yay! I just got an email telling me I won a Debbie Bliss book. (I panicked the instant the email came through. Ebay? I bought something? Oh no. How much did I spend?) Apparently there's a purse in there that looks like a new JCrew design. I can control myself. I will wait until after the gift knitting.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ravelry Time Warp

I'm on Ravelry a LOT more than I'm knitting. This has got to stop. I fear I'm getting behind on my Christmas knits. However I may be redeemed at tomorrow's track day - no internet connection.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lucy's Jacket

Here it is. Lucy's jacket is done. Purple ribbons because, as much as I want
to make stuff for her in exciting kid colors like magenta and pink and lime green,
I think of her and I just see purple. Peaceful, I guess.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finishing Day

Yesterday I made another huge knitting step... for me. (The last was the swatch.) I finished two projects, both of which involve BLOCKING. As you might remember I had a blocking meltdown a few weeks ago when the WIP was found dislodged from its blocking towel. I wadded it up (gently/angry) and left it to sit on the table. And that's where it was when I finished another project, the baby jacket for Lucy.

Voila! Blocking in progress all of my own doing.

After 5 long years as a WIP the jacket came off the needles this past week and in one day I stitched all the finishing bits - besides the seaming under the arms, all edging was turned under and sewn in creating the lacy edge. The holes from the YOs were split, sewn in half. I credit this project with initiating my first blocking experience. The yarn is very sturdy, *very* sturdy so I used the dunk method or rather the drench method. I held it under the spigot in the shower until it was full of water then wrung it out semi-gently. Tools of my trade: Towel, ottoman, sewing pins and a note, "Do Not Touch."About 10 minutes later I left it to dry. After grumbling over this project for the past couple months, now that it's done I'm quite pleased. Now to see if it fits little Lucy...

Blocking piece #2: Surface Woven Tote

Notice only one piece is actually blocking. I need more pins. But this is a HUGE step for me. This piece is much more particular when it comes to blocking. Last time I tried to infuse the piece with water via rolling in a wet towel. Don't do that. Nashua wool felts very well and my newly trained eyes spotted felt beginnings. (Another reason it ended up a wad on the table.) So I found a spray bottle at Target for when the time came to try again. I carefully sprayed, pinned and measured. I'm not used to that last one (I'm not big on swatching and I feel measuring falls in the same category.) but I measured anyway. Glad I had the energy. Not that difficult anyway. And here I am - almost halfway through blocking. Still to come: surface weaving, lining and attaching handles.

And today I bought yarn for two more projects. Two My So Called Scarves for two sisters that don't read my blog:

Anastasia's scarf
Rio De La Plata Merino
Colorway: Vibrant Orange, Pink Lemonade, Crabapple

Francie's scarf
Rio De La Plata Lana del Artista
Colorway: Pale Blue, Sapphire, French Beige

Trader Joe's

I haven't been in forever but yesterday I finally went to Trader Joe's and FORGOT the granola!!! Kristen has talked it up and I was looking forward to trying it! I remembered everything else (and more.) A few bottles of wine in anticipation of "Two Wheel Tuesday." (We're hosting the racer's get together next week - I'll explain more next week.) I found three different blends of Rooibos tea that I'll have to try tomorrow because we also found a nice decaf coffee. I know, there's decaf coffee everywhere but we were looking for organic. The doctor said if I'm going to drink any coffee I can make decaf organic but only every once in a while.

Thankfully we'll be going back more regularly. As a San Diego native, my bf likes the store. I just don't go because it's off the regular route. Within a couple miles but off the freeway. Okay, ridiculously close. My excuse is lame.

Hoping to make it to my LYS today to find yarn for the My So-Called Scarf. I have two sisters that would appreciate the warmth and/or design. They don't read my blog so I'm safe as far as Christmas gifts are concerned.

Yesterday was a big finishing day - I'll post pics later today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Zuma Zuma Zuma

No racing this weekend so this is it - My sweetie's race poster. He designs these for other racers too. (I suppose they're kind of like advertising/promotion for them and their sponsors.) Along with the posters advertising the actual races, he'll also design logos, stickers, t-shirts for other vendors and now a t-shirt for the upcoming Zuma race.

Yes, my pit scooter is going to be pushed to its little limits racing its heart out against the other pit scooters all with racers on them, dragging their knees and tradin' paint. They only go about 45mph unless they've been modified which is likely given the mechanical nature of their owners. G got really excited when he started to ponder his own mods, "I wonder if I can find slicks for a Zuma..." Oh boy ... but this will be FUN to watch!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

FFBE Package Received!

So emails went back and forth and we finally figured out that the package was sent to the wrong house number. And it was coming from Finland - Yikes! Don't go back!

I was waiting at the counter at the post office after determining that it hadn't gone back yet and the lady at the counter returns with the cutest box I have ever received!

And stuffed inside was LOTS of wool! Ahhh heaven :) Anna has used it quite successfully for felting. I can't wait! Orange, magenta and a darker royal blue. The chocolate is from her recent trip to Estonia - she liked it and so did I ... before I even got my camera out. Rich and creamy mmmm. The pattern she sent is for a modular tote - looks fun and cute! I'm already considering a mod with the handle to make it more mod LOL

Now here's a funny tidbit of note on the bag - she posted some WIP pics and I actually commented on how cute it was! Colors and style... and now it's here with me! How funny is that? Anna ran into some problems with the ORIGINAL bag - yes, this is #2, errr not a fun time to run into problems. Even with that she's going to knit another for herself! What determination - if I were in that position I'd probably burn the pattern lol.

I think I'll use it as a fun, sassy knitting bag. I noticed today that every project I'm working on has it's own bag... and I'm running out!

A closeup of the soft pink stitch markers. Love em!
I'm in the middle of a project using my generic stitch markers. Totally switching over.

Thank you Anna for such an awesome bag and package! It was definitely worth the wait.

And thank you Anne for helping out! It was a wonderful swap :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Race Report (weeks late)

I totally spaced and thought I had posted after the first race weekend! Where was my head?

After every race weekend and track day weekend all the racers post a few paragraphs to their community forum on how the weekend went, who helped, what they learned, yada yada. Here's mine :) and I'll keep it short cuz I've forgotten some details.

Friday night kicked off the race weekend. We loaded his bike and my scooter onto the trailer, loaded up his Volvo wagon and trucked on down to the track. All was great until we hit ridiculous traffic and inched along as the sun set. Finally at the track we unloaded and then helped the guys set up the trailers where we would be pitting. Without instructions and very little light we erected an awning the size of a circus tent. Parked all the bikes and tools underneath, zipped the sides on and left for a good night's sleep.

Selling shirts early in the morning. Shirts are just outside of the frame.
This pic is actually from the weekend before the race.

Saturday was an early morning as they always are. G barely gets 5 hours of sleep on a regular night but on the eve of a race OR track day - almost none. So we were up about 4:30am, at the track by 6am. Most of the time on track days I don't get up into the stands to watch. I'll wear myself out too quickly with the back and forth, up and down. So I sit in the pits and knit and sell shirts. The project of the weekend was the Picot Felted Vase. Easy and small. No significant events to speak of - just an average track day. Well... Donny crashed, Wil crashed and Joey crashed twice but still they all got up and raced the same bike on Sunday.

View of the pits. Christy and I are in our team shirts in the background.

Race day - The pits are a lot more tense than track days but still fun to be a part of. (No chance to pull out my knitting but I thankfully got a much needed nap in the trailer.) My job in the pits is tire warmers off and on, rear stands off and on, water, food, and generally being there to help G and the rest of the guys. Basically anything to make it easier for them. I thoroughly enjoy it. G did very well on his first race weekend in almost a year - a 2nd, 6th and 7th. Every race he tallied points and has 37 going into the last race of the year. Coincidentally, his race number is 37.

OH. MY. GOSH. I totally forgot to tell you about my ride on the track! End of October. I think I was waiting for pics which I still don't have but I loved it! They call it 2-up because I rode on the back of an instructor's bike. Wow! Exhilarating! I borrowed leathers, boots, helmet and gloves and got on the bike. The trainer's bike has an extra seat like street bikes but also has handles welded onto the tank. Thank goodness. On the straight we were going so fast - 145mph!!! For comparison, my bf gets up to 190mph on the straight. Unimaginable. Braking at the end of the straight was the only scary part. That includes the hard lean angle (remember they drag their knees) and the "pancaking" which is going quickly from a right-hand to left-hand turn. I took about 5 laps, 3 of which were on an empty track. Just before we got off the track we got lapped. Weird to feel them whoosh by. G would have lapped us too but he ran into a helmet problem. A piece on the side of the helmet was duct taped on (felt loose) but was partially blown off on the first straight. He had to pull off the track and tuck it in his leathers because it was in front of his eyes. At 190mph he couldn't see. Out of breath and sweaty, the first thing I did when I got back to the pits was call my mom. Poor thing. I'm not a bad daughter but I still think I put her through hell.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Racing and Knitting

Another race day today. I should say track day. They only race about once a month and practice on the rest of the weekends so this weekend was all practice. Saturday my bf and I actually worked on the track as corner workers. (He'll get free track days for working, I get a tan. Fair enough.) The track is separated into sections and we were stationed at corner 3. Our job was to watch our section of the track for downed riders and debris and also to wave the checkered flag at the end of each session. No, not the finish line flag, they weren't racing. Our corner happened to be the busiest - a number of riders went off the track and one guy left his foot peg on the track. For those instances I was waving the caution flag. While not waving a flag I was SWATCHING. I don't usually swatch, but more on that later.

Riders can go off the track and it's no big deal. Sometimes they even manage to keep the bike upright and get back on the track to continue racing. Other times they crash and just need to dust off or maybe their bike got mangled enough not to roll away but they are still fine. Then there's the times they don't get up right away and that's when it can be more serious. That happened three times this weekend which is almost three times more than usual. The ambulance took the first guy just to be checked out. First-time falls are scary for new riders because they just don't know how it feels yet - good hurt vs. bad hurt. The second one was actually air lifted. Not good. He was unconscious after his crash, maybe longer than the EMTs liked and they called in the helicopter. The last one was a young girl, intermediate skill, and the word is she may lose her thumb. Crashes happen, you just always hope for the best. My thoughts and prayers go out to these riders.

I've been knitting at the track for about a month now. This weekend the comments started rolling. Some were even engaging conversations. Odd since it's mostly guys. Sometimes I had to explain my project: "I'm making a vase." Huh? "It's going to be felted." What's felted? "It'll make it look like thick fabric." Is it going to hold water? "No, just decorative. I'm going to put my needles in it." Ohhh okay. One guy even called me out on a UFO! "Did you finish that blanket?" Uh, no. "Wha...?" He was flabbergasted as only a non-knitter would be. Only once did I correct someone that picked the wrong craft (needlepoint). The funniest comment so far was, "That's hot." Given that the pits are like testosterone on crack, the comment went further. Not appropriate to repeat here but hilarious.

SWATCHING - I made a breakthrough this week. I reasoned with myself: I'm making two pairs of baby bell bottoms so if I swatch once (light bulb) it's good for both! And guess what happened? My gauge was spot on perfect :) I'm making 3 Ribbed Beanies for Christmas, one swatch. Improving swatch efficiency two+ projects at a time.

Pics another day, I'm tired.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reprodepot to the Rescue

Awaiting me on my kitchen counter tonight was my fabric from Reprodepot! (They're giving free shipping right now!) What a knitting pick-me-up. I needed that. This morning I was pretty pissed off at my felted vase. The picot cast off is not casting off. Grr. But all is right now that I'm once again excited about my tote! Funny how that rubs off on the vase and I have renewed interest to finish it tonight :) Ahhh a knitting roller coaster. This post is pic heavy - stark contrast to my ambivalence this morning.

Cute cute fabric from Reprodepot. The brown one is for the tote and since I was paying shipping anyway ...

Dark brown leather handles for the tote from Somerset Designs. Arrived Thursday but I wasn't in the mood to get all excited and share. Now I am:

Blocking status of the tote:

Yes, I threw a mini tantrum when I found it askew on the floor. Now it's a heap on the table. (I don't have much energy for tantrums these days but my original blocking technique wasn't working so I was incredibly frustrated. I got all mad and then had to go lay down because my kidneys hurt. I am so done with this illness.)

On to happier things... Look what Sweetie did for me!

It's my #4 "hardwood" needle that broke. He fixed it!!!

Newly CO shrug #1 from One Skein Wonders:

Newly purchased yarn for shrug #2:

And more newly purchased yarn for a Fake Isle hat I found on Ravelry. We'll see if it looks as cute as pictured with Noro yarn. Color 2 will be a white/natural:

Felted vase that's sans needles out of frustration. It looks like I may have to frog another row so that the top flares out some:

I was seriously in a slump this morning. Okay, okay - last week, too. But I think my homeopathics kicked in today and I feel back to normal. Yay! Excited to knit for Christmas although Mom instructed me not to put too much pressure on myself. A nice trait that invariably lead to this wonderful little illness.

Contest Contest

I've started some new projects but darnit if I'm too lazy to take pics. I will eventually. Maybe in 10 minutes, maybe in 2 days. Meh. Actually, I'm a bit surprised I'm posting, but ... I am. This little contest over here on Megan's blog propelled me to come out of lurkdom. It's a simple, fun contest so get on over there and mention my name if you're so inclined (extra entry :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


One of the first knitting groups I joined was a Yahoo group, Bag-A-Holic. Repeatedly it's been a terrific resource (handles, hardware, instruction) But that's also how I learned of the Fall Felted Bag Exchange. Yay! Had so much fun with that :) ....Anyway, today someone posted a link to lining your bag. Just in time for my first one! Fabric is on it's way from Reprodepot and handles from Somerset Designs (which BTW the agent responding to email orders, possibly the owner, had no idea they were mentioned in the book as the source for the handles. Good for them!)

So while I wait, my bag is in a partial state of blocking. I only got one piece down after figuring out that the plastic blocking pins I bought bend. Useless. Hopefully the LYS will accept a return. I'm just using regular sewing pins now. I know there's the potential for rust, but my bag is essentially rust-colored and because it's wool I don't want to inadvertently felt it.

Further to the semi-disappointment of yesterday's blocking trouble, I broke a needle. I JUST BOUGHT THEM. Supposedly hardwood. Snapped like a twig. I know, size 4 but puhleez! $14 bucks is $14 bucks! LYS? I'll check with their policy. I'm on their "good customer" list after last weekend. Not because I'm keeping them in the black but because I returned a book that I didn't buy.

Funny (embarrassing) story - I had my BagStyle book with me to get the right yarn and needles for my two bags. I forgot I put it away in my purse and then went to go over some techniques with the saleslady. She handed me a book and took another for herself and together we looked up bullion knots. (Ugh.) Her book had the info and as I looked on with her, my book felt like it was getting in the way. Ta Dah! Here's my mistake! That quickly in my confused, little (big) head it turned into my BagStyle book and I put it away in my purchase bag. Figured it out at home and felt like such an idiot. And completely embarrassed. I finally had a chance to go back and sheepishly handed her the book. "I will buy it. It left the store. I understand. I feel stupid." Blabber, blabber. She was so thankful the book came back because she couldn't remember what she did with it. All me. I'm the one that lost her head. Sorry for YOUR confusion. I didn't end up buying the book. She was so kind giving me an out, "if you don't need it now you can always come back and get it when you do." I love Jessica Knits :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

No Going Back

I finally dug down deep and got the ball rolling on the finishing touches for my Surface-Woven Tote. I cast off the third and final piece about an hour ago.
  • A neutral lining material ordered from Reprodepot (plus extra fabrics just for fun...all on clearance. Score!)
  • Handles - Started the order process with the company suggested in the book. I looked around briefly on a couple other sites, but I'm kind of picky and fell IN LOVE with the handles pictured in the book.
  • And finally, a totally unrelated on-line pattern for a felted vase. ...to store my needles :)
Today's other purchases:
  • Size 4 Rosewood needles, straights (starting the linen tube clutch tonight)
  • Another felting book with another vase pattern, Knit it! Felt it!
  • Blocking pins, orange and yellow plastic. Not really my style (plastic) but I want to get this blocked TODAY.

If I'm quick enough here I can get to the blocking before we have to leave. Tomorrow's another track day but this time we're staying overnight in a friend's toy hauler. Somewhat hard to picture but it's like a 5th wheel trailer where the rear is one big drop-down gate. The bike and scooter (the "toys") roll right in, living quarters in the front. Oh, and this morning we picked up our third run of our RunGP T-shirts we'll sell at the track and sport bike shops here in AZ.

A few last comments on blocking:
  1. This is my first time blocking.
  2. I know myself and I know I will not be able to leave it alone while drying.
  3. I know myself and I know I will not be able to wait for it to finish drying.
That is why I need to run go block the tote and hurry and pack.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tonight's the Night

This is the aforementioned crappy pattern/yarn/needles project and tonight is the night to frog.

Today was kind of a crappy day and just got worse when I got home. Not my sweetie but nearly everything else. Computer - wouldn't sign on to the internet. Phone - wouldn't sign on to the internet. I was soooo frustrated. And hungry. One roommate got home and went directly to the bbq grill. "Yeah! A baked sweet potato for dinner!" No propane. Grrrr. I stopped thinking about anything that could break or go wrong which included knitting. But this darn piece is my outlet tonight. You. Are. Done.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Racing Action Pics

Professional photos of my sweetie on his first track day this past weekend. Today he built his racing "resume" using these pics. Kind of like a promo piece to advertise himself for potential sponsors. Printed some at Kinko's today and signed one for me with a cute little note. I can't say it enough - I love him more and more every day.

Final FFBE Weekly Question

How was your experience in the exchange? Did you enjoy the folks you met? Did you just love the bag you received? Please share any thoughts, criticism, and things you loved!

I really had a lot of fun with this swap! (My very first!) It started out with the first requirement - a blog where you post at least once a week. I didn't have one before but had been considering one for years. Partly for gabbing but mostly for documenting my knitting. I felt kind of weird at first (okay, nerdly) so I didn't tell my bf for at least a week. (I get shy and embarrassed. A joke when I was 30 was that my knitting was practice for getting old.) Heck! I don't care now! And my bf is into my knit blogging. He's even posted comments and sent pictures saying, "this would be really cute on your page." How sweet :) Love him!

Then there's the swap participants - a fun group of people with different interests and different styles. I visit most sites every couple days and have enjoyed getting to know you all! With my family in Seattle and not a single friend that knits, I'm all alone in the AZ desert and not too inspired to knit. Sharing thoughts and ideas with you guys has improved my skills (thank you Kristen :) and pushed me to start new projects or pick up old ones or even *gasp* frog. Even off topic stuff like the links from Heather on where to learn how to surf after my trip to Encinitas. There's a wealth of information amongst you all!

Now for the bag - I combed my partners blog for anything that would help me pick out the right pattern and yarn. The last thing I wanted was to get her likes and dislikes wrong! With trepidation I bought the stuff and went to town on knitting. Still afraid I was going to be wrong somehow. I even had a dream about it. It turned out to be so much fun - no need to be worried.

My package - I haven't received my bag yet but it's in the mail. I got some really interesting teaser photos so I'm anxiously waiting :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Project Status

Today's Knitting Daily on UFOs got me to thinking. Where am I at with my projects and why? I don't have too many OTN but there's a couple that I haven't touched in a while. With all the focus on racing recently I've been knitting, just not posting about it. Allow me to bring you up to speed:

The Surface-Woven Tote - my favorite project at the moment. This pic shows much more accurate colors. You can't see the texture or purls or even the size of the piece I just casted on. It apparently blended in to the front/back pieces really well. I'm about 8 inches into a 50 inch piece. After that is the blocking and lining. Knitting Daily referenced some blocking techniques (here and here) and suggestions so I think I'm going to be okay. The lining... well, we'll see. I'm really excited about picking out a pattern here, but not so excited about sewing although Polly has been very encouraging.

Lucy's baby jacket - tedious as explained before. I'm on row 24 of 36 before a few rows of pattern, some finishing and that's it. The finishing on this one isn't going to bother me. Simple stitching on the arms. The neck, waist and cuffs will be folded inward and the holes you can kind of see will be folded in half and become an easy scalloped edge.

The beach blanket :) I love this one. It's nice and loose on the needles (unlike the baby jacket. I used to be a much tighter knitter.) The color changes motivate me through the potential monotony which so far hasn't surfaced. This is my first project using Continental - nearly a requirement for seed stitch - and what a delight. I actually like the feel of the yarn even though it's partially acrylic. The colors themselves are fun. I'm almost to the end of the first repeat of five. I've been planning on taking a skein to my LYS for a comparable yarn in a different color - reds, green maybe.

Lucy's baby blanket - This might be the first project where I actually felt sadness upon completion. I was so intent on finally finishing it, yet a day or two later I thought to myself, "Oh! I can go knit Lucy's blanket." In a split second I was saddened when I realized it was already off the needles. I don't recall ever feeling that way about a project. Usually it's, "eh I have ____ to knit." So that's the knitting part, the finishing however has me frustrated. You can see them on the left-hand side of the pic - two rows and a partial. Plenty more to go. The bullion knots don't stay likely due to the lace. To compensate, because I HATE going back to secure each and every knot, I've come up with a four-step process: Create knot, put needle on longer tail, needle up through lace and down through knot, tie off. This not only secures the knot but leaves only one knot on the wrong side - a bit tidier.

Two projects not pictured: Linen Tube Clutch - yarn purchased just not on the needles yet. Yoga bag - hate it. Difficult lacy pattern I never got the hang of. Plenty of mistake rows but I'm not much of a frogger. Needles were never long enough for all the stitches. The soft lime green cotton yarn will soon become part of my stash. Be gone you!

And here's my little Ronnie. She's been a little out of sorts for the past 24 hours. While we were at the race track she was home with the roommate when the wind started up. She's a little bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to the howling of the wind and the clanging of the blinds. Had I been at home with her I would have comforted her and babied her through the storm; assuring her everything was okay. Roommate wasn't aware that the ominous but loving pit bull was afraid of something. By the time we got home and realized that she was scared, she was shivering visibly and panting with her tongue hanging all the way out. I cooked dinner with her at my feet; a towel on the floor to catch the drool. (Normally not a slobbery dog.) When I went up stairs she heeled beautifully - not her style, she's usually first to the top. Then this morning she was still a little shaken. G took both of the dogs today while he ran his errands. She's fine now, just a little worn out from all that stress.

First Track Day

Fun Fun weekend! Friday and Saturday were spent getting everything together for going to the track. U-Haul couldn't fix the taillights they messed up when installing the hitch on the Volvo wagon so we got a good deal on a pickup. Picked up stickers, tie-downs, t-shirts, water cooler and other little odds and ends. Cooked up some food, packed the truck and got to bed early.

Track day - Sunday we got up at 4am so that we could get to the track before the gates opened at 6. Good pit placement is very helpful - this time we got an electrical outlet so we didn't have to use the generator. Unload, set up, racer's meeting. Initial lap times were slow because the track started out really slick but as the rubber got laid down on the track it got more grip. BF was so happy to be out on the track. I watched his times improve and his form get better. As the day went on it got really windy which makes it hard to ride a bike. Imagine your car on the freeway at 65mph getting pushed by the wind. Worse for a bike but even worse when the bike is going 150mph. No crashes to speak of but we were waiting for word from Daytona where the rest of the guys were racing. One guy went down really hard - his bike was taken back to the pits but he wasn't. Thankfully it turned out to be a concussion and bruising. The ambulance had taken him as a precautionary measure because he probably got knocked out. Our day finally came to a close - packed up and made it home by 5pm. Exhausted but happy. I love watching my BF get into his racing and I love being there to help and support. Next track day is next weekend!

***Oh, I took my knitting just in case but there really wasn't enough down time to break it out. Sunday night I finished the second side of my tote and casted on for the sides and bottom. Starting to get a little worried about lining and blocking....

Zuma - I took one trip on the Zuma to confirm tire pressure with the dealer. He laughed a little because our discussion when he set up G's tires was something to the effect of, "Write this down so I don't have to tell you repeatedly like most guys." What happened? I transposed some numbers. I tried - good intentions. My ride over was okay, but the ride back was a little shaky. Laughed at myself the whole way. I would have ridden lots more but the photographer kept taking our scooter out to different turns on the track. Which brings me to ...

Professional photos - Better pics will be coming this week. Without the Zuma I only had a clear shot of one corner. I took the one here of two of the guys we pitted with - Danny and Wil. Actually, the high-speed pics are really hard to take with my camera and for the most part I didn't even know who was in my pics. Let alone get a shot with two friends AND for whatever reason, catch Wil looking over at Danny. But at least this pic shows you what track days look like.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Progress on the Tote

This is the front of the tote. I've casted on for the back and will hopefully get to the sides and bottom this weekend too. The pic turned out a bit orange, but you can see the texture. What you can't really see are the purls amongst the knits. The little purl knobs will be where the surface weaving will take place. I'll use three strands of the darkest color, wine. I love it so far! Easy going too. Four strands of Nashua wool on size 13 needles. F-F-Fast!

So fast that I started to get worried about the lining. I don't sew. Don't have a machine yet. But while I was reading Polly's blog I was inspired by her recent winnings - cool fabric! I found a site recommended by a good friend, Lorena, years ago when she bought fabric so her mom could make her curtains. Great retro prints of all flavors - Reprodepot Be sure to check out the sale fabric and the purses they're selling. Love 'em!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If I Raced a Motorcycle

This is what I would look like:

This weekend is my bf's first practice weekend on his new bike. Sure to be lots of fun for both of us. Probably more fun for him, but I like the guys there and maybe there will be some girlfriends. And of course I love seeing him so happy doing his thing.

I requested some more practice sessions on the Zuma (scooter) before I look foolish in the pits this weekend. Seriously. I didn't grow up around motorized anything. My one... oh wait, two instances that demonstrate my potential for cluelessness on a motorized vehicle ...
  • At a cider pressing party I was one of the older kids (~16) and was asked to drive the tractor full of kids and apples back to the house. No biggie. I was already doing practice drives in the family Buick. I pulled up to the house amidst all the parents, everyone unloaded and I just sat there. Motor running, older people smiling at me. The moment became uncomfortably long and I vaguely recall someone saying, "just turn it off." Oh right, simply turn the key off. Don't know what else I thought there was to do but I was being watched so I froze.
  • One snowy winter vacation in Montana at the house of family friends, I was last in line to drive the snowmobile around the track which went around the house. Because I was last and it was bone-chilling cold, everyone went inside. I was left circling the house again and again to the point of boredom. I had no idea how to turn it off. I don't recall how my session finally ended but I'm sure somebody rescued me. (I choked on my tea tonight when I remembered this one.)
So, yes, practice sessions tonight included turning the Zuma off and on. Now I just have to perfect getting it up on to its stand. Apparently it's easy but I'm still struggling.

Monday, October 15, 2007

FFBE Weekly Question #4

What was your favorite Halloween costume ever - for you? for your kids, if you have them?

My favorite costume was in college. A group of us dressed up as the Village People, I was the cowboy. (Was there really a cowboy?) We all added fake black mustaches and the guys at the parties complained we weren't cute enough. Our reply, "So what?"

No kids of my own but my younger sister once dressed up as Rainbow Brite. Mom broke out the sewing machine to tackle the tough project and it was perfect. Just as good as the pattern pic. The two completed costume pics here aren't nearly as good as Jess's costume. She was so cute. Bouncy blonde curls - she had the best costume by far.

Why did you enjoy it so much? Do you still dress up now? Chat a bit about your traditions for dressing up on All Hallow's Eve!

The only reason I enjoyed that one costume was because I was part of a group and we picked out our costumes together. I don't like to be singled out and I am uncomfortable as the center of attention. (Not that I would be necessarily but I would feel like it, singled out.) I tend toward introversion so costumes just aren't for me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

LYS on a Sunday

I am just so pleased that Jessica Knits is open on Sunday. So pleased in fact that I bought yarn for two projects. The brightly colored yarn I'm drooling over is for the Surface-Woven Tote from bagSTLYE.

This yarn:

Will become this:

The pale yarn is for the Linen Tube Clutch. (Not the pattern yarn but I'm hoping the variegation will make up for the loss of sheen.) It's actually not that pale, the photo's a bit washed out. It's more of a soothing yellow.

This yarn:

Will resemble this:

Hmmm I think I just figured out why I splurged at the yarn store. The baby jacket is tedious. I've knit another 3 or 4 rows since yesterday's post. The baby blanket is frustrating although the LYS provided encouragement on the bullion knots. They are still driving me nuts. And my FFBE bag is done! Gone!

At least one of these bags will make it to the needles tonight!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Trudging Along

This is the piece that's been keeping me busy. It's knit so tight and probably on needles that are too small. The yarn has no give whatsoever - not happy yarn. Doesn't feel good to knit. The list goes on. Why am I knitting it then? Well, I'm only 16 more rows to the waist band, a little bit of finishing and then it's a baby sweater. I started it up ooooh maybe 7 years ago. I know why I abandoned it, but just buck up Urs and finish.

**Just committed to going out tonight. I'll knit tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

FFBE Weekly Question #3

How often do you change the purse or bag you're carrying? Do you change based on seasons? Outfits? Something else? What's your favorite bag in the world (and it doesn't have to be a knit/felted one!)?

Oh boy. I admit. I change my bag to match my outfit. And if I'm running late, I pick my outfit to match my purse. My favorite favorite purse is a Michael Kors metallic bronze satchel. I'm without my camera tonight so this is the style of the purse but in this color. (Ooooh I love those shoes!) I looked for the perfect bronze metallic purse for well over a year. Totally worth it.

Closure for the Closure

Although I would have preferred a magnetic snap closure, I'm happy with how the toggle will look on the bag. I figured the darker one would look best, but I got both - many more bags to come! In response to my posted plea for help, Aunt Peggy suggested many ways to close the bag. Obviously I'm going with the button method, but I took what she said as, "Urs, just finish it. It's not rocket science." Casting aside my hesitation, it'll be done tonight.

Coincidentally, the toggles look like the crescent rolls my other aunt used to make every Thanksgiving. I'd request them if I were going home for the holidays and if I hadn't removed gluten from my diet. mmmm ... unrolling them ... buttery goodness ... stuffed like a pig.

Oh, yes. I am a little behind on sending this out. I'll see if G can stop by his favorite shipping store tomorrow AFTER I get to take pictures.

BTW picture quality is lacking here. G took my camera tonight so he could document the tear down of his new bike. The quality isn't THAT bad for a camera phone.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I'm In!

Ravelry called my name! I'm SheThinksSheCan if you're on ... and when I actually get some stuff up. So far I have my needle inventory up. Yay. Yarn inventory and books come next. I sorted and labeled my bins Thursday when there were only 155 people in front of me. I'm a tad ashamed at how many skeins have lost their labels. I'm learning.

Other good news - BF just got a race bike! He is so giddy and I couldn't be happier for him to get back into racing. This is going to be So. Much. Fun!

This bike will NEVER be ridden on the road; strictly at the race track. Stickers are in the works. We picked up numbers yesterday and will get a bunch of logos made next week. She'll be pretty when she's all done up :) Lot's more to do before the first races November 3rd & 4th!

Knitting news: Running errands yesterday included a stop at Discount Tire for a wheel balance. I pulled out my blanket and knit a few rows while we waited. (BTW I prefer Les Schwab, aka Schwabby's, but the closest is in LA.) Apparently the young guy at the counter gave G some errrs and ummms. He's never seen that before?? I can't imagine no one has pulled out their knitting in the waiting area. You ALWAYS have to wait at the tire shop.

****EDIT: The deal at the tire store was apparently due to the comp they were giving us despite not being able to locate the original sale in the system. The guy was going to do it for free buuuut probably didn't fully believe us. When G went up to the counter to finish out the sale I was knitting. The guy basically eyed us and shrugged, "They look honest." Which is of course when G found the right phone number for the account and the guy found the original sale in the system.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I'm not done with my bag yet! I completely forgot my pal wants the bag to close and not be open and sloppy. (I'm with her on that one.) But I forgot!!! I checked JoAnn's tonight and they didn't have a magnetic snap closure or so said the airhead at the cutting table.

I can picture a toggle button if I cut a slit in one of the sides. Would that work?

I know a snap would fit the function, but sometimes they can be too hard to open, thus more of a pain in the rear.

Suggestions? Help :(

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Recovery in Sight

I'm almost back at 100%! Latest blood test for thyroid and B12 showed I was low but not outside of the norm. We revised my supplement regime for thyroid support and B complex. (B vites always make me puke. OF COURSE I wasn't taking them!) I should be full time at work next week and going back to the gym (light duty). Yay! Two depressing months but they're over!

The weirdest part of this sloooow recovery was how little things would occur to me indicating I was getting better. The signs went something like this: I could actually think about work, then I could think creatively, I wanted to wear heels, I want to wear make up, oh the A/C's too cold. Last indicator this past weekend was, "I want to go visit the family in Seattle." They were more like revelations. Every few days it was something new; I'm talking BABY steps. My first big illness (besides pneumonia) and we never reached a firm diagnosis. I guess I'll refer to it as adrenal exhaustion, that at least encompasses most of the symptoms.

Couple things I learned:
  1. Always take someone with you into the doctor's office. The first couple visits I forgot so many details it was ridiculous. No matter if I'm of sound mind - I will always bring someone.
  2. A naturopathic doctor is worth the extra money. I actually knew she was listening to all the crazy, seemingly unrelated symptoms and not repeating in her head, "Cuckoo, cuckoo." AND she understood my dietary choices AND provided insight into the symptoms. (The high cholesterol is related to the thyroid and my (mild) eczema episodes are due to a gluten sensitivity which presents itself when my estrogen is low during my cycle.)


Okay, Jessica Knits is not new; they're celebrating their 3rd anniversary. But the store is new to me! I was a bit hesitant because of the location - the further north you get in Scottsdale, the snootier the crowd. Not the case! I was happily surprised at how welcoming they were. I even got there 1/2 hour before they were to close but I didn't feel rushed at all. They're shop has the look and feel of their website but a little bit warmer. Inventory was HUGE! Well, we'll see the next few times I go looking for specific yarn. And to be truthful, it's nice that the shop gals were in my age range. I am just as comfortable at my other LYS but last time I was there I felt weird asking about yarn and patterns for a bikini. This place, I just let loose. (I hope I didn't scare them hehehe)

My reason for going: To spoil my secret pal :) Soooo no pics of the goodies yet. Buuuut I've always been really bad at gift shopping. Translates - I got goodies for meeee! The new Bag Style book so I can join the KAL and the last Rebecca magazine (there's a bikini in there)

Sooner than I thought!

Oh no, I'm not prepared! ...but I'm so excited!
  • You signed up on August 7, 2007
  • You are #23631 on the list.
  • 1782 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 15043 people are behind you in line.
  • 56% of the list has been invited so far

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

FFBE Question, Entry #2

The colors of fall tend to be oranges, yellows, crimsons, and other 'leafy' colors - what is your favorite "Color of Autumn" and where do you see it?

I hate to keep hounding on the desert, but all I see here are shades of light brown and light dusty green. Don't get me wrong, I love the desert. I should by now - I've been here 12 years. We just don't have foliage or seasons so I need to draw on my memories of Seattle which are sadly fading.

Orange is a year-round favorite - with white in the sunny months, with brown in the cooler months. ... I can't come up with anything else. Orange. And I see it in my wardrobe.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Race Weekend

Fun weekend but exhausting. I finished it out with a batch of ginger snap cookies and parsley juice - not together. I'd been meaning to get to both for about a week and what better time than when I should be resting up for the week.

Friday night was a little bit disappointing as described in the last post. Good news though - G's car seems to be running just fine. (In a hurry and forgot my knitting.)

Saturday we had planned on going to the motorcycle race track for a couple hours, turned into the whole day. Days at the track typically mean sitting in the pits, LOTS of guy talk, lots MORE bike talk, and taking the scooter out to turn one to see the big half of the track and the start/finish when our friends are racing. Next year my sweetie should be racing so this'll change quite a bit. Yay! Can't wait for him to race again! Scramble of the day: switching forks and other front end assemblies from the bike with the blown motor to the #2 bike in 12 minutes - just in time for the next race. Impressive. (Didn't think we were going to be there very long so I didn't bring my knitting.)

Sunday - more of the same it just started earlier. No terrible crashes - everyone made it home safely this weekend. (Brought my knitting but left it in the car. It was just too darn hot to knit my beach blanket.)

Off to get a good half hour of knitting in!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Didn't Chicken Out

I just don't feel well enough to get my "game face" on. My car is all fixed up and perfect. G not only changed the oil and flushed the transmission fluid but changed ALL of the filters, almost got the driver's airbag in (unexpected part) and replaced the motor mount. I feel really bad but I'm just not well enough and today was a long day working on the cars. :(

Play by play of the night as it unfolds. I'll probably add in pics tomorrow.

Here we are at the track. Lots of Volvos showed up and we're all sitting in tech waiting for the cars to get cleared to race. It's oddly exciting hearing the engines rev, tires screeching near the starting grid and then tearing down the track. You can feel the noise of the cars through the ground. I don't much care to listen to the performance chit chat but I learn some when I can ask questions. And there is a TON of that.

Okaay so I just might race after all... as a passenger. Have to go sign away all liability in tech. Um I'm nervous. I have to pee. Geez! Think if I were actually racing!!

The announcer loves to pick out the Volvos when they come up to the line. There's a red wagon, "Go guy I've met but don't remember your name!" oooh that was slow - a 14 on the quarter mile. G should be faster :)

A pinto wagon with 12! That's another fun thing to watch - the variety of models. Everything you could imagine.

WHOA! An older Mustang just hit the wall at the end of the track! Smoking tires and then flames! FLAMES!!! I think the driver is fine; the crash wasn't loud enough to hear and I'm at the end of the track. It looked like his brakes failed and then with the oil leak caught fire. Half hour intermission. I should have brought my knitting.

Awww G isn't going to race :( the seals on his turbo finally failed; blowing smoke while waiting in line for his first pass. Shoot now I wish I would have brought my car.

Okay. I now have Blackberry Hand. Signing off.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Drag Racing The Yellow

Tomorrow's the big day! Yellow's heading out to the track. We're getting up early tomorrow to change the oil and transmission fluid, maybe rotate the tires, some other little cosmetic fixes and she'll be show ready! I've already scheduled in a nap tomorrow afternoon; it's going to be a long day. A few of my SOs motorcycle racing friends will be camping out down at the track for races on Saturday. The pressure is growing with the audience.

I finally figured out how to add buttons. Ugh. It should NOT have been that hard to find instructions. Round-about series of links lead me to this page. It's over and now I can move on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FFBE Question of the Week

As of this weekend, the season has officially changed on the calendar - but what makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why?

This year all I looked forward to was relief from the relentless heat. I, under normal circumstances, crave the heat but this year my A/C was out for most of the summer, I got heat exhaustion and we broke a record - most number of days over 110. That's not normal. If you want to experience for yourself in your own home exactly how the desert sun feels bake some cookies and when you open the oven door put your face in it. Seriously. Thankfully, the end of Summer actually marked the end of the heat. YAY!

What makes Autumn feel like Autumn...

Baking bread and goodies

Crisp, cool morning air

Hot tea on the patio

Weekend barbecues with friends

Cooking for Thanksgiving

Anticipation of Christmas

Monday, September 24, 2007

Seed Stitch Smorgasbord

Two weeks ago I went to the LYS for one skein to finish up the FFBE bag. Two hours and 16 skeins later I headed home to cast on a Beach Blanket entirely in seed stitch. I had intended to find a good bikini pattern if not just to figure out what blend of yarn is best (50/50 cotton acrylic?). Paging through the Summer magazines I stumbled across this pattern in KnitSimple and started dreaming of surf trips to Mexico. Intoxicating, swooning day dreams ... only to be jarred back to semi-reality when she totaled my bundle. And yes, I managed to remember the original skein.

Plymouth Yarns Encore
Knitting on size 7, cast on 217 stitches

Years ago I saw a cute afghan pattern in seed stitch. That's the one for me! And I happily started out on my first afghan. Three rows later I yanked it all out. No way. Never. Seed stitch is evil. Looks great but it's a long, slow torture.

Why the sudden change of heart? Continental knitting. I knit my mom's Fairisle sweater two handed, one strand English one strand Continental. Loved it, worked like a charm. For whatever reason I had only dabbled in Continental since then, like a novelty. Then the FFBE pattern called for stockinette in the round. I indulged until I got to the garter rows. Hmm, I'd really like to learn to purl Continental. A link from Kristen sealed it. Towards the end of the bag I got more comfortable with it and, like a light bulb on a dimmer switch, it hit me. Could it be? Seed stitch is possible? Yessiree!

The stripe sequence repeats five times or so. I imagine I'll swap the colors around some. Unfortunately the LYS didn't have any good greens or reds so I see myself looking for some like-weighted, like-blend yarn. Mm hmm a project!

Anyway, I was knitting away yesterday while the guys were parting the car. Listening to their yammer interrupted only by the screech of the impact drill. Knitting is bliss I tell you. I heard SO boasts to the guys, "My girl's a good knitter. She's knitting us a beach blanket." Awww how sweet :)

Goal Accomplished

I did what I set out to do this weekend - I felted the bag. Pics will come later as that is customary. However, on Thursday I was talking to my mom and keeping her in the loop with my bag. "I'm going to take pics of the felting process. You know, before and after pics. But I don't know if I'll post them..." Mom jumps in, "Because it would look stupid!" (hearty laugh) No! I had paused in thought, contemplating when I would actually POST the pics. Mom doesn't quite get this knitting blog thing. She recounted a conversation with her sister, "What's a BLAWG?" Well, Mom, when I come up to visit I'll add "blogging" to your Computer 101/102 syllabus.

Other knitting related news: I'm well into the beach blanket - pics to post later. Baby Lucy's blanket is driving me nuts. The bullion knots keep "un-knotting" because they were never knots in the first place! I think I've come up with a way to secure them without going back over the entire row to knot them again. I'll post when I'm done....someday.

Arizona news: It finally cooled off!!!!! I noticed yesterday when I was wandering around the backyard of my rental house. The sun was NOT beating down on me. I could actually sit in the sun/shade and not sweat. Ahhhh. The rental house has been the site of parting out the third Volvo we purchased. Yesterday was the big finale - pulling the motor. What a brilliant idea it was to buy the car. Not only have we made our money back on parts that have been sold, BUT we've also fixed up both of our cars! Besides the fixes to annoying interior problems (text rubbed off of the window switches), I get airbags and new seat belts! And with that I should be able to restore the title. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I think I'm way behind everyone else in the FFBE but ... Yippee! I've made it past 50% of the list! Hehehehe! I actually laughed out loud to myself and with this almost-a-cold, I have a scratchy throat and a deeper voice. *devious laughter coming from the office*

Someone estimated somewhere that they invite about 200 per day. I think that puts me sometime in December. PLENTY of time for me to just wait.
  • You signed up on August 7, 2007
  • You are #23631 on the list.
  • 9096 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 10479 people are behind you in line.
  • 42% of the list has been invited so far

Monday, September 17, 2007


... except for felting. Pockets are fully attached and handle is connected. Ready to felt this weekend or maybe Friday.

Speaking of Friday, I was supposed to race at the drag track on Friday. Alas it did not happen. No one cared to check the track's schedule and lo and behold - repaving. The group of us have rescheduled for the 28th. My cheering section (roommate) already has a sign made for me, "Go Yellow!" This will be fun if not interesting.

And lastly while I'm thinking about cars, my SO and I are considering buying a van. Yeahhh. A van. Optimally and maybe some day the van would actually be cute like a Westfalia or an old VW van. But for now we're just looking for something to get us to Mexico to surf. Now THAT sounds worth it. Every head-turning, embarrassing moment in the van would not even matter to me cuz I'm going surfing in Mexico!

A Bag and a Dream

My goal this weekend was to finish the knitting part of my FFBE bag. I came sooo close but last night I was too tired to finish the last pocket. I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't finish but only 25 stockinette rows with 15 stitches per row wasn't going to take me long. (I've already finished this morning.)

Apparently in my mind it was a much bigger deal because I had a dream that I failed my first swap. Missed the deadlines, didn't get the right stuff into the package, didn't HAVE a package. I was pretty sad in my dream but now it's funny. I think that was my first knitting dream! LOL

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FFBE Contest #2

1. Post on your blog, and give us SOME kind of secret "Bag in Progress" photo. You could share your yarn before you started, or a close up of your knitting, or the patterns you pondered when you began, or what you're still pondering!

Posted pics here a while back.

2. Post a link to the blog of one other swapper that you 'met' and have continued to read through the 3-2-1 contact post!

Just one? I regularly “catch up” with a number of them but here’s one!

3. Post a link here telling me you entered! Done!

4. Do this no later than September 23rd! Done!

Monday, September 10, 2007

End of Summer Vacation

Here are some pics from the weekend. We stayed in Encinitas, northern coast of San Diego and Gianni's hometown.

First thing in the morning we'd get coffee/Apricot tea (I'm off caffeine per the NMD, dairy too) at a quirky little cafe that used to be a train station. Then we'd head off for the early morning tradition of checking the surf. With the marine layer overhead, hot tea in hand and the sun skimming the eastern horizon to warm our backs it was just perfect. After the surf was duly assessed it was time for breakfast. Machaca burrito from the original Filiberto's (*) - yummy, filling and an excellent precursor to a nap. Filiberto's is franchised into AZ, but now I've tasted the difference and there IS a difference. (* yarn reference below)

Roused from a nap by the mid-day sun, it was beach time! We played in the waves, well at least I did. Gianni was legitimately body surfing. I could admit I was trying but eh. We laid in the sun to dry off. Perfect weather - not too hot, warm enough breeze, enough sun for a burn-now-turned-tan. On Saturday at Del Mar beach we avoided a parking ticket when Eagle Eyes spotted the park ranger writing tickets. Scooping up our minimalist beach gear in mere seconds and walking rapidly to the wagon felt kinda punk! Take that, Ticket Lady! With all that expended energy it was lunch/dinner time.

Dinner and drinks were always nice. That might sound like an understatement but ALL of the food ALL weekend was just really good. The bars were mostly empty so we didn't run into too many of his friends. Apparently there was some surfing or skating event down the coast a bit so everyone was out of town. We didn't do sushi for dinner this time (pricey) but we picked up a sushi-grade tuna steak at the market before we left town. Sunday night we had sushi before dinner and sushi-style seared tuna for dinner. Wow - now that was good home cooking!

In between the tea and beach and naps and food, we managed to see a few surf shops. Boards are expensive $1000! Even the used ones are $500. I'm excited to learn how despite my lack of balance. Hopefully next year we'll have time (and cash) to take some surf trips.

(*) Hungry for breakfast, we quickly parked down the street from Filiberto's and hurried inside. (Heather knows exactly where this is headed :) Gianni was eating and I was gazing out the front window. Two ladies and a man walked by. They didn't catch my eye really, but the bag she was holding did. Semi-transparent tote .... looks like paper in there .... that's not that unusual but .... what's that? Is that YARN??? Oh yeah. We had actually parked directly in front of Common Threads. Great little yarn shop that wasn't all that little! Nice corner of Manos. Most of the yarn looked to be sorted by color. So pleasing to the eye. Ahhhh. Over the weekend we repeatedly drove by another yarn shop, Black Sheep, but I didn't want to press my luck. We'll be back in Encinitas soon enough.

So, sooo relaxing. Definitely what I needed and I'm feeling much better. I'm sticking to my temporary schedule for the next few weeks, maybe a month. Four hours a day and Fridays off. I'd actually like to get another San Diego trip in before the sun and surf get too chilly. The moderate temps on the coast are more conducive to healing the kidneys and I've been told adrenal exhaustion is your body saying you need to have fun. San Diego fits the bill. Don't know why I'm still in the desert.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

First rule of Knit Club: Don't talk about Knit Club

I have three male roommates and WOW did they lay into me tonight. All in good fun...I was laughing so hard I was crying. It all started when I saw Heather's blog and read that she was going to a knit out in Balboa Park, just south of where we were staying. Jokingly to my bf, "Look what we could have done on Saturday!" Although it would have been great fun I would never bore him with that nor would I ask him to leave his sleepy little surf town. (Great time! I'll post pics later.)

Besides tonight's topic of knitting, my bf announced he is going to take his Volvo 850 Turbo wagon to the drag track on Friday. Sure, sounds fun! I'll sit up in the stands and watch a few passes. It'll be cool enough to be bearable, under 100 degrees. Beats sitting at home. I haven't mentioned this yet but bf has been into what I'll call extreme sports just about his entire life - dirt bikes, motorcycles, surfing, skating - anything where you can get good and hurt. (Yes, I've seen him crash and yes, I support his adrenaline addiction.) Drag racing fits right in. Just for fun!

Well it doesn't stop there. I also have a Volvo 850 Turbo and apparently it has two more pounds of boost than his (it's a little bit faster). Immediately after his announcement, his Volvo-phile friends "encouraged" him to get my car out there. Um, what? "So how are you with pressure like that?" He's been on the starting line at least 600 times, racing motorcycles and cars and whatnot. This doesn't look good. Oh boy, you have to have one foot on the gas and one on the brake?? Hmmm ... I once had a car that wouldn't idle. I'm in.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I Love the Beach!

Looking north from Powerhouse park in Del Mar

The sun was warming our backs as we watched the surf this morning. Drinking hot apricot tea with a carrot zucchini muffin from Pinnikin. Why do I live in the desert?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Destination Encinitas

Heading out on a road trip tomorrow. I'm so excited! I really need a vacation about now. My only trips this summer were work related so even though I went to Orlando it was in no way restful and not even close to qualifying as a vacation.

Ahhh an ocean breeze, cool ocean water, watching my sweetie surf. I'll definitely get in the water but with my health these days I won't be exerting myself. Yeah, the doctor doesn't really know what it is so I'm seeing a Naturopath. I seem to be making progress but I still can't work a full day. Resting is just not my style so this has been really hard on me. The company I work for ordered me to "go have fun" so that's what I'm doing. I'm truly thankful for their understanding nature.

If I've got this mobile blogging thing right, I'll post some pics. I'd best be getting to packing. We're leaving at 4am - early so we can have morning coffee overlooking the beach.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Dream Wristers by Acorn Street
Yarn: Dream by Tahki Imports

My mom, her closest friend and I were running around yarn stores while I was up visiting for the holidays. At one of my mom's favorite LYS in Seattle, this pattern jumped out and screamed, "Jess!" one of my younger sisters and the only other knitter. Mom rarely knits on anything smaller than size 10 but really wanted to knit these up - on 4 DPN. And she tried. On my next visit she reluctantly handed them to me about 4 inches into the first cuff. I happily assumed the WIP. Starting with the flight home to Phoenix, these guys were my distraction on flights to Anaheim, Secaucus, and somewhere in Indiana - all for trade shows. This project seemed to draw inquiries more than any other. After one late night flight, a man across the aisle wistfully thanked me for bringing back memories of his mother. A touching moment.

The colors suit my sister to a T but to knit them for so long they got kind of boring. I, of course, would have picked for myself magenta and orange or another high-contrast, bold color combination, but there is really NO time of year when I could wear these so Jess is the lucky recipient. All in all it was a fun project, really pretty easy. My mom and I learned once and for all with this project that the loops on the needle really are another row. When she gave it to me there was one tan row and loops on the needle. We couldn't figure it out together soooo I knit another tan row. Lesson learned!