Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Much knitting on Pebbles has been going on in between getting my mother settled. It seems to be taking a long time to get things done. I can be seen most days wearing a phone headset while listening to really bad warbly music while trying to reach a humanoid. (I had a very unsatisfactory interaction with Social Security yesterday. I checked their website, cannot be done there. I did the automated phone thing. Cannot do it there either. I asked if we could mail in forms. Um, no, don't think so. Must.Come.In. So, if I understood them correctly they insist that to change my mother's address I have to drive her to Sacramento, a three hour round trip, get her into the building (along with her walker - she's nearly 84), wait in line, explain our situation, then have her fill out forms and sign her name. I do not think so.)

While waiting I load or unload the dishwasher, knit a few rows, fold laundry, tidy the house. The knitting, alas, was not to gauge despite swatching. I started to get a clue when I used up almost two skeins for one sleeve. Hmmmm she said, this might be a tad on the large size. I've gone down a needle size and knitting two sizes smaller than I normally wear. I am using a comfy shirt that fits not too tightly, not too loosely, but just right to see if Pebbles fits. So far so good.

I've had much more success with the fit of my black poly pants. I stuck to my 97/3% rule which is where I do 97% of the project then take several months to do the last 3%. It's practically a tradition now but they are done at long last and they fit beautifully.

Knowing that my mitered square lap throw wasn't going to be done in time and also thinking something that could just be tossed in the washer and dryer was a lot more suitable for the recipient it is intended for I decided on a polar fleece throw with bias binding. Fleece, as the Enabler will tell you does not ravel and does not need to have the edges finished. I wanted a nice edging though and did many, many experiments finding the right way. The "right way" failed miserably. In fact, it sucked. I ended up cutting it off with my rotary cutter and sewing on one side of the bias tape (new, improved, involving a trip to the fabric store) and hand sewing the other side. My hands are sore, the tip of my right middle finger is punctured in many places but the binding looks wonderful. Oh, and it took hours and hours.

I have more of this fleece which I plan to use for a bathrobe and I WILL NOT be finishing the edges.

Opie can be a very interesting cat. He has taken to climbing up on your back given half a change. Bend over the sink, there he is. Sitting on the toilet? You should have closed the door. He flattens himself out and purrs and purrs.

Friday, November 16, 2007

WIPING UP I've knit another dishcloth. I went down a needle size and made it as dense, well, if not as possible, pretty darn dense. I have no idea why it turned out so long. I swear it was square when I cast off. I haven't used it yet but I think it's likely to pass to pass the functionality test. Note the cool crocheted loop for convenient hanging up of.

Wed. I went out to Auburn to meet up with my friend Sharon. It seems like we haven't seen each other in a long time. Work for her. Mother for me. I shopped for a new cell phone and then we had dinner at Panera. This is the new place the Chicks with Sticks meet every Wed. for their stitch and bitch. I had a wonderful time and much progress was made on the Pebbles sleeve.

Being incredibly close to finishing the sleeve I went and cast on for something else. I had been reading about mittens at Moth Heaven so I started looking at mitten patterns. I have such an urge to try twined knitting. Somehow, I segued over to hats and ended up casting on the cable band for this hat for my mother. I did a test run and decided to go up a notch to size 7's. I did my very first provisional cast-on. I also experimented with cabling without a needles but you know, I like using a needle just fine. It's good to know though for those occasions one is stuck up a creek without either a paddle or a cable needle. I've been known to use a crochet hook from time to time. Toothpicks are a great size but too rough.

The yarn is from my stash (hear the birds singing of my virtues) and a very good compliment with the winter coat I'm shortening the sleeves on for dear Mom. It's Di.Vo Autunno Merino and very soft. I hope I can find another skein (I have two in this color) for matching mittens. Remember the mittens?

Returning to my roots of very long ago (and racking up more karma points) I am dyeing curtains for dear Mom with Ritz dye. The peach leaves were a lot more fun.


At this time of year the garden is a mess. I haven't done any real work in it for ages. Even if I had it would still look a little down at the heels. Fall is like that. The roses continue to bloom. The night time temperatures are dropping so soon there will be a frost.

In the morning as I look out the window I enjoy looking at the pond and the pineapple sage.
I've been congratulating myself for going to the effort to start up another round of zinnias in the late summer. They almost glow.

The climber, Fourth of July has a few roses still.

And yet another blanket flower. I'm always intrigued by how many versions there are in my garden. This particular flower has be so hybridized that it is constantly recombining as it reseeds. There was one that was like a cancer, clumped with a few petals poking out but most of them are pretty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Omar found Pacific Grove to be a bit on the chilly side. He's a pup who loves basking in the sunlight or snuggled up close to the wood burning stove.

On our way down I knit a washcloth out of the Sugar 'n' Cream cotton. As pretty as it looks it doesn't pass the functionality test all that well. It stretches when wet and the holes becomes a lot bigger. I have cast on for a much tighter gauge using size 6's rather than size 7's and doing a very simple K10, P10 across the 50 stitches I've cast on. I think the greater density will work better for scrubbing down my counter tops. Knit and Learn.

I continue along with Pebbles (yes, Claude, I'm very aware of my failing towards you). I am sure the sleeve will be too long and too wide. I plan to hold off on knitting the second one until I try sewing in the first. In the future all cuff to top sleeves will be done with a provisional cast-on. We are almost famous for the shortness of our arms.
In the meantime I knit a little hat for my mother using a basic Barbara Walker pattern. It was fast, easy, and fun to follow and gave a great result. My mother's head is not cold anymore. She was so funny the other day when she said, "That's have seasons up here." Yup. Snow too Mom.
Tomorrow is a stay at home day where I will start altering various tops and pants for my mother. Saying that she is short hardly sums it up. No one in this family is known for the length of their legs and arms. Then it's a visit with my friend Sharon and knit night with the Chicks with Sticks. Woo!

Friday, November 09, 2007


We were a very popular address earlier this week. We probably still are since the dumpster will not be removed until Monday. An amazing number of people hopped in with glazed eyes and fixed smiles. Coming back from our lunch break we were asked by a woman chest deep and clutching an old watering can, "Do you want some of this too?". Since it was technically all mine and both hubby and I had been working long hours to toss it out the answer was, "Well, no and by the way, it's really all mine". She didn't seem to quite grasp the concept but several other people offered to "come inside and help". Thankfully, hubby was very cheerful about it all. I found that my instincts to "defend my territory" had been aroused. I'm third of six so territory was a big issue while growing up. But I'm over that...really.

That it was a grueling series of days doesn't quite sum it up but it is done. We are now home and tomorrow we start hauling all the things that we brought up out of the RV and deciding - store or take to my mother's? It was interesting to see the various emotions that arose as I sorted, tossed and packed. My mother really loved Stuff. If only she loved wool and not acrylic yarn...sigh.

Thank you all who sent me kind comments. It's been an interesting journey and still lots more to come. My mother is "adjusting". Losing a lot of your autonomy is very hard. Getting old and needing help is very hard to accept.

We both needed a change of pace after we came home so I settled down with the sleeve of Pebbles. It has been a while. A couple of hours watching Law and Order:CI reruns with a pot of tea did wonders for my psyche.

Today was the chiropractor, lunch with a girlfriend, and an hour and a half of being tortured by Kona, the Warrior Woman Rolfer. I swear she has steel rods in her fingers. I feel so much better though. During lunch we did a quickie run to the local yarn store where gosh, both of us had store credit. I picked up some shorter needles for the Pebbles sleeve and two skeins of Crystal Palace superwash "Merino 5". I am going to make my mother a hat to match a polar fleece coat I will give her. It's much colder than she is used to in the winter. I am thinking of something simple from Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Knitting Workshop" but who knows.

Casting around for something for dinner I decided on a black bean - pumpkin soup. This brave pumpkin, grown in our very own yard, is giving up his or her life and soul to nourish us. The stove really isn't as dirty as it seems (it's worse).
Which brings us to:

Our days are still lovely but the nights are becoming crisp. We have a small fire to take the chill off the living room. It's very cosy.
A grape vine closing out its chlorophyll for the winter.

One of the few cyclamens that survived the dry summer.

We've had little rain but it's damp enough for mushrooms to sprout up in the most unlikely places.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cat-less in Pacific Grove

Hubby and I are in the midst of cleaning out my mother's house. It's dirty work and a bit emotional too. The morning was hard but the afternoon brought various people interested in some of the things we were putting out and people asking about my mother. Pacific Grove is still a small town in so many ways and my mother lived there for a very long time. The cats were left home with huge piles of food and water and will be fine but I miss them. It was just too much to juggle though.

It's foggy and cold but the ocean is so beautiful. Omar the Magnificent had his first walk along the shoreline and although he found the tides a bit scary he loved the sand under his paws and the seabirds were a delight. He ran and pranced like a high spirited pony let out after a long winter.

I have no photos to share. I've never done the setup for camera/laptop/cable . I did manage to knit one dishcloth on the way down with a triangle pattern. I even found a small mistake in the pattern! I've started another but there will be no time for knitting until we are back on the road home which hopefully will be in a few days.

We're staying at a RV park at the fairgrounds. This is the fairgrounds where I attended the Monterey Pop Festival back in 1967. It's probably a good thing we can't glimpse our future. We're tired and dirty but the RV has a nice shower and a lovely bed. We've got beer and pizza so we aren't suffering too much. Tomorrow is the day the charity people come by to look at the bigger things and hopefully take them away.

PS. The bathmat is working out very well. As with most things I would do it a little differently but I am pleased.

Friday, November 02, 2007


But she's mine. The RV bathmat is done. I wasn't sure it was worth washing and blocking. We're heading back down to Pacific Grove on Sunday for the fun task of sorting, tossing and who knows what else of 20 years of stuff. There is no organization so each and every drawer and box will have to be gone through. I've got charities coming in to haul off the new washer - it just isn't worth the money to rent a trailer, haul it 200 plus miles north then run an ad selling it - and any of the little things no longer needed. Things like the five vacuums and so forth. It will be fun, lots of fun. Did I mention the 14 steep stairs that hubby and I will be going up and down 321,815 or so times?

I've been using the leftover cotton for washcloths and to try out new patterns (as mentioned in my last post). Somehow I went from 39 stitches to 32 so some frogging has occurred. I'm still looking under cushions for a couple of them. Just when I think I have this knitting thing cornered she gives a wiggle and she's gone.


There were just a few squash this year. We are slowly eating them and they are tasty.

The pineapple sage continues to put on a fantastic show.

After a cold snap and a little rain we are back to being rather balmy. The begonias like it.

Alice, the wonder hydrangea, is putting on her Fall wardrobe.

And Ollie enjoys some time on the hammock. He likes to jump up and swing back and forth. He does this all on his own.

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