Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two Finished Projects!

Thought maybe it was time for some knitting related content...I finished two little projects this week:

This is the Gryffindor House Elf Hat (or some such name) from "Charmed Knits" the Harry Potter Knitting book. I made it using Encore Worsted leftovers from another project. Hads, I am sending this to you to make up for comparing you to Uncle Fester. Love you doll! It looks real small, so maybe your cousin Mads will get it real soon...

My second project has been languishing in my work room for months, while I tried to avoid sewing in a lining. But I got the bug today to finish it, so struck before I lapsed back into laziness.

This is the Brea Bag, which is a free pattern from Berroco (click to get the pattern). I finished the bag itself ages ago, and promised it to daughter Pia (and she hasn't even nagged me about it) I used every bit of the 2 skeins of Ultra Alpaca the pattern called for and still had to buy another to finish the bag. I then decided it could really use a lining. I bought a pretty piece of embroidered silk fabric and found a stone button and a purse handle we both liked (mind you, I had to purchase 2 sets of each before Peeps was happy).

I dug out the sewing machine, which (thank god) was already threaded and ready to go. I found my trusty old left handed Gingher scissors, which NO ONE is ever supposed to touch. I traced the outline of the bag on a piece of paper, and added an inch or so for the seams, plus measured out (eyeballed really) a straight piece of fabric for the bottom/side section of the bag. Grabbed the scissors, and started to cut -- and immediately stopped. Apparently, my years of death threats if my scissors were ever used by anyone have been universally ignored. I think someone used them to cut steel pipe or something, because they are so dull as to be unusable.

I found some old Fiskars scissors, also incredibly dull, but with a tiny edge up near the tip that I could use to hack through the fabric. I then sewed the lining, hand stitched it into the bag, and added the button and the strap. Voila! A very pretty purse!

Here's a picture of the lining:

So now I can cross off one project from the Unfinished List, woot woot! Nearly done with the body of the Kauni Cardigan, will be cutting that real soon and then knitting the sleeves. Pictures coming of real live steeking!

Right Back At Ya Megs!

My my new parents are grumpy, especially those newbies who haven't figured out how to make their children sleep at night...

Megan & Ryan (Pres. of the Woodinville Chapter of the Harry Potter Fan Club) posted a response to my "Separated at Birth?" post featuring their adorable daughter Hadley. I dunno why, but they didn't seem to care for the comparison to Uncle Fester. Hey, Fester was also adorable in his own bald way!

Anyways, I've always contended that Meg looked a LOT like Cameron Diaz, and here's proof!

Separated at Birth?

These are the things I think about at 2:00 am, when I can't get to sleep...just kiddin' Hads! You are WAY cuter than Uncle Fester!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fun with the Fam!

We wrapped up our visit to Seattle with dinner at the Davises, attended by the babies and their owners (oops I mean parents). I got to hold all kinds of sweet little things (Maddie was a little sour when she urped on me lol, I forgive you Mads!) and visit with the parental units. They are all too precious for words! Here are some pix of the darlings (not very good ones -- evidently you can give me an expensive camera, but you can't make me use it correctly)

Hadley's dad Ryan "I thought I was smarter than a 4th grader" Prentice received his Gryffindor Beanie with good spirit. He promises to wear it when he presides over the monthly meetings of the Harry Potter Fan Club, Harry is the 7th Horcrux Chapter. I just finished a matching "Gryffindor House Elf" hat for miss Hadley so she can attend club meetings properly attired too.
Great Nieces Tatum and Logan are getting WAY too big! Loggidy is sitting up and has a tooth, with another on the way. She showed a fondness for olive oil and garlic like a good Italian baby, while noshing on a green bean. And the amazing Tate wowed us all with her brains, charm and beauty as usual. I cannot wait to see the posse these four little ladies form as soon as they all learn to walk (Tate will do all the talking).

And another Mariners Game!

Sister and BIL B-Z and Bob (aka Zaide and Baba) treated us to INCREDIBLE seats at Friday's Mariners game (and we broke the losing streak woot woot!). We were treated like royalty in the All Star Club, with fab view of the field (that's our hero Ichiro, terrible picture but you get the idea), all we could eat and drink, and super service by the staff. Now that's what I'm talking about view and comfort wise! I could get used to it, that's for sure! Thank you Zaide and Baba!!!

Stitch n Pitch Report

Stitch N Pitch at Safeco Field was a lot of fun! Steve and I drove over and met sister Susan at the Safe, where we climbed up to our nosebleed seats (see picture) and mostly yakked and knitted. The M's lost (7 in a row boo!), but we had a great time. Susan is working on Pirate socks, and she found many goodies to purchase at the vendors' booths. I contented myself with one skein of sock yarn in the Mariners colors (blue and green). I worked on the Gryffindor hat from "Charmed Knits", a good choice for a baseball game as it was pretty mindless knitting.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

How does she know me so well??!!!

"The Dinette Set" by Julie Larsen is hands down my favorite comic. Somehow she manages to capture the essence of my personality, looks and life (sad but true, I think I was born to be a resident of Crustwood). Today's comic is ME all over, I hate going on scary rides, and "The Flatline" would be my roller coaster of choice!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reading, not Knitting, Harry Potter

I have spent the last couple of days immersed in the final Harry Potter book, and finished it this afternoon. Nicely done, JK! I enjoyed it, and even remember some of the plot (I have this habit of immediately forgetting the entire plot of an HP novel as soon as I finish it -- which is good for watching the films, but not so good when I'm trying to figure out the references to past events in the next book in the series.) No, I won't reveal the ending (I'll probably have forgotten how it ended by tonight anyways), but I liked it.

Now that I've finished the book, it may be time to grab my copy of "Charmed Knits" and make a little something. I was thinking matching hats for a certain big Potter fan and his cute little daughter...which house colors though? DD Pia wound her yarn for the Griffindor House scarf, so she's ready to get started.

We leave for Seattle tomorrow and will be attending Stitch n Pitch tomorrow night at Safeco Field! Watch for us, we'll the the dorks trying to catch balls of yarn thrown out by the Mariner Moose (actually, that will what be most of the knitters in attendance will be doing, so never mind) I'll try to post some pictures of the event if I can.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fred and Irene Hit the Tropics

Just had a phone call from daughter Cara; she and her brother Tony (aka "Fred and Irene" -- family joke) are spending the week sunning and prolly drinking in the Virgin Isles. I got this pix from Wikipedia, hope where they are is as pretty (but she mentioned something about it looking a little poverty stricken so I dunno...)

Day 1 report was that they spent 3 hours on the beach and now Tone has a severe sunburn. Tourists! Also that everything on their part of the island is on a cliff, and they have to take a taxi if they want to go anywhere. I think she is wishing they had gone to Honolulu instead, but that's what ya get if you live on the East Coast Car!

They plan to roast on the beach for the remainder of their stay (if poor Fred can bear any more sun), catching up on their reading and watching out for any sort of errant wildlife (Jaws left a permanent emotional scar). I'm sure they mix a mean tropical beverage there, kids, cheers!

Another Precious Pup!

My great-niece Maddie (with her handsome papa, Kip) models the angora bunny booties I knit for her. Such a nice girl to put these on for the camera when the temp is sky high!

She is as cute as a button! Thanks for modelling Mads (and for sending the picture Mama Lis!)

Shopping Fun!

There's nothing better than a trip to the yarn store! Do I need more yarn/books/patterns/gadgets? Well, no of course I don't. But I've been a good girl so it was time for a little treatsie.

I'm lucky that Spokane (finally!) has two very nice yarn stores close by. I no longer have to go to the shop of the evil yarn troll who was the only game in town for years. I was a customer for over 20 years, and this lady never once smiled at me, or thanked me for my business. She instead complained non-stop about having to take credit cards/check cards, followed me around the store as if I were a major shoplifter, and generally insulted both my color sense and my knitting knowledge (I've been knitting for 40 years, and I'm pretty comfortable with the way I do things.) Anyhoo, the next time I shop at Evil Yarn Troll's store will be her going out of business sale!

Now for the NICE stores: A Grand Yarn is located on Spokane's South Hill, right across from the Starbuck's on 13th and Grand (my old house is 1 block away, WHY weren't they there when I lived within walking distance!? Perhaps it's better for my bank account that they weren't...) Lovely ladies, a pleasant atmosphere, just the right amount of help (there if you need it, but you are welcome to browse all you want), and a nice selection of all the yarn I love: basic wools, cool sock yarns, the only Rowan available in Spokane, cottons, and just enough 'wow' yarns to entice you. Their book and pattern selection is good (not huge, but certainly you'll find plenty to inspire you), they will order anything you want, and they always have adorable samples knit up for more inspiration. I've never taken a class from them, but they have a really good list and maybe one of these days I will. I think they also have a "sit and knit" time, I'll have to find out when that is and go (once I overcome my deadly fear of mingling with strangers : - *)

I picked up a handful of sale patterns, the new Interweave Knits felting special issue and a skein of Eco-Wool for a felted teddy bear. And ONE MORE package of rubber stitch ring markers. I swear I have bought a package every time I've gone to a yarn store over the past 25 years and yet I never have any. These ones are kind of violently colored green and purple so maybe just maybe I will not vacuum them up quite so readily. Also, they had a whole table of gorgeous yarn they had just received from Blue Moon Fibers, including some fab colors of "Socks that Rock". I was sorely tempted but resisted (for now, I can always go back right?)

AGY has a website with class info etc.

The other yarn store in the 'hood is Holy Threads, located down at the bottom of the South Hill in a charming old house that most recently was a B&B and bakery. This shop has a different ''feel" than AGY, so there's little danger of seeing the exact same thing in both shops. Holy Threads has a ton of 'high end' yarns to die for: Tili Thomas beaded yarn, lots of silks and other fab fibers, many glitzy yarns, ribbon, etc. They do stock Cascade 220 and some very nice 'basics' but I go here to fondle and see what's unique in the yarn world. The shop's main floor has quite a bit of the yarn arranged by color --- it's a lovely look, but it's not how I 'think' when I'm looking for yarn. I prefer to see yarn grouped a little more traditionally by fiber and/or mfr. But that's just me! Upstairs is a nice workspace with wool yarns and handspuns. They have a big room just for books and patterns with a large table to sit and peruse. One fun thing they offer is a discount for a different 'group' each day: Monday is 55+, Tuesday is South Hill, Wednesday North Side. Etc. They have good sales and send out a nice newsletter.

While there, I picked up a drop spindle kit I purchased from them on eBay (as if I need one more hobby but I've always wanted to learn how to do this), and bought a skein of Gjestal wool (like Lopi) at 40% off (for Liam's pirate hat's skull and crossbones) and the latest Knitters magazine. Oldest daughter Pia came with me and she bought yarn for a Griffindor scarf, plus she got a bag of Rown Ribbon Print and a pattern book at AGY.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The People Have Spoken

the Clown Sweater Poll is now closed and here are the results:

120 (86%) agreed that "This Sweater is so fugly my eyeballs are bleeding"
8 (5%) felt that the Clown Sweater was "absolutely precious"
1 voter (I'm concerned about this person) said "I'm a Clown Lover and I'd definitely wear this"
15 (10%) said "I'm terrified of clowns"

Thanks for voting and for confirming my core beliefs about clowns and clown-wear!

Knitting Design Contest

Who doesn't love a contest? Jimmy Beans has a regular pattern design contest, with a nice prize (currently $350 worth of knitting goodies). No affiliation with JBW, I am just a happy customer of theirs.

You can get details and enter by clicking here:

Birthday Bash at the Beach!

We made it through another weekend of camping (well one night anyway). Grandma Laurie and Grandpa Steve are thinking we are getting to the motorhome stage in life rather than the tent/sleeping bag stage. Another tent mishap as well (we must be meant to sleep in a hotel room), had a tent but no poles. Lorraine generously volunteered to throw her air mattress and bag in the back of Juliette & Jeff's (her friends and fun people--Jeff is a big Mariners fan so we always have someone to talk baseball with) Trail Blazer and let us sleep in the big tent with the boys. Tho, come to think of it, she MAY have gotten the better deal, since she could close the doors and enjoy the silence...

While camping we celebrated two birthdays: Riveria turned 8 and little bro Michael turned 2. They are growing SO fast! RJ got a Gameboy (woot woot!), a cool Rocket Stomper toy (Costco alert, this toy is way cool, kept the kids entertained for HOURS and no batteries), the new HP book and assorted other goodies. Mikey got a little scooter from us, which he is enjoying plus a lot of fun toys and etc. The pinata was fun and we all ignored the wasps and chowed down. We had kayaks to paddle in (Alex is quite the good kayaker) and the water was awesome. Liam and I swam all around the bay (he's still using a life jacket, but he's getting braver and braver).

Cautionary note: do NOT let your husband select birthday gifts without direct female supervision! Steve picked out a "Hit Away" batting thing (basically baseball attached to a line to practice hitting) which looked good. When RJ opened the box, we discovered there was no pole to which to attach the ball/line. That you had to buy separately...Riveria was a good sport about it (luckily he was pretty distracted by the game boy).

Knitting update: just so you all don't think I'm a total slacker, I did work on the Kauni cardigan while I was camping. I've got all kinds of steeks going and am nearly done with the body of the cardigan. Sleeves come next (or maybe I have to cut the steeks first, I'm not sure). Stay tuned for further progress.

And it looks like Stitch and Pitch is a GO! I am heading over to Seattle on Thursday to attend the game, and hang out with the fam. Should be tons o fun!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

America's Next Top Model...

my great niece Hadley models the Peace Fleece Shepherd's Coat I knit for her. She makes it look so much cuter than I thought it was while I was knitting it! I put this project in the 'dog feeding coat' category (that's a family phrase for something you'd only wear out to the dog run to shovel poop etc), but it does look cute on her. Some girls can wear anything and get away with it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stitch & Pitch!

Don't forget to get your tix for the 3rd annual Seattle Mariners Stitch 'n Pitch! This year's knitting/baseball funfest (and as far as I'm concerned, it's the perfect combination of activities) is on July 26th. Lots of knitters, lots of baseball, and lots of yarn shops with displays and freebies! Info at the Mariner's website

And if any of my sisters are planning on attending, let me know! I have tix for the 27th, but could be talked into coming over a day early...

Knitting progress: the Kauni cardigan is coming along nicely, I've started on the armhole steeks section. I am still getting some color combos that are too close together, but I've just spliced in another color when that happens, so it's all good.

Grammy stuff: the hooligans (RJ, Alex and Liam) were over for our Wednesday afternoon 'date', and we had a great time as usual. The twins worship the toaster, so a highlight of every visit is letting them make their own toast. We always lay in a loaf of cheap-o bread just for them, so they can toast to their little hearts' content. Did a little swimming, and took the cool kites Pia got for them up to the park to fly. Of course, there was hardly any wind today, but they tore up and down the field and managed to get airborne for brief moments of delight.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Putting it all together

And just to tie my scary clown and Simpsons themes together, here's another Simpsonized picture of me. Even clown haters love Krusty!

Monday Stuff

still way too hot here to do much of anything besides eat popsicles and drink beer. I did get some knitting done over the weekend on the Kauni cardigan. I'm just about up to the armholes and it's looking very nice. This is such a fun pattern!

Oh, you would not believe how much time I've wasted this morning 'Simpsonizing' myself! You go to "Simpsonize Me" and upload a picture and voila, you too can become a Simpsons character! Here's what I look like in my Springfield incarnation:
Eh, not a bad likeness, I say.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Scariest Sweater EVER

since it's too hot to do anything productive, I'm just farting around on the internet today. And I came across a picture of what simply HAS to be the world's fugliest sweater, not to mention super duper scary. Clowns are so creepy (sorry if you are a clown or a clown lover, but they creep me out).
Be sure to take the Clown Sweater poll!
Fun Fact: The model is Will Wheaton, who explains all about how he came to wear the infamous clown sweater here

Thursday, July 12, 2007


It is WAY too hot! 100+ degrees today, which means I'll either be floating in the pool (we have this great pool chair floatie with a mesh seat that sort of suspends you in the water but still leaves the arms up above the water so you can still have your bookie and drinkie) or hunkered down in the bedroom where the AC unit is blasting.

Maybe I'll knit a bit during the Mariners game tonight, but not before then! My buddy Liam asked me to knit him 'a little purse, just to play with' (because you know no self-respecting 6 year old boy would want one for REALS) in black and white with the Number 1 on it. Not sure what this all signifies but I may have to create a little treasure bag for him, as I cannot say no to any request for a knitted item from this little guy (of course, he is still waiting for the leaf I'm supposed to make for his dinosaur, he is worried Dino is getting hungry) A small project that doesn't involve wool sitting on one's lap sounds like the ticket for this weather.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Being Grandma Laurie

one of the pleasures in life is getting to be a grammy, even if I have to 'borrow' grandkids from our friend Lorraine. Baby Michael came over this morning to play, and color, and watch the Teletubbies. Grandpa Steve even got to change a poopy diaper. The twins Alex and Liam have now joined us for an afternoon of swimming, while big brother RJ goes to the new Harry Potter movie (the privileges of being almost 8!). So I'm guessing Grandma Laurie and Grandpa Steve should be pretty well exhausted by 5 pm and ready for a nice cocktail!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crazy Squirrel Action in Spokane Backyard!!

The King of the Squirrels, he is BADASS

WTF???!!! I was just out in the back yard thinking about floating in the pool for a while, when I hear all of this ruckus. I looked over and there are two insane squirrels attacking each other! One triumphed in his little squirrel way and the other skedaddled. Who knew squirrels got 'roid rage! Now I am kinda scared to go outside...

Other than that brief moment of animal excitement (Bindi the Jungle Girl I am NOT), it's very quiet here today. I think I am the only one alive in the 'hood this afternoon, it's sort of Twilight Zone around here. Doo doo doo doo...whew, Pia just came home, I can stop freaking myself out now.

Here's where it all happens...the fabulous backyard pool!

Kauni progress: moving along well considering it's too hot to knit! I am still in the purple/yellow/reds colors, hope another color comes along soon.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Lazy Sunday

Not a lot to report, a lazy Sunday with a little Mariners viewing (how bout that 'brawl' lol. Baseball players are SO wussy), a little napping and a whole lotta being a slug.

Kauni progress: I ran into another 'too close colors' stripe, but I'm not taking it out. At this point, I just want to keep knitting and see how it turns out. Picture shows progress to date.

And Megs, one CAN knit and drink beer at the same time you know. Geez, I'm not a complete dork. And we did remember the tent this time, in fact we have named our tent The Taj Mahal as it is so ginormous. It's Fred & Irene's tent that I schlepped cross country from Virginia and it is roomy enough for the boys to sleep with us and still have room (of course they all ended up in a dog pile but we did have a lot of room). We were much better prepared for this camping trip, cuz we brought ice, beer, and emergency popsicles for all. A treat on a 100+ degreee day!

TRIP ALERT! for Sundstroms who might be interested, Skyn and I are coming over on 7/27, since B & Bob were kind enough to give us 2 seats in the All Star Club for the M's game that night. We will be living large! I understand you are treated like royalty in there, which will be fun. Maybe I can get someone to wind yarn for me while I watch the game...so if anyone wants to get together on that weekend we are up for it. I need to see some of those new babies (I'll even make the trek to South Seattle if I have to!)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Yeah, it's just too hot to pick up my knitting right now, it's been in the 90s and up to 102 the last couple of days. I did get a couple of rows done on the Kauni sweater, but SWEAT-er is the operative word and the thought of wool on my lap is most unappealing.

Our camping adventure ended today (until the next trip 2 weeks from now). It was a grand time, such a gorgeous site and my swim in Pend' Oreille yesterday was so refreshing! I am not usually a very enthusiastic lake swimmer (give me good old concrete under my feet and no fishies anytime), but I don't think anything has ever felt so delicious as diving under that cool water.

Here are a few more pix from our trip, including Grandma Laurie looking pretty frumpy. Oh well, I was in the woods, I guess I probably scared the marmots away from our campsite anyways.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Camping Fun and A Kauni Update

man it is hot here in Spokane! Over 100 degrees, this Seattle native is not built for that kind of weather!

Our 4th of July camping trip was so much fun! We set up the ginormous tent aka "The Taj Mahal" and proceeded to eat, swim, fish and do all that other good camping stuff. Grandma Laurie discovered that her back is not up to multiple nights on an air mattress (at least not the cheapo one I bought, next time I go for the GOOD one), so we came home for a night to sleep in a real bed. We are going back tonight for one more day.

The boys LOVED the Spongbob fishing poles good ole Grandpa Steve brought up, and they spent all day fishing on Lake Pend' Oreille (a gorgeous lake btw). Riveria caught 2 fish, Alex also caught 2 (his were the keepers, but he has decided he's going to be a catch and release man from now on after sampling fried trout -- they were pretty mushy), and poor Liam got skunked after patiently fishing for HOURS. We all got way too much sun of course but it was a good time.

Baby Michael (not really a baby anymore almost 2!) tagged along after his big brothers and fearlessly waded in the lake. He's a good camper, always ready for adventure. Mama Lorraine, plus Miss Priscilla, Michelle, Steve and myself managed to ride herd on the hooligans, enjoy delish camping cuisine and I even got a tad of knitting done:

The re-started Kauni cardigan is looking much better in the contrasting colors. I am pleased with it and think I can now knit away with confidence! Next stop is the arm steeks.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Back to the Drawing Board...

well poot. I knit another stripe on my Kauni sweater using a more definite contrast, and it looks a LOT better. But of course the first two stripes I knit look like crap now. So I'm going to have to rip them out and start again. This is why you swatch folks (of course I never swatch I'm too impatient, but do as I say not as I do). It's irritating now but I will be happier with the finished sweater, so off I go to rip rip rip.