Tuesday, September 26, 2006


When waxing poetic about how wonderful fingerless mitts were to knit I made a promise to knit some for Kimberly. Then the subject of Mary Janes came up and I think I muttered another, yeah sure... Well, Wham! O! We hit the yarn store in Sebastopol and Kimberly pipes right up the the owner, "Do you have a pattern for?". Next thing you know we're walking to the pub for lunch and I'm making notes about colors and shoe sizes.

This photo contains several things: My new stash from Sebastopol - two skeins of RY cashcotton DK that I'm trying to use with my otherwise all Rowan wool/cotton log cabin blanket. I was told they should knit up fine together but it feels very different on the needles. I've started worrying that there will be a shrinkage problem once I wash things. So, I will knit a bit of both and then wash and compare. I really don't want to go to all the effort of making a log cabin blanket and have puckers. Any thoughts or suggestions?

On the upper left of the photo is a branch of wild grapes that we picked while out walking the dog along the irrigation canal. They're seedy but delicious. On the far right is a wonderful raw silk shawl that was a gift from Marion. Kimberly took the orange, I took the blue. We take turns each year being the one responsible for bringing booty to the Celtic Festival but we always end up bringing gifts for each other. In the middle is the Mary Janes pattern. I am only teasing about mumbling "sure". I'm thrilled my friends want my handmade presents.

Our dryer is still broken and the estimate is so close to the price of a new one that we'll just buy another. The price pales in comparison to drilling our well deeper at a cost of $24 a foot and very likely at least 500 more feet will be needed. (That's $12,000 if you want to feel faint.) You would think a 5 year old dryer would have lasted longer and/or be more reasonable to repair. Our well is shallow by current standards (200 ft) and we suspect that our new neighbors, whose well is right next to ours and very deep, is somehow involved. They have planted an orchard and done major relandscaping which all lines up with the timeline of our water problems. Who knows. Bottom line. We ain't got a lot of H2O.

While at the Suds O Rama I found this little dinosaur in the far corner by the dryers. I did a check to see that no small child had lost it then stuck it in my pocket. Finders Keepers. To the left of his tail you can see a problem I'm having with the log cabin pattern (I think I've worked out the keeping one stitch on the needle when you turn and start a new block - then again maybe not - stay tuned). If I pick up one more stitch I have one too many and it just doesn't seem right. Maybe the dip disappears when I pick up stitches for the block that runs along that edge. I love easy projects. I find so many ways to do them wrong. : - (

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I've got some seriously great girlfriends. I spent an incredibly fun filled three days at the Sebastopol Celtic Festival with two of them, Marion and Kimberly. This is an annual event with the three of us dumping all family responsibilities and just being girlfriends together. My face still hurts from all the laughing we did.

Girlfriends understand that you just have to go check out the local yarn store, The Knitting Workshop. This was a delightful store with lots of nice yarn and a very helpful owner whose name I did not catch. I bought some more Rowan (it has just hit me that I haven't photographed my stash - it was only two skeins but a very pretty deep pink).

This is a fuzzy picture of Martin Hayes and John Williams playing one of the daytime concerts. Martin does things with a fiddle that dazzles your ears and your eyes.
We listened to a lot of amazing music over the course of three days. Two fantastic concerts on Friday and Sat. night (missed Thursday's - a girl can only do so much) and the day was full of dancers, vendors selling all things Celtic, music workshops - you name it and oh, and many more musicians playing. It was a delight. You could just sit and knit and listen to live music. I found that I could even knit a bit in the dark. One group, Vasen from Sweden were incredible. I had never seen a keyed fiddle before (called a Nyckelharpa - try saying that three times really fast).
I'm going to frog the log cabin and I've already started over with a red center piece. It was a combo of not really being happy with how the corners were turning out and Kimberly saying, Oh, aren't you going to be traditional and put the red in the middle? It symbolizes the heart of the house". Grrr. That ate away at my brain till I had to start over.
After a few comments from Marion about wishing she had remembered to bring her knitting I gave her the catnip mouse pattern from Wendy and a set of needles, along with some extra yarn, a cable holder and then a quickie lesson on how to do cables. The number of women who came up to me and said, "Gosh, I wish I had thought of that" was rather high.
After fiddling in Photoshop trying to make my chin less red I arrived at this color adjustment and thought, "Hmmm, just right!"
Before I took off on Friday we had several days of smoky weather from forest fires up north by Downieville. Even without the fires we have surprisingly bad air in the summer. It blows up our way from Sacramento and San Francisco (cough, cough).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

SECRET PROJECT I've been working on a couple of secret projects and one is ready to be unwrapped. I've got a podcast and I'm exhausted which is unfortunate because there is still so much to do. But Episode One is done and uploaded. It's called TrueYarns and you can find it on my completely undeveloped bare bones of a website at http://trueyarns.libsyn.com. It's about knitting and "all things creative". It's not perfect but heck, it's done. In the first episode I talk about going down to see the Yarn Harlot (or the Yarlot as I call her at one point) and the Quilts of Gee's Bend. There's some pretty nice music too. So, go take a look (please).

The summer garden is winding down with volunteer morning glories twining their way around anything they can and the autumn crocus showing their pretty heads amid the ground cover. The late summer flowers are starting to bloom - Mexican bush sage, Japanese anemones. The pineapple sage is now covered with red flowers but that silvery blue morning glory which was going to be threaded through the plant is nowhere to been seen. Gardening plans often just don't unfold as you imagine them. Time to get outside now that the weather is cooler and start cleaning up the dead leaves and getting the rest of the mulch spread out. There are still a lot of figs but they'll be finished soon. Despite all the netting something is eating the grapes and the deer are shearing off anything near the fence line.

Tomorrow I leave for Sebastapol and three days of relaxing with girlfriends at our annual get together, the Sebastopol Celtic Festival. Joy! I'm not going to do anything more stressful than listen to great music, chatter with dear friends and work on my log cabin blanket (knitted on size 5's in Rowan wool cotton).

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


We're into our Indian summer and it's wonderful. Nice warm days without the dreadful heat and the evenings are cooling off but not yet chilly. I'm seeing a lot of this... as hubby makes sure our house is ready for the coming rains. He had the cutest knees.It's been time to repaint the house for some time now. With surprisingly little difficulty we've agreed upon a color. This is pretty remarkable - actually - exceptional - since it's a green. Well, two greens - one for the house and one for the trim. Hubby does not like greens. After we moved here we did a lot of exploring around the area and we came across a house done in very natural, oak-y greens. So when the time came to make a decision we went back, eyeballed the house and headed to the hardware store and picked out paint chips. Then we sat outside the house in our car and held up samples. Finally we just went and knocked on their door. Alas, no one answered but I left a note and I received a call a few hours later. They had poured us out some of the paint and told us where they bought it. Nice! Here's just a little of the trim in the new color. Goodbye yucky blue.I've done one experimental wrist warmer and well, I learned a lot. It tends to roll to the side so the bands don't line up and for some reason that really bothers me. I ended up crocheting the connecting band. I played around with doing crochet on the edges but frogged it. I have an idea about adapting/shrinking the Irish Hiking scarf pattern so that will be my next experiment with wrist warmers.I have found myself really drawn to the Mason-Dixon log cabin blanket. I picked up some green (hmmm, I think I'm in a green phase) Rowan cotton by accident (didn't realize it was cotton) during my trip to see the Yarn Harlot. I've done the first rectangle of 20 stitches cast on and 24 rows of garter stitch. I like it. Now I need more Rowan. It will be an easy project that I can work on when I have company or am just plain brain dead but still wanting to knit.

The sedums are starting to bloom. I had these plants years ago and gave my friend Lynda some cuttings. I left them behind when I moved and years later (and after she had moved several times) she gave me cuttings. Life is so circular.

A bouquet of zinnias. Do I need to say more?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

FINISHED AT LAST The last inch of the second hubby sock is done. I have to say with regret, I do a crappy Kitchener stitch. I watched the video at Knitting Help.com, carefully pausing, doing a couple of purl, knit, purl, purl (or whatever, I've forgotten already) and pretty much got confused by stitch three. My friend Sharon will be up in late October and she does a mighty fine Kitchener so I will just have to watch her again and again till I absorb what should be a fairly straightforward process. Despite my wobbly toe sewing they did turn out pretty well. I don't think I will use this pattern again, the toes are too narrow and square -hubby and I both have rather wide, square feet.
I did a second swatch for the fingerless mitts using the Filatura Di Crosa on size 7's instead of 8's and I like it. It also lost a stitch per inch when I washed and blocked it. My friend Lynda (she who will be getting some fingerless mitts soon) recently took a tumble off of her bicycle and broke her wrist resulting in surgery and a metal plate. The plate will get cold during the winter so I'm working out a patternless pair of wrist warmers. I had the bright idea of having the colored stripe run across instead of down but this morning minus the effects of a glass of wine and paying more attention to my houseguest than to my knitting I realized that the stretch would be better across. I think I can salvage this with knitting another piece or perhaps crocheting a connecting piece. I really only need a couple more inches. Lynda has small hands and wrists. A few years ago I crocheted her a hat and redid it three times till it was small enough. For the wrist warmers I used some of my new Koigu ( I must love her - my Koigue is sacred) done in plain stockinette and the middle is Koigu wrapped with some Ritratto collezione S. Charles - Italian yarn that is 28% mohair, 53% rayon, 10% polyamide and 9% polyester done in a seed stitch. It's laceweight and wraps around the sock weight Koigu very nicely.
Otis is growing to be a big boy. He headed out this morning before we quite realized it and went off into the woods. After finding him following the pathetic cries and after a couple of attempts to entice him in I decided he could find his way back home and he did later in the day.

Fall weather has kicked in quickly. We're now entering into the delicious part of the year - Indian summer. The days are still warm but not really hot and the nights are becoming increasingly cooler. Truckee, which is just over the mountain in Nevada had snow on Friday night.
The dryer? It's broken. The part (motor) is here but the service person isn't able to come out till Thursday. I've already made one visit to the local "Suds 'O' Mat". The only upside was being able to knit uninterrupted.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


It was with amazement and joy today when I discovered that the artist of, "Self Portrait to Wear", Lynne Streeter had answered my email. I was a bit intimidated when she told me that it had taken her nine months to complete her piece. Lynne spends part of her time in Italy where she teaches marble sculpture. She will be back in Oakland next month and hopefully I'll get to meet her.

I don't have any actual knitting content today. I am so very close to finishing the second hubby sock (an inch or less) so I'm hoping to post a picture of my dearest wearing them very soon. We recently discovered "House, MD" and have been watching the DVDs as fast as Netflix mails them to us. It's been cutting into my knitting time. I've tried knitting while watching but after frogging twice I gave up. I can knit to some programs but not to Hugh Laurie. Besides, the drooling slows me down.

I washed and blocked the swatch for the fingerless gloves and the yarn decreased by 1 stitch per inch. I had thought at first that the yarn had relaxed but I think my brain was inverted. I want to see how another swatch works out using a size smaller needles. 7's instead of 8's. I had an email from Valerie saying that she would be mailing me her second copy of the spring issue of Interweave Knits which has the pattern. I've been drooling over the ones that she knitted with cashmere edging for months. I knew I had to make them when I kept going back to look at the photos. First a pair for Lynda then a pair for me (get those kinks worked out first - sorry L.).
Otis continues to learn about the great big outdoors and has discovered the fish in our pond. We are really looking forward to having him neutered. We love him dearly but his testosterone, if that's what male cats have, is making him a pest to all the other animals in the house.

I'm not entirely sure how this is different from my more usual Random Garden Photos other than it isn't always about flowers (but mostly is) and it's on Friday. Doesn't matter at all. This yellow rose is a climber that I inherited from Lynda, she, the future proud owner of fingerless mitts lovingly knitted by her oldest friend. We call it "The Floozy" because the flowers open in a day and then looks like a wreck after a few hours.
There is an amazing nursery in Richmond called Annie's Annuals. On long winter nights I will flip through her slide show and dream of spring. It's a very, very good website and changes with the seasons. My claim to fame is that I once won at musical chairs ($100 worth of plants. I was a happy camper.) during her spring garden party. Heck, I was a Morris dancer for years. That just means I have a good sense of rhythm and I'm totally shameless about dancing in public. It didn't cross my mind that I wouldn't win. When I visit the nursery I like to wander around and pick seeds off of her plants. Of course, I quickly lose track of what I picked. Then when I grow them it always a mystery. The caryopteris above had me flummoxed for most of last summer. I hadn't a clue to what it was but it was doing well. It finally bloomed in late summer and was fantastic. No maintenance, drought tolerant, deer resistant and a heavy bloomer. True. Love.
A rudbeckia called "Gloriosa Daisy". Interestingly, the one packet of seeds had flowers that were all in the same color scheme but with quite a bit of variation. Like people. Hmmmm. I'm starting to sound Cosmic, time to go to bed.

Monday, September 11, 2006



And we did. I have never been around so many knitters in my life. Starting at 10am when I walked downtown from my old house in Los Altos I saw knitters at every street corner. Okay, downtown Los Altos isn't all that large but there were knitting everywhere. The shop, Full Thread Ahead didn't open till 2pm so I was forced (HA! Go ahead, hold my hand over that fire!) to head over to Uncommon Threads which till recently was the only yarn store in town. As usual I found many wonderful things. I think my credit card got a little melted around the edges. It's one of the better yarn stores around and that pesky little issue of customer service seems to have greatly improved. I managed to visit UT twice in one day, The Knitting Basket in Oakland the afternoon before (I'll be a little critical here and say KB could be a bit better on the customer service side too) and of course, FTA. Three yarn shops all in under 24 hours. I felt pretty darn saturated and more than a little broke.

After the doors opened FTA became ever increasingly full of knitters all eagerly awaiting the Harlot. I was told that the final seating count was 300 knitters! I had such a great time looking at all the various projects, hearing about them, fondling some incredible yarns and just wallowing in full bodied knitting Heaven.
The staff was very helpful and amazingly cheerful considering you couldn't turn around without bumping into three to five people at a minimum. They were all wearing tiaras which was just a great touch. The talk was very funny - Stephanie has a wonderful sense of pacing along with a dry wit with just enough bite to make you really listen. She must have been exhausted but never showed it. She commented that I had a pretty sock (and I made some good progress on it while waiting) and when I said it was a Nancy Bush pattern she said that Nancy had written her a note - HER! I don't think she has quite realized/accepted that she's the gold standard for knitters. Although I came home exhausted myself and very, very tired of bay area traffic (how do people live and drive this way daily? What am I saying...I did it for years but it's still soul numbing) I am so glad I went. My new stash: Koigu along with some Classic Elite yarn called "Waterlily", some Rowan cotton wool, a Filatura Di Crosa Lana Merino Extrafine, and a skein of Cascade superwash. I had a hard time getting just the right green to go with the orangy Filatura. My friend Lynda chose the colors for her fingerless mitts that I will be whipping out before the first winter storm (um, yes indeedy). You can see the swatch I knitted on the bottom right.
As to the non-knitting portion of the program: The Quilts of Gee's Bend at the de Young were just amazing. What really hits you is how you don't have to have a lot to be creative. It's really in the mind. We live in such a lush culture that many of us just automatically consume at a high level. If you have a chance to see this show do so or just do some looking via the web.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


One of the great reasons for commenting on other blogs is that you sometimes get to know the person behind the blog and that sometimes leads to the exchange of GIFTS! I've been having a great time emailing and commenting on Valerie's blog. She wrote recently that she had made Mission Fig preserves and Satsuma Plum preserves. Valerie agreed to swap for a bottle of my "Omar the Magnificent" Plum wine and a pint of my pickle relish. Done she said! Along with the jams I received some very cool stitch markers. Yea for exchanges and thank you Valerie!

On the knitting front I have frogged the second hubby sock back to just before the toe decrease begins. I have all the stitches hunky dory on the needles and even think I have figured out what I did wrong. As to my knitted person - it has been felted. I will now work on it with tapestry needle and yarns for a bit (till inspiration hits me) probably while I listen to the YARN HARLOT. I'm heading down to the bay area tomorrow for some girlfriend visiting and a visit on Friday to the Legion of Honor to see the Monet in Normandy show then over to the new de Young museum to see an incredible quilt show, The Quilts of Gee's Bend. YH is on Sat. It's going to be a very full weekend.

I sent an email to the person who made the very wonderful, "Self Portrait to Wear" but no reply. Could be the wrong person (though sculptor/fiber artist makes me think it is), email could have been dumped in her spam folder. Who knows.
Animal integration has been occurring at Chez Earin's. Otis, being a rescued kitten was never weaned. He has a HUGE thing for licking ears. Here Omar enjoys the attention. Notice to the left of the photo something that looks suspiciously like yarn possibly attached to knitting. Nothing is safe around here. Just in the last few days Opie has allowed Otis to lick him. He even licked him back. That was very unusual. Right after these photos were taken things reverted back to the more usual hissing and swatting.


There was a covey of quail as I huffed and puffed up my hill after walking Omar.
Million bells in a hanging planter.Fourth of July climbing rose.

Enjoy your weekend everyone! Details about the Yarn Harlot on Monday.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I recently pulled out a very old book on crochet put out by Sunset waaayyyyyy back in 1975 (I'm old - get over it and by the way just how long does copyright stuff hold up?). Yesterday I was thumbing through it again and I came across this immensely cool sculpture. Is it not just amazing?

Get this: The header for the description reads: Bizarre. I guess tastes have changed or I'm just twisted but I love it. I've googled the artist, Lynne Streeter, and I think I've found her. I'll write and see if she has a color picture that I can have. I haven't made a lot of progress on my knitted person but I've done some. I've been finishing up other things and working on a couple of secret projects, one that I hope will be unveiled by next week. I've been going through my stash (and does it ever need organizing) and pulling out swatches, along with bits and pieces of things I've knitted that either didn't work out or I'll never go back to. I'm binding those off then I will felt them and see if they can be cut and stitched into my own "Self Portrait to Wear".I've had the idea of knitting a person for some time so I strongly suspect that I came across Ms. Streeter's work and it lodged in my little brain
Here are a couple of scans of items that the book thought would make good projects. I did notice that things have changed over the years at least in regard to safety. Those perky potholders (their description) were to be made out of rug acrylic. Just what you would like to be using while working over a hot stove or an open flame.

Still somewhat confused about copyright laws I will try to cover my ass by telling you that this scan came from a really great magazine called "BARK". If you like dogs this is a great magazine. So just start knitting or crocheting your pup a cool collar that yips, I LOVE YOU, Furry Butt.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Ah, the Irish Hiking Scarf is done. This was a easy cable scarf that was fast and fun. I was able to just knit away without needing the pattern. The hardest decision was just how long was "long". I knew I had over 110 extra yards of yarn. I used Classic Elite Inca Print Alpaca (no cute colorway name just the color number 4652) on size nine bamboo needles. The alpaca was so very soft and just a joy to knit. The only thing I would do over is use shorter needles. Mine were way too long and an awfully big temptation to a little kitten. I will be giving this away to a special friend and it's very likely I will knit this again for myself.Speaking of kittens, Otis has discovered one of our two mulch piles. This one is the chipped remains of the two oak trees that came down in march. Just the canopy actually. The rest of the wood has been chopped up and added to our woodpile to keep us warm through the coming winter.

This is a local hike a few miles down the road from us. It's handicap accessible and runs up above the South Yuba River. It is well known for the wildflowers that bloom in the spring. One has to be careful while wandering down the path looking through a wildflower book trying to identify things. You could fall over the side. Don't ask me how I know.

Last winter was very wet and there were two large landslides from up above the trail. The road down to Bridgeport where this hike is (The Buttermilk) has been closed till late Oct. while the road is repaired and the hillside stabilized.

We couldn't wait any longer and picked one of the heirloom melons. It's very much like a yellow watermelon with lots of seeds.

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