Monday, July 31, 2006

A Quick Trip to Ferndale

If I could live in any city in the United States, I would live in Ferndale, California.I consider the weather there perfect, although I've never lived through one of their rainy winters; I like that it's near the mountains and the ocean;I like the stately, old Victorians; I like that it's a farming community, and I like that Danes were some of the first settlers there. I would not have to live in one of the "butterfat" mansions that were built in the eighteen hundreds by men who became wealthy through dairy farming, I wouldn't mind living in some kind of Victorian though. Considering that even the most modest home in Ferndale costs around $500,000, I don't plan to move up here really soon, but I do consider any visit to the North Coast totally incomplete unless I have spent at least one afternoon walking around town and have climbed to the top of Russ Park at least twice. Today Paige and I made a quick trip over to Ferndale, which is about 10 minutes from my parents home, and visited The Foggy Bottom, an knitting/antique store that I have been visiting pretty much since my parents moved up here twenty years ago. The owner is nice although I can tell that she never remembers me. I couldn't resist buying some yarn for hat and some yarn for Paige to make a scarf with. I'll post them tomorrow.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happy Hanging with the Hippies

We always spend some time in Northern California duing the summer, visiting my parents and just enjoying the fresh, usually cool, air and beautiful scenery. One of our mandatory visits is the Arcata Farmer's Market, which is held in the Arcata's town's square every Saturday. The produce is always fantastic, with lots of organics herbs, lettuces, and vegetables. It's quite an eclectic atmosphere. My husband always says that going to Arcata is like going back to the sixties, and in some ways it is like entering a time a good way, I mean!! Of course, my favorite part has to do with knitting. Sherria Tyler from Arcata Bay Llamas is always there with her spinning wheel. It's fun just to watch her spin; and that's what I do most years, but this year I couldn't resist one of her little knitted caps.She even showed me a picture of the llama who contributed the wool for the yarn she used to knit it. She sells yarns too from her website. I'm thinking that it would be fun to go see her llamas too, but I don't know if she's set up for that. It would be fun to spend an afternoon talking with her about knitting. She seems like a very gregarious person, totally in love with what's she's doing. I think that the little flowers she makes for her hats are so cute; there's something to add to my list of projects for this fall.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's Still My Birthday Month!

My parents and in-laws have wisely decided that receiving checks for my birthday is the way to go. I agree with them, especially now that we are to the point financially that I don't need to spend my gift money on ViSA bills or car payments! We are just about to go on our family's first extended vacation of the summer, and my money is starting to burn a hole in my pocket. I already know that I will spend some of the money on M.A. Hadley dishes; unfortunately some of mine have met with some slippery fingers this year. I know that dishes don't sound like they have anything to do with knitting, but they do because I often choose the "lamb" pattern, and how close to knitting is that? I love their duck and cow patterns too, but my collection has a disproportionate number of lambs. I'm also, of course, considering buying a new knitting book. I'll have to admit that the problem with that is that I own soooo many already, and truthfully some of them are beginning to look the same after a while. I really like Mason-Dixon Knitting and Andean Folk Knits although I'm not sure that I will ever knit anything out of either one of them; Mason-Dixon is the more likely one though. I have loved the "literary" knitting book genre forever. I remember that I was so excited when Richard Rutt's A History of Hand Knitting came out. We were camping in Morro Bay, and I bought it at a long-defunct knitting store in town, and then returned to the campground and read it from cover to cover while Russ and a diaper-clad Paige took a nap. I was equally excited when No Idle Hands by Anne McDonald came out. It's kind of been down-hill for me since then. I like Wendy, and "the Harlot," and I enjoyed the "Knit Lit" series, but I have no desire to return to them over and over like I still do with the first two I mentioned. So, what do I do? i really shouldn't buy more yarn since I finished WAY to few items to deserve the stash I already have. I'm thinking of One Skein. I really like the pictures if for no other reason.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Confession is Good for the Soul

   I have a confession to make. It's not too personal since it's about my knitting life, not that I would have anything too shocking to confess about my "regular" life either, except that I never fold my underwear and sometimes leave my clothes on the bathroom floor. I am a lazy and often a messy kntter. There I've said it. I always knit continental style, which seems the only logical way to knit, to me, BUT sometimes I just hold the yarn between my thumb and forefinger when I purl. I started doing this when I first learned to knit twenty-five years ago, and when I'm kind of tired I still do this. It seems like cheating and you pick up no momentum when you do it, but it's so easy to do.    I am also the messiest intarsia knitter who was ever born. I know how to put the yarn carefully on bobbins; I just don't do it. I think I like the challenge of seeing if I can make it through the jumble of yarn that I alway create without having the cut strands in order to continue. My sweater for my little neice, Quenby, is an exampe of my "messitude." I should probaby unravel it because the little flower is off center, but inspite of the scary "yarn mass," I am happy with my knitting itself. The stitches seem nice and even which doesn't always happen with fine-gauge cotton yarn in my experience.

Monday, July 24, 2006

At Least We Can Escape!

So what do you do when it's 112 degrees outside??? Well, when you're lucky enough to be teachers on vacation whose daughter is finally finished with six weeks of summer school, you escape to the coast! We left Rowdy, the beloved...and spoiled beagle, with his "dogparents" since we were worried about even leaving him in the backyard for the day with this infernal heat. After a stop at the Arroyo Grande Trader Joe's for some drinks and snacks, we headed for Bishop's Peak in San Luis Obispo for a hike. We didn't plan to make it to the top; it's a pretty challenging hike. We were a little...make that hiking, but there were some nice breezes occasionally. We hiked about an hour before deciding that it was time to head to Los Osos where we ate at the Little Thai Takeout. It was sooo good. My favorite was the special, Red Curry. It was spicy, but not "make you sweat" hot. After that, it was a short walk over to the Los Osos Farmer's Market. Let's see. We bought strawberries, raspberries, doughnut peaches, white peaches, and peach peaches,red cabbage, arugula, broccol sprouts, honey, and chai tea (Paige's new obsession)...Oh and some raspberry bread that I don't believe is even going to make it to tomorrow for breakfast. Kai had some money burning a whole in his pocket so we headed to Tom's Toys in San Luis where I bought my new little neice some adorable little leather shoes. They'll be perfect with the sweater I started for her yesterday. Yesterday was my birthday, and Russ said that I could only do things I enjoyed all day long, so...I knit all day long, with a few interuptions to open my birthday present, a beautiful pink ring I've been coveting for months and to eat my "birthday cake," a blueberry cheesecake that Paige baked for me all by herself.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Procrastinating is Such Fun!


I started working on my thesis proposal this morning, and I thought I would just check to see if anyone besides me had visited my site. The image counter says that I have visited it 32 times this week. Is that pitiful??? Well, then I thought that I would do " just a little surfing," and now it's over an hour later. I did have fun though. My favorite discovery was an online shop called A Good Yarn I'm going to buy something from them one day, but my favorite part about them was their collection of knitting images that they said we could just take. My favorite one was an image from a card that Russ and Paige gave me on Paige's first Christmas. It is of two little girls darning socks. I took two other images that I couldn't resist too.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fourth Time's the Charm

I'm almost finished with one side of my pillow. Kitty thinks that it looks like the purrfect place to take a little nap. I'm not exactly sure what I will do for the back side. Maybe I will just knit a duplicate. I'll have to make a fabric cover of some kind for my pillow form since this pattern has some open spaces. I have to admit that this was the third or fourth time coming close to completing this. The first time I neglected counting the stitches as I should have, so I thought surely on the second try, I would be more careful and it would just turn out, but somewhere along the line I seemed to have gotten off again. I'm about through with tan, taupe, and any other lifeless colors for a while too. I'm ready for something with pink in it, like some socks. I can't quite imagine knitting mittens when it's 105 degrees outside. I want to knit my new little neice something, even though her father keeps putting obnoxious comments on my blog!

Monday, July 17, 2006

360 Stitches Forward, 380 Back

We went to Morro Bay for the day yesterday. Usually I read a book to everyone whenever we travel any distance, but Paige and Kai are both into their own books right now, so I knit the entire two hours over there. We went on a couple of hikes and went out to eat at one of our favorite places, The Bayside Cafe. We had a nice relaxing day, and I was ready to knit for another two hours on the way home, when I realized that I had miscounted...rows and rows other words, my original two hours worth of knitting was for naught. Oh well, as Paige said, "Mom, you don't care. You like knitting." She's right although I would have prefered to have had something to show for all of my work.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bittersweet Memories of Brown Sheep Wool

I love Brown Sheep Wool. I love the entire line, the wool/mohair mixes, the 100% wool and the cotton/mohair mixes. It's not a fancy yarn, but the colors are appealing and besides that it's from Nebraska! I made Russ drive a hundred miles out of our way one time just so that I could go to the Brown Sheep Company Headquarters in Mitchell, Nebraska. If I remember right, we arrived about fifteen minutes until closing time. I don't think I even bought anything. It was kind of disappointing. I guess you don't get a lot of tourists in northwestern Nebraska. Anyway, my sister Gretchen was reminding me of several of my knitting successes after reading my entry about not having that much to show for twenty years of knitting. She's right I knit quite a few cute items for her and her family, all of them with Brown Sheep yarn. She also reminded me of a sweater that she says I knit for Stan but ended up majorly shrinking when I was trying to get it just a little smaller by putting it in the dryer. I honestly don't remember the details of that incident, BUT it reminded me of my saddest knitting "tragedy." The first Christmas that Russ and I were married, I secretly knit him a BEAUTIFUL patterned sweater out of Brown Sheep yarn. It was cream colored and denim (I don't think that they even make the denim anymore.) I worked so hard on it, and so proud to have kept it a secret, something I'm not too good at. I finished it on Christmas Eve. It was just ever so slightly too big, and knowing that it was wool and wool shrinks...I rinsed it in warm water and put it in the dryer! Even now I can't quite believe I was that oblivious. An hour later I removed my first "felted" project from the dryer. It was a very solid mass that would have fit an eight year old possibly if he didn't mind wearing armor. I was beside myself, and I remember calling Russ at work, which was quite an accomplishment in itself considering it was the days before cell phones and he was drywalling who knows where. While he tried to understand what I was blubbering about, I told him the pitiful story. I think that I may have given that sweater to Gretchen, but I can't imagine that she could have worn it much. I've made Russ a couple of other sweaters since then; but since we've lived in the desert for the last nineteen years, he hasn't been overly interested in wearing wool sweaters.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Thinking of Pillows

I knit the Debbie Bliss "seaside throw" from her book Home 27 Handknits for Living this spring. Of course, I didn't use cotton as she specified in her book. I used Joe Sharp 8-ply wool that I had ordered from Australia earlier this year.. I spent a bundle on it and then decided that the Jo Sharp pattern I was going to use was too hard. I don't like to have to think too much when I knit. I was happy with the throw, BUT I had a bunch of beautiful yarn left over. I've been trying to decide what to do with it. Actually, I knew that I wanted to make a pillow, but I wasn't sure what pattern to use. Seed stitch or basketweave seem too simple, and I wimped out on trying entreloc. I've decided to use my old Mary Walker Phillips Knitting Counterpanes book, and knit one "counterpane" square. It's sooooo hot lately that I should be using cotton, but I'm happy under the fan busily kntting away with my wool.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Boys and Beagles Love My Blanket Too!

Kai agrees that this blanket is a bit too scratchy for general use, but it is good for tussling on with the beagle.

Totally Inappropriate for the Weather, but

Since I don't even have a project going right now, (I intend to fix that soon!) I'm going to show off a more recent accomplishment than the twenty-year old sweater I had Paige model. I made this blanket last year. It took me about six months, and I LOVE it. I got the pattern from the Fall '99 Family Circle Easy Knits, but I've seen it for sale on lots of knitting sites. You knit each sqare individually, so it was very portable. It's a bit scratchy, but I don't care; it has sheep on it, and I love sheep! I don't care that they are stupid, dirty, and stubborn in reality. I still love them!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just Getting Started

It seems a little silly for me to start a knitting blog when I am in the middle of writing a master's thesis, but I somehow feel the need to catalog my knitting. Knitting has been a part of me for so long, but I can't account for twenty-five years of knitting with much concrete evidence. This is a sweater that I knit the first year Russ and I were married twenty-one years ago that I would still wear if I thought about it. I remember being so exicted about the yarn. It wa superwash wool from Italy. I can't even remember the brand. It couldn't have been too expensive since we were both just out of college and making minimum wage. That's not me modeling it, obviously, but Paige looks better in it than I do...She looks better than I do period!!