Sunday, May 27, 2007

I've been tagged!

Well, I can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I posted. A lot of life has happened between these posts, so I hope you’ll forgive me. That’s the way it’s going to be with this blog—work and kid commitments got in the way.

E had four performances in the school play, Wizard of Oz, and a dance recital. She did a great job and it was fun to watch the whole cast of Wizard of Oz. This jr. high class wrote the script, put together the sets, auditioned for the parts, etc. and did a great job! I made the tree costumes and helped a little bit with costumes and makeup (most of her classmates are smart enough to know I’m NOT the right person to do elaborate makeup!).

JB had her kindergarten performance and she was, at long last, VIP in her classroom. This was long-anticipated. Because JB’s birthday is during Thanksgiving week (a short week to begin with and also with minimum days) and because there were two other kids with birthdays within a day or two of hers, she had to wait to be the last kid to be VIP in her entire class, so it was a BIG DEAL.

First we had to host “Bobo” and “Betty”, the class teddy bears for the weekend. We included them in all of our activities and “journaled” (I think elementary school teachers have made this a verb!) about their visit, including photos and hand drawn pictures. Bobo and Betty enjoyed Friday night Shabbat dinner with us, attended Tot Shabbat at our congregation's brand NEW synagogue, and the 113th annual Santa Rosa Rose parade from the luxury of my office balcony.

(Bobo enjoying the Santa Rosa Rose parade from my office balcony.)

Then each family member had to visit the classroom and amaze and awe the kids with something about us. JB was asked what she likes most to do with me, and her answer was “go to Starbucks”. Oh, oh. I think we need a life (considering the last time we went to Starbucks was last fall!). Since someone in my profession already visited--my work was deemed "boring", so I did knitting and spindle spinning. Most of the kids got to have their pets visit, but Jazmine is not well-behaved enough to do that. So we took the class pictures of her, instead.

I asked the kids if they knew where yarn comes from and they all answered “the store”. First, I had the kids take apart a piece of yarn to see how it’s constructed. Then I gave them each a small piece of roving to try twisting and plying. Then I showed them other fibers—silk, cotton, etc and showed them what I knit out of those yarns. They seemed to like it, but the next day WG came in with homemade rootbeer and I was passé!

E even made a visit to JB’s classroom. When the teacher asked her what she liked most about her sister, E’s answer was “she’s always happy, even if it is pretty annoying”.

Not a lot of knitting this month. I’m still doing a few rows here and there on the feather and fan stole, but my shoulders have been really giving me problems.

Tag, you're it!

If you've been tagged by me, here are the rules:

Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

I got tagged by KnitCrazy, so here are my seven things about me:

1. I am a very smart woman. I know this because I was smart enough to wait for the right person to come along, and even smarter that I recognized him right away and married him.

2. I grew up on the island of Okinawa, which is now part of Japan. I didn’t appreciate it very much then, but now I wish I could go back and see it again.

3. When we lived on Okinawa, we had a maid (sounds elitist now, but all the American civilians stationed there had one). She crocheted lacy doilies with an impossibly small steel hook. I wanted to crochet too, so she gave me a hook and some thread when I was about 6. I managed-- after weeks of work--an impossibly tight chain of about 12 stitches. I crocheted a little in high school and college.

4. My aunt from Florida came to visit when I was about 14. When she was there, I got very sick and had to stay in bed for about 2 weeks. She taught me to knit and I knit a small square for an afghan—never knit any of the other squares, so it was a very small afghan! I thought it was great, but I didn’t pick up the needles again for many years.

5. My husband and I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii shortly after marrying. I was “underemployed” there and had a lot of time to do crafts. Somehow I got the knitting bug—even though it was really too warm to wear knits or enjoy knitting. I seriously contemplated getting a knitting machine—they were actually pretty popular there. I knit a few small things there, but really didn’t know what I was doing. It was unpleasant knitting with wool and acrylic in the sticky heat.

6. We moved back to Northern California shortly before my first daughter was born. She was born in the middle of December and it was cold. So I got some (acrylic) yarn, some needles, and a Leisure Art book and knit her a cute little cap. The knitting bug had bitten, and I’ve never looked back.

7. I have more needles, patterns in books and magazines, and yarn than I can ever expect to knit in a single lifetime. Or two, or three. I think I’m going to incorporate what should happen to my knitting stuff into my will.

I tagged the following people:

I hope you all ENJOY sharing seven things--this is meant to be fun, not a chore. I read your blogs and love you all.

I'm going to TRY to be better about posting more frequently. I have something in mind for the next post (perhaps tomorrow) and we got a new digital camera which should make it much easier to post in the future.

Happy Memorial Day!


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Just what I needed!!!

There's a lot of stuff I SHOULD have been doing this weekend . . .

. . .

but what I DID was go yarn shopping.

I was just in one of those moods. Itchy fingers. Nothing in my stash was going to satisfy me.

With the surplice being done, there was nothing urgent on the needles (we're not counting those noisy old NFO's!). I'm having a lot of shoulder pain these days (an old football injury ;o), so knitting with the cotton for the linen stitch placemats is NOT A GOOD IDEA. I wanted to knit something soft and pretty.

At first I thought socks, but summer is coming. My feet will be too swollen to wear good socks for months, and nobody in my family will wear wool socks until next winter.

So I spent a lovely hour browsing my LYS (it's small!) and found these two balls of Fiddlesticks Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool Silk. It's soft as butter and a lovely, heathery purple called "Elderberry" (Makes me hungry for toast and jam when I knit). I thought about a lot of patterns (almost decided on the Fiddlesticks Flower basket pattern), but IT wanted to be a feather and fan stole.

Lace knitting is cheap knitting. You get a lot of yardage and knitting satisfaction for not too much money. And you get a lot of oohs and ahhs for a few yarn overs and Knit two togethers. What could be better?

OK, I can do that.

The pattern is basic feather and fan, in particular the Lace 1,2, 3 pattern free from the Knitpicks website (Scroll down to the bottom to where it says "download free pattern").

I added 5 garter stitches on each edge, and I plan to knit it halfway, remove the KPO needles and hold the yarn on the cable (Love the KPO's!) to knit a second, identical half and kitchener them together. This will be a light stole to wear in the office when the AC makes it chilly in the summer.

It's lovely yarn to knit--the silk content gives a nice sheen but does not take away the yarn's spring--so it's easy on the hands and shoulders. The knitting goes quite fast. This yarn is so soft and cuddly that I could sleep with it--but I don't think WG would understand.

I love feather and fan. 3 out of 4 pattern rows are mindless, and the one row that takes concentration takes very little.

This is my feather and fan row counter. It's got four glass beads in shades of purple (elderberry?) on a lobster claw, connected to an eyeglass "thingie". I really only needed two beads, but didn't figure that out until later.

Here's how it works: On row 1, I pull down just one bead. That tells me I'm on row 1, knit acress between markers. On the back side, I'm on row 2, purl across between markers.

On row 3, two more beads get pulled down (three beads, three rows, get it?) and I know that's the pattern row. The back side of that is row 4, another knit across row. Then all but one bead get slid back up to begin row 1 again. Two beads would have been enough, but it's no big deal. This is the second F&F project I've used it on. It's a pretty marker, light weight, and works well (as long as I remember to use it every odd row--ERK!). I also have rubber ring markers between each pattern repeat, so almost no thinking is required at all, even on the pattern row.

Right now it's very portable in my ultrasuede drawstring bag, but will outgrow that before it's done. We'll see what it wants to be carried in then.

The lone LYS is really a quilting and sewing machine store where they've devoted about 25% to knitting and crochet. On the wall was a stunning quilt. I think it was called a "candleflame". OMG, it was gorgeous. I admit to being a bit jealous. I love quilts, but HATE quilting--it's too fussy and picky to me--not easily portable, and too dependent on machines. Plus, those needles are SHARP!!!!!!!!!!.

But quilters can paint with color in a way that can't be easily replicated with knitting. Intarsia is a PITA, and--though I really enjoy doing it--Fair Isle is not as versatile and it costs too much to have a broad pallette of colors. The fabrics that are out there for quilting are stunning. So I'll just have to be jealous and knit on.