April 4, 2010

The Most Expensive Happiest Place on Earth

So we went to Disneyland with the boys for five days. When we came up with the plan we didn't tell the kids thinking it would be an awesome surprise. When we finally told them it went like this.
"We're going to Disneyland!!"
"Awww. Do we have to?"

The kids had never been to Disney and I think they thought it would be nothing but princesses, pixies and baby stuff. They changed their tune once we got there.

We stayed at one of the Disney hotels, Paradise Pier. It wasn't anything too special but it was an easy walk to Disneyland and California Adventure.

A few things I would suggest if you're thinking of going. One, get this book. It is an excellent guide to all things Disneyland and really explains a lot about how to best take advantage of all the parks have to offer. It features touring plans that seem really crazy and draconian at first but after a few hours at the park you realize that you must have a plan or all your time will get sucked up by, "I dunno, what do you want to do?" and waiting in lines. The book explains how the Fastpass system works. I was amazed by all the people who didn't understand and/or use Fastpasses at the parks. Only a handful of attractions offer Fastpasses. They are a timed admission to a particular ride. Instead of waiting in a huge, long line you go into a special jump-to-front-of-the-crowd line. The trick with Fastpasses is that even though they give you a one hour window, say 11:30-12:30 to enter the attraction, they actually work anytime after 11:30 until the end of the day. Once 11:30 rolls around you can get another Fastpass. Or if your Fastpass isn't good for several hours you can get another after two hours. Grab up all the Fastpasses you can early in the day and skip all the long afternoon and evening lines.

You should also make all your dining reservations long in advance--weeks in advance, if possible. There is nothing worse than being tired and hungry with tired and hungry kids and having to wait an hour or two to eat. All the food in the park and Downtown Disney is pretty mediocre and insanely expensive. The only good meal I had was the Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland. For $20 per person, less for kids, you get all you can eat BBQ ribs and chicken, corn bread, beans and cole slaw. The service was also the best of any of the restaurants in or around the parks. Normally I don't spend $20 on lunch but I'd rather spend $20 and get a good meal than spend $10 on a crummy one. Keeping the kids well fed was crucial to enjoying ourselves. Once anyone gets hungry and cranky (parents included) it all went downhill fast.

Staying so close to the parks made it easy to take a break midday when it was hottest and the parks were the most crowded. Wes took the boys swimming at the hotel and I would take a little nap. Made the evenings a lot nicer for everyone. And we could head back to the park with a pocket full of Fastpasses and jump all the lines.

We would go the Disneyland right when it opened each morning and go straight to the Matterhorn. It always has really long lines and does not have Fastpasses.Then we'd hit Space Moutain and grab Fastpasses for later since it is Older Son's favorite ride. Younger Son is afraid of absolutely everything and went on very few rides. In the morning the lines are still pretty short and you can go on several rides with very little wait. At 10 am California Adventure opens. The favorite attraction is Toy Story Midway Mania. It doesn't have Fastpasses either and gets huge lines. Although the lines moves very swiftly we would head straight there. It's right next to California Screamin', the roller coaster I posted the video of yesterday. I'm very height-phobic and the 107 foot drop had me too scared to ride so Wes went with Older Son. Once I got the report back that it wasn't so bad I decided to try it myself. It has a 55 mph take off. Whoa. I kept my eyes closed for most of the first ride. Each time I rode it I kept my eyes open more but I still closed them for the take off and the huge drop.

My favorite attractions at DCA were Muppet Vision 3D, Turtle Talk with Crush and California Screamin. The Muppet movie combines a 3D film with animatronics and live puppetry. It is loads of fun and very silly. It's perfect for all ages. Turtle Talk with Crush is an amazing real-time animated chat with Crush from Finding Nemo. Audience members can ask him questions and he interacts with the audience. It's all animated in real time. It's utterly charming and completely fun. Also great for all ages.

At Disneyland I loved the Big Thunder Railroad. It's a relatively tame roller coaster but a really fun ride. Space Mountain is a roller coaster completely in the dark. It's a little more stomach-dropping and very exhilarating but not for anyone who is afraid of the dark.

Last tip is save Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run for the end of the day or before heading to the hotel. You can get completely soaked and it's not fun riding on roller coasters in wet underpants. Believe me.

This was my first trip ever to Disneyland and I really loved it. Despite the crowds and the heat and the long lines it really is a fun time. I dragged Wes and the boys to some silly attractions like the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Peter Pan ride. I tried to get someone to go on the Dumbo ride or Mr. Toad's Wild Ride but no one would. And I think an adult going on either of these rides by herself is borderline creepy.

So my Disney advice in a nutshell: Have a plan!


April 2, 2010

What I've Been Doing the Last Five Days


March 26, 2010

Good News/Good News

Good News: I can knit again! My OT gave me the greenlight yesterday to start knitting again. Only for very short periods of time though with long rests to make sure I'm not having any pain. I've knit less than two rounds of Girasole in two days. It's progress though.

Good News: I'm going on vacation. I'll be back to blogging in about 5 days. I have a Thursday posts all ready to go.

See you!


February 14, 2010


Madrona was great as always. I have photos from all of my classes and will try to get them up soon. My left wrist has been sore for the last few days. I thought it was from working on big, heavy Girasole. Today it got extremely painful and my lower arm started to swell quite a bit. I have been icing it and taking Ibuprofen to deal with the pain and swelling. I think this may kill any chance of competing in Ravelympics for me which is too bad.

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February 10, 2010

Madrona Fiber Arts

Hi all. I'm in Tacoma at the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. I may not have a chance to do a Thursday this week so I hope you'll forgive me.

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November 1, 2009

Slipped Away

I went away for five days and didn't even tell you. I headed to Port Townsend for my annual knitting retreat. As always there are no classes or any set activities. Just hanging out knitting or spinning or sleeping or shopping or reading or walking or doing whatever you feel like doing. Last year was definitely a spinning year. This year was a knitting year.

I knit a Koolhaas hat in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran.

I knit up all the yarn I had for Damson. I'm going to continue it in another colorway of the same yarn. It wont' match. I don't care at this point. It still turns my hands very blue.

I cranked on my hexagon blanket. I haven't worked on it since last November but this weekend I finished the main rectangle and have started to pick up for the border. I need to pick out a solid color to mix in tomorrow when I'm at work.

I bought some really primo stash. Someone was selling the exact yarn in the exact colorway I wanted for the Mondo Cable Cardi for less than I could get it with my discount at work. Yoink! I also got a sweater's worth of O-Wool Balance, a few skeins of Satakeili, many magazines and books and a small cone of shetland-type wool that shades from light to dark blue. I love it all!

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September 27, 2009

An OFFF Year

I've been going to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival for several years now. I love it. The weather is always perfect. The fairgrounds are lovely. The vendors are fantastic. We make a family weekend and head to Portland. But this year...I don't know. I just wasn't feeling it. I think Sock Summit stole my OFFF mojo. I bought so much at Sock Summit and there were many of the same vendors at OFFF. I haven't been spinning at all so I couldn't possibly buy any spinning fiber. I also have gone with or met up with Sarah for the past few years. She didn't come this time so I was on my own. I felt a little lonely. I headed for the barn.

Sheep are so dopey.

Alpacas are so cute.

And so are bunnies.

But cutest of all are sheepdogs herding ducks.

After a few hours I called it quits and headed back to Portland to meet Wes and the boys for lunch. One thing I know for sure is that I need to knit and spin a lot before the next OFFF.


August 28, 2009

At Least I Finished Something Damn It!

This summer, with all the travel and now vague sickness, has been a bitch for my knitting life. I finally finished all the pieces to Georgie and went to sew it up. The shoulders didn't match up. At all. I stuffed it in a bag for a few weeks. Earlier this week I got the shoulders sorted out, sewed on the front bands and knit the neckband. I just need to sew in the sleeves and seam the sides. But I just can't quite get motivated yet.

Coraline has been really difficult this week too. I spent a really good chunk of time on Sunday trying to knit ONE ROW of the yoke. My stitch count was off, I knit it wrong, my stitch count was off. Finally, finally, around midnight I got it all straightened out. And by "it" I mean one stinking row. Then at knitting on Monday I knit the first row of the smocking. This is a tedious, slow stitch. Place one stitch on a cable needle, slip four stitches, place another stitch on the cable needle, slip the four stitches back, wrap the working yarn around the two stitches, etc. Oy! Takes freaking forever. Then I got to the end--at long last--and I was off my four stitches. I had to rip the whole row out. The row that took me all night to knit. I picked it up last night and--son of a bitch!--I missed smocking one section. I managed to drop down and fix it but it's so tight in the section now. And the sweater is at that stage where it's so damned big and heavy I don't want to carry it around with me.

I've been carrying Smith around but haven't knit on it all since Portland. It's really fiddly and I there's something happening nearly every row that just a little bit different from the previous rows. Also not great for knitting on the go.

So today I picked up a charity hat I started a while ago. And I finished the damned thing. Thank goodness!

It's one skein of Zitron Nimbus. I made up the pattern. There's no buttonhole, just an overlapping band of garter. The button is recycled glass.

Tomorrow we leave again for a little family vacation. I know! Even I am sick of all the traveling at this point. I just want to settle back in at home, clean up the mess and get back to feeling like a productive person. I'll take Coraline and Smith (maybe Damson too?) with me and hope to get something done.

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August 21, 2009

So Long Again!

Wes and I are headed to Portland to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary and enjoy a few days to ourseleves. I do plan to fit in a bit of yarn by hitting the Abundant Yarn closing sale and checking out Twisted. We have all our restaurants picked out too. This should be very relaxing.

See you next week. Have a great weekend!


August 7, 2009

Sock Summit Half-Assed Update

So far this is fairly awesome.
  • Cool Socks with Lucy Neatby. Lucy, as I've said before, is an excellent teacher and you should absolutely take classes from her whenever possible.
  • Knitting celebrities are everywhere. Sat by Ann Budd in class and nearly blurted out at her, "You're Ann Budd!" Glad I didn't 'cause I think she already knows that.
  • The marketplace opened for students only at 4:30. These knitters take their shopping very seriously. I may have bought some yarn.
  • Great dinner with knitters at Pok Pok.

  • Half-day spinning class with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin. Lots of gorgeous luxury fibers.
  • Shopping, shopping, shopping. Famous knitting people at every turn.
  • Yummy tapas dinner at Toro Bravo. Dropped a cup of chocolate sauce in my lap and down my legs. Shoes now smell chocolate-y delcious.

Tomorrow: Sock design with Anne Hanson. More shopping. More famous knitting people.

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August 5, 2009

I Packed My Camera

Tonight I head to Portland for Sock Summit. I have a 9am class tomorrow morning so I didn't want to get up 4 and drive down tomorrow. I think I'm all packed. I'm not having my usual pre-trip panic because I can just throw anything in the back of the car I think I might want or need instead of trying to winnow everything down into one suitcase. The Summit will be, for me, a return to some forgotten loves. Like my spinning wheel. When was the last time I used that? And Sock knitting. Haven't completed a pair of socks in...over a year!! Wow.

Georgie is very close to done at last. I have to sew up all her parts then knit the collar. I won't be taking her to SS though. I will be taking Coraline, which is about 10 inches long now, and some socks I half-heartedly started in December.

Erin and I might try to snag a few interviews for the podcast while we're down there too. I will be bringing my computer but don't know if I'll make time to blog.


July 21, 2009

And This One Time, at Knitting Camp

I'm back from Wisconsin. I completely reverted to a 15 year old state while I was there, eating tons of junk food, staying up all night and laughing and laughing and laughing.

At least I wasn't the only one having fun.

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July 14, 2009

Time to Panic Pack Again

I leave for knitting camp tomorrow. Tomorrow! I haven't even unpacked from Japan. I just pulled all the stuff out of my suitcase and stuck it all in a shopping bag and started packing for Wisconsin.

I've got
  • Clothes (did not forget pajamas this year)
  • All my circular needles
  • Graph paper and pencils
  • GLMC (so bummed this is not even close to done)
  • Georgie's sleeves
  • Baby hat knitting stuff*
  • Book, DVDs, iPod
I don't know what to bring for Show & Tell. I threw my Pi shawl in the suitcase since I got the yarn at camp last year. This is where I start to panic again but must remind myself that Marshfield, Wisconsin has a Target.

See you all next week!

*A friend is giving birth to triplets(!) in the next few weeks. I'm making a trio of baby hats from a '04 IK in Smooshy.


July 4, 2009

Japan Part III

On Sunday a few of us went to Ueno Park. There are several museums and a zoo there. We spent most of our time in the National Museum, which has several collections in separate buildings. We went through the Japanese collection but only made it through one floor before several parents had to leave to pick up their children after their homestays. My son was getting dropped off later than the rest so it gave me a chance to go through the National Museum of Western Art. It's a small museum with a very impressive collection, especially the French Impressionist collection. The museum was designed by Le Corbusier and there was an exhibit on the design of the museum.

When I left the museum the weather had gotten really bad. It was dark and raining pretty hard. I had planned on going back to Harajuku to see all the Cosplay kids. Instead I took the train to Shinjuku. With a map in hand I found my way to the Muji store there. Reading maps and finding places in Tokyo is very difficult. First, streets don't have names. Second, Tokyo is a maze of small alleyways. It's very hard to know what constitutes a "street" on a map. So finding a shop on a map in the rain was a major accomplishment. The Shinjuku Muji is huge. It covers several floors and has a restaurant. I wanted to try lunch there but there was no English on the menu and there was a very long line for lunch. I knew there was another Mitsukoshi store nearby so I decided to go to the food court there for lunch. After finding the store (another proud moment) I realized that that location had all the boxed gift food but no hot food.

However it did have a craft store. Having a sale.

I got a few amigurumi kits.

Gaspard and Lisa is a favorite series of mine. And it is huge in Japan. Everywhere I went I saw Gaspard and Lisa on coffee cups, fabric, toys (I also found a lip balm case and cell phone charms). I had to get this kit. It has everything from the crochet hook to the eyes to the needle to sew on the nose. And the kitty with the dead fish? Had to have it.

I also snatched up some too cute fabric.

I went back to the hostel for my son's drop off (without any lunch). His family called and said they would be later than expected so I ate some gyoza from the grocery store and waited. When he got back he was so happy and excited to tell me about the trip. He told me all about the hot springs near his host family's house and going to see the older son participate in a Special Olympics game.

On Monday the kids were all invited to visit a Tokyo public elementary school. There was a morning assembly then tours of the school. We all got the school lunch which is a very healthy, hot meal prepared in the school kitchen. It's then wheeled on carts to each classroom and the children serve one another and eat at their desks. The lunch we were served had broiled tuna, white rice with edamame, mixed greens with bacon, miso and the best bottle of milk I have ever tasted. Then the children clean the school. They sweep the classrooms and the halls and scrub the floors with rags. Our students all got to go to one class. My son's class went to PE which was a lot of fun. Then there was a goodbye assembly and we walked back to the hostel.

We went to Akihabara which is also known as "electronics town." The kids all knew about it before we got to Tokyo and were itching to go. We went straight to Yodobashi Camera which is nine stories of electronics and toys! My son got the newest Kirby game, a really cute action game with a little blue penguin in it and a game to learn Kanji all for his DS. There are rows and rows of hundreds of coin machines with little toys in capsules. We got a few Nintendo-themed trinkets for my kids and I got myself a Kapibara-san phone charm!

My son and I both fell in love with this character. My son got a small plush toy too. So cute!

We stopped at the Akihabara Muji location too. I'm obsessed. I know.

Tuesday was our last full day. We went to Kichijoji to go to the Yuzawaya store. It's a massive craft department store. There's yarn and fabric and toys and everything else crafty you can imagine. We only had an hour. I could have spent all day there. You know you're someplace good when the sign has a knitting ram on it.

I had the address and telephone number of a nearby yarn shop called Sheep Meadow. I asked a friend of the trip coordinator, who was helping us all get around, if she knew where it was. She offered to take me there. We headed off walking and she called the shop for directions. After a few blocks she called again, "Moshi moshi! We're at the Tokyo Department Store. Oh, okay!" We walked a few blocks. "Moshi moshi! We're at Unico. Okay, thank you!" We walked and called again. Finally we found the tiny shop with no sign. It was maybe 12 feet square with a table taking up most of the shop. All the yarns were cottons. I asked if there was any wool and the owner pointed to one basket of yarn and said it was "summer wool." I dug out what I thought would be enough for a scarf. We weighed it and she agreed that it would be a good amount. There were no signs or prices on anything so I was a little nervous to find out how much the yarn would cost. Expensive, it turned out, but not crazy expensive. I asked if I could take some photos before I left.

On our way back I had to stop to take a picture of one of the hydrant covers.

After that the kids wanted to go back to Akihabara so we did.

We only had a few hours on Wednesday morning before we left. I took my son to the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art. It's not a great museum space but the collection is very interesting. I'm not familiar at all with early 20th century Japanese art. It was really fascinating. Sadly the Gaughin exhibit which was advertised all over the city didn't start until the the third. No naked Tahitian ladies for us.

We walked back to the hostel one last time, got the Narita Express from Tokyo station and our Japan trip came to an end. We both had such an incredible time. I hope we're able to get back to explore more of Japan.


July 3, 2009

Japan Part II

We took the train to Kamakura, the capitol of Japan from 1192 to 1333. There are many shrines and temples to visit there. We walked through town and stopped at a few along the way. My son was operating the camera that day so the photos aren't the greatest.

We had lunch then caught the train to visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura. It's really pretty amazing. You can go inside the statue but I chose not to since I was already hot enough.

On Friday we went to Harajuku. It's the heart of street fashion in Tokyo. We strolled down the Takeshita-dori and looked at all the shops. Sunday is the day when kids get really dressed up and strut their stuff so there wasn't as much to see when we were there.

On Friday night the kids got picked up for their homestays. I met some other parents in Nippori to visit Tomato. This was the first time I traveled anywhere by myself and I was unduly proud of myself for getting where I needed to be on time with no mishaps.

Tomato is incredible. It's 6 stories of fabrics, notions and trims. And that's just the main store. There are several other locations within a block or two that carry home decorating, discount (100 yen/meter!), notions, buttons, etc. I got some Echino fabric which is available in the states. I just really wanted it. I also got a great two-sided linen print and some other things I haven't had a chance to photograph. It was really crowded with loud rock music playing. The guys at the cutting table were all pretty young and punk. My guy had a Bad Brains t-shirt on.

Most of the parents checked into the Shinjuku Hilton which was offering an amazing promotional rate. After sleeping on my thin mat on a hard floor for three nights, the king size bed was heaven! A large group of us ventured into Shinjuku for dinner. This is the Tokyo of movies. Neon four stories high, giant tv screens, music blaring and a sea of people.

Since we didn't have the kids with us on Saturday, four of us ventured to Ginza to experience a Tokyo department store. Ginza is well-known as an upscale shopping area. We went to Mitsukoshi Department store. Most impressive were the two floors of food. One floor was filled with candy, pastries and gift food items. There were aisles and aisles of food beautifully boxed up. Then the floor below had an immense food court. We also stopped at Uniqlo which is like the Japanese H & M. The kids had all become obsessed with a Japanese soda called CC Lemon. So the boys all got t-shirts. We also stopped at Muji which I love. It's kind of like Ikea. It's no brand, inexpensive with a great, simple design aesthetic. They have housewares, stationery, clothing, furniture, food...everything.

We also happened to luck out and stumble into the nicest little restaurant for lunch. We ate a delicious, peaceful meal. Someone suggest taking the train to Aoyama-dori and walking to check out the shops. As we strolled along I managed to spot La Drougerie and a small quilt show! Then we began what would later be known as the "Tokyo Death March." Someone in our group was studying the map and said, "I think we can walk back to Shinjuku from here." So we agreed. We ended up in Harajuku pretty quickly which gave us a false sense of confidence. We walked to the Meiji Temple and continued through the park into Yoyogi and the walked and walked and walked through a rather dull, seedy area until we landed back at the Hilton.

I need to organize more of my photos and videos. More later.


July 2, 2009

Japan Part I

I don't know how coherent any of this will be. It's 2:30 am. I'm wide awake and ready for dinner. Our return flight from Narita was at 5pm on Wednesday. When we arrived in Seattle (after I slept on and off for maybe two hours) it was 9 am on Wednesday. I completely failed at staying awake and took a huge nap midday into evening. I fell asleep at 9:30 last night and here I am, ready to go.

First some background on our trip. Students from my son's class were going to be participating in a five day homestay during which they would attend school. At the height of Swine Flu panic--back when Japan had only one confirmed case--the principal canceled on us. We started scrambling to reimagine our trip. Only a few days before we left our trip coordinator let us know that she had located enough families to take our kids for a two-night homestay and we would spend most of the rest of our time in Tokyo.

On Sunday, June 21st we left Seattle at midday. We arrived in Narita in the evening the next day. The kids did not sleep on the plane. They were all exhausted and wired and frankly so were the parents. We had plans to spend the night in Narita instead of trying to get the whole bedraggled group to Tokyo. It turned out to be a great plan. Narita is lovely. I was envisioning spending the night in a gross, dull, semi-industrial area like you find near most US airports. Instead Narita is a lovely, little city that provided a full-day of walking and exploring.

Narita Manhole Cover

I love these Narita school crossing signs. The little bow on the girl just kills me.

The next day we took the Narita Express to Tokyo. We arrived at Tokyo station and two trains later we were in at Iidabashi Station which is directly above the Tokyo International Hostel. The hostel takes up the 18 and 19th floors of an office building. The ground floor and basements are full of shops, restaurants and a grocery store. It's very inexpensive but, as you can imagine, a bit spartan. I was staying in a "family room" for the first three nights instead of a single-sex bunk room since I was a mom traveling with a boy. It was a traditional tatami room with just a thin mat to sleep on and a very hard, tiny pillow. The first night was okay but the second and third night's I was really uncomfortable.

We all loved this sign in the bathroom.

Our first day we visited the Edo Tokyo Museum. It was a really great museum but we did not get to spend nearly enough time there. Then we took a bus tour and visited Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace grounds (not enough time here either). I'm pretty height-phobic so I was hugging the inside wall up on the observation floor of the tower while my son was standing on the glass floor (!) and taking pictures.

We went on to Asakusa and visited the Senso-ji and then shopped at all the little stalls full of food, toys and souvenirs. This is where my son fell in love with Taiyaki. It's a sandwich made of two fish-shaped waffles and filled. There are more traditional fillings like red bean but my son got chocolate and it was delicious.

I didn't bring a whole lot of cash (Japanese) with me since I had been assured by several people that I would be able to easily get cash at Seven-Eleven or a post office. I had pretty much run out of money at this point (most places just deal in cash) so I got a map to my nearest Seven-Eleven and tried to get cash. My card was "invalid." I freaked out. My son and I were tired and hungry and we had 91 yen and an invalid credit card. We headed back to the hostel. We tried to call our bank. Finally our trip coordinator asked when the nearest post office closed (it was already past 8) and we rushed over to try it out. It worked and then I had to buy my son a double scoop at Baskin-Robbins with a waffle cone to make up for all the trauma.

The next day we spent in Kamakura.

I think I should try to get back to sleep although I can hear that my fellow traveler is also awake upstairs.


July 1, 2009


I just got back from Japan this morning. The trip was so much fun and I am jet-lagged and totally exhausted. I managed to even find some sheep in Tokyo!

This one was hanging out at Mister Donut.


June 20, 2009


I am gripped with panic. I keep running through everything over and over in my mind. Passports? Yes. Tickets? Yes. Toothbrush? Yes. Knitting? Yes. I have decided on Coraline and already started the body. I keep thinking, "Should I bring another project, just in case?" I know I'm forgetting something. I guess I'll find out what it is once I'm in Tokyo.


June 15, 2009

Welcome Home

When I got back to the house I found this in the fridge.

They saved me a slice of pizza. They know me so well.


June 9, 2009

What to Pack?

I'm trying to get all packed for my trip to Columbus for TNNA. I leave very early on Thursday. I think I'm all ready to go but somehow it seemed too simple. I'm sure I must be forgetting something really important. I'm sure I'll remember when I'm half-way to Denver. I packed an extra empty suitcase because you end up with so much swag and books and whatnot that it's a real struggle to get it all home.

I'm getting back on Monday. Then on Sunday I leave for a ten day trip to Japan! I have never been and am extremely excited. I'm also totally unprepared. I'm going with a group and a lot of my time has been mapped out for me already. I'll be in Tokyo for nearly the whole time with just a few day trips. My biggest problem is what knitting do I bring? I don't want to lug around a big, heavy sweater or anything with charts. Socks seems obvious but I haven't been feeling the sock love lately. My top contender is the Featheweight Cardigan. I have some lace-weight something I won as a door prize at the Knitter's Guild in a great raspberry color that I hope will work well. Then I'll need a back-up project too. Hmmm...

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March 31, 2009

Vancouver in Pictures

Parrot tulips at the Granville Island Public Market

Sea turtle drifting by at the aquarium

Dolphins take flight

Granny square bus!

Any Vancouverites out there who can tell me about the crochet bus wrap? I didn't see any text at all on my side of the bus. Just crochet. Info on buses here and here. Thanks Tammy.


March 28, 2009


I'm heading to Vancouver this weekend. I'll be back next week!


February 22, 2009

No Spoilers!

I'm pretending that the Oscars aren't happening yet and trying to avoid any news about it until I can sit down and watch.

Today several Purlygirls had a field trip to Bainbridge. Jeanne, Katie, Sasha, Sharon, Molly and I all headed over. We had a very nice lunch (things were pretty bustling because of the Chilly Hilly bike race). There were cyclists everywhere. We stopped by Esther's to peruse the fabric. Finally we made our way to Churchmouse where they were having a little kick-off reception for their customer show. They are featuring the Fair Isle Yoke sweater by Elizabeth Zimmermann. They even had a sample fair isle vest knit by Elizabeth on loan from Meg Swansen. Molly and I each dropped off a sweater for the show. Sharon is still too in love with hers to leave it behind. It's too bad. I would have voted for it. We also stopped at Mora for treats. A truly lovely way to pass the day.

In NaKniSweMoDo news, I have all the parts of the Asymmetrical Cardi complete and need to muster up the enthusiasm to tackle the finishing. In the meantime, as I already mentioned, I pulled out the Auburn Camp Shirt. The reason I couldn't just drop down and fix my mistake was that the hem is knitted in. I needed to drop down below that hemline so I had to rip back to just before the joining row then I could drop down and fix. Then I joined it back up and starting knitting. I panicked and thought I had actually done the fix all wrong but I think I'm on track now. That corner is looking pretty rough now but I hope I can clean it all up later.

Next up besides the Camp Shirt and the GLMC will be Bountiful Bohus by Chrissy Gardiner. I got some Cascade 220 in Vandyke Brown* and will use leftover gray and ecru from my Granny Smith FI**. I also got an idea during Madrona for another project. I hope to make an Adult Surprise Jacket with my own handspun. I have many, many small skeins of heavy worsted to bulky weight handspun. I thought it would be fun to throw them all together in a Surprise Jacket.

Okay, off to watch the Oscars.

*We were just discussing today the fact that Cascade names all the colors of C220 but doesn't make the names available anywhere but on the packing slip when yarn is delivered.

**I wore it to the show but couldn't part with it and the gray sweater.


February 10, 2009

I'm Outie

I'm headed to Madrona first thing tomorrow. I will try to take lots of pictures and tell you all about it when I get home. Take care and have a great week/weekend!


November 2, 2008

Hola Amigos

That's what my younger son said to me when I got home.

What a great week.

We stopped at FOUR yarn shops on the way to the retreat. The first was The Artful Ewe. I gave in and splurged on 3 ounces of hand-dyed angora top. I was a little anxious about how well I could spin it but it was so easy to work with. I was able to spin and ply the whole thing during the retreat.I ended up with about 210 yards of sport/dk yarn. It's really soft and lovely. I'm very pleased.

I finished the baby dress. Then I realized that you shouldn't do centimeters to inches conversions in my head at 2 am. The dress is several inches shorter than it should be. I can't decide between ripping out the last 15 rows and bind off and reknitting or cutting them off and grafting them back on later.

I worked a lot on my hexagon blanket. It's getting bigger and more blankety.

I bought a lot of yarn at the stash sale.

I bought a lot of books and magazines at the stash sale.

I had a wonderful time. Next year I'm going for a full week!

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September 28, 2008

OFFF '08

We all piled in the car Friday afternoon and headed to Portland. I dumped bade farewell to Wes and the kids and headed down to Canby on Saturday for the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival with Sarah. We perused, did a little purchasing, visited with friends, sat in a shady spot and knit (I brought my wheel but couldn't be bothered to lug it over to the fairgrounds). It was lovely as always.

My favorite of the trip: A St. Croix Hair Sheep with her 6 day old lambs. A-Fricking-Dorable.

Alpacas are just so lovably goofy-looking.

Did you know it takes three guys to primp a goat for the show ring? Just kidding. Usually it takes like a 10 year old and her mom. Why this goat was getting the celebrity treatment I don't know.

Beautifully woven handspun alpaca blanket. How would you like to have this to curl up under? It was gorgeous and so soft. Just lovely.

We headed to Fabric Depot after the fest. Last year we were so overwhelmed by the sprawl of it and had no game plan. We left empty handed. This year I had a game plan. We carefully combed the racks looking for shades of chocolate brown for a new quilt I'm dreaming up. We found lots of wonderful, strange and funny things.

I've got about a quarter of the edging on my shawl left to finish. I also pulled out the Auburn Camp Shirt for some car knitting. (I can't read charts or look at my knitting in the car.)

A great weekend.


August 31, 2008

Cruise Recap

We have never gone on a cruise before. We were a little apprehensive but we all had a very good time on our trip.

Friday: Boarded the ship from downtown Seattle (no plane rides! Hooray!)in the afternoon. We had a few hours on board to see where everything was on the ship before we left Seattle. We had the late seating for dinner which worked out well. We were able to take our younger son (super-picky eater) to the buffet before we all had our sit-down dinner.

Saturday: At sea all day. It was really rough this day. Really, really rough. We started the day with both kids throwing up in our stateroom (good times). We finally dragged them and ourselves out of the room and found some spots on the ship where the rocking and swaying was less pronounced.

Sunday: Juneau, AK. It was rainy and in the 50s the entire trip. The area of Juneau where the ship docked is entirely built around the tourist industry. It's tacky. But if you want to buy tacky, touristy stuff this is the place to get the best deals. We took the Mt. Roberts Tram up and did a little hike around in the rain. Very pretty. Very expensive. We left Juneau around dinner time. It was much smoother.

Monday: Skagway, AK. We did a little walk around town in the morning. Touristy but cute. We took the scenic railway trip in the afternoon. The kids were bored, bored, bored. We should have left them on the ship. The train ride was very pretty but awfully long. We're also not really train enthusiasts so all the train information went right by us. We left in the evening.

Tuesday: We were supposed to go to the Tracy Arm Fjord but the conditions there weren't good for getting close to the glacier. We went to Endicott Fjord instead. We arrived very early--7ish. It was amazing. We coasted up the fjord passing seals and huge icebergs. Then we got right up to the glacier. It was just stunning. The kids were bored, as always, and went back to the stateroom and missed the whole damn thing.

Wednesday: Prince Rupert Island, BC. We left the kids on the ship and walked around town. Not much to see. The museum there is very nice but the signage is awful. There is next to no information about anything on display. In the afternoon we went on the whale watch. Once again, we probably should have just left the kids on the ship (free childcare, gotta love it) but I hoped they would enjoy it. Younger son enjoyed the free cookies. Older son slept and then got to see a few whales. We arrived back just as the ship was about to leave.

Thursday: At sea. Not nearly as bad as the first at sea day but still a little rough at times. Lots of great views of Vancouver Island and the coast. A few orca sightings. Lots of activities to keep us all busy.

Friday: Seattle. When we woke up we were already docked. We had a very leisurely breakfast and waited for our luggage group to be announced. We grabbed a cab and were home before lunch.

Overall, this is a great, easy way to travel with kids. There's a childcare center on the ship. We also felt, after a few days, fine with letting the kids roam a little on their own. We brought walkie talkie because cell phone service was either non-existent or completely insanely priced ($5/minute!). The on-board entertainment was as silly and cheesy as we feared but so much so that it was fun to go watch. There was karaoke which Wes and I enjoyed. There was family karaoke which the boys LOVED. They seriously rocked the mic with renditions of "I Wanna Be Sedated," "School's Out" and "Sunshine of Your Love." Older son declared karaoke to be "wicked." After dinner each night we'd put the kids in bed and go to the dancing lounge (non-smoking). I would knit and we'd watch the dancers. I only saw one other knitter on the ship and she didn't seem very interested in talking to me.

We developed nicknames for many of the passengers. (Funny how with 2000 people on a ship you see the same 20 people over and over.) There was "The Hills Have Eyes" family, Long Island family, Dancing with the Stars couple (complete with matching outfits!), Tony Montana (15 year old kid in a white suit just like Pacino's from Scarface), etc.

We would definitely do this again. We especially loved not having to deal with going to the airport and all the hell that entails.


August 29, 2008

Because I Know You Love This Too

Vacation pictures!

Okay, you probably don't care much about my vacation pictures but what about whales jumping in the air!


Back Home

Hi everyone. Sorry I forgot to leave a goodbye message before leaving on vacation. We just got back from a week-long cruise to Alaska. As I sit here the room is still swaying. I'm hoping my "sea-legs" wear off soon. I'll get some pictures from my trip and my Ravelympic sweater up soon.


July 22, 2008

Camp Afterglow

I just walked in the door. I loved camp. I am dirty and tired. More later.


June 14, 2008

A Few More TNNA Pictures

We've got Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno spinning, the Threadbear boys knitting, Stephanie from Spritely Goods (behind Amy).

Stephanie and Nathania of Purlescence.

A chocolate orgy courtesy of Lexie Barnes.

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June 10, 2008

Continuing Crazy Small World News

While walking the floor at TNNA I passed a woman who looked just like a dear friend from knitting camp. I stopped. I backed up. I looked at her. I realized it couldn't be her because she wasn't a yarn shop owner. I walked away. I backed up again. Anyway, it was her! It was my friend Dawn. She drove up with three ladies who own her LYS where she teaches. We made plans to get together for dinner. At dinner we noticed the woman at the next table were knitting. We asked where they were from. They were from the Katonah Yarn Company. I said I grew up near there. After much discussion I find out that one of the ladies used to live three blocks from where I grew up and her children went to my day camp and elementary school! I told them I was with a friend from knitting camp and they asked if I knew Denise, another good camp friend.

I also finally met Kristi Porter. She and I went to college together but didn't know each other than. I mentioned it to Cookie and it turns out she went to the University of Chicago too. There were so many other funny little connections while I was there. I won't bore you with any more.


The TNNA Diet

It turns out that if you only eat one meal a day and walk about 10 miles on the sale floor of a trade show you lose a few pounds. The time change really threw off my eating schedule in Columbus. When it was lunchtime there it only felt like mid-morning to me. Then when it was my lunchtime it was 4 in the afternoon there. So I'd just hold out and eat a huge dinner. Then I'd curse myself at midnight in my hotel room when I was famished and there was no available food. Then yesterday I made a point to eat lunch on Columbus time for fear that I would not have time to eat while traveling. I am so glad I did. I ate at 10 am my time and did not eat again (except for a Cookie at the Columbus airport while hanging out with Cookie A. and the ladies from Dream in Color) until after midnight when I got home. My wonderful husband made me a hamburger when I crawled in the door then presented me with a Trophy cupcake. Yeah, he's a keeper.


June 7, 2008

Pass the Duct Tape

Because my head is going to explode!

I was in the Schaefer booth today. The woman I was talking to said, "I know you from somewhere."
"I met you in Long Beach."
"No, further back, like summer camp or something."
We compared summer camp notes and no match.
"Where'd you grow up?"
"New York," I told her.
"Where in New York?"
"Where in Westchester?"
"Me too."

We went to elementary school together!! How in the world did she recognize me?

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June 6, 2008

The Who's Who

What a kooky day. I took a morning business class. Then I went to the luncheon where Stephanie was the speaker. The food was awful. It was some kind of "salad." Essentially a lot of disparate leftovers piled on lettuce. Vile. Made me pine for yesterday's bad salad. I got a free signed copy of Things I Learned from Knitting. They give books away here like mints.

I met so many people today. Bonne Marie Burns, Shannon Okey, Kristi Porter, Jillian Moreno, Amy Singer, Franklin Habit...I know it's been blogged before but everywhere you turn there is a familiar face, a well-known designer. I got to peak inside Janel Laidman's new sock book. So much fun. A friend tried to introduce me to Rick Mondragon. He glanced over then turned his back on me!

Tonight was the fashion show. I marked "Thursday" next to a number of items. My favorite set up of the evening was an item that was described as a "cross between a cape and a wrap." I turned to Kris and asked, "A crap?"

In the meantime here is a snippet of January's fashion show. My favorite item is around the 3:50 mark. 4:50 is also worth a look.

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Never Leave Your Time Zone

Yesterday I left the house just before 6 am and arrived at my hotel in Columbus at 9:30 pm. There were many long hours of waiting at O'Hare in there. Would it kill them to get someplace to eat in there that isn't so completely crappy and depressing it sucks your will to live right out of you? Seriously, I would happily pay $20-30 for a meal made fresh that doesn't taste like despair. I can't be the only one.

I could not sleep last night. I usually go to bed pretty late. So last night I tried to go to sleep at 1 (10 pm my time). Couldn't do it. Got up and dinked around online for a while. Went back to bed at 2 and slept fitfully until 6. It's 3 am for me. Why am I out of bed??

The trade show part of TNNA does't begin until tomorrow. Today I have a class. At 8 am! And then nothing until the evening. I keep telling myself I can come back and have a nap this afternoon at least.

I knit and knit and knit on my Auburn Camp Shirt yesterday. The back is now just under two inches long. Stop laughing at me! I will finish this sweater some day. And to be fair, there was a hem. So I've really knit, like, three inches.


May 25, 2008

You Can't Buy Happiness

But sometimes things you buy can make you happy.
Amanda took me on a field trip to Keepsake Cottage in Bothell. It's a lovely fabric shop with a great selection and a very friendly staff. I got myself a few fat quarters of 30s repro fabric. We were heading out when I saw an antique store. I convinced Amanda to go in with me (she's not into the whole antique shop thing). Inside I found a shelf of feedsacks with the labels intact. I don't know anything about vintage feedsacks or pricing. I found one I thought was really cheerful and decided to get it.

I did one tour around the shop and then I saw it. Something I have wanted my entire life.

A Muppet lunchbox.

The whole gang is here.

I'm very happy with my purchases.

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May 20, 2008

Catching Up

Let's see. Where was I?

On Sunday I got to have a free luncheon aboard the MS Westerdam. This was promotion for Craft Cruises. I have been thinking about doing an Alaskan cruise for a family trip. I've never been on a cruise ship before and was really curious. The lunch was really nice and it was very interesting to get a chance to see the range of accommodations. It was also hilarious to see how tacky the decor on the ship was. I created a Flickr set of all the gold-gilt kitschiness.

That evening Wes and I went to see Dr. No. I won tickets through the Seattlest blog. It was the first time I saw the whole movie. It's funny because there are so many iconic Bond moments in the film that I think we all recognize. There were also many laughable moments in the film with over the top acting, bad effects and other 60s silliness. I think the whole audience enjoyed the experience.

There are these sheep with arrows spray-painted all around Seattle Center. Does anyone know where they lead?

I woke up at 3 am on Sunday night when I suddenly remembered I had a class to attend the next morning in Port Gamble! I could not get back to sleep as my mind raced thinking about what I needed to do to prepare and worrying about what other important things I had forgotten. I finally fell back to sleep around 4:30 and got up at 6:30. Yuck. At least it was light out. I got myself to Port Gamble pretty quickly and easily.

The Artful Ewe is moving up the street from the old fire house to the old meat market. Heidi's new space is big and clean and bright and it was completely empty still so there was plenty of room for all of us to spread out. I don't know if I can say anything more about taking a class with Judith that I haven't before. She's knowledgeable, funny, immensely talented and born to teach. I left in the evening very sad that I wouldn't be joining everyone for the second day of class.

So, let's see...what else? The two Monica tops are done. They are for Wes's cousin's daughters in LA. I'm working on my Merino Lace socks. I'm thinking about pulling another project off my hibernating list. Maybe it's finally time to get back to Frost Flowers and Leaves? I'm also completely behind in my sewing. The Dear Jane quilt-along just keeps on moving. I'm behind several weeks and many blocks by now. Must make some time for hand sewing soon.

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