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.