31 May 2011

Through the woods and across the Sierras

Last Friday we packed up the car and headed off to our very first out of state swim meet; across the Sierras and into Carson City, Nevada! It had been a very long time since I'd actually been into Nevada (California is a big state and we don't usually leave by car!) and an even longer time since I'd been to Carson City. Newsflash for this California girl: on the other side of the state line, they have it pretty good! I mean, just look at this gorgeous indoor Olympic sized pool!
The Carson Tigersharks get to practice there. We were all seriously - and I mean seriously - green with envy. #1 Son just stared open-mouthed when he walked into the complex. They have a scoreboard that keeps a running time and has each swimmer's "name in lights" as #1 Son said. Both boys went on to have an absolutely amazing meet, with personal bests in every event. Part of that is because they are both finally getting thoroughly over whooping cough (yes - they were both vaccinated the requisite number of times, but they got it anyway), and part of that is because they were just so thoroughly enjoying the moment and the whole experience. It was such a joy to see!

Now, not only did both boys have personal bests in each event, The Bear won his 8 and under age division, taking first in every single one of his events. Here he is with his age division trophy. He is one proud little dude. And his parents may have burst a few buttons, as well.
While we were there, Mr. Romi, who loves archery, stopped by the local outdoor course. He had called ahead and gotten ahold of the caretaker (I was feeling the similarities here, since I checked Jimmy Beans' hours!) who met him there in the morning to shoot before the afternoon session of the swim meet. (Big kids in the morning, little kids in the afternoon). It was so gorgeous that Mr. Romi took me out later to see the view. Look at that sky!
It had snowed the night before, but the snow had all evaporated. You can still see some on the Sierras in the background here, though.
I was absolutely enthralled by the scenery. I have always always loved the desert, and the high desert in particular.
And then we were off to Reno. Happily for me, Jimmy Beans is open on Mondays! (And yes, I had already checked on the way up. I believe in being prepared.) Look at this yummy wall of yarn!
Mmmmmmmmore yarn.
This is where the website fulfillment magic happens - in the back room. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming (and they let the boys use the bathroom so I will love them all forever)! This is Kristen, who is packing up orders.
And this is Terry, who actually used to live in Sonoma County and knew exactly where my town is! This is a very Rare Thing.
She was nice enough not to say anything when I pronounced Nevada incorrectly. Being from California, I pronounced it with the Spanish "a" as Nev-AH-da. But in reality, locals pronounce it Nev-AD-a. So, many thanks to you, Terry (and apologies for messing up your state name); I am much obliged! :)

Oh. Did I mention that some yarn might have followed me home? This lovely is from Lorna's Laces. It's one of their designer series yarns, and this particular skein of Shepherd Sock is Grand Street Ink, Jared Flood's color. I loved the gorgeous rich purpley-brown color immediately, and it went wandering around the store with me.
And because a skein of yarn can never be lonely, it found a friend. Seasilk in the ebony colorway.
Seeing that I have an absurdly enormous stash, I asked #1 Son which he liked best, because I was determined to split them up and only adopt one. He gave his opinion. I asked Mr. Romi and The Bear. They said both. Hee. Love it! Although I secretly thought Mr. Romi was buttering me up because we were about to stop at Cabela's on the way back to California.

Here's the view out the Cabela's door. It is an insanely enormous store. Utterly overwhelming. All I can say is: it's a good thing I was there. Otherwise? We might be starving and homeless today.
We finally got out of Cabela's and were off back to California! The traffic was quite civilized, probably due to the exorbitant price of gas.

And when we returned? Look what was waiting for me! It is angora/wool/silk from one of my club members. She keeps angoras and had the fiber spun by a local mill. It is sumptuous!
I really wish you could see it and feel it. It's a lace weight and it is the lightest and softest stuff ever! I can't wait to dig into it. She spoiled me with four 315 yard skeins!
And then today it was back to work. It was nice to sleep in my own bed, but I find myself really missing the high desert! Kind of amazing for a dyed in the wool California girl. Just shows that even an old dog, well, you know.... ;)

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30 May 2011

Monday's Musing

This time I'm blogging in the car! We had a great swim meet weekend and are headed back home. The boys both did fabulously. The Bear won the 8 and under trophy and he is still flying high. #1 Son had a meet full of personal bests. So today's thought:

"Carpe diem!" (Seize the day) - Horace


27 May 2011

.and the winner is...

Number 3! Thank you so much everyone!!!

Luckily for tose of you who liked a different one, Dee is going to sell the other colors in her shop update this Saturday. :) #3 won't be for sale quite yet, though!


26 May 2011

Please help me choose!

Some of you may remember that I convinced the wonderful (well, she didn't need much convincing because she is so wonderful!) Dee from Saffron Dyeworks to create a new color of her Enya Sock for a little fundraising shawl pattern for my sons' swim team, the Neptunes. The Neptunes, like so many other swim teams, have been having a very difficult time of it because of the shaky economy in my county. Though this isn't a nation- or world-wide cause, the team is very close to our hearts in this family - swimming is a terrific sport - and I am hoping to help out as much as possible. There are quite a few kids whose parents are unable to pay the dues, and added scholarships (swimmerships?) have been helping to drain the team's coffers.

For the pattern, $5 of each purchase will go to the Neptunes team. And the afore-mentioned wonderful Dee has pledged $5 from each skein of 50 that she will make available for pre-order, as well as $5 per skein ordered within a three month period (she will set the dates on that one). We are all so excited and thankful here that I can hardly tell you!

Well...Dee just sent me three gorgeous watery colors, and I can't decide which to choose! So I showed them to the boys (my two younger ones and the older one) and they each chose a different one! Will you help me please? I took a picture of them, but the colors are so vibrant that the picture doesn't really do them justice.
#1 is probably most like clear blue pool water, with a little grey thrown in; #2 is the stunning green of the San Francisco Bay right near Angel Island, and #3 is the brilliant turquoise of the South Pacific near a white sandy beach. Which can you absolutely not resist?

Please leave me a comment and let me know which one you love best!

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25 May 2011

Wherein Romi pets pretty yarnz

I know. It's been a long time again. I've been a bad bad blogger. But have accomplished much! Before we get to that, though, I still want to share my gorgeous yarnz from Yarnover.

First up? These lace weight beauties given to me by the lovely people at Sun Valley Fibers. I particularly favor the grey.
Can you see the purple streaks in the grey? I love these two together. They are yummy!
And this green loveliness is from Little Gidding Farm. 100% suri alpaca lace weight. It is the softest, most silky incredible skein of fluff! It is truly drool-worthy.
Here we have a wool and corn blend. Yes! Corn! From Corny Goodness. I love the way it feels. I saw a shawl sample and it knits up something like Shetland wool, but much less scratchy. I can't wait to play with it!
Here's the 100% corn. It feels a lot like a cotton. Perfect for spring or summer!
And then I pet the bunny. (Did you notice I was in a purple and grey mood?) These are angora/merino from Kimmet Croft. So soft! I really can't wait to try it. btw, the purple is pretty spot on, but the picture doesn't come close to doing the grey justice. I do love me some good grey.
Guess what? Alcyone is released!
And with her release, all of the ebook shawls are out! (I do have a couple of little extra accessory patterns that are going in too, though.)
While I was putting together the final final pattern, something that I had been awaiting with great anticipation came.
Look how shiny they are!
I love them. :) In fact, the last pair of cowboy boots I ordered (but for way less money than shown) are going back, because these are just so much more me!
So I had to put them on and wear them around. Especially during my little photo shoot.
I enjoyed my private joke.
I also sent out a secret project that I so wish I could share with you! But, sadly, you will have to wait until winter.

And my shop is back up!

More to come soon. :)

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23 May 2011

Monday's Musing

"Who, being loved, is poor?" - Oscar Wilde

I hope that you are feeling as rich as I today.

Have a fabulous week, everyone!


18 May 2011

In which Romi goes on and on and on

Whew. I feel like I haven't been here in ages! So much has been going on. This is going to be a long post, but I really think I owe you at least a few highlights!

I guess the super gigantic whirlwind really started being a perfect storm right after I rushed Sakaki out, with my 3 secret projects, due dates all falling within a period of two weeks. My first, a small one thankfully, was completed way ahead of time and sent off to its new home. It is still a sekrit. Then came my offering for Kristine's Pro-Verbial Club. (Isn't that a great name?) Meet Cáliz, which will not be available to everyone until later this year. She was designed to take full advantage of the rustic camel/silk blend from A Verb for Keeping Warm.
Kristine's club ships right at the same time as mine. I rushed to get Cáliz to my test knitter extraordinaire, so that I could then concentrate on my own club offering, a more complicated confection that needed tweaking before going to test knitters. All I can say is that I have the absolute best test knitters in the whole world. I am so lucky! With their help, I was able to get it all together in time. Meet Lisianthus (which, btw, is also the nickname of a very dear friend of my mother's).
You can see the center leaf panel transition into the edging a little more clearly here, I think.
And here we have the detail at the neckline.
She is knit from String Theory's seri silk silk lacewight yarn, which is utter heaven. It reminds me of that incredible color of blueish-purple hydrangeas. I have several options in my club, and the "Romi's Choice" people, who receive my choice of yarn, pin metal and pattern, received the pictured shipment for April.
There's also a little polishing cloth thrown in for fun. The packages all went out over a period of about a week and half, as I try to give the international members a little head start so they don't have to wait as long.

After that craziness, it was time to start another secret project, take the boys to STAR testing (which is an event when you homeschool as we do) and allow the poor long-suffering Mr. Romi to catch up on some things that had been put aside to help me get everything together. So the couple of weeks before I went off to teach at Yarnover were spent at a lot of swim practices and putting together some sizable wholesale shawl pin orders. This made me realize how much I really needed to have a Mac laptop, so that I could work on patterns in my Adobe software while at practice. I already had Mac and PC versions of charting software and OpenOffice so that I could use my little Toshiba laptop in the pattern writing process, but I wasn't about to buy Adobe's Creative Suite again for the PC! Enter my new MacBook Pro, the most beautiful piece of technology I have ever owned. (Posing here with one of the extra projects from my eBook).
I finished laying out my Alcyone pattern - the last shawl from the eBook subscription! - on my new laptop, the next up for test knitters after those three secret projects. And then? Disaster. I discovered an error that changed more than half of the charts and written instructions. Not complicated once discovered, but terribly time consuming, as I had to throw out a huge amount of work. By now it was time to be going, and so off I then went to Yarnover. (Can I just add that I absolutely love Yarnover? If you have a chance to go, grab it!) It was their 25th anniversary and I was lucky enough to be teaching there! Here I am with a great group of people from my Ravelry forum (thank you for letting me use the picture, Nora!); it was amazing meeting everyone in person, and I so wish I could have gotten pictures of all! :)
I also finally got to meet Twinset Ellen at dinner! Here she is (in a terrible, low-light grainy picture - sorry!) with StevenBe.
Here's Cathy, who wove that beautiful bookmark as a gift for me! I was very touched. Thank you, Cathy! :)
And here's the wonderful Kristine's wonderful mother.
I also collected some yummy yarnz, and I will show you those in my next post!

From where I live out in the middle of nowhere, it takes pretty much a full day to travel anywhere, so I had loads of time to work on different projects. One was the afore-mentioned 4th secret, and one was a little extra for my eBook: a cowl out of decadent cashmere sock yarn from Artyarns.
When I returned, it was three days until Mr. Romi left on a business trip through the next (swim meet) weekend (by now we're up to the week before Mother's Day). I was still working on some wholesale pin orders and the secret project, while trying to keep everything else going in preparation for Mr. Romi's business trip, and working through Alcyone for the second time.

Around this time, silver prices went up to an all time high of $50/ounce. I had been expecting prices to go down, and so had been absorbing the extra material cost (my sterling pin prices were set when silver was $18 an ounce). It was obvious I couldn't do that any longer and still feed the kids. So, with a weekend approaching, and no fast site fix (I needed to update the database and my site both to change silver prices), I was forced to take my jewelry site down for maintenance, thinking I could get it back up after the weekend swim meet. Um. Not.

That weekend, I put everything work related away, except for some work on the Alcyone pattern in spare moments. We were up at 4:45 a.m. both days to get there in time to set up and warm up in the pool. We got a smaller pop-up so that I could actually put it up with the help of the boys. (Mr. Romi is much taller than I, and the big pop-up tent was too much!) I love the checked top. :)
It was a very very windy weekend. This is the timing tent. Luckily it blew in after the last race when no one was in the pool! If you look closely, you will see buckets attached to the poles. They were full of water to weight the tent down. Heh.
The meet was super fun, but left me utterly exhausted. Sunday evening I went to bed early and slept late the next morning. And I slept ten hours a night for about two more nights, actually going to bed before midnight or one in the morning. This is unheard of!

Mr. Romi returned Monday and was immediately back to work catching up, and with promises to pamper me for two weekends for the missed Mother's Day. (I thought that was a great deal). :) Alcyone was fixed and in testing, and I breathed a little sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, the yearly swim team fund raising swim-a-thon event took place.
Here's a happy Bear, who swam the full 200 laps for the first time!
Onward! Life and the secret project knitting continued, it started raining, and I came down with the world's worst head cold. Bleh.

But now? The sun is out, the secret project finally dried and sent out (amazing what 3 hours in the sun will do for drying that 20 hours inside will not), and I am finishing up the pattern, getting my site back up, getting ready to release some half year club memberships (tomorrow, May 20th at 9 a.m. PST!), doing a final edit on Alcyone, and getting the last two extra patterns ready for the eBook. Other stuff is happening, too, but more about that later. (Hint: another subscription is part of it!)

I know I've omitted quite a bit, but really? If you have read this far, you deserve a cup of tea and some chocolate for your patience. So...more later!

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16 May 2011

Monday's Musing

It's raining, the kids are cranky, I have a head cold, Mr. Romi is feeling under the weather, and I'm trying to get a secret project finished and off. So today?
"This, too, shall pass." - attributed to many authors

I take comfort in the sure knowledge that tomorrow is another day. My project will be blocking. The sun may come out. And we live in the age of Sudafed. Life is good. :)


09 May 2011

Monday's Musing

“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.” - Richard Buckminster Fuller

Can you believe I slept 10-11 hours last night? I guess I was a little tired out after the swim meet. :)

But now I'm ready to resume building my little part of the future. How about you?

Have a great week!


08 May 2011

Mom's rules for life

Happy Mother's Day everyone! Here I am blogging from the swim meet again. (To those of you who asked, I'm using the Blogger+ ap for iPhone-I like it but still have to figure out how to post pics). It's a super windy day, but we're in a nice protected little corner. Yay!

Driving to the swim meet with sleeping kids and without adult conversation (Mr. Romi is away this weekend) gives one a lot of time to think. It was actually rather nice and peaceful. (Brrrrrrrr-sun just went behind a cloud). So I contemplated my rules of life and shared them with the boys when they awoke. They were unimpressed. It's always good to have kids around to keep you real, you know? But I think, just for fun, I will share them here anyway.

1. Figure out what you love to do and do it with abandon.
2. Work hard and play hard.
3. Never stop learning.
4. Strive for perfection and be happy with excellence.
5. It doesn't matter how many times you get knocked down, only that you get up one more time. (with thanks to Mr. Romi's dad)
6. Make the best of every situation. Look for opportunities everywhere, especially in failure.
7. No matter how you feel, always hold yourself like a winner.
8. Be excellent to each other. (with thanks to Bill and Ted)
9. Don't worry; be happy. (with thanks to Bobby McFerrin)
10. If something means a lot to you, never give up on it.

And there you go. Have a great one!

(I will post the chicken curry recipe this coming week)

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07 May 2011

Is this thing on?

Just got a blogging ap for my iPhone and here I sit, at a swim meet, blogging. How cool is that?! I still haven't figured out how to upload pics from my phone, but I'm working on it.

Last week was utter madness. Got back from teaching at (the awesome) YarnOver and immediately needed to help poor Mr. Romi get ready for a business trip of his own. He's still gone, I actually got a little accomplished, and we even got to the swim meet on time! I'm feeling fairly impressed with myself for getting us all out the door this morning at 5:40 a.m. I even put some chicken curry in the slow cooker and set the time delay on the rice cooker. I know the feeling will pass (one can never feel impressed with oneself very long when there are kids around) so I'm enjoying it as much as possible.

Well. Here's hoping this post doesn't look utterly bizarre. Back to being Swim Mom!! :)

Later? Pics of yarn. And peeps.

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02 May 2011

Monday's Musing

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine

I'm back from teaching at Yarnover in Minneapolis! I admit to being a terrible hermit, tucked away in my little studio in wine country. I often have to force myself to travel, but I always always enjoy it. So much to see, so many new people to meet and old friends to hug once again!

I had a wonderful time, as I always do at Yarnover, and my only regret was not being able to have more time with the fabulous organizers, volunteers, members of my Ravelry group, and other teachers. I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend with them, though, and the ability finally to put names to faces and Ravatars, and hear people's voices. Are you like me? I always "hear" a voice when I am reading a message online, and now I can hear the real thing in my mind's ear. :)

I'll have a bit more later, but right now I'm off to do some catching up! Have a great week, everyone!

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