Friday, May 30, 2008

17 years

G'day all!

Well maybe not the best of all days but not bad considering.

17 years ago on this day, after most of a year battling cancer, my mother died. It was a sad but in a way welcome thing. She had been so very sick and was fighting so hard, but there comes a time when you have to let them go.

Someones Back 'Ome are facing a different but very similar problem. Their baby was born with a severe disability. Baby can't swallow so she breathes in any of the usual upper body baby fluids and her lungs are shot. What do you say to a couple whose baby can't stay in this world, not for love nor money? She's only a little thing. She's not had much chance at life. They've tried so hard....

So on this sad day, I look at the good things, the memories, the things that are learned. I thank Mum for passing on the crafty genes (though the Old Man was a crafter too) and for keeping me alive when I was a little wusster (asthma) so that I can enjoy this life. I reflect, I think and I rejoice in the latest installment of the STR club yarn ;-)


And I keep knitting and plotting to take over ze world with cycle power. And wondering how on earth I will decrease my sock yarn stash:

(Two balls of yarn have been used since I took the pic two weeks ago, but I've got a new skein of yarn from the lovely Dreamcatcher - must show it off soon!)

I think I've got enough yarn to make 96 socks, not including the two HUGE (1lb) hanks of Wildfoote I got at the Brown Sheep mill. It's not as if I don't have about fifty sock patterns queued on Ravelry but many of those are not the sorts of patterns one uses with my beloved multicoloured yarns.

What sock patterns do you like? Which ones would work with bright and cheery yarns?


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Socks for May

G'day all!

May is usually my flat month (three significant death anniversaries) but the last week has been rockin' so that is good :-)

I thought things were not going so well when the Holy Blessed Sock (ie the sock that had been held by the Great One herself, aka the yarnharlot) took two weeks to knit. Oh my. 76 stitches and 2mm needles and it just draggggggged onnnn and onnnnnnnnnn and onnnnnnnnnnnn.

So I finally got it to the point where I could cast it off and forget about it for the time being. I thought it killed my sock mojo.

may socks 2008 CPY panda cotton
Got these ones done in a WEEK!

may socks 2008 CPY panda cotton
I really enjoyed knitting these. I think it showed in that it took very little time to knit them.

may socks 2008 CPY panda cotton
Yarn is Crystal Palace Panda Cotton in colourway Strawberries and Limes, I think (can't find the labels lurking - they will appear sooner or later). The colours are closest in the first and last pics, at least on my laptop which has very wonky colour balance. I used 2.5mm needles and a few less stitches than normal (58 or 60 compared to 64). They are toe up, as I prefer, using one of Cat Bordhi's sockitectures. I placed the gusset increases on either side 3 stitches from the sole.

may socks 2008 CPY panda cotton
Heels are eye of partridge cos I *really* like it and it looks so pretty with patterned yarns.

Now I have to finish the current sock, which I am not enjoying as much cos I am winging a lace pattern and it isn't right but heck it is on a SOCK and who is going to see it? I also have a little top down raglan bolero I am working on - I am knitting it continental to ensure that I know what I am doing when I run a knitting class on it in a couple of weeks. So far so good! :-)


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Service will resume shortly

G'day all!

My web host is down at the moment so pics are not happening from it. Since I now have a Flickr pro account, I might start using it for pics instead. BTW, I am natiel3 on Flickr. I've started putting up pics from our travels on it. Given that I took 700 pics plus some wonky-vids on the weekend and I tend to take about 200+ pics a day when we go someplace, this is going to take a while. And I don't put *all* the pics up, just the ones I think are worthwhile.

Strange things from the weekend?

Passing war/veteran's cemeteries on Monday. Each grave had a little American flag stuck into it. There were a lot of graves and a lot of flags. (Wonder where the flags were made? USA or China?) Memorial Day is a big thing here. We don't even get a day off for Remembrance Day back home.

The rental car having the engine light on for most of Sunday, then it disappearing once we were back at sea level - must be some sort of altitude effect.

Admitting that most of the GM (Chevrolet) cars I've driven here were surprisingly good to drive (even the crappy little Barina oops Aveo was more competent than I expected - at least it went up hills ok unlike the Corolla I drove).

Finding that beautiful as Tahoe is, I think I still prefer Colorado's Rocky Mountains. It is easier to walk around the feldmark in Colorado and also easier to get to the true alpine areas. Mt Evans will remain a highlight of our time in Colorado and we only spent a couple of hours there by accident (thanks to the lady at the visitor centre in Idaho Springs).

I'll have to get some pics of recently finished items. The only pics I have of me in the Drops tshirt are when I was playing dead. I hope the server comes up soon cos I don't want to have to fiddle with stuff and work out how to make flickr pics display the way I want them to...


Friday, May 23, 2008


G'day all!

We hired a car. It is very strange driving. Very quick to get to WF and back but I feel so divorced from the road. We are going for a LOOONG drive, ok not that long, only up to Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas. It turns out to be a long weekend here in the USA for Memorial Day. So we will drive to SF and pick up a work friend of Nathan's and choof off into the wild blue yonder.

So far I have packed food, some clothes (suitable for a place that is good 2km+ above sea level - that will knock us around!), a book to read, a little knitting (of course - new socks, just finished a pair in a WEEK after the horrid PS sock of doom and despair that took two weeks of knitting for one anklet!), toiletries better come too eh? Don't want to be stinky! Ah, the spare electric kettle cos we like tea and my breakfast has to be soaked in very hot water. Umm, hope I have what we need! We don't have accommodation booked but I looked online yesterday and there was a lot available, not necessarily very cheap but a lot available. I have the insane urge to vacuum the place too before we leave. And the lights are suddenly full of dead bugs - I guess it is bug season. At least I refilled the hummer feeder - we seem to be feeding two different tribes of hummers and they keep having stand offs at the feeder. The young ones are a lot less wary of me than the old ones and will feed with me standing a metre or so away. The females also get desperate enough to feed but the male gets agitated and chit-chits at me. One came and checked me out quite closely, reminding me of how sharp those long beaks are by flying about 20cm in front of my nose.

Eventually I shall show off pics of the two new FOs that I have to show you but not quite yet. I need pics of them first! Maybe I shall take them to Tahoe and try to get some beauty shots but then again the forecast is not exactly perfect so time will tell.

See you next week :-)


Thursday, May 22, 2008


G'day all!

I am no longer grumpy but dangnabbit! A cop just cited Nathan for riding on the footpath. Grr. Nathan rides about 20m on the footpath cos it is the way to the train station and bingo bango they nab him. That is the only time he rides on the path! It isn't actually clear from the Californian highway Code or whatever they call it here that it is illegal but there was a ped so Nathan was "being dangerous." And the cop called him an illegal immigrant.

I would love to show you photos of all the lovely things I've seen recently to take the edge off the dangnabbits but they are on Nathan's machine and I have to copy them to mine rather than just looking at them through the network (cos looking at them via the network doesn't work at the moment). I have lots of pics and couldn't find them cos I forgot they were on either my desktop (which is out of action) or Nathan's, which is inconvenient.

I bought 3 balls of yarn today. My bad!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This is me

(I wish it was my photo but I stole it from the wikipedia page on crabs)

Grump growl grump. Having a bad day. Having a rotten WEEK!

grump growl.....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Swimming meet

G'day all!

Today I abandoned the lovely ladies of the San Jose SnB and trawled off with my darling husband to places far. Well, far if you have to take the bus and ride there. Must say we got a really good park, unlike most of the people there - they drove and the parking was a little limited.


Cos of this!

Yep, that is my nephew swimming in his pet event. The 200m breaststroke.

Is that exciting? A couple of pictures of a random swimmer in a yellow cap bobbing up and down. Almost as good as the gazillions of pics I took of whales years ago - they were tiny little specs in the photos. LOL

He came second!

There he is on the dias, on the left of the pic. It really is him!

For his efforts, he got a beany whale

(Which he gave to me)

a medal

(which he didn't give to me!!!)
a fancy water bottle and a TEN DOLLAR gift voucher! Don't spend it all at once! LOL

Craig and Nathan. (Would you buy a used car off the chap with the beard? Nathan was feeling a little sheepish but he was the one who wanted the photo :-)

Me and Craig. I think he is a rello.

Craig. Don't eat him all up, ladies! (Sorry chaps, he's not interested.)

If you like reading race results, you can find them here.

We then rode like the wind home. I was in 3/6 for about half the trip and going like a steam train, or so I thought. It took us half an hour to ride six miles - danged traffic lights! I thought we were fast but 12 miles per hour is pretty slow...(but faster than walking by lots!).

I have FINISHED OBJECTS! As long as you don't want pairs of objects that is, although the second of one pair is coming along nicely already, and I've only had about 1.5 hours of knitting time on it so far.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

I want...

G'day all!

At the moment I seem to be very wanty. I have a couple of theories about it - one is that DH has been sooooo busy working recently that I've not really seen a lot of him (yes he's often been home but that doesn't mean we can chat and given that he's been on the computer from 10 'til 10, or 11, every day recently and now is at a work love-in for three days...). The other is that well I don't have a car. I've chosen not to get a car cos a) they are expensive = I'd prefer to put the money on the mortgage and buy yarn on occasion and b) I am practising for when we simply cannot afford fuel and alternative transport sources are our options. When I say I don't have a car, people give me this funny look cos only poor people don't have cars, and even many of them still have a car. What sort of weirdo doesn't have a car in California?

So I guess I want company and I want validation. And I'd like it if someone followed my lead. It is sad and lonely living on the edges of society ;-) 2 or 3 weeks ago, I put up a bike challenge - use your bike or walk for those short errands rather than jumping in the car. Put the petrol/gas money aside for something nice. Y'know what?

The only person who took up the challenge was my DH, and you already know that we don't have a car. I know a lot of people have good excuses for not being able to ride (I feel that having some weird form of leukaemia is one!) but there are a whole heap of people out there who have absolutely no excuse. Heck, if Claudia can do it without being able to see well, people who are able bodied in every way should be able to too! And that makes me cranky. (Admittedly many of those people who aren't riding or walking for their fitness and the environment probably don't read this blog either cos really? Why would they?) Now I am not asking you, dear reader, to immediately have a guilt attack cos guilt is no reason to do anything and certainly won't make you feel good about doing the thing (until it is done and the guilt fades with any luck). I just would like to be more inspirational to others.

And just when did I turn into some sort of whacko? OK, even more whacko than ever? Why would anyone follow my lead? I've got about as much charisma as a dead dog. Why do I think that my little effort will be rewarded? I am much more likely just to get dakked all over. But it isn't going to stop me. I can be pigheaded when I choose and the crankier I get the more wrongheaded I can be. Time will tell if I am wrongheaded at the moment or not.

I also want to FINISH SOMETHING! Just something small even! Heavens to betsy, I have nearly finished a sock, a baby poncho, the Drops top (I looked at the colours in my recent post - the laptop has awful colour balance and the pics suck!), a mother bear for an AIDS kid in Africa.... there is a shawl that I have been working on (and off) for over a year now and all it needs is another metre or so of edging. In the same boat of lonely UFOs are a sock that I have to find the pattern for and a jacket that I won't wear for months and months and months (especially if today's weather is any guide - 37C at the moment!). We won't mention the mystery stole 3 or the umm, Mim's shawl in IK. Icarus. Ahem. The good part about nearly finishing a LOT of stuff is that I will have blog fodder that isn't just me raving like a lunatic.

I've been doing some spinning too - currently a beige CVM fleece for a long term project (ie too warm to knit in summer let alone wear) and before that, this yummy yummy bamboo in Sunset from Fiber Fiend. It is spun to a fingering/sport weight (some I've navajo plied to keep the colour runs, some is two ply to blend the colours but it knits up just fine either way).

I am going to use the bamboo to edge a new cardi, not that I have a pattern of the cardi yet. I want something light and swingy so that I can wear it over the top of a singlet when I am riding or just outside. It has to be high necked for maximum coverage and 3/4 or bracelet sleeved. And it has to be light cos 37C? No fun to ride in at all! I have very fair skin and am not interested in become a lobster and later on dying of melanoma. The less flesh I expose to the sun the better! (But you can't stop me being outside either cos being inside all day sucks big bikkies!)

Maybe I should focus on getting one thing done, eh? And chill - if only I liked beer and could get a GF one around here...


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Holy cow!

G'day all!

Yesterday it seemed to be a little warm in the afternoon. Before I go out to get to the post office to pick up a parcel and send some off, I thought I would check the weather forecast.

Yikes! I am used to it being about 20C (low 70s), and I see this:



15 MPH

10 MPH.



Highs of 102 tomorrow! That is about 40C! Hmm, better make sure I water the plants both days - they will need it. So will I!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Drops tshirt progress

G'day all!

Thought I would show you some pics of my Drops tshirt 81-6.

These pics date from a week ago! *blush* I am soooo bad not putting them up.

I decided that I should try some fancy shots like I see pretty blogs like Brooklyn Tweed and others doing. Do they do it for you too?

I've now completed the back and worked and reworked and reworked and worked again the sleeve. The sleeve as written for my size would give a sleeve that is nearly 40cm around! I may have giant arms (with great big strapping muscles, well maybe not great big muscles) but like 40cm is a BIG arm for someone who is not *that* well fleshed. Plus when I worked out how long the edge of the sleeve would be, it was not long enough for the armhole of the tshirt body. So I tried to make up my own sleeve. The first attempt didn't have enough space in the head of the arm, the second was better, the third revealed that I needed a slightly larger sleeve and the fourth? Almost right! Hooray!

So now, at this very instant (except I am blogging), I am picking up the stitches around the neck, having set in the first sleeve and taken details of what I did to make it fit in the armhole. I'll get the neckband done soonish and then knit the other arm and sew the thing up and bingo bango, I'll have a new tshirt! Yay me! (Boo hiss, I'll have to hand wash it.)(mental note to self - next tshirt should be made of machine washable yarn.)


Saturday, May 10, 2008

New sock

G'day all!

I am trying to get a head start on the socks for this month. I thought I was doing really well last weekend - I was almost up to the heel turn! Yay me!

Then I did a reality check. I am knitting finer yarn than usual (Panda silk) and it is lovely, if a bit splitty. I am knitting more stitches on smaller needles. I've gone up a few stitches from normal. I've used the same sort of heel as I have been using recently (Cat Bordhi's Riverbed architecture). And I've made a sock for someone with a somewhat more plush foot than mine. The sock was big enough for one foot with the other foot trying to get in too!

So I had to rip out half the sock. It has moved on a little since this point:

and I'm doing a shortrow heel this time around, just to be different. I'll put a little gusset into it - about 10 stitches increased for a little ease across the instep. I'm pretty flatfooted due to general bendiness (you should see what my fingers can do!).

With any luck I'll have the heel turned by tomorrow evening.

In other knit news, I've almost finished the back of the Drops tshirt and am about to cast off the baby poncho that I've been sitting on for a while (the little tacker was not doing so well for a while and y'know I don't want to send something home at the wrong time....).

BTW, this is Holy Blessed Yarn. It is the sock the Yarnharlot held. I could extract her DNA from it, along with that from a few other people and make some amazing demon knitting spawn :-)

I have to catch up with a few people - I'm using the laptop and that means a whole lotta stuff is inaccessible as my desktop machine is being persistently naughty (?hardware problem?). It is slowing me down some (admittedly I am also reading a whole heap of green blogs whilst knitting frantically). I also have to dig up a number of passwords for websites that used to pop up automagically and now? My password file is on the old machine on a disconnected hard disk... If you reckon I am overdue for a visit or you haven't heard from me for a while, give me a poke and I'll visit!


Friday, May 09, 2008

Weekly counter

G'day all!

Another post! But a boring one for you. A good one for me!

I've decided to have a running total of my weekly cycling/walking/PTing activities.

So far since Saturday 2nd May, I have walked, cycled or ridden the bus/train for 173 kilometres! (That's just over 107 miles). Close to 20 of those miles were on the bike, 64 were on the Caltrain, 16 on the bus and the rest on foot. No wonder I want to have me a nice lie down and a bex! LOL

(I'm not counting those trips where I've cadged a lift in a car but if I did, this week would have about 250 extra miles added to it.)

Say that it costs 45c per mile to own a small car and put it on the road (current US figures are 54.1c per mile). That is nearly $50 saved! (Admittedly my expenditure was hmm, $14.50 for the trains.) Woot for yarn/fleece money! Plus how much carbon didn't go into the atmosphere? Depending on the sort of car I might drive, a small or compact car, would emit about 0.6 to 0.9lb per mile of CO2. Instead I used already existing public transport that emits a lot less CO2 per passenger than a car does, or my own legs which use even less (even given that I eat meat).


Fleece pr0n

G'day all!

Meet Sarah.

Isn't she luscious?

Couldn't you just roll around on her all day long? Soft and gentle, Sarah feels wonderful!

I "stole" Sarah away from someone else but she was willing to come with me. For a price ;-)

I am so glad she did, for I will have many hours of pleasure with Sarah :-)

Sarah the merino sheep is alas no longer with us. This is her last fleece. It is beautifully soft. Hope I don't want any more of her fleece! Sarah will be my next big spinning project I feel, though I do want to spin up some CVM to dye and sell.

This week has been a bumpy ride. Woot, meeting the Yarnharlot herself! (I got videos of her knitting - not very good videos but interesting all the same in my attempts to teach myself how to knit without moving the right hand needle.) Kinnearing her socks (loksins I think), though the shot was woefully dark. Meeting all sorts of whacky people. Going to CNCH with Raspberry and her friend (who doesn't have a blog?). Then I needed some cave time, being an introvert and all. I sorta hit the ground hard after floating all weekend. Plus my computer has been *very* naughty indeed, to the point where my husband wrote to the Ubuntu people offering my services as a destructive tester. All I do is the standard stuff, I upgrade stuff when I am supposed to, I don't change the default settings cos I am lacking knowledge of the consequences (except the latest release uses a program to download the photos from the camera that then does not delete the pics from the camera - who wants to delete 500 still shots and videos one at a time?), and my computer goes all flakey. (Note DH has since discovered that something he set up is apparently very flakey in the current release). Anyway, I am now using the laptop. It is annoying cos if I get my thumb pads within an inch or so of the touchpad, it moves the cursor around (and indeed the cursor is well named as I do curse quite a lot when I realise I've been typing away merrily in the wrong place). Also the wireless keeps dying - that is really peeving! Then again I could just use the wired network.

I've been out to a knit meeting - Santa Clara knitters on the meetup board - and that was good. I showed off my Queen of Cups socks and the shawl/wrap I recently finished that is Secret, and got trumped by Amy's most beautiful featherweight shawl. LOL Always the way. I am such a tryhard! I've consolidated my fleece holdings and have to pay for one (sorry Cary). I've enable some folks with talk of some fleece and I have to email some suppliers back home. Plus I've realised as I've been digging around in stuff that I am having another homesickness bout. I think it is because I've met people who remind me of folks back home and also we are coming up to a year (ok in six weeks time) away from home. Nathan sometimes talks about being away for 5 or 10 years and I just go all wobbly inside. I can't imagine being away from home for so long (plus the cats will be old and Cheshire might even be dead if we are away 10 years). That response makes me wonder if I have actually settled in here at all or am just on a loooooooong vacation. At least I am making friends, and that is good no matter how long I am here :-)


Monday, May 05, 2008

Queen of Cups socks

G'day all!

Despite all my whinging and griping last week about being bored finishing the Queen of Cups socks, within an hour of blogging, I had the things done.

The pattern is lovely, I just don't have stamina when it comes to making two socks the same. You may have guessed this by now. I am not sure why people insist on socks being the same. Even if I do make them the same, I rarely wear pairs of socks, except for the STR Marble Arches socks cos they are thicker and heavier than various of my other handknitted socks and I notice the difference wearing one of them and say a Lorna's Laces sock.

But they are almost the same, except of course hand-dyed yarn varies a bit so one has pinkier toes than the other and I made one a little longer in the foot if I look at the pattern rows. Do I care?


Modifications? Toe up not top down. That means the pattern is upside down and only looks like cups/chalices from my POV.

Wish I could find the yarn label for the socks. I got the yarn last year, must see if I blogged it. Dangit! Can't find it anywhere. I am sure I took pics of the yarn (and label) but they could be anywhere in about a thousand pics (why no I am not someone who carefully labels each pic with tags - I am lazy! Disorganised! Not detail oriented in the right way!).

Coming next, a (part) day with the YarnHarlot. Plus I'll be putting some of the Maker Faire pics onto Victorian, on the Move cos it really isn't knitting stuff but is waaaay funky. (Admittedly tomatoes have nothing to do with knitting either but I can boast :-).


For anyone who lives where it is cold

G'day all!

Had to show this off.

yep, that blurry thing is a mutant tomato growing on our mutantly small bush (its mates are about half a metre high, this one is about 20cm high).

Amazing, eh? Never had a tomato growing this early in the season - never had them before Christmas back ome (remember Christmas = summer for me) and here we are barely May and there is a two week old tomato!

Oh and we have peas too :-) I'll torture you later with them :-)

(back soon to show off last week's socks, thence to the Maker Faire and my new acquisitions)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What a day!

G'day all!

What a day it has been.

This was the highlight:

(Doncha love that double chin I am displaying as I try to hunch down some? I hope someone does!)
(There were a couple of lowlights involving missing trains after RUNNING 70% of the way)

Tomorrow, CNCH - conference of Northern California Handweavers, or just as importantly their market and display! I have to be out the front of our apartments by 8am. Ack!

I am declaring Monday a day of rest and blogging pics, with any luck.


Friday, May 02, 2008

I am real!

G'day all!

Well good news in between wrangling my computer - I am REAL!

I have a Social Security Number! This means I can get a tax record and all sorts of stuff, assuming I ever get off my butt and get a job or start making stuff to sell. I can register for things, I can do stuff that has been barred to me, all sorts of fun!

Most impressed I am - after all it is not long since I applied and it is already here!

I expect to have a busy weekend - the yarnharlot is at the Maker Faire tomorrow so guess which day we are going to the Maker Faire? I'll take pics if I can. And on Sunday I almost have a lift to CNCH in Sacramento, a big weaving/spinning conference and marketplace. If I was really greedy, I'd try to swindle me a ride to the Jordana Paige warehouse open day on Monday but I am not that keen. After all, me and a nice bag are like chalk and cheese, particularly as I tend to bike a lot. I love nice things but I am not very good at wearing them or keeping them nice, so I tend to go for purely practical. If I can't walk in it or it requires constant adjustment or it is too hard to lug around then I don't have it.

I shall show off some more knitting soon, soon I promise. I have been making stuff, I've just been busy and then with the computer woes (one day I will learn not to download something when it is a new release, you would think that since I have a brain I might learn but apparently not). DH suggests I use the laptop and he will reinstall from scratch so that everythign is consistent between all our computers. Might be a good idea!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mayday! Mayday! Awooga!

G'day all!

Well not such a good day for my bookmarks.

I am Bad Person. Despite all my Good Intentions, I leave my computer running overnight. It goes to sleep and I turn the (LCD) monitor off.

Last night, Something Went Wrong.

Firefox and/or X windows/window manager crashed and ATE ALL MY BOOKMARKS!

No bookmarks!

DH just spent most of an hour persuading Firefox to import bookmarks that are at least 6 months old. It's forgotten the rest of them. Since we've moved to California, I've developed a heap more really interesting blogs and websites to visit (am particularly fond of garden nurseries and native plants). All gone!

Alas my bookmarks!

It also ate all my cookies, so the things that I normally just breeze into now require thought and patience and the odd let me get a new password.

So if you don't hear from me and I usually swing past your blog on a fairly (ir)regular basis, give me a poke or a hoi (no koi please - we don't have pond and I am not giving up the bathtub/shower) and remind me that you exist! I'll be delighted to visit you again, my long lost friends :-)

BTW, we've been in California for 4 full months now - where does the time go? And to top it off nicely, today is the 3rd anniversary of my father's death. He was old, 87, and it was Time. You miss them but you can't call them back and given the choice?