Tuesday, January 30, 2007


We dried. We removed various cats helping to hold it down. We tried it on. It got bigger, a lot bigger after washing. Perhaps 2 sizes bigger.

It is too big.


Way too Big.

A thought: I knew the yarn would grow after washing and I took that into consideration when I swatched. Would washing the yarn upfront mitigate this issue?


WE BLOCK NOW, OKAY? The blocked somewhat cowl has been very popular with the furred crowd. By popular demand (n = 2) a photograph of me actually wearing the sweater will happen in the near future.
My stepson has been visiting us for the last week. He and the hubby share many interests in common. One of them is spending a lot of time on the couch watching things go VOOM! and BANG!!. I think of this as an action shot because they're both sitting up. I tease but...
With visions of motorcycles dancing in my head it's time for:


Continuing my prison camp theme, I now present my review of The Great Escape (1963):

1. When I grow up, I want to be The Scrounger. He was living large. (Now imagine if he and William Holden’s character from Stalag 17 were in the same prison camp. These are the guys to know.)

2. SMcQ looks good dirty.

3. Re-using your tea leaves 20 times???? I would be in hell.

4. SMcQ looks good in the cooler.

5. The King of Cool - playing The Cooler King? How cool is that?

6. The best-dressed POW award goes to: David McCallum (the other Man from U.N.C.L.E.) It might be my own ignorance of RAF uniforms, but his was a bit flashier than everybody else’s and he was not the highest-ranking officer, but it was still nice.

7. Word to the wise: If you are an escaped prisoner being taken back to your prison camp, and your captors (THE ENEMY!!) says it’s okay to "get out and stretch your legs" – DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT.

8. "Progressive myopia": welcome to my world. I would be toast.

9. SMcQ looks good stuck in barbed wire.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Much damage was done with the rented tractor. The dirt pile has been diminished, spread around the property to smooth out potholes, fill in low areas around the house, and helping shore up the pole barn. (Built singlehanded by hubby. I helped hold one pole while he aligned it. I did my part!)
When the hubby told me he had ordered dirt my eyes gleamed. Dirt! Lovely black stuff for the raised beds. Alas, it was red and mostly clay, a very low grade of dirt perfect for what it was intended for.
We still have lots of mulch. It will disappear come spring time when I spread it around to help hold in moisture and thwart the weeds. Omar likes to sit or stand on top surveying his domain and giving anyone walking a dog up the road a very hard time.
The actual knitting of the somewhat cowl was done over a week ago but it has taken a long time to finally get around to weaving in the ends. This is the fastest I've ever knitted a sweater. I cast on a day or two after Christmas and worked on it almost every day. I still need to wash and block it. I like it a lot. It's an interesting yet easy pattern. It was done using DK silky merino from Sundara on size 2 and 3 needles. I did get a little tired of the endless rounds of stockinette at times but it fits well and suits me. When I've done a few other projects I'd like to return to this pattern and do it in a bulkier yarn. I did go back and redo the bottom cast off which helped a great deal. I noticed today that Wendy has some very good information and links to stretch cast-offs. I am constantly delighted and amazed at how much information is on the web and how generous other bloggers are passing on tips and links. I thank you. I also had fun this morning listening to Mason-Dixon being interviewed by John Seigenthaler. As always they are a hoot.
Next up? The second rib and cable is down to the thumb then we cast off. Then another sweater I think. I also need to get my act together and do another podcast. Tomorrow...for sure...after I finish my novel....

Friday, January 26, 2007


I have houseguests so not much blogging is going on but I hate to miss ECF. Above is my friend Dave (and his partner Katrina - my old landlady/housemate for nearly 10 years) patting a madrone on one of the many hikes we have done over the years. They have 15 to 25 years or so on me and still manage to hike me into the ground. I think Dave was the original energizer bunny.

A leaf I found last fall in Nevada City. It was scanned in.

Dirt. When I told my friend Kate that we had dirt delivered she mused about buying dirt: Is there a dirt store? Is there a showroom? "Right this way, sir, we are here for all of your dirt needs..."
Yes, yes, and yes. City Folks. Humph.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I am beginning to think that there needs to be a few rules. I was organizing my stash a day or two ago, which on the whole is A Good Thing. On the upside, I found a small hank of the Classic Elite Waterlily in green that I needed for the edges of my second rib and cable mitt. This removes the wait and see anxiety - do I have enough and will I have to take all my little snippets and felt them together? (I even did some dumpster diving and retrieved several strands from a garbage basket next to my sewing machine - you never know - it could have made the difference.) Another upside is that I know just what I have in my stash pile. The downside. Do I need to spell it out? I know exactly how much yarn I have. I think there should be some sort of rule about looking your stash straight in the eye. I suspect that I don't have a huge stash compared to people who have been seriously knitting for years and years. But...it's a lot more than the mental image I've be wandering through my days with. I've had the bright idea that I will put a photo of the item I want to make in with the yarn into a ziplock bag. Then when I go rooting around I will be re-inspired. It's a cunning plan. Needing another container for said stash I unceremoniously dumped the acrylic stash belonging to my mother and stole her tub. At the bottom I found a little booklet from 1959 on how to knit and crochet. For 35 cents you got a great deal. The booklet is actually rather good. Just another example of what I think of as the "Super Size Me" of just about everything in our culture.I have made progress on the second rib and cable mitt. The somewhat cowl is so near to be finished but I just can't seem to get that last end tucked in. Tonight.For.Sure.
Yesterday bought a box of Sundara's amazing yarn. I now own two skeins of laceweight yarn. It is so delicate I felt nervous handling it. Opie had no reluctance whatsoever. I missed getting a photo of him stuffing almost all of his 13 lbs into the box the yarn came in. Things were quickly moved to Higher Ground.

Monday, January 22, 2007

FO'sI've yet to customize my webpage to show my FO's and the always fun (and more numerous) UFO's. Now with waiting for permission to switch to blogspot's new version I'm just hanging around hoping for the best. I realized though that with my friend John's visit I had two FO's that could be photographed and shown to the world. The red one was done a couple of years ago and helps keep John warm whenever Boston decided to actually have a winter. The dark blue/purple one that my dear hubby is sporting was done last year on our annual trip to Phoenix in Feb. I get a lot of knitting done while we whiz past scenic byways. Both were done with one skein each of a Mountain Colors mohair/nylon blend. I don't remember the needle size. The pattern was written on a scarf tag at Meadow Farm. It was supposed to produce an accordion like pleating which I never could achieve.While John was here we did two lovely hikes. One was around six miles and the other was a little under five. Omar had a good time hanging out with the guys up front while I continued with my somewhat cowl sweater which is so darn near to being completed that I might be able to wear in to town on Wed. Even though the cowl seemed to go on and on forever this is the fastest I've ever completed an entire sweater - I cast on just a day or two after Christmas. (Okay, it has short sleeves and is knit as a piece so no sewing up but still.) And.It.Fits. I'm ready to make the difficult decision of what to cast on next. I do have the second rib and cable mitt but I'm thinking in addition to and larger - another sweater? Red sweater for the KAL I currently cannot post to or "Claude" in the Debbi Bliss cotton angora? Or? Or? Decisions, decisions. I actually have a lace project that I'm giving serious thought to. I have sworn that lace is not for me but this is something special which I'll blog about another time.
Omar wearing his stylish acrylic $5 at the pet store coat. He's hanging out with the Big Boys as we bounce along on a rocky dirt road. It was very cold in the shady spots with the river rocks still coated with ice.One of the stunning views of the Yuba River down below as we hiked along. You can see the copper which colors the river. It stains my bathtub blue.

Friday, January 19, 2007

MY CHEATING HEART I may cheat (at least with my knitting) but I don't lie (not that I need to go into heavy detail). I went ahead and finished one of the rib and cable mitts. They turned out more like gauntlets. I seem to have made gauge at least for the stitches but not for the row count. I like them though - I like them a lot. I was unsure I would have enough yarn and was loath to hunt down another skein (bought in Los Altos) for just a few yards. I still don't know if I'll have enough for the green trim for the second one (and won't know till the bitter end). I may have to use a trick taught to me by Sharon on how to felt the ends together so I can utilize all the bits and pieces leftover from making the first pair. The yarn is Classic Elite/Waterlily. 100% extra fine merino. Very smooth and springy to work with. The only problems I experienced were when I frogged and had to pick up stitches. The yarn poofs up into many small, single minded individual threads which have to be arm wrestled back into a single strand. I started out on size 3's and switched after about an inch (where the regular cable pattern started) to size 2's). It seemed to work out well. Having knit these up before things went very, very fast. They were done over a long evening with just a bit more the next morning.
The second photo is more true to the actual colors. I have picked up my somewhat cowl and cast on all the cowl stitches and am now knitting around and around and around. I had 26 too many and somehow dropped two too many when I went back causing me to stuff in two around the back so I could keep the ribbing straight. I'm not sure that this will work. I also ended up with a rather loose pickup because 26/28 stitches are a lot to drop. I will see how it all flows and then decided whether to go back and redo it. I've already decided to undo the bottom and re cast-off using an elastic cast-off method. I sent an email to Grumperina yesterday asking if she knew a good way to get a looser cast-off and the elastic cast-off was one of her suggestions. Thank you Grumperina!

Note to self: Do not go surfing to Sundara's website unless you are sure you can resist buying yarn. Sundara, the creator of ECF, periodically puts out small batches of exquisitely dyed yarn of the very highest quality. I (and I admit I knew that she was putting out new yarn) surfed over and fell in love (several times). Could you resist this (Rose over Salmon)? I also bought my first silk lace yarn and I think I know what I'm going to do with it.
The late afternoon sky looking north.

One of my plum trees against the sky.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

UNFAITHFULLY YOURS I'm in the home stretch: both sleeves are done on the somewhat cowl. Now for picking up the stitches around the cowl and knitting like the wind. So close yet so far. What can I say? It was late. I was tired but not ready to give up for the night. And I was so very tired of green and ribbing that goes around and around and around. I cast on some rib and cables mitts for myself. I have given myself strict instructions. Knit just a little just so you can imprint the red on your corneas then back to the sweater. I started the mitts on size 3's and things seem a little large. Oh please, I don't want to go down to 2's. I have the bright idea that I will make them longer enabling me to leave the largest part intact and just switch over to the 2's. I have my doubts though. Okay, I'm delusional.
The mailperson brought me a box of sock yarn from Sundara in a lovely color called "Lenten Rose". I don't particularly care for the sock pattern. I don't wear lace socks but I am thrilled to have the yarn. The sweater is being knit in her DK silky merino and though I confess to being a bit tired of the color I am in no way tired of the yarn. It's so soft and slides so smoothly on my needles. The sock yarn will be put to a good use some time after I pick up a couple hundred stitches and go around and around till I have inches and and inches of ribbing.
Opie thinks the somewhat cowl is looking pretty good.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

NEW YARN IN THE FROZEN WONDERLAND It's mighty cold here in northern CA. Much colder than "normal". I traveled south to the bay area and it was pretty cold there. It was nice and toasty inside Uncommon Threads in Los Altos where I picked up some beautiful red Waterlily to make myself a pair of the rib and cable mitts. I have just enough of the green leftover from the first pair to do the tips with. I had a chance to see the first pair being worn in action. I am happy to report that the yarn is holding up very well. No pilling, no funny snags.I also bought four skeins of Koigu, two in a teal green and two in a black with a slight variegation. The black has strong purple undertones. I'm hoping to make a pair of socks eventually for the hubby with it. The teal? Hmmm, I have been wanting a soft draping cowl tube for myself. I've also seen a very nice pattern for the tube cowl but done in lace. Perhaps my very first lace project? I have a lot of projects lined up in my mind. Some are secret and not to be mentioned in public but most are of the Me!Me! variety.

My Debbie Bliss cotton angora arrived in a blink. Wow. It's lovely stuff though I did go to Knitter's Review to see what they thought and alas, it wasn't highly thought of. Apparently the yarn doesn't pill but it gets fluffy in a weird way. I think it was described as a "used Kleenex look". I am hoping this isn't the case. I've knitted a swatch and matched gauge right off the bat (a very nice change for once) and I like the yarn very much.The reason I went down to the bay area (other than a chance to visit girlfriends) was to attend an art auction and meet the artist, Lynne Streeter. She of the incredible crocheted person. She was pretty busy but we managed to talk a bit before I had to head out. She had kindly gone to a lot of effort to get slides of her "person" printed up. It's now such old technology that not too many places do it. I certainly appreciated seeing it in color.
Some amount of knitting was done on the somewhat cowl. Stockinette can be very tedious but in a short time I will be binding off the bottom. I also went to see the movie, "Pan's Labyrinth" in San Francisco. It's not for everyone but I liked it very much and thought it quite extraordinary.

This morning we woke up to a frozen pond. Even the hummingbird feeder's syrup had frozen. Poor hummingbirds. The fish don't seem to be minding the cold.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

LOVE I have fallen madly in love with this cardigan from the blog, "My Fashionable Life". It's called "Claude" and I now own it. (Anna, the designer was mentioned on a recent Mason-Dixon blog entry. I just followed the dancing links.) I did some surfing around to find the exact yarn Anna recommended (a first for me) and found all 10 skeins on EBay for $2 a skein less than anywhere else. Even with shipping it was quite a bit cheaper. Oh? The yarn? Debbie Bliss cotton angora. I read through the pattern carefully and it all made sense. I think I'm growing up at least knitting-wise. I continue to make very good progress on the somewhat cowl and am dreaming of my next project. Claude or Cinxia in Elsebeth Lavold red? Claude is more of a spring garment. So is Cinxia. Perhaps a coin toss.

I am heading down to the bay area tomorrow and will not be posting so I thought I would get my Eye Candy offerings in early. Despite the fact that I will be throwing my life on the Grill of Chance via the freeway on a Friday near rush hour I am excited. Some months ago I blogged about contacting Lynne Streeter who had crocheted an amazing person back in 1975. I had come across a small black and white photograph of her person in a Sunset magazine on crocheting. She lives half the year in Italy and the other half in the bay area. She teaches marble sculpture. I'm going to meet her at last at a charity art show in the Mission District given by her daughter. Way, way, way cool! I'm hoping to interview her for my podcast, Trueyarns when I finally figure out how to record remotely. I've experimented with my little handheld recorder but the results are pretty miserable.


Sunset in Nevada. The hubby took this photograph while out on a motorcycle trip in the Nevada desert. It might be a sunrise. Who knows. He's asleep on the couch so we'll never find out. More views from my living room window and more proof that I get up early, at least to make a pit stop.
Lovely light after rain in the afternoon. Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, January 08, 2007

MY DAY The hubby suggested that today would be a great day to go out and ride our dual sport bikes. Like a lot of other places northern CA is experiencing rather warmer than usual weather for the time of year. Hubby checked the bikes and loaded things up the night before. (I knit on the somewhat cowl sweater.)
As our starting point he chose to take me to a place called Oregon Creek up off of Hwy 49 which has a lovely covered bridge complete with a rushing stream underneath and just a touch of graffiti inside. I knit on the drive up.
After unloading our bikes it was discovered that one of them would not work. No spark. A toolkit was brought out and various things checked and fussed over. Hubby is a very prepared guy. Just one of the many things I love about him.
After wandering around taking photos and checking out the immensely chilly bathroom at the little campground I stood in front of my pickup truck and knitted. There's a lot of heat coming off a radiator. My helmet made a perfect place to hold the yarn.
Whatever the problem was it became apparent that it wasn't going to get reparied quickly. It was decided that I would follow behind hubby in my truck and he would ride the one working motorcycle. The hubs were locked and into 4 wheel drive I went (and I needed it from time to time. Lots of mud on narrow trails along with a great many deep ruts). Normally the roads would be covered in snow but other than ice in the most shady of spots it was a snow free experience till we reached the town of Forest City. Winter population of: 3. FC is an old gold mining town that has gone through several boom and bust cycles. It's in a "bust" at the moment though there is still lots of gold I imagine. It's just so expensive to mine these days. You can't read the sign over the door in the above photo but it reads "Forest City Dance Hall". We were told the town comes alive in the spring and summer and the houses are inhabited by the summer folk. The population probably swells to 20 or more. I knit on the way home. I'm at the point where it seems this sweater will never be done.

Elinor (a good blogger who you should nag to blog more often) commented recently that she likes to check out my weather pixie to see "real weather". Those SoCal girls. Like, really. I personally go to Zeneedle to see real weather at least weather in Colorado. After we arrived home from our trip and I logged on my weather pixie showed Grass Valley to be 102F which was perhaps off just a little.

I've tried several times to switch to the new blogspot but am told I cannot. It is most annoying and means I cannot post to one of my KALs. I'm thinking about combining things to my trueyarns podcast site and just simplify life. I also want to apologize to anyone who tagged me last month. I received several emails with the word "tagged" and figured them to be spam. What can I say? If it feels spamish I delete. Feel free to resend and I'll tell you all you want to know (maybe).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

CATS and KNITTING Whip out the digital and from out of nowhere a cat (or two or three) bounce up and say Pay Attention To Me (and by the way I am going to destroy whatever you're focused on).
The top part of the swatch (and the photo does not do it justice) is a nice little pattern called "dimples" that I found in my Vogue stitchionary. The sweater I will be making for the Red Sweater KAL (Cinxia from Knitty.com) calls for a twisted stockinette that just doesn't thrill me. I did several patterns till I found dimples and we are pleased. The green sample in the background is the photo in the book. Now for the fun part of figuring out what needs to change in the pattern since it's a tight stitch which will be used on the edging of the sweater/jacket. I don't have much experience doing this but hey, I'm game.

I'm down to the last six inches on the somewhat cowl then the ribbing (and the short sleeves and then the ribbing around the neck). I did three attempts of decreasing the waist and still wasn't happy. My SSK's left an unacceptable little hole. After all the fussing it finally hit me - I don't have a waist. Problem solved!

Friday, January 05, 2007

When we first moved here we were always dashing outside to take pictures of the views. We've tapered off a bit but it isn't uncommon for one of us to say, "Look at the color!", grab a camera and dash outside. It's always shifting and changing and a complete delight.
Sometimes the valley below disappears in the ground fog. Sometimes we get a bit of snow in the winter. Not usually a lot but it's always fun.
I offer up this sunrise as proof that I do sometimes get up early. Okay, I went right back to bed. I am not a day person.
Looking west doesn't offer the same long overlook but there is a long meadow filled with trees and once in a while a spectacular sunset.

Powered by Blogger