Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Polls. They're Not Just For Dancers.

Call me dorky, but I've added a polling feature to my blog. (It's on the left column, scroll a little bit down the page.)

What do you think? Do you like polls? If so, go ahead and vote.

I'll add a new one each week.

Purl Shell Scarf

Here's a scarf that I made for my friend Terry for her birthday. I know. I'm not usually a knitter for other people. But the color was perfect for her (a really soft pale blue, which clearly doesn't show up in these pics...)

Le Scarf

The stitch is Purl Shell from Barbara Walkers Treasury of Knitting which I've renamed Treasury of Torture, since many of the stitches cause me to curse a lot.

Taking a Saturday morning stitch class at my LYS finally had me master it. It's really not as hard as I first thought, but definitely one of those stitches where you have to pay attention when knitting.

Up close look

I used four skeins of Merino Big Superfein from Lassa Grossa, which was 520 yards of yarn. This stitch is a bit of a yarn pig, as I didn't think I'd need the 4th skein, but used almost all of it.

All in all worth it because I think the scarf looks pretty unique. I've already started a purl shell scarf for me with different yarn. (Yes, for me. I know. Shocking.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If This Isn't Enough

To keep me from munching on the holiday snacks being delivered to our office by the truckload....

...nothing is.

Does anyone else feel sorry for that chair? ;-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm Not Dead

Oh, I know. It seems like I am. I haven't posted in what seems like forever. I should probably blame my job as got promoted right about the time my posts stopped -- too coincidental to be just a coincidence.

Blogging has come to a screeching halt, but thankfully not all knitting. And my shopping for knitting? Certainly NOT stalled. I'm working on a few items. I'll post them soon.

I just wanted to let anyone who still reads this blog know that I am still a resident of the land of the living. Despite how my blog reads...

Will post pics & projects soon.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Secret Pal Went to France...

Forget those lame assed t-shirts: "My (fill in relationship) went to (fill in city) and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

My secret pal went to France and I got way better than a lousy t-shirt. Check this out:

The secret package arrived at work on Monday.

I had no idea what it was. Our office manager who delivered the box to me said: "Yarn from France, perhaps?" (I guess she's figured out I'm a shopper.)

My response: "Hmmm. I don't know anyone in France. I and haven't bought anything online from there (that I can remember...)"

Wrapped goodies inside. Even the tissue paper from France was nice. All thick and textured.


What _is_ all this stuff, you ask? Beautiful angora yarn from rabbits who live in a great chateau (my pal said photos were to arrive later on where and how they live); yummy French cookies; sea salt from France (can't wait to cook with that!); bath gel/soap (this particular part of France is known for their bath items); and the most adorable monkey pen.

See how fluffy?

Look at these adorable monkeys.

My pal can find the greatest stuff for me. Thanks, Secret Pal. I now need to figure out who you are.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Because I Need More Yarn

My husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We got married at Carmel Valley Ranch and thought it would be a great place to visit again for this special weekend.

The night of our anniversary we had dinner at the Pacific Edge restaurant at the
Highlands Inn.

The view from our table

My heirloom tomato salad (deeeeelish!)

The anniversary cake

The view after the sun set

I ordered the cake from the same bakery that made our wedding cake. I spoke with the restaurant in advance and told them it would be a surprise for my husband. The plan was: take our desert orders from the menu, but substitute what we order with the surprise cake.

All seemed to be going well until I saw that a cheese sampler was one of the desert choices. Since my husband is the lover of all things cheese, he studied the list and selected the three he thought would be best. While he placed the order I thought to myself, "damn the cheese course."

While the cake was truly delicious (and the added ice cream a complete bonus - diet be damned) my husband's response after we cut into the cake?

"I guess this means I'm not getting my cheese course?"

It was pretty funny.

Maybe next anniversary I'll have them make a cake of cheese.

While on our getaway weekend we had to stop at the LYS in the area. (Of course...)

I had visited Monarch Knitting in Pacific Grove the last time I was in the area, and I really liked the selection. Plus, the owner and her staff are completely friendly and helpful -- so why not stop in again and see what's there?

This is what I came home with. Because, you know, I need more yarn.

The polka dot black and white is actually for my mother

The brown will make this felted bear (minus the retarded "sweater" he's wearing...), which may eventually be a gift for my neice. Or not...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Inspired Again

I've been a little dismayed by my knitting lately. I have SOOOO much yarn and SOOOO many patterns to make, but my last sweater attempt has left me gun shy.

As I mentioned here before, I'm sick of making scarves and yet another kitty pi. But it took the monthly knit and wine at my LYS to get me back into action.

I obviously couldn't go there with nothing to knit, so I scrounged around my stash and found some yarn I bought before the summer started. Nashua Wooly Stripes. One of the other knit and wine participants made a great mistake rib scarf using this yarn, alternating two skeins every two rows.

So I gave it a whirl. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Broken Rib Wooly Stripes Scarf

Now if only it would cool down enough to wear said scarf!

The pattern:
Multiple of 4 plus 3 sts
K2, P2 across row. End with K3
Repeat this row throughout

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I Know There Are Ignorant People Out There...

...But come on. This one takes the cake. (Mmmmm. Cake.)

My husband and I were in a taxi the other night going to a friend's house for dinner. We were in San Francisco, the city in which we both work and have lived for years before moving north over the Golden Gate bridge about 12 miles.

San Francisco. Bumfuck it ain't.

Or so I thought. We're at a red light. A pickup truck pulls up next to our taxi. Woman in passenger seat leans out the window and says to our driver:

Woman: "How do we get to 101 South?"

Driver: "Make a left at this light and go about 2 blocks. You'll see it on your right."

At this point, the guy driving the pickup truck who is out of our line of vision calls out the the taxi driver:

Redneck Asshole: "Hey. Where are all the gays at?"

Driver: "Huh?"

Redneck Asshole: "You know, gays."

When he didn't get a response, he kicks it up a notch:

Redneck Asshole: "OK. Where are the prostitutes at?"

I'm no pollyanna, but if I didn't hear this with my own two ears I may not have believed it. And not because he ended his questions with a preposition. But because of his sheer stupidity.

And...these two morons had little kids in the front seat with them. So for those of you wondering where ignorant children come from, I'll tell you: Ignorant parents. Wouldn't it be great if one or both of the kids turned out to be gay?

That would be just desserts, so to speak.

(Mmmm. Dessert.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Secret Pal Goodies!

Sorry, I've been remiss in posting pics of what my fab Secret Pal sent to me. Things have been a little busy (yeah, yeah, who isn't busy?) and my knitting, and all things related to it, have just taken a back seat.

Here's where my head is currently when it comes to knitting:

A.) It's friggin' hot out. Who wants to knit in this heat?
B.) I have 9 million projects but don't know which one to start.
C.) I'm still "perfecting" how to figure out adjusting sweater patterns for me and I don't want to start something that will just get ripped out.
D.) I'm the kind of knitter who wants to wear something immediately. There's nothing I want to wear less in 90 degree heat than a scarf, hat or sweater. And since I don't knit socks, that's not an option.

So those are my lame excuses for not posting about knitting or my Secret Pal. But enough of that. Let's see what my Secret Pal sent:

The packaging:

Everything wrapped up so nicely inside.

Now to the goodies:

Pattern and lovely red yarn to make the "potato chip" scarf. A friend of mine made this scarf and I was interested in making one myself. Now I can!

Mini tootsie rolls. Who doesn't love these? (These will stay hidden until I win my weight loss competition!)

And wait until you see this:

The Laughing Cow! My favorite. Where on earth did my Pal find this? It's a little tin tray with the famous cow. So great. I love it! And Monkey tissues! Adorable. Anything monkey is perfect for me.

A book that celebrates the power and potential on one: You. (Or in this case, Me.) It contains interesting quotes such as:

"Put your future in good hands--your own."


"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift of life is yours; it is an amazing journey; and you alone are responsible for the quality of it."

Hmmm. My brother should contemplate that last quote...

And the very best (IMHO, tho it is hard to top the Laughing Cow...):

Beautiful glass beaded stitch markers.

I have always used the crappy plastic ones. Not any more. These are just beautiful. They could be earrings. Or a necklace. They'll be fun to knit with. I'm inspired to start something right away that needs markers!

My Pal also sent delicious raspberry Altoids, but those are on the desk in my office and were not able to participate in the photo shoot!

Thanks Secret Pal. You researched me well and did an awesome job of sending me unique things that are just my style. You're a great Pal! (And sorry, once again, for my late posting...)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Thanks Secret Pal!!!

I got such a great box of goodies right before I left for the long holiday weekend. All of the items are truly fab. I will post pics tonight of my goodies.

Thanks Secret Pal. You're the best!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Obesity...Part Deux

Who could imagine all that could happen as a result of purchasing a stupid scale?

As my previous post mentioned, I bought a new scale. This new purchase of mine tells me I'm 44% body fat. While I don't necessarily believe its technology and doubted its reading to be true, I was realistic enough to know that my body fat percentage was higher than it should be.

So last week, I had my body fat percentage tested at a nutritionist's office. (Said nutritionist also mentioned that I should start eating meat again -- which I found a bit strange for a Northern California nutritionist, but I digress...) Thankfully, my real body fat percentage is not 44%. But it ain't very pretty. It's 36%. And I should be in the vacinity of 24%. Oooof.

So now I'm faced with a decision: A.)Ignore it. Or B.) Do something about it.

I opted for B and decided to join Weight Watchers. I know. How dorky. But they must do something right. They've been around for 40 years and are the number one weight loss plan around for keeping weight off.

My friend Marissa decided to join me in my quest to lose a few. Which then led to the two of us crafting a little competition. Who could lose the most weight in a 10-week timeframe? The winner (ie: biggest loser) pays the loser (ie: not the biggest loser) $150 bucks.

That led to adding our frind Christina into our little competition. Which led to adding Judi, and Alison and Ally and Terry. Now we've got seven participants in our little weight loss-apalooza.

The rules are simple: she who loses the largest percentage of body weight after 10 weeks collects $150 from all the other participants. That's a total windfall of $900 smackers.

I'm going to win.

Think of the yarn I'll buy.

I'll keep you posted. Or you can follow along at our blog.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I Am Obese

Yup. It's official. I'm obese.

I'm 43 years old (horrors!), almost 5 foot 9, wear a size 12 on most occasions, and yet, I'm obese.


Not pleasantly plump. Not slightly overweight. Obese.

I could live with "she could lose a few pounds." I would prefer that some of my pants were less snug. And really, who couldn't drop 10 pounds and look better?

But obese? I'm having a hard time with this one.

Just where am I getting this data? Tanita. The scale people.

It all started with an Amazon Prime membership*. That's where you pay Amazon a $75 flat fee per year and get free 2nd day shipping on ANY product sold by Amazon. (The fine print: sold by Amazon -- not a third party merchant.)

Even with the fine print, it's a great deal. Especially if you share the membership with a friend from work. (You can add up to three family members on your account.) So according to Amazon, Christina and I are sisters. Hi Sis. How's your free shipping?

Anyway, back to my little obesity issue.

Christina ordered a new Tanita scale through her Amazon Prime account. (The amount of Amazon stuff that now arrives at our office is a little scary...).

She loves it. It's all digital. It gives body fat and water content percentages. Me, being the shopping whore that I am, think: "Why shouldn't I spend $50 bucks to save $7.99 in shipping? I need a new scale. My scale must be 15 years old, isn't digital and I should know my body fat and water percentages, too."

Two days later my scale arrived.

The next morning I got on it.

And holy fat ass, Batman -- my body fat percentage came up as 44%. Forty-fucking-four percent. What is that??? My body is almost 50 percent fat??? How could that be? Am I one of those people who don't realize that my belly is hanging over my pants? My ass fits in a coach airplane seat just fine. I work out. I can get my heart rate to 165 and still breathe. Yet I'm 44% body fat??

Then I look at the handy chart that Tanita provides, and low and behold -- I'm obese.

My husband doesn't believe any of this. He completely poo-pood their claims:

"Tanita has patented a revolutionary new way of measuring BIA that is faster, easier, less intrusive and includes a precision scale making this a simple one-step process. In fact, Tanita was the first company to introduce the world to the body fat monitor/scale. Tanita's monitor looks just like a bathroom scale. A person inputs age, gender and height, then steps onto the platform. Electrodes in the foot sensor pads send a low, safe signal through the body. Weight is calculated automatically along with body fat content in less than a minute. All Body Fat Monitor/Scales and UltimateScales feature Tanita's patented BIA method."

But he's not the one they're calling obese.
I think it's time to find me someone with some fat calipers and determine my true fat count.

After I have my ice cream Sunday, of course. (Ha!)

*Imagine if Amazon sold yarn? It would be insane.

Friday, June 09, 2006

"Are You This Picky With Your Men?"

That's what Joseph, the guy who sits at the reception desk at my office, said to me today when I dropped off yet another box for FedEx to pick up.

It all started innocently enough, but yet, it's the unfortunate reason I haven't knit ANYTHING all week.

Cell phone purchasing.

What a pain in the ass.

It was time to replace my Motorola V710. I had it for two years and was done with it. Technology had surpassed my boring phone and it was time for an upgrade. Also aiding my decision to upgrade was
a strange class-action suit brought against Verizon for this particular phone -- which, to spare you all the dull details -- permitted me to return the V710, buy a brand new Verizon phone and get $250 off the purchase price.

Even someone as math-challenged as me could figure out that if I purchased a phone costing less than $250, I got to pocket the difference. (Hi. More yarn anyone?) Or, if I selected a more expensive phone, the first $250 would be covered.

Not a bad deal. Gotta love class-action suits. (OK, not really. I think they're all pretty stupid, but in this case I made out.)

So what kind of phone does a girl who loves pink go for?

The Pink Razr

It's adorable. It's pink. (A nice, light shade of pink, much more attractive, IMHO, than the fuscia pink introduced last year. Almost the exact shade of pink as my iPod mini.)

Problem was: I hated the phone. While still within the measly 15-day decision period that Verizon gives you to test out new phones, I decided the only thing I really liked about this phone was the color. The buttons on the side were all in the wrong place. It wasn't comfortable. And even with all the gadgets available today, I was still stuck sending text messages using the ultra inconvenient keypad as a keyboard.

So back in the box it went, whisked away by the nice FedEx man at work.

Next up:

The Motorola Q

Made by the same people who make the Razr. It's very hot now. And very thin. With a nice form factor. (Hmmm. I'd like to have those attributes...)

Joseph called to tell me another FedEx box had arrived at the front desk. The Motorola Q was about to become my new favorite gadget.

But then I started playing around with it. I found it uncomfortable. And unfortunately designed for right-handed people. The extremely useful scroll wheel was just not that useful for a lefty. The screen, while crisp, was kind of teeny. Worst of all was the Microsoft Windows Mobile interface.

Admission: I'm a Mac girl. I use a PC at work, but ultimately prefer my home Mac Mini. While I knew about the Windows Mobile thing going into this purchase, it just didn't sink in.

Until the had the phone in my hands to fiddle with. I didn't like the software at all. It was so, I don't know, Microsoft. I didn't like the calendar. I didn't like the datebook. I didn't like that it took 5 steps to get anywhere useful. I've used a Palm PDA for so many years I just wasn't ready to attempt to badly retrofit all my data into this Windows operating system.

So after two days of the Q, it too found itself in a return FexEx box waiting for the man in the FexEx uniform.

They say three's a charm (sorry for the bad cliche), but it's true. I've found true love.

The Treo 700p

Everything I wanted in a phone. Palm interface. Qwerty keypad so I don't spend 3 minutes typing a "I'll be home in 15 mins" text message to my husband. Phone and PDA in one package with an interface that I love.

Ok. It's not pink, there will be no slush money from the $250 rebate for yarn purchases and I've read more cell phone instruction manuals in the last 3 weeks than any human should have to read in a lifetime.

But I've found my new gadget and I love it. Now can somebody please bring me my knitting so I can get back to doing something fun?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I received this postcard from my Secret Pal today:

How cute is that? It's from an artist named Yoshitoma Nara. I love that they're so mad.

My Friend Christina Thinks I'm Crazy


Because I wrote a complaint letter to Safeway via their website today.

I guess that's just me. The Safeway in my town sucks. Seriously. I guess this was the trip that broke this camel's back, so to speak, so today I opted to let them know.

Christina suggested I post this on my blog so that others can learn how to write a complaint letter. I'm not sure this one qualifies as one of my better complaint letters (yeah, yeah, I write them often...) but I'll post it here anyway.

Dear Safeway:

I don't understand why my local Safeway is such a terrible store. Nothing is ever in stock, the store is a wreck, even the Safeway branding inside the store is half missing -- it's like the Safeway that time forgot.

With all the competition in this area, I'm surprised at the horrible condition of this location. My checker said it best last night: "Well, I guess they don't want to spend the money to have items restocked in the evening."

It was 8:30 pm and the shelves were bare. No blueberries. No strawberries. Nothing but a few green bananas that even a chimp would turn down. The yogurt aisle was wiped clean, as was the frozen ice cream department (no sugar free, fat free fudgesicles for me...). I opted for frozen blueberries instead -- and even those were out of stock! My trip was a complete waste of time.

If this Safeway doesn't want to pay the money to keep its shelves stocked, then I don't want to pay the money to buy my groceries here. I'll be sure to frequent (the other two local stores) much more from now on.

What a disappointing store. Safeway should be ashamed.

So there you have it. My letter to Safeway. What can I say? When I get mad, I speak my mind. And for those of you who think I only send letters to complain, I have been known to send complimentary letters, as well...they're just not as much fun.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You Say Fashion Show, I Say Fugly

This is one of those posts where I might insult some of you. Yet I don't feel I need to apologize in advance. I say that because on some level, I feel those who are insulted are really the ones who need to apologize to the rest of us.

What am I talking about? Knitters who give knitters a bad name.

We've all experienced it. We tell someone that we knit and the conversation goes south pretty rapidly. For example, who among us hasn't experienced a similar casual conversation:

Knitter: " (insert: weekend, evening, vacation, commute on the bus, etc.) was nice, too. I got to work on a bit of my (insert current knitting project) and make some progress."

Friend/acquaintance of knitter: "Ha! Knitting. My grandmother used to knit. Yeah, that sounds really hip."

Knitter: "No, it's not knitting like that. I don't make doilies and tea cozies."

Friend/acquaintance of knitter: "Yeah, right. Sure you don't."

And there you have it. The perception that knitting is grandmotherly. Many non-knitters out there think that knitting is all about dorky, unnecessary household items, misshapen sweaters, ugly unwearables and scratchy wool items that need a few months with some moths in a dark, damp place.

They don't understand that knitting isn't like that. Knitters are not required to be in a rocking chair with a cat underfoot as they knit into oblivion lining their drawers and cabinets with lacey placemats and gifting their families with ugly items.

We, the knitters, know that. We, through our blogging and shopping at great yarn stores and felting and knitting truly beautiful stuff, hopefully are changing the perception of knitting-is-just-for-grandmothers thinking one non knitter at a time.

But then, out of the blue, you come across a link from the recent Knitting Guild of America's Knit and Crochet Show held in Northern California.

And all bets are off.

This, my dear fellow knitters, are pictures from their Fashion Show held in April 2006.

Am I the only one cringing at these so called fashions?

What IS this thing??

Please tell me you DIDN'T knit a top and matching skirt.

Last I checked, hot pink doesn't match green and black stripes. That aside, this wrap-cum-scarf-cum-giant tube is just fugly.

Knitting with rags. It's the new cool. Really, it is. You haven't heard?

I'm not picking on this item because the woman is large. I could care less. I'm picking on this because it's UGLY. In any size.

No doubt this was a complicated piece to knit. That doesn't make it pretty.

This pattern as a scarf? With different colors? Maybe. As a square jacket that touches you everywhere and flatters you nowhere? No.

Hi. I know A LOT of stitches. Some of them are really, really hard. And I'm going to knit a sweater that incorporates every single one. In one garment. I am. I am.
Hi. It's still ugly.

Was that the whistle for the fashion train about to leave the station? Ladies, aka "Fashion Show" winners? You just missed the train.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Boring Blog

I know. My blog is boring lately. My knitting has been boring lately. I have 5 zillion projects waiting to start, but I'm my own worst enemy because of my latest obsession with altering patterns to fit me the way I want.

Which means that I will no longer start a pattern in "hopes" of it fitting when I'm done. I've gone that route and it turns out ugly. On so many fronts. My new obsession means I have to do "the maths" every time I want to start a new project.

I'm not such a big fan of "the maths."

It requires the use of a calculator. And thinking. And counting. And concentration. And rewriting the original pattern.

So here I sit working of scarf after boring scarf or kitty pi after kitty pi because they are easy and don't need pattern rewriting. But I've got the long weekend and I'm determined to at least get the pattern reworked so I can cast on a new not-a-scarf, not-another-kitty-pi project.

Wish me luck!

On the SP8 front, my spoiling pal sent me an adorable Hallmark ecard. This one was wishing me a happy long weekend. Why can't all weekends be three days? For the secret pal that I'm spoiling, I've been reading up on her through her blog and have started to build her first care package. Were it not for a killer migraine on Thursday nite that kept me from my LYS "knit and whine" event, I would have been able to send off a package already.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Should Be Surprised By This?

Your Ideal Pet is a Cat
You're both aloof, introverted and moody. And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Help Pass the PETS Act

To all my pet-loving blog stalkers...

If you read my blog regularly, you've read about our Katrina foster kitty
Henry and his unfortunate ending. As you can imagine, losing Henry was quite sad.

In honor of him, on Sunday, June 11 at 3 pm, my husband (
CrazyCatMan) and I are hosting an event to raise money for the passage the PETS (The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards) Act -- which would protect animals in future disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Thousands of people were forced to leave their pets on the street as they evacuated due to laws and regulations that simply made no accomodation for pets to be rescued along with their guardians. This made a heartbreaking situation worse for the people, and a sheer hell for the animals.

If you're local to the Bay Area, please RSVP "yes" and make a contribution of whatever you can. 100% of the funds we raise will go directly to the Humane Society of the United States' legislative fund to pass the PETS Act and other humane laws.

If you are busy and can't attend, or just live too far from our party location, RSVP "no" but please consider making a contribution nonetheless to help us achieve our fundraising goal.

Find out all the details here:
Friends of Henry

Feel free to pass share this post with other animal lovers to help pass this important legislation.

Hope to see you on June 11.


P.S. Donations to the Humane Society Legislative Fund are used exclusively to press for new laws to protect animals from cruelty and therefore are not tax deductible.

Friday, May 19, 2006

SP8 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love merino wool, alpaca, alpaca blends, merino blends, mohair. Anything wool based. I do not like cottons, 100% silk (it smells funny to me) or acrylic. I despise acrylic yarn unless it's a novelty yarn that's fun and not cheap looking.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
After many attempts of finding storage, I settled on some ziplock closure pencil cases that I bought at Office Depot. I have about 6 or 7 of them connected with binder rings. Each case is numbered with a range of needle sizes, ie: 1-5; 6-8; 9-11, etc. In each, I put the appropriately sized needles. S
traight needles that are too tall go in the bottom drawer of my desk. It's not perfect, but it sort of works until I find something better. My friend Marissa gave me a beautiful Sally Spicer hanging bag that she uses for her needles, but I think I have too many to jam in. I like that piece better for packing my make up when I travel.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting since February 2005. My mom showed me one stitch, the knit stitch, and I went nuts after that needing to learn everything I possibly could. I took classes, I read books, I ask all kinds of questions. I would say that I'm intermediate at this point. But I still have lots I still need to master.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

No, but I should. But on second thought, I'm not sure a wishlist would have anything on it. When I want something I buy it. It's why my family can never figure out what to buy for me.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I am very picky about scents. Primarily, I hate perfume. But there are scents that I love: lavender, Goatmilk from Crabtree & Evelyn (don't ask me what it's called Goatmilk. It smells nothing like a goat and nothing like milk!), the baby line from Crabtree -- it used to be called Tom Kitten but now it's just their baby line. I also like linden blossom essential oil.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I wish I only had a sweet tooth. Unfortunately, I have sweet teeth. I love many kinds of candy. Smarties. See's peanut brittle (chocolate covered or not), red Twizzlers, Milk Duds, Tootsie Rolls. M&Ms. See what I mean? And this is just the short list.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
The only spinning I do it at the gym on a spin cycle! (And it's been a while. Must get back to the gym!) I looked at spinning at the Stitches West show and it looks interesting, but it would take time away from knitting so I'll stick to purchasing yarns instead. My true creative outlet is knitting. Although I sometimes wish I had a sewing machine because I think I could become addicted to that (odd given that I HATE to sew by hand...) but I don't want to even think about where a sewing machine would go in my house. I live with the equivalent of Felix Unger, and my husband would not think a sewing machine was "tidy" enough!

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

My computer can play MP3s. I like alternative music, "chill" music, stuff like Moby, Zero 7 and Delirium. I also like a lot of what I call "chick music:" Sara McLaughlan, Madonna, Alanis Morisette, Dido, Frou Frou, etc. I also find myself stuck in the 80s & 90s sometimes because I still like Tears for Fears, INXS, George Michael, Simply Red and stuff like that.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I have a few favorite colors: pink, purple, red and orange. When it comes to yarns I find myself falling into color themes. I'll buy everything in the red family for a while. Then pink. Then oranges. I like certain shades of blue and green. I am not a big fan of browns and tans and beige. I completely stay away from yellow and yellow-based hues. They make me look dead.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I am married with cats. My husband's nickname is CrazyCatMan. This is why.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes, yes (but sizing can be an issue what with my big head), not so much, I've had a bad experience with a particular poncho so for now I'm sticking with just one.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Scarves. Purses, felted or not. Sweaters, if I can ever master them. And I like vests. I know a lot of people laugh at vests, but I like them. The ones I like are not dorky. At least that's what I think!

13. What are you knitting right now?

I'm knitting a very simple scarf using some novelty yarn that I just picked up on sale. I don't normally like novelty yarns but this one was fun. It's kind of a pain to work with it, but I'm hoping once I start the next skein I'll be used to it.

Fuzzy Scarf (bad flash)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

I'm a very picky person so I think my answer here is no, but it really depends -- because if it is really suited to me it would be foolish to say no.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I tend to use bamboo circulars for mostly everything, but lately I've been getting frustrated with the length of the actual bamboo part. I've discovered 10" bamboos, which are a great size for a scarf because they don't hit the arms of chair. Primarily I have Clover bamboos, but I just bought a pair of Lantern Moon 10" straights (the ends looked like leopard dots...) and Brittany. They are both very nice. I might have to get more. I'm tempted to try Adi Turbos because so many people rave about them, but what if like them? It means a whole new collection of needles I'd have to buy.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?


17. How did you learn to knit?

See question 3.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

About 8 months.

19. What is your favorite holiday?

Halloween. I love pumpkins. I can never throw mine out. I make my husband do it when I'm not looking. It makes me sad. To me Halloween signifies the start of winter and the general holiday season. And the weather finally starts to get cold in Northern California. Or what Northern Californians call cold.

20. Is there anything that you collect?

I like monkeys. Sock monkeys. Small stuffed monkeys. But only if they're cute. Paul Frank Julius the monkey. Felix the Cat. Polka dotted things. I love polka dots. Pens. I love a good, fun pen. Or a good, good pen. I also collect wine. I tend to buy more wine than I drink. Sounds like my yarn buying, too. I buy more than I knit. Oh yeah. Shoes. I like to buy shoes. Is that collecting?

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get
your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I subscribe to Vogue Knitting and Interweave. I used to subscribe to Creative Knitting but couldn't stand the patterns, the models, the makeup, the colors, the yarns. Horrible. I own the first two Barbara Walker stitch books. (They intimidate me. I love them, but they still intimidate me.) I just bought the Vogue Stitch book. I also have the two Stitch and Bitch books. Another one on scarves. Probably some other random ones as well. I believe that the more books I own, the better knitter I will become simply through the process of ownership. Not sure there's any truth to that, but I'll keep believing!

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I want to learn how to knit polka dots into something. Like a big felted bag with a dot on one or both sides. I'm on a kick to learn about pattern sizing and adjusting for me. I'm sick of making stuff of which I don't like the fit. I want to finish that one perfect sweater. And then make it in 6 different colors. I'm not sure I ever will. I also want to learn how to cable without a cable needle. And I'd like to knit in colors. Not fair aisle stuff (that looks way too detail oriented) but the ability to work in different colors as I knit a particular piece.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
No. I will never knit socks. You'd find me in the looney bin if I attempted socks. I have a very petite (not) size 10 foot.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
Tax Day. April 15. I was born the year JFK was shot (ie: you do the math!). Coincidentally, April 15 is also the date Lincoln died and the Titanic sunk. (Clearly very different years.) What a day!

25. Do you have a favorite local yarn store?
Yes. Urban Knitting in San Francisco.

26. Tell me three stores where you like the style of what they sell. You don't actually have to shop there, and it doesn't matter what it is that they sell (clothes, yarn, furniture, whatever.)
I love Design Within Reach, Knoll, West Elm, Banana Republic, Sea Ranch Lodge, Press, The Carneros Inn, Urban Knitting, Studio-Knit.

27. Any favorite drinks, snacks, foods?
Sticking to the coffee arena, my Starbucks card gets a workout every morning. And Pete's Coffee (local to the Bay Area) is pretty much crack for the non drug addicts among us. There's this other local coffee chain (mostly in LA but a few up north) called Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Their iced blended Ultimate is appropriately named. Yum.

28. Do you have any allergies?
I'm allergic to just about every eyeshadow other than Bobbi Brown, I sneeze when I dust (what an excuse to have a housecleaner!) but other than that I've been spared the bad allergies gene. My sister? Not so lucky. The mention of pollen has her sniffling and sneezing.

29. Anything else? Pet peeves? Alien abductions? Stories from camp?
My list of pet peeves is so long, so I'll keep it brief. It drives me NUTS when people say "you guyses" as if "guys" isn't already plural. If I've been abducted, I still have no memories of it. I wish I did because riding in the spaceship was probably a blast! I was not allowed (hello???) to go to camp. But when I was about 9 or 10 years old I wrote a letter to the Laughing Cow cheese company asking them to please send me the cow from their cheese label. I thought it would be fun to have a cow in the backyard. Sadly, they never replied. :-(

So what that the cow is red and a cartoon? I didn't care...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Secret Pal 8

One day when reading Inky's blog, I heard about this thing called SP7. Secret Pal 7. Apparently, it was the seventh time that knitters threw their hat in the ring and participated in the co-spoiling of a knitter anonymously. (IE, Knitter A spoils Knitter B, while Knitter C is spoiling Knitter A.) All the while the knitter being spoiled has no idea who's actually doing the spoiling.

The rules for Secret Pal 8 are here, to give you a better idea of how this whole thing works.

Call me crazy but I thought it sounded interesting. Of course, I missed the deadline for participation in SP7, but added my name to the list of knitters for SP8. I even volunteered to be a hostess for SP8. Not knowing exactly what that meant, or realizing that my hostessing duties would fall pretty close to the busiest time at my office (!).

Fast forward to today. The biggest part of my hostessing duties are behind me: I had a list of about 25 people who had to be matched up to each other based on various criteria like interests, allergies, pet ownership, the desire (or not such desire) to make or receive hand-made items, etc. I then had to contact each of them and let them know who they were to spoil. They each then need to contact the person they are spoiling. But the trick is, it's secret. You can't let the person you're spoiling know it's you doing the spoiling.

But not only am I a hostess, I'm also a participant. (Geeze. I sound like that guy from the Hair Club of America. "I'm not just the president, I'm also a member...)

And today, my spoiler introduced her secret self to me with a cute e-card from Hallmark.

I owe my spoiler my "questionnaire" so she can learn more about who I am and what I like (and what I hate) and that will follow shortly.

And I have to start learning about the person I'm spoiling.

In the meantime, check out SP8. You never know. You might be tempted to join SP9.

Let the spoiling begin!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Short Rows for Busty Babes

I started this post weeks ago. Since then, my job got crazy and kept me from knitting anything all that substantial, which also meant not a whole lot of blogging. (I work for a company that produces trade shows and for the last 6 weeks or so leading up the event, I've been working most nights till 9 pm -- so you can imagine how much time that left me to have a life, yet alone a life where one knits and blogs!)

Prior to work going nuts, I had made progress with a particular sweater project, so I started this post, thinking that I would add an ending quickly...and that it would be positive. That's not exactly the way things turned out. So here's how the post originally started, with the unfortunate ending.

Short Rows

I have heard that short row shaping is a great way to add, well, shape, to a sweater for those who fall into the "busty" category. Since that's me, I wanted to discover more about these things called short rows.

(Hi co-worker Ben who for some reason likes to read my knitting blog. This is all about knitting for girls with big boobs. Are you blushing yet?)

I did a little online surfing and came up with this very helpful article in Knitty. The image below, in particular, really visualizes the benefits of short rows for busty babes.

See how short rows provide a little cuppage? (Thank you Knitty for the image.)

Upon further searching, I found this article from MagKnits, also with detailed instruction on short row shaping -- and it included how many stitches to increase on each side based on bust size:

6 for C cup, 12 for D and 18 for DD.

(Ben -- still with us??)

Better still was the video from one of my favorite websites, Reading how to knit something is one thing. Watching it on video is completely different. That's why I love If you haven't checked it out yet, you should.

I'm working on my seamless sweater again. Only this time I have the right gauge, so it's coming along nicely. I was at the point for adding short rows, and I decided to give it whirl.

But...I screwed up when it came to knitting the stitches with the wraps.

Those obvious lines? I'm guessing they shouldn't be visible

So I ripped back and redid. (This orange yarn is convinced it will never truly be a sweater. Ever.)

Attempt number two seems to be successful. I'm not sure I like the way the stockinette stitch changes direction -- but the weird stitch line from the first attempt is gone -- and the short rows do provide added room in the front of the sweater.

One thing that bugs me, though, is that because this sweater is knit from the top down, the darts aim in the wrong direction. I'm concerned that may be bad.

I asked Helen from Urban Knitting if it looked bad enough to rip out. She's the queen of telling me to rip, and when she said no, I was thrilled. I'm continuing along --not convinced I won't rip -- but for now I keep knitting.

Update: I decided I hated this sweater. Not so much because of the short rows, but the whole sweater. It was too tight. Yes, the short rows provided extra give, but it just didn't work. It was a boobfest. (And not in a good way.) So I ripped again. But this time I ripped the whole sweater. Not just to where I started the short rows.

I'm not sure it it's me, the yarn, the pattern, the phase of the moon...But this sweater may not ever happen. For now I just end this post, frustrated that I've started and restarted this sweater too many times. This yarn will sleep soundly in my stash drawer until I find a different pattern...

Ben, you looking for something in a nice orange worsted wool?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Shopping for Yarn in Pebble Beach

My husband had a business trip to Pebble Beach so I tagged along. And even though I am on a strict yarn (and everything else purchase-able) diet for the next many months thanks to my car engine blowing up and needing a 10 thousand dollar (!!!!!) replacement, the trip was planned weeks before the car happs. Since I had already stalked out the local yarn sellers, I wasn't NOT going to see what the local stores had to offer just because a stupid car engine had a complete and fatal seizure.

We checked into the world-renowned Inn at Spanish Bay. Five-star hotel, blahbity blah, blah. Whatever. I'm a hotel snob, having stayed in some of the world's finest hotels due to a great job I had years ago, but IMHO, this hotel is completely overrated. Granted, we did not have an ocean view which does alter one's opinion, but even if we did, I would say that the view was spectacular, but the hotel? Nothing to write home about. Or for that matter, nothing to blog about, so that's all I'll say about the Inn at Spanish Bay.

Overrated hotels aside, the whole Pebble Beach/Carmel/Monterey area is beautiful. While my husband was busy working, I took a drive on the famous 17-mile drive, and even though I've done this drive before, I still find it as striking as ever. I left NY almost 13 years ago yet I still am in awe of the beauty of the West Coast.

One of the many lookout points of the 17-mile drive

Pebbles. Beach. Oh, I get it. Pebble Beach.

After my 17-mile drive (or most of it), it was time for yarn store visiting. First up was
Knitting by the Sea on 5th and Junipiero in downtown Carmel. It's a very small store that perfectly fits the whole aura of downtown Carmel. The woman in the shop was the owner and we chatted about many things yarn. She had a nice selection of yarns -- some I've seen before and some I hadn't.

Key for me when visiting a non-local yarn shop is to find something I haven't seen before. Otherwise, what's the point? "Oh, I got this Rowan in Carmel." Big whoop.

I spotted some
Elsebeth Lavold angora that was quite nice.

The green is kind of avocado. Clearly my photos need some work...

Since I didn't really have a pattern in mind -- and let's not forget that new engine purchase hanging over my head -- I bought a measly three skeins for a scarf. It's very soft and lofty, so I'm sure my scarf will be great. (And...if I really want to make something more, Knitting by the Sea will ship anywhere.)

Before heading to the next yarn store on my tour, I diverted off the "yarn only" concept and stopped in Concepts -- a jewelry and art store where my husband and I found my wedding band. I wanted to see if its designer, Barbara Heinrich, had anything new I could covet. Of course she did, and how annoying that it looks great with my existing rings? (It's the one on the far right on her site.) It's called "gears." And guess what? It's only $2835. I believe that's why it's called coveting...

OK. Back to stuff I can sort of afford.
Monarch Knitting and Quilt in downtown Pebble Beach.

The woman there was also really nice. This was a much larger store than the one in Carmel and had a wider selection. Again, only looking for stuff I hadn't seen anywhere else, I was attracted to this crazy mohair that reminded me of a Dalmation dog. With almost 300 yards to the skein (and a very within-my-budget $8.99), one ball will make a fun scarf.

Somewhere in one of Cruella de Ville's closets is a bunch of this stuff

I also spotted some Handpaint Wool from Plymouth Yarn. This was $12.99 and came with a free hat pattern. Being the hat whore that I am, I could not pass it up. A nice purpley/pink variegated yarn was now mine.

I made the hat on the drive home

Since I had a little extra yarn, Chance got a hat, too

I think I'll felt his little hat and stuff it with catnip. Something tells me that will get more use...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


To follow up on my knitting shit I hate post, I can happily say that my kermit the frog green purse now falls into the "things I knitted and like" category.

I cut off that doofus handle (I love that you can just cut felted items!) and replaced it with a pair of lucite handles that I bought at my scary local crafts store. Some sewing was required (not a favorite pastime of mine...), but it was quick to do.

I'm just waiting for the magnetic clasp to arrive in the mail, and then kermit will make his debut to the outside world.

Kermit the Fuzzy Purse

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Henry Update

We all heard the stories of the animals left behind after the Katrina disaster. I blogged about our Katrina foster kitty Henry, who came to us via our local animal shelter's Orphans of the Storm recovery effort.

Henry lived with us for 3 months in his own room, away from our resident cats (SOP for foster cats). He was quite sick for much of time, but eventually he got well and we brought him back to the shelter to be put up for adoption.

His stay at the shelter has not been a pleasant one. Because of stress and I'm sure myriad other reasons, his illness would reoccur and Henry would be taken off the adoption circuit to recover. For one brief long weekend, he came back to our home to recuperate once again.

My husband and I have visited Henry every week since he's been back at the shelter. And always it's the same story from the adoption staff: "Yes, Henry is such a sweet cat but no one seems interested in him."

My husband was convinced that Henry would never get adopted and really wanted to give him a loving home. Even with our existing cat family (hello?? 6 cats!), my CrazyCatMan husband felt that we must take Henry home.

We agreed that when he returned from an upcoming 10-day business trip, if Henry was still not adopted, we would seriously consider adopting him.

Unfortunately, this week while CrazyCatMan was on said trip, Kristen, the Foster Care Manager from our shelter, IM'd me.

Basically, she said, Henry was not doing well. He was sick again and they did further bloodwork on him to see if he is FIP positive. And he is. Feline Infectious Peritonits. A deadly cat disease with no cure.

Henry can't come home with us. His disease would put all of our resident cats in severe jeopardy. Moving him to a former co-worker's cat sanctuary is also not an option because the trip would compromise his condition further.

It breaks my heart to write this, but Henry will be put to sleep on Saturday morning. CrazyCatMan and I will be by his side to love him and make his last minutes on earth pleasant. Even though we feel we did the best we could for him, sometimes the best is still not enough.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cables Are Not So Scary

Since I've taken up knitting, most of my subscribed-to magazines collect dust. So I figured if I subscribe to Vogue Knitting, I might actually read one of my magazines for a change.

My first issue, Winter 2005, arrived, and it featured this sweater and scarf pattern:

The scarf kind of blends in with the sweater here...

I had just purchased some super soft Blue Sky Alpaca that had no specific project associated with it -- so I decided to make the scarf. (Let's not be crazy -- taking on the sweater might land me right in the looney bin.)

I adjusted the pattern a bit to make the scarf less wide. The original called for about 120 cast on stitches -- I adjusted to 62.

Here's what I've got after one skein: 11 inches

The cables are really easy and the bobbles are truly not so hard. Knitting the four final stitches together is a bit annoying, but there's only one bobble in a 16 row repeat, which means there will be 30 bobbles in the finished scarf. Maybe by bobble 28 I'll be the master of K4tog!

One skein down. Four to go.