Thursday, June 26, 2008


(Truth be told, I sort of self-tagged over at Kim Guzman's blog.)

What was I doing ten years ago?

Hmmm. I was living in the San Fernando Valley, learning to survive without my daughter at home by pouring my heart into all those activities that I'd put on hold since I'd become a mom.

I'd started playing piano again and had teamed up with an operatic soprano. We met Thursday nights for rehearsals at my house. I was working at a law firm (that I absolutely hated) only because it was within walking distance of my apartment so that I could get home in time to practice before my neighbors got home from work.

I was having a long-distance dating relationship with this man in San Francisco who would come down for my concerts or have me up to San Francisco for touristy stuff or meet me halfway in Morro Bay. Life was good. (I married him. Life is still good.)

Five things on my non-work to do list today:

  1. Work on my Tunisian crochet homework.
  2. Read in the book that was due back to the library last weekend (but which they won't let me renew so I have to pay a fine to finish).
  3. Go to the post office to mail a letter to Canada and buy some pretty stamps.
  4. Lunch and the farmer's market with a friend.
  5. Browse the Internet and upload photos to my Ravelry page, plus add to this blog.
Snacks I enjoy (in no particular order):
  • Haagen Daazs Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream
  • Wasabe peas
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Chocolate anything
  • Cookies
  • Fresh Cherries
  • Nuts
  • Prunes (really!)

Things I would do if I was a billionaire:

  • Crochet to my heart's content.
  • Practice piano and other instruments more.
  • Hire a personal trainer to keep me fit from all that sitting.
  • Give most of my money to charity or set up a foundation to do it for me. Then set up annuities or funds to make sure DH and DD and I are taken care of for the rest of our lives.
  • Live in a nicer place nearer to the center of my interests.
  • Have houses or townhomes in a few cities around the world.
  • Pay someone else to do my laundry (and throw away my underwear when it gets dingy).
  • Have the kitchen of my dreams.
  • Have a music room with a concert harp, a baby grand, a harpsichord and whatever other instruments I wanted in it with enough room to have small recitals in there.
  • Have a library with plenty of room for all my books and reference materials plus sitting room and audio visual accoutrements.
  • Build on my little lot in Southernmost Illinois that my parents left to me and spend time there in some of the most beautiful land in the country at least every spring or fall. (The photo at the beginning of this entry was taken in parkland near my little lot. I took it the day I scattered some of her ashes there.)
Places I have lived:
  • Southern Illinois (three different suburbs of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area)
  • Urbana, Illinois
  • Los Angeles, California (and 'burbs)
  • San Francisco, California
Jobs I have had:
  • Snow cone truck driver
  • File clerk/Girl Friday/emergency room receptionist/switchboard operator at hospital
  • Bookkeeper
  • Keypunch operator (now known as data entry clerk)
  • Court reporter's transcriber
  • Legal secretary
People I want to know more about:
  • All the designers on Ravelry
  • All the crocheters and knitters I meet online and in real life
  • Musicians
  • Librarians
  • Veterinarians
  • Firemen
  • Most everyone I meet who catches my fancy
The End.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Look At My Psychedelic Loot!

I got my first Summer of Love package from my super sneaky secret pal! She made me think she was someone by her emails and then her package return address made me think she wasn't that person and now I have no idea who she is at all.

She might not even be a she! (Totally appropros for a San Francisco swap.)

I tried to take a photo that would do all the goodies justice and failed, I'm afraid. (Though not bad enough to give this post a failure label, you'll notice.)

Here's the first pic:

Not a very pleasing presentation visually, eh? Yeah, I thought that too.

Here's what was in my package though! The description'll get you drooling.

Clockwise from the center top of photo:

  • A box of floral notecards and envelopes.

  • A hang-in-the-window-faux-stained-glass-window thingy. (I think it's called a sun catcher but I get sun catchers mixed up with dream catchers.) Anyway, whatever its name, it's totally wonderful and will get good use because I have lots of windows!

  • Two -- two -- skeins of Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) yarn in Rose Natural ombre colorway. It's soft as a baby's bum and very luscious looking but like its new owner, not very photogenic.

  • Two -- again, two -- skeins of Caron Span bamboo blend yarn in a colorway called Ocean Spray, which is even softer than the Patons SWS if you can believe it and has a lovely sheen to it that my Secret Pal pointed out to me.

  • A lovely note (barely visible pink paper under the Spa yarn).

  • A spectacular Hairy Zoo pen by inkology that lights up when you whack its head! Lots of fun and a good outlet for work frustrations.

  • The most appropros and themefully delicious bandana for a Summer of Love yarn swap. Like, Totally Copacetic, Man. Right on!

  • A barely visible (and not long for this earth) bag of yogurt pretzels.

So, like I said, I decided the presentation lacked balance and aesthetics, so being the True Artist that I am, I did it over again.

Except by this time, the yogurt pretzel bag had *ahem* accidentally gotten opened so I had to put the *ahem* remaining pretzels in a bowl.

Then I decided wouldn't it be cool to whack the Hairy Zoo pen's head and make him light up while I was taking the photo!

Except the flashing lights made movement which made for a fuzzy photo:

I'm sure sorry about all that.

But (I decided again), I simply must capture the design on that kerchief. So the following photo is my final say on the matter after I say,

I have the best Sumer of Love Secret Pal in the

Whole Wide World!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Baby Shower, San Francisco Style

I got a two-week advance notice for a baby shower and panicked.

Then I found this poncho pattern that looked like it might work up fast. I started it with yarn I had on hand. Of course, the only way it would be "right" for a San Franciscan baby was to leave off the hood and add fringe. (That Summer of Love Yarn Swap is playing with my head.)

A few days' worth of BART rides and the poncho was complete (except for the fringe, which seemed to take forever -- a whole Saturday shot, at least). Plus I got the bright idea of putting a peace sign medallion on the front and embroider a "chain" for it. As time got closer, though, I decided to opt for whatever applique I could find that looked remotely hippyish.

The result:

When I started on the matching pants, another lightbulb went off and I fringed them, too.

Only thing is, when I showed them to a very wise (and not-very-tactful) Chinese grandmother, she shouted, "Too small. Baby BIG. I know."

Considering how tall the dad-to-be is, I'm afraid she might be right.

I'm hoping maybe they'll put him in this when they take him home from the hospital. Then he'll at least get a day's wear out of it.

In case you're wondering, I taped the baby doll's eyes open. It looked so wrong to have them shut when I was photographing her.

The Squashed Blossom Purse

Everything I have to say about this purse I said here, on the Lion Brand site.

In case that link doesn't work, this is the story.

I wanted to make something special for a little girl I know. I found this purse and thought it was cute.

I started crocheting it up and it was coming out very special. Like so:

But I thought it should be lined. A purse should be lined, right?

Well, if I lined it, I'd need to stiffen it to hold up to the lining, right?

So I interfaced the pieces with fusible interfacing. This squashed all the beautifully crocheted (if I do say so myself) stitches.

Then I needed to sew the two halves together, but because they were fused, I couldn't match the sides stitch for stitch, the way I could have done had I not interfaced the blessed thing.

So then it looked really ugly and needed a lining, which turned out nearly impossible to do because by the time you make it so the lining doesn't show around the petals, you don't have much room for the inside of a purse. Good thing it was for a child's hand.

Finally, I sewed a snap in it to close. The final product was a little wonky. What with all the weight I added, it threw the balance of the purse off and it doesn't hang like a purse when you pick it up by the handle.

Looks good hanging from a chair, though.

And I remembered to put a penny in it before I gave it to her.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lessons in Crochet from the School of Hard Knocks

So all that newly acquired yarn in the pretty pictures I posted yesterday?

Not at all suitable for baby booties. Unless maybe I could start a business selling orthopedic baby booties. What a concept! Correct your baby's feet before it starts to walk.

I don't think so.

So I'm thinking what to do with all that yarn and this is what I've come up with so far.

1. coasters, placemats and dishcloths (of course)
2. market bags
3. purses (although the colors I have aren't all that suitable)

I'm wide open to suggestions because I don't have enough friends who need as many gifts as this is going to make. And I'm not willing to sell off the yarn yet.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Score! (Yarn this time)

I shouldn't browse eBay. I was looking for pink and blue cotton yarn for the hospital baby booties project and I found some.

And then some.

That blue spool reminded me that I've always wanted to try making those dishcloths to see how they work and give away to friends and whatnot. So why not buy in quantity?

So I bought this:

Plus, 4th of July is coming up and red-white-and-blue yarn could come in handy.

It all came today.

Good thing I brought my rolling backpack to work almost empty.

Swap Loot - Coaster Swap

Wow! I got loot! This is my first ever swap anywhere.

It's from Joye in Tennessee and it was from a coaster swap in a Yahoo! crocheters group.

Joye sent not one coaster, but three! Well, two coasters and a huggy thingy to wrap around my POM Tea glass. I'm already finding uses for my coasters on my desk at work.

She also sent four tea bags and two sugar-free iced tea mixes. (I think she's been reading my blog. She didn't send any sweets at all. Good going, Joye!)

Plus, she sent this little bookmark thingy she calls a book thong, which she invented. It's made of gauzy ribbon that's hard to see in the picture, but you can see the beads. It's kind of winding among the coasters.

Last -- but not least -- she sent a magnetic note pad. I've got it on my cubicle wall now.

I have to comment on the note pad. It's kind of a testament to the age we live in. It's got a picture of a lighthouse at the end of a street full of Cape Cod style houses with a big palm tree between two of the houses. It's called "Tropical Lighthouse" and the design is by Bradley Hales Clark. It's printed in China for a company called "Notations" located in Yarmouth, Maine.

I'm in San Francisco. Joye is in Tennessee. And we met on the Internet.

How global can one thing be?


Last weekend when I was on my way home from errands, determined to finish some UFOs that afternoon and not start any new projects until I had cleared my stash, what should I see but a sign, "Estate Sale," and an address in a very nice neighborhood between me and home.

Hmmmm, in a house that size, maybe they had a yarn stash, thought I.

When I got to the house and saw how many stairs I was going to have to climb, I opted to ask the first couple coming out whether they'd seen any knitting supplies. "Look in the basement," said the woman, "I think I saw something like that down there."

Sure enough, up the stairs and down the stairs into the basement went I, and when I reached the bottom of the stairs, I gasped so loud that these Korean ladies hovering over the yarn stash looked at me as though I'd farted.

There on a table at the bottom of the stairs were eight banana boxes full of needlecraft magazines! I was in heaven looking through them! They dated from the 1990s back to Lord knew how far and no one was even giving them a second glance.

I chose the ones I wanted, while I waited for the Korean ladies to finish with the yarn. They took it all except eight skeins of orange acrylic. Oh, well. (Halloween isn't that far off and DD and all her friends could use some pumpkin place mats, I'm sure.)

On my way out, I asked the estate sale guy what he'd do with the magazines at the end of the sale?

His answer, "Sell them to you for cheap." Ha ha. Cute.

"No, really," I said, "I have friends who knit and I want to tell them where to find them. What will you do with them after the sale?"

"Chuck 'em," he said.

Heaven forefend!

So it turned out he was right. I went back the next day at the end of the sale and he sold me what was left of them for $20.

They sat piled in my living room for a week while DH and I tried carefully to tiptoe between them to get here and there without breaking our necks.

Over the weekend, I managed to clear out space in my closet for them.

Bottom line: I didn't manage to keep my resolution about not starting something new before finishing the old, but at least I now can see my closet floor!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

There's Something About Swapping

So, I'm browsing Ravelry to find ideas for my swap partner in The Summer of Love Swap and what do I do but find more ideas for me!

I need more ideas for me like I need another dozen holes in my head.

But just look at this bag! I love this yarn!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Finished Objects

I finished a ponytail holder for an exchange yesterday at lunchtime and my coworker loved it so much she wanted one for her teenaged daughter. I started hers right there at the table and finished it last night while listening to local election results and Obama's speech after winning the nomination.

It's made with an Egyptian cotton yarn that I picked up on eBay called "Baby Bomull." It's manufactured by AS Knappehuset in Norway. I hope I can get my hands on some more of it because I'm just having a great time finding new things to make with it.

It's a great yarn for the baby booties that I make for UCSF Children's Hospital.

I think of it as my Carnivale yarn.