Friday, November 30, 2007

Sometimes, It's the Simple Things

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived way out in the country. Her nearest neighbors were a mile away so she spent most of her time either outside with her dog or inside with her books. She loved her books. There were always books in the house. Sometimes all of them had already been read, but the little girl didn't mind. The books were her friends and she was very happy to read and re-read her favorites. One of her very favorite books was about a very silly family who always did the wrong thing and frequently had to be rescued by the lady from Philadelphia.

Eventually, the little girl grew up and lost track of her book friends. She went off to school and moved far, far away. Many years later, the now-all-grown-up-with-a-child-of-her-own woman wanted to share her favorite books with her son, but couldn't remember all of the titles. After some searching, she found many of them, but couldn't remember the title of the book about the very silly family. On a lark, she wandered through LibriVox with the delusional goal of finding time to record stories for others. On the forum of books looking for readers, there it was! The book she had been searching for was The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia P. Hale.

A bit of searching through the Amazon booksellers determined that the edition from her childhood was the 1914 version. A quick order and less than $15 later, she had scored a memory! The book is every bit as wonderful as she remembered and her son has already started giggling through the stories.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pointy Things

Ah, vacations. The point of a vacation is to relax, right? I think we are succeeding in this. The feast on Thursday was wonderful. We followed it up with one of our own on Friday (must have leftovers, you know). There was a small amount of shopping on Friday morning, but only a little. Saturday was spent with the parents relaxing, while the boys worked hard.

Yes, lacrosse season is back on. We had a tremendous turnout for what was only a 3rd-6th grade scrimmage. It was fun to reconnect with friends from previous seasons and make new friends with the new families. Young Man worked very hard. He enjoyed it and is ready for regular practices to begin next week.
Saturday was also spent making something pointy. Alison has been a very bad good influence. First watching her and Kay and their quilting efforts got me back to working on long resting projects. Then, she introduced me to Wee Wonderfuls and I just had to make Pointy Kitty. While I won't say that turning this kitty was easy, it wasn't as hard as some patterns I have made. Still, it was refreshing to have the designer warn the stitcher that he/she was in for a bit of work to turn and stuff the small item. Too many patterns blithly state, "turn toy rightside out" without mentioning that it is nearly impossible to do so! My favorite tool for this sort of toy is a wooden stiring stick (thank you, Starbucks).
Today, I am back with the pointy sticks to work on Young Man's Wallaby. This is going very well. I am making a size 10, but with greatly extended arms and body. Young Man is growing up, but not out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Yes, I am. Very. Here are just a few of the thing for which I give thanks in 2007:
  • Mr. Engineer who keeps me sane and keeps me honest. I am thankful for nearly 25 years of couplehood.

  • Young Man who gives us more joy than we ever expected and who is happy and healthy and can shake off even an abrasion to the surface of the eye with only three days of patching (that would be last weekend's adventure). As Barbara Coloroso says, "Kids are Worth It!" and the payoff is immense!

  • My family, far away though they are, their love reaches across the miles.

  • The friends who have become my west coast family and with whom we will share way too much food and some excellent time this afternoon.

  • My virtual friends who are every bit as much my friends as the ones I see in person. I wish for healing for those who are hurting and thank you all for being here when I need you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Persimmons in the Saturday Sky

It is another beautiful blue sky. Today I give you the view north from the middle of our lawn. We have an excellent landmark - it is a persimmon tree and it is in front of our house. Normall, it is just a funky tree. This time of year is a bit more exciting. Along with the gorgeous orange fruit, we have the added charm of potential fruit droppage. I always get a bit nervous when I walk under the branches in November. The problem is that these Hachiya persimmons aren't tasty until they are completely ripe. The challenge is picking them just far enough before full ripeness so that they don't drop (or get eaten by marauding birds).

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I should be happy with that number. Really, I should. 43,470 stitches and a bazillion ends all finished in 13 days is quite impressive. It's just that it's not quite 50,000. I know, the knitting police are not allowed here and this is NOT a contest. Still, I wanted to make 50,000.

Project: 8101-3 Raglan Pullover from Dale of Norway in 12 month size Yarn: Baby Ull from Dale of Norway in Lilac (5226) and Cream (0020)
Needles: US 0 and US 1 dpns and 16" circulars

Notes: I knit this as written in the pattern with the exceptions that I hate stitching hems so I caught up the hem when I turned it. This is probably why I am having some problems with the bottom hem and neckband turning. It was worth it. This is my very first Dale of Norway pattern and it was wonderful. This sweater just flew off my needles even with the itty bitty stitches and the color change every five rows. Now I am itching to make another sweater from the booklet. There is an adorable garden cardigan that may have to be knit for next winter. Yes, my grandniece is going to be spoiled rotten.

As for the stitch "problem," I did the only rational thing. I cast on for a Wonderful Wallaby for Young Man. He outgrew the first sweater I ever knit and really wants another hooded sweater. Oh, and I cast on for a Palindrome scarf, but that is Susan's fault.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's a New Day!

First, there is the old day. Yes, it's a Saturday Sky, but posted on Monday. Good thing the sky today looks pretty much like the sky on Saturday. Sunday, on the other hand, was dreary and grey. Today, the winds are coming back and it is warming up.

Saturday was a very fun day. First I got mail from Life's A Stitch CT. This was the second half of my little fabric splurge from a few weeks ago. I found a fun series called Paris Cats from Benartex. Cozy Cottage had some of the fabrics left, but I had to have more! Thank goodness for internet shopping. Aren't these precious? Now I have to manage to actually cut them up and make something. Maybe they will become another BowTucks Bag. Or not. Any suggestions?

Finally, I took myself out Saturday afternoon for some power shopping. I hate shopping. Really, I do. So I went out and in 1 1/2 hours, I got my car washed (so that we could have rain spits on Sunday, of course), scoped out potential holiday wear for the company holiday party, bought new shoes, hit the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale to get tights to go with the new shoes (all DKNY hose 25% off) and Clinique moisterizer, scoped out the pickings at JJill, and picked up a present for the birthday party Young Man had up for Sunday. Whew!

Did I say new shoes? These are new Dansko Marcelles (shown with the Tidal Wave socks in Tofutsies that are growing on me). I just love cute new shoes that fit the minute I put them on.

For some reason, Bloglines keeps saying that I have a new post. I figured I should oblige.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wayback Machine?

You betcha. I remember Mr. Peabody. That was my favorite part of the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. I even have Vicki beat. We only got two channels on our black & white TV. And one was a booster station for the other! If it wasn't on NBC, it wasn't part of my childhood. This is my entry for KitKatKnit's Wayback Machine contest. A year ago, I was knitting two scarves, Forbes Forest from Scarf Style and Arches & Columns from Crystal Palace.

I finished the Arches & Columns scarf in time for Christmas. The Forbes Forest scarf took a little longer, but the end result was worth it.

This year I am still (barely) maintaining monogamy on the endless baby sweater. I'm up to 32,384 stitches and getting really tired of weaving in ends. This would be why I usually stay so very far from any type of color work.

Friday, November 09, 2007


It has been a year of recalculation. At work, my program moved and I moved into a new department with a new manager doing a completely different job from where I was six months ago. In my current position, I feel like I am constantly juggling and recalculating. I put together teams to review other teams and there is always a new team forming just as one is finished and each has at least as many issues as it does members (sometimes several times as many). I also support other projects so my day is spent moving between disparate tasks. The training I have had on critical chain project management tells me that this makes me inefficient. I suppose that is true, but I find that I get extremely bored when I do the same thing all day. I like multi-tasking. I am also very good at context switching.

At home, the changing demands of a 10 year old (how did that happen?) call for frequent recalculations. The current challenge is having enough food on hand for Young Man (he admits that he is always hungry).

In my virtual world there have been many recalculations. I almost dread looking into my iPAQ to see anniversaries that aren't going to happen. Several friends are breaking up from long term relationships and their pain is palpable to me even though we have only met through my cable modem.

Knitting, well, that is just one big recalculation. Maybe that is why I like it so much. My NaKnitSweMo sweater won't be quite 50,000 stitches, but each recalculation brings me closer. My current estimate is for 44,270 stitches. I have 25,468 finished and all of their ends woven in! That makes me 57.5% complete and the month is only 30% complete. It is nice to feel ahead of schedule in some small area. Now if I could just figure out how to make real/virtual-life recalculations as easily as Excel ones.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Little Sunshine

No, not in the sky. It is still pretty hazy/cloudy. Actually that is a good thing because it means that the Santa Ana winds did not return and the residents of Silverado Canyon were able to go home.

The sunshine to which I refer is a quilt. This is a Picture Play quilt from the book by Ami Simms. Well, it is a variation on that theme. I used more picture prints from the I Spy quilt I made for Young Man several years ago and Moda Marbles from the last quilt I finished. For the back, I used more Moda Marbles and a cut from a Noah's Submarine print I picked up a long time ago. It's about 40 x 40 inches. This is another step in my plot to spoil my new grand niece.

There are lots of significant pictures in the quilt. There is a cow because this baby is going to grow up as a farm girl. The Minnesota Twins patch is there because her Grandpa is a lifetime fan. The Angels of Anaheim patch is there because the quilter is out here. There are birdhouses for her Great-Gramma and a violin for her Great-Great-Grandpa. There are also girl basketball players because little one's mother played basketball all through high school. What is really fun is that many of those picks were not even deliberate. After I had the blocks sewn, I realized that there was more going on in the quilt than I had planned!

The next step in my plot is also my NoKniSweMo entry. I did the full math (thank you, Excel) and ended up with a stitch count of 42,082. It's a little light for the 50,000 goal, but it's close enough for me. The darker color is actually more lavender than this picture shows. It's knit with Dale Baby Ull on US 1 needles.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

'Tis Fall, I Think

It is sometimes hard to tell the changing seasons here. It is one of the things I miss. Still, it is quite nice to see temperatures of 75F in November. Today was a hazy sunshine day. There are concerns that the nasty Santa Ana winds will come back. Our friends who evacuated their house won't be allowed back until at least Tuesday. We are still fine. The persimmons are ripening slowly. We are facing the annual question, "Who will get more fruit, us or the crows?" We had to radically prune the poor tree on Wednesday so that the trick-or-treaters didn't get clobbered by fruit. The view out our front door is still impressive.

In other news, we have another hat, a quilt is nearly finished (the backing material is in the washer), and I seem to have stumbled upon a quest called NaKniSweMo. I really didn't intend this, but I did cast on for a sweater should be fairly close to 50,000 stitches. I don't really want to think about it. It is adorable baby sweater from Dale of Norway booklet 8101. I'm making the simple striped pullover (pictures in the booklet are pink/white and green/yellow) in lavender and white. Considering that Baby Ull is fingering weight and I'm knitting on US1 needles, there will probably be nearly 50,000 stitches before I finish. According to my calculations, I'm up to 34,000 stitches and I haven't fully accounted for the increases on the sleeves and I think I missed a bunch of rows on the yoke. It may not be exactly 50K, but it will still be a challenge to get this one done in November.

Project: Koolhaas Hat from Interweave Knits
Yarn: Cascade Quattro in buttery yellow
Needles: US6 and US8
Notes: I love this pattern even more the second time around! This time I made the larger size. It will definitely cover the intended recipient's ears, but may be too big. I'm sending her both sizes and she can pick how warm she wants her ears on any given day.

Finally, it is time again for Chappysmom's calendar contest. She is convinced that the November pictures in calendars are blah. I don't think my entry will change anyone's mind. In my California National Parks calendar, November is a picture from Death Valley!