Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My New Friend Aran

I'm happy with my knitting project again. I decided to try Lori Gayle's Aran Sandal Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks.I have tried that pattern several times in the past and gave up every time. I didn't understand a couple of the stitches, and I was using some yarn that kept breaking. I still loved that pattern, and I now finally get it! I'm using the Cherry Hill Sock yarn that I bought this summer in Nebraska. I even have the pattern memorized, except for the center cross pattern.

We went to the beach on Saturday, and I knit for the hour and a half it took to get there. I didn't really knit that much while we were there, but I did knit a little while I was waiting for my clam chowder at Brad's in Pismo Beach. We don't usually spend much time at Pismo. It's closer to us but also more crowded, although those of us who love the Central Coast have a different idea about what crowded is than Southern California beach lovers. We went to our favorite "apple stand," Gopher Glen and bought um...thirty pounds of apples.

Another reason that I am enjoying knitting these socks so much is that I am listening to Anne of Green Gables as I knit them. I haven't joined the Anne of Green Gables Along yet but plan to, so I thought I'd get started reading "Anne" for the millionth time. Then I realized that I couldn't knit while doing that, so I found a podcast. The reader is Annie Coleman, and she does a really nice job. I've spend several relaxing evening just knitting and listening. I won't be doing that tonight unfortunately. I have to prepare for the class I'm teaching on Wednesday nights. Yeah, the one that has over thirty students in it that I've never taught before.

I took my socks outside to take a picture of them and noticed something unhappy. There is still ashe from the fires all over the place even though Russ hosed everything off a couple days ago and the skies don't look smokey. I guess I'm breathing that in when I run in the morning.

Friday, August 24, 2007

One Knit Forward, Two Frogs Back

Dear Hedera,
I think it is time for us to part company. You looked like you were a reasonable pattern that I could easily memorize. I like your simple lace, and I do now have it committed to memory; however along the way, I have had to restart you innumerable times. Maybe it was my fault for choosng to use yarn like Panda cotton the first time I tried you since it splits kind of badly. The main reason for my disgust with you is that when I knit your heel, you said to knit a two-row pattern twenty-three times. Twenty-three times! That just doesn't seem possible! I thought that Panda Cotton was fingering weight, but my heel was plenty long by the time I'd knitted twelve rows.I was so excited to come home from work and to sit down on the couch, have a little cup of coffee and work on you, but I think we're through. Maybe I'll come back to you with some different yarn, but for now au revoir!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Nothing is Cuter than a Beagle Puppy

I must be strong. Repeat after me, "You don't need another dog; You don't need another dog." Rowdy's puppies are starting to growl and tussle with each other. They're just about as cute as is allowed. We are going to "puppy sit" them all this weekend because their owners are going to the beach for a couple of days. We introduced Rowdy to his puppies a couple of days ago, and he was unimpressed, even a little fearful maybe, went to the door and moped until we went home

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too Much Yarn?

I had a little yarn binge this week. My excuse is that school meetings started on Monday. It hasn't been too bad. We have a new principal who actually behaves like a half-way decent human being, which has been nice. In the past our insecure, unpleasant principal kept us running through so many meetings that we couldn't do any real preparation. This year I might actually go home on Friday afternoon, and not worry about school again until Monday morning. I've also agree to teach a college class again this semester. It's only one night a week, and is a transfer level class as well, which should be more interesting than the low level ones I've taught in the past. Yay! I'm in the big leagues!

But...I digress. I guess I was worried that I somehow wouldnt have time to browse for yarn after the whirlwind of school began, so I went to the Loopy Ewe and ordered myself some Mocha Peppermint yarn from Claudia Handpainted yarns.Janice knit some socks with it a while back, and I've been thinking I needed to copy her they're so pretty. Unfortunately, I just noticed that they're out of it again. Janice must have inspired more people than just me.

I've been planning to knit the pirate hat from Moth Heaven for quite a while too. My nephew is four years old, and I thought a pirate hat would be a perfect Christmas present for a little boy, so I ordered the yarn for that from Jimmy Bean Wool You would think that I would be satisfied with these additions to my stash, but I thought I'd just order myself a little more sock yarn. People rave about Lorna's Laces, so I ordered two different skeins of that, neglecting to notice that you need two skeins to knit a pair of socks, not one. I'm pitiful. I'm such a consumer for someome who is so critical of "consumerism.". I just love the idea of "yarn." I have no idea when I will ever knit all of this yarn into anything. You want to know something even worse? I don't even feel guilty! Maybe a little embarrassed to have my son tell me, "Mom, you need to get a handle on your yarn compulsion" but definitely not guilty. Besides, I'm not wasting money on yarn; I'm providing kitty with a comfortable place to rest.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Having Fun with Comments

Oh! Oh! I'm feeling some pressure. I had ten comments on my last entry. That's the most I've ever had for one post. How exciting! It's funny, I've been reading a couple of the "popular" blogs, and they've been writing about these rude comments they've been getting. I find it almost comical. My experience has been so positive. What level of "curmudgeon-ness" have you reached when you want to attach someone on their knitting blog? What is causing all of this "tension" on these blogs? (pun intended) I think I don't really care. I don't want to have a bazillions comments. I was very happy with having ten comments from my great blogging friends who I have an ongoing connection with. The people who have the "high-powered" blogs can't possibly be interacting with all of the 50 or more people commenting on their entries, which is totally fine. It's just different from what I see as the perfect blogging expereince. I've just never been much of a joiner. I don't want to be part of a fan club, leaving a comment on someone's blog who will almost certainly not respond to me. I guess this was a boring way of saying that I really like the people who I check on regularly and who check on me. They inspire me, entertain me, and make me feel good about my piddly little knitting projects. And just make me feel good in general. I forgot to brag earlier that Tracy at Pink Purls nominated me for the schmooze award. I am very honored:)

I finished my Gull Wing socks and self-striping socks a couple of days ago. I also started some socks with my Panda cotton yarn. I'm pretty sure that I saw somewhere that someone had used hedera from the spring issue of Knitty, even though the pattern calls for merino wool, so that's what I'm trying. I also remember reading that Panda cotton splits kind of bady. It does. So far, it's no really bugging me. I've just never had to deal with that so much before. Something that I do like about it is that it's stretchy. I'm trying to work on Christmas presents, but I think I'm going to keep these for myself!

I am sad to post a few pictures of my current scenery. (Actually, these pictures are more dramatic than what we can see. Our air is just filthy, no flames are visible.) A fire started way back in July near Santa Barbara, which is eighty miles from us. It has been burning ever since (yes, more than a month!), and is making our skies look like a thunder storm is approaching. The only thing is that it'snot clouds, it's smoke. It's very strange and unsettling. I work with several people who are watching the fire very closely because it is several miles from their homes near the mountains. My town is not in any danger but we may have to offer our high school gym to the residents of New Cuyama, small town about twenty miles from here, as they may have to be evacuated.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

Since my parents moved to Humboldt County over twenty years ago, I think that we've missed the Humboldt County Fair maybe twice. The first reason that we enjoy it so much is that it's in Ferndale, which means that if you're on the ferris wheel, you look one way and see tree-covered mountains, another way and you can see the ocean, and another way and see idyllic dairy farms and the town of Ferndale with all of it Victorian houses. I also never miss the "homecraft" exhibits. Some years the knitting is so inspiring. This year is was a little sparce. There wasn't really anything I wanted to emulate, but it was still fun to see the different projects. I would have pictures to share, but I neglected to change my battery pack. Has this every happened to me before??? Only about every time I'm excited about taking some unique pictures.

Here are a few pictures of what I love about Humboldt County:

Gingerbread Mansion in Ferndale. I'd like to stay there, but it seems a little silly since Ferndale is about ten minutes from my parents' house.

Visitng the Loleta Cheese Factory so that we can take a "few" bricks of cheese home.

We don't do this everytime, but sometimes we visit my parents' friends dairy farm. Their family has owned their dairy over a hundred years. something pretty uncommon in Californa.

This old house is near the dairy. Our friends say that it belongs to a hundred-year-old lady who now lives with her children. The family is just letting it disintegrate. It still has furniture in it, which is also disintegrating since the roof is nearly gone. Most of the old Victorian houses around Ferndale are well-maintained, but I love dreaming about buying an old one and refurbishing it...maybe not one that has gone this far though.

Just in case you think that I've forgotten that this is a knitting blog, I've included a picture of my family eating lunch in front of Heidi's Yarn Haven in Ukiah. Wemade our perfunctory stop at Schat's Bakery and my family ate their sandwiches as I made a quick purchase at Heidi's. I wish I could remember on whose blog I recently saw some socks made with this same Cotton Panda yarn.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Knitting and Flowers

I have spent most of this last vacation knitting, reading, hiking, and eating. What a great way to get ready for a long school year. I finished knitting my Gull Wings Socks and have moved on to some self-striping ones. I bought the yarn in Nebraska, and I'm not that in love with the color. I used the basic pattern from the lacey mock cable sock pattern posted on the Island of Misfit Patterns Website, and instead of the "lace" I knit a mock cable. Last year when we went to the snow, Kai didn't have any wool socks, so I think these are for him. They're a little wild, but he won't mind.

The nice thing about being at my parents' house is that their backyard is like a park, so when you're not up to a big hike, you can stroll through their garden.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Northern California is Great

Northern California is nothing like the rest of the state, and especially during the summer time that is a really good thing. When we left home it was supposed to be 100 degrees, but it hasn't even hit seventy degrees since we've arrived in Fortuna. Another bonus to our visit is that my nephew from Alabama's visit with my parents has overlapped with ours for a few days. We don't get to see him or his family very often but we love it when we do. We've gone on quite a few non-strenuous hikes with him, beginning with the "Russ Park hike" near Ferndale. My kids say that they've done it at least a hundred times, but I think it's more like thirty...or forty.

We also had to visit the Saturday farmer's market in Arcata. My parents have a wonderful garden, so we're not so tempted to buy all of the produce, but we usually have to buy some decadent bakery items, and, of course, I have to check out the yarn booths.

Arcata has a city park with some trails that make you feel like you're hiking out in the middle of a huge forest. And or once, they allowed dogs, so Rowdy got to go along.

And the perfect way to end the day was to play a little scrabble. OK, I admit this wasn't the our actual game.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How to Get Ready to Go on Vacation

I am not a particularly fastidious person. I do like things nice and tidy, but I can easily sit for an hour or so knitting knowing that there are dishes in the sink or clothes that needs folding. The one exception to my somewhat laid back approach to housework is the day before we go on vacation. We just came back from Nebraska a little more than a week ago, but we are heading up to my parents' home in northern California tomorrow for one last visit before school starts.

So what did I do today? Well, let's see. I trimmed our grapefruit tree, pruned my roses, pulled some weeds, edged the front lawn, helped Kai really clean his room, and picked every last peach on the peach tree and make three peach crisps using the delicious recipe I got from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I didn't bake the cookies. I had Paige do that for me, so that we'd have some snacks for our eleven-hour car ride. I think there are two left now.

I reconciled our check book with our latest statement. (The one that's been sitting in my bill box since we got home over a week ago.) I momentarily believed that I was about to be three thousand dollars overdrawn because I decided to call the bank to make sure that a big Visa payment that I'd sent in had cleared. The automated teller said that that check hadn't "appeared in the last thirty days" But when I checked my account balance it was down really low, like there was no way I could have covered an in-coming three thousand dollar check with the amount that was left. I felt my heart starting to pound, and then I thought to myself, "There is no way, you could have made that big of a mistake in your checkbook." I calmly checked my figures again and called the bank to talk to a real person. She said, "Oh yes, that check went through already, it was just automated, so it doesn't appear as a "check." Whatever! I was just relieved.

After that little incident, I decided to call the college where I often teach a night class to tell them that I could teach one night a week this fall. I had thought about saying no, had even planned to say no, but I decided that a little extra money is nice and one night shouldn't be too bad....I guess.

I called my university to see if I owed more money since my Master's in in the middle of being evaluted. She said that I owed another $212. That's better than $650, but I'm ready to quit giving the University of California educational system so much of my hard-earned cash. The good news was that my mentor has approved my thesis, and it has been passed to the second reader. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I think I may actually be finished.

Somewhere in between there I packed for Kai because he went to a Dodger game with a friend and his family and won't be home until after midnight tonight. (Funny aside, he called and told me that every time Barry Bonds came up to bat, the stadium boo-ed like crazy. He was impressed with that.)

I also packed for Russ and me although I must admit that Russ did all of the laundry today because that's another quirk I have, that all of our laundry must be clean before we leave on even a short vacation. (I'll also admit that we got a new washer in May, and I have yet to do one load in it.)

It's now eleven-thirty, and I don't think we'll leave that early tomorrow. I won't be able to sleep until Kai is home safe and sound, so I think I'll just settle back and work on my sock.