Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Is this normal, or did I make a mistake somewhere? I have knitted hats in the round before, but I've never added stripes. Does this have to be frogged? Please say, "no." Should I just keep knitting along and hope the recipient will just hide this in the back? I'd actually feel funny giving this away as is, if I made a mistake that can be corrected. Any ideas?
I stumbled upon a great site the other day, while searching for something completely different. TECHknitting is going to be on my summer reading list. The blog starts out with this explanation: "So, after 25 years of knitting, various knitting tricks have manifested themselves to me. And, after 25 years of knitting, these tricks, like a virus, are desperate to get out and infect other knitters." There is a handy index on the side, that can lead you to the help you might need.There is too much there for me to write about here, so go check it out! It will be well worth your time.
Of course, as with any new technique, there was a big, "huh?" factor. In between the sighs of frustration, someone commented that she felt like a beginner again. I was really glad she said that! It meant that I wasn't alone (as I crawled along at a snail's pace). I think it really helps if you can knit with both hands. Look Ma! I made me a swatch! The square shows how many rows it took me to "get it" and the top part is the beginning of a poppy. I really like her technique; you end up using a bit more yarn, but it looks neater and it saves you the time of weaving in.
Sasha also brought some samples from her new book, Crochet Inspiration. The book has a number of different patterns and motifs, from granny squares to lace and flowers.
Friday, May 25, 2007
A few weeks ago, I went to Napa with two of my friends from school for a girls day/night out. Since I live the furthest south, I volunteered to pick everyone up and do the driving. We were supposed to be heading out to the outlets, but somehow my navigators only directed me to the wineries. Funny how that happened..Now, this would be great if I drank, but I don't...I can't. One of the few Japanese traits my mother passed down to me was an affliction known as the Asian Flush, or as I prefer to call it, the Asian blush. (Really, what were they thinking by calling it Asian flush? So much inappropriate humor springs to mind. Sorry, I teach second grade...potty humor abounds. But I digress...) Apparently, I have a mutant gene that affects how my body breaks down alcohol. Whenever I drink, I turn red (sometimes burgundy - real pretty!), my face and ears get hot, and then I can feel my heart beating in my ears. On the bright side, I'll probably never be an alcoholic.
After a day of chauffeuring my friends and their ever escalating buzz around, I'm ashamed to say I was a little cranky. I really like Napa; I think it's beautiful up there, but c'mon, there is only so much "view" that one can enjoy! I began to wonder where in Napa a drinker and a non-drinker could go to have fun. The answer came from my student's mom who is in the wine business: Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts. They seem to have it all: wine and food tasting, organic gardens, concerts, art exhibitions, films, shopping, and dining. Copia was featured in the first season of Top Chef (love that show!), where they cooked in Julia's Kitchen.
Hmmm...Julia's Kitchen now has a lounge. With a happy hour. Maybe I can take them up there, get 'em snockered, and then we can play the game of Blackmail. Heh, sometimes not drinking can have its advantages.
5/29- Edit - If you're interested, we went to the V. Sattui winery in St. Helena and Mumm Napa.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
1. Fresh fish - Yes.
2. Lobster - Yes.
3. Steak - Yes. I am a confirmed carnivore.
4. Thai food - Yes.
5. Chinese food - Yes.
6. Ice cream - There’s always room for ice cream.
7. Pizza - Who hasn’t eaten pizza? I love the spinach and mushroom one from Zachary's. If you're ever in the Bay Area, you should try it!
8.Crab - My favorite time of the year is when the start of crab season is announced on the news.
9. Curry - Yup.
10. Prawns - Check.
11. Moreton Bay Bugs - Do crayfish count? They look like they’re the same size.
12. Clam chowder - Always New England style on clam chowder Friday.
13. Barbecues - Mmmm. Roast beast! I’ve never met a barbecue I didn’t like. *If you ever get a chance to eat Brazilian barbecue (churrasco), do it!
14. Pancakes - Yep, but I prefer French toast or waffles.
15. Pasta - Yes!
16. Mussels - Yes.
17. Cheesecake- Yes.
18. Lamb - I think people either love lamb or hate it. I enjoy it; but then again, I pretty much like everything except liver, or fermented tofu, or lima beans, or...
19. Cream tea- Mmmm. Clotted cream and scones.
20. Alligator- No, but I bet it tastes like chicken.
21. Oysters - Yes. In winter, I love to eat them in stew.
22. Kangaroo - No.
23. Chocolate - Yes. Pretty much a given.
24. Sandwiches- Ditto.
25. Greek - Yes!
26. Burgers - Make mine medium rare with mushrooms on top.
27. Mexican food - Of course.
28. Squid- Yum! A workout for your teeth.
29. American diner breakfast - Do truck stops count?
30. Salmon- Eight years of my life were spent living in Oregon. There were times when I felt like the Bubba Blue (think Forest Gump) of salmon. I love smoked salmon when it's still warm from the smoker.
31. Venison - Had it. Moose was better. So was elk.
32. Guinea pig - Not Fluffy!
33. Shark - My parents lived in Hong Kong for 14 years. Shark fin is in many dishes. Kind of unavoidable when you’re trying to be polite.
34. Sushi - My people’s soul food. But what’s up with the cream cheese ones? That’s like adding fruit to bagel dough!
35. Paella - Yes. Fried rice, big whoop. Not crazy about it.
36. Barramundi - I don’t think so.
37. Reindeer - Rudolph? No way!
38. Kebab - I love chelo kebabs with a side of fattoush salad.
39. Scallops- Yes.
40. Australian meat pie - No. Isn’t it just a chicken pot pie with beef?
41. Mango - Yum.
42. Durian fruit - Oh, P.U.! If I have to hold my nose to eat it, chances are I won’t.
43. Octopus- Yep, Mom makes a great salad with cucumber, rice vinegar, and octopus.
44. Ribs - My favorite.
45. Roast beef - Yes. Just had some yesterday!
46. Tapas - Yes.
47. Jerk chicken/pork- Yes.
48. Haggis - Not in your life.
49. Caviar- Black, red, yellow, and green. You’re not a good Japanese girl if you don’t eat these.
50. Cornish Pastry- Yes. They sell them at my farmer’s market. I want to eat one in the UK someday.
So much of this list seems normal to me (well, except for durian and haggis, but they're not normal!) I keep thinking there should be more things on the list, like: sugar apples, jabuticaba, feijoada, bulgogi, Nutella crepes, or even a pastrami on rye from a great deli! What would be on your list?
Friday, May 18, 2007
Yay. Yipee. Whoo-hoo. Don't get me wrong. I believe in doing my civic duty; I have served on a jury before and reported for service. However, I have lived in my house for almost seven years, and I've been called for jury duty every year, save one. This is a random drawing of names? I don't think so. Out of 671,791 registered voters in my county (and probably twice that registered with the DMV), I fail to understand why my name always comes up! My sister lives in an adjacent county and has never been called to serve; she does, however, manage to laugh at me whenever I get the summons. What a sweetheart (she's older, it's to be expected!) So now I have a decision to make - report for service and miss the last week of school, or defer service and put in long days (jury duty + writing sub. plans + commuting) during the school year?
I wonder if I can take knitting needles into the court house? Hmmmm......
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Restrictions on type of tea?
I tend to prefer black teas over green or herbal teas. I enjoy drinking Darjeeling or Irish/Scottish Breakfast teas. I like Chai, if it isn't too sweet. When I drink green tea, I only drink Genmai Cha (green tea, roasted rice, & popcorn bits). My mom's Japanese, so this was always in the house. Every so often, I make green tea "lattes" at home using matcha. I like making my own because I can control the sweetness and mine don't have that funky melon flavor that Starbucks has (some flavors just aren't meant to go together!)
I'm pretty easy to please; I like cookies, milk chocolate, and salty things. Not so crazy about dark chocolate or white chocolate.
Yarn color preference?
I like colors that are found in nature: ocean colors (greens & blues), autumn colors (reds,browns, & dark orange), and muted greens. I prefer subtle to bright.
Oh-and thanks to the Hello Kitty onslaught of 2006-2007, I really don't like pink.
I hope to be one by the end of summer break!
My swap partner (Hi Carol!) also added some questions:
How long have you been knitting?
My cousin taught me when I was in fifth grade. I knit some horrendous swatches and put away the needles until 2005, when I saw one of the school secretaries teaching another teacher. I bought some cheap yarn, went home, pulled out the needles, and started to teach myself from a child's craft book. Article Pract improved my technique and turned me into a knitter.
What is your favorite thing to knit?
During the school year, I like uncomplicated knitting projects: dishcloths, purses knitted in the round, scarves that don't require a spreadsheet to keep track of the stitches. I went through a period of baby hat knitting, because there were eight pregnancies in one year at my school. I found this pattern easy to adapt to whatever yarn I had handy.
How would you describe your style?
I like a mix of modern and vintage, especially if it has "clean lines" (as in Mission, Scandinavian, & Japanese). The same applies to my personal style; I like casual, comfortable clothes with a classic line. I'm not trendy. I don't like flowery or fussy things; I prefer "rustic" to country.
Favorite and least favorite scents?
Unscented? No, I like lighter, "clean," single-note, scents. I like jasmine, clary sage, and citrus scents. Even though it's sweet, I find the smell of honey comforting. I don't like heavy florals or "oriental" scents (Have you ever been trapped in a car with a woman who bathes in Opium? Blech!)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Are the planets out of alignment? (Ha! Maybe I am, considering the neck cracking I received from my doctor yesterday.) I hope I didn't upset the balance of nature, given that I live in earthquake country. Oops, I shouldn't write things like that, it's bachi (bad luck). I'd better change the subject...
I made it into the Knitter's Tea Swap 3. : ) I was a little worried when Suzie wrote this on the blog:
P.S. The swap is closed to new swappers for this round--I'm sorry, I just can't take on any new people. Please stay tuned for KTS4!
Even though I had an invitation to join in, the paranoid part of me kept wondering if I was going to be "uninvited" because I was new. But no, I am happy to say that I did, in fact, get in and my swap partner already sent me a very nice email. Whew! Worries abated!
Monday, May 14, 2007
L. G. has nothing to do with my knitting tonight; she's just keeping me company while I write.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I guess I should name the photo, "Things to do With a Broken Coffee Pot." Can you see the crack on the bottom? So sad.
Why isn't it ever that simple with yarn? My inner dialogue always seems to fail me. "Put it back. You told yourself you wouldn't buy any more yarn." I sigh and put it back. I take another lap around the yarn shop. Funny, I end up right in front of the magical skein in question. The colors are so pretty. (Warning: Embarrassing admission follows.) I pet the yarn. (whimper) But it's so soft. I like it. "No, you're on a yarn diet, remember? You have uku billion (pidgin for plenty) skeins at home. Where are you going to store it, anyway? Go find some yarn for your swap partner." I do the shopping I'm supposed to do and end up in front of the Misti Alpaca again. I just can't help myself.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
My coffee swap partner knits the most fabulous socks. I'm jealous - she knits them fast, too. I've been wanting to try to knit socks. In fact, I have some books. I even have some sock yarn. So, you think I would at least try. But. I'm. Chicken.
Summer project: learn or teach myself how to knit socks. Questions: DPNs or circulars? Magic Loop or 2 circulars? Knit one at a time or both together? Any ideas/recommendations?
Monday, May 7, 2007
I remember driving through the reservation during summer visits to my dad's family (Dad was a farm boy turned accountant. It was his ticket off the farm). Most of these road trips were in the late 70's/early 80's when things were really bad on the reservation. It isn't something that is easily forgotten. It's been a while since I've been back to South Dakota; I had hoped things had improved, however I don't think they have. According to information on the Warm Woolies site, the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations have the lowest per capita income in the U.S. . . . I sit here shaking my head, thinking how shameful that is. It's hard enough coping with the weather in South Dakota (blizzards in winter, heat wave & drought in the summer); I can't imagine having to do that while living in substandard conditions.
Loosely translated, Lakota means "alliance of friends". Why not join an alliance of knitters and help keep someone warm this winter?
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Thursday, May 3, 2007
But first, Knitting Psychos put out a call to Bay Area knitters to see if there are any knitting groups in the Dublin/Pleasanton area. If anyone knows of one give her a shout (or me too, for that matter). I don't know of any groups, but here are some yarn stores I frequent in the East Bay/Tri-Valley area:
1) Article Pract in Oakland - My cousin taught me how to knit. I forgot. I taught myself to knit...badly. Article Pract taught me how to knit, and an obsession was born. One thing I love about this store is that no one makes me feel like an idiot when I ask a question. They have a good selection of yarns in various price points and a whole wall of needles and hooks, both wooden and nickel plate. The store offers free help twice a week and their classes are great!
2) Knit This! Purl That! in Pleasanton - This store used to be called Main Street Knits. The store has a new owner, a new look, and (obviously) a new name. If you like Noni patterns, Knit This! Purl That! not only has the designs, but will be carrying everything you need to make the bags or flowers as specified by the designer. The owner is changing up the yarn selection by bringing in Lorna's Laces, Malabrigo, TOFUtsies, and Araucania yarns. I'm eager to see how the shop changes.
3) Stash in Berkeley - My sister always makes me drive over to see her, so why not occasionally throw in some yarn buying while I'm in the area? Stash has a nice selection of Manos, among other things. The last time I was there, I was really impressed with the amount of sock yarn they had in stock. I may have to learn how to knit socks soon.....
4) Fashion-Knit in Walnut Creek - I stop in here every so often when I have to be in Walnut Creek. Nice store, helpful people.
5) Skein Lane in El Cerrito - Unfortunately, the retail end of this business closed last year, but classes and workshops are still offered through Skein Lane Studio.
I live about five miles away from my local yarn store. Suffice to say, there are reasons why I drive out of my way for yarn, rather than go to my lys.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Whenever I start a new hobby, I have a tendency to be really enthusiastic and want to get my hands on the things I need to make what I envision. Consequently, I have a hard time passing yarn up. I really like the colors of Manos del Uruguay, especially the variegated red skeins and the ocean colored skeins. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what I am going to make, since I have the bad habit of only buying enough for a scarf. What can I make with two skeins of Manos? A hat? No, my head is ginormous and I look like a goober in hats. Some wrist warmers maybe? I wonder if it is enough to make something felted.