Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sleeve Set Back

I have been working on the Fana sleeves here and there. I was just thinking it is cool that I didn't do one at a time and have the task of a whole other one to do ahead of me. Plus, I don't have to trust my notes, I will be sure they match. Then I put one that is 12" long off dpns and onto a circular needle and put it on my arm. Oops, way too tight on forearm. Should not be tight.

So I will be ripping. My initial calculations showed that I needed to increase every 3.5 rows, so I started out doing every four, and after a while I measured, and from that point increasing every four rows should have come out perfectly. And the upper arm looks like it will be fine. It just wasn't enough increases soon enough. The other sleeve is only done through the first set of increases, so I will rip it back to the cuff and increase alternating every 3rd, then every 4th row and see how that works. Or maybe I will start doing every 3rd, and switch to every 4th.

If that fails I will rip out the cuffs, which I wanted to be snug and make them a bit bigger so that I don't have to increase so much. It's a bummer, but actually I was not that thrilled with my craftsmanship on the sleeves as compared to the body, some tight floats, so it is better this way.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Take Me Out To the Playpen

Mr. TVP and I went to a Giants game last night. It was the first time I had been to AT&T Park. After doing a lot of time at Candlestick Park, I can just say "wow". What a difference. It was a pleasure just to walk around the park and look at the views.

We don't go out alone too often, and we aren't trying to escape K. However, it is nice to go and just talk about adult things. We don't have a strict "no talking about the kid" policy, but sometimes it is an effort to remember all the other things we have in common. Sometimes going to a new place is a perfect way to just be people.

We had great seats and splurged on some ballpark food and beer. It wasn't too cold. However, everywhere we turned there were babies and toddlers. At a 7:15 pm game? Three of them across the aisle from us. It didn't spoil the evening or anything but it was ironic. We tried to go and have some time to ourselves and couldn't stop talking about kids.

We left the game early and took the streetcar home. K. was really happy to see us and had had a good time with Grandma & Grandpa. I'm going to check into the Giants Stitch & Pitch event on July 22nd. It is so easy to get there and back. The train stops on our corner, goes downtown, and stops right at the ballpark.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bloggers and Blogs

I've been thinking a lot about blogs lately, since I am trying to "Blog 365" and because I have found so many knitters lately. First I have to apologize. I am a bad "commenter". I just don't make as many comments on other people's blogs as I should. Sometimes I'm a week late and feel weird posting. Sometimes I just feel like anything I would say would sound lame. But mainly, I just don't take the time, and I apologize for that.

Second I've been thinking about the relationship between bloggers and their readers, and the similarities and differences to friends and acquaintances in "real life". For instance, I love The Pioneer Woman - her sense of humor, her photography and the fact that she pokes fun at herself. I am a vegetarian, and her family raises cattle. No problem, I thought. Virtually none of my friends are vegetarians, I'm allowing my son to eat meat, I occasionally purchase meat for my husband. People can agree to disagree.

I've changed my mind, though. She used to be a vegetarian, but she didn't really have a reason for it. I guess if I felt she could understand why people choose to be vegetarian that would be one thing. But somehow I feel she is dismissing vegetarians. I could be totally wrong. But, it just doesn't feel right anymore to read about branding and castrating calves. I know it's only part of her life and blog, but the treatment of animals is one of the reasons I'm a vegetarian.

Another issue that comes up is religion. I kind of approach it like my vegetarianism. It's a choice I have made. If asked I will explain the reasons why I don't eat meat. I don't try to convert or make people think they are wrong, but I would me happy to support someone in eating less meat. Similarly I can tolerate different religious views as long as people don't say their way is the only way and everyone else is going to hell.

I know that several of the blogs I enjoy are written by people much more conservative than I am. Just as with some of my friends and relatives in real life, there are things we don't agree on. My Grandma Buike said you don't have to be Christian to be a good Christian. We should strive to be the best we can be to each other, regardless of who we think God is.

There are a couple blogs I waffled about, religion-wise. I knew their beliefs were much more fundamental than mine, but I thought that was okay. But this is not real life. In real life I am willing to put up with certain things to preserve the peace. But blogs, I don't have to read them. I can no longer read the blogs of people who think that gays are sinners. I strongly believe that some people are gay, and are born that way. They are not making a choice. They are not sinners any more than the rest of us are. And we all are. This is a big issue in the Lutheran Church right now.

It's too bad, I have really enjoyed these blogs, and appreciate people who put themselves out there and share themselves, their time, and their families. But I don't want anyone I know to think that I approve of their views. And I won't keep reading "to keep track of what 'those people' think". That's disrespectful, in my opinion.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bike Quilt

Here is the quilt block I made for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition quilt project.
Mr. V.P. says it looks like I got a message from outer space. Um, well, yes it is supposed to be a bit abstract.

It was fun doing a bit of embroidery and applique. I did a some sketching before I got the background fabric in the mail. I had several ideas around flying, so the fabric made the decision.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I've been Freecycling a bunch of stuff lately. Well, Karma has paid me back. I was on the right Ravelry forums at the right time, twice in the past week. I received a drop-spindle and some Icelandic roving from the moderator, no less, of Yarncycle. I've really got the itch to learn how to spin. The kind Marlowe gifted me with a ball of Licorice Stick-colored Wildfoote. I'm thinking of a stranded sock, or perhaps cabled anklets. We had a good chat about spinning.

Now I need to go through my stash and see if there is anything that needs to find a new home.

I hope to have some photos tomorrow of wheat weaving and the quilt block tomorrow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


No knitting the past couple days. I've been working on the quilt block. I've also got a gift beading project to do.

I saw on the Zoo's calendar that they are shearing the sheep on May 9th and teaching kids to use a drop spindle. I think I'll take K. and see if I can learn a thing or two.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Sillies By the Bay

If there is a contest for worst photo, I want to submit this:

I was not trying to make a funny face. And I don't know what K.'s damage was. But the best is the bridge growing out of my head.

I rather like this one, though:

I tried and tried with the timer to get a shot of K. and me, but this was the best I could come up with.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mmm Butter

All I'm going to say is:

1) I have a bungee cord on my refrigerator
2) Those are teeth marks
3) Both parents were within eight feet of the fridge

Monday, April 21, 2008


Well, the jogging program collapsed. My childcare is too sporadic, and Mr. Viking Princess's schedule to erratic.

How ironic that this card was on the path last time. I was fooling myself that I could do something that required a routine.

I haven't totally given up. I just have to give in to the fact that it is on hold for now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Knitting Troll

I put the first sleeve off onto a circular needle and started the second cuff. I have to decide if I'm going to change the sleeves or not.

We had a rehearsal of our Troll play for Norway Day. It is going to be funny!

I've got to get a quilt block done this week for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. It will be a nice change of pace.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First Steek

Fana Progress:

I did fix the cuff error yesterday. I also cut open the sleeves and neck so I could try the sweater on. I almost cut through the back of the sweater. Whoops. Luckily "almost" doesn't count.

Here's the neck:

The sleeve openings made me nervous, some loose ends. After cutting I went back and sewed around the holes again.

There's a bit more at the KAL blog. I'm not sure about the drop shoulders.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fana Cuff

I had actual business to do today, so I didn't work on the steeks. However, I did knit during nap time, so here is some "eye candy". I decided not to use the same star on the cuff as on the shoulder.

I really like this motif. There will be read trim covering the first three white rows.

Looks good, except for the error on the other side! Drat. I shall be ripping. Or I may drop down and pick up the correct stitch. I had to that on the body, but it was only a couple rows down.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Off and On

The body of the Fana Sweater is off the needles, but about to go back on. I did a three needle bind-off at the shoulders. I thought the ridge showing would be neat, kind of mimic the bottom, but, no. So I have to un-bind, pick up, and bind off one shoulder.

Hopefully I'll get that done tonight and be able to get the to the sewing machine and reinforce all the steeks tomorrow. I'm anxious to cut it open try it on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sweater Progress

I just finished the body of my Fana Sweater. Hope to jump right in and start the sleeves tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Senior Prom

Remember when I was looking for my 1987 senior prom photo, and I had to show you silly ones of my hair instead?

I came across the photo today while looking for quilt fabric.

Here you have it:

Me and Joe (wherever you are) at the 1987 Lowell High School Senior Prom. We went to Disneyland the next day.

I still have that dress in my closet if you want to borrow it. Jessica McClintock silk size 14. It was also my first wedding dress. No, not at Disneyland, and no, not to Joe. But that's another photo and a story for another day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Somebody's Baby

We have our share of homeless people in San Francisco. While it is not as bad as downtown, there are quite a few in our neighborhood, and many of them live in Golden Gate Park. I don't give money directly to panhandlers, but have given donations to groups that help the poor and homeless.

I do have sympathy for these people. I have never been homeless, but I have gone through tough financial times due to unemployment and illness of a spouse. Fortunately I have family and friends who were able to loan me money and or feed me so I never lost my apartment. I feel for the homeless, I wonder if they are just alone in the world and don't have anyone to help them get back on their feet.

Of course, some are battling more than the loss of a job, they are fighting addictions, or other demons. I can't fathom getting to a place in my life where I would just give up fighting and decide to live on the streets. Can you imagine the loss of dignity? Having to beg for money? What it is like to be afraid to go to sleep because someone might steal your things or beat you for no reason?

I really have mixed feelings. It makes me angry that I can't walk through parts of the park because it is filled with filth that campers have left behind. When I'm sitting in a restaurant I don't want someone begging me for money anymore than I would want a Girl Scout to try to sell me cookies.

Today K. and I got on the streetcar and heard a horrible commotion. Someone was leaning out the back door making awful noises that sounded like vomiting. Another person was holding on to him. Most of the passengers in the back half of the car looked horrified. I stopped short and turned K.'s attention onto something out the window.

After a couple minutes I saw a single person stagger off the train. He was wearing shorts and had enormous bandages wrapped around his legs up to his knees. His legs were swollen and I could see purple above the bandages. I watched him limp to a signpost and lean against it, head down. Turns our the awful sounds I heard were not from retching, and the other passenger wasn't helping him be sick. He was screaming in pain, and the other person was trying to help him down the steps and off the train.

It reminded me of something a co-worker said many, many years ago when we were talking about the homeless. Isn't it a wonder to think that every person was once someone's precious little baby? That people that others think of as trash were cuddled and loved and were the center of attention and their parents had hopes and dreams for them. I think about that often. I know there are unwanted children, but many of these are given in adoption to parents who think they are precious.

So I was sad as the train pulled away leaving the lost and suffering soul on the corner. I did the only thing I could think of. I gave my precious little baby boy a big hug and kiss.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A True Story

Once there was a 39-year-old woman. She happens to be a blogger who complains about her life too much, although not nearly as much as she would like to. She has an intense almost two-year-old who still cannot sleep for more than a couple hours a time. He is wonderful and gives kisses and says "I love you", but that is not always appreciated at 3:30 am. This woman is still getting used to being a mom. Perhaps she just had too many years of freedom. She is not used to the utter lack of independence that comes with having a child. She is not used to being at home so much after working from the age of 16 until three years ago. And by home, I mean a two bedroom apartment with small garage space that also is home-base for a general contracting business.

She has her share of normal problems. Family squabbles and the like. She can be emotional at times. She believes in a good cry and that things will look better in the morning.

One day this woman had a particularly rough time. She woke up just feeling "off" and wishing she could stay in bed. Not an option. Toddler to take care of, swimming lesson at 10:00. She found a to-do list from her husband and business partner on the two square feet of a dresser that is her office space. Add that to her personal to-do list, and the housework to-do list, and you get one long list. She started to attack the list. One item was to move fax machine over with the other office equipment. The toddler helped. It was accomplished with much untangling of cables and cords, swearing, and a little sweating.

Swimming went fine, and the toddler fell asleep on the way home. He sleeps fairly well in the truck. Unfortunately the woman forgot, for the first time ever, her knitting bag, so she was prepared to eat her lunch and just hang out in the truck for almost two peaceful hours. Well, the little guy woke up after an hour, she rushed him into the house and into bed so he could finish his nap and she could knit. To no avail. He would not go back to sleep. Guilt-inducing bad parenting ensued. It is a well-know fact that missing one hour of nap time leads to at least two hours of crankiness in the evening. Perversely, it does not lead to going to bed earlier, and actually causes difficulty time sleeping. The rest of the day was looking bad.

Grandma came over and played with the kid. The husband came home to help with one item from the to-do list, pulling the last items together for the taxes and doing a rough run-through. They worked on that together and found very bad news. More money owed than previously thought.

The bedtime was not pleasant, and downright frustrating. Finally the toddler went to sleep. The mom tried to get up from next to him to go decompress by knitting or reading or watching t.v. Every time she got up the kid would wake up and cry. She couldn't read in bed because the husband was sleeping. She was not ready to go to sleep at 8:45. Finally she started to cry, quietly, with frustration. All she wanted was a little peace after a tough day. Why couldn't the kid just stay asleep?

Did her husband comfort her in her moment of need? To the contrary. He growled "I'm sick and tired of your crying all the time". The quiet sobbing turned into full on crying. Self-pity abounded. Why doesn't he understand the value of a good cry? All the time? She wished she could cry as often as she felt like it. And how can he start snoring while she's crying? She got up to get a handkerchief, the floor squeaked, the kid woke up and cried. The mom had to to laugh. Finally the kid went back to sleep and the husband gave a few consoling pats. The mom cried some more quietly and finally went to sleep. The kid just could not stay asleep that night and rolled around out of his crib kicked and talked in his sleep. Not too restful for the mom. The dad, however, snored on.

The next morning the exhausted mom dragged herself into the kitchen. She looked at her husband in a not too kindly manner. They reviewed the previous day's challenges and disappointments. She reminded him of his to-do list, the cranky kid, and his declaration of being "sick and tired of your crying." He admitted it was not the best strategy for dealing with a burned out wife. He laughed and suggested it would make a good blog story.

Wheat Weaving

We got a lesson in wheat weaving at Daughters of Norway today. I'm going to make a few more angels to sell at Norway Day next month. I'll put some photos up later.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Short Post

Friends in town today so no real post. Took them to the Zoo, and thanks to K's connections, J. got to feed a bottle to the young giraffe. Yesterday K. was kissing goats in the barnyard.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stories of Cloth

I read about the new website, Stories of Cloth, in the April/May 2008 Fiber Arts magazine. I really love all textiles, from tapestry to fabric, to embroidery and knitting. Part of it is tactile, part of it visual. But it goes beyond that. I like to think of all the people throughout history who have woven, embellished, and made useful and decorative items. When I look at old photos I often remember the fabrics. My favorite polka dot Health-Tex shirt, the black "Heidi" cape with red trim.

To quote the website:
Textiles accompany us throughout life's journey; wrapped as we enter the world, and covered when we leave.
The premise of the project is to explore how memories are tied to cloth. The artists have put together an exhibition, and readers are encouraged to submit their own stories and photos.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wrong Place Right Time

I don't know how much was on the national news, but the Olympic Torch came through here today.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand it's the Olympics, which is about sports and unity. On the other hand I think China should take its hands off Tibet. It guess it's hard to separate the athletes from their home countries, from the Games' host country, and governments from citizens. I think protests should have been allowed, but the torch is sacred, somehow, to keep people from seeing it was wrong. It's sad that the City had to spend so much money to have it come through here.

We went out for a walk in Golden Gate Park this afternoon. At 19th Avenue a bunch of police motorcycles came through, at first I thought they were returning from a funeral. Then they stopped traffic. I had read that the torch's route had changed, maybe it was going through the park? I kicked myself for not having my camera along. A crowd gathered and a woman standing next to us called home to check the news. Turns out all the security was just escorting the torch and all the associated folks to the airport.

It was fun for K. There were well over a hundred police motorcycles, big buses, little buses, and an ambulance. We waved. (I don't care what side the people were on. They are in our city and we wave at tourists. It's what we do. Okay, I wouldn't wave at Charles Manson.) But best of all were the helicopters. We counted a total of seven. I feel for people who waited several hours to see the torch come through only to find out the route was changed. But for us it was a nice diversion with helicopters!. And we can say we saw the bus that carried the Olympic Torch through San Francisco in 2008.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wishbone Lace Socks

I present my wishbone lace socks. I designed them myself using Ann Budd's "Getting Started Knitting Socks". It is basically her eight-stitch-to-an-inch recipe with three repeats of "centered wishbone lace", also from her book, on the outside of each sock.

Here are some of the troubles I had getting started.

I guess I could have continued two reps of the lace down the top of the foot. Live and learn.

I love these socks. They are comfortable. And the colors are perfect for me, as I wear blue jeans and a pick top more often than not.

Monday, April 07, 2008


I got a nøstepinne from Norway and thought I would try my hand at winding this yarn into a ball.

A nøstepinne is a "stick" you use to wind a "nest" of yarn. I found these instructions, and you can buy nøstepinner from these people, too.

My first attempt was undone before I got too far in, it was just wrong. If a nøstepinne is a Norwegian ball-winder, then this child could be called a Norwegian-American ball un-winder.

The second attempt went a bit better after I fought and fought with the skein. Usually I have my husband hold the skein and I wind the yarn. Kind of old fashioned, feel like we should be in rocking chairs, but I'll take any quality time I can get. The skein always gets tangled, though, and this one was worse than usual. For one thing I was hanging it on a chair, plus I just don't have the hang of handling a skein.

Here is my first full attempt. It is worse than it seems. The "nest" is supposed to end up flat on the top and bottom, not round. I also lost the end inside, so when I rewound the ball I had to pull from the outside which was annoying.

The second attempt is somewhat better looking, at least it is flat one one side. And I was able to pull from the center without too much trouble when I gave it one last shot.

And this is my third and final attempt. It was actually the hardest to do, the yarn kept slipping to the bottom, but it is relatively flat on both sides and can be pulled from the center. My main problem is I get lazy and stop moving the pinne with my left hand while I wind with my right. I also think I'm not winding a long enough base at the start. I definitely enjoy winding the yarn this way and with some practice I should improve.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Need photos

We went back up to the Russian River today. I got to knit a bit on the sweater. I practiced winding yarn with my nostpinne this afternoon.

I just need to get some photos taken and I will have actual knitting content here.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Swam Dive

I had to go to the first rehearsal of our troll play at a "sister's" house in the Haight. Parking there is hard, and I like to be "green", so I decided to take the streetcar. I put $1.50 in my pocket, closed the front gate and heard the train coming. I ran to catch it and all of a sudden I was lying in the street. I jumped up, gathering what change and dignity I could off the asphalt. I looked up and the driver hadn't opened the front door but he was still sitting there. I pressed the button, got on, set down my bag (turns out a felted bag is pretty sturdy) and dug for the rest of the change I needed.

I went to put it in the machine and see the "out of service" sign. My ride was free. Jackpot. Ignore fact that the driver, who I had had a short "Here. Thank you" conversation with just the day before, does not turn to make eye contact. Walked through the unusually crowed car without making eye contact, sit down, and surreptitiously assess the damage. Palms are not bleeding. Get out knitting to insure eye contact will not have to be made. Notice hole in jeans. Thank heavens I only buy Levis on sale, not $150.00 jeans. Hands shaking too much to knit. Pull out book of baby hats. Peek through hole to make sure I'm not bleeding profusely.

Get to my stop. Get up to the door and ignore two or three people staring. Saunter to the corner so as not to have to pass in front of driver. No luck, many people getting on. Try to limp nonchalantly.

The rehearsal was fun. I need to make a viking cloak and maybe shoes. Two items I've been needing for my costume anyway.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Educating Duncan

K.'s favorite engine listening to K.'s favorite story:

The baby doll, skunk, and bear also get to hear stories. Apparently their are all far-sighted, because they are generally placed almost against the page of the book.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Happy Trails

Actually "Happy Roads". I gave my road bike away today. She had several thousand miles on her. We rode around Tucson literally, and across 480 miles of Alaska, not to mention mile after mile of training in Marin and down the Peninsula. Several Cinderellas. A couple of Grizzly Peaks and Grizzlies.

Here we are at closing ceremonies of the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride. We rode in snow for the first and only time that week. There is plastic wrapped around the saddle because the freezing temperatures caused the gel in the saddle to melt into a liquid.

I don't ride anymore. I know I could just as easily go ride for 45 minutes instead of jogging 45 minutes, but that's not enough time, at least on the road bike. It takes me that long just to warm up. When I do start to ride again it will be on my comfy pink bike with K. in a kid's seat.

I almost teared up when I was cleaning her off, but it is for the best. She's just hanging next the the clothes dryer and I feel sad that I can't ride anymore every time I see her. It will be a long time before I get to ride enough miles a week to justify having such a fancy bike. And I do hope to get back into riding some day. I want to ride across the U.S. For now I have to be satisfied that there will be enough room on the bike rack so that I can actually pull the other bike down and use it from time to time. And a woman whose bike was stolen can continue with her training for the AIDS Life Cycle. (Edited to add: She just emailed to say she named the bike "Sunshine")

When I was digging for that photo I found an envelope with all my ride patches and a couple numbers. I don't remember what ride this was from but it must have been a cold one because the paper is totally intact, must have been on my jacket, not a sweaty jersey.

It also must have been a ride in the country. Here's what's written under the number:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


The most notable thing about today is that I was doing laundry at home and at the laundromat simultaneously. Spring cleaning.

I finished the socks, but haven't blocked them yet.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Book Review - O Pioneers!

Here's another book about the Nebraska praries and people trying to tame them: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. A big difference between it and "Giants in the Earth" is that Alexandra loves the land.

Usually I advocate reading the introduction to books first, but I wish I hadn't in this case. The Penguin edition has a very scholarly introduction by Blanche E. Gelfant that reminds me of papers I had to write in college comparing Gabriel Garcia Marquez to William Faulkner to Alice Walker. I don't so much mind that the plot was given away as that I wish I could have made my own impressions about things like Alexandra and Carl's relationship on my own instead of them being shaded by Gelfant's talk of what "friends" means. This is the kind of book that warrants being read over again and dissected, so now I will read the introduction again.

Alexandra has to take over the farm when her father dies, because her father knows that she is better suited than her two brothers. She has great vision and leads the family through hard times, and is like a mother to her third, youngest brother. There is drama and, in my opinion melodrama. The book is so full of imagery about the land. Cather manages to tell a story, paint vivid pictures of the land, and let us inside the characters heads (some more than others). I especially enjoyed the comparisons of the Swedish immigrants to the French and Bohemian.

I will not say more because you can read much better reviews at Amazon. I look forward to reading more by Will Cather.

(This is in our Anna K. library)