31 October 2010


#1 Son's pumpkin got in a fight.
Possibly with The Bear's pumpkin.
Mom's pumpkin was just sick of the whole thing.
Hope your pumpkins are all enjoying the day!

Oh! Hey! Did you know that Elektra is out? Enjoy! :)

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27 October 2010

Drive by blogging

7 Small Shawls: T - 64 days and counting down.

Dropping by to say hi! Things are crazy. I've been dyeing yarn, drying stuff out from the swim meet (that's our tent and chairs and everything spread out!):
hanging out in the emergency room (everyone is a-ok now) and having an anniversary (yesterday - 14th). I actually went out on a date with Mr. Romi!

Insanity is the mode du jour, but I thought I might heighten your anticipation a little. Elektra is coming out this week!

Kids are screaming while watching our Giants play in the World Series; made sushi for dinner; Gotta Knit (sung to the tune of "Broadway Rhythm Ballet"). More later!

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25 October 2010

Monday's Musing

This past weekend, it rained. We were at an outdoor swim meet with the boys. It was a Very Very Very Wet team bonding experience. So today, I want to share with you something that a teammate of my sons said.

“I'm already wet. The rain doesn't make a difference.” - Justin Wong, 7 (it made the paper)

And something I told my younger son, The Bear, who had a decidedly different attitude:

"You are where you are and that's not going to change. Make the best of being here and turn the negative into a positive." - Mean Mommy

I'm happy to report that, by the last race, The Bear rallied and swam well. #1 Son had a Very Good Meet, with a minor exception. Mom and Dad had a very soggy parental bonding experience, a lot of laughs, and participated in a great memory. And after all,

"The sun will come out tomorrow." - Little Orphan Annie

And it did. :)


23 October 2010

Doing the parent thing

In the rain. At a swim meet. Brrrrr. Squish.
And it's supposed to be wetter tomorrow. Off to look for my rain pants. If I find them, it won't rain. Right? :)

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21 October 2010


7 Small Shawls: T - 70 days and counting down.

My first ever home made sushi:
And my very first skein of Bugga! - in the Adonis Butterfly colorway.
Both delicious in their own way.

I need to work on making the quintessential sushi rice, but the Bugga is already perfect. :)

Did I mention that I'm thrilled that you all like Elektra?! I loved getting your comments; you all really made my day big time!

Craziness abounds here. I've come to the conclusion that I must really enjoy and thrive on it because I seem to be unable to keep from creating a chaos of over-work. My next task: learn to embrace and enjoy it thoroughly and completely. Onward!

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19 October 2010

Sneaky peek

7 Small Shawls: T - 72 days and counting down.

Psssst! Wanna see a peek of Elektra blocking?
How about Elektra hanging out?
Tied up?
In a somber mood?
Wrapped up?
Showing her beads?
In a casual mood?
Showing a little lace?
She has many different moods, and I hope you like all of them!

Pattern: Elektra (not released as yet - from 7 Small Shawls to Knit)
Beads: 40 grams, size 6/0 seed - root beer, square hole, foil lined

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18 October 2010

Monday's Musing

"If you want to change your direction,
If your time of life is at hand;
Well, don't be the rule, be the exception;
A good way to start is to stand.

"Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor.
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door."

- The Winter Warlock (from Santa Claus is coming to Town)

Feeling like I need to calm down and do just that this week: put one foot in front of the other and soon I'll be finished with my workload for October. Right? Right?!?! ;)

Have a great week, everyone!


17 October 2010

Simple pleasures

7 Small Shawls: T - 74 days and counting down.

A lovely Chai latte is so simple to make with the find of the century: Chai Spice Torani syrup!
Shake up a carton of soy milk, add some syrup in the bottom of a mug and fill with the frothy soy milk. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes and enjoy! Seen here in my crazy knittergrrl mug. What a treat for a rainy grey day!

Only one more spot open in my 2011 Pins & Lace Club. Whose will it be?!


16 October 2010

Have graph paper, will travel

7 Small Shawls: T - 75 days and counting down.

Exhausted today. I was totally wired last night - strangely, I don't think it was from the caffeine - and I couldn't get to sleep until way late. Then we were all up at 5:30 a.m. this morning for a little pool open water swim meet. I took my laptop and some graph paper.
I actually got a little work done between cheering myself hoarse!


15 October 2010

Retail therapy

7 Small Shawls: T - 76 days and counting down.

Yes, after yesterday, I indulged in some! I do have to admit to being almost in tears at one point yesterday. You know the kind of tears: frustration. Absolute. Complete. Frustration. But all is better today. Many thanks for your good wishes!

I made it to Cast Away with my patterns this morning. This is a Good Thing, because I got to hang out with Justine, who owns Cast Away, but isn't there in the afternoons. Some yarn managed to follow me home. Meet Frank Ochre.
And his sister, Holly Hock.
They are from the Mmmmmmmmmmmalabrigo lace family, and let me tell you, they are yummy.

I also adopted a stray skein of Ecowool.
Ecowool is one of my very favorite wools: all yummy and tweedy and there's lots of it in a skein. I've knitted a ton of Ecowool and it wears incredibly well. In fact, I did a cardigan once using Ecowool and a strand of kidsilk haze held together. It is like a giant bear hug. My purchases are going to end up as one skein patterns. I seem to be obsessed with them lately!

And the the other reason today was a great day? Tea.
Malty Assam and East Friesian blend to be exact. My very very favorite teas in the whole world. And I have not had either of them for years. Because? They have caffeine. Lots of caffeine. I have been drinking insipid, yucky, decaf tea bag tea, when I really wanted to be drinking strong, malty, aromatic black tea. Mr. Romi finally couldn't take it any longer. He pushed me into ordering it. We have both been off caffeine. He because of jitters and anxiety, me because I had a tendency to high blood pressure when caffeinated. Well, anxiety too, to be honest. We're hoping that one cup a day will be ok. Because really? The world is a much more beautiful place when you are caffeinated with good tea. Cross your fingers for us!

And now, the envelope if you please....

Shawl #4 is...Elektra! I hope that no one will mind the alternate spelling. There were just too many patterns named Electra. :) And the winner of the shawl pin is Gwynne! Strangely, and this is a total and complete coincidence, Gwynne said "Elektra." With that alternate spelling, too! How the winner was determined: there were 89 comments, so I went over to random.org and had the random number generator choose a number between 1 and 89, inclusive.

Signing off now to run around with my extra caffeine-induced energy. I wonder if I'll sleep tonight? If not, it was totally worth it anyway. A gal's gotta have at least one vice. :)

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14 October 2010

One of Those Days

I enter into evidence the following:

1. I awoke this morning to The Bear watching videos on the school computer at 6:30 a.m. He has been forbidden to do this. Several times.

2. I set up the computer with a password (see above) which, instead of coming up when the computer is turned on, logs itself into the parent/administrator account. When I switch users, it keeps logging itself out and requiring a password to get back into the student area. I have it on good authority that it is not supposed to work this way.

3. I keep looking at things and not finding them. Case in point: my current audiobook (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and CD player. Which was right in front of me as I pitched a fit about not being able to find it.

4. While I'm having a mini nervous breakdown, friends from out of town (
way out of town) call and say they are in town and wanting to come over. While the house is not a disaster of Biblical proportions, it is a mess. We are also trying to get The Bear caught up in his school since he's been lying about doing a lot of his class work. Mr. Romi is behind on two projects. I am behind on everything having to do with anything. And then some. We decide to meet our friends at swim practice. Mr. Romi is taking the kids; I'm picking them up.

5. Meanwhile, I need to get some copies of patterns made for
Cast Away. I rush down to Healdsburg (15 minutes) since we don't have a copy shop in my town. On the way, I take back a morbidly overdue book found in #1 Son's room under a pile of dirty clothes. Usually, they can do copies immediately, but not today. Even when I whine. I leave and it occurs to me that I want it double sided and I don't know if the paper I'm using will be thick enough. I call them as soon as I am back in my studio; she has started the job. I go back, whining a little to myself that I could have just stayed there, but feeling really guilty about whining because she's doing it sooner than I expected. I get there and it looks good. Thankfully, I have brought my knitting, because she tells me to come back in an hour. I walk over to the library and sit down to knit outside. I knock over my beads. As I am finishing picking them up, the copy shop calls to say my order is done. I have just wasted an hour and a half.

6. I rush home to get my pin orders out. In my haste to get things packaged, I rip two envelopes, destroy the tape dispenser and lose half of the stuff I'm packing.

7. It occurs to me that I won't be able to make it to Cast Away and get over to practice on time to see my friends. I re-double my efforts to get things packed. I also have to stop by
Karen's to pick up some yarn. Thankfully, she is close to swim practice. I decide to leave Cast Away until tomorrow.

8. I rush off to the local Post Office. There is a line. There is never a line at our Post Office. But today is Special. I get out late and start driving down to swim practice (usually about 30 minutes). I call and re-arrange everything I was going to do before practice so I can see our friends. I get caught in traffic. I call Mr. Romi, who has been hanging with our friends. They are leaving in 5 minutes. There is no way I can possibly make it and still be in this dimension. Since I'm not sure how to get to another dimension, I resign myself to the unpleasant fact that I will not see them.

9. I go to Karen's to pick up yarn. They are resurfacing the parking lot for her building and I park down the street and have to walk through wet asphalt to get to her door.

10. I finally get myself to swim practice. I'm late. Mr. Romi is leaving. He forgets to leave the snacks with me. I don't realize this until after practice when I have two ravenous kids. The vending machine won't take my only dollar bill. I go digging for change on the floor of the car. I find enough and go back to get Fritos (the only thing Bear can eat in the machine). They stick. I buy the Cheetos behind in order to get the Fritos. I wonder why they can't just have a whole line of Fritos. My older son refuses to eat Cheetos. I go back out to dig for more change. I find some in the ash tray. We are finally underway after buying more Fritos.

11. We get home. While I'm heating leftovers, I go upstairs to check emails. Someone has written to me that they joined my
club. I haven't gotten PayPal notification. I go check PayPal and find that at least two club purchases have not shown up in my email. I resign myself to going through pages and pages to make sure that I have every club member accounted for. PayPal crashes. And then crashes again.

12. I give up and go downstairs. There are moths flying around the house.

13. And while all this is going on? I'm not at Rhinebeck.

I rest my case.

Tomorrow: the name of Shawl #4 and the winner!


12 October 2010

How to make a peanut butter sandwich

7 Small Shawls: T - 79 days and counting down.

When I was a kid, we moved twice in the middle of school years. The second time, when i was in 5th grade, I landed in a combined 5th/6th grade class taught by Mr. Glose. I remember his favorite green polyester leisure suit (sounds worse than it actually was), and his big mustache. I also remember an assignment he gave us: write the exact instructions for making a peanut butter sandwich. When we had written up the assignment, he paired us off. Each pair switched instructions and we all nervously sat and waited our turns. Out came loaves of Wonderbread and jars of Skippy peanut butter. I was overjoyed. At my house, we only ate Laura Scudders natural peanut butter and Oroweat whole wheat bread. I couldn't wait!

The first pair started out poorly. Since there was no specific sentence saying to open the jar of peanut butter, the boy who had written the instructions was forced to try to complete the next instruction: put knife in peanut butter jar. We all found out how very tough a jar lid could be, and then we quickly went over our own instructions trying to make sure we had included everything. After that initial disaster, things went smoother.
But why am I telling you this? I've been thinking about it every time I work on a pattern, and particularly this one: Shawl #4. It's an incredibly simple beginning. So simple that I didn't actually see the instructions when I wrote them out. I thought I did, but in reality, I was seeing what I knew to be the correct way to knit the shawl. I automatically corrected the pattern in my head so that it made sense. :sigh: Thank the FSM for test knitters who see what is there. :) And back to editing for me!

Oh, and the Wonderbread and Skippy? Yuck and double yuck. It stuck to the roof of my mouth and I never ate it again!


11 October 2010

Monday's Musing

In honor of Eleanor Roosevelt's birthday....

"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." - Eleanor Roosevelt

What an amazing woman she was. I would love to take a trip back in time and have tea with her.

Have a great week!


08 October 2010

Back where I started

7 Small Shawls: T - 83 days and counting down.

Today, for absolutely no reason, mind you, except for blind optimism and determination, I am feeling great about my ability to get all of my work finished when it needs to be done. Nothing changed between my hyperventilation episode of last night and this moment, but there you go. I think this is the same reason I have two kids instead of one. ;)

So today I am back up to, and beyond, the point at which I ripped so much back. It's so nice to be pulling yarn from the center of the ball again! Here it is, and it looks very similar.
I loved the overall idea, but thought the diamonds between spines were just too much. As you can (probably) see, the spines grow into diamonds, but in between is an uninterrupted field of garter stitch.
Also, I don't have yarnovers along the outside of the diamonds.
Much better. More elegant and simple. Yes. I like it! :)

And I think it's about time this shawl had a name, don't you? I admit to having had a name in mind all along for this one. Can you guess it? Leave your guess in a comment by Tuesday, October 12 - 12 midnight PST, and I'll randomly pick one of you to receive a shawl pin from Designs by Romi! How does this one look?
Go! Comment! :) And have a great weekend!


07 October 2010

A ripping good time

7 Small Shawls: T - 84 days and counting down.

Okay. So right about now I am totally hyperventilating. Look at the number above: 84. :breathe: :breathe: :breathe: And then take a look at what I just did below. Yes. I ripped. Yes. Shawl #4 got ripped back. It just wasn't looking right to me, you know? And it needs to. It badly needs to look right to me. There was just too much going on. I wanted more simplicity. First, I thought I might rip the diamonds down and reknit them one by one. Then I decided that I really needed to enjoy my knitting, and that was sooooo not going to do it! So I ripped. I ripped down past the diamonds and started knitting it back up. I'm almost back up to where I was before, and I also have a great tip for ripping beaded knitting (thanks to a special member of my Ravelry Group who went through a period of lots of ripping).

Are you ready for this wonderful bit of simplicity? Put the item to be ripped back in a bag. I used a ziploc bag so I could close it around the strand of yarn emerging form the top.
Then start ripping, bay-beeeeee!

All the beads that would otherwise have flown across the room are neatly controlled in their little bag.
Isn't that fabulous?!

When you have ripped back enough, just remove the piece from the bag and replace the stitches on a needle. I like to use one that is smaller than the working needle. It's much easier to get the stitches back on without mishap. Then I just knit the stitches onto the correct needle size. Now I'm motoring along and determined not to fall behind!
Speaking of mishaps...I had one with the computer this week. It was nerve-wracking. The Mac kept freezing up completely. It took me quite awhile to get it sufficiently repaired - time I really didn't have. So when I really started getting nervous, I made a deal with myself. If I could just get the computer back up, I would back it all up and never be a bad girl again. Because really? I have no excuse. I have Time Machine after all, and all I needed was a giant (1 terabyte!) hard drive. Which I purchased and had over-nighted (for $3.99 extra, courtesy of amazon prime!). Isn't it cool?
It's now even cooler, because now it has all of my data safe and sound - all backed up! For the geeks (like me) among you: I also put my old Mac mini in target disk mode and wiped it (the video card is dead, but the hard drive is still fine). Now it's my Photoshop scratch disk. Woot!

Did I mention before what a cool summer we've had here? While the rest of the country was sweltering, we've been chilly! So cool, in fact, that September - when the heat finally came back - saw our very first ripe tomatoes of the year, and now we're getting more of them! And what tomatoes they are! My dear friend Susan gave me the plants and they have produced the absolute perfect tomato. Aren't they beautiful?
They are tangy, sweet and salty, juicy, and incredible. Susan thinks these are the Paul Robeson variety, but said it might be Carbon. Of course, this was over the phone, and I'm now hoping she can identify them from this picture! What do you say, Sooz? Which variety are these? Because zOMG. They are SO. GOOD.

Well, swim meet this weekend, so I'm trying to get everything together and finished before heading out Saturday morning early. Wish me luck!!!

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06 October 2010

Way leads onto way...

I've been thinking about posting this for some time now. And I'm resolved.

Some of you have no doubt heard of the train wreck that was UK Knitting Camp and Ravelry Weekend. The official website seems to be gone now, but there is a mirror site here.

Where to begin? I guess at the beginning.

Last year, some local friends of mine went to Sock Summit, where one of them won the grand prize: enrollment, room and board at UK Knit Camp. She was over the moon thrilled. She encouraged me to contact them and ask if they needed any more teachers and I dragged my feet thinking that it was all settled. Finally, though, she talked me into it. To my surprise, the organizer added my name immediately to the list of tutors and had me teaching knitted jewelry classes. Mr. Romi and I were excited and thought about trying to take a family vacation, partially using the money I would make teaching.

Fast forward to early this year. I received a packet of info including terms and contract info etc. I noticed that the tutors were expected to pay their own way and then be reimbursed. Noticed is perhaps an understatement. I took one look at air fares - well over $1,000 - and had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. The materials went on to stipulate payment methods to teachers. Now, I don't know how many of you have had the experience of being paid in non US funds or even in US funds drawn on a foreign bank. Fees, fees, and more fees. Naturally, I was disheartened at the thought of losing money even on my airfare. So I did what I sometimes do when I am conflicted: absolutely nothing. I am not proud of this aspect of my personality, but this time it seems to have been the right thing to do.

I did send back pictures for my classes and some biographical info, but that was all. I noticed that it didn't find its way to the website. So I wrote to inquire. I was told "tonight! I will be putting everything up tonight!" Many tonights passed, with nothing happening. I was now fairly sure that this was not going to be happening for me. Sure enough, soon after that, I received a terse email canceling my classes. Another couple of months passed, and I was still receiving inquiries about my teaching at the event. I was forced to ask the organizer to remove my name from the website. I also noticed that the list of tutors had become increasingly fluid.

My classes being officially canceled, I turned my attention to other possibilities, and launched my 7 Small Shawls challenge. Isn't it funny how one thing grows out of another? I wouldn't have had the time to do it, what with class prep and travel, had I taught at Knit Camp.

Meanwhile, my friend's prize kept being scaled back until it did not include enrollment in classes, but instead had her assigned as a helper in someone's class. Hmmmmm. I kept watch over the Knit Camp group on Ravelry because of her, and saw, to my dismay, the disaster unfold. First Ravelry pulled out - they had no contract until the last minute and then found the terms very understandably unacceptable. Then came a report of a teacher being sent back to the US because her work permit was not forthcoming. Others were forced to leave the country and re-enter when paperwork was in place. Throughout the whole thing, the teachers' comments were incredibly professional, and in fact, I have never heard to the contrary. As poorly as the event was organized, as difficult as the terms were, the teachers all did their very very best to give their students a wonderful time. And it seemed to work! I heard glowing reports of the teachers and fun time had by all, including my friend, who absolutely adored the teacher she assisted.

But a couple of weeks ago, my friend said "you need to read Lucy's blog."

Oh. Most of the tutors hadn't been paid. They still have not. Not only have they not been paid for their teaching time, they haven't been reimbursed for their airfare or other travel costs. In other words, they paid their own money for airfare, lost a week of possible business elsewhere, and then were not paid for their work. This is causing severe financial hardship in some cases, aside from the horrible feeling of being badly used.

But out of the ashes, some beauty has come into being. Kind and wonderful Jane has set up a fund to collect money to be paid to the tutors. She has done this at her own expense, and it is squeaky clean. She will never touch the money; it will all go to the unpaid tutors, first to cover out of pocket expenses, and then should there be anything left, this will go for unpaid fees. I encourage you to read her blog post and then the thread here on Ravelry. To donate to the tutors via PayPal, go here. Clifford Towers is the accountant retained to run this fund.

I can't tell you how sick this fiasco makes me; I can only imagine what financial horrors I would be going through right now if I had been unlucky enough to go. Please, if you can spare anything at all, do send even a little bit. It really does add up, and perhaps it will help save someone who does not in any way deserve bankruptcy or worse.

Thank you for reading this far. Hopefully, the ugliness will be overshadowed by all the good out there in the knitting community.

eta: Breaking News!!! It appears that some small portion of monies owed has been forthcoming! More here.


05 October 2010

October's Bright Blue Weather

When it gets to be this time of year, I always think of this poem. So I had to share. :)

October's Bright Blue Weather - Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.


04 October 2010

Monday's Musing

"Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose." - Tom Krause

Have a great week, everyone!


03 October 2010

Moving along

7 Small Shawls: T - 88 days and counting down.

And rather nicely! Shawl #4 is getting there!
I'm finding that I really love garter stitch.
I never used to love it.
I was always a plain stockinette girl.
But now I truly love the texture paired with hand dyed yarn.
And beads. Don't forget the beads.