Thursday, November 23, 2006

Holiday Knitting

The Irish hiking scarf is done. I altered the pattern to include a slit, so it can lie flat. I think it turned out well, the wool is very warm. The cables are almost lost in the variegations of the yarn, but it is still lovely.I have someone in mind to receive this scarf. I think it will make a good Christmas present.

Here's my latest accomplishment. Two socks at once!!!! I am thrilled with this technique. This is a 40" circular needle, #2, and both socks are cast on at once. Then you knit around and around the big circle, moving the needles along as you go. This is the 'magic loop' technique. I am SOLD. This is the way to make socks.

You can use this technique for top down or toe up socks, and any pattern. I'm using Cascade Fixation yarn, and I've used one of the four stitch patterns from Sensational Knitted Socks, Elongated Corded Rib. It was pretty easy to get the hang of this pattern, especially after I tackled the zig zag hat.

This picture is a bit blurry, but you can make out the the zig zags.

I haven't bought the yarn for my Cardigan for Arwen yet. I think I'm going to get the Swish Superwash from Knitpicks in Dublin (that's the color... it's green of course), but I haven't absolutely decided yet. Soon. Let me finish a few of these things first!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Jaya and I had a quiet Thanksgiving this year, just the two of us. Magda and Andrew had other plans. Our non-traditional Thanksgiving meal was excellent. Jaya has been studying his videos from America's Test Kitchen, and this is the holiday meal he prepared:

We had Prime Rib, Potatoes Anna and Green Beans.
Everything was absolutely delicious!

I also opened one of my birthday presents, a bottle of Scharffenberger champagne from Meg and Kevin. Wow, it was delicious too!

The potatoes were crispy on the outside, and creamy soft on the inside. We had the heat up too high at first, so they are a little darker here than on the show, but they were still fabulous.

The Green Beans were cooked for four minutes, then put into icewater. When it was time to serve them, they were sauteed with some butter and salt and pepper. They were perfect.

The Prime Rib was aged in the fridge for 5 days. Then it was trimmed, and slow cooked for 3 hours.

Jaya is going to turn into a master chef before long. I have no problem with that!

We cooked, watched movies and ate. And I completely redid my computer... wiped the harddrive and installed Tiger and all the software I need to work from home. Getting ready!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sales and Socklets

Yesterday my friend Anne held a Craft Sale at her home. There were seven or eight vendors selling their wares. I brought scarves crocheted by my daughter, Magda. These are all beautiful scarves, but the shoppers weren't interested in scarves. What do they know?

I like the ones with the pockets.

Janet and I provided entertainment for the crowds. We wore similar colors, purely by accident. The customers seemed to enjoy the music. Anne will probably do this again in December. Maybe we should set out a tip jar next time!

I finished the secret project. I'll post them here... the sock-lets! I'm going to give them to my friend Meredith tonight. She's a flip-flop girl, and these socks are specially for wearing with flip-flops. I may make a pair for myself, because The only reason I don't wear flip-flops is because I don't like the way they feel between my toes.

I found a great project for the sari silk. I crocheted this little bag with a size F hook. It's quite dense, perfect for a little purse, I think. The multi colored silk has a lot of shine, it's very pretty. I had this half finished at the Craft Sale, and it got a lot of attention. I'm going to give some skeins to Magda.

I sewed a zipper into the top of the bag by hand. This picture is blurry, but you get the idea.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Presents and a Visit

News Flash!
The pictures from the birthday party are posted. They were taken by photographer Zabi Towfique. I am going to have a lovely book printed of them, but I have to spend some time figuring out exactly what I want!

I got a box in the mail last week, from my mom! She sent these slippers, modeled by Jaya. They are a little large for me, but they fit him perfectly. I asked him what he thought of them, and he looked at me, smiled, and said, "Very gay." Apparently that's not a bad thing, because he likes wearing them! The yarn is by Regia, colorway is Crazy Electra. It's wool, but very stretchy stuff. I bought some to make some Short Toed Socklets for a friend of mine. I won't say who in case she's reading!
The other knitted item mom sent was a mystery at first. Then we figured out it was an ice cream cozy, made to fit perfectly on a quart of Hagen Daaz (the only ice cream Jaya will eat!) Here are Jaya, Marilyn and Dean in their usual positions, enjoying the evening.

The weekend of October 21st, I went up to Penn Valley to visit my friend Earin, her husband Dick, and their menagerie of dog (Omar) and cats (Otis, Ollie and Opie....oh, I forget if that's right. Forgive me, Earin if I messed up your pet's names!) Earin already wrote about our visit in her blog, I'm a bit behind!

When I arrived, Earin was not at the house. I drove over to the park to meet her where she was walking Omar. What a cute couple they make!

Here's Earin with hubby, Dick. Another cute couple! Dick took us all out for Thai food that evening. What a nice treat.
Here's me with Earin. We've known each other since college days. That means about thirty years. The friendship has weathered a few minor rainy patches, but we still have fun together. We spend lots of time knitting on this visit. Then we went to a YARN store!

Here's Earin, looking over the book selection at Fibers, in Grass Valley. I found a book of shawl patterns that I bought. I have to do something with all that Sari Silk!

After shopping, we went to tea in Nevada City at Shaw's Antiques and Top Floor Tea Room. It was delightful. I had a lovely salad, Golden Hunann Tea, and rasberry tart for dessert!

Friday, October 20, 2006

On the needles

Here's the Irish Hiking Scarf. This is just over one skein's worth, about 2 feet. I'm using size 8 needles. It's hard to see the cables in this photo, but it has a wonderful texture. This is a dense scarf, knitted with Manos handspun handpainted yarn in a gorgeous colorway. I may make it short, like 4 feet, and use my last skein for a hat or ear-band.

This 'necklace' was knitted with 'squiggle' yarn by Crystal Palace... on the drive down to San Diego! We went to Encinitas for Bob Hudson's wedding. Bob is Jaya's jujitsu sensei. What happened was.... I had begun to make a scarf from this yarn, and I wanted to wear it before it was finished. So I just pinned up the open stitches on a safety pin, and tucked the extra yarn into my bra, and wore the scarf with this outfit. Well, that was in January, and I wanted to finish it before I wore it again. So, in the car, on the way down, I tried to pick up the stitches I had pinned. Maybe because it was in the car, or maybe because it was squiggle yarn.. which is really just THREAD with squiggly fat bits hanging from it... I couldn't do it. So instead, I knitted from the other end, and made a loop about ten stitches wide on size 15 needles. I made it long enough to wear, and knitted the ends together, so it really is a necklace. Then I frogged the rest of the squiggle, and I will put it together with something else when I use it.. that will be a LOT easier to manage!

Look! The Caesar's Check mosaic sock from Sensational Knitted Socks is done! Well, one of them is done. And I have started the second one. And look! it fits! this pattern has been so much fun to knit. I like this heel, too.

And last but not least....

The shrug still isn't done. I look like I'm zoned out here, knitting away. I just have a little more to do. Then I'm going to try it on, and if I determine I JUST DON'T LIKE IT, as I'm afraid I will, it will go into my frog pond, and wait for new inspiration.

Oh, there's one other thing... I'm making a cabled hat from the zig zag pattern on It's coming out quite well, but I don't have a picture yet.

I'm off to Penn Valley tomorrow to visit my friend Earin. I'm taking ALL my knitting, and plan to visit several yarn stores!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Party Pictures

Here are some of the photos from the party. I am having a wonderful book made, and I don't want to post them all here. But here's a teaser for you.

This is my daughter, Magda. My son Andrew is behind her. He managed to not be in any of the other photos!

Here I am playing my fiddle.

And here are Janet and I, singing 'Dimming of the Day'.

It really was an excellent party. I'll post more photos later.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

More Stash

Here's more of the stash. I guess my oldest unfinished textile project is this blanket. I started it before Nora, my niece, was born. That was quite a while ago. At least six years. I've lost count. It's crocheted in broomstick lace. That's a size 50 knitting needle that you crochet around, and it leaves the lacy loops. Well. It is hopelessly uneven. The yarn is acrylic, but it's soft and nice. It would make a sweet little sweater. If I ever manage to MAKE a sweater.

The squiggle scarf up there isn't quite finished, either. But I wanted to wear it when I was in Florida, so I pinned up the stitches and stuffed the extra yarn into my bra. It worked just fine, but I never did finish it. How many projects are worn BEFORE they are finished?

I want to think of a good progect for the red wool/cotton/linen yarn. I have about 900 yards. What can I make with that? I'm thinking maybe a tank top. That apricot colored spool of yarn was in a bargain bin for $4. It's fine, laceweight, I guess. But it wasn't marked, so I'm not sure what it is. It was with some nice yarn, though. There is a lot of it, I could make a shawl with it.

I've started the Irish Cable scarf as you can see. Actually, I started it again on larger needles. I can't decide which to knit it on. I have it on 8s and on 10.5s. They both look good. I guess I'll knit up a few more inches on each before I decide.

FLASH!!! Party pictures are here. I have them. There are some gems. I will post soon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Stash Organizing

Here is my progress on the mosaic sock, from Sensational Knitted Socks. I am just starting to make the heel flap. This is an interesting technique. I've had a few stumbles, but mostly I'm figuring it out alright. I did find a mistake in the book, and when I went online I found the publisher had already posted a correction! Very nice.

I can't post all the pictures of my stash, but here is part of it. I'm just too tired tonight. I'll get it done later in the week. I couldn't take one photo of the whole thing, it's just too much!

I want to do something with all this lovely red yarn. I think I have about 900 yards. I wonder if that's enough for some kind of tank top or t shirt top? I don't think it will make a long sleeved sweater.

After I laid out everything... it took up most of the living room floor... I packed everything up into ziplock bags and tucked it away in the bins under the table in the living room. It is prettier when you can see the yarn, but it tends to get very messy on me. This will keep it protected and contained, I hope!

I go to the photographers on Tuesday to look at proofs of the birthday party pictures. I will probably bring some home to post here this week. Yay!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Today is Jaya's Birthday. I worked frantically over the weekend, and last night I finished the socks! Yay!

They are actually the same length, that's not plain in the picture, but they seem to fit.

The next socks will be a mosaic pattern I'm trying on #2 needles.

On Saturday we drove up to Auburn to look at a house. It's brand new, 3 bedrooms, no landscaping. But we loved it. On the drive home we were talking about moving there and commuting. It's a beautiful place, and I like the town.

Here's the front of the house. There would be room for guests, and a nice big room for sessions.

So, we're very excited about the prospect!

Sunday was Shay's birthday party. Here he is with his daughter, Shosie. She was one of the singers at the party.

I still don't have the pictures back from my birthday party, I will post some as soon as I get them.

My friend Brenda and her daughter Beth came all the way from West Virginia for the party. On Sunday morning we went to the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory for brunch and a tour. Here's Beth and Brenda.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cooking, Sewing, Knitting, Playing

Here's my Jaya, making a glaze for the meatloaf. He made the America's Test Kitchen recipe for a dinner we went to at Bruce and Anne's a few weeks ago. Isn't he good looking? And he cooks, too!

I am re-making the top of my wedding dress so I can wear it to my birthday party. It was always too big, so I cut quite a bit off each side, changed the pattern entirely. Here it is, almost put together. I have to put on the sleeves yet, but it will be ready for Saturday.

I'm not actually that talented at creating patterns. What I did was find a pattern that worked, and then took the top apart and re-cut it to the new pattern. I left the neckline and hem as they were, so I didn't lose any beadwork. The gold beads were on this when I bought it, but the green ones I added myself.

Saturday we went to the Pleasanton Scottish Games at the fairgrounds. When we walked in the Wicked Tinkers were playing, so we watched them.

At one point they played 'I want whisky', and lo and behold, 5 or 6 men came up to the stage offering flasks. All the band members got at least a swig, and declared this was the best response to that song, ever!

Here's another shot of the band.

Molly's Revenge played next, and David Brewer did his famous two-whistles-at-once parlor trick.

We were invited to the McPhersen barbecue after the games. I found some time to work on the Jaya sock. Poor thing, it keeps traveling around with me, and still isn't done. But I did get the heel finished, and I'm on the home stretch, working my way up the calf!

We got to session with Molly's revenge after dinner. That was great fun! And Joyce is holding her own on the pipes.
After the session, David Brewer and Jaya were admiring each other's bodhrans, each made by Del Eckles. David said, "It's like those guys who drive Ferrari's, they drive by and wave at each other." Acknowledgement of the best.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Shrug

I last posted on the shrug on July 13, and it's really coming along. I had to change to size 15 needles, the 10-1/2s were not giving me guage. It's much looser and nicer now.

The recycled sari silk and the purple mohair are knitting up quite nicely. The ribbing is done with pink angora goat wool, and the purple mohair.

As you can see below, I have completed all the pieces except the second sleeve. When that's finished, I can sew it together, and then another 5 inches of ribbing gets knit all around the front, neck and back.

It's exciting to see this project develop. I have no way of knowing if I'm going to like this on my body until it's finished, but I am enjoying the process. It will either be a great favorite or an utter failure.

If if fails, I can always frog it and try again, I guess!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lark in the Morning

I haven't had a moment to blog since we got back. We had a great time at Lark. I want to share some choice photos with you.

Here's my new fiddle teacher! Ok, I added the ears. This photo just looked too much like a faun in the forest NOT to! His name is Chris Knepper, and he's an entertaining character who can teach. Exactly what I need. And he lives in Oakland! So, as soon as I'm ready to switch my focus to my fiddle playing (right now I'm taking singing lessons), I will contact him. I went to 7 days of his classes at Lark, and while he's no Athena O'Lochlainn, he has enough of her style that I know I can learn from him. I'm looking forward to it.

Jaya and I camped in a two person tent, which I thought was quite large when I was setting it up. Once inside though, there was room for our mattress, and our duffels, and maybe a foot to spare.
Shay, on the other hand, brought a CONDO. This tent has ROOMS. It took him all day to set up, but he lived in comfort for the rest of the week.
He even had a back door. I have tent envy. But I don't envy all the setting up and packing up this must have involved!

Kim Hughes' Scottish Mouth Music Class
I have taken Pam Swan's mouth music in two previous Lark camp years. Kim filled in for Pam this year, and it was really interesting getting further into the Scottish area. Kim is the only person in the world who has a PhD in diddling.

Danny Carnahan's Songwriting Class

I didn't expect to take this class, but I was walking by and it just sucked me in. I haven't written a complete song yet, but I got a good start. The song I started hit a chord with me, as these things can, and I am really curious to know what it will turn into.

Danny kept saying how he was blown away by all the things coming out of this group. I feel privileged to be a part of it.

Shay Black's Expanding Your Repertoire and Songs of the Sea and More
I spent two hours each day with Shay Black, and I now have 36 new songs to learn! Most of them were new. This class was a pleasure to attend, I got to listen to Shay's arresting voice, and to sing! Singing was the focus for me this Lark.

Larry Sawyer's Tango Class
Jaya and I took the Argentine Tango class together over in Camp 2. After the week we were feeling pretty comfortable with each other on the dance floor. Now we have to get back to our lessons in Oakland so we won't forget!