28 June 2007

Friday Eye Candy

A couple of weeks ago I won a prize in Trek's contest. Can you believe it?! I never win those random things. (I'm starting to think Sheila was right: this is a Good Year for us Sagittarians!) :)

And then earlier this week a squishy package arrived from Ms. Trek. I opened it and out peeked this gorgeous paper, and even more gorgeous yarn:

Just look at that color (said I to myself)!

And then Lisa Souza's familiar swirl logo (I designed it!) came into view and I thought, duh! Of course it's Lisa's yarn!

Yum. The color, St. Valentine, is one I had been lusting after. I was trying to decide between it and watermelon. So...decision made! Isn't it lovely?! Thank you Trek!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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27 June 2007


First, thank you all so very much for your congratulations on my book! I will reply where I am able, but unfortunately, Blogger often does not include email information. You all made me feel so great! A big fat mwah to all of you!


My friend Susan has an enormous and kind one. She is one of those people who sees the world as it is, with all its imperfections, and works in a million little ways to make her corner of it a better place. She is happy and positive and wonderfully kind. A friend of hers is going through chemo right now, and Susan decided it was important to have some warmth and color to brighten everything, so she got our little Saturday morning knitting group together to knit a lap blanket. Each of us took a color or two (it will make a rainbow spectrum when finished) and we are knitting strips.

I took deep red and light orange. So what did I do with the red?

Hearts, of course!

As an aside, this pattern has a few places where the stitches are: K, YO, P, in that order. And my yarn overs right before the purl stitches were about twice as big as the others. So, instead of doing a YO on the right side, I picked up the bar between stitches on the next row to make a perfectly sized YO! Dude! ;)

And that's all there is today, 'cause I'm being stealthy again. ;)

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25 June 2007


Whew. Where to start? I guess with the signing:

and then to the post office:

And...what I am trying to say is (in Sheri's style):


Being terribly superstitious about such things, I didn't want to say anything until I had the signed contract in my hands! But I do now. And I am very very excited. My book (I have to get used to saying that - eeeeeeeeee!) is on knitted and crocheted jewelry using wire, beads and fiber, and it's due out in Fall 2008. Ulp. :)

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24 June 2007

...of Rings and Things

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes! #1 Son (and all of us) were incredibly touched and happy to receive them! :)

#1 Son received something big for his birthday: something very very cool from his grandmother, who, somehow, always finds the coolest cards and the greatest presents (although, to be honest, this time her son played a big part!). Here is #1 Son looking at me through the tripod:

And here he is looking through the eyepiece:

A telescope! And a fairly powerful one, too.

The other night (on his birthday) we went out around the corner to the elementary school and set it up, where we saw Jupiter and four of its moons. (Cool!) Last night, we went here:

and waited:

and my knitting waited with us:

and waited some more:

and then: wow. We saw Saturn and its rings! We could actually see the rings! It was totally and completely amazing (and I say that from a Star Trek geek point of view, remember). And we had to revisit Jupiter, of course. It was an awe-inspiring night. Wonderfully clear and lovely. From our perch on Geysers Road, we could see the Russian River, the vineyards, the lights of Santa Rosa spread out before us, and of course, the stars and planets. We left feeling tired but happy.

And then...misfortune struck.

On the way back home, I noticed my wedding ring was missing. It had been loose, and once I had felt it slipping off my finger when I was rummaging around in my knitting bag. We stopped the car. I searched through my bag and through the car. No ring. We continued home, where I dumped the entire contents of my bag into a box (no small feat, let me tell you). No ring. We searched the entire car. I felt sick. I kept telling myself "it's only a symbol, it's only a symbol." I was absolutely distraught. My husband, being able to tell that I probably wouldn't sleep at all, asked if I wanted to try going back up there to look for it with flashlights.


So back we piled into the car, the kids now in pajamas with their favorite blankets and stuffed animals, and my husband and I armed to the teeth with flashlights. I formulated plans: if we couldn't find it, I decided to rent a metal detector. I had already had a ring mishap before on a bike ride and I would find it this time as well! I said to myself as we drove "I am the ring; be the ring." (Am I a complete dork or what?!) And we decided to pull slowly into the turn-out, shining the headlights on the area in which we had been star gazing. And there was a glint. I could barely dare to hope that it would be this easy.

But it was! The flashlight revealed my ring lying patiently in wait. Joy!

I know it could have been replaced. How many times did I say that to myself?! But this was the one my best friend and husband placed on my finger at our wedding ceremony. This is the one that was engraved with our initials and the date of our wedding. Yes, it is a thing. But, to me, so very very important. And I was so incredibly happy to find it! And now the night will stand with the best memories of rings: both wedding and sky.

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21 June 2007

Happy Birthday, MiniMan

#1 son turned the big 08 this morning at 4:50 a.m. Wow, did that 8 years ever go fast!

Happy birthday, little man. You are personally responsible for changing my life, and I love you more than I could ever say in words.


20 June 2007

And the results are in!

This was a fun one! I really really enjoyed reading all of your guesses on the contest.


Without further ado...

...it was ginger ale. :) We didn't use champagne or sparkling wine because the bubbles are so small that they don't photograph very well at all. It tends to look like beer, if you can believe it!

Here's how the picture was taken. A champagne flute was placed on a peach colored gel (as in a see-through colored plastic sheet for photography) on top of a light box and in front of a black background. The camera (shooting film, not digital) was placed in front and adjusted for a shutter speed on the slow side (I don't know the exact setting of this transparency). The strobe lights (also gel'd) were set to fire when the camera shutter opened. Some ginger ale was placed in the glass and then, before each shot, I freshened it up a bit, which created more bubbles. The slow shutter speed, coupled with the pop of the strobe lights, captured a bright bubble followed by a long stream as the bubble moved up while the shutter was open.

Those of you who mentioned hair gel and other substances in which bubbles might be suspended were not far, however, from how some shots are accomplished. There are model makers who specialize in acrylic spills and other types of models that approximate liquids - just for ad shoots. Cool, eh? :)

So here's what I did with the contest. I entered everyone who answered that it was a sparkling liquid that would have produced the same results as the ginger ale. In other words: it had to have the right kind of bubbles and also be the color of champagne or sparkling white wine (including cream soda, sparkling grape juice, apple juice and sprite...). Then I went over to random.org and generated the number 4. Sharyn was the 4th commenter who guessed correctly. Congratulations, Sharyn! Email me at romiATdesignsbyromiDOTcom with your address please and I'll send off your pin!

Thank you all for playing!

And thanks, everyone, for the kind words about my new profile pic. I didn't think anyone would notice! You guys are the best. :)


18 June 2007

Contest Reminder!

Don't forget to enter my contest by midnight PST tomorrow, June 19. Enter early, enter often. ;)

In other news...nope...there is no other news that I can give. So I'll leave you with this link. Vanessa sent it to me. I love it. I read it all the time. Thank you, Vanessa! :)

Be well, everyone!

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15 June 2007

Friday Eye Candy Contest

My last contest was so much fun that I've decided to do another! Maybe I'll do one every month; who knows? ;)

Here's another of my husband's great photos.

But is it really champagne? Let me know whether or not it is real champagne, and if you don't think it is real, what you think it really is! Be specific. :) I will take all of the correct guesses and draw a random winner. You have until midnight PST on Tuesday, June 19 to leave your answer in a comment. Have fun with it!

Here is the prize that's up for grabs!

It's a handmade copper heart shawl pin from my Designs by Romi site.

Good luck and have a great weekend! :)

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14 June 2007


Thank you so much for all the kind words! Venezia Redux is a really fun knit and one that I often wear! I hope you will give it a try. :)

So now, just a quick little post to answer a few of your questions!

The ADD Knitter asked "
Do you think that my 12 yo daughter could do this, or would it be too hard for her?"
I definitely think a 12 year old could do this bracelet. She might need a little help with the tubing, but that is only a hand size and strength issue.

Sarah said "
I'm allergic to most metal. I doubt string of any sort would hold up that. Any ideas for what else I could use?"
Try using sterling silver wire. It's available in 32 gauge. That shouldn't cause any allergic reaction. I'm not sure which metals you are allergic to, but there are also possibilities including coated copper wire, copper wire, gold filled wire and brass. If you email me with your allergies, I think I can help you find something. :)

Bea asked "I wonder if copper wire would work?"
Absolutely! Just make sure it's quite thin so that you will have an easy time with it. You can find copper wire in a hardware store or at many craft stores.

Jennifer asked "It's really knitting? I can do it?"
Yes! It's just garter stitch. It looks way more impressive and difficult than it really is. :)

Vivian said "Your pictures are always so incredibly delicate and beautiful. Can you share what kind of camera you use?"
Thank you, Vivian! I used a Kodak Easy Share digital camera. Nothing very interesting, I'm afraid! :)

And Kathy said "I'm afraid I'll kill my poor hands (yarn is hard enough on me). A bracelet, however, is a limited amount of work, so I may well give this a try."
Never fear! This wire is very soft and at 34 gauge, is flexible and very easy to work with. It's actually easier than wrapping wire with pliers for jewelry. Just don't hold it too tight, and your hands will be fine! I can knit with it for hours.

If you have any more questions, just let me know. :) Have fun with it!

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11 June 2007

Venezia Redux


After my Venezia napkin rings came out in the fall 2006 issue of Knitty, several kind people sent me notes about the gate in Venice that inspired the design. Yes! It was the gate into the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and your kind notes and photos allowed me to relive a wonderful trip, and remember my mother as she was so many years ago. Thank you all!

Others wrote wanting to make a bracelet, but I told them that the pattern would be too flimsy at the larger size and if they could wait just a little while, I was working on a solution. So here it is! And true to its sculptural heritage, it uses an armature to shape the wire and bead skin and provide stability. And this time, I used recycled glass that reminds me of the ocean on the other side of the Guggenheim Collection. You can use anything you want, though.

One size

Measurements are taken after pulling fabric into shape.

Measured flat before seaming:
Width: 2.25 inches
Length: 10.25 inches

Measurements after seaming:
inner circumference: 7.5 inches
outer circumference: 11.5 inches

Beading wire, 32 gauge [30 yards per spool]; color: silver, one spool

1 set US #6/4mm needles: Bamboo is recommended, and you may find it easier to use two double-point needles rather than long straight needles.
Recycled glass beads, ranging in size from 2-4mm: 135
Clear plastic or acrylic bangle bracelet
OR 1/2 inch diameter clear acrylic flexible tubing with 5/16 inch thick wall: 1 foot

7 sts/69 rows = 2.25 inches by 10.25 inches (exact gauge is not critical for this project)

I used two double pointed bamboo needles because they are short and not very slick, and I found it very easy to manipulate the wire. I had no problems losing stitches. You can use any needles you like, though.

One of the seven stitches in each row functions as a selvage stitch. Do not put any beads between this stitch and the next stitch. The area without beads will be on the inside of the bracelet and enables the wearer to slide the bracelet on and off with greater ease, and with a minimum of wear and tear.

Beads are placed between stitches. To place a bead in your work, knit the stitch before the place you want your bead to go, slide the bead up the wire until it rests next to your right needle, then knit the next stitch. It's as easy as that!

To make working with the beads and wire easier, you can place the spool of wire into a small ziplock bag, approximately 2 x 3 inches and close the top around the wire. Do not use a larger bag, as this will encourage the wire to kink.

Clear tubing can be purchased in hardware stores, and has text printed on portions. Ensure you have enough area without text printed on it to reach around your hand - I used 10.25 inches. Bits of the lettering can be scratched off with a utility knife, if need be.

Make armature: bend tubing around hand and cut a length sufficient to pass over hand when joined. Cut another piece of tubing approximately an inch long. Cut smaller piece in half lengthwise. Roll smaller piece to fit inside larger piece snugly. If need be, wet the tubing to make insertion easier. Insert other end of smaller piece of tubing into the other end of the large piece to complete circle. If need be, heat tubing by dipping into boiling water or applying hair dryer, form into circle, and then hold under cold water to set shape. Any small gaps in the tubing will be covered by the beads and wire.

Pre-string beads on wire.

Using the Backward Loop technique, CO 7 sts, placing at least 1 bead in the CO row.
Knit approximately 69 rows garter stitch, using 2 to 3 beads per row, and scattering them evenly across piece. Place the beads in different places in the rows; you want to achieve fairly even coverage, with a seemingly random appearance. Remember to leave a bead free zone between the selvage stitch and the next stitch (only on one side). As you knit, pull the rows you have knitted into shape after each row. Having exactly 69 rows is not crucial. The most important thing is that the knitted fabric fit snugly around the armature. When you have achieved the proper length, cut the wire, leaving a 20 inch tail. Ensure that all the beads are on one side of the fabric, so that they will face out when the rectangle is seamed. It is easy to push the beads through and close the wire so they do not slip back through.

Stretch rectangle to proper dimensions if you have not already done so. Remove needle from live stitches, inserting a piece of waste yarn to keep them from unraveling. Wrap rectangle lengthwise around armature, making sure the beads are on the outside of the fabric. Graft together live stitches with cast-on edge. Remove waste yarn. Wrap knitted fabric around armature so that the area without beads is on the inside. Without cutting wire, sew together lengthwise edges of knitted rectangle around armature.

Wrap wire around itself several times and clip, being careful not to leave ends sticking out. Tuck wire in.

The fine print: Copyright 2007 Rosemary Hill. This pattern is for personal use only and may not be sold or knit for profit. Thank you and enjoy!

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I just wanted to thank everyone for writing and saying nice things! Y'all are totally great! I tried to write back, but Blogger only includes email addresses once in a blue moon, so here's a great big sloppy virtual hug and kiss!

Today (like a total idiot!) I forgot my camera when I went down to Petaluma (I've been down there a lot lately!). My friend Carol and I stopped by Knitterly where Shelli was having a Habu trunk show! Can I just say here how much I love Habu? I actually got to talk to Takako and fondle her gorgeous wares! Usually she is so swamped at Stitches that it's impossible to talk. And she remembered me! I guess I must have drooled in her booth too many times before. ;)


09 June 2007

The 6 o'clock News

Last Thursday evening some friends and I piled into the car and drove on down to Petaluma to see the one, the only, the Yarn Harlot herself! In the flesh. Here is where I will admit that I didn't know whether or not I would enjoy hearing her speak. I had heard that she was hilarious, smart, gracious and well worth seeing. So I had determined to go. Usually, though, I don't think things are funny that everyone else thinks are funny. I don't like Seinfeld for instance. See?! I'm telling you!

She was wonderful. Absolutely hilariously and wonderfully witty and funny. I loved her. I was laughing uproariously (the whole audience was!). My friends had to hold me down to keep me from buying all of her audio books right then and there, because her comic timing is just so perfect, so exquisite, that I knew I would rather hear her read her books than read them myself! This usually does not happen. I am smitten.

Here she is, still graciously signing books and talking to people at 10:30pm:

And showing off her chocolate covered espresso beans from Sylvia via Silvia (see?! I didn't eat them!):

Here's the crowd looking up at Stephanie earlier while she was speaking:

And looking toward the back of the room:

There were only two people there not interested:

Harry Potter is difficult to compete with, though!

Here is Susan in Knitterly. "Room spinning. Head light. So. Much. Yarn. Must touch roll in yarn. Must...."

I got to see Alison again and to see the advance copy of her gorgeous new book! She even let me hold it. And now I get to say I knew her when! :)

As you can see, she already has groupies who hold up lacy backgrounds for impromptu photo shoots. Lucky girl! Where can I get a couple? I need all the help I can get.

And I finally got to meet Silvia! Here she is holding the famous chocolate covered espresso beans before the hand-off to me:

And in the end, I just want to say this: if all celebrities were as talented, gracious and inclusive as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the world would be a better place. Thank you, Stephanie, for everything you have given us. You are wonderful.

Okay now. I still need to dispel that nasty rumor that I am actually a female impersonator. It's just not true, people, however it looks on the Harlot's blog! Don't believe it! So for those of you (Joanne) who want to know what I really look like, here are two pics I just took in the mirror. This is it, the un-made-up, unvarnished, photographed in a t-shirt by a crappy photographer, boring old me. :) Not as good as the profile shot, Marina, which was shot by my husband, a professional photographer (you should see the rest of the pics from that shoot - wow! I wish I looked like that all the time!), and when I weighed 10 pounds less (I'm working on it!) but not as bad as the female impersonator shot. Still lookin' a little puffy, but, um, that happens once in awhile.

Be well! :)



After seeing my picture on the Harlot's blog, I feel obliged to tell you that, appearances aside, I generally do not bear such a close resemblance to a female impersonator without make-up (I hope I hope!). Chris was kind enough to tell me that it is completely normal to look like an idiot in her presence (even though the picture of Chris I saw awhile back was excellent!). So, after weighing my options, I have decided not to wear a bag over my head today for Worldwide Knit in Public Day! See you out there! :)

And...more later this evening.


08 June 2007

Friday Eye Candy

Are they not completely bizarre and wonderful?! Hee.

Tomorrow's report: The Yarn Harlot rocks Sonoma County! We love her. :)


05 June 2007

Before and After

Shawl pin blanks waiting to be hammered and polished for a wholesale order:

...then after, when they are ready to be labelled, bagged and boxed:


In other news, the mohair is in time out. We aren't speaking to each other right now. ;)

And now...back to work.

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03 June 2007


Halftime Score
Mohair: 1
Rosemary: 0

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01 June 2007

What I did over Memorial Day Weekend, Part III

We interrupt the usual Friday Eye Candy programming to bring you the third and final installment in the exciting mini-series. ;)

Saturday, I actually took a little time out to go knit with my regular Saturday morning group. I didn't think I would be able to make it, but at the last minute, I realized there was not much going on that morning, so off I went! And I'm so glad I did! I got to see Carol's finished tie-dyed boxes (she's standing next to Susan) and take a terrible cell phone photo of it:

I think she looks great in it!

I also picked up some yarn and Last Minute Knitted Gifts. But more about that later!

On we went then, back to the fair! Here you can see some serious cotton candy enjoyment going on:

And then we have Dr. Destructo looking adorable for the camera, so I could not resist putting him in:

It's difficult to believe anyone with this face is capable of the wanton destruction of everything in his immediate vicinity, isn't it? Like Alison says, it's a good thing he's so cute!

Saturday night brought the market animal auction, cake auction and wine barrel auction (the boys were planting the barrel in yesterday's post). Since the auction raises money for the kids' college funds and for 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America), the community is always very generous. Several kids walked away from the animal auction with over $10,000 to add to their college bank accounts. But the moment that took the cake
, as it were (I can't help the pun - it's a sickness!) for me was the money put up for a single strawberry cheesecake that looked like this one (without the pieces cut out, of course). Are you ready? $1,800! Last year it went for $500. That's quite a jump, eh? It was a bidding war, as you may have guessed. In the end, the woman who baked it won it back with the help of her bidding coalition. ;) And the kids all benefited. It was wonderful!

The fair ended Saturday night and Sunday morning was clean-up, so we went back to help. #1 Son was anxious to help his older friends who had had animals sold at auction the day before.

Sunday afternoon I began knitting up a baby sweater, and on Monday I finished it:

Yarn: Blossom by Reynolds
Pattern: Child's Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, in 6-12 month size

I modified the pattern because the yarn was so far off gauge. In addition to the gauge issues, I used garter stitch rather than seed stitch around the borders. The buttons were larger than the pattern called for (Joelle Hoverson used beads), but I had to have them! So I sewed them on and then added nylon snaps underneath. (Isn't that cool!? See-through nylon snaps! I'd never seen them before.)

The sweater was for #1 Son's Sensei(s), a husband-wife team who just had a baby girl! The party was on Tuesday. Whew!

And that's that. I think I also had a nap in there somwhere. ;)

Oops! I forgot to add that I got an invitation to Ravelry over the weekend! Woooooot! Another time wasting amazingly fun thing to do! I love it. :)

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