Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hooks and Needles

Sometime ago I started Mondnacht, a lace shawl from one of the many Japanese knitting and crochet books I've acquired. I didn't make a lot of progress because there are no pattern repeats in the entire shawl, so it requires that I really pay attention, so I gave it up - at least for a while. So I decided to start another Japanese pattern. This time it's a crochet shrug pattern from one Let's Knit 15 that I picked up in Seattle last month. I started it last week and have made a fair bit of progress. It was started in the middle back and crocheted to the left sleeve, which I've completed. Then stitches were picked up for the right side. The yarn is another "aged" stash yarn. It's 50/50 rayon/cotton and a bit stiff. I'm hoping it softens when it's washed, something I won't know till I finish, since, I did do a swatch, but didn't think keep it and wash it.

In the meantime, I continue to work on the Alpine lace scarf. I've gotten a rhythm going and am mostly pleased with the progress. Notice the smaller ball? That's about half of what I pulled out when I noticed a mistake in the border. I spent a day contemplating whether to leave it ("No one would really see it...") but in the end it would probably nag me, so about 14 inches came out. The pulling out and picking back up wasn't so traumatic, but the untangling and rewinding was a bit of a chore.

Then new VK arrived. What lovely lace patterns! I really need a formal event so I have an excuse to make the Mari Tobita's skirt or the dress by Shirley Paden.

On the other hand, even though it's featured as part of the wedding spread, the cardigan by Simone Merchant-Dest is definitely doable, as is the tank by Magumi Harai. And I like Kristen TenDyke's lace top.

And there were some non-lace patterns that caught my eye, as well, like Mari Lynn Patrick's colorwork top and Vladimir Terokhin's raglan pullover.

I think I need longer days...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dogs on Thursday

Sun Dog
Jake likes to be warm. We've had a fair bit of sun over the past few weeks (we're told that it's almost spring!) and when it shines into the bathroom, Jake finds the spots.

And he's fine till my picture taking apparently starts to bother him.

Knitting progress

While in San Jose, I did get some knitting done.

I finished the Herringbone Stitch Chemo Cap.

And got quite a bit done on the Alpine Knit lace scarf. The significance of this progress is that it took me longer to get through the bottom border than it did to work the border/body so far. This is the first project where I seriously considered lifelines. The yarn is slippery silk on slippery needles. But I'm apparently a glutton for punishment because I never did add the lifelines, and unknit and unknit and reknit. But there's good news because I finally have the pattern in my head (though not memorized) enough to where I can see the issues without having to frog rows, which is usually my downfall.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cupertino, San Jose and Scotts Valley

Through in visits to Santa Cruz, Sunnyvale and Campbell and you have our weekend destinations. The trip down to see Jack at Year Round Tax (in Scotts Valley) and Dr Ballentine (in San Jose) was just an excuse so we could

..have coffee with Maria (an hour just isn't enough time)

..deliver the 20-something annual birthday pineapple upside down cake for Bill (never mind that his birthday was last month)

..spend the better part of an afternoon with Chris for the first time in a very long time

..have brunch with Amy and Ron, who at different times took care of Cody and Mandy

..see former neighbors Joe and Connie and check out what's going on with our previous house.

It also gave us the chance to visit a new-to-us yarn shop, Purlescence Yarns in Sunnyvale and add to my SABLE.

Yarn Place Graceful Lace - very soft fine wool

Dream in Color Baby Lace Weight Merino wool, in a black that had shades of green, brown and blue

Crystal Palace Maizy - corn fiber and elastic nylon

And stay at the Cypress Hotel in Cupertino for the second year in a row, where we hung out with Spotty the fish. If you can afford the rack rates or get a good promo price (which is the category we fell into), I highly recommend Kimpton Hotels. Their In Touch membership program is all about hospitality. In addition to the fresh chocolate chip cookies they set out for guests every afternoon, as an In Touch member, I always get a note, bottle of water and a snack. If our dogs were good travelers and we weren't flying, we'd brought them to stay with us, since the Kimpton hotels welcome doggy guests. We have also stayed at the Alexis in Seattle (where the notes were hand written) and the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

South Bay yarn shop update

If you happened to head to my SF Bay area yarn shop list and download it, I already have some corrections.

There's good news and bad news about downtown Campbell and yarn. Bad news: We discovered that Rug and Yarn Hut is no longer with us, but a walk down the block found yarn in a shop window, but the store is not yet open. The good news is that Green Planet Yarn plans to open in April 2008.

We did stop by Purlescence in Sunnyvale and had a lovely visit (and I found some Yarn Place yarn). More later after I get some pictures taken.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bay Area bound

It's time for our annual trek to San Jose to take care of taxes. It's not that we couldn't just send the information down, but what's the fun in that. (An "no" the trip is not tax deductible—we asked.)

In preparation, I did a little yarn shop research, found a couple of new-to-me shops to try to visit and posted a list of Bay Area Yarn shops on my website.

In addition to the trusty iPod Touch, I'll be taking a Herringbone Stitch Chemo Cap, a free pattern from Fiber Rhythm, I'm knitting in Knit Picks Shine Sport. It's my carry along project so, though it's an easy project, it may be a while before it's finished, since I only will get to it when were waiting for something and I need to keep busy. Or I may get it done while we're away. You never know.
And the obligatory lace project: Alpine knit scarf from Victorian Lace Today in Claudia Hand Painted Silk Lace yarn in Pecan.

Tom gets to take a new shirt.

Monday, March 03, 2008


That's pronounced "pyoo-AL-up. I was immediately corrected by my Seattle friend, so I thought I'd save you the embarrassment.

Sewing Expo
Anyway, that's where I spent Thursday. This was my first time to the
Sewing & Stitchery Expo and it was quite an experience and I was late to game so didn't get to do/see everything I wanted, and that in itself makes it a learning experience.

For the uninitiated, the Expo, organized by Washington State University, consists of a very few in-depth workshops, a few more hands-on classes and lots of seminars. Plus there were free style shows and seminars, and over 200 vendors. And though I can find no reference for how long it's been going on, it clearly has been a long time. The crowd on Thursday by noon was significant. For the in-depth workshops and hands-on classes, the major sewing machine companies have set up rooms so schlepping a machine isn't necessary.

I ended up with three (instead of the planned five) seminars on Thursday around machine embroidery. I learned something from each, but didn't quite come away with the inspiration I'd hoped for.

Embroidery Basics was all about threads, needles, and stabilizers. The speaker was a Sulky national trainer, so the focus was on their products.

Embroidery From Perception to Reality was presented by the principal for an embroidery software company on how to use software (in general, her product in particular) to aid in design and implementation of the embroidery. If I ever invest in an embroidery application, I hope I remember her ideas.

Quick Gifts on the Embroidery Machine was entertaining, which was good since it was mid-afternoon - not my brightest time of the day. Bobbi Bullard showed some interesting projects that showcased her embroidery design sets, as well as some of her other products, including spray dyes and Swarovski crystals.

Showplex and Pavilion
There were two venues for shopping and with six hours of free time, I managed to cruise the aisles of both several times. Pretty much anything you could think of around sewing was there; and depending on the time of day, it was just a matter of actually getting to and into any given booth. There was lots of fabric and the independent pattern companies were well represented.

Practicing some restraint, I purchased only 3 yards of fabric, since I seem to have outgrown my substantial fabric/yarn closet and sewing room and I don't have the option of piling my fabric in the shower like Bobbi Bullard said she does. I found a pretty red linen rayon blend at Dana Marie (formerly Purrfection), but both scanning and photographing didn't get the color right. Seattle Fabrics had lots of tapestry, including a cute puppy print that I just couldn't resist.

What I really scored on were notions. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the store, but here's what I got there for $5 (a bagful of notions).

I found two gadgets at the smaller of the two Pine Needle Quilt Shop booths.

And there were a few yarn shops who showed up, knowing that it's not always about sewing. Because I need more yarn even less than fabric, I again practiced restraint, until I got to the Seattle Yarn, where there bags of discontinued yarn and shawl kits for $40, including the two bags of Noro I couldn't resist - Gisha and Silk Country.

I'm looking forward to next year, now that I know the ropes.

Side Trips
When possible I plan trips around meeting up with friends. And this trip was no different, though I have no pictures to show for it. Wednesday, I lunched with Dave Harms, a work friend, at a downtown Seattle Thai fast food place, and had dinner with Mark Shelton, (has it been 30 years!?) at Indochine in Tacoma. Thursday, it was all about meeting with fiberly friend Diane Egelston for the first time; we had pretty good teriyaki at Ichiban Teriyaki, very near the Red Lion Tacoma where I stayed. Finally, I had lunch with Adobe friends, Fred Hale, Marc Madenwald, and Jud Richards, in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, at the Red Door.

There was time to kill between checking out and meeting Fred, Marc, and Jud, so I stopped at Kinokuniya Bookstore. Parking karma was with me and I found a spot at the door that I didn't have to actually parallel park into (I'm a terrible backer-upper). It's hard to compare them to the Portland store because the layout is so different. However, I do think they had fewer books with knitting than Portland. I did find two crochet books, though.
Crochet Accessories (ISBN 9784277430807)


Let's Knit Series 15 (ISBN 9784529043496)