30 April 2010

Feeling testy?

Happy Friday everyone!

I've set up a Yahoo group to test knit my patterns before they become available for sale. And now I need members. No group is complete without them! ;) What do you all think? Is anyone game?

This one is probably the next up:
and I have more coming! Lots of small shawls knit from sock yarn in particular.

If you are interested in joining - and I'd love it if you are - please email me at romi (at) designsbyromi (dot) com (replacing the (at) and (dot) appropriately). All levels of expertise would be great. If you're a beginner and can't understand my pattern I definitely need to know. :) (ETA: thank you to everyone who responded! I now have a plethora of test knitters. :) I'm closing the group for now, but I'm sure I'll be opening it again periodically, so if you wanted to test and didn't get here in time, just wait a little bit! Many thanks!!)

Can't wait to hear from you!

Off to a swim meet this weekend - yay for sunny weather. Have a great one!


28 April 2010

crafty goodness

For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, Síle at knit-one-one is having one of her fantastic craft sales this May 1st. I've done several of them before and they're always a great mix of fibery and not so fibery crafts. Well worth checking out, and just a few doors down from Sweet Adeline's. Yum! Details below.


26 April 2010

Monday's Musing

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” - Marcus Aurelius

This one is for someone very very dear to me - such a perfect quote for today....

Have a great week, everyone!



It was a lovely sunny weekend, and I enjoyed it even though I spent most of it working. Sunday, #1 Son made blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and I caught them as fast as I could.
But as you can see, they were very popular!

After breakfast, the Bear was out back watching Diva the house bunny, but he came by with a gift for me.
And then he wanted to press the rest of his collection.
So I took a little break, and out came the wax paper.
He arranged them all and we folded the paper over.
I had the perfect place for them.
After about 30 seconds he asked if they were ready and I said no, that they take much longer than that. "An hour?" he asked. No, many months. "Oh."

And then it was back to work for me, but I did manage to watch "Where the Wild Things Are" with him. :)


21 April 2010

Report from Yarnover

As I was waiting at the San Francisco airport to fly out to Yarnover last week, who should walk by but Cookie A?! We chatted for some time, but it soon became obvious that she was traveling in style! First class, and a driver who picked her up at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport!
He was sent by StevenBe, a thoroughly delightful yarn store owner where Cookie was teaching.

My friend Kerry picked me up at the MSP airport and we had dinner with Cookie and Jen, who was in town from Connecticut. Well, that is, we had dinner after we stopped by a sale at The Yarnery (I got a gorgeous lace book), one of the amazingly well stocked yarn stores in the area. I have definite yarn store envy. And there's no tax on yarn and fiber in MN. :happysigh:

The next day, we prowled a few more yarn stores and a fiber store (The Fiber Studio), and I ended up with some lovelies! (Can you imagine?! A whole store devoted to fiber!) Some alpaca/silk to spin for the spinner's challenge at the Sonoma County Fair,
and some gorgeous wool/silk.
Just look at that color!!!

On we went to Knitter's Palette to meet the wonderful Pam and Angela. I had spoken to Pam before since she carries my pins, but never met her in person. Something followed me home from there too. It's Dream in Color Starry in the Flamingo Pie colorway.
Isn't it incredible?! The color is even more amazing in person.

That evening was a teacher's dinner and I was beyond thrilled to meet, and eat with, Meg Swanson, Amy Detjen, Franklin Habit, Jared Flood and Lucy Neatby. Fabulous! The next day was off to teach classes - I loved that some of the students that were in my classes last year came back and took my classes this year! It was fun to see their friendly faces.

Even though shopping time was severely limited (thanks be!) I managed to pick up a skein of Rovings mohair/polwarth on the way out.
Trust me when I say the photo does not do the color justice. At all.

Then back to the hotel for dinner (where I got to hang out with Susan and Sally plus Shelley) and some relaxation before taking off the next day.

This is where I admit that, when Kerry took me back to the Fiber Studio to her spinning group, a bit of alpaca/silk that I had resisted the other day somehow made it into my possession.
Isn't it gorgeous?

Then back I went to chilly California - yes Minneapolis was warmer than home - and my boys picked me up at the airport. It seems I might have missed a little something while I was gone. It was loose before I left to teach at Yarnover, and when it's gotta come out, it's gotta come out! This was waiting for me when I returned home.
One of Dr. Destructo's upper teeth. He's got a pretty cute little snaggle-toothed grin now.

Whew! So there you go! Yarnover was wonderful - many thanks to the amazing organizers and everyone who took my classes!

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19 April 2010

Monday's Musing

Many many thanks to all those who commented on my last post. I am so glad that I didn't delete it! Sometimes it's difficult to remember that many others have similar stories. But of course, none of us are alone in our experiences. :)

I'd like to share a quote from one of my commenters that struck me just so. Thank you, Susan!

"One's life is not like garter stitch--the same from every side, even and unvaried." - JelliDonut

Have a great week, everyone!


13 April 2010


Be forewarned. This is a very uncharacteristically personal post.

Last Saturday, my Aunt Beverly passed away after a very long, very very hard life. She waited for me to come to her on Friday, and on Saturday morning, before anyone was up and about their business, she left quietly.

I find myself not really knowing what to write, but needing to write something. She was the end of an era: the eldest and last of three siblings. My uncle died in 2003, my mother in 2005. They were raised by my grandmother, who, when she raised me, could be equally loving and cruel. She had mellowed quite a bit, but she was still insane. My aunt eloped at 16, running away from beatings at home to a man who was even more vicious. She sank into alcoholism and despair, ending up on the streets, homeless. In the haze of her life, she survived shock treatments in mental institutions, beatings that left her bloody and bruised, and lord only knows what else. My grandmother never told me the whole of her story, but by the time I knew her, she was a broken person.

Although she was the most obvious of the victims, my mother, the baby, and her brother suffered too. My Uncle Laddie lied about his age and joined the Navy at 17, hating it, but taking the only way out. He fought alcoholism for the rest of his life. My mother stayed with my grandmother, then married my father at 21, later divorcing him when I was barely two. She begged my grandmother to let her come home, and then never escaped again. My grandmother raised me as if I were my mother's sister. My mother was an alcoholic, albeit executive level and high functioning, for as long as I can remember. She died of liver failure in 2005, outliving her mother only four years.

Why? That's what I've been asking myself. I look at a picture of the three of them as children with their whole lives ahead of them and wonder how they could get up every morning and make the same decisions. Every day. Day after day. It breaks my heart. None of the three siblings could ever forget their mother and move on with living their lives. I think they always felt powerless: caught by fate.

I am feeling strange these days, like someone without a history. Questions come up and I want to call my mother and ask her, but she's gone. As an only child who grew up without any extended family, the death of my aunt has left me feeling lost, as though the last link to my childhood is gone.

Why am I telling you this? I've been going back and forth about posting it. I often write personal things and then delete them before hitting "publish." I guess, in the end, I just needed to say it.

I may yet delete it.

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12 April 2010

Monday's Musing

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes...and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

I've been thinking a lot about the choices that we all make: those that are simple and those that are much more difficult and complex. At several times in my life, I've made a conscious decision to do something that was more difficult but was in line with what I like to think I believe. I don't like to think of the times I've made choices that were just easier, and not necessarily the right thing. Sometimes the thing that's easiest happens to be the right thing. Other times, though, doing the right thing is more difficult and ends up being more painful. If it's painful, is it still the right thing? How do you decide what to do when the right thing for someone else will hurt you too much? Or them?

I guess you all have caught me in a contemplative mood today. :)

Have a great week!


08 April 2010

@MOMA & @Romi's

The other day I was listening to NPR and caught some interesting news. MOMA has "acquired" the @ sign into its design collection. In a nutshell, MOMA has honored the humble @ sign for its history, usage and design. Did you know it's been around for centuries? Neither did I! Read about it here. It's fascinating to read how the @ sign was used before becoming a symbol of the internet age.

In honor of MOMA's acquisition, I've designed two @ sign shawl pins, (because I couldn't decide whether it should be a penannular or have a separate stick)! And you know what a new product means, right? A sneaky sale. :) Details at the end of my post!
The cool thing about the @ sign of course, is that even without the meaning, it has a beautiful and clean line to it.
The camera loves it.
And I had so much fun shooting it!
I couldn't decide which pictures to use.
So I ended up choosing quite a few.
Here's the version with separate stick.
I wore it to knitting the other day and a graphic designer friend loved it, even though he doesn't knit. You can buy your own here or here. They come in copper, nickel, brushed nickel (only the penannular - my favorite) and sterling silver. If you don't see it right away, shift refresh your browser and it will pop up.

And the sale? Through April 16th, take 15% off your purchase of $15 or more when you enter the code TAXTIME at checkout! Patterns not included.

Tune back in very soon to hear some cool news about a new project. I'm excited!

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06 April 2010


The rain has finally stopped, the wisteria is in bloom.
The apple tree is in bloom.
And the bees are happy.
I am so thrilled to see honeybees after many years of only Carpenter bees.
All of the honey bees in this area died off several years ago. But now they're back!!!
The smell is incredible. Roses, apple blossoms, wisteria, citrus, and numerous flowering hedges. I open the window and it all comes wafting in.

I love springtime in wine country.


05 April 2010

Monday's Musing

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” - Winston Churchill

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time.

Enjoy your week! Make it a great one.