Friday, February 27, 2009

O. Ver. Whelmed!

Well, I'm back from Stitches West, which was unbelievable. I think I wandered around in a daze for the best part of four hours, unable to focus on anything in particular. Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I just couldn't bring my mind to what I should buy...amazing! Eventually, I did find some gorgeous things. Here's Tactile Superwash Merino Sock Yarn in Aventurine:
And, feeling adventurous, I bought some Habu Wool Stainless Steel (75% wool, 25% stainless steel):
And a skein of Habu Superfine Merino:
My friend Margaret, in Oz, had contacted me this morning to see if I would bring her a couple of bits of Blue Faced Leicester so she could try spinning it. That helped focus my mind a bit, and Lynne (Yarnivorous) was a big help in keeping me on track to accomplish that goal. Thanks, Lynne!

Here's Lynne admiring some gorgeous yarn in just "her" colors:
And here's the BFL I chose for Margaret...first up, A Verb for Keeping Warm, in Color #9:
Next, some gorgeous Lisa Souza BFL in a color Lisa calls "Cwanberri", because that's how her grandson pronounces it:
And some gorgeous Leaf Pile:
And finally, some South Pacific:

I had hoped to find a scarf pin or two, but was just too distracted to focus on anything. I think next year, with the experience of my first Stitches already under my belt, I'll do better. But oh, my, it was FUN!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

EZ Rules!

What fun! Having 3.5 wheels of leftover Unspun Icelandic from Schoolhouse Press in the great color, Sumac, I decided to try Elizabeth Zimmermann's Stonington Shawl (from Knitter's Workshop, maybe? I left my book at home). Actually, this was my illicit airplane knitting: you may remember the great Bamboo DPNs Scandal of last year...well, this time I decided to be smarter. I took my KnitPicks Harmony 5.5mm tips, tucked into my briefcase beside the pens and pencils. The cable resided in an outer pocket, all on its lonely. One wheel of yarn was tucked into my rollaboard. Once settled on the plane, well after takeoff, I assembled the needles, cast on, and during my sojourn in California I have been knitting.

Today I paused to admire my brilliance in attempting a picot bind-off on the completed shawl/blanket, and here's what it looks, eh?

And here's the unblocked, blanket. We're going to leave it here in Oakland at the apartment, so we'll have something nice and toasty to throw over our knees while we watch TV.
You may remember that I used this yarn in the Blacksheep color to make my Pi Shawl last year, and that's what we use at home in Australia for TV watching. It was a blessing having so much of the Sumac leftover from my Pansy Triangle Shawl, so I could make up this the pattern, love the yarn, love the color!
And's off to visit some fabric shops on a quest for the perfect border fabric for Katie Rose's string quilt. Did I mention that she's chosen the words she'd like for that border? Here's the winner: Life is a song, sing it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is a dream, realize it. I'll use the stronger colors from the string blocks, probably one color group for each of the three phrases, and the background will be a light pink, either a very small print or a tone on tone. That's today's quest.
And TOMORROW it's Stitches West at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I'll have a chance to meet Lynne of Yarnivorous, too...woot!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Alpaca, and Wires, and Blocking, Oh My!

Well, dang! Looky-looky...see that blue bow? As I started blocking the wet pink alpaca shawl, I found a very large hole, getting larger with every gentle pat of the shawl. It was such a sickening sight, I couldn't stand even to take a pic of it for you to see! Instead, I grabbed a yarn needle and some yarn, gathered up every open stitch I could find, and pulled them into this bow. Now I've gone ahead and blocked the thing, and I'll worry about somehow sewing that spot in some not-too-obtrusive fashion when I'm finished. Grrrr! Can't even feel too sorry for myself, because I remember Bells had a similar experience recently, and someone else, too, but I can't remember who it was. Anyway, here's the nearly finished piece -- sorry for the poor pic. It's a very grey day outside, and pink alpaca doesn't show up very well against the pale blue sheet on which it's being blocked.
In happier news, here is the scene when we visited our friends in the Sierra Nevada Foothills this weekend...pretty, no? It didn't actually snow up there while we were visiting, but I think they're getting some now!

As you see, they had gotten a pretty good fall over the previous week, although rain the previous day had melted off quite a bit of it. This is actually how I LIKE snow: enough to look pretty, but not enough to be a nuisance.

And, as promised, here's the Mini Mochi sock yarn. Since I took this pic, I've turned the heel and started down the foot on the first sock. I think it's going to be pretty, don't you? And very warm, due to the small percentage of alpaca in the yarn.

So now we're back at the condo for the final week of our visit to the Bay Area. Next Monday is departure day, but in the meantime, there are friends and family to visit, restaurants and shops to visit, and Stitches West on Friday...yay!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pics, At Last!

Look what jumped into my shopping cart at KnitPicks...two skeins of Imagination in the color Looking Glass, and two skeins of Felici in Tyrian Purple. These were supposed to be for socks, but...Imagination just wanted to be a scarf...
And then, and Peace Fleece (in Volgasippi Blue) and Beaverslide (in Dusty Clover) arrived. Peace Fleece will be the Acer sweater, and Beaverslide I'm not sure...was thinking of the Amanda cardigan from A Fine Fleece, but now I'm uncertain.

I did also succumb to this DK weight Swish in Ash, because I've been wanting to make something in a superwash wool.
But wait...there's MORE! The Yubina Cashwool and Cashmere I'd ordered arrived, too. That's the Cashwool on the left in the silvery blue (it's maybe a shade lighter in real life), and the gorgeous cashmere laceweight in the red violet on the right. Too cool...
And, can you believe it? I finally got my blocking wires. Now all I have to do is find the intestinal fortitude to tackle that big pink alpaca lace shawl... And look what I found, used, in my prowling around bookstores here...
Plus, KnitPicks had a big book sale, and look what found its way into my cart:
And then, my sis, Sheri, sent me this adorable book, as a prezzie:
Plus, a little jaunt to Eddie's Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale found me the fabric I need for the sashing and cornerstones for Katie Rose's string quilt. I think I'll use the dots for the sashing and the bright pink for the stars, unless someone has a better idea.
So all in all, I've been a very successful shopper on this trip. Somebody stop me, quick!
Oh, and I almost forgot...we will make a little jaunt up into the Sierra Nevada Foothills this weekend (snow!) and I made this little hat to take to my friend Liza. It's the Belle Starr hat knit with Berrocco Jasper:

Plus, one more fun find: Crystal Palace Mini Mochi yarn...soft, cuddly and a little fluffy, which is trying to become a pair of socks...pic will be forthcoming in my next post.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Post, But No Pics

Thought I'd check in, anyway. Guess who forgot to bring the camera to California. Grrrrr! Fortunately, DH will fly up tomorrow, and he's bringing it along, so I may have things to show soon.

Having a great time just lounging around the condo, taking naps, going for walks, EATING OUT! And I've had a chance to see the grandsons three times...they are leaving for India with their mom tomorrow for three weeks' holiday (DS is staying home to take care of their kitties and keep the home fires burning), so I was lucky to have the time with them. We made bread together the other day -- the No Knead Bread recipe that's been all around Blogland lately. Have you tried it yet? Absolutely wonderful. In fact, since I learned to do it in mid-December, I haven't bought a single loaf of bread.

And I've been shopping, of course. What have I bought, you ask? Well, my Yubina Cashmere Lace yarn in a silvery pale blue arrived and it's gorgeous, as well as the Cashmere-Silk lace yarn in orchid...ditto. I'll post a pic and link once my camera is here. Also bought some gorgeous new sock yarn called Mini Mochi and have started some socks. Plus some lovely DK weight brown yarn for a hat for a friend. Also, the yarn I ordered from Oz was delivered to me here: 7 skeins of gorgeous Beaverslide worsted in Dusty Clover and 7 skeins of Peace Fleece in Volgasippi Blue... wonderful! Also did a little damage in the clothing department: a couple of pretty outfits at Chico's, and some elbow-length, v-neck t-shirts is black, white, turquoise and lime (gotta cover up those chicken-wing upper arms these days...LOL).

I mailed off the 10 Wishes quilt to its recipient and it was received this week...everyone loved it. In fact, Katie, for whom I'm making the big girl quilt right now (see previous blogpost for a pic of the string quilt in progress), loved her sister's quilt a lot. She had the following to say about the pieced "wishes" in the border: "Mom, Tessabell can't even read...maybe I should take THIS quilt instead" and "Really, this quilt is too big for Tess, who is so little, but it would be a good size for me." I take that to mean the quilt was a hit. And of course I now MUST add some words to the border for Katie's quilt, too. Thinking about themes or phrases that might be appropriate...and still searching for the perfect sashing and border fabric, but no luck so far.

Meanwhile, back in Oz, the temperatures soared and soared and have stayed up...really dreadfully hot and unpleasant for everyone, even in the Southern Highlands, which is not usually so affected for so long. Poor old kitties, locked in their kitty condos for the next three plus weeks. Fortunately the catsitter will come every day to be sure their water is topped up, their litter boxes are clean and they have their favorite food to eat. Supposed to cool off and even have some rain next week...I'll be hoping that's so. And the poor old horses, too...Nadia is in her late 20's and has been falling off quite a bit lately, so we worry about her. Our neighbor is giving her a special daily feed of "seniors" feed, with vitamins and molasses and other good things, but I think she will really feel the heat. Tyler is only just older than 20 and in much better health and strength, so I don't worry quite so much about him...