Friday, May 30, 2008

Yarning around town

There's a lot going on in our world, including one more trip to Phoenix next Wednesday to get my Mom moved out of her house and up here to stay. She'll be moving into a nice senior community in Wilsonville, OR. She doesn't "believe it" but we think life will be easier without a house and yard and 100°F-plus to contend with.

Off the needles
In the meantime, I've been knitting away between trips and move planning. Before I headed to Chicago, I found a quick little crochet pattern so I wouldn't go to the Fiberly weekend empty-handed - a soap sack pattern on Simple Knits. I added an extra row of changes to make the edge more lacy and this is what I came up with. It was a quick and easy project, and in the course of a week or so I whipped up about a dozen out of Sugar and Cream cotton yarn.

I started the Indigo Ripples skirt from Interweave Knits Summer 2007 before going to Phoenix, but didn't get much knitting done while I was there. When I got home, I set to work. The yarn is Elann Den-M-Nit Pure Indigo Cotton. The indigo dye seemed to be a little drying to my skin, or it may have simply been having to wash my hands after each knit session. It was a good pattern to knit; it knit up fast and like those who went before me, I do like the result.

On the needles
Evelyn Clark brought several knitted samples to class. One really grabbed me - Baltic Blossoms. So I took a picture to remind me and after I got home, I ordered it.

The Habu Bamboo lace yarn I got from Knit-Purl in Portland had been calling me to knit it up, so I cast on Baltic Blossoms. It's a 20/3 yarn, so very fine and my resulting shawl won't be large, but I think it will be pretty an oh-so-soft.

Portland Area yarn stores
Early this month I got news that Tangle in Lake Oswego will be closing in June. The same week, I also saw a note about a new shop opening in Vancouver, WA, Stitchcraft. It's an interesting market here. I've updated the Yarn Shops lists to reflect the changes.

In the meantime, a couple of days ago, my new neighbor, Laurie (who knits!!!) and I headed on a little shop-hop, since she is new to the area. We started at Mill End Store (she also sews - some). Then to Abundant Yarns, where we each picked up some Abundant Yarn naturally dyed yarn. I got 50/50 wool/silk in Bandon Dunes.

I also found Noro Designer Mini Knits by Jenny Watson that I couldn't resist bring home.

Next Laurie got to experience Yarn Garden. It's a great shop, but neither of us found anything that screamed it had to take it home, so we headed for our next destination - Yarnia. There were lots of yarns in wool, rayon, bamboo, silk, cotton and more and the concept of creating a unique blend of yarn was intriguing, but it's a new one to us, so we left with ideas and will probably return with projects in mind.

We headed across the Columbia into Vancouver to check out Stitchcraft. It's a nice little shop that has some quilt fabric and a very nice yarn selection. We both fell in love with the Purity shawl from Rowan Magazine 43 and decided we had to knit it.

I loved the orange, but I'm just not an orangy girl. The Rowan Kid Silk Haze was just so soft, I actually bought the pattern yarn, but picked out a more red version, which it turns out is not too far from the color of the Habu bamboo. Well at least I'm consistent. So far it's an easy knit in stockinette on size 9 needles.

I also found yet another book: Heartfelt by Kim Hargreaves.


Our last stop was Knit-Purl and Josephine's Dry Goods, where admired the yarn and fabric, but didn't make any purchases.

One more thing
Not yarn related, but worth mentioning is the restaurant we found - Kappaya. I ordered the Tempura bento, which I thought was a little spendy at $7.50, but I was wrong since it came not only with rice, salad, miso, but included two dumplings, pickled vegs, and more than a dozen pieces of tempura - more than half of which went home with me.

While I'm on the subject of Japanese food, I'll give honorable mention to our favorite (though not nearest) Japanese restaurant - Fuji Sushi in Clackamas. Good reasonably priced sushi. My favorite thing is the Sunnyside roll, with tempura shrimp, cucumber, cream cheese and avocado - topped with Fuji sauce. We haven't figured out exactly what's in the sauce, but it is good.

It was a good day out.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Late Doggie Dash report

Thanks to the generosity of friends, TheHudsons surpassed the dollar amount raised last year for the Oregon Humane Society at Doggie Dash: $1290. It wasn't even close to being enough for the top three like last year, but we're pretty darned pleased.

Jake and Mandy seemed to have a great time. We wandered around for an hour before the walkers took to Naito Parkway, and then walked the two miles. Both dogs were pulling at their leashes the entire walk, and continued to pull as we walked back to the cars. So it was a success all around.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fiberly Weekend in Chicago

It was all about "meeting" friends, fabric shopping and just hanging out. Patti Ferguson organized the weekend in Chicago where Mardel Fehrenbach, Barbara Bell, and Diane Egelston (DianeE on the Pattern Review and Stitcher's Guild sites) and I headed out, after four quick days at home, on April 25th. It was great to meet Mardel and Barbara for the first time, and see Diane and Patti again. We were missing Carolyn Norman and Marji Van Zile who at the last minute could not join us, but we were thinking of them all weekend.

Friday, we convened at Patti's house where she served up a delicious dinner of salads and home-baked bread. We had an informal show and tell, where I showed the only piece from my "planned" travel wardrobe I managed to complete. Butterick 4991; Silk Brocade purchased from Mrs Kimura's in Hawai'i

Saturday began at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, where we all came away with something. I was surprised to find a dog fabric in silk. And though there was a considerable selection fabrics to tempt, in the end I brought home only the silk dogs, a pretty blue rayon remnant and acetate slinky floral.

Cennetta Walker, is a local sewist/blogger that Patti invited to meet us at Vogue. We enjoyed a nice lunch learning more about each other before heading to Fishman's Fabrics. Their selection of colors in different fabrics was pretty amazing, but unlike Mardel, I had not come prepared with swatches and a plan, so was happy just to enjoy the experience. We said goodbye to Cennetta, but not before getting a quick group shot.

Cennetta, Diane, Barbara, Patti, and Mardel

Next to Hancock Fabrics where Vogue patterns were on sale. Right off the bat, I found the cotton patterns and three dog fabrics for Tom. Then I headed back to patterns, with no intention to buy or look, but because of my susceptibilty to the the power of suggestion (mostly from Diane), I picked out two Sandra Betzina patterns, Vogue 2980, because Diane was wearing it, and 1036, because she pulled it out and I liked it.

Dinner at Tapas Barcelona with three of Patti's friends, Shelia Crumine and Barbara DeCoster, both sewists, and Margie Rogasner (in her words "the outlyer") was great fun because of the company as well as the food. Post dinner we went back to Patti's house where three husbands, Norm, David and Bill, were waiting, had some lively discussions, dessert and again, I was the first to fold. Patti planned to stay at the hotel to have a grown up slumber party, which she, Mardel, Diane and Barbara did, as I fell into my bed.

Sunday morning, before we had to bid farewell to Diane and Mardel, we posed for one more Fiberly friends picture.

Afterwards, Barbara, Patti and I took in the Chicago Botanical Gardens, where the bulbs were in full bloom and beautiful.

Patti and I said goodbye to Barbara at the airport and headed to meet Pam Walters for dinner.

What a great weekend it was!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mile High Lace Knitting Conference

I believe this was the second such conference and it was quite intimate and small, which I quite enjoyed. Perhaps had I known it wasn't as big as even Madrona Fiberarts, I might have signed up for more of the non-class activities, but there were meals to be had with friends, so it was all good.

In the end, I did not take the class I had been looking for, but took Intarsia Lace from Galina Khemeleva thinking that maybe she could convert me to like intarsia if it were lace. Nope. I didn't even finish my sample swatch. But I did learn some new skills and enjoyed the class and instructor.

On Friday, I took Haapsalu Ratik (changed to Haapsalu Sal), knitting a traditional Estonian shawl, from Nancy Bush. I knit a nice little lace swatch, with nups (a new stitch for me) - which I've managed to misplace in all my unpacking and packing - but I did not follow tradition and sew on the separately knit border. While it's good to know the tradition, in my case, I'll probably not embrace the technique. I will, however, purchase her upcoming book Knitted Lace of Estonia: Techniques, Patterns, and Traditions (due out in October), after seeing the book samples and being assured that there were other border attachment options.

Saturday was Knitting Triangle Shawls taught by Evelyn Clark. I had purchased her book of the same title, and figure this was the only way I was assured to read it. I started the Sunshine and Shadows Shawl in class and finished it a few days ago, while in Phoenix. The yarn is Dream In Color Baby Lace that I purchased in Sunnyvale in March.

Adding to the stash
The conference was small and the vendor market was small - only four vendors. But I did manage to find some lovely lace yarn in the Skaska Designs booth. I learned about Yarn Place yarns on that San Jose trip in March, and was tempted by the fibers, colors and value of Touch (cashmere/tencel/merino), Heaven (tencel/merino), and Gentle (wool/cashmere):

I also couldn't resist taking home a hank each of Skaska's silk/cashmere and camel/silk yarns, as well as an Australian cashmere yarn.

And finally I came home to yarn that Bonnie sent from Japan. I'm pretty sure she bought it because of the brand - Puppy Yarn. It's washi paper yarn made from cotton.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I was looking for a particular class taught by Galina Khemeleva and happened on the Mile High Lace Knitting Conference in Denver. I'm all about lace AND I graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver (more than a few years ago) so clearly I was destined to go. It turned out to be a very small conference held at the Renaissance Hotel across from what was, in "my day", Stapleton International Airport. I won't bore you with how much had changed in places, but it was significant.

Truth be told the knitting was an excuse to look up and see old friends. The visits started on Tuesday when it got to over 80 degrees farenheit and was still 76 degrees as I headed home (the significance of this comes up next) from dinner with Stephanie Brearton. I met Stephanie when we both pledged Alpha Phi at Colorado State. The chapter didn't last, but our friendship did.

I arrived on Monday, but the conference didn't start till Wednesday evening, so I stayed the first two nights at what we've come to call Hotel Shelton, aka Robert and Edith's house. They are the parents of my good friend Mark and I always enjoy spending time there. I don't like to visit someone's house empty handed, but have a hard time thinking what to make men, so I packed a full biscuit "kit", consisting of Oregon ingredients: Bob's Red Mill flour, baking soda, and baking powder, Tillamook butter, and Market of Choice buttermilk (and salt) to make Robert. For Edith, I made Elisa's Nest Tote in Bernat Kitchen Cotton. I knit in the round (taking a cue from a Ravelry-er), left the stitches live and knit on the i-cord for the handles, and it was done in just a few days.

Before I left for my stay at the hotel, I took Robert and Edith to lunch.

The snow flurries began as we left the restaurant, and by evening there was a nice blanket of snow. Gotta love that Denver weather! One June day circa 1979, the week before summer solstice, I was scraping snow off my car onto my cold sandaled feet.

Thursday morning, I enjoyed the snow in the early morning as I drove to meet Linda Williams for coffee.

Linda Williams was the senior class president and was consistently one of the nicest people at TJ even to those of us who were bussed in. Our friendship has remained intact and I'm expecting her to visit sometime this year so she can meet her goal of visiting all 50 states by the end of her 50th year. She has Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska to go.

Friday I took advantage of the two hour lunch break and had lunch with Mark Forsyth, my date to the senior prom. Considering we haven't been in touch since we graduated, it was a remarkably fun lunch. Mark is a retired cop, teaching at Regis College in Denver. I asked Mark to the prom and he probably warned me that he couldn't dance, but I chose to ignore the fact, but he was telling the truth. At 17, that was pretty "tragic", but years later it's laughable. We shared only one class (that I know of) - photography, and all I have is the impression of how nice he was. Next month his daughter will marry and he's been told he must dance with her. And he will. He asked me to "dump" the photo I took, so in deference, here's a prom picture.

That evening, the plan was to meet also have dinner with Dan and Dori Hugo and their twin 18-month-old boys, but while the latter were calm and quiet in the morning, when the plan was set, by evening it was decided that Dan would have to meet me solo. Despite the disappointment, Dan and I had a great dinner and evening catching up. It was such a good evening, the camera never came out of my bag. I'm promised a family photo some day.

Saturday evening my good friend Randy Roorda picked me up and we headed for dinner at one of his favorite Mexican Restaurants in Aurora. We met senior year in Mr Miles Sociology class when alphabetically he sat in the desk in front of me. And the rest is friendship history. He's a teacher, who has been off the past year. He says if he doesn't find the right position in Denver he'd like to move to Oregon. We can only hope.

Trying to catch up

There's that general premise that as you get older time seems to go by more quickly. Add to that 9 planes in 21 days, of which onl 6 were spent at home and the month of April was just a blink in the proverbial eye. That, along, with a last minute visit from my mom that proceeded the three weeks of travel, in part explains my absence from blogland. I started writing this thinking I'd do one big post, but as I looked at all the unprocessed pictures, I realize my catching up will have to occur over several posts. So here I start in the middle.

I promised some pictures when last I posted:

Dianne's skirt and jacket
These were finished well before they were gifted to Dianne but, of course, couldn't be posted till she had them in her hands. It started with the Sandra Betzina skirt pattern, Vogue 2933. Tom found the fabric, at the Mill End Store in Milwaukie and I decided that I need to make something to go with it so we picked a cool eyelet.

The skirt was completed, with the "help" of some Pattern Review-ers to sort out the "wings." The fabric feels like rayon, but is a poly microfiber (the clerk at Mill End was sure the bolt description was wrong so did a burn test).

The jacket was Vogue 8398. I took my sewing machine and serger up to Puyallup with me and set up a little sewing station at the hotel. I underlined the eyelet with silk organza to give it some body and got most of it completed during the trip, just wanting to use my "good" machine to do the topstitching of the bias tape facing.

Another shirt for Tom
Tom got three new shirts in March - two to take to San Jose and one for his birthday - not that I need an excuse. I managed to post the first SJ shirt, but finished the second on the morning of the trip and forgot all about it.

The birthday shirt and the birthday boy with his second biggest fan.

Alpine Lace Scarf
It's done. All the time my mom was in town, she said she didn't think I'd ever finish it. And there were times I didn't disagree with her. Like immediatly after I made the decision to unknit back 14 inches to correct the mistake in the border that probably only I would see, but I'd know it was there. But I did finish it.