Thursday, December 24, 2009

Greetings


Merry Christmas !

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Angels


We got our tree last Sunday and K. calls the ornaments "Christmas Angels" for some reason. So sweet. Also sweet was his visit to Santa the other day, pictured above. He wants a "shiny dump truck with a red cab". I asked him if he had seen one like that and he described when and where he saw it. What a memory, it was well over a month ago! He is so into Christmas this year. Both the anticipation of the day but also the idea of giving. A three-year-old can't understand religion too much, but he gets that we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, a special person who went on to teach people to care about each other, and that's why we give presents.

I last posted at Halloween. Since then I went to Spokane, Washington as a new Daughters of Norway lodge was instituted and my sister is a charter member. I got to march around during the ceremony. I'm really getting the hang of it. The group meets at the Sons of Norway lodge, a large facility filled with neat things.

That's the only picture taken on the whole trip. The weekend itself marked a milestone. I got to sleep in a king sized bed with five pillows. Alone. I left my kid overnight for the first time and it was fine.

Next we drove up to Oregon for Thanksgiving. About five miles from home, on the Bay Bridge, we were rear-ended. No injuries, pretty bad damage, the wheel well was smashed in within two inches of not being drivable. The tail lights were still working so we went on the trip. I finally got it into the shop last week and have to use a rental for twelve days. Did I mention that my truck was a victim of hit and run outside our house a while back? It figures, since I am three payments away from owning it.

The trip was really nice. Saw family and took a side trip to the coast. Went up in the Yaquina Head lighthouse. Got to poke my head up into a Fresnel Lens. Ed said Newport reminded him of the East Coast.


Before we left I knit a pair of socks for a Christmas gift. I started a festive pair for me on our road trip and just finished them yesterday in time for some Christmas events. I've got half a pair of booties done for a baby due December 30th. Three quarters of the Christmas shopping is done, and I'm working on the cards now.

I will post this entry now even though it is unfinished, otherwise it won't get up until the new year. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Tree Boy




I know most of you have seen in on Ravelry, but here is Kenneth's tree costume.

When we started talking about Halloween he said he wanted to wear a hat. A blue hat with a red B. Hmmmm, you mean the baseball hat he wears everyday? Yes. So I thought this would be a costume-less year. Then we went camping and he hugged a redwood tree. While his hands were full of splinters he decided to be a tree for Halloween. It was really fun, we went shopping for the fabric and accessories together. First it was a "leaf tree", then a "bug tree", then a "bug and apple tree". About a week ago he said from the backseat "Eyes. Eyes for my tree". I asked if he meant the letter or eyeballs. Eyeballs it was. Fortunately he forgot about that, because I ran out of time to craft eyeballs.

We worked on the tree together over the weeks, he did a little cutting. One night he told me he wanted to be a mommy for Halloween. I hoped that would blow over, he's already getting teased for having long hair. I asked if he could be a mommy tree and he said okay.



I didn't get the best photos. There's a pipe cleaner nest on his shoulder, and little twigs that stick out here and there. I knit the hat really quickly out of Lopi. Here's some silly video of him walking in the school parade, he's handing me his hawk at the end.

video

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Dense Moment


Today I was thinking about the word Jack-o-lantern, or Jack O'Lantern, if you prefer. I wondered why a carved pumpkin that is lit up at night has that name. What does it meaaannn?!!! Today, at age 40, I realized that the word "lantern" is part of the word. Yeah, I think of it as jackalantern, one long word, never considered the parts.

Curious, I looked it up on Wikipedia. Carving vegetables has a long history in Ireland and England, but allegedly did not become associated with Halloween until 1866 in the USA.

On a related note, Urban Fauna Studio sponsored a fiber night Monday. We made needle felted pumpkins. Some made squash, others jack-o-lanterns. I just made a pumpkin.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Knitting Lifestyle

The other day I stopped in a local shop where my friend works, she wasn't there but I chatted with her co-worker. I mentioned that I was one of her knitting friends. He said "oh she's so serious when she talks about knitting." I played along and said "yeah, well, knitting is serious. Very serious." He said that was nice and all but he just didn't understand it. Understand what, I wondered? It was like we have this weird lifestyle that he can't relate to. Does he think we have sheep living in our homes? It's just a nice, normal hobby.

Really. I don't live the knitting lifestyle, do I? Here's a glimpse into my life this week.

Part One - Things delivered to my home:


Monday - skein of yarn from a Ravelry destasher

Tuesday - my first package of Wollmeise, from Germany. I blame the flu that kept me up coughing until all hours. Doing research about how to catch a shop update distracted me from the agony. This photo does not do it justice, trust me. The colors are so saturated and lovely.


Thursday - A Raveler flat out gave away a skein of boucle yarn, which I snagged, plus I bought a few things from her stash. She threw in a ton of other awesome (read pink) yarn. Seriously, it was a huge box, those are enormous skeins, and you can't even see it all here and this photo is crap.

Saturday - my second package of Wollmeise. No photo yet.

Oops, I seem to have forgotten the Lopi pattern leaflet from Ebay, don't remember what day it arrived.

Part Two - Things drying on my back porch this past week

  • More Lopi felted bags


  • Two other felted bags

(Hey - I used that skein of yarn that came on Monday for the flap.)

(I absolutely adore this one and how the Prism Bubbles pooled.
I got that yarn recently from a destash, too.)

  • Yarn


Part Three - Some Stuff I Did this week
  • Went to a knit night and had my photo taken with yarn (thanks Tracey).
At knit night at least seven of us started the same project - French Press Knits Slippers. So much fun working on a KAL, especially on size 15 needles. I was the slowest, it starts with three strands of yarn and I was using two ends of one ball. The tangling got me.
  • May have had photo taken with everybody's slipper soles.
  • Came home from knit night, frogged and re-knit the soles of the slippers.
  • Petted yarn
  • Spent hours on Ravelry
  • Cut out felt leaves as part of K's Halloween Costume
  • Dreamed about yarn
  • Ordered yarn from Ebay (just four skeins, I swear)
  • Was thrilled that last year's pumpkin hat still fits K and he wore it three times this week.
  • Sold some yarn and bags (picture me sitting here in my bright pink sweater, you guessed it, knitting):


Upon review of this evidence it is safe to say I do not live merely the knitting lifestyle, in fact, I live the fiber arts lifestyle.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Lutefisk!


On our drive to Boonville we got stuck in slow traffic. I saw all these fish, could tell they didn't say Jesus, or IXTHS, and had no "Darwin" feet.

We got close enough, and what do you know, a school of Lutefisk.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dyeing for Halloween

Here's some spinning content. First, there's a contest at Martha Vineyard Fiber Farm. Go over, commiserate about moving, and enter the drawing for a total of two pounds of their fiber.

I've been getting ready to sell stuff at a craft table at the preschool's Harvest Festival on the 24th. I'm planning on felted bags, yarn, and maybe a few knitted things. I've been dyeing.


I dyed and spun this:


And I guess this is my first art yarn:


I didn't dye this, just spun it:


I also made some costumes for the school to sell. Two pink poodle skirts (easy):


And two Dorothy dresses which were very intricate.

Friday, October 02, 2009

California Wool & Fiber Festival

I started this post on September 24th. I didn't have a camera to take photos of my class objects so the post languished. Then I caught the second bug since preschool started, and then I caught the flu. I am finally feeling like I'm getting better, and I used Photo Booth for my felted items, so here it is:

We spent last weekend in Boonville at the 3-in-1 California Wool and Fiber Festival, Mendocino County Fair, and Apple Festival. Like last year we camped at Hendy Woods.

The highlight for K. was the rides:


(Note this is the exact ride as last year)

He also enjoyed S'mores.

I got to take two classes, I was thrilled. On the un-godly hot day I learned some fancy spinning techniques. On the second day I tried needle-felting for the first time. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to embellish some knitted items.


That's an apple, an art piece, and a leaf. It was a fun trip. I didn't spend too much at the show since I had paid for classes.

Camping was okay except for some awful partiers. Ironically one woman/girl was screaming "sorry, sorry, sorry" at three in the morning. The next night people almost walked into our tent looking for the bathroom because they saw the light on. In the morning the ladies room was covered with vomit. Better there than our tent, I guess.

We had campfires both nights. I actually got to knit by the fire for a couple minutes. But my favorite time camping is drinking perked coffee from the bit blue pot in the cool morning. My least favorite part was having a three-year-old crawl into my sleeping bag in the middle of the night. There is not enough room!

I had to wash K's clothes twice because they had so much dirt ground into them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Preschool

Whoa...I just noticed I haven't posted in over a month. One of the main reasons is that I got a call in the middle of August saying there was space at the co-op preschool three mornings a week. So I had to get doctor's notes; pack up extra clothes and gear; sign up for committees and work days; work one day a week there; and learn all the rules, rules, rules.

And voila, we have a preschooler. I didn't get first day photos because I was busy working there. He comes home each day soaked in paint. There are kids, trains, and a huge sandbox so he is thrilled to be a "preschool kid". The only tears were mine when I dropped him off on the second day after a sleepless night, and yesterday when he didn't want to leave because he wasn't "finished having fun".


I have already made one dump run for the school. Sigh. And there are two Tuesday night meetings a month, so I'm going to miss a bunch of knitting nights. Boo.

In other news, I crocheted for the first time in years. This is my interpretation of "Mouse and His Cookie".


We took a five day Labor Day weekend to visit up in Oregon. Lots of space to run in and cousins to rough house with for K. Of course we were suffering from a bug, thanks to preschool, no doubt.

Of course we found heavy equipment. This is at the really neat High Desert Museum on highway 97. There's a working saw mill, pioneer town, museum, and raptor area. We only saw a small part of it. Hope to visit some of the lava tubes in the area next time, too.


I took my bike a rode a couple times in the country and around downtown Albany. My sister and I took a few hours to shop and visited Baabaara's Wild and Wooley, where I learned to spin last year, and Jupiter Fiberworks in Bend. I was very restrained in my spending. Convinced my sister to buy a spindle and I got her fiber. Of course, met a few Ravelers.

As far as knitting and spinning lately, I better go back and see how I did on my summer knitting goals. Soon, I promise, no really, I'll post again soon!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tour de Peninsula

I did the ride, got the t-shirt.


Oh my gosh, it was only a 21 mile ride, but it was an accomplishment after being out of anything other than tootling around town for over three-and-a-half years. There were a couple climbs on the route I was familiar with both of them. I was nervous about the first one because I couldn't remember how steep it is, I remember the end being tough. The other I have done at least 75 times, which is reassuring.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a little spin to loosen up for today and I had a hard time on a couple hills that are normally fairly easy, so I was really nervous last night. I laid out all my gear, checked the bike and tried to get a good night's sleep.

I woke up with sore legs, that never happens, not a good start! But I also woke up with a better attitude. If I had to walk on a hill I would do it. At 5:45 I was in ride day auto-pilot. It all came back to me, including the nervous stomach.

Not much to tell about the ride. It was a beautiful overcast morning, my favorite riding weather. I got there really early, a little too early. I hate the standing around waiting. I was at peace with whatever might happen, and my dorky self in tennis shoes on slightly knobby tires. Then a woman waited next to me with my old bike. A few years newer but same color and model. There aren't a lot of them around exactly like that, people were admiring it. She said it was a little much for the riding she does in triathlons. I wanted to steal it, to be honest.

The ride was nice, lots of flag people, cops and closed off streets in San Mateo. I made the first climb fine, not as bad as I remembered it. A few folks were walking it, or resting half way up. The next part was through Sawyer Camp Trail, which was closed except for the riders. It smelled like manzanita, and was such a treat to ride through virtually alone (the 30 and 60 milers had a different route at that point). We came to the camera and the woman behind me said "Photo op - unzip your shirt". How did she know me?

Then the annoying thing happened. I was about 1/2 a mile from the climb that they neglected to mention, but I knew was there. Feeling good, I hear a voice say "if you raise your seat your legs won't cramp up". I said "thanks". He repeated himself and I shouted "thanks so much!" Yeah, thanks for assuming that because I am large and not on a road bike that I am ignorant. I am well aware how much my leg should extend. Have you ever ridden 480 miles across Alaska and slept in a gravel pit? It is so nice that you are teaching your son about bike riding, but you know what, I don't want your unsolicited advice. I noticed that you took a break and didn't pass me until a mile from the end, were your legs cramped? And nice ancient white helmet from the 80's.

By the way, it's not a seat, it is a saddle!!!111!! Unless you were talking about my seat. In which case, ewwww.

Anyhow, I did the long, steepish climb, then it was all downhill. Got back, and there was an insulting, brutal little uphill to the finish. Did it. Got my t-shirt and left.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Another Saturday

Wow, it's Saturday again. Time just flies by. Here are a few updates.

My Kid and Railroad Geekiness:

The littlest Viking turned three last Saturday. I present my humble attempt at a Thomas the Tank Engine cake.


He liked it.


It was a railfan kind of day. First we drove to Martinez, where one can see Amtrak trains and sometimes freight trains. There's also a farmer's market, so we had a picnic. Remember the Martinez beaver controversy? Well, I just read that there are now minks in town as well.

We drove home the long way so the birthday boy could nap, and ended up at Tilden Park. He woke up on the curvy roads, so we decided to stop and take him on the little steam railroad for the first time. What a great surprise that was for him. This photo shows him pretending to take a picture.


Then we came home for pizza and cake and presents. We now have Percy, Diesel, Bertie, Alfie, and Spencer on our personal Island of Sodor.

Knitting:

Not much to report. I have been working on items for our Christmas in August sale next Sunday. Once that's over, I'm ready to start the leg of my first Garden Gate.

Spinning:

I want to do a proper Tour de Fleece entry, with all the stats. In the meantime here is a pile of everything I spun during the Tour de France:

I spun a lot of yarn and learned a couple new things. I also watched a lot of the Tour on t.v.

Cycling:

But the best part was my commitment to riding my bike every race day. Even when we went on vacation I managed to ride the exercise bike at the motel, thanks to the tv in the "fitness room" and my sister babysitting.

I'm feeling stronger after three weeks of riding, it is a little easier taking K. out on the bike. He really enjoys it. I got him little cycling gloves (and new sunglasses for me). He signals when I signal and is in charge of the bell and waving. Last week we took a ride out along the Marina from Fort Mason to Fort Point. He demanded I keep riding and then he fell asleep.

His seat sits on the front of the bike so it has a low back. It was interesting riding with one hand on his chest holding him up. People always smile and wave at us. We are hard to miss. Quite the bike fashion "don't". I believe you should pick one color and stick with it, so I have a pink bike and helmet. But I wear neon a neon green vest or jacket for safety. And I couldn't bring myself to get a pink helmet for my boy. So before you know it, you are a rolling neon rainbow.


On Sunday, the last day of the Tour, I zoomed down to Safeway because I forgot to get ice cream. I got a few helium balloons, tied them to the bike and rode home. I've never had cars give me so much room before! Not the Champs Elysees, but it felt good to have stuck to riding for three weeks.

I signed up for an organized ride tomorrow that benefits the San Mateo parks. I'm doing the 20 mile route, which is humbling after all the metric centuries I've done in the past. As it is I'll probably get my butt kicked by the few climbs. Oh well, got to start somewhere.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What I'm Doing This Summer

We went to Oregon last weekend for my grandfather's 91st birthday. Here are some highlights of the road trip.

K. riding the "tractor" with my redneck cousin:


A goat trying to get out of the rain:


He was better off than this poor pony:


The phrasing of this sign just seems wrong to me:


Since it is at a drive through, where you would be concerned about your roof. Unless you were a giant in a convertible, I guess. Didn't see one of those.

There were a lot of fun photo-less things, including two fiber shops. If you are on Ravelry you can read about the Unicorn Donkey incident. If you are not on Rav, in a nutshell, my family thinks I am studip because I though I saw a brown unicorn. They have no problem with the idea that I saw a unicorn in the Willamette Valley.

And I have been spinning like mad the past two weeks for Le Tour de Fleece. Several hundred yards of Scandinavian breed wool for my Danish Tie Shawl. On vacation I switched to the spindle.

I spun in the car:


On a ferry:


In the La Quinta Inn "fitness room".

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tour de Fleece

Happy Independence Day!

(Photo by Teekay)

So I think I neglected to mention that I got a new spinning wheel. It's a Mach 1 from Spinolution. It's the same exact wheel that I rented back in April.

I joined Tour de Fleece on Ravelry, pledging to spin every day they ride during the Tour de France. I'm working on spinning up all that Scandinavian fiber I have collected so I can knit a Danish Tie Shawl.

I actually sat and spun for an hour this morning. Got to watch a bunch of the time trial, too. I was a bit disappointed that Thor was only shown coming out of the gate, not on the road.

It is hard to say who is happier about the new wheel.


He's such a good sport about knitting and such. He loves to wind yarn. And who can blame him when his clothes match so well?