Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A trip to San Jose

If you can believe it was Stitches West weekend and we were in San Jose and I didn't go.

It was mostly about the Friends
There was the Friday lunch with Maria Robinson at Gordon Biersch in downtown San Jose. We worked together at Adobe in the days. She's still there working hard, but enjoying "new" management. (The picture is from last year...I forgot to take my camera out...oops!)

Dinner was at our old neighbors' house, where we hung out with Joe and Connie Cronin, their daughter Anne Stenseth and her husband Dave, and two kids, Emily and Nathan. It was a great evening of catching up. They are doing some serious remodeling so they currently have not front door.

Saturday we were on our own till dinner, but at the last moment, as we headed to Los Gatos, we called Ron Solorzano, who luckily for us was home, and free to meet us for lunch. Gilley's has always been a favorite lunch spot and for a Saturday it wasn't too busy. (Also an older picture.)

For the past 20 years, since the Apple days in the "DeAnza 3" building, I've made Bill a pineapple upside down cake for his birthday. Even after the move to Oregon, I've managed to continue the tradition and we delivered the cake to him on his birthday. We had a great time and nice dinner at Park Place at the Cypress Hotel where we stayed the weekend.

Sunday was the busiest. First there was lunch at Miyake with Aistair Woodman, another Apple friend. I remember that Alistair was the first person I went out to lunch with that didn't talk business, and in those days that was something because everyone lived and breathed Apple.

Next we visited Ichun Lin, a former Merlin Media employee. We met her four month baby, Natalie, who—as all little girls he meets seem to be—taken with Tom.

And finally, there was dinner with the Roses. I met Thomas when I was a Management Trainee at Weinstock's as assistant buyer for computers, books and luggage (how's that for a product combination?). He was the manufacturer's rep for Atari and thought I'd be a good addition to their company. Kelly made a great dinner and award-winning (at the family crab fest the night before) mango mousse dessert.

There were dogs
Shamus and Casey are the Cronins' dogs who have calmed down quite a bit since we moved. Joe attributes it being tired out by the grandchildren.

Dexter is a border collie-springer spaniel mix adopted by Thomas and Kelly (and son Andrew) from Nike Animal Rescue Foundation (NARF), from whom we adopted Cody.

And the folks who didn't include Los Gatos as one of the more dog friendly towns, must not have visited there on a Saturday afternoon. It was quite a treat seeing all the dogs and visiting one of our favorite stores Bow Wowser.

Honorable mention goes to the Cypress Hotel
Our favorite hotel group is the Kimpton Hotels and the Cypress Hotel lived up to their reputation. In addition, to the snack they always leave to greet me as a loyalty member, there were the warm cookies and the Forgiveness chocolate and wine after we reported the rude, loud, (probably drunk) 20-something swearing on his cell phone in the hall. (He was ultimately told to leave.)

And we can't forget the yarn shops
I didn't go to Stitches because of time and the fact that I really didn't need the temptation. But we did visit two shops (because they were "there"). Elisabetta is in on Santa Cruz in Los Gatos. I saw Lace Style for the first time and anxiously await my copy from Amazon, but purchased Erika Knight's Glamour Knits for the Lace Top (which I just found free on the Random House site). Oh well, there are some other good patterns in the book.

As always there are more pictures on

Friday, February 23, 2007

What to do when ordered not to knit

I've gone ten days without knitting so far and I have the weekend to go.

Fondle yarn
On the first day of the "prescribed" no knitting, fate played a cruel trick and Mr Postman delivered some Noro yarn I'd ordered from Little Knits.

The pinky/purple Kochoran was ordered to make Marta McCall's Shoji Screen Wrap that I saw advertised in the Spring Interweave Knits. Turns out Marta is "next door" in Lake Oswego. The bag of Silk Garden was ordered because I just couldn't resist a sale. I know I should try because my stash is way beyond SABLE, but...

Sew a coat
This is probably a first for me in a very long time. The wool/acrylic co-op fabric AND the New Look 6538 coat pattern were bought and made up in the same month they were purchased. Neither has had time to age in their respective stashes.

I'm not a big reader. I get on jags and read several books and then nothing for months. But I love books and I own more than a few. So I decided to actually read a book about machine embroidery that I bought after I getting my cool new sewing/embroidery machine last year. I haven't been using it to its full potential.

Today we leave for a long weekend in the Bay Area to visit with friends and visit our tax guy. Normally I occupy airport and flying time knitting, but this weekend I'll take my favorite recreational reading— dog mysteries, including the latest from Laurien Berenson and Carol Lea Benjamin.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

No knitting for a week...

That's what the doctor said. I have knitter's elbow (aka "tennis elbow" but I don't play tennis...) or bursitis and something going on with the tendon in my right hand between the middle and ring fingers. So it's ice three times a day for each and no knitting for a week.


Favorite Toys

The picture of Rosie and her favorite toy got me thinking about all our dogs favorites. Each have had very different preferences.

Stanley LOVED racquet balls. Give him a new racquet ball and his big eyes would get even bigger. They were not only something to be chased and brought back to be thrown again, but he figured out if he just rolled on the ball he got a good back rub. One Christmas, we made the mistake of wrapping a small gift in a racquetball can and putting it under the tree. Stanley was sorely disappointed when he opened the can.


Rosie preferred rope bones. We called them her "rah-rah" because when we brought home the first one, she stood at the top of the stairs and shook it like a cheerleader's pom-pom.

Cody loves Booda Velvets. If there's more than one around, he'll hoard them. If the back door is open, that means burying them, and he's pretty good at it. We finally caught him in the act and watched him dig into the very hard San Jose clay soil, place the two bones he was carrying around (oblivious to Mandy following him and us watching), then carefully use his nose to cover them up. And I'll be darned but you could not tell anything was buried there.

Tom makes a pretty good toy, too.

Mandy is a soft sqeaky toys kind of girl, and she has quite a pile of them. Some have stood the test of time, though, including "blue baby" and Cody, her very favorite toy.

Honorable mention goes to Annie, my mom's past dog. Annie liked noisy toys, but mostly she liked toys that weren't hers. When she'd visit, she'd take all Rosie or Mandy's toys and carry them up to bed with her.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Knitting Rest

I haven't knit on anything for three days and I have to admit I'm missing it. I'm not quite sure what I did, but the joint between my right middle and ring finger is swollen, and though it doesn't hurt when I'm passive, or typing, it is painful when I knit and even during some sewing tasks. So I'm giving it a rest.

The Rosie Shirt
In the meantime, I've done a little sewing. Tom has a new shirt. (I do like having all the shirt fabric cut—when the spirit hits me I can just sew!)

This will be known as the "Rosie shirt" because the Border Collies remind us of our Border Collie terrier cross, Rosie, here with her favorite toy, a "rah-rah."

Rosie was our second dog, adopted from the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont, California. We decided to get a second dog when Stanley seemed to be bored and started getting into trouble such as opening the undersink door and getting into the trash (we had to install baby locks to keep him out.) They became best friends.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

After finishing my shirt cutting marathon Saturday, it was time to get down to the rewarding part—sewing. Sunday morning, as he sipped his morning coffee, I finished sewing on the buttons.

The fabric is called "Puppy Love." I must have bought the fabric last year planning to make him a Valentine's shirt...Better late than never.

And here are some happy puppy faces for your Heart Day pleasure.

More knitting

Here's another picture of the cape/poncho/shrug/bolero.

I have three of Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's Noro books, and bought the Iro yarn to knit the Ekeby vest from book one last year. Sunday I knit it up. Were it not for the invariable mistakes because I don't mark rows on the pattern as I knit them, it would have been done in a few hours. Still, it was quite a quick knit and it even fits, having knit the smaller size on one size smaller needles.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cabled Shrug/Bolero redeemed

I think I'll probably knit it again. After the small turned out to be too large on me, I was a little disheartened. So I decided to gift it to someone. I gave Dianne the right of first refusal. It seemed so large, I really thought it wouldn't fit her either, but I was wrong. It looks great on her.

I completely missed this reference until Janet commented on my finished version. I guess I was so taken with the coolness of the garment, that I didn't even read the description, I just headed for the instructions (which I also didn't read through) and my stash (which I didn't look through completely). So it's a cape/poncho/bolero/shrug.

Next time I'll knit the smaller version and may even knit at a smaller gauge, now that I know how the puzzle is put together and know where to measure.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Close to the sewing machine

The Shirts
"January" didn't actually get finished in January due to mechanical problems, but Tom was quite understanding and wore his new Dogs on Hawgs shirt last Thursday. Not wanting to get in the same predicament of (typical of my college study habits...after 30 years, you'd think I'd be better...) trying to get it all done at the last minute, I set out on a pattern cutting marathon. Well, it wasn't really marathon because it spanned three mornings and I didn't run 26.2 miles, but I did get shirts cut out of fifteen dog fabrics and the facings and collars interfaced.

Though it's the same pattern I've been using for years, I'm still learning—like pay closer attention to the length of the pattern repeat and order even more extra fabric is the pattern repeat is 24 inches. It's my own little foible that the pockets MUST match I just couldn't do it with what I had left in Pip and Pals, we headed to Fabric Depot with pocket template in hand. While we were there we found Firehouse Mascot.

The next day, as I was laying out some other fabrics, it looked like I wouldn't have enough for the sleeves, so off to Mill End I went to find coordinating fabrics. I didn't (but it's just as well, because I later found out Tom prefers that the sleeves not contrast). But with a 25% discount coupon in my bag, I couldn't leave empty-handed, so came home with Terriers Abound and dog fleece.

I found some very cute Robots fabric at J&O Fabrics (and had the quickest fabric order turnaround ever–two hours), but it must have been the end of the bolt because I ordered only two yards. Apparently it's a really old fabric patternd because it took some heavy duty searching to find more but I did—at Wish Upon a Quilt. (At first glance this may not look like a dog fabric, but if you look closely you'll see a little robot dog at the top of the sample.)

And after creative layout, I did manage to get the sleeves and collars cut from the other fabrics.

A future coat
It wasn't my plan to buy patterns at Mill End, but glancing at the New Look rack I found two:

And the wool/acetate plaid fabric from a co-op buy will be perfect for the coat. I also bought an embroidered duppioni silk—I'm thinking a vest.

Enough of this computer stuff, I have sewing to do.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Really small things

It just so happens that on two different lists there were links to two different fiberly things in minature, so it compels me to share them.

Teeny Tiny Knitting
I once had a friend who only knit (no purling) and only on US size 13 needles (9mm) or larger. She thought US size 10 needles (6mm) were tiny. Imagine what she'd think of the very small knits by Althea Merback at Bugknits.

A Very Small Quilt shop
I've held a fascination for polymer clay since first seeing Donna Kato on craft shows in the early days of HGTV. I even dabbled in it at one time.

Some of the pieces that artists create are pretty awesome, like the miniature quilters storefront by Sarajane Helm. The detail is amazing.

In the whole scheme of things, I would not call myself a quilter, but I do love quilt shops and fabric. After making my first quilt—for Tom's parents' golden anniversary, I gained a new respect for quilters' and swore I'd never make another, but I did—Tom's aunt's 80th birthday.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The VK Cabled Bolero/Shrug experience

When I took my first home ec class in 7th grade (or was it 8th?), we were given a test that began "1. Read all instructions." I "failed" the test because the last instruction was "Don't so anything." Perhaps, if I'd done that with this pattern, I might have waited, emailed VK, and waited for full instructions, which, IMHO are not included in the magazine.

The key is the end of the pattern. Making the pentagons was pretty easy, and they went very quickly. The hardest part was making sure each succeeding pentagon was attached to the correct side. I say that because after attaching (and completing) the first sleeve, I realized, I had whatever is one side less than a pentagon (quadrilagon or tetragon, according to info.please.) But that was not-so-quickly corrected and off I went to finish sleeve number two.

In Tacoma, I finished that second sleeve and thought, "I'm on the home stretch only the collar to complete." But the instructions provide the pattern for the collar and say to make it and attach it to the neck of the bolero. Therein lies the issue. There is no schematic with the size for the collar piece or any information on how to attach it. The finished neckline is 35" for XS. Proportionlly how big should the collar be knit?

I started by thinking I'd be clever and picked up stitches along the neckline knitting and attaching as I went along. Then I realized, looking at the photo, my collar and how much more I had to go that it was much, much too large. Next, I picked up stitches, but a third fewer—still too big. Finally, I decided to just knit the collar till it fit around my neck and sew it on. For every selvedge stitch, I attached 4 or 5 neckline stitches. In other words, I had to gather the neckline for it to fit the collar.

One more thing I did that I think should probably be included in the instructions: The first three stitches of the right side row are picked up; on the wrong side they are purled. It creates an attached I-cord. I tighted up the I-cord by picking up as if to knit.

And now it's done
On the whole, it was an interesting experience, that I'm glad I undertook, but I didn't take into consideration the inability to adjust for length and I really should have gone with the smallest size (will I ever learn?). The collar is on correctly and to my eye is a good size, but it clearly is for someone taller than I am. I tried attaching a band like on My Knitting Island but when there's too much fabric, there's just too much fabric.

Time to move on.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

"Found your match..."

Dianne pointed me to a blogger who has already finished the VK Cabled Bolero. Actually, I finished mine, but now it's not finished because, I've have taken off the collar for reasons I'll explain when I get the collar reattached.

In any event, I would have to agree with Dianne—and then some—because the knitting on My Knitting Island (and in her album) is pretty awesome.