Friday, November 28, 2008

The End is Near

We are going to ride on out of here tomorrow and head home.

Sadly, no trains run through the Russian River Valley anymore. We did visit the rebuilt Northwestern Pacific Railroad depot earlier this week.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This is going to seem like a really un-American post. Truth is, Thanksgiving is not one of my favorite holidays. I'm a vegetarian. Yes, there are a lot of wonderful foods served (including pie... mmm pie), but let's face it, the meal and the whole day revolves around turkey. Now, I like to eat, but the gluttonous attitude some people have really turns me off. Eating until you fall asleep? Eating a lot just for the sake of eating? Plus I never bought that whole Indian - Pilgrim fable either. It just doesn't seem like a day of celebration for me.

Years ago my then-husband and I went to Southern California every Thanksgiving. We would hit Disneyland on Thanksgiving and then two of the other parks - Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, or Knott's Berry Farm. We avoided the obligations, the turkey thing, all of it. I did get pumpkin pie at Denny's though.

And that's another thing about Thanksgiving. It brings back a lot of memories. Some bad ones I don't want to think about and happy ones I can never relive. It's all a bit too much.

So, if it is your kind of thing, Happy Thanksgiving to you. If not, at least know you are not the only one muddling through.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Balls & Skeins

I escaped the meat eaters and the toddler for a couple hours this afternoon. I drove to Sebastapol to a yarn store. True, I do not need more yarn, but I did need a tapestry needle. Normally I would not waste gas for such a small thing, but I was losing my mind and had to get away.

The meat eaters are nice about making sure I get enough other stuff to eat, and I don't mind hearing about meat, or smelling meat cooking. But this whole week is about wine and gourmet food, and the meals and talk revolve about whatever kind of meat is chosen for the day. It's like there's a club I don't belong to. Even the kid was gnawing on a lamb bone last night.

Not to mention I tend to need time alone, and have had none for days. So I enjoyed the peace of driving down the highway listening to a country station. Then I walked into Balls & Skeins. Oh My Heavens. The sights and sounds. Yarn everywhere. People knitting on sofas. Talk of yarn and patterns. Everything was for me, and all the other people spoke my language. It was like coming home. I got the needles and some yarn and returned to the rental home refreshed.

Monday, November 24, 2008


The cat's name is Oreo. I spoke to the owners of the cat, who live right across the street from the rental. Apparently the rental owners come up on a lot of weekends and let Oreo in, and feed her. Oreo's owner is not happy about that because she is an outdoor cat. A white cat with no tail lives next door, he and Oreo have words from time to time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Remember the fleece I got from a winery a few months ago? The one I haven't mentioned in a while? Well, this is where it was from, Navarro:

Perhaps from this character:

To get there we took an epic drive from Guerneville along Highway One and Mountain View Road. We had to take two vehicles and somehow I ended up alone with the kid in my truck. He was refusing to nap. Grrr. I was elated to find that my driving for the day was done so I could enjoy the 15 wines on the tasting list at Navarro.

Later we passed through Boonville, the sight of my unhappy camper experience in September.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Insane Kitty Kat

K. and I got to the rental house this evening. The drive was okay, fortunately I know the area, otherwise I wouldn't have been too pleased about driving on the narrow roads looking for the house in the dark.

I had the bikes, a cooler, luggage, and Rubbermaid containers full of cooking stuff in the truck. As soon as we got out black and white cat came up to us. I went up and opened the house to start dragging stuff up the stairs. The cat ran in the house. It was obvious he had been in here before and I had to keep the door open, so I let K. play with him while I unloaded all the stuff. Then we put the cat outside. He was not happy to so, but I didn't want to encourage him. We turned around to go the kitchen and the cat was there, like a bad horror movie. Turns out K. opened the back sliding door to the deck. I put him out again.

He has been meowing at the door for half an hour now. Wonder when he will stop.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We have been working like crazy to get ready for vacation. On Saturday we are driving up to the Russian River and staying in a rental house for a week. Different friends are coming up a different times, some for Thanksgiving dinner others later. I'm going to bring the computer because we need to keep tabs on the business. I hope to get some knitting done, including finally starting my second pair of contest socks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Do you even get a weird emotion or feeling that you can't put a name to? They other day I was thinking about my father and how sad it is he isn't here to see my son grow up. My father loved trains and it would have been so neat for them to do railroad stuff together. Every once in a great while when I look at my son I see what my father must have looked like as a toddler.

But then I got to thinking about how hard it was to connect with my father as an adult. Even though we lived in the same city we didn't see each other that often. Holidays and birthdays, and every so often I would get back into model railroading and visit his shop. And then I got this feeling and could actually remember a few other times I had it. A feeling I can't describe other than awareness. Even though it was related to this lack of connection it wasn't sadness, angry, loneliness or confusion. It wasn't exactly peace or acceptance either. A weird feeling.

A bit later I was resting and the loudest sound was the ticking of the clock in the kitchen. I like that sound and the fact that during the day the clock is ticking but the other sounds drown it out. If you stop and actually listen for it, you can hear it but you have to know it is there first. That ticking gives me another self-aware feeling, a kind of peace. Knowing that like that clock I am just a tiny part of the world, sometimes fading to the background, sometimes more noticeable, but always there, plugging along. Sometimes I need to be reminded that life just goes on with or without me, I'm not that important. Other times I need the reassurance that a least one thing is constant in life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So Many Interests, So Little Time

I've been trying to set some knitting and sewing goals. All of a sudden this 40th birthday is coming up in February and it makes me want to tie some thing up so I can move onto newer challenges.

I can't seem to make goals, so instead I'm just going to list everything I've got going right now.

Short Term:
  • Make second pair of contest socks
  • Finish Fana Sweater
  • Make a hversdagbunad
  • Sew K's book holder for his bed
  • Finish spinning and knitting rose garden sweater
  • Make some items for the Bicycle Coalition's Winterfest fund raiser (maybe felted velcro top tube cozies or fingerless mitts)
  • Gnome hat for swap
  • Use my funky "Blue Haired Mafia" yarn for hat or bag

  • Sew tote with blue/green fabrics I bought two months ago
  • Start Bohus sweater
  • Lopi projects: start with mittens, sweater for K., finally a sweater for me
  • Spin Navajo Churro top into tapestry yarn and weave
  • Use pink and green cotton yarns from swap for ??
  • Figure out project for Silky Wool
  • Make stranded vest with the prime alpaca I have been gathering
  • Do more felted bags
  • Do some kind of roaming korknisse project
  • Make felted bowls
  • Make scarf or wristlets with sparkly fancy brown yarn from swap
  • Knit Birch with Kid Silk Haze I have stashed
  • Knit a pair of Nancy Bush's Norwegian socks
  • Knit a pair of Selbuvotter

Long Term:
  • Work on fest bunad
  • Figure out what to do with quilt that was pieced, basted but never quilted (10 years ago!)
  • Pursue rosemaling
  • Take a design class

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yarn Swap

We had a yarn swap this afternoon. It was a ton of fun. Six of us filled my dining room table with yarn we no longer wanted. Well, not so much didn't want, just knew we would never use. Then we took turns selecting yarn that thought we could use. No one wanted to look greedy, so it took a little while, and a little convincing. In the end there was just a paper shopping bag of unclaimed yarn which in going to be donated to people who will use it.

I scored a bunch of pink yarn, some fancy yarn, "silky wool", tons of green cotton, and some that will felt. I've got two shades of green and two of pink cotton, all Rowan. I really want to figure something neat for that. I had fun looking through patterns on Ravelry as well as "One Skein Wonders" last night.

It was good to let go of projects that won't happen, and fun to get new stuff. It will be a challenge to find patterns.

Friday, November 14, 2008

No Photos

I really need to get the camera out. I have been knitting and spinning. I guess with less daylight I'm having a hard time getting stuff shot.

In other news, I seem to have developed a bit of a Lopi addiction. I've been buying odd lots here and there and now all the Lopi almost takes up as much room as the entire rest of my stash. There will be no photos of that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I caught a glimpse of myself on the bike with the kid in a store window. My have things changed since I used to be a "roadie". Dork does not begin to describe it. I forgot to mention one the other problems with having his seat so close to me. I can't stand up and ride on hills. You never forget how to ride a bike, but sometimes you have to adapt.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Want to Ride My Bicycle...

...and now I can a little bit more. I gave the iBert front-mounted child seat one more try. I still have to ride a little bow-legged, and the saddle has to be too low, but at least it is ridable. And K. enjoys it enough that he puts up with being bundled up and wearing a helmet. He rings the bell and pretends we are a fire engine. It's nice that I can see what he's doing and talk to him and touch him, unlike if he was in the back.

I'm still looking for ways to make it better. I'm short so I have a small bike which means the seat sits back really far, close to me. I can't step off the saddle and over the top tube, I have to stand over the saddle. Our first ride, before I lowered the saddle was a bit harrowing, I could only stop if I put my foot on a curb. The seat also pressing on the shifter for the cogs, making it a little hard to shift.

We've gone out a couple times, not super far, 30-45 minutes, but that's better than nothing. Carrying an extra 25lbs makes for a good workout. I'm glad I have the super low gears I scoffed at.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Possible New Obsession - Wet Felting

Today at Daughters of Norway a felt artist, Heidi Paul, gave us a demonstration of wet felting.
Totally cool!  She makes hats and while she was making a beret, we made felted balls.  I can't wait to try some more techniques.  Something to do with those bits of fiber laying about.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Sound of Silence

K. went out with his grandparents for a little while this afternoon. It is very rare that I am at home when he is not, even rarer to be home alone with my husband. The quiet is amazing. The ability to relax and not have to worry about someone's welfare is refreshing.

We ordered pizza and watched a movie. Funny how luxurious that seems these days. No one was trying to get attention by turning the t.v. off, and we could actually watch a rated R flick. The best part was being able turn it up to a normal volume and then actually watch the whole thing. Neither of those happen on a typical evening, K. goes to bed so late anyway we are usually too tired to even bother.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Knitting & Blog Plans

I've been having fun giving things away, and doing some trading. Cleaning out the closets a bit. It's time to face facts that we live in an apartment and probably will for a long time to come. I have to stop thinking that some day we will be in a house and I will have a sewing room and garage or attic space to store things in.

It's almost time to set some goals for the rest of the year and next year. I'll be turning 40 in February and I want to finish up a bunch of projects by then. I have been buying Lopi here and there to add to the yarn I was given earlier this year. I definitely want to make myself an Icelandic sweater, and may make one for K. first. I think I'll start small with some mittens and a hat.

There will be a contest here in the next month or so. So please keep reading!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Healing Art

There's and article in the current FiberArts Magazine about Sherry Lynn Wood who teaches how to make Passage Quilts which aid the maker in the bereavement process. Using the clothing of a loved one, you work through a five step process to make a quilt. The process of choosing the clothes, cutting them up, and then piecing, quilting, and sharing the quilt gives the space to come to terms with and make sense of the loss.

She offers workshops and consultations. The quilts can mark not only the loss of a loved one, but other life changes. She is based here in San Francisco and in Durham, North Carolina. I've got a bag of my father's neck ties and have been waiting to figure out the right project for them. I was thinking big, like and vest, and small, maybe a picture frame. I have actually spread them all out on more than one occasion. Wood's process is making me think of the project in a different light. Instead of trying to use all the ties, or make them match, I need to let them be what they want.

There was an article in the paper here about another woman who uses art to make sense of the pain in our world, through sprituality. Debra Classen was nineteen-year-old an art student when her mother was raped and murdered almost thirty years ago. Classen stopped creating art at the time of the tragedy. Years later she became a Catholic and holds a degree in theology and came back to art in 2002. Her ministry, The Mute Swan, strives is:

... a non-profit, spiritual organization dedicated to discovering beauty in all its forms. Our goal is to educate and encourage others to live a contemplative life. We believe the radiance of God's beauty is to be discovered in nature, art, relationships, life, even within great suffering. A well lived life embraces the harmonious integrity of this vision and sharing God's beauty and love with others.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Continuing cleaning out the closets. I took a small load of stuff to the Bicycle Coalition this afternoon. Is there anyone out there who wants the felt quiet book kit? Let me know.

I'm also trying to sell or trade the cloth diaper supplies (birdseye, aplix, PUL) that have been sitting unused for almost a year. It's next to impossible to have the sewing machine out and projects going with a toddler around. I have over 30 yards of the birdseye. If you know anyone who makes cloth diapers send them my way.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Sock and Me

Wow, this second sock and I have shared some special moments. We rode in a squad car, and we just watched the president-elect speak.

I went out knitting as usual, we were going to go to a local bar so we could watch the election results. There were no seats and by 7:20 it was pretty obvious Obama had won, and that there we no results of important local measures on t.v., so we went to the regular dessert shop. I wondered when McCain would concede, it would have been fun to see that, but none of us thought it would happen tonight. I stayed pretty late because I had to rip out a few rows and didn't want to stick the sock in my bag for the ride home with a ton of free stitches.

As I waited for the streetcar, one of the knitters who had gone to check the t.v. told me that McCain had just conceded. The train came and I rode home working on the sock. Some people seemed oblivious to the news. The guy next to me talked to someone on the phone, no mention of the election. I got home and all was quiet, the men were asleep. So I turned the t.v. and knit some more on the sock and watched Obama's speech. If I had known K. was sleeping I would have stayed out, I think the knitters were going to go over to the bar after I left.

Did you see Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes?

Monday, November 03, 2008


The police captain called me today and thanked me for taking the time to deal with the grafitti kids the other day. I thanked him for the having the station open for trick-or-treaters. Sometimes our neighborhood feels like a small town.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Plant Food

A couple weeks ago, while we were having the warm and sunny part of autumn, we started some seeds. I knew the weather could turn at any moment, so we started them indoors.

Last Tuesday we transplanted the sunflower seedlings outside. If we're lucky maybe one or two will make it. If not, it was still fun watching them grow.

Later we walked by the pot and K. dropped a Goldfish cracker in. I asked him if he was feeding the plants and he said "yes, babies".

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Freebie Kit

Hey readers, I've been cleaning out the craft closet. I'm going to a yarn swap in a couple weeks, but I found some sewing stuff I don't think I'll ever end up using. I found homes for some things on Ravelry, but wasn't sure what group to put this kit in, so I thought I would offer it here.

It's a felt "quiet book" kit from Keepsake Quilting. I think I had a quiet book as a kid, and I know my cousins had a neat one with Bible stories. So when I was pregnant I bought the kit with dreams of my little boy sitting quieting lacing and unbuttoning things. The reality is my son will not sit and be quiet using it, so it isn't worth putting the time and effort into making it.

With the kit you get the felt for the pages, shaggy felt for the bear, velcro, and a shoe lace. You provide the fabric for all the pictures. Of course you don't have to use the pattern included, you can use your own drawings.

If you would like it, I'll send it, within the U.S, to the first person who emails me at the gmail address over on the right column. Just let me know who you would make if for. You don't have to be a regular commentor or anything, lurkers welcome.