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. 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.