Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ginger Bread

Everyone is coming over here for Christmas Eve. And we are going to decorate Ginger bread people. How crafty.
Merry Christmas from our house to all of yours. May it be filled with loved ones and lots of good cheer!

Monday, December 17, 2007

flying needles

The needles have been flying.
In all 10 minutes I am home, the needles move in my hands. That is when I am not cooking, cleaning or wrapping.

This is a new yarn at the store that shimmers. I have been doing a scarf with a ruffle edge. The funny thing about ruffled edges, each row takes twice as long as the last.

this is a 'novelty yarn' called Popcorn. When I knit a scarf with it last week, it sold the day it went into the store. Here is the second one.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Robot

Earlier this year, I was called to do a commission knit project.
The brief was this: knit a Robot for the cover of a magazine. And what’s more, Martha Stewart herself will be holding my project as a prop!!! What a great opportunity. One that I would do almost anything to see through to fruition. One of the funny things is which Magazine it was for: Wired. Not a knitting magazine at all. But still, there are knitters in homes where Wired Magazine lives. So let's get some exposure going!

They had seen the Jess Hutch Robot, and that is not what they wanted. They sent pictures of amazing primary color vintage metal toys. They were really cool. I was thrilled that I would be working with people that wanted something “cool”. Then, we got down to their specifications, and they were nothing like the pictures. They did not want primary, or even bright colors. They wanted grey, with black details. SUPER SIMPLE. Simple, that is, except for a claw hand.
And one arm was to be left unknit, so that it could look like Martha had been working on it.
We were on a one week deadline, and that was striking fear in my heart. I don’t need to remind of you that knitting to a deadline is stressful. And I do have a full time job. So this would have to be done “on the margins”. My margins would have to get a whole lot bigger. I set to the knitting, and got some sketches done, and some swatches to understand what the overall dimensions were going to be, and I started in on the construction. The next morning we had a little progress report, and they said they wanted to see the color. In person. So they sent a messenger over to pick up the gauge swatch. Later that morning, I got word back that they were not happy.
They felt the gray was too dark for a photo shoot – and could we make it lighter? (?) I tried everything. I washed they yarn. And I tried bleaching the yarn even. I soaked the swatches in bleach. It didn’t loose one drop of it’s color. (Just so you know – Dale of Norway: Freestyle – can be washed and even bleached, and It will not run or fade!)

We retrenched. They were SURE that this was too dark for the photo shoot. So we started over. They thought that we could just open the pantone swatches and pick an exact SHADE of yarn. I tried to explain that there were only a certain number of colors and yarns available in grey. And of those, I picked the lightest.
We resorted to plan “F” which was for them to get a sweater in the exact color they wanted, and I would pull it out, and knit from that. (!!!???!!!) That is the plan they chose. That night they messengered over 3 sweaters, and I set to pulling one apart for the yarn. Have you ever tried this? It is really tough. You have to take out the seams without ripping the sweater itself, otherwise you will get shredded scraps of yarn. Into the wee hours, I was picking and pulling. Finally I had enough yarn amassed to begin, and I gauged, and started over.

I worked late into the night all week, and the robot took shape before me. I got excited about how to ‘deocrate’ it. I had some red vintage buttons for the “nobs” on the sides of his head. And some other gromits and things to make him look electrical, and vintage at the same time. But further conversations stifled all of that. So he was gray, with a black embroidered face, and that was it.

During all of our discussions, I asked if this could really be true. Was Martha Stewart really going to hold this Robot?! I tactfully asked because the maven of home arts – in fact – does not knit. (allegedly) (If she knits it is in secret. And if I were in jail for 18 months, and I was allowed to have yarn and needles… holy cow… it would be an 18 month knitting marathon. Me, zen, knitting. ) When I said “I don’t think Martha knits” the very capable woman was puzzled, and said that her people had talked to their people, and this is what they suggested. It was perfect for them, and for the Magazine, and good for Martha. Fine by me. I’ll be credited with the design, and I will have a picture of Martha holding something I made. So I carried on.

At 7:00 am there was a messenger at my home, ready to pick up my little creation. (I had slept a few hours.) I submitted my little Robot friend, complete with DPN’s dangling from one arm. He was not how I would have designed him, but I was proud. He was sweet, and square, and stood up if you really coaxed him. His claw arm was beautiful – and I even inserted wire, so that he would fully function. I held my breath to hear what the design team thought. And to my gratification, it was “exactly what they wanted” they said they “Loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it.” Whew! What a huge relief. It was repackaged, and sent to New York for the photo shoot.

Several months later, I waited for a call, or confirmation, or a word. And the magazine came out, and there was nothing even remotely related on the cover. The next month, the magazine came out, and Whoa! We were looking at a cake CPU!

I had agreed to do this project for about a nickel an hour – and that was before the “start over” chapter of the story. I agreed because the cache of having Martha, on the cover, holding my project was enough. And getting the store name out there in such an unusual venue more than made up for the discounted labor. Now, as I stood looking at a cake(!) I was reeling at a nickel an hour, for my precious time, and my compromised robot.

Faced with the post mortem discussion, my esteemed advisor – who is also my book keeper, and a great general sounding board for business matters – gently asked “did you have a kill fee?” Oh, do tell me, what is a “kill fee”. (and for those of you who do not know – it is a fee or a payment that is agreed upon if the project does not see itself through to it’s conclusion for what ever reason. )
Ho that is a hard way to learn the definition of a word. When it smacks you upside the head, and you realize that you have just volunteered your time.

I learned SO many lessons.
Lessons about deadlines.
Lessons about knitting on a deadline.
Lessons about creating to someone else’s specs.
I learned about how to value my time. And about stress management.
And clearly, I learned YET AGAIN, how to negotiate a contract.

I would like to design some robots. And put the vintage button nobs on them.

But right now, I need to go work on Christmas knitting, on THAT deadline.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

one year

One year blogaversary

Its been a year of posting.
It was going to be about my own knitting, and crafting.
And as the time has gone by, it has been about so much.

There have been big questions. And some big answers. Both on and off the blog.

There have been really beautiful days.
And really awful ones.

Great friends have gathered. And some have moved away. The house has come along, and we continue to make progress where progress needs to be made.

And there has been crafting and making all year.
Here we are steaming toward the holidays.

I realize now how important the crafting is in the balance. I am happier if I have made something. Some people garden, and get their hands in the dirt. Some people play an instrument. I want to cut fabric, or pick up needles. The clicking sound and the garment growing in my hands is peaceful.

It has been interesting to track my progress - as well as that of my friends. I tend to start lots, and finish less. I seem to hit more 'issues' than some. (Am I really hitting issues? Or am I letting perfection get in the way of progress? )

I'll tackle the stash more this year.
And I'll post more photos.
Happy one year of reading. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 12, 2007

a stitch expariment

Ah, a little stitch experiment. The Herring bone stitch.

This is Manos, and is usually worked on an 8. I started on an 11, and went to a 13, it was still tighter than chain mail. So I went to a 17, and by that time, it had loosened up. It's a neat affect, but it is kind of "fussy". I'm not sure I would sign up for a whole sweater done in this pattern. And with such big sticks, you can't knit continental, OR get a lot of speed going.
Stay tuned for the scarf that will follow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

seaming finished

Originally uploaded by gpope_1998
This is headed off to it's rightful owner. It was knit as a gift for Kathy, by the women and men in SF Chicks with Sticks.

Friday, November 2, 2007


I am seaming a throw. A labor of love. A collaborative effort. And here is a sneak peek. !

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Farmer's Market

A friend and I meet some Saturdays at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market at o-dark thirty to catch up. After the coffee and the breakfast sandwich, and hours of fast talking, we go out to get any vegetables and flowers. It is my favorite way to begin a Saturday. All is right with the world.

The market was especially colorful this morning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Box Bags

I was inspired by some conversations this week. And I pushed through some projects. I've had the fabric for a while.

I love the way the contrast fabric just peeks out from behind the handle. (of course, the bag is lined in the same fabric.
I have wanted to try these since I saw this, and then these.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beautiful Things

I have been working on my vest. It is delicious.

But here are pictures of some of my other favorite things.

I spent some time at Aveda. So it follows that I spent some money at Aveda too.

We are puppy sitting for friends who are out of the country, and we had a little dinner to introduce the puppy to my nephew, who is 5. It was a charming evening.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Here is a picture of a perfect afternoon.
A Latte, A Mac, and a sweater on the needles.
Wonderful Fall.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


The textures here are just so amazing.

I highly recommend it!

Call Noe Knit. I bet they'll send you one!
(415) 970-9750

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Second Try

I worked up this vest last year. I loved it, and wore it a couple of times.
And then, it got wrapped up in the sheets, and sent off to the laundry. It felted. (of course it did) Emotionally, I am just about ready to sew up the bottom, and make a bag.

And so I have picked a new color, and started again. This one will be a dusty lavender.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ivory Ab. Fab. Kit

I'm 9 rows from finishing.
This is the Absolutely Fabulous Throw Kit from Colinette in Ivory. The textures are beautiful.
It's knit on a size 11 US.
I will be fringing until my fingers bleed.
It cracks me up when we shorten the name of this project to "Ab Fab" because of the reference to the Brit Com of the same name. This elegant blanket is so subtle and understated, and hand made, and 'real'. Such a contrast to the botox, hair spray, world of "instant coffee" and "make believe with Eddy, Saphie, Patsy... and the rest of the gang.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Television Review

Ahh, the boxed set of Pride and Prejudice. How wonderful.
I have NO love for daytime television. I have never understood the appeal of the soap opera. The concept of taking one story and dragging it out over 30 days just sends a shiver down my spine.

I do want to share my "top picks" for what to watch when you are recovering, and forced to stay low.

First, obscene amounts of Jane Austin. I suggest a comparison of all Jane Austin works. First, watch the BBC version, then watch the Hollywood version of the same tale. Then, call you mother, and discuss all the characters. Decide which Charlotte was better, which Jane was better, and who wins for costume and set designs?

Burn Notice. The new "intelligence/spy" show, set in Miami. Now, don't be confused, I did not say "intelligent".

My favorite from the BBC is "How Clean is Your House?" Now, this show is not for 'meal time' viewing. The two English women (and their armies) go in and shovel junk out of houses. They analyze the bugs they find in the carpet, and the bacteria they find on the counter, and they tell the owners of these hovels just how dangerous their living conditions have become.
They make such a flurry out of cleaning though, that it almost looks like fun! I am going to decorate a pair of gloves with feathers, and ribbons! And it makes you look around your own home and instinctively pick up a duster!

And finally have you seen "Flipping Out". Whew. The latest addition to the family of home make over reality shows. The spin on this one is that it is high stakes. Jeff, the OCD host is flipping property in the 1-4 million dollar range. His antics and tirades and compulsions are almost as large as the homes themselves. It is amazing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some Surprising things

There are some surprising things that I learned about the hospital this weekend. (Lessons that no one wants to learn)
A funny leftover: I have lots of snaps on my body. Adhesive snaps. We are joking about what we should snap on and off of them. They really hurt to pull off, and so I've had enough pulling and prodding, since I am not making a fashion statement right now, I'm just leaving them. Me and my snaps are hunched on the couch.

There is one amenity that is offered in an ER that should be adopted by the Ritz. In sharp contrast to the austire surroundings, they offer one "spa-like" treatment. If you say "I'm cold" in the ER , they open up a special warming oven that was kept at 156 degrees, and pull out a warmed flannel blanket, bring it over, and cover you up. It was so comforting and wonderful. (This is something that should NOT be tried at home. )

When I woke up in a bed, I turned my head to the side, and I tried to read all of the things that were written on the side of this bed. It was a hospital bed, of course, and therefore, adjustable. The funny thing is, at this point, the last thing I wanted to do was to move, anything. In addition to the instructions for the bed itself, there was a little extra sticker. I focused my eyes, not knowing if it was too dark, or I was not quite off the anestesia. The little sticker came into focus and it said "Call Homer" and gave a scrawled phone number. I loved that sticker. Who ever Homer is, he could in fact help anyone who was willing to call him. Should I be filled with hope? Or should I be scared by the fact that no one removed the note between patients? And who is named "Homer". What an unlikely name. Would "call Dave" be better?

That's okay. I 'called Rob'. I hope Homer and his people are doing well.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A new nephew

We have a new nephew in England. Yeah! They have 3 boys now! (It seems that if any one of our siblings and their spouses LOOK at each other, they have a child. We are STARING at each other. We'll let you know)

I made little embroidered onesies for the "new" one. It is quite something to attempt embroidery with a sewing machine, but I had fun. I like the texture, and the kind of "rough" approximation that it gave.

Then I did hoodie towels for all three boys. Those work up in a snap.

Off they go, with love, in a box.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


In the grocery store today, I stood in line to buy my frozen box diet lunch. The older woman in front of me was buying a big bottle of Jim Beam, and a tray of day-old sale fudge brownies for her lunch. I read people magazine while I waited for her to pay.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

mosaic skateboard

I had a sandwich in a cafe on Valencia, and saw these on the wall. How great. I love art made out of the 'ordinary'.

Friday, July 27, 2007

An eleven year old

I went to Minneapolis for a family gathering. I knit away on the white Throw - and added many inches of progress. But rather than show that - I'll give you a giggle. My nephew showed me "photo booth" in the MacBook. And then, he showed me "Effects". We nearly hurt ourselves laughing. Very healthy!! It was a glorious summer weekend.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


This throw is a present, long over due, for a friend's wedding. It has been rewarding to work on something stitch-by-stitch thinking of them, and wishing them "continued" best wishes in their marriage.

This is shown in some of the most striking colors ever created, so it was brave to do it in white. Surprisingly, the changes in yarn are so incredible that I am enjoying the knitting more than I thought I would.

There is a pretty serious error in it. But you can't tell, so I won't dwell on it. I'll just carry on.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Crafty weekend

Super Crafty Weekend. I had a lot of time to devote to the projects. Heaven.
I started knitting with the Rabbit Ridge Yarn. And it is beautiful.

I have some beautiful felted sweaters to work with, and I have been doing some trials. Here is a pair of mittens I am working on.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A present

I was given a beautiful gift.
It is 24/4, 154 yards.
I don't know what to make.

Monday, June 18, 2007

An Afgan Update

Here is a flash of my progress.. on my "White Throw".

Parenthetically, I'd like to say, I can't stand the term "Afghan". It takes something with a potential to be so beautiful, and hearkens to acrylic horrors of yester-year
Let's agree to call it a 'blanket' instead. Or a "throw".

Monday, June 11, 2007

Yarn in the City

There is a real old fashion dime store in San Francisco. And they have a section of yarn. I thought I would share some of the selections.

One should either laugh, or cry at the sight of it.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Avert your eyes

Really, look the other way if you cannot stand the gore. There is some ripping out that is of the graphic nature. Small children should look away. Above is "the sweater". (gasp)

Note if you will the difference in length, when the sides are folded over.
Oh, it's about 2 inches of extra on one side.
Believe me when I tell you I tried gentle stretching, and long discussions of "blocking". No.
I have followed the directions incorrectly. And now the question is: where?

Do you hear it? The wailing? That's me, pulling out MILES of knitting off size 3 needles. Sniff.

(I'll show you "after" pictures. I will. But my camera is not waterproof.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


I am starting a project! A knitting project even!
Its a Colinette Absolutely Fabulous Throw Kit. 8 skeins of yarn that turn into a beautiful blanket. It took me a long time to commit to white. Colinette is known for it's hand dyed yarns in exquisite colors. But this kit is a combination of textures. And when you take away the color, you are left with the contrast of the fibers. Cotton, Mohair, wool...
I'll show you how it comes along.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


My life is in retail. And all the risk and rewards that come with that. I feel like I live on my street, in my shop. I have gotten to know the other merchants. We share our small pieces of information, and support, and help. The street is charming, like a 'proper High Street' in an English Village, only, we're in San Francisco. There are still boutiques mixed in with the chains. Customers are happy to see the mix. One of the shops on the street is Starbucks. And I know that while Starbucks as a chain may incite an emotional response in some people, it is certainly a part of our street, and this little neighborhood.
I stepped in this morning and was planning to go "way off the grid" with a fancy-pants coffee that takes 3 sentences to order. That makes it a super special morning. I went in, and stepped up to start my long and involved recipe, and the gal started winching apologetically to me. "Oh, I'm sorry" she shook her head "we are out of Dulce flavor." She paused. I acted all mock horrified, as if 'what was the world going to come to'. It's not like there are not 20 other things I could order. "We're also almost out of cups." I smiled. She had Super Size cups, and dixie shot glass size cups, and that was it. She was still wincing in pain, politely. And then she added "and today we are listening to Paul McCartney, all day." Then she smiled genuinely. And really what eles could she do? Starbucks has its own collection of CD's for sale. For heaven sake, put a different one in the system. Oh, no, she explained that the Paul McCartney thing was a promotion. So those gals were going to have to listen to the same 5 songs all day.
I ordered a 3 word drink, and shared my sympathy with the charming Baristia.
And I left with my simple drink, and went to my shop.
I am somehow relieved to know that those kinds of things happen to big players. I would have thought that they had some sort of global atomic sensor that detected when they were out of cups, and just did a molecular adjustment, and produced more cups. Or, really, couldn't a manager just drive to one of the other 1495 Starbucks locations in the city and borrow some cups?
The staff was charming, and chipper despite their near torture conditions that they were faced with for the rest of the day.
It's a good reflection that for me that the corporate giants are still refining their game. Just as I will continue to refine mine.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Working from the Spread Sheet

A fine ritual, taking pen to paper, and crafting snail mail thank you's for the unbelievable gifts that we were given. Each one carefully noted on the spreadsheet. The gifts were just another layer of the love we were shown. This whole event far out stripped our expectations on so many levels.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Now that I am happily married, I thought we'd get back to some serious crafting. About time.

I took a beautiful felted sweater from the rack at the goodwill,

and tried my hand at making a pair of slippers.