Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Knit at Macworld

I got back last Friday night after spending a week in San Francisco going to Macworld. I am not really that tech-y, but I pretend to be for my job. Actually, I thought I was pretty technologically advanced until I went to Macworld. I had imagined myself sitting at my seminars knitting and absorbing knowledge. I did knit while Steve Jobs introduced the latest Mac innovations, but the rest of the time I was mainly overwhelmed. I really had to concentrate on what the presenters were saying to follow them.

I stayed at a quaint hotel called The Mosser, which was just a block from the Moscone Center where Macworld was held. My hotel room was smaller than one of my kids' bedrooms. It reminded me of European hotels, which was fine with me.Two friends from work, whose company I really enjoyed, were in the same building as I was. We made it our mission to find unique restaurants every night. The last night we walked from the financial district to Fisherman's Wharf, which took us an hour or so up and down some pretty impressive hills. We walked up Nob Hill and through the non-tourist-y part of Chinatown down to North Beach. It was great! Here's my list of restaurant visits: John Foley's Irish House , Scala's Bistro, Buca di Peppo, E and O Trading Company Southeast Asian Grill, and Alioto's Restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf. That's not counting ten visits to Starbucks and a couple of good kiosk lunches. Let's just say that I needed to lose weight before I left, and now I need to even more. I also need to mention that this was the first time I've been away from my family for so long...They've left me, but I've never left them. I think they were happy to have me home. The kids said that they had a lot of "tan" food, ie. chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, breaded fish...You get the picture.

I knit an entire sock on the trip up to San Francisco, and unravelled it soon afterward. I have no knitting to show for my week, even though I did knit every night before I went to bed. I knit these little mini sweaters after I got home. I have this plan to knit different Christmas decorations each month. This month is the mini-sweater month. I used the pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, only her pattern calls for knitting front and back pieces. I knit in the round until I got to the yoke. I like to avoid seaming whenever possible. Everwhelming Liz has a tiny sweater pattern on her blog that I've been intending to try. Her pattern is next on my list.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Getting Back to Normal

Back to school today. It wasn't too bad, and I did get to start the day with a phone call from my running partner saying that it was raining outside. Yay! I won't mention that I didn't run a single day during vacation, so I've plenty of rest already. Russ made me a fantastic cup of coffee from some beans that he bought in Lincoln. We discovered a little coffee shop not far from where his parents live, and they had wonderful organic coffee. He bought me a bag of it while he was there last week. It's called Cultiva, and it is wonderful.

I finished my niece's sweater last night. It was the "Trinity" pattern by Kim Hargreaves from my Treasury of Rowan Handknits that I bought this summer for 12 bucks. It was really by the skin of my teeth. I was knitting the trim as I went, and was down to just a couple yards of yarn.

I don't know why I took so long to finish it. It wasn't difficult, although I didn't exactly enjoy doing the increases in the sleeves while I was knitting the trinity stitch. I'm very happy with the finished product though and am anxious to see how my little niece looks in it.

I seemed to have had some trouble with the color. I'll blame our gloomy weather this week. The last photo shows the color most accurately. The pattern actually calls for Rowan demin yarn, which is shrinkable, but I used some pink Rowan Handknit Cotton and it worked fine. I prefer wool yarn overall, but this was fun to use to this project.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy Epiphany

I always think that it's OK to leave your Christmas lights up and some decorations a little into Epiphany. This year, since we had our first fake tree ever; I've decided to leave almost everything up it seems. My kids wouldn't let me turn the lights on outside last night, but the Christmas lights on the tree are still acceptable according to them!

So, before, I put all of my Christmas decorations away for another year, I thought I'd show off a couple of my knitting-related ones. I love when commercial items show a little respect for real knitting, including showing actual stitches so you can see them readily. I bought these two little sweater ornaments years ago before polymer clay was kind of popular to use with crafts. I'm thinking this year maybe I could make some myself.

I just ordered the little s'mores guy this week. I saw a little knitting s'more man on another blog and was envious, so to aleviate my envi-osity I thought I'd order myself one. They were sold out at Amazon, so I decided to order the little mitten one. I may not put him away for quite a while.

Russ is coming home tonight. I am very glad because the kitchen faucet is leaking and our fence blew down in our "gale-forced" winds we had last night....oh and I did miss him too. His dad seems to be making a remarkable recovery. I really thought he'd be staying for a funeral. I'm still so glad that Russ went back there. It sounds like it was stressful much of the time, but also good for him to see all of his family, and to show his dad how much he cares.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 Comes in With a Bang

Our plans for the rest of our vacation changed drastically last Saturday night, which incidentally was our 23rd wedding anniversary. My sister-in-law called to inform us that my husband's dad had had an aortic aneurism. After several subsequent conversations with family members, we decided that Russ should fly back to Nebraska immediately. It's amazing how quickly travel plans can be made when money isn't considered. I found him a ticket on a flight for Monday morning out of the small "international" (that probably means one flight to Mexico) airport that is less than a hour away from us. We're just kind of in "waiting" mode. There just aren't any rules books for behavior in situations like this. I know that we made the right decision for Russ to go back there, but now what? The doctors don't sound too encouraging. I guess we'll just figure out what to do as we go. I think that we both have a huge feeling of impending transition, but there is hope still that he will recover.

It maybe sounds a little insensitive after sharing that my husband is spending this week by his dad in a hospital bed to talk about knitting, but life goes on, especially, I'll admit, when you're 1700 miles away from it all. Cold for us is if it hits freezing sometime in the middle of the night and then only warms up to 50 degrees or so. Russ's winter attire consists of a sweatshirt when we go on walks, if he thinks about putting one on. Luckily, I got him a nice wool coat for Christmas which should keep him warm in Nebraska. We couldn't find his gloves, which he hadn't used since we went to the mountains last February. I hurredly knit him a stocking cap on Sunday night, and found some mittens that I had knit years ago. There was really nothing to say, so I felt good at least giving Russ something that I had made especially for him.

I've been in the stocking cap mode lately. I use the stocking cap pattern from Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting . I knit this blue stocking cap for my nephew for Christmas. He's only ten but I figured that Kai would be a good model. Yes, I realize that Christmas is over, but my sister and I do not always adhere to the calendar when celebrating Christmas.

I've had this the blue wool for over fifteen years. It's Lopi yarn that is left over from a set of sweaters I knit for my brother and his wife one Christmas. Their son, who is currently a sophomore in college was a baby that year. Working with that yarn triggered a kind of funny memory. Typical of me, I hadn't finished either of the sweaters I was planning to give to my brother and sister-in-law, so I remember working on them in the back seat of my dad's Suburban with my brother and sister-in-law sitting in the front seats, having no clue about who they were for. We were headed into the mountains near my parents home in Northern California going to find a Christmas tree to cut down. My sister-in-law worked for a lumber company that allowed its employees to go on their land to cut down a tree each Christmas. We had driven about an hour on a well-plowed highway when we turned onto a side road that we "thought" was the way to the designated trees. Fairly quickly, the road became completely covered in snow. For some reason, my normally rational brother kept on driving even though the road kept on getting worse and worse. Finally, we realized that we were going to get stuck, but we weren't sure how to turn around. For several miles, we had been noticing discarded beer cans every quarter mile or so. Then we came upon the source--a ragged, long-haired, Humboldt County "resident" shuffling through the snow. He put out his thumb for a lift, and once again out of character, my brother stopped. (We didn't really have much choice, as we were driving about five miles an hour, but stil...) I quickly grabbed the axe intended for our Christmas tree from the back seat, and the scary guy hopped in. He then helped us negotiate the drifts of snow, eventually getting us back to the main road. He told us that his name was Skyhorse, and that we could ask for him in town if we ever wanted to look him up again. From the smell of Skyhorse, I doubt that his liver has continued to function into this century; however, I do appreciate that he helped prevent us from becoming one of those sad stories of Californians or Oregonians who miscalculate the treacherousness of the mountains in the winter.

That was a longer story than I had intended to tell, but it it kind of funny to think that it's taken me all this time to think of something to do with the rest of that yarn. I wish Skyhorse well wherever he is.