Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy to Me!

So far, I have had four days of birthday! A girl could get spoiled.

On Sunday, my brother and son took me out for a great meal at PF Chang's in Portland. Yummy food, great tea, and wonderful company! After dinner, Zak and I walked a bit. The twinkly lights were on all the trees in the area making it all very festive. One store window caught my eye... Anthropologie had everything in the display wrapped in knitted snow! It was gorgeous!

And lookie what I got! A knitting book I've been wanting and a new travel press. (I recently dropped my old one and cracked it. Bummer!)

Monday evening (my actual birthday), Zak took me out again! We had a very nice dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant (Pho Viet). When we got home, he surprised me with a delicious Cranberry Cheesecake from Wild Oats! I was skeptical, but it was very subtle. Just perfect!

Tuesday morning, my coworkers and students celebrated with me by bringing flowers and chocolate chunk cookies!! Yummers! And today, I received cards, cash and gift cards in the mail!!! What a birthday!!! Thanks for all the good wishes, everyone!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Folk Mitts and Hot Chocolate

I haven't done any colorwork for a while. Playing with bits of my hand-dyed recycled sweater yarns, I came up with these bright and cheerful "Folk Mitts." They are happily keeping my hands warm while I knit up the rest of my Christmas gifts. Check back...I'll post the pattern later.

And here's one more gift ready. It's a simple beanie for Zak. He likes things designs, no bright colors. So to make him a hat that he will actually wear, I had to reel myself in. But I don't like to get bored, either. To satisfy both of us, I whipped him up a "Hot Chocolate" beanie with my hand-dyed recycled sweater wool in dark brown and black. The color changes are very subtle and not even noticeable unless you're up close and personal!

Sunday, December 09, 2007


There's nothing like a warm wool hat on a snowy day. Our weather just started looking like December. To honor (and prepare for) winter, I whipped up another Sisters Hat. Since it only takes about 90 yards of DK-weight yarn, it's a quick project...great for last-minute gifts, too!

The free pattern is available here.
The yarn is from JanKnit Recycles.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Speedy Cardy

I love this pattern. I rarely knit the same design more than once. This seems to be the exception. I have used this pattern for the cute toddler sweater and hat for several family members, including my son. A Rosemary Drysdale design, this and two other sweater patterns were published in Knitter's #19, Summer 1990. It's such a quick knit because of the bulky yarn and big needles...only three stitches per inch!

Modifications: I used three colors instead of five, omitted the embroidery, shortened the ribbing on the hat, and knit the hat in the round instead of flat.

This little set is for my great niece for Christmas.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Freedom of Speech

For all our problems here in the US, I am still very thankful this is where I live. I admit I am not a fan of the current administration, and had a good chuckle over the recent exhibit in the New York Public Library. The "portraits" showing George W. Bush and others Photo-Shopped into mugshots are the work of Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese. And, of course, the photos have been condemned by the Republican party, stating that it might somehow harm students walking the halls of the library.

But, in the midst of the controversy over some political spoofs of our country's leaders, there is another story that got my attention. On the other side of the planet, a school teacher was imprisoned and will be deported just because she named a teddy-bear Muhammed. Gillian Gibbons could have received 40 lashes and six months in prison in the case if found guilty of the more serious charge of inciting religious hatred. Hmmm....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I love a good swap!

I received a wonderful package from Joyce! The yarn is gorgeous!! I absolutely love the blues and grays. Also included were some lovely goodies...a lavender sachet with some of her fantastic elliebelly graphics, a darling spinning wheel stitch marker, a magnet and a hand-made card. As soon as I finish making my holiday gifts, I'm knitting blue socks for me!! Thank you, Joyce!!

PS...she does great stuff. Go check out her site!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I recently had reason to visit a local attorney's office. Granted, this was not a happy visit (no details here), but when I walked in and saw what they were using for a coffee table in the lobby, it was all I could do not to "lose it."

This poor creature was encased in Plexiglas and was positioned between the chairs where the public was asked to wait for appointments. The plaque under the cayman reads, "Every Real Estate Project is a Potential."

When I asked about it, I was given a long, drawn-out explanation about how the founding attorney worked in real estate and used to have it in his office. I was proudly told "alligator" is a real estate term meaning a property with a negative cash flow, or one that "eats money" -- the opposite of a "cash cow."

As I sat there pondering how this animal had ended up as a piece of every-day furniture, I had to wonder why in the world they are STILL using it. My guess is they consider it an intimidation technique for opposing parties; a show of machismo. Or maybe it's just a bad case of ignorance. Regardless, I found it disgusting and highly unprofessional....and just plain SICK.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

You ought to be in pictures

K n i T

What a fun site! At Spell with flickr by Erik Kastner, you can spell whatever you want in flickr photos. How cool is that?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

One Scar Down

Even though I didn't join Sock Wars this year, I wanted to give the pattern a go. I recently hand dyed some Merino Superwash DK that works perfectly with this design. One sock done, and on to the next! (Shhhh...don't tell my brother...these will be his Christmas gift.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vegan Swap 2 Finale

My package arrived today!!!! My wonderful box of vegan goodies came clear across the country from Janice in New York!

When I arrived home to find the package waiting, I plopped myself right down in the kitchen floor to start unwrapping and unwinding! (I'm such a kid when it comes to getting things in the mail!) Here's what the magic yarn balls looked like when I liberated them from their box....

Janice was very generous. She included Bernat Bamboo Blend in Wicker, Lion Brand Organic Cotton in Pecan, and Sugar and Cream in Hot Purple. The chocolate bars are my new favorites! There were also several kinds of buttons, beautiful glass beads, autumn stickers and ribbons, a bunch of fun party favors and a great recipe for Pumpkin Muffins! Yumm! Thank you, Janice!!!

Thank you, Cass and Ellie for setting up this swap. It was fun, and was a great way to learn more about Veganism. I know it's heightened my awareness of what I consume. Thanks!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vegan Swap 2 (update)

I heard from my Vegan Swap 2 pal, Yowlyy, today! I can't believe my package to the UK has already arrived! I expected it would take about two weeks. Yay! She liked all the goodies handpicked for her. I'm so glad. I love swaps, but it is always a challenge to put together packages for someone you don't know. I do feel like I know her better now, though!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back to Work!

Thank you all again for your well wishes for Mom. She's still in rehabilitation and doing much better. All of the turmoil with medical, legal, housing and family issues pretty much exhausted me last week. But I took some time out yesterday to get my hands back into some fiber...I feel much better now. Great therapy!!

Here are some of the results...

Clouds - Handpainted wool - worsted

Bronze - Semi-Solid Hand-dyed wool - DK

Blue Skies - Handpainted wool blend - DK

Plus, Elmo got new duds!!! He's a birthday gift for the daughter of a friend of mine. He needed some party clothes, so....

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thank you

Many thanks for all the well wishes and prayers for my mother's recovery from her stroke. She is currently in rehab and we are hopeful she will be able to remain independent in her home.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Learning ... a review

I joined the Vegan Pal 2 Swap because I was curious about vegan fiber choices and the people involved seemed very nice. After answering the questionnaire, I also became more curious about vegan food choices. Since I was vegetarian for a good portion of my younger adulthood, I didn't feel like a total stranger. But because I'm me, I wanted to know more.

I do not respond well to groups that sensationalize their causes. So when I went surfing for online vegan resources, I found several to which I will not return. I was looking for information, not graphic photos of tortured animals flashing across my screen.

One site that met my need is NW Veg. The site is informative, intelligent and didn't slap me in the face. Because it's locally run, I will be more likely to use the links and maybe even participate in the events. Their mission statement reads: We educate and empower people to make vegetarian choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.

NW Veg offers monthly potlucks along with guest speakers, presentations and additional local resources. There are volunteer opportunities, recipes, walks and bike rides, reading lists, a restaurant guide, and a forum to discuss issues with others from my own community.

Here's their invitation: Portland vegetarians and vegans — and others wishing to reduce meat and dairy in your diet — welcome to Northwest VEG. We are a vegetarian educational group in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Our vegetarian potlucks and events explore delicious vegetarian and vegan foods — and meeting other vegetarians and vegans. If our potluck happens to be your only vegetarian meal of the month, you'll be welcome, and sure to go home well fed, possibly inspired to try a new recipe.

Pretty good deal!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vegan Swap 2

Vegan Swap 2 Questionnaire

1. Are you a vegan, vegetarian, veg-curious, veg-friendly or other?
I am not vegan, but definitely veg-friendly. I would love to learn more about veganism.

2. Is this your first swap, or have you done previous swaps before? What makes a swap enjoyable for you?
I've participated in several swaps. I love getting to know new people across the world, and this is a more personal way to do it. I also love surprises. You are never quite sure what you'll get with a swap. The best swaps are those where EVERYONE participates and keeps their promises!

3. What is/are your favorite color(s)? Do you particularly dislike any color(s)?
I wear lots of cool colors, black and dark brown. I'm not big on orange or yellow/gold, but I do enjoy a touch with other autumn colors.

4. Do you have any allergies (such as pets, foods, fibers or cigarette smoke)?
Allergic to tobacco, dog dander and perfumes.

5. Do you have any companion animals? If so, name(s) and type(s)?
I have a cat - Ashes, a poodle - Latte, and a 3-Toed Box Turtle - Tom -- or do they have me?

6. Do you collect anything?
Does yarn count? In addition to all things fiber, I love hands. I'm a sign language interpreter, so most of my life involves hands.

7. Do you have a favorite vegan food, snack or dish? If no fav that's vegan (for those who aren't vegan), what's your favorite food? (Hopefully your pal can find a vegan version!)
I love oatmeal cookies! But I also love surprises (did I already mention that?) I would love my pal to use their own creativity and expand my snacking horizons!

8. What are some of your favorite/least favorite tastes/flavors? (e.g. sweet, salty, chocolate, crunchy, smooth, tart, sour, spicy, thai, whatever - Help your pal get a feel for what kind of recipes you might like and/or never ever make.)
I'm pretty easy to please. I don't like mayonnaise or caraway seed.

9. What tools/supplies/accessories for your craft(s) are you wishing you had but don't? Also, what do you have TOO many of? (basically a wish and anti-wish list)
I would love to try some of the new banana, corn, or soy fibers. I also LOVE linen. I have bamboo and lots of cotton. I really don't care for most synthetic fibers.

I have PLENTY needles and hooks. Since I knit, crochet, spin and embroider, I love bits of fibers and ribbons that can be used in different ways. New patterns and ideas are fun. And I love buttons and beads.

10. Are you on Ravelry? What's your handle?
JanKnit here, JanKnit there, JanKnit everywhere!

11. Is there anything else you would like your pal to know about you?
I'm in the process of moving and I'm a new empty-nester so I'm feeling a bit disorganized. My whole life is in the process of big change right now!

12. What scents do you like/dislike?
I like natural smells, but am allergic to most perfumes.

13. Do you prefer fall or Halloween or some other Autumn theme?
I don't really celebrate Halloween, so would prefer more Autumn-related items and colors. Thank you.

14. Just for fun - tell your favorite Halloween or Autumn related memory.
My son was born on October 30th. Since I had to be in the hospital over Halloween, all the nurses and care staff shared their goodies with us new moms. I was awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because of the excitement of just having given birth, and because I was ravenous! As if she could read my mind, my nurse brought in the biggest, juiciest caramel apple I've ever seen! As I munched on that treat, listening to my new baby sleep, and watching an old monster movie on TV, I proclaimed this "The Best Halloween EVER!"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Last Chance -- Half-Price!!

I still have lots of great books in my stash that are now HALF-PRICE!! Take a look!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Man Blankie

I mentioned before that Zak has moved into his first apartment. He seems to be doing fine with it so far. He was ready and so was mom. :o}

I've been wanting to make him something special to mark this milestone. He's never been big on wearing knitted clothing, scarves, etc. He has only a couple of favorite hats, and has proclaimed he does not want any new ones. (How did I miss passing on the "love of knitted garments-gene" to my only son?! Ah, well.) Since I'd rather my handiwork not just be pushed into a closet or sold for a quarter at a garage sale, he hasn't been the recipient of any new knitted treasures for a while now.

But a new home deserves something special. I've had this wonderful slubby/tweedy wool yarn for some time waiting for it to "speak to me." It was a sweater with large stripes of color. It raveled very nicely and has a great texture. After flipping through many of my books, magazines and web links looking for inspiration, I came up with a great solution. Using the diagram of Mason-Dixon's modified knitted log-cabin blanket as a starting point, I'm crocheting the "Man Blankie!" With a large hook, it's going quickly. The masculine colors and the simple styling will be great in his place.

And his mom can only hope that he'll think of her occasionally while he's warmed up with it this winter in his own place!

Zak with his roommate, Chloe.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Poor Neglected Blog

I have been a pitiful excuse for a blogger. So sad.

But here's a bit of what's been up this summer...

I got set up on Ravelry. Yay!!

I got Simpsonized. Does it even look like me?!

I've been spinning...

...and knitting...

...and crocheting...

...and dyeing...

...and recycling...

...and moving Zak!

Am I forgiven?
I hope you are having a fun and productive summer, too!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I love surprises. The happy kind. Not the, "Surprise! You have a flat tire" kind.

At Copperpot, Tracey takes her leftovers from her own stash, etc., and puts them into lots she calls "The Pit." Since I like surprises, I ordered one. Surprise! Look at all the great colors and fibers!

I was near the bottom of the box, and suddenly my happy unpacking was interrupted by another surprise. Look who stowed away all the way from Michigan!!

At least that is what we are assuming. I've never seen this kind of critter in these parts. After letting the little creature loose in the back yard, my mind began to conjure up Steven King titles involving the spider who ate Vancouver! Ah, well. Now I know the wool is insecticide- and moth-free!!