Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Short Stay in Hawaii

Flew out Sunday morning, returned on the red-eye flight Friday night (landed Saturday at 0600). But - good times were had!

I was really just glad to get to see Daniel. I also met his friend, Pete, who is also stationed at Yokosuka. And some really awesome sailors from the Australian Navy!

My pictures seem to have loaded backwards - here is a shot of me on Waikiki, on Friday before I flew home. (This is where I got a sunburn! Yow!!)

Here is a shot of the beach at the North Shore, where all those famous surfers come. Supposedly the waves further out can reach 40-60 ft! Crazy! We played in the waves closer to shore, and I got buffeted by Nature's Own neti pot. But my sinuses were clean after that!

And here is a shot of us, out at Duke's in Waikiki. This was one of the few nights in my life where I haven't paid for any food or drinks for myself. Between Daniel and the other guys, I had free drinks flowing all night. Lord! The boys got me a Blue Hawaii(an?) at Duke's, and I could only stomach half of it before the overt sweetness was grossing me out. (Daniel's holding a virgin something - he was driving that night).

I had a great time, except for, ya know, having a monster cold that left me coughing like an emphysema patient and sounding like Harvey Fierstein. And the fact that I worked Mon-Thurs while Daniel was at his planning conference... But other than that, I can't complain! :) It was 80 deg outside pretty much every day we were there, and Daniel managed to get me to the beach at least twice before he left, then I spent some time on Waikiki on Friday before I had to fly out.

I can't wait to go back...except I stipulated we both need to be on vacation, and we should hit a different island. :) Oahu is nice, but I think the other islands have better sand, etc.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hawaii And Etcetera

I leave for Hawaii on Sunday morning! Yeah! Daniel gets in about 2 hours ahead of me, so he said he could fetch me.


Random news - I just bought my friend Priscila's wedding present. I was going to get her the set of knives they wanted (Henckels; nice choice!) but I have a memory from my mom (or maybe grandma) telling me that knives are bad luck to receive as wedding presents. Kind of like some silver roosters my mom has. Don't ask why she has silver roosters. They are beautiful, though. She tried to sell them to someone who dealt with Christie's Auction House in NYC once, but I forget why it didn't go through.


I checked out the Seattle Yarn Gallery, over in West Seattle, today. It was neat! They definitely have the vibe of "you're playing in someone's crowded stash" going on. I almost bought some cushy laceweight merino, but I left with empty hands! (For the third LYS trip in a ROW, I might add!) I think I want to try taking a lace project to Hawaii with me; if I receive Kim's yarns from Stitches today or tomorrow, I might take them and just work a Pi Shawl, but I also printed off Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail shawl pattern. Dawn's looked so great, I think I want to make one now.


I think I have a cold, but I am really hoping it's just post-nasal drip and some sort of weird allergy. Ugh!


OK, I'm going to go work on my sister's Porom hat. I might finish it today; I am working Chart B, which has all the decreases for the top. Yay!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back on Ravelry!

I got a nice email from Amy Detjen telling me we're back on Ravelry! :) YAY!

And I got a very nice (bulk, I'm sure) email from Casey on Rav apologizing for it...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I bought my ticket to Hawaii for next week! As in, today is the 17th and I am flying there on the 22nd!

Yes, I'm crazy. In Love!!!....*buuuurn*. Daniel is helping me pay for the ticket; he doesn't really have to, but I appreciate it because they are PRICEY right now. Man!!!

I had to get out of the house today after work, so I took a trip to Fusion Beads. I spent a very enjoyable time poring over all their beads, without friends there anxiously awaiting your shopping completion. I *almost* bought two charms that mysteriously resembled 747's (well, they were airplanes with 4 engines. But you name how many other commercial airplanes have 4 engines. Two. The Antonov and the A380, that I know of...), but since I didn't have any immediate use for them, it seemed a little silly to pay $4.50 for each of them.

I did, however, buy supplies to make a big set of stitch markers. Something, I imagine, for either a sweater or a big lace project. I'll post a picture when I finish! Yay!

After the bead store, I went over to Weaving Works and milled around there for a while. I didn't even buy anything; I am so proud. :)

Then I went to Trader Joe's and stocked up on tasty foods - some prepped salads, avocados, refried beans, and I bought a 2 pack of their prepped, frozen oatmeal. Nom!

Now I'm home, relaxing and eyeing the bathtub.

Ravelry Problem, Part Tres

While waiting for an answer to a question I have here at work *ahem*, I decided to do some dete-ka-tive work, and Googled "Ravelry Problem".

*OK, so I was pleased that my original blog post came up first on Google*. :)

Beyond that, I read some of the snarkiest blog posts I have ever seen.

Conservatives bashing "liberal sluts". Liberals bashing "conservative a**holes". Everyone, all around, blaming the Ravelry People for banning them from their beloved site.

People! Get a hobby! (Oh wait...) I mean, go work out at a gym or play rugby and get your anger worked out in a constructive manner, and improve your self-respect so you don't feel the need to go foaming at the mouth online. I guess a lot of people feel that the Internet is a great cloak and they can finally be the jerks they've always wanted to be, but man it makes searching for useful information much more difficult, and much more angering!

I sometimes feel that politics often lies under a large umbrella of subjects that are not meant for conversation except as objective, educated discussions, with perhaps only those you know well. Politics, like any other controversial topic, is going to have people on many different sides, arguing many different points. And a lot of people have grown up believing that the "correct" way to argue is to start taking others' opinions a) personally, and b) as fact from the "0ther-side's-media", which obviously means they are lies because they simply do not agree with your point of view, and then this miasma of deceit makes these offended parties feel cornered, so they lash out and make personal attacks, or perhaps worse, start perpetuating stereotypes about others' points of view. (I am ignoring a big part c) - many folks do not take the time nor trouble to become educated about topics of interest... this spawns ridiculousness like Creationist Museums, where Neolithic Man hangs out with Brachiosaurus, and T-Rex and his giant woodlice-isopod pals come over for afternoon tea.)

Also, there are people that apparently feel that their opinion is fact, and have trouble distinguishing between the two. Wouldn't it be great if all your opinions were facts?! Wow, life would rule because you'd always be right about everything!


Anyway, what this boils down to is:

- Opinions are subjective, while facts are objective. Let's all learn the difference! :)

- If you can't say something constructive, don't say anything at all. This just makes people mad and doesn't help anything.

- Politics, like race, religion, abortion, science, music and anything else that has more than one viewpoint, can potentially be a stinkbomb waiting to explode in your face. Treat it as such. Unless you're out getting drunk with good friends. Then, ya know... go nuts. As long as there is no written or videotaped recording of your conversation. :)

...Come back to me, Ravelry!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Happens When You're Laid-Up that you do a metric ton of knitting.

FO 1: Handspun hat. Yarn was spun during my time spent at the Pluckyfluff workshop. It's just a single crochet all the way around, with a size M(?) hook. Giant-ass hook + big yarn make project FLY. I finished this hat in an hour. I swear.

FO 2: Insane Handspun Hat. More Pluckyfluff-workshop yarn. I used my Aura-style mohair cloud yarn for the brim, then I held two handspun singles together ( a thick / thin green wrapped in turquoise thread that I spun from Kim's "Fiber Play" gift + a purplish one). Again, super simple single crochets...

It's INSANE! And very fluffy around my ears. They shall be warm. Here is the hat on the floor.
It's a bit darker in real life, I think... maybe that is just the dark green mesh still surrounding my building...

Here is today's progress on my sister's Porom hat. I just wound up the second skein of yarn for it.

And finally, here is a picture at the parking lot of Crystal Mountain ski resort. I kept forgetting to get actual pictures while I was up skiing! (And hurting myself!)

Food Diary

While emailing Fran (my primary Crossfit trainer and friend) today, she asked me if I would be willing to keep a food diary for a week, to assist her with a nutrition class she is currently taking. I agreed, thinking it would be an interesting experiment, as well as getting me back into remembering what food portions are supposed to look like.

My first stop was to measure out 4 oz of red wine. 4 oz is often quoted as "a glass", but in America, Land of Out-of-Control 1 lb hamburgers and drink glasses that can easily hold 500 mL of wine, many people vastly underestimate their portion sizes, and balk when you suggest that the portion of protein on their plate should roughly equal the volume of their palm.

This is exactly 1/2 cup, or 4 liquid ounces, of red wine. I took a picture of it next to a standard 750 mL bottle of wine, for reference.

The next step was to measure out how much volume one of my eating bowls holds. Turns out one of my bowls holds 2 cups of liquid, with about 1/2" of clearance to the top of the bowl. A mighty portion!

With that knowledge, I began assembling my food diary. Then I went to the store and bought some corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage. (Side note- did you know that "beeves" is the plural of "beef"? Strange but true.)

Here is my corned beef, cooking away slowly in my Salvation Army Crock-Pot.


Ravelry Problem, Part Deux

So it's Monday here on the Left Coast of Amerikuh, and I am assuming the Ravelry team all wanted their weekend, just like the rest of the EEUU. :) ("EEUU" is the acronym for "Estados Unidos", or "United States" in Spanish... just a little trivia there for your morning!)

I'm hoping they can start fixing their problem soon!

Thank you to all who posted comments on my blog; it was nice to see positive comments on here, instead of folks just blaming others for what could have potentially become a liability for Ravelry (I don't know how, exactly, but I'm sure someone, somewhere, would have sued over something.... people are crazy these days!)



On the uptick:

- I made a hat out of some handspun for my friend / pilates teacher's birthday yesterday. It is awesome how thick yarn and big hooks make for quick-o projects! I think it took me an HOUR to make this hat. I just made a chain to fit around my head, slip-stitched it together, and made single crochets up till the cylinder was long enough, then decreased in the round till I made a point on the hat! The yarn totally did all the work... LOVE LOVE LOVE. I may have to make another for myself!!!!

- I am about 50% done with my sister's Porom hat (by BrooklynTweed). I am using Blue Sky Alpacas "Melange" dk-weight yarn in "Cornflower". The pattern is super-easy, and looks like a sea urchin's shell, once you take all the spines out! :) (I remember this because my dad has a sea urchin shell that is about 6-8" in diameter that he used to have on display on his desk in his office in California when I was little. I used to love it because it was purple and green and very pretty).

- I also managed to knit several more rounds on my Hemlock Ring Blanket (another BrooklynTweed ...adaption). :) It's coming along really well! I am debating whether, or when, to switch to a longer cable for my needles (yaaay KnitPicks Options! I love you even if you untwist and get yarns caught in the gap all the time).


Onward! My knee hurts! Time for more pills!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ravelry Problem

I was signing onto Ravelry tonight, to add a friend from Friday night's happy hour, when I got a disturbing note on what should have been my home screen:

Your account has been suspended.

The Ravelry people gave the following reason:
Your account has been suspended until further notice. Please direct inquiries to Craig at

Hmmm... I wonder what happened. I hope it was just a snafu, and not some weirdo trying to get me banned from there!! I definitely emailed the given address!!

Anyone else have this problem?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wisteria FO

"One Wisteria, coming up!"

On The Floor

On Me

I really enjoyed making my first sweater! (Sorry for the blurry photo of it on me. The camera was using the auto-timer, so I don't know what might have shaken it...)
Some notes:
- Malabrigo is awesome! Love it!
- I used far less yarn than anticipated, even though I made a size I hadn't originally planned on. I have about half a skein left after finishing the second sleeve, and I still have two skeins of Malabrigo in my stash, unused. Perhaps they will metamorphose into hats. This is positive, though - I now know I don't have to buy such a gargantuan quantity of yarn for things that aren't heavily cabled.
- I should have made the next size down. I made the 40.5" chest. While I think I actually may measure 40" around my chest (give or take, since my bra band is 36"), I should have taken into account that I enjoy tighter fitting garments (read: Negative Ease). I probably could have gotten away with the 37" chest size, although I may have had to use the 40.5" shoulder instructions (wide shoulders).
- I am very proud that this didn't take me a YEAR to finish!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I finally finished a wedding gift today. It's for my friend / coworker Jen. She and her glass-blower fiance are getting married in April.

I made a few custom-blended art batts, and then I am regifting a cute little book Randy passed on to me called "Knitticisms" that I think she will enjoy, and I also made these:

A set of stitch markers. Apologies for the picture quality; I was playing with the camera settings. Apparently I have a setting called "Auction" where it takes three pictures in quick succession, using different levels of flash. This was the clearest picture, but doesn't show the true colors. The beads and crystals are all shades of olivey-green, and there are two sterling silver charms: the heart says "True Love", and there is also a Celtic knot charm (it reminds me of a Celtic knot pattern she used in a sweater recently).

I asked Kris and Jeanelle to accompany me to Fusion Beads in Seattle, after our usual pilates + breakfast routine today. I haven't been to a bead store in years, and I forgot how much fun it is!

Jeanelle was intrigued by all the different materials available, and I am thinking of making her a pair of bird-related earrings or something equally fun (ok, maybe not birds - she commented once on how people only give her bird-related things. But I know she loves the outdoors, maybe that is a better venue). Kris was actually on the hunt for some findings so she could make a bead necklace. She has several loose strands of beads, and wanted to just make simple knotted strands. I should really go ask if she wants better instruction than my vague words this morning. :) I also have some technique books that might help her, and some tools to lend.

But I was on my own mission this morning. I went into the store specifically seeking soldered jump rings. Jump rings are basically a metal connecting ring you use to connect two elements of a jewelry piece together, if you want them to have some freedom of movement. Usually a jump ring is a loop of metal, with the ends touching. However, you can buy closed, or soldered, jump rings which are just that - solid rings. I wanted these for my stitch markers; there is less of a chance of snagging, etc. from a solid ring than from an open loop. I also picked up a variety pack of green-toned beads for $1, some open jump rings in a much smaller size for connecting elements, and some head pins to hold the drops of beads I was envisioning for my stitch markers.

I also made myself a set of 4 markers, using a small honeybee charm and a wishbone charm. I used the same color scheme and basic findings (jump rings & head pins, etc.)

The charms are what cost the most, because they were all sterling silver. Sometimes you can find nickel-plated charms that are a lot cheaper, if cost is a concern. All in all, I probably spent about $10 on each set of stitch markers, half of the price originates from the sterling silver jump rings, though.

As I was sifting quickly through the store, all sorts of projects came to mind. I may have to go back when I have a lot more time to peacefully look through the various areas of the store.

Kris came away with a mighty haul, though! :) There were some cultivated pearl strands on sale... I daresay I've created a monster! :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Snail Hat, Part Deux

It was snowing today in Seattle (and / or hailing and / or raining, depending on exactly where you were), so I decided to make a run for a second Snail Hat!

I bought a skein of Misti Alpaca Chunky on my way home from hanging out with Kris (and some Ashland Bay merino / silk roving, too...), and came home in the sleet / hail / snow mix to get down with some serious chunky knitting.

Mere hours later, here is the result:

Here it is, with the leftovers of the skein of Misti Alpaca Chunky (a very nice, soft yarn). I went up to a size 11 needle to get gauge, and even then I made it on the small side, but I like hats on the snug side.

And a picture of me, in the bathroom. I think I look a little like Jimbo from "The Simpsons" in this hat. When I showed it to Daniel on our Skype conversation tonight, he did a quick dead-on impression of Jimbo :) ...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snowshoeing near Roslyn

On Saturday, Ryan and I set out snowshoeing. It took a couple of days during the week to coordinate who wanted to go; Melinda ended up having to work, so we ended up going by ourselves.

We both agreed that we didn't want to snowshoe near Snoqualmie. It is lovely, but everyone goes there because it's easily accessible. Ryan had a book of snowshoeing trails, so we picked one past Snoqualmie, near Cle Elum. I think we probably ended up driving about 90 minutes. We went to the town of Roslyn, which is where the tv show "Northern Exposure" was filmed, and we ended up finding a trail of sorts about 10 miles away. The snow was old, and had hardened enough that we didn't ever strap on our snowshoes. Ryan was nice and carried mine in his backpack, as well as his own snowshoes. We wandered around the hillsides and had views like this, of a lake with mountains behind it:

We also saw some really interesting animal tracks in the snow. Lots of rabbit or hare tracks, some more cat-looking paws, and these strange things:

That is Ryan's hand for scale. To me, they look like raptor feet with a dewclaw in the back (there is a dot behind where the three toes meet), but I suppose they could be some sort of ground-trekking animal? I am glad the "snow" setting on my camera was able to capture the contrast.

Here is a picture of me, overheating on our hike. I always overdress and then end up shedding all my exterior appendage covers; in this case, scarf, hat, and ski gloves.

We probably hiked around for an hour and a half to two hours, then I admitted I was hungry for lunch, so we drove back into Roslyn. Ryan really wanted to eat at the Roslyn Cafe, but it was closed for the winter.

So we made a loop around the miniature downtown, and settled on lunch at a Roslyn diner, across the street from the cafe, and next door to the Roslyn Brewing Company, where they make two beers, Light and Dark. :)

I took the picture below standing across the street from the Roslyn Cafe, and looking back towards the downtown.

Ryan and I drove home, humming the theme song to "Northern Exposure" every so often on the way! We had fun, and it was great to be outside, but we both really want some new snow to fall, so we can go skiing (he boards) and snowshoeing in fresh stuff!

Bargain Hunting

I have recently been spurred to attempt more bargain hunting. I am glad I was raised on it! My parents, my mother in particular, are very good about not paying retail if it's not necessary. Growing up, we foraged through thrift stores, regifted, and our favorite stores were Ross and Marshall's- type discount houses. My sister and I developed expert eyes at spotting the Express shirts on clearance for $6, down from the original retail price of $85.

This is not to say my parents are cheap: we will go out to a nice restaurant for dinner at the drop of a hat, for example.

I don't know when I dwindled in my thrifty habits, I think I just got lazy and it was easier to go shopping in downtown Seattle and hit up NY&Co. instead of waiting to drive out to Ross or the Mercer Island Thrift Store, where the wealthy donate their designer goods. :)

Last Friday, I was waiting for my friend Kris in the Lush bath store in downtown Seattle, and I ended up wandering into the Fossil store in the same mall. I had lost my titanium-framed sunglasses in San Diego (big disappointment; I loved those things and I had held on to them for over 5 years), and I wanted new ones. I found a super cute pair for $45, and I bought them.

Later on Friday, I was thinking about it, and realized I probably could have gotten them at Ross for much less. I mulled it over while going snowshoeing on Saturday.

Today, I stopped by a Ross on my way home from Home Depot, and I found a similar pair for$9.

Can you tell which is which?

Okay, so barring the fact that one might assume I took the sunglasses snowshoeing, you might correctly say that I bought the pair on the bottom today for $9, and you would be right. They retailed for $38, according to the tag, and are also Fossil brand.

The lenses are a little bigger than the glasses on top, and I prefer the way the ones on top look on me, but for $36 less I will live with the pair on the bottom!!!

[I also picked up a carry-on size suitcase for $35, marked down from a retail price of $75, at Ross. I had been looking at thrift stores for a while, but this one actually had working hardware and didn't smell weird; a big justification for buying something new, in my book!]

Fiber Play

I thought I would have some fun and document the process of turning fibers into yarn.

My friend Kim sent me an awesome care package a few weeks back, including a tube of yummy fibers entitled "Fiber Play", which I believe is from an artist who sells her wares at Urban Fauna Studio in San Francisco (the website makes me salivate...).

I showed a picture of the tube in a previous post. In fact, it reminds me of Crosspatch Creations' "Totally Tubular" kits: a coordinating set of fun fibers for you to play with!

I had some time on Friday afternoon, so I decided to get out the drumcarder and make Fiber Play!

Below, you can see that I pulled out all the fibers from the tube and laid them in separate piles. I think the lime green roving on the left is merino, as well as the seafoam green locks immediately to the right of it. The blue fiber felt like mohair locks, or maybe Cotswold?, and the green fiber on the right of the piles was...rough. I described it to Kim as if someone had dyed their hair a lot and robbed the softness out of it, but I figured it might add body to the mix, and I was determined to use all the elements in my yarn. Below the wools are three bunches of angelina fiber. I love sparkle!!

The first thing I did was get out the drumcarder, and start running fibers through it. I made "fiber sandwiches" to protect the angelina from getting caught in the licker-in carder. All I did for that was to place wool on bottom and top of a layer of angelina, then feed the sammich through my carder. I also got lazy and started feeding wool locks directly onto the big drum whenever I saw thin spots in my batt.

After each time the big drum was sufficiently full of fiber, I cleared it and made another batt. I ended up with four batts of fiber, which are shown below.

I wanted to make them more homogenous, so I ripped each batt into quarters (half lengthwise, then each half widthwise), and mixed them up into four new, evenly distributed piles. I fed those into the drumcarder, but decided to form three larger batts instead of the four I originally had.

The first batt I spoun into a thick & thin single, wrapped in thread as I went. I got the thread during my excursion to Yarnia, in Portland, back in September when Jen and I went to OFFF.

After that, I sort of liked the results, but wanted to keep playing, so I installed the Woolee Winder Daniel bought me for Valentine's Day *blush* and started learning it's intricacies. I think I shall end up buying a couple more bobbins so I can use it for plying, but one is plenty to learn on!

And, finally, here is a photo of the first skein of finished yarn, thick & thin singles wrapped with turquoise thread...

I am thinking of making a set of coordinating yarns, using this fiber but varying styles, and perhaps knitting a hat out of them. I have some beads that would look neat on this colorway, too; perhaps I will incorporate them!