Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Initiate Countdown

The tree is still up, and smells great. The presents are glowing in their new places. Mom is packing to come out. (and getting over the flu and a cold! )
10 days, and we will meet a new little person. Unbelievable. !

10 - 9 - 8 - ....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sleeping Babies

I saw a pampers commercial today. (please, hormones much?) It was all beautiful little sleeping babies, set to the section of "Silent Night" that goes "sleep in heavenly peace"...
I found this older version here:

Those sweet fat knuckles... And little twitching cheeks.... and the tiny bodies sleeping with their arms stretched up over their head... I will try to remember through the sleep deprived nights to look for moments that beautiful.

We had a 'fire drill' on Friday. But this peanut is going to wait a little bit longer before coming to meet us. (Much to his Grandmother's delight. And his father's too.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

30 days

Thirty days. Due Jan 9

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Top 10 things NOT to say to a pregnant lady:

1. "Oh! You have NO idea!" (and then laugh in a sinister way)
2. "When Little Johny was born, it was just SO hard"
3. "My sister's best friend just gave birth after 77 hours in labor to a mutant with three heads that ripped her to her navel...." Or any other story that begins or ends in horror, or untold drama of any nature.
4. "You should...... "
5. "WOW! You are HUGE! Any day now eh?"
6. ".... oh, you don't need THAT"
7. "oh, You'll See!" (As if the 900 books, full days of classes, Grandmothers, friends, and strangers all know more than you do, and you will NEVER learn)
8. "[insert name of hospital] is the WORST. Why are you going to deliver there?"
9. "You look uncomfortable"
10. "Oh, enjoy it now, it's so hard to loose all that weight."

Instead, as a way to express your enthusiasm and joy - which is all I'm sure you want to do anyway -

1. How are you feeling?
2. When are you due (only to be asked after the person themselves has confirmed they are pregnant)
3. Where are you going to deliver? Who is your Doctor?
4. Do you know what worked really well for me? When I had my baby, we could not have lived without _____ and here is why"
5. Is this your first? (always good - especially for the 'older Mom'.)
6. Do you know what you are having?
7. How exciting.
8. Do you need anything?
9. Congratulations! Good for you!
10. Don't be afraid. Everything is going to be fine. You will sail through. Such joy is on your way!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

not really sleeping

Things shifted last night. Almost imperceptibly.
Sleepless. Up at 5:00am, again.
Three more days of work.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

There is so much to be thankful for.
The list is LONG
Most of it centers around the growing peanut, and the journey to get there.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How Fast Can You Knit?

How fast can YOU knit?
There is a feeling when you cast on... a thrill, an excitement... And then, there is the middle of a project. (I don't care if you are working on a book mark, there is a middle of all projects.) And then you finally get to cast off.
For this bag, I chose it intentionally for the 'easy' 'middle'. But now, of course, we are measuring it out. Garter stitch handle for 54 inches.
Keep knitting!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A million surprises

Pregnancy is a million surprises. Some are silly, some are funny, some are miraculous, and some will just be tolerated.

One of the daily adventures is getting dressed in the morning. My shape seems to expand (and sometimes contract) daily. My work wardrobe has been thinned out to the point of extinction. You hear women say "oh, I don't need that much". "Oh, I stretched things so that they would work out"... I have ridden past those days. (I think I had about 3 of them). So over the weekend, I had a shopping excursion. I needed pants to wear to work. Getting dressed in the morning cannot become a full scale self-reflection every single day. And every night cannot be laundry night.
I went to a well known maternity store, and tried on every pair of pants they had.

In the world of maternity pants, let's boil it down to two types: low rise or full panel. The idea is either go under the belly, or go all the way up and over. Of the two, I found out I fall into the "up and over" category. This point was driven home at about 3 pm the other day when the black covered inner tube tire on the new "low rise" pants threatened to cut me in half.

Let's look for a moment at NON maternity clothes first:
The lovely Keira in her low-rise.

And then, there are the traditional, old school Levis.

I am old school.
So, really the translation to maternity pants will come as no shock.
Low rise:


And then:

Yep, I am old school.
I came away with 4 pairs of "secret fit belly" and one pair of stretch velvet pants! Yum.

Next we'll tackle the shirts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A new bag

With the real morning sickness over, knitting is a little easier now. ( It has been out of the question for a little while now)

The yarn is beautiful. And it's been fun to watch the colors change.
The colors in be bag picture are more realistic than the ones shown in the yarn close-up.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A new project

We are thrilled to share the project we have been working on.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

time flies

We celebrated our first anniversary.

Here is Maisy Moo, on the needles.

Fun, but slow going. The choice is:
a. lots of flat pieces and lots of seaming or
b. small pieces of fair isle knitting.
I chose B.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Public Glass

My brother’s coworker is a glass blower. So we heard about this event at Public Glass in San Francisco, and decided to check it out. The afternoon included a silent auction for many pieces, a live auction for some of the bigger pieces, and then some glass blowing demonstrations.

The Public Glass studio is located in a notoriously questionable neighborhood. (But isn’t that where large art studios are? In low rent districts?) A security guard was on hand to monitor the cars and the parking for the afternoon, in case that had been a serious concern for any patrons. We went into the industrial delivery bays, and went in search of Bob’s co-worker, Bruce. It was super helpful to have a guide, and he explained several stages of the process to us.

Two men began to work on a piece, and so we stopped touring and I took a seat on a folding chair to watch. What transpired over the next hours was nothing short of performance art. The two men, clearly friends, made the whole thing look effortless. The heat, the white noise, and the danger all blended together to make amazing art.

It starts with a small piece of glass on the end of a long rod. from the beginning the glass is in constant motion. The pipe is constantly twirled. First because they want the heat to be even, and second because the larger the piece gets, the heavier it is, and it will start to wilt under it’s own weight.

The pipe is heated in a series of huge ovens. They shape the piece, then they heat it, then they shape it a little more, then they heat it again, over and over. the delicate twirls and slow coaxing into a shape. The piece of glass is rolled and formed and put back in the oven. Then gently blown, then back in the oven. The pipe is always moving. The glass is molten, and red hot in color. It is only a little stiffer than honey.

These ovens are so hot that it is impossible to describe the feeling of being near them. The room is hot and dry. That alone is completely foreign in San Francisco, so the whole thing feels like a strange mini vacation. The main doors on the ovens are kept closed, but when someone goes to put something in, an assistant comes to open them, and it feels like approaching the surface of the sun.

The heat that eminates from this kiln piece makes the other ovens seem childish. The fire breathing machine throws heat out into the room, even when the door is only open a sliver.
The artist moves back across the room, twirling the new weight of the piece at all times.

At one point, there is an artistic decision made. A molten bulb is held, and the co-artist comes over with a separate rod of glass. The two are touched together, and one piece is stretched and becomes like toffee. After a moment, it is clear that the piece being added is white, and the body of the piece is clear. The whole project is moving together, the one pipe is rolling like a rolling pin, and the taffy white is being pulled and made into random patterns on the base. The two men were stretching, rolling and pulling all at the same time. The rolling motion was back and forth, and the design was running mostly vertically, so they had to stay together.

When they are happy with the shape the piece is taking, they add more glass to it. This invoves opeinging the door of a giant kiln filled in the bottom with molten glass. An assistant opens the door, and the artist comes over with the pipe with the piece on the end. The pipe goes into the heat, and the assistant closes the door partially. The pipe is turned, and a layer of glass is added. Any excess glass that is brought out on the end of the pipe is allowed to run off into a bucket that is waiting.
The molten glass bubbles angrily, and the water boils instantly. Then, the glass starts to churn uncomfortably in the water, and forms beautiful, dangerously sharp brittle glass bubbles.

More glass is added from the enormous oven, more excess fell into the bucket, more hissing a popping, and more blowing, and rolling. The motion was continuous. The pace was graceful and smooth, and the heat is over-powering. The heat actually took on separate qualities of its own. It became a sound track for the room, as if you could hear it. Bursts of heat lept out of the ovens as they were opened, and flashed across the room. It made everything more dangerous. It made the art more exotic. And it was a clear indication that this was not a casual art form.

When I thought it could not get hotter, they fired up blow torches, and applied heat to specific pieces of the project. They begin to transfer the bulk of the piece from one rod to another to give them access to the opening.

The roar from the blow torches was spectacular. The weight and size of the piece had increased, and more assistants had been added to this precarious dance.
The doors on the ovens open in concentric circles, growing increasingly large. By now the piece was so big, that the largest opening needed to be created, and there was still a risk that the piece will hit the sides. Every movement was graceful, and smooth, and intentional.

The blow torches added a level of intensity to the whole scene. The heat is staggering, the weight of the piece must be enormous, and the blasting flames licked the glass.

One of the men donned a silver space suit, complete with a helmet, and asbestos arm mits. I held my breath. Was he actually going to HOLD the piece.

In one instant motion, the twirling stopped. They had been making a crease in the piece at the ‘neck’. But it was just a ‘line’, nothing more. Without a verbal signal, the space man got close, and the other man tapped the pipe lightly. The piece came away from the pipe and was in the arms of the silver asbestos suit. He walked over the the Aneeler, and gently set it to rest and cool slowly down in there.

The room erupted into applause. I let out my breath. The one guy took off the silver suit, and went over and smiled broadly at his partner. The applause continued, and then they seemed to hear it. The cut- up, and pointed to each other, and smiled some more. They seemed like kids, unlikely characters. They had just done ‘what they do’. It was breath taking.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fair Isle Fun

I have been working on a little fair Isle hat.
I did the sweater many years ago, and thought it was charming. This was one of Dale of Norway's most popular patterns ever. The book went out of print. They just republished it in a collection of "all time best sellers" And they changed the colorway. (I am not as fond of the turquoise. But you be the judge.) I thought I would work up a hat for the shop.
I used the Yarn Guide for the first time. I liked it, but it did mess with my tension a little bit. Because there is plastic over your finger you can't just gauge by feel how tight your yarn is. It was an interesting exercise.

It is every bit at charming as I remember the sweater. Dear.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Finished booties

These lovely booties are knit from a free pattern on line. Saartje Knits shared her pattern.
Mine are made from Rabbit Ridge hand died yarn. I was pleased with how the multicolored yarn knit up in this pattern.

And here are her beautiful originals.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Knitted Icons

A clever little book came out recently: Knitted Icons
It just tickles me.
First you knit a basic "stick man" form, and then, they have oh so cleverly given options to dress or decorate the dolls to resemble Icons.

I am working on the doll form right now.

I did make some changes. The pattern calls for wool cotton. that would involve knitting on TINY needles. So I moved up a little to Cascade 220. I'm basically doing the same number of stitches the pattern calls for, so my Icon will be bigger.
More importantly, the pattern calls for you to knit about 64 different pieces and sew them together. I don't mind seaming, but there is a limit to what I will do. So I have done several pieces together, and done them in the round on double points. (for instance the head and body were supposed to be "front & back" and then joined together, and then stuffed, and THEN joined to each other. That is about 8 seams too many right off the bat!)
We are all having fun thinking of icons of our own.
Who would YOU like to see?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A week later

The craftroom has been so busy!I visited a friend, and viewed her FO's. She did SUCH a nice job mixing color - and yarn brands, and still got really consistent results.
We have visited with family.And that is always wonderful.

I had to sit on Jury Duty for a day. What an ominous place. Grand slabs of mable on the walls, and wonderful arcitecture, house this institution. I brought enough knitting for 8 hours. In the end, they did excuse me. But not before I heard about a number of shooting incidents in the Western Addition.
Finally, we are still eating healthy foods. ! It's been 19 days. We are booth SO much healthier it is astounding. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 18, 2008


These were tall grasses, meant to withstand the conditions that we have. They went brown, and I thought they were dormant. So I cut them back, and let them regroup. That was a year ago. So they are "permanently dormant". Time to try again.

Here is the repot. Still a tall grass-like leaf. I'm told these will withstand anything. Given that the San Francisco climate is not what we would call "harsh", I hope they work out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Road Kill

7 days ago we turned over a new leaf. Our new regime is more about exclusion than inclusion. We didn't think we were eating that badly before, but the contrast is striking.
No processed foods
no refined carbs
no added sugar
no added salt
no white rice
no bread
no diary
I miss something different every day. It's funny. I stood in the store today near a box of crackers, dreaming. I bought spinach and black eyed peas (no salt added) and ran out.
On the way to work today, I parked the car, and opened the door, and this was just outside.
I loved the irony of it. "McDonalds as Road Kill". The big sloppy mess on the sidewalk was poignant. It was fresh and as I got out of the car it was unavoidable. The ketchup had been run over and exploded in the middle. Who ate that? And early in the morning?

I am not going to lie to you, historically speaking, I've been in McDonalds, and I have, on occasion, enjoyed their fries. But today, the mess in the road was so real, and illustrated exactly why we are making such an effort to eat differently.

So far the results are dramatic. A mere seven days in, and we are just watching the changes take place before our very eyes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lots going on

A simple scarf design, with some interesting stranding.
Pistaza with Rialto - for the yarnies out there.

For the first Monday of the new year, we began a new "food program" there have been some very serious vegetables consumed. We are both happy with the results so far. But I can tell you I am missing the dark dark chocolate.

I am certain that I got the last pair of boots in San Francisco. I had to HUNT them down. I love them. Wouldn't these brighten a rainy day?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The calm after the storm

You saw the cookies on the cutting board. Here is how that activity turned out.

Now there is blowing and howling, and rain. Inches and inches of rain. We are fine. We lost power at the house so we went to see how our “assets” were. We got in the car in the morning and went to my store (holding our breath) , then to his garage then to his office. Fine, Fine, no power, respectively.
It was wild and wooly! I know I used to live in Minnesota, and I am used to a mid-west storm, and tornadoes. But this really was a California equivalent. There was so much rain, and such high winds (again, both relative to our normal) that the trees just started popping out of the ground. These super saturated root balls just came up like gofers out of their hole! There are trees over cars, and trees on houses.... Not so funny. The ironic thing, is all the old Christmas trees are out blowing down the street like tumble weeds in an old western town!

Hoping that all of you are safe and warm and dry.
Happy New Year!