Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall in Oregon

Okay, let's gloss over the fact that I haven't blogged about our summer vacation, fiber fests, Halloween or recent knitting. It has been crazy here, with my school, work and life.

So here are some photos from a recent trip to Oregon. The colors are intense this time of year.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer is Over, Time to Blog

We took a twelve-day trip to the East Coast (NH, MA, and ME). It was great fun. K. and I got to meet a bunch of my husband's family. Got the whole picture now. I had a lot of fiber fun, too. I'm going to blog about that at the Purl Jam site in a couple days.

I don't have a lot of photos from the trip because my camera got broken on day three. I'm trying to get some pics from everyone else so I can blog about the trip properly.

The last year of preschool started today. It is a separate program for the five-year-olds who aren't quite ready for Kindergarten. Did you know there is homework in Kindergarten these days. One more year of a little less structure for this guy:

I'm trying to find a part-time job. Still working at the fiber shop, but need something 20-30 hours a week so we can finally buy a house. I have had enough of apartment life. My plan was to get a job when K. entered Kindergarten next year because he will be there from about 9-3, but I started looking a couple months ago, knowing it would take some time. No luck yet. Got to the second interview at one, but didn't get it. Had a phone interview at another, no dice. Then I got a call for an interview on the third day of our vacation and set it up for today. Unfortunately they hired someone else in the meantime. All of them were near home and K.'s school. Very disappointing, especially the first which was a very protracted process.

But I had a plan B. I'm taking art classes which start tomorrow. I'm finally taking Color Theory at City College. Got all my paints and supplies yesterday. I found out CCSF offers a Textile Certificate, so I decided to work towards that. I have quite a few credits toward it already, took Textile Analysis over the summer and am taking Weaving this semester, too.

Now to catch up since my last post in June. Apologies, as many of these photos were taken with my cell phone, and there are probably more typos than usual.

I don't have good photos from the party, it was a Star Wars theme. Lots of friends and family came for a nice afternoon at Coyote Point. Don't hold your breath on the thank-you cards. In lieu of birthday pics, here is one of him hamming it up in Bar Harbor, Maine.


My knitting group was in the local neighborhood paper. There's a shot of me on the inside, too. But I don't like to brag, you know.


I asked my potter friend for a fruit colander. She asked for a sketch. I received an exact replica. Here it is in action. I hear that she will work for handspun yarn. Good thing, I need a bowl for spinning on a tahkli.


I finally stained my spinning wheel in preparation for the Tour. Love the way it turned out. I washed and washed and washed Jacob fleece from the zoo shearing. I was on Team Raw Power and carded and spun well over a pound. That's a lot of rolags to turn this:

Into this:

Perhaps coincidentally I finally decided on a drum carder.

It is a Strauch "Finest". It comes with a lot of bells and whistles. Here are some of the instructions: do not to lend it to friends, do not let children play with it, do not card dirty fleece. I haven't done any blending yet, but the kid and I have prepped a bunch of zoo alpaca. You know, I think I am going to buy a fleece from a spinners flock at California Wool and Fiber this year. It will be a dream after the zoo stuff.

My friend organized the second annual San Francisco Ravelry Meet-up. There was a KAL of hats by local designers. At the last minute I cast on for Diamond Head Beret with Peace Fleece. I love the yarn and the pattern. My denial about ribbing, not so much. I knocked it out in two days, including cutting off the first ribbing and re-knitting it. Sadly, I need to do so again, still too slouchy. There was also a fun toy swap. Sadly I don't have a photo of the gnome I made or the cupcake I received.

The yarn-buying drought that was broken at Jimmy Beans has caused a river of yarn to come in the house. In particular I got more Madelinetosh and a sweater's worth of Noro Silk Garden. Plus everything on our trip. But that's different.

No photos!!

Finally got my hands on some Hello Yarn thanks to Starry Knit.

I was busy with my class over the summer but I did get most of a sweater done, made a second pair of Pomatomus, and cast on for a shawl.

The kid requested a second piece of toast.


The guys spent the past year amending the soil in the tiny backyard that we cannot see from our apartment (did I mention I am sick of it here?). It was mainly a way to get the kid outside and digging. There isn't even room to run. It was so funky and overgrown that I never went out there. A few months ago I got a bunch of free mulch from the people who do the City's garbage, kind of a give back for all the stuff we put out in the compost bin. So I put it in the raised bed and planted there and around the fence. Between the couple things that were growing already, stuff that we dug up from job sites, and things I planted it is kind of nice. There is way more out there now. And there are gnomes, of course.

To recap, a lot of stuff happened since June. I still need to blog about some of it. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Knitting Life Summer Edition

What's been happening around here? My kid graduated from preschool a few weeks ago, that was pretty amazing. The kids put on a musical and their teacher spoke about each kid individually. The words 'action' and 'enthusiasm' described mine. We'll be at the school for another year in the Young 5 program for those kids who are too young or not quite ready for Kindergarten.


Did I mention the S.F. Zoo sheep shearing? That was in May, too, and I blogged about it on the Purl Jam site.


We are taking a break between school and a couple sessions of summer camp to do things like go to the Academy of Sciences, Fisherman's Wharf, the Zoo, etc. and generally lounge about. We road tripped with my parents to Reno week before last. We played in the snow on the way up and I visited Jimmy Beans Wool, where I purchased yarn. That's right, the yarn buying freeze which lasted eighteen months is over.

We visited both the Nevada State Rail Museum and the California State Rail Museum. There was also a tram at Circus Circus. A small railfan's dream come true.

I just started a three-unit textile analysis course that is jammed into seven weeks, eight hours of class a week. Pretty intense, but I want to pursue art classes. The last one I took was when I was pregnant. You never know when we might win the lottery big time and I could go back to school full time for that MFA in Textiles. I would only have about 40 units of undergrad art classes to do first.

We are going to the East Coast in August, and I finally get to meet the rest of my in-laws. I have been studying the Fiber Trail Map of Maine in preparation.

I have been looking for a part-time job for a few months. Just in case that lottery thing doesn't work out. Still working at Urban Fauna Studio a couple days a month.

A short term goal is to get all my raw fiber washed. We are having non-foggy weather so I started yesterday with alpaca, on to the zoo Jacob today. I have hopes of sanding, staining, and sealing my spinning wheel this summer, too.


Last weekend I took an all-day Rosemaling class. Even though I've taken two other classes and spent time practicing the strokes over the past couple months, I was really out of my element. An all-day knitting class, even on a new technique feels challenging, but doable. With the painting that little voice that says I can't do this kind of thing kept creeping in. But in the end I was really happy with this piece, I can hardly believe I did it. Mr. TVP said we should hang it on the front door to greet people.

On to the knitting front. I started a sweater for myself. We shall see how that turns out.

I finished my first intarsia project, Argyle Socks designed by Margie Dougherty. Quite pleased.

I actually broke the yarn buying oath last month to knit this cowl for the great Purl Jam Birthday Cowl Exchange.

That's the Owlie Owl Cowl in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. For a while there I had these two fiddly projects using black yarn on size 0 needles and nothing else. Very hard on my eyes in the evenings. Plus the cowl was a secret so I couldn't even share my progress, except with one person.

More babies are coming. I wish I had taken a photo of the pink & brown hat a bought to go with these booties.

Read about this fun group project over on Purl Jam. I knit a couple squares for this blanket and at least one for the other baby, too.

And a pair of socks for each.

I think knitting will end up taking a back seat to my class for a while. By the time we go on our trip I will be free again. I'm sure I will pack at least four projects, I took three for a three-day trip to Reno.

Right now I have to go play trains.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Maker Faire 2011

We went down to the Faire this morning, a flawless trip. I bought the tickets in advance to save $15, we parked in a free lot, ran to the shuttle and arrived ten minutes before the gates opened.

On the way down I was weaving in ends of the R2D2 hat I cast on last night and finished at 1:20 this morning. Confidence was high that I would finish it in time, even when I frogged the whole thing at 10:30 pm because it was too large. The hat was worn for less than half an hour total.

We went to the kid area first, which conveniently for me, was near the crafting. So nice to be there early and have room to look around. Next stop ice cream. As much as I love chocolate ice cream it was not that appetizing at 10:40 am. Even R2D2 couldn't eat more than a few bites.

We moved on and I spotted Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. I was within six feet of him. Very exciting. This poor photo shows him being interviewed by (I think) Zachary Coffin the inventor of Colossus there in the background. There was no opportunity to actually meet Mike Rowe or get an autograph. He had quite a large group of officials and security around him. And I probably had chocolate ice cream on my face.

During the day I ran into friends from my knitting group, folks from the shop, crafty vendors, and my ex-husband.

We wandered around. I took a quick soldering class and made a little robot pin with a light. I resisted buying yarn, but did get some carbonized bamboo to spin, a pattern, and these pink wool hair elastics from NifNaks.

Many favorites were there, like the cupcake cars and Katherine Jolda's bicycle-powered drum carder.

And new things like the trackless train.

There is something for everyone at the Maker Faire.

We left having seen a lot but not everything. It got too crowded and we were tired. As we got back to the parking lot at 2:30 we heard someone in the long line for the shuttle to the Faire wondering why we were leaving so early. We laughed and wondered why people would get there so late. Arriving before the crowds is the way to go when you have a little kid.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Hope you have a great day.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Knitting is Fun

For fun I'm knitting argyle socks, the current One-Sock-A-Month pattern. Just to make my first intarsia as challenging as possible, they are fingering weight on size 0's. And if the knitting isn't tricky enough, the leg and foot seaming ought to be interesting.

Here's my progress since I started Tuesday. I have the edge covered up because I did a provisional cast-on with orange yarn. Distracting. After the sock is done, I will go back and pick up the stitches and do a ribbed cuff. Fiddly.

Okay, a baby got born, so I can post the socks and hats I knit for him.

I've been making progress on my Frankensocks.

I almost forgot, I finished my Kalajoki socks. My third pair in Wollmeise yarn.

On the horizon is sheep shearing at the San Francisco Zoo on May 7th. I'm organizing a spinning, knitting, wool in general demo. I hope to get some yarn spun from the Jacob wool I had from previous years.

I've finally picked out colors to stain my spinning wheel. That took two years, so maybe it will get done in the next three.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stitches West, Birthday, FO's

What a great tradition this is turning into, going to Stitches West on my birthday weekend.

Friday I took a great class on Swedish twined knitting, Tvåänddsstickning, by Beth Brown-Reinsel. It is done by working from both ends of a ball of yarn, twisting the yarn every stitch for a firm fabric. It can be done in one color or two, and is in the round. I found it quite challenging. You twist one way for knit, the other for purl. I kept getting confused. I left class a little early because my hands hurt, so I didn't get one of those cool photos of all the student projects, but here is the progress I made in class.

Once I do a little practice I will switch to a new pair of wristlets. Most commercial yarn is plyed in the S or counter-clockwise direction. If you use it while twined knitting it comes untwisted. Black Water Abbey yarn, from Ireland, is plyed Z, or clock-wise. Handily they were at Stitches.

So, yes, I broke my over year-long spell and bought yarn. Hey, I need it for a Scandinavian technique. It was birthday money. I also bought a book about twined knitting and sock blockers! I didn't go back to the market on Saturday, I felt quite satisfied with my purchases. I would have liked to look at a lot of things again, but it wasn't worth the drive back down. I had the worst commute ever Friday, the just normally just over and hour drive took over two-and-a-half. At a couple points I was sitting still on the freeway in the rain in the dark.

Side note, I got a glass head from Pier One for blocking and photographing hats last month. I love it.

I also received lovely fiber-y gifts for my birthday. A Will Taylor Lazy Kate. A lovely nostepinne.

Yarn and (not pictured) three kinds of wool to spin from my kin.

Time to catch up on knitting. I got my Bohus Nye Azalea hat done!! Here's a close-up.

The photo way up top was taken by Tracey who apparently is a reader of this blog. I also got her to take pictures of my Waving Lace socks, knit in Wollmeise.

I finished another pair of Wollmeise socks, pattern Shur'tugal late last year. I've got a third WM pair almost done.

The very popular One-Sock-A-Month group is doing argyles next. I'm all set to go.

The preschool held it's annual auction and I donated a few handmade things, including the handspun knit hat and mitts up there with the glass head.

I received some Coopworth wool. I've been wanting to try dyeing multicolors and free fiber and a sick day home with the kid seemed like the perfect opportunity for playing. I had him in a mask and safety glasses as we carefully put Jacquard Acid dyes in the hot water/vinegar/wool bath.

I was amazed that the colors actually soaked right in instead of migrating throughout the water. In the past I've been working for the opposite, dye throughout the water to get even color. We got the distinct colors, and then played a bit with blending.

I spun it up for the auction.

Late last year the kid wanted to make his teacher "Iguana yarn" it had to be green and shiny. Okay. So he picked out green dye and Angelina fibers. I dyed the wool, spun it up S and plied it Z because she's a crocheter. I had heard that yarn specifically for crochet is spun like that.

I know a bunch of ladies having babies, so I've been busy knitting little things that I can't post about.