Friday, September 29, 2006

On the doorstep

Now that's what I call fast. Now the temptations are real.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A day of dogs

Over the past few days the dogs have been especially camera-worthy.

Mandy is particularly cute here. It's not often we can get a really good picture of this very wiggly black dog.

It's all about Cody's comfort. On the bed, on the sofa, on one the two dog beds we've bought for him. Check out for more Sleeping Dogs.

Mandy is our little nosy dog. Who's down there?


Michelle and I went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival on Saturday. For both of us, it was our first visit and we were quite impressed. It's just a good thing neither of us spin (yet?) because the fibers were just lovely and it would have been hard not to come away with bags full. As it was, we both exercised some restraint. Although tempted by some lovely yarns, three skeins merino/mohair, hand dyed by Nancy Finn of Chasing Rainbows where the only thing that traveled home with me.

While I was looking for something else (I can't remember what, now), I saw an ad for this twinset designed by Helen Hamann and was taken. I resisted for about 5 minutes before I ordered the yarn and with it get the pattern. The good news here was that when I got to my cart I had $60 worth of credits (having made too many prior purchases...)

AND then, I saw Helen Hamann's new book Andean Inspired Knits.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Less exciting sample knitting

I have to say, I was very excited with the Janet lace shawl - it was fun to knit and very cool to see it on the cover of the KnitPicks catalog, but it's been a bit of a let down since then.

In May, Michelle and I went up to Knit Picks to test drive their now-released Options needles. While there Bridget asked if I'd knit a stockinette scarf. It was to be felted which I could do if I wanted (I didn't.) On our road trip to visit my mom in Phoenix, I knit the really boring scarf. It's Bridget's felting, but my knitting.

Next there was the afghan. It showed promise when I got the yarns, but soon came to be less exciting. I happily sent it on its way. It was sort of published on their site this month.

Last month I received a frantic call from Bridget on a Tuesday. Could I knit two armbands before Monday? Sure. I received the yarn on Wednesday and knit those bad boys up and had them at UPS on Friday. Now that they're on the site and I know what I knit - PICC armbands.

I think the next project will have to be mighty interesting to tempt me. There are just too many other projects to think about.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Waiting for yarn

When I first saw the Red Carpet Dress, I thought "pretty, but probably not." Though I have to say Dianne's first reaction was that I would knit it and it turns out she was right. This is, however, the first time I've really deviated from the shape of a pattern, so it's involved a lot of planning. I started it on Friday with some Fiesta La Luz silk (the yarn used in the original pattern) that I had stashed for an entirely different project. Problem is I only had two hanks. But I figured the advantage of hand dyed yarn is by it's nature it's not perfectly evenly dyed, so I wasn't too concerned about not having all one dyelot. And on to the internet I went to find a site with the yarn in color cherry.

I was on a roll on Saturday and had knit one and a half of my two now-balls. I was running out of yarn, but really wanted to continue. So I checked LYS Abundant Yarn's site guessing if anyone would have it, they would and they did - in cherry. I think I did a pretty good job of knitting in the new dyelot.

It's turning out to be quite a quick knit, because the skirt front is done. The top of the skirt is a k2tog, yo lace to be folded over as casing for the elastic. I've picked up purl bumps on the inside and will graft the top to the picked up stitches after I've completed and sewn up the side seams. I thought a lace "casing" would be less bulky than stockinette.

I'll start on the back with what is left, but will have to wait a week for my internet purchase because Abundant Yarn as much of the yarn as I had.

Oh well. It's not like there aren't any other projects I can work on.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I love to knit and I love to sew. What I don't really like—arguably the most important step of the sewing—is laying and cutting out patterns. I'm not sure why. But it's a step that can't be ignored, so I spent the equivalent of a day cutting out shirts for Tom. Hopefully in the not too distant future, he'll have three new dog shirts and two new dress shirts. The latter will be for the cruise which is only a month away.

There will be two formal dinners at the above-mentioned cruise. My original plan was to sew two evening dresses, but as is my wont to do, I have switched gears. Dress number one is still going to be a silk version of the Reunion Dress in a burgundy chiffon over black crêpe de chine. (I think I need to get that cut out pretty darn soon...). I've decided to knit dress number two (that's where the real ambition comes in). I've started the "red carpet dress" from Greetings from Knit Cafe.

However, after starting it, and thinking about how nice the dress looks on the slender, tall model, I realized, my short pear shape may not do it as much justice, so I've decided to do some modifications. It will be a two piece dress to camouflage the larger part of the pear and to make the top of the pear look a little wider. My plan is to knit the skirt to above the trellis lace panels, then knit even and add a small casing for elastic. Then I'll knit the zigzag lace panel in a top has neck shaping and shoulders. But I haven't quite decide which pattern to use—Jewelled shell, Soleil, Ballet Camisole, or Picovoli. Any opinions?

At any rate, here's what I've done so far.

Wedding gifts
My saving grace here is that I figure I have the first year to give wedding gifts—especially since the first was an elopement and the second we can't attend because we will be leaving for the cruise on the date. Vogue 7955 has inspired me, so I've ordered some doupioni silk from

So many ideas...

It's a dog's life

Cody is a character; he has been since we adopted him in 1995. He's also very bossy—especially where there's food involved. In the evenings there is the "dinner dance" where he barks at Tom till he gets up and then does a figure eight around Tom's legs as they head to the kitchen. More recently, it's been "pill time." As a senior dog, Cody gets one pill. As a newly-nervous dog, Mandy gets a tablet. To make the pills go down easier, I wrap them in sandwich meat. In the beginning it as a treat. Now they see it as an obligation. This is what I see if I don't get to the pill-giving right away. That's one bossy dog!

Then he just waits (impatiently).

Mandy, on the other hand, though she likes taking the tablet, is a little more patient and sometimes dispairs of Cody's bossiness.

This has got to be the cutest puppy from the 2006 365 Dogs Page-A-Day Calendar. It's from August 11.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Knitting progress

Forest Stole

Swallowtail Shawl
This really was a quick knit - started last Wednesday; bound off last night. It's the blocking that will take some time, since I can't find what clever place I put my blocking wires and ran out of pins. What a difference blocking makes, though.

Michelle purse
This has been sitting around for a few weeks waiting to be posted.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A good Thursday

We've been feeling a little house bound for various untold reasons, so we decided to visit Dianne and John at their Black Butte Ranch house. Because our dog-sitter extraordinaire wasn't in town, it had to be a day trip. When we arrived, I made biscuits to go with the excellent salad with grilled chicken, shrimp and a black bean and corn salsa. Delish!

After checking out Dianne's traveling stash (not all her stash gets to travel; some stays at home in Portland), we headed in to Sisters to get a size 13 35-inch needle so Dianne could knit a very long scarf. The guys came with us, and then patiently waited while we finished our visit to The Stitchin' Post, a yarn and quilt shop.

Though tempted by new Needful Yarns magazine, I didn't add any yarn to the stash, but I did head over to the quilt side.

Petal Pouches pattern by Valori Wells and a fat quarters pack

Also added to the stash is another future Tom-shirt.

We had a great day and came home to two very hungry, but happy dogs.

What kind of knitter are you?

According to this quiz, I'm a:

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.
Take this quiz!

When I happened upon this quiz, it led me to Marnie MacLean's site. She's a now-local knitter and designer who has appeared on Knitty Gritty. Coincidentally, the episode, "I love the '80s" aired that same day on DIY. Oh, and she has a great looking dog named Panda, who is included in some of photos where Marnie is modeling her designs. Gotta love knitters who love their dogs!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lucky baby

A little background
In 2004, we flew up to Portland from San Jose to meet Dianne and look for a house. The next morning we drafted an offer, and here we are.

Now, we didn't plan to move in till after the new year, but came up to visit our house and spend Thanksgiving with Tom's family. Dianne and John invited us to their house post-Thanksgiving. Here's an excerpt from an email we received when we were back in San Jose:

I am sorry. I need you two to seriously consider
your decision to move here. Neither our wallets or
our waistlines cannot afford you within such close
proximity. the Peat Monster Scotch and the knitting
supplies have changed our lives!

The show and tell of Patty's has caused me to
visit 3 knitting stores since Saturday noon and
Sunday night. ... Last Saturday and Sunday I knit THREE
scarves! I am keeping this a secret from family
members to surprise them at Christmas. Even John
doesn't get to see the finished projects.

Dianne tends to underestimate her capabilities and compare her output to mine. I have to keep reminding her of two very significant points: 1) I've been knitting a whole lot longer and 2) I don't work a real job.

The Lucky Baby
For someone who just started knitting less than two years ago, Dianne has finished quite a few projects - most of which have quietly gone to their intended recipients. So when I received these pictures I just had to share.

Something pretty

Tom cut some buds from the rose bushes and they opened.


I don't know when I started sewing Tom shirts. I must have found some cool dog fabric and decided that Tom needed a new shirt. Then I found some Animaniacs fabric, and more dog fabric - so I sewed more shirts.

And somewhere along the way, I discovered eQuilter, a well organized site with lots of dog fabric. And with a search engine that searchs hundreds of quilt fabric shops. From there, I found some new favorite sites who always seem to have a good selection of dog fabric, including Over the Rainbow, Bighorn Quilts and Virginia Quilter.

The dog fabric acquisition far exceeded my sewing output so here are future shirts for Tom.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oh...You're home

Cody's hearing isn't so good, so he relies on Mandy to let him know when we get home. Today she didn't bark and we surprised Cody still asleep on the sofa - of course not on the throw. Oh, well.

Portland, Oregon - DogTown USA

From our first days living in Oregon, we recognized how much more dog-friendly Portland and environs is than our former town.

There are the all the people who walk their dogs up and down our street. There's The Dog Club of West Linn, with doggy day care, dog grooming, dog wash facilities, and lots of cool doggy stuff - a mere two miles away. There's the radio ad for the weiner dog races at the Multnomah county fair. There's the dog walk in downtown Portland. There are ads in papers of hardware stores who welcome your dog.

And there was our encounter with the very cute, albeit large, Great Dane puppy in the paint department of the local home improvement store. He was munching on a cookie from the supply kept in the paint department. Now, I seriously doubt the paint departments in the San Jose store of the same name keeps dog cookies.

Anyway, Dog Fancy magazine named Portland DogTown USA. No surprise here.