Monday, April 30, 2007

NOTE TO SELF1. Gauge swatches are good. Washing your swatch is even better. The hot pink tart went from 6 stitches an inch to 4 after washing. I don't think I really needed the side panels though I am still very pleased with how they worked out. The cashsoft is so light and well, soft. I think the HPT feels larger than it actually is because it just floats.2. Put that post it note about doing some upper body work so you have really toned upper arms somewhere you can actually see it.

3. Make notes on the pattern about adjusting the placement of the armholes so there isn't any bra gap the next time you use this pattern.

I've already cast on with the same yarn but in a different colorway for a version of the HPT. I found something similar in one of my Lavold books but it has a lovely leaf pattern done in lace up the front. I think I may have found my first lace project.I am also pleased with how the crocheted edging turned out.

Claude watched the washing and blocking "just to be sure". He's next in the queue. (Ignore that remark about having already cast on something else.)

After Claude finished his tea Opie came along and helped hold the HPT down. Opie is always so helpful.
While all of this was going on I defrosted some of the grapefruit juice I had leftover from all of the grapefruit my friend Suzy gave me while I was in Phoenix. I added some blood orange juice, a whole lot of sugar, some rose petal water and a few other secret ingredients and soon I shall have gelato.

Friday, April 27, 2007

EYE CANDY FRIDAY Things are looking rather lush at Chez Earin's lately. We are pleased. After six years of trying this and that small sections of the garden are starting to work. Above is a wild type of iris bought commerically.
This is a native wild iris found on our property and around the county. Years ago when I was a student at UC Santa Cruz I went to a wildflower show where there were many, many native wild iris on display. I had no idea that there were so many variations, single, plain, ruffled.

The view from my kitchen. A climbing rose (Fourth of July) on the left. An orange oriental poppy in the middle (closeup below) and more iris.

The majority of the iris I have are purple and blue but there are also yellows, oranges, pale purple and a lovely one called "Hot Chocolate" that is a rich milk chocolate brown. This two toned one has a lovely smell.

A geum, Mrs Bradshaw, grown from seed. Just starting to strut her stuff. She and her sisters will bloom all summer long.
Today is our fifth wedding anniversary. Hubby and I were married out in our meadow. It rained the night before and was windy and cold the day of. It was chilly but wonderful. I am still amazed and grateful to all of our friends who traveled so far to come celebrate with us. (And forgiving of those who chose another wedding! Give me a few more years Mia! I'll get over it - eventually...) : - )
Tomorrow is the first anniversay of this blog. How time flys when you're kniting (and gardening) along!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I came home from the bay area with a truck full of plants so I've been very busy finding just the right spots in my garden for my plant stash but still finding time to knit. The Hot Pink Tart is almost done. All the seams are sewn and one armhole is crocheted. More about that later.

It became apparent that the HPT was going to be a little snug. My friend Sharon suggested that I put in side panels so I knitted one trying to match the basketweave. When I lined it up I could see that I had gone from snug to Too.Large.

Thinking cosmic thoughts such as "Keep it Simple" I picked up the stitches on both sides and did a garter stitch for one inch each side. I tend to bind off fairly tightly so I used a size 8 to bind off which seemed to work well. I had been knitting on size 3's and getting gauge. For some reason when I got to the front neck shaping I switched to size 4's (don't ask, I haven't a clue either). It was only for an inch or so and didn't really seem to make a difference and I wasn't in a frogging mood.
I had to do a small amount of easing to match the side seams and it isn't puckering BUT as I suspected from the pattern the armhole is LARGE affording a great view of my bra. I opted to crochet around the edges and I like the way it looks. It's funny, I learned to crochet when pretty young and as soon as I start hooking I feel at ease. Muscle memory takes over. With knitting I'm always thinking and correcting and the sense of ease is not there. Not that it isn't enjoyable, it's just that I need to concentrate. I am wondering if I can crochet a little panel to hide my underwear. I'm not big on showing my undies. (I've since tried the panel idea and it doesn't work. Two rows of basic crochet seem to be just right for finishing.)
Overall, I am pleased. It was an easy knit, the pattern has a few typo's but nothing you can't figure out (still, I paid good money for it and I like accurate patterns). The yarn drapes beautifully and makes even my full figure look good.
Ann Norling: Checkerboard Shell by Norla Henerson
Almost 6 skeins of RY Cashsoft DK merino/microfiber/cashmere #506 from The Yarn and Fiber Store (their prices just went up alas and I don't know if they're still offering free shipping).
Susan Bates No. 3 needles which I liked a lot more than the bamboo ones I tried.
Size "C" hook for the edges.
I will certainly make this again with adjustments to the size of the armholes.

Hubby and I like to go exploring to see what's tucked away out in the mountains. Yesterday we went along the eastern side of Lake Englebright. It was very muddy. I was brave and wore hand knit socks with my hiking boots and put them both to the test when we hiked around. Omar got very muddy. I didn't get a good photo of all the adorable little paw prints he left all over me. Luckily, he's a very smoochable kind of dog and gets away with A.Lot.

Friday, April 20, 2007


No photos for this posting. I really should figure out the art of transferring my photos to someone else's computer. So, what would I be showing you if I could? Lots and Lots and Lots of plants. We went to two nurseries today, Annie's Annuals and Berkeley Hort. Annie started at BH and they also carry a selection of her plants so there was quite a bit of overlap. That didn't stop me from finding lots of things that I just had to have.

On the knitting front the checkerboard shell is about to be bound off on the front then I will try experimenting with side panels. The yarn RY cashsoft that I bought for my friend was given as a gift and it was received with much delight. She's finishing up a pair of mittens for a child then she'll start on her shawl. I should have brought another skein for the shell since I'm about to run out on this trip but I was smart and also brought along the herringbone sock. I've learned to always have plenty of projects as backup on trips.

Things have been busy these last few days. Wed. I traveled down to Los Altos, Thur. I had a doctor's appt. then a lovely lunch with my friend Julie, then a quick trip to the de Young museum to see an exhibit : Vivienne Westwood: 36 Years in Fashion. This was way cool and even had some very unusual handknit sweaters. It was nice to see fashion, wacky as it was at times that actually took into account that women have hips and busts and are naturally rather on the round side. Then I worked my way across the Bay bridge to Alameda to spend the night with another friend and we spent today wallowing in glorious plants. My poor truck is stuffed to the gills. Tonight I head back over the Bay bridge to see yet another friend and may or may not go running around SF. The weather has been a bit iffy so perhaps we'll be slobs and watch movies and knit all day. Then back home again. I love visiting my friends but I miss my hubby and animals and I'm eager to get all those plants out!

Monday, April 16, 2007

DIETS NEVER WORK I have put myself on a yarn diet and am failing miserably. Well, some of this lovely RY cashsoft is for a friend as a birthday present. I was so taken with the color that I bought enough to make another basketweave shell. I'm using the same yarn but in a different colorway for the Hot Pink Tart. I'm almost up to the armhole decreases and very pleased with the results. It will be too small but a very smart suggestion from my friend Sharon about putting in side panels has me thinking. After I cast off the front I will loosely string it together and see how the armholes look. It might just work. I have to admit that I like it for myself a lot. It's light and oh so soft. Not to mention a great color and would be perfect for the heat of summer.


I am heading down to the bay area on Wed. and will not be blogging on Friday so I thought, why not spread out my eye candy photos.

My iris are starting to open up. I'm so sorry folks on the east coast but northern CA is having beautiful spring weather. After two days of light rain and rather chilly temps we have switched to bright, sunny and 81 F.

Waterlilies on our pond. (Algae and aphids too but we won't mention them.)

Friday, April 13, 2007


There isn't a lot of knitting to be shown other than the front of the Hot Pink Tart and that looks pretty much like the back. It's continuing to knit up fast and I'm enjoying it.

Spring is very much here with the dogwoods of Grass Valley showing their magnificent blooms ranging from pure white to deep pink.

The ones I see along the NID canals are native and are always white.

This afternoon the hubby and I cruelly left Omar at home and took our bikes up to one of my favorite canals, the Red Dog, where the dogwoods were in glorious display. You get to ride your bike along running water with trees, ferns, native bleeding heart and lots of other green things. A couple of times you need to cross over and you do it this way: bike on shoulder, walking along a narrow path that thankfully has a railing. You can also go down the embankment and back up again but I think the bike on shoulder route is easier and safer.

At any minute my friend Sharon will be arriving and we shall knit up a storm and talk into a microphone about knitting and other related subjects. Hopefully, this will be the basis of my next podcast for Trueyarns coming soon if all goes well.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

BACK AND FRONTDespite a great deal of help from Opie the back of the hot pink tart is finished. I've done a few inches of the front. I find that the yarn splits a bit but nothing really serious. The duckie fabric is some flannel I'm using to make pj's for the Shriner's Hospital. I'm getting a fair amount of help with that too.

After his silly photo with the birthday hat Omar wanted to let you know that he is an elegant dog. A dog with official papers no less. He only wears stupid hats under duress.

Monday, April 09, 2007

(so happy birthday to ya!)

Birthday greeting today to Valerie, the best of cyber buddies. Happy 42nd Valerie! Also having a birthday is Omar who turns a ripe old 2 today (or yesterday, there are dates listed for both the 8th and 9th.).Omar did not seem to appreciate the hat that I had made him. Maybe because it wouldn't stay on but then again he's never been much of a hat and coat sort of dog. He likes to feel the breeze over his ears.What he did like was his birthday cake. Newman's Own organic chicken dog food. I had some old NO's treats that Omar does not like but soaked in decidedly non-organic bacon grease he reconsidered.
Claude continues to whine about his lot in life. Last seen (this afternoon) he was slumped behind some recent purchases on the dining room table. If only you would show some energy Claude!
Check out the vibrancy of, as you have described her, The Hot Pink Tart. The back is nearly finished and it is decidedly too small. I've toyed with the idea of stopping at this point and casting on again a couple of sizes larger but I'm determined to actually finish this (and yes, you too Claude) in the near future. I like the pattern a lot (though I have some concerns that the armholes are rather large). It knits up fast so perhaps when I'm all done I'll make another one for myself. Do I know anyone of a certain size who looks good in Hot Pink? She's actually a bit more on the orange/pink side but my camera rarely photographs true colors though this is close.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Claude left a pretty irate comment yesterday. Jeez. What a grouch. Mr. I'm not in the Front of the Knitting Queue. If anyone or thing has the right to complain it's the Manos sweater jacket. Do you hear him hollering, "Nine Inches!", "You only have *&%%!!# Inches left!!!". Okay, to be fair and picking up around the front. But so close to being finished it hurts. I hadn't actually heard anything from Manos in a long time so I went downstairs and rooted him out. He was meditating, or maybe he was asleep. Anyway, he was some sort of groggy. After a few pokes he opened his eyes and I asked him how he was. I think he said fine and something about wanting to get back into his basket and going back to sleep. Fine by me. EYE CANDY FRIDAY
The coming of spring gives greater scope for pretty pictures, at least of the vegetation variety. A maple tree.

Bleeding heart. Soon to disappear with the heat of summer.

A fern that I had though had died in the long freeze. A nice surprise.

The First Floozy. She'll be an overblown babe by this evening. Still nice to see her again.
HAPPY EASTER! Eat lots of candy. Be safe. Knit. Most of all Have Fun!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

LET'S KNIT AGAIN LIKE WE DID LAST SUMMER What ever happen to Chubby Checker? I guess you have to be of a certain age to remember him. I was just a tyke when my sister and I twisted our way up and down the hallway of our house in Madrid, Spain. Great for building up a static charge and nailing one of your brothers. Ah, fun times.

The checkerboard shell is growing. I'm on skein No. 2 and no longer need the instructions. When I hit eleven inches it will time for shaping the armholes. I measured and remeasured the width and I am off by an inch. It's too small. Rather than go back I decided that I could lose an inch. I may be crazy but it's good motivation.
Meanwhile, Claude glowers at me everywhere I go. I am so close to being finished but being unable to stick with just one project I haven't yet circled back to dear Claude. Every time I look at him I just have to go make myself a pot of tea. Go figure. I'll come back Claude, honest.
I made a trip to Staples yesterday (boy do they have good customer service) where I bought something to help with my "I don't need reading glasses" but I can't really see as well as I would like problem. I wanted a model that sat on the table top but this was pretty much the only deal in town. I think hubby could be persuaded to make me a sturdy base. I happen to know he's hooked on my brown sugar cookies.

I also spent some time looking at possible containers to hold my disorganized needle collection. I think I may have come up with something. This little plastic do-hickie has four compartments and is designed to be mounted on the wall. I have walls. I like that the needles can be seen at a glance and the length isn't a problem. In fact, the only problem I'm having is those blasted stickers which are stuck down inside and don't peel off whole. I swear this sort of thing is intentional.

Monday, April 02, 2007


With springtime comes the gardening. Weeds, planting, digging out all the things that didn't make it through the hard freeze. At some point my back rebels and I go back to other projects or pick up my knitting. Soon the heat will come so I push myself to get what I can done. The tomato seedlings are looking good and my pole beans have popped up. It's still cold enough at night that I'm keeping most things in the greenhouse for now. It's dry though. CA is about 40% below average for rainfall this year. We've already started supplemental watering. It's going to be a long, dry summer.

Friday brought a lovely package from The Yarn and Fiber store. I bought two types of Rowan: wool cotton and cashsoft. They are both delicious to touch and I love the colors. I've started up my checkerboard shell pattern in the cashsoft. It's splitting a little but I seem to have found my rhythm and the knitting is going quickly. I haven't received my copy of the Elsebeth Lavold shell yet but I have lots of other things to knit.

I am going to try very hard not to buy any more yarn this year. I have too many projects in the pipeline and too many "want to makes" rolling around in my brain. I've been loving the herringbone sock from CookieA. It glows like a stained glass window. I keep walking over to where it sits on the sideboard and admiring it. I went on-line and watched a video about how to hold the two strands of yarns when you are doing two color work. I had been doing it with one hand and having to untwist the two skeins frequently to the amusement of hubby. It seems to be working *except* I got off a stitch on my and I still haven't been able to figure out where I am in the chart (this is my first experience with chart work too). Things had been going so well! I've spent enough time frogging back a little and checking against the chart that I could have frogged and reknit the sock by now. Sigh.

OTIS (with a little help from Photoshop)

He's almost a year now and such a beauty. Such a wonderful change from the tick covered, almost one pound skeleton covered with fur that we rescued last June 1st. Our couch will never be the same though. Omar will be two in about a week. Hard to believe he's a grown up dog now. Our company over the weekend loved him to pieces and he's been having to cope with no longer receiving non-stop cuddles now that they've gone home. What a long suffering puppy. We continue to be concerned with the pet food recall but so far it isn't anything the furbots eat. The vet called today asking us to return a bag of high protein prescription cat food but it was eaten some time back. Thankfully, it seemed to be more of a "just in case" rather than a dear me, I hope your animals didn't actually eat any of this stuff. We worry and hope that pets everywhere are safe.

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