Thursday, February 24, 2005

Two-Year-Olds in Yarn Stores

I had the pleasure of accompanying my best friend and her adorable two-year-old daughter Princess M to Knitting Arts last night to look for ribbon and fibre to bind the cool wedding programs she is designing. I must commend the wonderful staff for not only their yarn-hunting expertise (we ended up with some great stuff to complement the green sparkly paper), but also for their patience with an over-tired two-year-old! S was brave to bring Princess M along anyway, but as a single mom she often finds that she must run errands with the little person in tow.

Children in yarn stores are less dangerous than, say, children in china shops, since the things they are throwing to the floor and bringing to show you are pretty much unbreakable. PM had a swell time at first picking up pretty skeins and balls: "Look, Mommy. Look, Ah-Becca. Pretty." Then she spotted the spring storefront display, which was of little parasols in vases, set on a ledge at perfect two-year-old height. PM saw them and rushed over to pick up a tiny parasol, just her size, and hold it over her head. "Brella. Raining," she told us, holding her hand palm up a la Gene Kelly. Fearing for the fragile parasol, S quickly put an end to that activity, but PM was hooked and just wouldn't stop playing with the parasols until S picked her up and held onto her. She then started that fake-y two-year-old crying, that isn't really crying but more an announcement of the unfairness of the universe.

Luckily, an attentive Knitting Arts employee appeared with one of those measuring tapes that are all the rage right now, with a little animal's tail coming out of a patterned square box, and a little button to make the tail snap back into place. This provided at least five minute's happy diversion, and we were able to focus on choosing some yarn.

The inevitable melt-down occurred, however, with hitting and yelling and yarn-throwing. We had a few moments of that sort of multi-tasking that modern mothers are so brilliant at. "So, how about these two together, just a second, sweetie, Mommy's looking at yarn, do you like the brown or the blue, okay, put that down, do you want a time-out?" Miraculously, we got five skeins chosen before total chaos set in.

And at the end of it all, the salespeople were still smiling. AND saying that they loved kids. Who knows what they said after we had left (and I certainly wouldn't blame them if they expressed other sentiments), but you gotta love that sort of patience.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Typepad issues solved... and Shawlapalooza

When I came in to work on Tuesday morning, I had a shiny "new" computer with Windows 2000 pro instead of my clunky old Windows 98! (Yes, we in the non-profit world work out of leaky warehouses with no air conditioning, use computers built over ten years ago, and have homeless people in vans living across the street. Ah, the glamour of the thea-tah!)So the long and the short of it is, I can now comment on Typepad blogs. It just works now for some reason, when it didn't before. Huzzah!

The other news is all about Shawlapalooza, which is detailed much more thoroughly and beautifully at Spinnity's Blog. (Wow, look at that, on my new computer I don't have to manually type in the http code!) I would guess I am about a third of the way through the shawl that I am creating (Bogie and Spinnity are also creating one each), which makes me happy because the odds of finishing it before the wedding are pretty darn good.

So for those who are paying attention, the wedding is now 17 days away and counting, and we have actually put together the pieces of our dining room table and unpacked a few more boxes. I love actually living in the same house as my sweetie, except that I find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Ahem. That sounds a bit naughty, and you can go there if you like, but it's also that it's such a nice warm bed with a nice warm boy in it. It's actually pretty hilarious the number of times the alarm has to go off every morning before we get up - first his watch alarm goes off, which I can barely hear, then my alarm goes off (a gentle beep) which I hit the snooze button on, then after my 4-minute snooze has gone off a few times and been ignored, his clock radio goes off across the room and he leaps out of bed in a panic, knocking bedclothes, books, and slippers asunder, and slams the thing off. (It's VERY loud, with a combination of rapid Spanish-speaking voices and manic beeping that could wake the dead.) Then he shuffles and mutters his way into the bathroom, and without him there, I actually consider getting up. Then he comes BACK, and I abandon that plan. With all the alarms now silenced, it's usually about 45 minutes after the first alarm went off when I actually get up. It's not a great system, and we're going to have to do something about it eventually, but wow, so nice and cozy and lovely to have him there every morning!

Friday, February 18, 2005

What is up with Typepad? Help!

Okay people out there in blogging land, I need help! I have two fellow knitters with Typepad blogs that I would very much like to comment on because they are great blogs! But whenever I click in the comment field and type, nothing shows up on the screen. Just blank spaces. And then my mouse freezes up and I can't use the scroll bar or anything.

Has anyone else had this experience? Am I doing something wrong? Or is it just my lame ancient non-profit organization computer?

Monday, February 14, 2005

(Drum Roll, Please) TA-DAAAAA!!!!

I have finished Blue Cardy! Yes, it happened on Sunday morning, appropriately enough during the glorious Stitches West weekend. I woke up early, sat straight up in bed, and thought "Now. Now is the moment." It took about 20 minutes to do those last couple of rows on each sleeve. My sweetie took a picture of me with the finished pieces, soon to be posted.

Now comes the finishing, but I am feeling much more prepared for that after my lovely weekend at Stitches!

Here is the play-by-play for those who are intereted:

Friday at 1 pm: Arrive at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Make mad dash through Marketplace. Complete sensory overload. Run into Julie the sock goddess from Knitting Meet-Up.

1:30 pm: Crochet for Knitters with Edie Eckman. Wow! I learned to crochet! I plan to sew Blue Cardy together using single crochet, and finish the edges with crab stitch, as the pattern suggests. And now I know how!

5 pm: Meet up with Spinnity, another quick dash through the Marketplace. Still overwhelming, but we linger over some Koigu, and I pick up a cheap copy of Lily Chin's Urban Knitter.

6 pm: We get in line for the fashion show and dinner. Not much to say about this other than the gals at our table were lovely, the food was decent, the show was too long and the garments difficult to see. But we took note of some favorites to purchase on Saturday.

Saturday at 8:30 am: An early morning, but worth it! Melissa Leapman's Basic Pattern Drafting. I like Melissa, but she schills her books a little too much, and her sweater patterns are not my personal taste. Plus, there are some obnoxious women in the back of the class who talk way too much. But I get to bend my brain around some math and the handout will be useful, I think.

Saturday lunch: Ack! First of all, no decent vegetarian options in the hotel at all, so I stuff down a plain green salad and venture into the Marketplace. Insane! Barely room to move. But with Spinnity as my guide, I discover a great new pattern designer, White Lies, and manage to snag a pretty sweater pattern before they totally sell out. I also pick up a pattern for a sweater from Knitter's Studio in Menlo Park, a cool drop-stitch Aran they have on display. I really like Wilma, the owner, and will have to visit her shop in the future.

Finally, the heat and claustrophobia get to be too much, and we head off to class, vowing never again to go the Marketplace at Saturday lunch.

1:30 pm: At last, I fling myself at the feet of knitting guru and goddess Sally Melville, and boy, does she meet expectations! First, though, I find that flowers have been delivered to our classroom by my sweetheart in recognition of our wedding just one month away!

Sally teaches Good Grafting, using absolutely innovative yet simple techniques. I won't describe them at length here, but if you *ever* get the chance to take one of her classes, seize it. She is divine.

4:30 pm: Back to the Marketplace, but I don't last long. Pick up some books at Yarn Barn that have been on my list: Sally's The Knit Stitch and Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (so clever!). They're sold out of Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge, so I'll have to get that later. I also pick up a small crochet hook and a copy of Melissa Leapman's Cozy Crochet for my new secondary hobby! Also fall in love with a Trendsetter yarn called Aura. More on Aura later! And a second trip to White Lies to peruse their ransacked shelves yields a lingerie kit and a second pretty sweater pattern.

Run into several Knitting Meet-up friends -- the Nyquist sisters, Jeni, etc.

Then home to sleep!

Sunday 12:15 pm: After finishing Blue Cardy and taking a quick side trip to Jo-Ann for supplies, I head to the Marketplace for a final shopping spree. This is a good one -- much less crowded, much more room to move! I get the soft, sparkly Aura yarn at Yarn Barn to create an amazing evening shawl. I plan to do this simpler lace project before attacking the White Lies sweaters. I also pick up a small, easy Koigu pattern for a little scarf.

Then Spinnity and I drift over to a side of the Marketplace we haven't looked at much before, and visit Knitting Diva of Fremont, where we meet the talented Miss Tina Whitmore of Knit Whits! I get her new crochet hat kit as well as three other patterns, a circular needle case, and a couple of knitting-themed notecard sets (I can always use those.) We observe the very well-laid-out booth for Los Altos' Uncommon Threads, glance at a few others, and then head to class, much poorer but happier.

1:30 pm: The perfect class for the end of a long weekend! The adorable Nancie Wiseman teaches Combining Knitting with Fabric, after which we actually have a half-finished project. Nancie's easy technique for picking up stitches from tapestry fabric to create pillows and jackets is very clever and easy. I am halfway through my little pillow, which I will share with the Meet-up folks on Wednesday. I want to try this technique to attach fun novelty-yarn cuffs to store-bought gloves and socks.

A great weekend overall, and I feel like I have projects for the next year at least! But with Blue Cardy in the bag and Spinnity making such excellent design progress on the wedding wraps, it will soon be time to tackle something new -- on the beaches of Belize!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I'm a Good Girl

I finished my homework for tomorrow two nights ago (sitting at the kitchen table of my new home in San Mateo!), and I'm about halfway through Saturday's homework. I am feeling a little less overwhelmed and I'm starting to get excited! Looking forward to seeing everyone there! I'll be taking the Crochet for Knitters class tomorrow just in case anyone else is?

Friday, February 04, 2005


I took Wednesday off in order to catch up with Life stuff (Life meaning wedding, moving, and knitting), after two weekends in a row of Work stuff (casting Much Ado About Nothing for the Shakespeare Festival.) And I finally got around to opening that thick envelope from Stitches West.

Lo and behold! I have oodles of homework to do before the 11th!

I got a fair start last night on a swatch for Sally Melville's grafting class. I used some exciting little bits of yarn from my Yarn of the Month club membership (Kiss by King Yarns, a gorgeous soft acrylic and wool blend, and Prairie Silk by Brown Sheep, a sexy silk, mohair, and wool blend). Of course, the swatch ends up being pretty long and complex, so I have to order more of the yarn. No skin off my nose, since it's lovely, lovely yarn.

Last night I also threw myself at the feet of my yarn mentor Spinnity, pleading for wisdom on the wedding wraps. She researched and swatched (while I did my homework like a good girl) and has come up with some very nice ideas for the precious hand-dyed Prism ribbon yarn. More news to come on that front, but we may actually get somewhere with these. I should also issue public thanks to Spinnity for the beautiful Charlotte shawl she made for me to go over my wedding dress. I picked out the colors a while ago, and through some miracle managed to choose all the colors in the wedding. It's very pretty and I know I will use it for much more than just the wedding.

And finally, the news you have all been waiting for: how is Blue Cardy?! Oh, my friends, it is just so close. So close. About 14 rows to go and it will be done. But I've only been doing about a row a day, since I've been busy packing in the evenings rather than knitting. But I am so looking forward to getting it off the needles and into finishing land!