Category Archives: Good Deeds

Knitting for Love

Every Christmas Eve we have a gift exchange game as a preview for the Big Day. $5 limit (give or take) and no ‘white elephant’ crap. Just fun little items anyone could potentially like. I gave a skein of Malabrigo with a note promising any item the winner wanted made from the skein. My sister and Mom fought over it with Mom coming out on top and she picked comfy cozy house socks from One Skein Wonders.

The Parental Units left before I finished the socks and I dorkily forgot to snap a shot before sending them off. I bugged Mom till she sent this.

Mom's socks

Do you see how lovely and shapely her feet and ankles are? Suppose I got her skinny gams? Nope, I’m my dad through and through. Cankles, I tells ya! (BTW, that black splotch was a defect in the yarn.)

Digression: Interested in something different for charity knitting? Check out http://www.myspace.com/warmandfuzzysf which was started by a high school student who wanted to help the homeless. My friend knits with this mature and impressive gal in the City and hopes everyone will be willing to contribute. So cool! My main concerns in high school were with how I was gonna buy that pair of Guess Jeans on my allowance and who was gonna ask me to prom.

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On Clogs, Seashells & Pullovers

Fiber Trends Felt Clogs are absolutely awesome! I love mine — I knitted them up nearly a year ago and they’re still in good shape. Ya’ll know of my troubles getting Aaron’s slippers finally done so it surprised me when I felt like casting on for another pair. I finished my Bro’s Christmas clogs night before last by adding a special touch just for Bro.

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The Circle B felt clogs.

Those are his initials. He’s building a ‘cabin’ in the wilds of Sisters, Oregon, and going for the rustic look. Hence, the Circle B slippers! I’ve run them through the wash once and have a couple more to go before they’re even close to the right size. Luckily, he and Hubbo wear close to the same size so I can use him as a model.

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Bro’s clogs were 17″ long pre-felting.

I also finally drilled the holes in the seashells I’m using for the Afghans for Afghans vest. I wonder if the little kid who gets it has ever seen a seashell before.

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A flat knit vest (pattern from the Afghans for Afghans site) with seashell buttons.

I picked them off the beach in Half Moon Bay over Labor Day weekend. Now I just need to send it in!

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I drilled holes in the back and strung them on some sturdy thread.

And finally, I’m knitting something for myself. I started Knit Picks On Deck Pullover on Sunday at U-Knitty and already have several inches (this was taken yesterday morning).

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Hope it fits . . .

I’m so excited about this sweater — even though it’s just plain stockinette — that I can’t seem to put it down. I’m using TLC Cotton Plus instead of KP Shine, and my gauge wasn’t coming out. I knit three swatches on different size needles — 6, 7 & 8 — and found the fabric from the 7s to be most pleasing. Laura from U-Knitty helped me figure out the knitty math for casting on. Very helpful detailed instructions are in Stitch N’ Bitch Nation but it really sunk in with first-hand help. Thanks, Laura!

The pattern is not one of those hand-holding kind of patterns. You know the kind: “Row 1 — K2TOG, K98, SSK, K1, K98” etc. This pattern says “Decrease 1 at each end.” What kind of decrease? What do I do? Yikes, who let go of my hand?! So I pulled out my Knitter’s Companion and read about different decreases, which slants right (K2TOG), which slants left (SSK) and figured it out all by my lonesome. Instead of just blindly following a pattern — something I’m quite good at! — I had to learn how knitting works. Cool, no?

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Playing Catch Up

This month has been insane. I keep getting farther and farther behind in my blogging duties — every time I have a minute of free time, I realize that I have so much to report that I don’t have time! So this post will be a hodgepodge that will hopefully get me back on my blogging track.

My great friend Julie came for a visit from Portland right after deadline.

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If you can believe it, she hadn’t been on a plane in 10 years and had no idea you couldn’t walk through a security checkpoint with your shoes on! We took her sailing on Tess (before we sold it), enjoyed some of Marin’s beauties and watched a teensytinsy baby quail get hit by a speeding BMW.

We were tooling around the Marin headlands when we saw this flock of quail on the road. We stopped to take a few snaps and generally enjoy their quailness.

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This is a tiny two lane road so when I saw a car coming up behind, I put my car in gear and was easing forward to scare the quail off the road. The asshole in the speeding BMW couldn’t be bothered to slow down (“Gee, why is that car stopped in the road?” never crossed his mind) and swept past, plowing right through the little flock. Miraculously, only one baby suffered damage — which we witnessed as it rolled off the windshield and tumbled onto the ground. It was awake and didn’t appear to have anything noticeably broken but it was clearly in shock. We grabbed some napkins (so we wouldn’t leave our scent on it) and carefully tucked it under the shrub its family was hiding in. I’d love to believe it got its wind back and joined its family but I can’t quite make myself do it.

I perked up when Judy from Knit2Purl2 sent my shipping confirmation. What would I get? What would be substituted? The excitement was overwhelming. And then I realized she’d shipped to my billing address instead of the shipping address I’d included. Ah well, what’s a few more days of waiting. YIKES! It was torture, that’s what. But it finally came on Thursday and I got just what I thought I’d be getting. I forgot to take a before shot but this box was crammed with wool. After I pulled my trusty FoodSaver out, this is what was left:

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I didn’t vacuum the Lopi because I’m planning on slippers for my bro for Christmas. I want to get them out of the way asap.

Thursday was also the day our friend Marsha dropped in for a quick sail before heading into the City for a convention.

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We had a great time, even though I got lost in the crack alleys of SF before I clawed my way out and back over the bridge to the safety of Sausalito!

As far as real knitting goes, I have one last panel to finish and sew on before I can put this puppy to bed, so to speak.

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I think he likes it!

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Laying Cable

I sewed two cabled panels together last night and it looks great but, boy, is this sucker heavy!

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Here’s my process for this puppy:

I knit up two skeins Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick ‘n Quick for each panel, then strung a line through the stitches knowing I’d be picking them up later to ‘finish’. The only reason I did this was because I decided to add a sixth panel and only had 17 skeins of yarn — one short to just use three skeins for each panel. While working the sixth panel, I kept checking with Hubbo to see if it was long enough. When he approved, I bound off and picked up panel #5. I worked most of the rest of it on its own but just knew I’d missed a row here or there, thereby totally mucking up how they’d sew together, so I stitched them together and found that I had to add a few rows to make them exactly the same length. I’ll repeat this process till its done, which should be soon!

BTW, I got an email from Knit2Purl2 telling me she was sold out of the O-Wool. Now I have to find a substitute yarn before I get to cast on. <sniff>

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Liar Liar

The last couple weeks have been tragically frantic. Thankfully they weren’t frantically tragic! Most of it is explained on my Tess blog so check it out for all the excuses valid reasons for my failure to blog recently.

Alas, I have no pix of Rob’s blanket, which is just screaming along. He wanted something extra big to fit him so I added a sixth panel and several more repeats of the cable. I have one panel completely finished, four are nearly done (I used up two skeins of yarn for each and then lifelined them till I could figure out how long to make them), and I’m half a skein into the sixth. BTW, he’s learned not to utter anything but high praise about the goldarn thing!

Speaking of high praise, I finally sent Sandy’s Latoya tank to her. This was her response: “I really like it.” Umm . . . like? WTF?! I not-so-gently reminded her that we don’t live in the same state so I would never see her NOT wearing it and she could have just as easily lied and said it was absolutely-without-a-doubt the most gorgeous thing she’d ever laid her baby blues on. Not surprisingly, she amended her statement.

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This is the best photo I have so far but she claims she was planning to wear it to work tomorrow and promised to have someone click a snap.

PS: Here’s another shot of Aaron’s disaster slippers.

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You can see how much bigger the “shoe” portion of the red slipper is and how small it is on the brown one. Ugh!

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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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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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