Saturday, December 30, 2006

Knitting Acronyms

Never mind how many UFOs (Unfinished Objects, for the uninitiated) there are in the stash closet. However, soon there will be one less—thanks to Dianne and Suzie and the power of suggestion. When Dianne took Suzie to see my stash, little did I know
that they would go through the bins and bags of UFOs. Dianne came back downstairs and mentioned two in particular—the Tivoli t-shirt I must have started during the summer last year (2005, that is) and the Wavy scarf I started before Stitches West 2006. I remembered the top, but had to go back to figure out what scarf she was referring to.

Now the Wavy scarf is a WIP (Work In Progress). I pulled it out Thursday and have knit about two more full repeats of the pattern.

I haven't given up on the Helen Hamann Twinset, but 200+ stitches of stockinette can get pretty boring.

And then there's the Seasilk scarf that I have been carrying around for almost six months. It only really gets worked on when I'm waiting or on our Saturday visits to Coffee Rush in Oregon City (today will be our first coffee Saturday in a month—how the holidays can change our routines.)

My mom's birthday is in two weeks. I have to admit I really didn't enjoy knitting Tootsie's last dress and when I took a break I found the Party Dress in Dogs in Knit to knit her, which I'll send to my mom for her birthday (along with a few other gifties—none handmade, I'm afraid.) It's knit in KnitPicks Suri Alpaca, a yarn I received in a box of free yarn samples in Fall 2005. Of course one ball wouldn't do it (just...) so another is on order.


My Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy was added to yesterday with the receipt of more dog fabrics for shirts and yarn for the lace projects from Victorian Lace (I LOVE this book!) that are on my to make list. The yarn is Shaefer Yarn "Anne" in colorway "Lousisa May Alcott," ordered from a favorite online yarn shop, Little Knits.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Now that John has his tie, I can post the pictures of it being blocked and you can see why I need the dressing wires.

Knitting and Chatting

We've been very fortunate to know Dianne and John. They've invited us to their house. They've introduced us to lots of people, including their families. Dianne's mom, Jean, and brother and sister-in-law, Bruce and Suzette, live in Portland, so we've got to spend some time with them. Her sister, Suzie, lives in Vancouver, BC, so we've only exchanged emails and followed each other through our blogs. But Suzie was down for Christmas this year, so we seized the opportunity to finally meet her on Tuesday.

Suzie, Dianne, John and Jean came over for some eats, knitting, and just talking. And my mom, Terry, was still visiting (alas! she leaves for Phoenix this morning), so it was really a nice evening.

But wait! There's more!


What I gave
In San Jose, the weather is just too warm for Tom to wear sweaters. The winters are little more wintery in Portland, so I decided to make a cotton cardigan. If it dips below 40°F, he just might be able to wear it.

On a visit with my mom in Arizona in May, she found a top in a Knitters magazine that she liked, so I made it.

I haven't been sewing as much as I like and my stash of dog-shirt fabric is extensive. It's a collection, really. Anyway, I must sew more in the new year, so I gave Tom the promise of at least one shirt a month.

Dianne Rodway and John Becker have been such good friends to us since we moved here, I really wanted to make each something. Dianne and her sister, Suzie, recognized the patterns from Interweave Knits magazines—Swallowtail Shawl and Bias-knit Tie.

What I received
Tom gave me practical gifts, including an iPod Tower so I can listen to music in my office without the headphones and a little heater to keep my feet warm when I'm blogging in the wee hours of the morning. We both received spa robes from Tom's sister, Heidi and her family. I've never had any garment that weighed as much as one robe—"each square yard of fabric weighing a full 22 ounces."

My friend, Evelyn, sent me two 100 gr balls of a pink mohair yarn. The stash continues to grow...

Saturday, December 23, 2006


We've lived in our West Linn house for not quite two years, but this is our third Christmas in our house. And it's the third time my Mom, Terry, has come to spend it with us.

Terry arrived on Saturday with Tootsie, her year-old Maltese. Last year Tootsie was too small to travel, so we had to head down to Arizona to meet her in May.

This year, she made the trip just fine and is enjoying the backyard and harassing Cody and Mandy. Our dogs are so mellow, even Mandy, who has been known to snap at a bothersome dog, has just taken it all in stride. They have, however, taken refuge on or up the stairs (which Tootsie hasn't figured out how to traverse.)

Last Christmas, I knit Tootsie a little pink dress, which she has outgrown. So for an instant gratification project, I made her another dress. Terry liked it, but Tootsie was less than enthusiastic. It's made from Berroco Quest and Opulent FX held together. It coordinates with the vest I made for my mom last year.

It's been kind of fun having a bouncy puppy around. For more doggy cuteness click here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Local Businesses

After ordering the dressing wires, I got to thinking about all the products I've purchased or ordered that are actually from Portland-area or Oregon businesses. So I thought I'd mention a few. In all cases, I've either ordered directly from the company or order their products from an online retailer (and received it in record time because it was dropped shipped from a warehouse just a few miles away. How cool is that?), or availed myself of their services.

Clothing and Accessories
Norm Thompson
Ellington Leather Goods

Bob's Red Mill
Moonstruck Chocolate
Rogue Valley Creamery

Yarn Shops get a mention just because there is such a high concentration of stores in a relatively small geographical area. I've actually visited all but three of the Portland area shops—some many more times than once—and several of the shops in the rest of the state.

Yarn and Fabric
Handworks NW
Knit Picks
Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Aurora Silk
Saf-T-Pockets Patterns

If you happen to be in search of someone to help you buy/sell a house contact City Properties Group.

Portland is Dog Town USA and there are lots of doggy stores and services. Our favorite is The Dog Club of West Linn.


I finished knitting a gift a week ago Friday and it was in need of blocking and at 60" long it really needed to be blocked with wires. I have blocking wires—somewhere; I've seen them since we moved, but obviously put them in a "clever" place. I called five of the nearest local yarn shops; no one had any in stock—probably because it's that time of year and everyone thought about these things before I did. However, Molehill Farm suggested that the wires from Lisa at Handworks NW were the best.

Thanks to the handy-dandy Google, I found Lisa's site quite easily. The set is reasonably priced (shipping by Priority Mail included) and Lisa is local. Clearly this was my best chance at getting the wires in time to block the gift in time. I mailed my check that day (no CCs right now). On Wednesday, I wrote to confirm receipt of the order and told Lisa that I'd really hoped to have them that week. Since Priority Mail is iffy right now, she offered to drop them off on her way to work. Now that's service!

On Thursday, I had my Dressing wires as, Lisa refers to them, in hand. The set came packaged in a PVC pipe closed at one end, with a removable cap on the other. The packaging makes for convenient and easy (to find) storage. The set consists of a total of 42 wires in three different gauges and two different lengths (compared to 14 in the missing set). Though this project didn't require all the wires, the advantage of having the greater number of wires is that an entire garment can be blocked at once.

Also included were 30 T-pins, a note describing the history of the dressing wires, instructions and a square of emery cloth - in case a wire end didn't get polished enough.

The gifty is now blocked, sewn and sitting under the recipient's tree. (I did take pictures during the blocking/dressing process, but that will have to wait till after Christmas.) And I have a very cool wire set.

Oh and one more "feature" of the set is that Lisa donates a portion of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Thanks, Lisa!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Party Party

Tom and I were married in Union City, California in 1982. In 1983, we decided to have a holiday party in December. We asked guests to bring ornaments for an exchange and a tradition was born and we've held the party every year, with two exceptions—when Tom was sick (so we rescheduled for Valentine's Day) and 2004, the year before we moved to Oregon.

Tom's eggnog recipe has become renowned and he's prided himself on converting more than a few people to the ways of Brussels sprouts (I, however, am not one of those converts.) Tom loves to cook (good thing, too, since [lucky me!] he does most of the day-to-day cooking), but baking is not his forté, so I'm in charge of desserts and breads, as well as the ham (aka Daddy Ham because the recipe came from my father) and miscellaneous appetizers, salads, and whatever new recipe we decide to try out on our guests.

But it's more than the food and the ornaments—it's about getting together with friends we enjoy. In California, it was mostly people with whom we worked at Atari, Apple and Adobe, and the smaller companies of DK Marketing and ViMart (both long since closed.) Somehow life seemed to get in the way and if we didn't work with them, we rarely saw them during the year, but we were lucky that they made time to come to our house during the holidays.

As I write this I have gone back to look at some party pictures from the past. We are still in touch with a lot of the people, but sometimes wonder what has become of others.

Last Saturday was our 22nd Holiday Party, Ornament Exchange and Eggnog Bash.

Joe and Renée Limon are friends from California who experienced Tom's eggnog and Brussels sprouts in San Jose, as well as here in Oregon.

Dianne Rodway and John Becker liked the eggnog so much they served it at their Open House last year with such success, it looks like it will make a repeat appearance each year. Jean Rodway, Dianne's mom, will get a second dose of eggnog for the season, too.

Remarkably Mark Shelton has made it to several parties, though we haven't lived in the same area since we were at Colorado State University (more than a few years ago). He lives in Seattle and drove down for the party.

It was great to see Russ and Jean Pearce, Jim and Dianne Sather, Warren and Sharon Howard, and Mike and Liz Hashem at our house, all of whom we met on the Mexico Cruise

It was also nice to spend time getting to know Karen and Bill, neighbors from across the street.

On the whole, I'm not great about taking pictures, as evidenced by the fact that we have no pictures from the 2005 holiday party. However, I did manage to remember to pull out the camera on Saturday, though briefly, and took a few pictures.

Where are the pictures? They're here.

More Instant Gratification Knitting

Wouldn't you just know it? I'm less than a ball short of finishing Tom's jacket, so I had to order it. (Fortunately Knitting Garden still had the yarn and color in stock - whew!) But it's still not here and I needed something to work on that I could finish.

Our neighbor just had a baby boy, so what better to knit than something baby? I printed out a couple of patterns downloaded from a couple of different sites found some orphan stash yarns—et voilà!


  Eva Hats in Unger Darby          Two needle Baby Hat in Knit Picks Ambrosia.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


When we were taking pictures of the mountains, the dogs were just sure there were treats involved (there weren't).

For Cody, it's all about comfort—whether is snuggled into a blanket or resting on my leg.

Mandy much prefers the floor where she can sprawl.

The View

On a clear day, we can see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams (but we have to peek around some large pine trees). On a really clear day we can even see Mt. Rainier. A couple of Saturdays ago, it was one of those sparkling clear days.

Mt. Hood to the northeast

Mt. St Helens to the northwest, with Mt. Rainier peeking from behind

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Yes, I know, it's Saturday, but I've been sidetracked this week by shopping (it's that time of year, you know) and knitting (which I can't show because it's that time of year) and some (gasp!) work.

But Monday was the most interesting day.

There was the Snow. Now for those of you in cooler climes who experience more snow than you'd like in the winters, this isn't a big deal. But having spent 25 years in San Jose, where it snowed once—and only for about 5 minutes and it wasn't all that impressive—seeing fat snowflakes and having a dusting of snow on the ground—even if only for a short while—was pretty cool.

Doggy cuteness
It was fun to see Mandy try to find a spot where her paws wouldn't get wet. Cody just took it all in stride, because as long as he could snuggle in where it was warm, all was right with the doggy world.

Another Knit Nite
This time, it was at Dianne's. The group was the same as our first Knit Nite at Connie's —Dianne, Jean, Connie, and me— and it was different. The "new" knitters were Michelle, Erika, Pat, and Ann.

Monday Knit Nite

When I started knitting some twenty-plus years ago, it was a solitary endeavor. And even though there we started a group of knitters while working at Adobe, it was hit and miss since we met in the middle of work days.

Since moving it's been a different story. The latest knitting social was at Dianne's on Monday. The intent was knitting, but it was more about the socializing, with show and tell and dinner taking center stage.

When Jean, Dianne's mom, knits a something, she knits more than one—like the 500 baby hats she knit for charity. Now she is knitting socks. She's also wearing a scarf she knit, when she was knitting scarves.

Connie, host of the first Knit Nite. On this night she had deadline projects. She was knitting bag to be felted and donated. For show and tell she brought the finished shawl.

Michelle and I usually just meet at an LYS or one of our homes to knit, and try to get the Tigard Knitting Guild meetings each month. She was working on a second lace scarf like the one she brought to show, which Jean is admiring.

There were also some new-to-me faces. Erika has been knitting for just a short while, so she brought needlepoint stockings to work on. She also brought friends Pat and Ann.

Pat prefers freeform knitting over knitting from patterns. She's wearing a vest she made and brought a poncho to show.

Pat and Ann have also been knitting and felting hats and needed to find a form that was the size of their heads to mold the hat. They finally found it at Target. It must have been a sight as they tried on the wastebaskets. Hey - whatever works!

Monday dogs

Actually, these aren't just from Monday, but it makes for a good tie in.

It's all about Cody

He snuggles, sleeps and begs.

And then there's Mandy
It's hard to get a good picture of this black dog—especially her eyes which tend to glow from the flash. I wish I could remember what I did to get this picture of her very soulful eyes.

Keeping her favorite toy clean
Mandy loves Cody. He's her favorite toy. And she has to keep her toys clean (she is part cat, after all.)

But, wait there's MORE!

Monday weather

Snow day
The ten years I spent growing up in Colorado were long forgotten after 25 years in California. Snow was expected and often a nuisance in Denver, but in San Jose, it was practically non-existent. There were those few occasions when some of the hills in the surrounding area got snow and the one time, sitting at home I watched about five minutes of tiny little snowflakes fall in the backyard, but it was melted as soon as it hit the ground.

In preparation for moving to Oregon, I was well-informed about the rain, and prepared for the freezing rain, but no one really talked about snow. So after 25 years of Bay Area weather, it was quite a treat to see snowfall last year.

And I'm still in awe of the snow (as long as I don't have to drive in it). So on Monday when we got another dusting, the camera came out.
More snow day pictures are posted here.