Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lotus Blossom Tank Frustrations

my pre-frogged tank

Oh, I was so close to being finished. But, then, I realized I should pin it together and try it on. Alais, the tank was too short at the bottom and the seam for the straight stitch section sat too high. I decided to re-read LIckety-Knits suggested changes and I had missed one other suggested change to the pattern, knitting the straight stitch area below the armholes, an inch longer. Reading further, she inspired me to go ahead and frog (rip-it, rip-it) the tank down to the end of the lotus pattern and add an additional row of the pattern (I must have an even longer torso) and then add the additional into of straight stitch.

What this means now, is I'm knitting like crazy to try and get it finished before leaving this Friday for Maui. My hopes are diminishing that this will actually be a wearable clothing item, but I will keep at it.

Should I actually get this done in time, my next plan is to finish my Maui Monkey Socks while in Hawaii. This will be the 2nd trip back for my yarn, as it was actually hand-dyed on Maui by Maui Yarn Arts. This colorway is inspired by ripe pineapple. I'll be stopping at the yarn shop just a mile from my condo, at least once, to pick up a new yarn or two.

Berries on the Vine by Cathleen Stephen
Cast-On Magazine, November 2006

I have also managed to find 2 of the 3 colorways I needed to start my Berries on the Vine Pillow, by purchasing yarn from another Ravelry member's stash. I may have to purchase the 3rd colorway at a local yarn shop. My favorite shop, Far North Yarns , definitely carries Jo Sharp yarns. Tried to buy these while visiting the SF Bay Area, but the shops in my mom's area didn't carry Jo Sharp. Not sure when I'll get to the pillow, but looking forward to make it. I just hope after I let the guys know how much the yarn costs and the time I took to make it, they won't be using it for a pillow fight.

Well, back to speed knitting the tank.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What's Knitting!

Getting ready to leave for California tonight and have packed up my Lotus Tank Top to finish while I'm down. The link isn't to my project but to another lady who has some great tips that I'm using to help me finish mine.

Thought I'd get this tank done before I left and I'm real close, but still have the shoulders to knit and then I'll need to block it before I can wear it. Hope to be posting a picture of me in it in sunny San Francisco.

This is one of two UFO's (Un-Finished Objects) that are part of my goal to finish before I start back up at work on July 23rd. The other is my Maui sock's that I have a 1/2 a sock left to knit.

And, of course, I'm looking ahead to two other projects I'd like to start. First is a sweater I saw in the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits Magazine. It's called The Dollar and a Half Cardigan. This looks like the perfect sweater to wear at work since it's always cold in the office. I'm sure I'll appreciate the stiff breeze from the ventilation system when menopause kicks in, a long time from know, but in the meantime, I usually have to wear a sweater to keep warm. The yarn in the pattern is Reynolds Soft Linen (53% linen, 47% acrylic) which should mean not an "itchy" sweater. The knitter whose project I have linked to used a worsted weight alpaca and I may have to check that yarn out also. Darn yarn shopping.

The other project I may get started soon, is a pillow that I'd like to put on one of our livingroom couches to make it both more comfortable and also to tie in the colors of the livingroom walls to the couch better. The pillow I choose is from the November 2006 Cast-On Magazine. The pattern is called Berries on the Vine Modular Pillow and it uses a yarn I am very fond of called Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed. This was the first yarn I'd used with silk and immediately fell in love with silk blends. So in addition to the type of yarn used in the pattern, the colors used in the pattern appear to actually be the colors I'd like to use. More yarn to buy again.

I'll have to post a picture of the pillow from the magazine later. Seems it's not my night to download pictures.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chick-A-Dee (dee) Observations by a Backyard Naturalist

Chickadee with spider in mouth

For the past few years, we've been lucky enough to have a nesting pair of Chickadee's in a Birch tree, just outside our livingroom window. Chickadee's get their name from the adorable call they use to call to their mate. If one was to inhale helium and then saying "chick-a-dee-dee" and you may end up with a Chickadee sitting on your shoulder.

Even as I'm typing this on my deck, this sunny Memorial Day, I can hear them calling to each other as they return to their brood.

One bird tends to stay with the nestlings, while the other's out getting a few bugs.

When the "shopper" comes back with food, it makes the chick-a-dee-dee call, and as it gets closer to the nest it will make a shorter call which I think is a "coast is clear" call to which the bird inside, makes a return call, and quickly flys out of the nest.

We did have a few times that I thought they'd died, as we've had 3 small birds hit our windows recently. I had thought one of them may have been the female chickadee, since it had similar but much plainer markings. In many song bird species, the males are usually much more colorful than the females, turns out both male and female chickadee's are the same color.

I was pretty upset when I first discovered this "female" bird and called a sympathetic neighbor (she rescues birds every summer), and took a picture of the bird before I buried it in my flower bed, so I could identify it later. Still not sure what type it is but I know it's not what I thought it was.

Our chickadee's are very busy right now feeding they're chick or chicks. I can't see into the nest to figure out how many. It's only about 5 feet off the ground so it isn't too hard to see into, but the hole is very deep. Tried several times to get Vince to stand next to the hole without making a silly face, but was unsuccessful. So I'm posting this picture so readers can get a better idea on how easily accessible this nest is. Luckily, even if a cat could get to it, I'm not sure they'd be able to reach into the nest and get a snack out.

And, it seems Memorial Weekend is when our "State Bird" the Mosquito (wink, wink) comes out in full force. Great for the birds, not so great for us walking blood banks. Time for us all to smell like toxic waste. I'm going to give a herbal repelent I bought in Kauai, one more try, as I can't stand regular repelents.

The picture is of our attempt at curbing our mosquito problems with a Mosquito Magnet. This is after just a few days and they are in a one gallon ziploc bag. It does seem to help, at least out in the yard.

chickadee waiting for "Coast is Clear" call

But I hope this little Chickadee get busy and makes some more bug-eating babies.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

When I was 23.........

These young ladies were our "Naturalist" on our snorkel trip to Molokini and the Turtle Arches with the Pacific Whale Foundation. As they started talking to us about the fish, whales and turtles we might see on our tour, one of the ladies jumped off the boat to dive down and grab the permanent mooring to "anchor" us to our spot and all I could think was,"Wow, I could of been doing this at 23 (bang head, band head, bang head)".

When I was 23, I was ready for an adventure. I was on my 5th year of college getting a degree in biology, it seemed to be taking forever. I was offered an internship at the SF Zoo and offered an opportunity to study dolphins at Marine World, USA after asking my professor a question she didn't know the answer to about her research dolphins. For some reason these two opportunities seemed too "tied down for me".

I had spent 3 months in Paris a couple years earlier and I knew I wanted to travel more, have an adventure. My boyfriend innocently mentioned that his dad invited us to come to Alaska, stay with him, until we got settled and check it out. At this time, we were pretty active hikers and skiing as often as we could, two things we could definitely do in Alaska.

A few months later, we were on our way, driving the Al-Can to Alaska, in our cars both packed to the tipping point with our belongings (except our bicycles, for another story). Eighteen years later, we're still here and it still, occasionally, feels like an adventure, but more and more it's home.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vacation Knitting-Maui Monkey Socks on Maui

Usually when heading on a trip, I have to spend some time deciding what knitting project I'm going to take with me. This trip, it's an easy decision. My second Monkey Sock. Why? The yarn I'm using is from Maui Yarns. The yarn color is called Ripe Pineapple and I'll be seeing it's inspiration frequently for the next 10 days.

I've finished the first sock today, finally, and plan to start the second sock on the plane. Maybe will even work on it while on the beach.

I've heard there is a yarn shop near where I'm staying and plan on picking up a few more Hawaiian inspired yarns for future projects, because I just don't have enough yarn.

Yes, I do have a yarn addiction. It's a great addiction to have if you ask me. Besides, it's only taking up two shelves in the garage, a shelf in a cabinet in the living room and one of the vinyl storage boxes we use as a coffee table. I'm pretty sure I can fit a few more skeins in one of these spots.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shared Knitting and New Friends

A couple weekends ago, I found myself waiting for my sons to finish up with Junior Nordic and I was without a knitting project. I noticed a woman knitting and made a comment about forgetting mine. To which she offered me an extra knitting project of hers to knit. Normally I would thank someone and decline, but that day I was feeling adventurous and went for it.

We started talking and it turns out that we had much in common, besides knitting. We both are bikers (mtn bikers) and have a mutual friend, Rose. Her child went to the same elementary school as mine are attending. She is the maker of some beautiful quilts that were used at our school as fundraisers for Malawi Village School and the cards I used for thank you's were made by her.

The knitting project I worked on was a lot of fun and, my new friend, Tina, emailed me the pattern so I could start knitting one myself. The pattern is the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf by Karen Baumer. If you're signed up for Ravelry here's a link to some finished scarfs.

I'm using Noro Silk Garden which is a joy to knit with. I've silk blends a few times and each time I've really enjoyed how it feels on the needles. Maybe it's the slight elasticity the yarn has. My only concern is that I occasionally find a grass fiber in the yarn that I pull out.

I find this pattern to be an easy "take along" project. It's difficult to lose your place, and, therefore, can be stopped at any point with no fear of where you left off.

Because of my new friend, Tina, I've decided to always carry a second project with me so I can "pay it forward" and, maybe, make more new friend in the process.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Inauguration Day-What a Wild Journey to such a Historic Moment

The Friday before the Inauguration, I received an email that I had two Inauguration tickets waiting for me at Senator Lisa Murkowski's Office. I picked them up first thing on Monday at her office and discovered I had Silver Tickets. Tried to get one more for my mother but no luck there.

The next am we left our hotel at around 6:30, thinking we'd jump on the Metro, yeah it'd be a little crowded but we'll just wait a few trains and get on.

My mother decided to head toward the back of the mall to watch from there and we both felt she'd be pretty safe by herself doing so. There was so much security around the whole week that we never once worried about walking around DC by ourselves at night. Between the all the police, military and guys in suits talking in there sleeves, we knew she'd have no problems.

Vince and I headed to our Subway stop only to discover it was an exit only stop for the day, but no one was getting off, by the look of the station.

So we walked the extra couple of blocks to the station, including getting a little lost on the way, that was a "on" location. Got inside, walked down the steps and didn't see many people. I said to Vince "Wow, this shouldn't be too bad", when a train pulled up and we were actually too far down the station to load up. Looked down the station and noticed a lot of people waiting to get on where the train actually stops. Then I noticed as the train went by, that it was very very full. There was no way this CA/AK girl was going to be able to elbow her way on with her son.

Looked at the walking map an officer had given us and told Vince we were going to walk. After asking for directions several times, and using my iPhone, we finally figured out how to get to the tunnel we would need to walk through to get to the silver gate.

When we got to the tunnel, we were turned around because it was too crowded with people. We were detoured around the block, and got stuck for a while behind people who were not moving. They were all excited about some celebrity and taking pictures. Have no idea who it was, could of cared less, unless it was George Clooney looking for me, we had a mission. Ended up having to walk through some bushes with a very nice family who also had silver tickets and we all managed to find another on/off ramp into the tunnel (395).

All we could see where heads bobbing along as we headed down into the tunnel and, honestly, I was getting a little nervous as we headed further and further into the tunnel. There were so many people, you couldn't tell if they were moving or not moving, it was just one large mass of heads. Would we get stuck like in the other tunnel? Would the people behind us stop if we get stopped? Is this going to be like one of those World Cup Soccer matches where people panic and trample over each other to get out? No it wasn't. Everyone though stressed, was happy and cordial.

Then, the tunnel widened up o four lanes and we were all together breathing a sigh of relief. Then someone shouted "O" and we all responded "Bama" and that continued on for a few rounds until we saw daylight. "

Gave Vince a huge hug and we headed to the off ramp to 3rd Avenue and the Silver Gate. So did most everyone else. We were directed to the silver line, which wound around and around buildings and finally got to the end of the line. Oh happy days. A nice orderly line to stand in to wait for the gate to open.
It was 8:45am by the time we found the end of the line.

I had noticed the line didn't appear to be moving as we walked and walked and walked to the end of the line. Turns out the gates did not open until 9am. Then, at 9 am the line started to steadily move. Then, the strangest thing happened the line dissolved and there was no line to follow, just a huge mass of people all wondering where the line had gone or heading toward where the gate was. Needless to say, the nice orderly line was now a mass of thousands trying to all funnel there way to Silver Gate Security area.

However, in addition to loss of an orderly line inside, we had lots of people standing in our way because this was a great spot to see the Inauguration for non-ticket holders. So once again, we were pushing our way through. Vince had become very good at getting through the crowds and we kept our arms locked together and finally made it through. Good Boy!

We ended up settling in near the back of the Silver Section along with some new friends and we were able to watch the Inauguration easily on the Jumbotron and see the tiny people up on the Capitol at the same time.

What a thrill to be a part of this. A real historic moment in US history. Plus, this was the first campaign that I tried to do more than voting for a candidate.

Brought to tear a few times. Here's a few of my favorite pictures including the one of Bush flying away on his way to Texas. (Posted some at Facebook and on Flickr)How does that man sleep at night knowing his bad decisions have caused so many deaths? Whether we're talking about the 2 wars he has us in or his mis-handling of Katrina.
It was so nice to get to see him fly away. And, yes, to see Dick in a wheel chair was just the icing on the cake. People were singing as the helicopter left "Na,na, nana,hey,hey, good bye". Others expressed themselves with hand gestures. We opted to just wave good bye.

Now leaving, we decide to hang back for a while and let the mass leave first. Neither Vince or I were cold, dressed appropriately for Alaska-like weather, nor were we hungry (brough snacks along), so we watched and waited for the crowds to thin out.

Quite a few people decided they didn't want to go through the bottlenecked area again on the way out and with a little teamwork, they proceeded to tear down a bunch of the fencing that had us all corralled inside.

Our new friends Jason and Sequoia mentioned that the museums were open and we were right by the National Native American Museum. We decided to pop in there once the crowds thinned out. Lot's of tired, cold and hungry people inside. We tried to look at some exhibits, but it was a little too crowded to walk through the museum. People were everywhere sitting on the American in full head-dress but didn't really get to ask him any questions, so not sure who he's peoples are. Living here I've learned about Alaskan Native People, only know little bits and pieces about lower 48 Native People. Will have to go back and spend time there on another trip.

I did over hear a management person talking to staff about how much food they had and it seems they were anticipating large crowds inside the museums. We, however, decided it was time to head back through the tunnel the way we came and get back to our hotel. The crowds were gone and we had a long pleasant trip back. So many happy people.

My mother had a slightly less epic journey, made many new friends and ended up exactly where she'd hoped to watch, by the Washington Monument. Even beat us back to the hotel

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Trip Of A LIfetime

I'll be try to be brief. Let's see, on the metro going to the Library of Congress, we met out tour guide, who let us follow him to the Library, then took us through the tunnels underneath to get from on building to another. The tour was great. Then we went to The National Arcives which were relatively empty and saw the Declaration of Indepence, Bill of Rights and Constitution. Saw many interesting documents and objects. Then, after lunch, we decided to go to the Spy museum, which was very interesting. I liked the 2nd half, Vince liked the first.

Afterwards, we were very tired, it was dark, I wanted to head back to the hotel, but my mom insisted we head to the Lincoln Memorial to see it at night. It was very cold but Vince and walked along. Then, jsut as we passed teh Washington Momument, we heard James Taylor. "oh, they're testing out the speakers", I thought. Then, as we walked further, I started to hear U2. Okay, seeing how rock/pop sounds. I look up at the Jumbotrons around the Pool, and I see Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry all bundled up playng with US Flags in background. "OMG! It's them rehearsing!". Whe I told my mom it's U2, she looked at me puzzled. Then she saw Bono and said
There's Bono". "Yeah, mom like I said U2". "Oh, he's part of a music group?". "Yes, mom and they are aas big as the Beatles to people around my age and they're playing right now!". "WALK FASTER PLEASE, I've never seen them live, nor, did I ever think I would." This conversation occurred while we were walking, by the way.

Thought we'd never make it, but we did make it to see then run through they're program of 2 songs, two times and it was awesome!

The next day we were at the We Are Once Concert! Fantactic! Posted pictures of all this on Facebook and will get a flickr album soon.

Oh, and I got to see Jerry Seinfelds "Puffy Shirt" and Steven Colbert's Portrait with a portrait. Now there's some real pieces of history!

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Wintering All Across The Nation

This was my first flight all the way across the Lower 48. And, I was very surprised to see the landscape all the way across the country covered in snow.

Chicago (the last photo) was -1 degrees today. It took a few minutes for me to realize I was looking at Lake Michigan and not more snow covered land.

Its so nice to see Anchorage isn't the only place Wintering, even if they're doing it just for a little while.

I also found the landscape changes real fascinating. From the Cascades to the Rockies, then the flat Heartland, or as my governor likes to call it "Real America", and then comes the hills of the Appalachians, which compared to the flatness of the plains, looked like the wrinkles on the face of a long time California/Florida sun worshiper's face and then the Ridges that occur just before we hit DC. These ridges looked like a deflated accordion.

As we flew over Virginia, I could almost imagine the battles for our freedoms that occurred on these lands. Then we were over DC and seeing the Mall as we came in was just amazing to see. So much history here on this coast. Just over whelming for this West Coast girl. No pictures of this though, because you're not allowed to have any electronics out while landing and Vince caught me trying to take my camera out. Also, if you get out of your seat during the landing process you could be considered a security risk.

We have old building in California, but they're history is Spanish/Mexican history.

Tomorrow we're off to the Library of Congress, Union Square for lunch and then who knows what else. I'm sure I'll have pictures of the Mall today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting Ready for DC, travel knitting, frenzy knitting, & the Bean Sprout update

I think I may have mitten fever. Did these over Winter Break, when I realized I just didn't like my other felted mittens. The pinkish color didn't felt well, which I was concerned about since it was on the lighter side. Oh well. Taking these to DC with me should the temperatures continue to stay "cold".

Shortly, before finishing these, my mother-inlaw asked me for one of my "diva caps" in blue. So I just had to go and buy more yarn for the job. My husband actually asked me why I had to buy more yarn when I have 3 crates full of yarn. He should know better than to ask.

After giving him a quick eye roll, off to Far North Yarn I ran. And, in addition to buying some Vero, I finally bought a skein of Noro Kureyon. No project for this yarn yet, but I've always been intrigued by it and so many see to love it.

I only have the brim to finish on my mother-inlaws hat. But, of course, knitters ADD has started. As I started packing for my DC trip, I realized I did not have a set of mittens that matched any of the hats I'm bringing along.

I decided to start knitting mittens for my good old diva cap from last year since I still have almost a whole skein. Finished one mitten, except for the thumb last night and started the next one this afternoon. Using a very easy mitten pattern, but since I wanted it to be diva-ish, I am using some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky. Hope to finish tonight before we leave as I plan on finishing my mother-inlaws hat as part of my travel knitting and then work on

my Maui Monkey socks the rest of the trip.

Why, oh why have I decided on such a deadline.

Well, back to knitting these mittens and who knows, maybe I'll knit a pair to go with my Obama Hat.

I'm bringing my laptop to DC and will try and post some pictures while we're there.