Monthly Archives: July 2007

Felting Faux Pas

There are just some stupid things that you only do once. I, for example, will never again mix and match yarn destined to be felted. Remember Aaron’s slippers? I finally finished them and gave him instructions on felting them. He sent me this photo today.

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Seems the recycled red wool I was trying to destash doesn’t want to felt as quickly as the brown Cascade 220. Harumpf! We laughed and I told him to just keep chucking them in the wash and see what happens. If they don’t end up felting enough (or too much, or half of each), I guess I’m stuck knitting him a new pair. <sigh>

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Busy Busy

My brother took a road trip last weekend that brought him to our doorstep (dockstep? boatstep?). Then a couple days later, Big Aaron dropped it. We had a great visit with both, Brian leaving on Sunday, Aaron yesterday. And silly me, I didn’t get a single photo!

Busy at work, PMSing and slightly stressed. Consequently, not in much of a blogging mood.

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La Laaa Laaaa La Laaaaa

Yesterday I ripped the seat out of my jeans. This wasn’t unexpected — I’d noticed the very thin spot next to the pocket but was hoping to eke out a few more washings. Not just because I’m my father’s daughter (read: a cheapskate), but because these were my ‘fat’ jeans. These were the jeans that had ‘grown’ with me and were stretched enough to not shrink to microscopic proportions during the spin cycle. A suck of the gut and a couple squats made them look great. I could sit all day without having to unbutton them — assuming I wasn’t PMSing or eating Thanksgiving Day dinner — and didn’t feel like they were painted on. I loved them. RIP jeans.

“Why don’t you just buy another pair?” asked my sensible co-worker. Luckily, she’s a she so she understood when I told her that I had another pair — two, in fact — that are the same jeans in the exact same size. But they don’t fit. A guy would have said “So just buy the next size up.” Uh uh, no way. That’s a Pandora’s Box of insecurity and humiliation. My co-worker understood completely: “It sets a precedent.”

It’s not like I’m obese but I’m definitely at my biggest. I can’t remember ever being a size 5/6 — after middle school, I stayed a 7/8 for many years. As I grew older, I also grew bigger and settled into a 10. Granted, I would have liked to stay an 8 but let’s get real. I’m lazy. Too lazy to exercise like a maniac (or even a sane person) and like food too much to constantly diet. I was perfectly happy being a size 10. Actually, I loved my body. I had a little junk in the trunk and a flat but soft tummy. I felt and looked good!

Then Hubbo and I made it official and my eating habits started changing. Always able to eat whatever he wanted without gaining a pound, Hubbo liked to frequent burger joints and I joined him. Suddenly, my size 10s were a little snug. But by then we were cruising up and down the coast, and I did a lot of cooking. While exciting, that lifestyle also offers a lot of downtime. And I love to bake. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. It also tends to be a sedentary way to live.

So awhile back, I had to move up to a 12. This hurt as I always remember my mom being a 12. I vowed to lose weight, to slim down, to start exercising and eat better. Yesterday, my jeans split. And now I’m faced with a decision. Bite the bullet (like I need to eat anything else!) and buy size 14s, which will fit my ever expanding butt, or suck it up and lose weight. My fear is that, if I buy the 14s, I’ll feel all thin because my clothes aren’t strangling me, and I’ll diet “next week.” The urgency to get healthy is removed. But in the meantime, I’m forced to pour myself into my jeans every day.

Hello salad!

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Hey, Fat Lady, quit singing and get yer mitts off me!

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Which One?

Oh yeah . . .

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Cheron Slippers

DOH!

I  finished the majority of Aaron’s second slipper last night but couldn’t remember if I’d made the low heel or high heel, so I pulled out the first slipper for reference. Um . . . oops.

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The first slipper (red) was done months ago and I completely forgot the color scheme when I started on the second. I just wanted to get the blasted thing finished so I could move on, ya know? Hubbo laughed at me — so did I, for that matter — and said they looked cool. The more I looked at them — and the more I thought about frogging the entire second slipper — the more I thought so too! So Aaron’s gonna get ‘Cheron‘ style slippers. Hopefully, they can live in harmony, unlike Bele and Lokai.

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Hats for Humans

Like many obsessed with all think knitting, I subscribe to a few e-newsletters. Knitting Daily by Interweave Press is a new favorite. I love Sandi’s writing style (she cracks me up) and the selection of free patterns (they’re good free patterns, people, not some decidedly uncomfortable garter stitch panties or snooze-inducing stockinette bookmark ‘recipes’) and the fact they thought we knitters were important enough to commit a whole staff to this project. I find myself considering their products more earnestly now — I even subscribed to IK. They take me seriously, dagnabit, so I’m happy to spend my ‘yarn money’ with them. The emails/posts are short enough to read quickly but never leave you feeling cheated, and the site/emails are well-designed.

Then there’s Lion Brand’s e-newsletters. Typically filled with ‘ads’ for their kits, yarns or books, and so poorly designed that they’re hard to look at, much less read, I often just skim and chuck them. But today was different. Their feature article was Welcome to the World of Charitable Knitting by Michelle Edwards and it was lovely.

Having just received my copy of Knitting for Peace (follow the link if you want to pick it up for $3.99), I’m all jacked up to knit for charity. But I have a million projects to finish first: Sandy’s Latoya tank, Aaron’s slippers, Hubbo’s blanket, TWO sweaters for me. . . Let’s not even think about Christmas knitting! So my solution is to knit small items when I need a break from the bigger projects. I mentioned one such item in passing recently so I thought I’d show a snap of it.

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The design for the hat came from One Skein Wonders and the baby socks, well, who knows. They’re just little baby socks.

While I’d like ya’ll to think I’m this completely philanthropic soul, I cannot tell a lie. I have ulterior motives, namely to 1) reduce my stash

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and 2) distract me from big-project-boredom. What better way than to knit for tee-tiny little babies on the freezing steppes of Mongolia or mountains of Afghanistan? My heart swells thinking that maybe, just maybe, my silly knitting will help, in some small way, one tiny little baby survive a cold winter.

The project I took a ‘break’ from was the infamous Latoya. Distractions galore interrupted my knitting but it still only took me a month (or thereabouts . . . who’s counting?) to finish.

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Well, almost finish. I’m thinking of adding crab stitch on the armholes for that finishing touch.

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Last night, I started Aaron’s second long-awaited slipper, then I’m on to Hubbo’s blanket. When I’m going to get to my On Deck Pullover in TLC Cotton Plus ‘Spruce’ (it’s a little darker and greener in real life), I don’t know.

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Fred can’t wait.

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PS: I almost forgot to say that I can finally reveal my spoilee for Secret Pal 10 — Alaska Mom Diane from (get this) NORTH POLE! North Pole is indeed a real place (I had to reassure the gal at the post office) and Diane makes it sound just lovely. It was a blast spoiling her!

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Call Me Lazy

What can I say about the 4th of July except to say I’m glad it’s over. Hubbo had to keep reminding me “It’s only one day of the year.” And I did have a great day, in spite of the rudeness of others.

We had a lovely breakfast at our favorite place, Anchorage 5 on Gate Five Rd in Sausalito. It’s a ‘local’ place, as opposed to a ‘tourist’ place. Good food, good portions, good prices, good people. We even got to eat outside as the fantabulous weather we’d been having was still holding (note the past tense there?).

I did have to work later in the day, though. Yeah, it sucks to be me. We had to hop on the company’s photoboat and tool around the Bay snapping pix of folks having fun like this

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and this

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and this.

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Actually, it wasn’t till we got back to the marina that the day – or rather, the attitudes of complete strangers – started going downhill. Our raucous ride on the Bay left us sweaty and salty so we ran up for a refreshing shower. What should we both find in our respective bathrooms? Inconsiderate boaters who’d been playing on the beach all day rinsed themselves of the sand that apparently covered every inch of them but didn’t have the courtesy to clean up after themselves. Then, the husband of said family, pokes his head into the women’s showers to holler at his wife. Hello! Get the hell out! I was not amused.

The other strange thing about the 4th is that every boater who leaves their boat to rot for the rest of the year, thinks they own the entire Bay – lord help you if you get in their way! It’s like bumper boats out there when folks start jockeying for the best viewing of the fireworks. Kuh-razy!

But I did get some knitting in. Latoya’s back is D-U-N done and I just have the neckline and straps for the front. I’m determined to get that done this weekend, then finish Aaron’s slippers. After that, I have to start Hubbo’s beautiful cabled blanket but I predict that’s going to be a long project with many breaks in between. Call me lazy.

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Loooooong (don’t say you weren’t warned)

When Hubbo’s son Ian asked when he and his girlfriend should come for a visit, Hubbo said the week of June 18-23 would be perfect. Um . . . hello? Maybe ask the gal who has a nasty deadline to deal with? Of course that is the absolute worst week they could have chosen, as I was completely bogged down with a particularly intense workload. I did my best to make time for a couple breakfasts and dinners but missed out on all the fun stuff they did — like playing tourist in The City.

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Hubbo, Stephanie and Ian had all the fun while I slaved away . . . sniff.

So after deadline, Hubbo insisted we hop a ferry to The City to see all the stuff I missed. After you board, you wait in line to buy your tickets, which you then turn in on the other end. We knew the fare was $6.75 and assumed they took ATM cards, especially since we didn’t see any ‘Cash Only’ signs. Until the ferry left the dock, that is. As we moved forward in the ticket line, we spied aone taped to a wall.

Hubbo had forgotten his cash (!?) so I started scrounging. Unfortunately, I’m just too well-organized. I brought only my ID, ATM card and what bills I’d had in my wallet, instead of my entire purse. Travel light, ya know? As in no change. Our fare came to $13.50 and this is what I had.

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Fifty cents short!

I was red-faced when I told the lady, especially when she rolled her eyes and told me I’d have to “talk to the supervisor” upon arrival. Gads! Would we be sent back to Sausalito? Arrested? Caned? The ride over was fraught with anxiety. So fraught, in fact, that I only got a few rows of this charity baby hat done.

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So precious! Yeah, the kid’s cute too.

Turns out the lady was really nice and took us to the ticket booth to buy our round trip tix. Phwew!

Our first stop was the famous Art Fibers on Sutter St. It was really close to Chinatown (our ultimate destination) so we just had to stop in. It was “my” day, after all. I’d never been and all I can say is “Wow!” I guess I didn’t fully understand that all their yarn is made for them — no Malabrigo, Cascade or Rowan here. And they have just about anything you could dream up. Best of all, every single yarn has a test swatch so you can really see how it knits up.

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Kira, a talented designer, clipped several strands of ‘test’ yarn that I could take home to see if it coordinated with some stash yarn. Sadly, it didn’t.

Hubbo just sat peacefully in the ‘yarn tasting’ area while I ooh’d and aah’d and stroked and touched. “I can’t decide between these two,” I moaned at one point. “Buy ’em both!” Wah?! “Who are you and what have you done with Hubbo?” So I did and we were off to gorge on cannoli in Little Italy and browse in Chinatown.

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My favorite photo of the day. Mmm . . . squiiiiiiid . . .

Later in the week, we decided to drive up to Tomales Bay. Hubbo was thinking of taking Tess up there and we wanted to check it out. Golly gee, honey, there just happens to be a yarn/handknit clothing co-op shop in Point Reyes Station called Black Mountain Artisans. What’s a gal to do? Shop, of course! Hubbo was just as patient there, though he stayed in the car. Good thing too because there might not have been enough room to turn around in there if he’d come in. Seriously, it’s just a nook of a shop but it packs a wallop in terms of lovely handspun yarn and gorgeous handknit items. I highly recommend stopping (and buying) if you’re anywhere nearby.

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The adorable Joanna figured out how to spin curly boucle-type yarn with the natural curls of mohair.

(WILD TANGENT: I was telling the gals at Uknitty about it on Sunday and when I got to the “it’s full of handspun” part they all said “oooooh” in unison. The dude typing away on his laptop next to us cracked up.)

Just take a gander at the scrumptiousness:

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The salmon is from Bo-Rage Yarns. It was so lovely, I didn’t even wince at the $21 price tag. Next to it is a $24 skein of wool and cat hair from Feline Fibers. The label actually “guarentees” (sic) cat hair is blended with the wool. It goes on to explain that “Ann spins with cats on her lap, so there is always some cat hair included.” Fred did seem to take an interest in it. What I’m gonna do with these two lonely (and pricey) skeins, I dunno but I love them and don’t regret it one bit.

Yesterday, after a stunning weekend with warm weather, light wind and tons of boat-type stuff going on, I finally made it to the post office to pick up a couple packages. In the first was my crazy-awesome “interchangable needle case” (note I did NOT say “Options Needle Case”, which it is NOT) made by Zonda. I, of course, immediately switched out from my evil Options case and LUVLUVLUV it.

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It’s almost as if it was made for Options needles. But it was NOT. (I hope that satisfies any lawyerly-types as a sufficient disclaimer.)

Space is limited when you live on a boat and the bulkiness of the Options case drove me to distraction. While slightly large in ‘diameter’, Zonda’s case is half the thickness — a big deal when you want to carry it around with you.

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Freddy likes Zonda’s case better too.

And if you’re worried about losing the little keys for tightening the needles, you might do what I did: slip them on to a safety pin and attach it to the front — I did have to use pliers to squeeze the keys’ loops closed first.

The second package was the final one from my Secret Pal. She sent a couple T-shirts for Hubbo and me, some cool gadgets, a whole Kool-Aid dying tutorial (complete with KnitPicks Bare in worsted and Kool-Aid) and some very thoughtful cards featuring photos from my Tess blog.

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Man, this broad is sooo cool! She totally spoiled me. I can’t imagine a better Secret Pal. And no wonder. She’s Bobbi, aka Krafty1 — as in SP10 hostess Bobbi! She said the hostesses get to choose their ‘spoilees’ and she chose me! Do I feel special, or what? I’m going to miss her packages but I’m definitely going to enjoy getting to know her through her blog. BTW, Secret Pal 11 registration is going on now, so if you’ve been on the fence, DO IT! It’s a great experience that you won’t regret.

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Ambient temperature is directly proportional to the length of a cat. Check out other little known feline laws of physics.

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