Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh Yeah....

It's my birthday today! I'd rather be knitting at home in the backyard, (or with Designated Knitters) but no such luck -- I'm stuck in the office. Maybe next year!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I've finished my Lotus Blossom Tank last Sunday. I think it looks great -- if you don't look at the details.

The part where the shoulders join the front didn't come out as well as I had hoped. And the first leaf of the lace pattern is a mess. But -- this still is the most challenging, and most wearable item I've ever knitted!

Yarn -- brand-less yarn named "Bamboo", 70% bamboo 30% cotton. I bought this while we were in Japan in June. 4 1/2 balls, about 225 grams. Needles -- started with bamboo circular US 5, but it went faster when I changed it to Knitpicks Options circular US 4. Much less yarn split. Duration -- I think I started this in mid July, so it took me well over a month. I'd still be working on this if it wasn't for our Knit Night!

Have you ever seen this yarn? Who makes it? This is the first time I knitted bamboo yarn, but I love the feel. I thought it was much easier to knit compared to cotton.

Unfortunately the summer is winding down in Northern California -- it's been quite cool. Hopefully we'll have a long Indian Summer!

I've returned to knit socks last night. I did some spinning this evening. (I'm on the second bobbin!) What I need is more time... More.... More....

I'm so looking forward to Knit Night Friday!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Busy Weekend

Hello, I was busy this weekend visiting friends in San Jose. I did get a little knitting done - although I have no pictures to post right now, and I visited a few yarn shops. The first was Commuknitty in San Jose. It was a very nice store with quite a bit of space including a large workroom for classes. I highly recommend stopping by this store if you ever find yourself near downtown San Jose.

The second store I visited was Full Thread Ahead in Los Altos in order to scope out the place where we will be seeing the Yarn Harlot in a few weeks. I have to say that I had a long talk with the owner, and she is wonderful. She was very knowledgeable and helpful. After the visit it looks like the Designated Knitters will be spending an afternoon of shopping, pampering and knitting together in Los Altos. It should be lots of fun, and I know that we are all looking forward to it!

I promise to post pictures next time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

First Spinning Lesson

The first time I tried spinning on my brand new wheel -- Ashford Traditional, a birthday gift from Charlie -- it was disastrous. The wheel kept turning backward, the yarn (or a wad of wool) kept bunching up -- I didn't expect this would be easy, but it was... discouraging.

I've contacted Nancy, a local spinner and sheep grower, and she said she'd help me get started. She came over this morning with her wheel to show me the basics. I was told that the live help is the best -- and yes, there's nothing better than this. Just a little more than an hour of instructions, I was going. Here's Nancy, dressed for the Giants game this afternoon, with Tamami, the newbie spinner. Picture taken by Tamami's three year old son.

I learned drafting and joining the fiber, and the fact that I need to grow another hand to turn the wheel to get going! After Nancy left to the game, I spun, then after we came back from a trip to Borders, I spun again -- (By the way, the fiber art section at Borders seems to have shrunken. The magazine section too -- they didn't even have Interweave Knits! This is disturbing.)

Look at my almost-full bobbin. You may not be impressed, but you haven't seen my first attempt -- a rotten udon noodles! This is a progress. A huge progress. Thank you Nancy. You are very, very kind. Now you are an honorary member of the Designated Knitters, and I'd love to have you visit our Knit Night! (she's also a knitter.)

Below is my first attempt (A.K.A. Rotten Udon Noodles) and a ball of pencil roving from Nancy's sheep, a gift from her...

I was only mildly intereted in spinning, until we went to Sonoma County Fair in early August. We got to see a spinning demonstration at the craft booth, and I was fascinated by it. The world went quieter around her when she spun -- I said that it looked very calming, and she looked at me and said that it was almost like meditating. She told me that spinning got her through the most difficult time of her life. She gave me tips and pointers to get started, and Nancy's contact. By the time we left the booth I was set. I should have gotten her name -- thank you, the graceful spinner at Sonoma Co. Fair!

On the knitting front, I have not made much progress this week, for I didn't knit two nights in a row due to the minor cold. Yes, the shoulders of the Lotus Blossom Tank was uneven, so I ripped the arm trimming and the joint. I plan to redo that tonight. Now the biggest challenge is to find the time to knit and spin, work full-time and also have time to spend with the family -- not necessarily in that order. I wonder if I can spin while I'm on the phone conference at work?

Oh, Huguette -- I know exactly what would get your knitting mojo back. THE SeaSock Cruise. Yeah. Oh, wait, that's not until next April.... Not good...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Happy Dance

Yes, as I sit here and type at 10pm my toes are tapping under the desk, my booty is wiggling in my chair, and my head is bobbing up and down. No, there is no music playing...this is just my natural state right now as I count down the hours to SCHOOL STARTING tomorrow morning. You see, I have 3 boys who have been home for the entire summer. In addition, I started a daycare 2 1/2 years ago and during that entire time I have always had my twins home during nap time. I look forward to nap time. The house is quieter. The little ones are recharging their batteries, and I look forward to a few moments of peace. However, that is usually not the case with my 3 active boys around the house. This will be the first year that they will be gone for the majority of the day. will be so nice! I can almost hear the deadening silence already. Peace, quiet,'s almost mine!

I had such a great time at the last Knit Night, but I do have one issue. After the fun and festivities were done, I found this on my counter...Now, I know for a fact that the money is not mine because of the following: 1) I never have that much cash! 2) If I ever get that much, I spend it immediately for fear of someone else spending it for me. 3) My kids or husband never leave money around for fear that I will spend it! Therefore, I have to conclude that someone from the Knit Night left it on my counter. What the heck is that for? Am I now the yarn ho and this is payment for services? Will you pay me everytime that I cry because there's a lot more tears in me! Alright phantom money giver (and I know who you are) the game is on. This will be returned to you someday, somehow.

Oh, before I forget, I wanted to mention that our friend Huguette seems to have misplaced her knitting mojo. She just turned around and it was gone. If you accidently picked it up, please return it to her. She really would like to get some satisfaction again from her knitting. However if you took it, the Designated Knitters will hunt you down, tie you up with yarn and beat you with 12" needles! If you return her mojo immediately, no questions will be asked!

Thank you!

S. A. B. L. E

Charlie, Tamami's partner, has just started weaving. He bought a loom for me three years ago, right after we had our son. Well, thank you, but you think I have the time to learn how to weave? So I decided that this is what I would take on when I quit working. I stashed the box unopened in the garage, thinking that I'd concentrate on my new project -- our son.

While my son and I were in Japan visiting Grandma this summer, Charlie opened the box and assembled the loom, and started weaving. We should have known that leaving him home alone was dangerous.

He is a man of a million hobbies -- and he has the tendency to get into things way deep. He has since acquired an inkle loom, and the S.A.B.L.E -- Stash acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.

Twenty-five + pounds of unmercedized cotton. Uh....
All in the sudden I feel better about my yarn stash.

Progress report -- I've worked on the Lotus Blossom Tank last night, and finished one arm trim.

Hmmm... While taking this picture, I noticed that the shoulder parts are uneven. The left shoulder is longer (higher) than the right. I am starting to notice more and more problems as I get closer to the finish. Darn.

I will work on the other shoulder tonight and see if I have to redo it, but Designated Knitters know I'd never rip it.

My son's preschool is closed this Friday, and I'm taking a day off from work to be with him. I may visit Erin and the kids :-) then I have my first spinning lesson Saturday morning. It'll be a fun weekend, but I just wish it was the Knit Night Friday!

Monday, August 21, 2006

I went through the weekend without opening my laptop for a change, and this is what happens! This is way cool. Thank you Erin for setting this up!

My name is Tamami, and thanks to Erin I came back to knitting after nearly twenty years of not touching the knitting needles. Last winter, Erin started to talk about how she'd been really into knitting, and then I came across the old box with full of yarn I shipped from Japan when I moved here -- it was sitting in the garage for all these years! I picked up a ball of blue yarn and knitted up a vest for my son in two evenings, and then I'm totally addicted.

Here's my son Mitch, then 2 & 1/2 years old, wearing the vest. Can you tell that I ran out of the yarn? I got a darker blue yarn from a local yarn shop and used that to do the right shoulder and the edging. I like how it turned out, considering that I did it without a pattern -- but I couldn't impress my son. After this photo shoot, he took it off, handed it to me, and off went playing Nintendo DS :-(

Since then I knitted numerous children/babies' hats, scarves, a cotton summer sweater for myself, two and a half pairs of socks, and now I'm on the Lotus Blossom Tank on Interweave Knits, Summer 2006.

I'm done with the shoulder part, and I plan to press it tonight and maybe sew them on. Before I can do that, I have to bathe my son and put him to bed.

This is by far the most complicated, challenging project I've ever done. I know it will come out a bit too short, and the first row of the lace pattern is all messed up (I'd never done lace before this), I'm still happy -- well, I hope I will be, when I'm all done!

I had a rough day at work today -- nothing new, it's been like this for several weeks. While going through two hundred emails, running around trying to fix things that are broken, I dream of the day I can quit my day job and spend the days knitting.... Sigh.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I just acquired a spinning wheel? I will have a whole series of Show and Tell on spinning already, but I'll save it for some other time.

Thank you Erin for setting this up -- I love having a blog finally! I really enjoy the Knit Nights, and I look forward to our next meeting. Ladies, I hope your week is happy!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's just the beginning...

Woo Hoo! We're very excited because we have a knitting group, we've gotten together two evenings, we've had a great time, and we now have a blog!

Let me take a moment to introduce myself and hopefully the rest of the group will also introduce themselves for the people who do not know us. My name is Erin. I live in Novato, California with my husband and three sons. I have always wanted to try knitting, and finally last fall I jumped in and haven't stopped since. I'm loving it. My current projects that are on the needles are a wool baby blanket, and two feather and fan shawls.

The other members of our group are Tamami, Huguette and Liz. Ladies, please take a moment to introduce yourself...

Our first knit night was very exciting. Huguette and I have been knitting together for months now once or twice a week, and we even practice "virtual knitting" (both of us knitting in our own homes talking on speakerphone). However, this first real Knit Night included Liz and Tamami. This was quite a big occasion for Tamami since it was her first time out doing something for herself since her son was born just over 3 years ago! Now that she's tasted the sweet freedom, I don't think she'll ever miss a Knit Night. Liz brought her daughter with her and she and my boys stayed up late watching movies. We've got to figure out how to get them to bed earlier in order to keep peace in our households the next day.

We had a great time talking, laughing and knitting. During the evening, I offered margaritas to everyone, but we decided that if we started drinking, we might need a designated knitter to fix any errors the alcohol may cause. Hence, our name - the Designated Knitters

Our second knit night was last night, and once again we loved it! We had fun talking about our favorite male actors, the movies that we'd watch over and over, and discussing the SeaSock Cruise that Tamami introduced to us. Hmmm...cruising with other knitters, talking about knitting, learning about knitting and actually knitting WITHOUT KIDS - sounds like utopia to me! Some of my favorite moments of the evening included serving coffee in nice cups and saucers. The girls were so impressed that we had to take pictures because it looked so pretty. Hopefully Liz will upload the pictures to this blog for us! Another favorite moment came when Tamami had difficulty understanding the pattern she was knitting from. She loves Japanese patterns which are easier for her to understand. But it was Huguette to the rescue to aid in understand while Liz and I were the cheerleaders chanting "TA-MA-MI....TA-MA-MI....TA-MA-MI....TA-MA-MI....."
Unfortunately I had a weak point in the evening and now I have the title of "designated crier". Great. I'm such a dork!!

Above Tamami is working on her beautiful green top from Interweave done in bamboo yarn. Huguette is working on...hmmm...I think she was trying to learn how to knit the continental way.

The photo on the right shows Liz (in grey) working on her scarf, and I am working on a shawl.

Here are some of the kids watching TV in my bed with the dog. I specifically didn't take out the red eye (or green eye in case of my dog) because I like the way the kids look possessed. This is what a mother's yarn addiction does to her children and dog!