Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saving Money the Hard Way

Its Stitches West weekend and I feel like I am missing out on fun, yarn, laughter and all the excitment that comes with attending Stitches. Last year on Friday, a group of 4 of us rose in the dark early morning hours and prepared ourself for a Yarn Frenzy. We were at the train depot at 6:50 AM. As daylight came into being, we saw others standing in small groups and we begin to see a pattern. Women with knitting were silently gathering to board the train to the big yarn event. I had not been on a train since I was a small child, so the train trip held as much excitment for me as the yarn market heaven. I saw parts of my own community that I had never seen before, as the train moved down into Sacramento and on to the Bay Area. Somehow we found ourselves in Emeryville and someone said Oakland. We thought we had reached the station where we changed to buses. So this 4 some climbed off the train. Imagine our shock when the train pulled out of the depot and the sign DID not read Oakland. The station people were wonderful to us and found us a cab driver who agreed to drive like the wind, so we may catch up with our bus. Once on the bus I saw more knitters. In fact the bus was totally knitters except for 2 passengers I think. The bus driver was so good he drove us to the front door of the convention center and we lined up for Market. I looked around and soon realized I had not come prepared. Women had HUGE suitcases on wheels they were pulling into the market place. This was some serious yarn shopping I could see. The doors opened and I felt like a 4 yr old in a candy store. I split off as I was sure I could see more faster and didn't want to miss one skien of yarn or one book in the place. About 3 hours later I actually stopped long enough to eat a sandwich and find the others. It was thrilling, it was exciting, it was blinding, it was breathtaking, it was just flat magical to see it all. Everywhere you looked were people knitting, people selling supplies to do more knitting and color..... lots of color. By late afternoon people were slowing down. Me among them. We got back on the train, found a table with 4 spaces for us, and shared all our purchases. Then it started to get dark and I watched lights out the window. I had not seen these sides of the small towns the train raced through. Some were beautiful, with re furbished Depots, others were in scary not so nice parts of towns. All n' all it was a great day. I also attended Stitches East last Nov. 3, 2006, in Baltimore, MD. It was a great Market Place. My son took me up from D.C. but it didn't hold the magic as the first one on the train did. I skipped this years Stitches West. I will go next year.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Life Repeating Its Self

Its true. Life does repeat. During the 1960's and early 70's I had a framed print hanging in my home. It looked just like what you see to the left. There was a war called Vietnam. It was the first war ever to be televised. It was scary as I had a son that was moving closer to the age to registar for the draft. I wanted peace. It saddened me each night to see Walter Cronkite give the total of lives lost each day. Imagine the families suffering those losses. Once again we are in a war. Once again we are losing lives and families are suffering. Is there ever an end? 33 Americans died this week in the war.
Stitches West is this weekend. Help me out here. Do I want to get up at 5 am and take the train to the Bay Area? Shop Shop Shop, and take the train back arriving home at 9 PM? Please feel free to vote in the comment section. Today I will REALLY talk about knitting. I am up to the heel on my Jay Walker sock and am impressed how it lets the colors strip. I think I will be doing this pattern again with other sock yarn that I currently have in stash. I have managed to take a photo of some of my sock yarn stash, and wish I could remember where I 'stashed' the other!!! This weekend we are looking at stormy weather so it will be a wonderful pajama/knitting weekend. I need to get these UFO's finished so I feel like I actually accomplish something with sticks and string.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

Its Fat Tuesday!!!!!!!!! Eat, Drink and be Merry!!!! The design to the left I borrowed from the Times Picayune Newspaper. I love those masks. Then I have some Red Beans and Rice for you to feast on and some beads to toss around your necks as you party till midnight. Then Lent begins.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I Have Returned

Another view of Mt. Shasta means my return from seeing Mom. She has been in a Hospice House since Dec. 8th, and is doing so good she will be a graduate on Weds Feb. 21st. This time we are taking her home to live in her house with my brother and his wife. They both work so we have caregivers coming in to take care of her during the day. We will judge from there how much more time we need to have caregivers in. Her friend of about 50 years was in the room next to her. She lost her fight last Weds and services were this morn. The friends daughters and nieces were all my friends yrs ago in school. Its a small town and the support system for all of us circles us with hugs, while one goes through difficult times. There are not enough words to discribe the people who work at Hospice House. They are angels. Loving people who care for us family, as they do their patients. It was difficult to say good bye to them this morning.

On Sat. I took Mother for a ride over the Siskiyou's into Oregon. She loves the park in Ashland and it was such a beautiful day that I parked her by the creek and she could hear the water while I snuck into Websters. Websters is a wonderful yarn shop in Ashland. I got needles, new Interweave Knits Magazine for spring, and 2 needle cases. My treat to myself was some Colinette yarn for socks. They seem to have a new sock yarn called Jitterbug. Feels yummy. I also recast on the right size needles, the Jay Walker socks out of the Treking yarn. That about sums up my knitting time.
This last picture is coming down the south side of the Siskiyou Summit looking out over the valley towards Hilt and in the far background you would usually see Mt. Shasta from the north. The clouds block it. This is the highest summit on all of Interstate 5. I am off to unpack, relax and find some dinner.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What Happened To Winter?

I am wondering what happened to winter? Is this the false spring we sometimes have? Driving home from work today I noticed trees all over in full bloom. Convertibles with the top down. People in flip flops and shorts. I fear if this is all the winter we get, we are going to be having some major water problems before July is over. I am not sure my yard will live through the no water, then the big freeze of January. It is very brown looking. I'll spray paint it green if I have to. Think of the mowing I won't have to do. I am including pictures I have seen of the train yard in Roseville, and the rice fields that start about a 1/2 mile from my house and are all over the northern part of the state.

On Friday I drive north, searching, again, for Mt. Shasta on my way to Mom's.

On the knitting side of life. I just keep plugging away on the Clapotis. I think I must be the last soul in the world still knitting on this 'hot' pattern of 2 years ago. I have always been behind somewhat. I took tap lessons when I was four and half. I got lessons free cuz I was cute and they used me in posters for dance reviews. But Dad always told me I was called half step. Not because I was shorter or little. Because I was always a half step behind the others in my dance group. A few dozen years later I seem to be doing the same with knitting. My knitting is packed for this weekend. I have an idea what clothes to pack, and I need to pack up all Mothers paperwork for the Tax Man. It will be a busy 4 days this weekend.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Singles Worst Holiday

Singles not so favorite day starts in a few hours. The holiday that was created by women, supported by Hallmark, candy makers and the florist. Thats ok we all claim we don't really care about living alone and being single, until we see all the hearts, flowers and couples in the world out for that special dinner and or day. I will be attending 'Chicks and Sticks' at the local yarn shop. With 12 single women and 3 men. There will be no dancing, music, candle lite. Just lots of needles and yarn with some desert tossed in that the shop owner is making. I guess life isn't so bad after all. The chocolate covered strawberries at the left I give you with the promise of no calories (looking at the photo that is). And I leave you with a photo of the Eternal Hug. This is a for real photo. Happy Valentines Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Dreaded Household Repairs

A day of very little knitting. Household duties and repairs and a huge dose of lazy. Its Sunday. I did wade through the Sunday paper and all the ads before hauling it out to the garbage. I like getting that out of the way. Takes time away from knitting to do the Sunday paper. I have a bad rain gutter on my back deck. The contractor put up a temp mickey mouse rain gutter before he vanished from the landscape. Two years later the mickey mouse thingy is not working well. I am just not into household repair things. My tool bag has a roll of duct tape and a can of WD 40, one hammer and a couple screw drivers, that I only have as my Dad owned a parts store and there were lots in his garage. My idea here is if it moves and its not suppose to, duct tape it. If it doesn't move and it is suppose to, WD 40 it. Now duct tape isn't going to stop the leak in this rain gutter, and WD 40 is out of the question. So I found some yellow plastic cord in the garage, cut a piece off found some matches and melted the ends so it didn't fray. Tied the cord around the broken rain gutter, so it stays attached to house. Then I put a long 2x4 I found in back yard, left over from MIA contractor against it so gutter stays where it is suppose to. To hold that in place I used the metal table on deck braced against the 2x4. Got a picture of this? Of course I don't. You think I would share something that bad? We shall see if it holds up during next few days of storms.

On the knitty side of life, I worked on the top of some socks I had started a while back. I have 3 pairs of socks on needles and need to finish them before summer arrives. Tonights Grammy show will give me plenty of time to knit. I do want to see Police, with Sting open the show. It looks like I will go up to Mom's next Friday and come home on Monday. I need to help my brother get things ready to bring Mom home from Hospice House. She is trying hard not to be a cry baby. She is so use to where she is and fears moving back home. I have to upack some of her things and make her feel like she is back home. I will leave with one picture that is knitting related. Some Cherry Hill sock yarn in Old Rose colorway. Beautiful soft yarn. I am looking forward to knitting and wearing these socks.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Life Changes

Today is a homesick day. In the late 70's I moved to a small community in the Gold Country of California. The far northern part of the Gold Country. The little town I liked the best and live the longest in is Nevada City. This is a picture of the main street of town. When I retired I was living alone in an apartment in Nevada City. I lived on the 3rd floor of this apt. building with a big deck on the back that was up in the trees. There were old abandoned gardens in the back and nobody could see inside the apt. It was so secluded I made a small bedroom at one end of the deck and in the late spring, summer and early fall I slept out there. Very safe. Nobody could get to the deck. There was a roof covering it, so was very protected from weather. No matter how hot it got, the deck in the trees was cool to sleep at night. My son and daughter thought it was time for me to make a move. I am not sure how they selected that I live near my daughter, but 2 1/2 yrs ago I moved to Roseville. Sometimes things trigger such a loneliness for Nevada City and today was one of those days. I use to walk to the bank, post office and anywhere in town I needed to. I was 2 blocks from work. Life was good. I had alot of friends there. A complete support system for what ever I needed. There were times I had medical issues, and I always had a ride to what ever appointment I needed. I did the same for them. I ran into someone today from Nevada City. They were shocked that I would ever move away from there. I agree. I am still in shock. The picture on the top right was taken 1 block from my apt. Hard to believe you live one block off the main street of town and had the privacy I did in that little apt. The people you knew and would see while walking to the post office. The main street packed with tourist on a sunny weekend. The events that we had one block from where I lived. The Teddy Bear Convention, Fat Tuesday Parade, Fourth of July Parade, Bike Races, Hot Summer Nights every Weds nite during summer, Victorian Christmas, when it was cold and the streets were full of people dressed in costumes. Farmers Markets held all over the area. It was a great home town for almost 30 years. I miss it still. But living about 2 miles from me now, are daughter, the best son in law ever and 2 grandchildren. Life changes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Knit and Destroy

I should named this Destroy and Knit. I started Jaywalker socks. Love the colors, BUT I was on a 0 needle size and should of been on a 1 and half size needle. I don't know what I was thinking. I did photo it before frogging it. And still love the colorway. This is Trekking sock yarn. I am off in a bit to get a pair of Crystal Palace needles in right size. I also finished a pair of VooDoo fingerless gloves from Knitty. They are made of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. Very soft and I am liking these. I made them long enough they go up under the coat cuff and no cool air on the arms. They also let you drive with some grip on the wheel. My second Picture today is Baby Hats. The white one is for the small one we hope to welcome into the family soon. The blue hat is for a lady at work. All I know is her name and that she is having a baby boy. I can't speak Spanish and she can't speak English. So I can say she has a nice smile. I have been off for 2 days knitting and knitting and doing nothing much else. I am fighting the crudes that have been floating thru the office for last few weeks. I will go back Monday. I even missed my Grandson's birthday dinner last nite. I did call him and we will go birthday shopping next week after school one day. I love doing that. I get more out of it then if I go birthday shopping alone. I get an hour or so selecting books or what ever their interest is now with just them. one on one.
The other news is Mother is leaving the Hospice House where she has been since Dec. 8th. It is amazing seeing her comeback. We honestly feared we were loosing her then. The Angels that work in Hospice House are amazing people who give with such love and care to both the patient, but to their families as well. My fear is she will be depressed at home without them. It will be nice for her to be home but she is out in the mtns away from town and all the friends who came to see her. Her friends were big in helping us with her comeback. I will be traveling back north on next week, but this time I will be driving.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Knitting Sunday

Gift to myself. I have always said if I saw the right stitch markers I would get them. I wasn't just looking for bright shinny beads, I wanted something related to knitting. I found these yesterday. They were made by a local person and sold at the LYS. They make me smile. I am still knitting along on my Clapotis and when done will post a picture. Right now it looks dull and boring. I also finished a small hat and kimono for a new baby. I will also post those soon. Part of my yarn purchases for January was enough Noro Kochoran to make a Lady Eleanor. (pictured above) I love the soft muted colors and will be excited to see them knit up. I may fight with the daughter for final product. I also cast on for a pair of Jay Walker Socks. They are a small change from the large Clapotis and I can take them with me easier. I spent yesterday visiting one LYS and over dosing on yarns. I enjoy doing that, it gives me a shot in the arm to come home and knit faster so I can plan my next project. So much yarn so little time. Its not looking good for stitches west this year. Amtrack has changed the commute trains to the Bay Area. There is no longer a 7 am train. A person can either go at 4:45 AM or 11:23 AM. The first is a terrible hour to get up and dressed and down to the train station and the other would get us there in time to take the train home. I am not brave enough to drive it anymore. There was a time I would of not even thought of taking a train I would of been in the rush hour traffic loving it. I had promised myself some Socks That Rock Yarn and a book from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Last year I had no idea what I would want as I had not been to Stitches. This year I was going with a plan. I can always order them off the internet but somehow that just isn't as much fun as seeing the colors live and touching them. In the long run I would probably really be saving money. I am off to get another cup of coffee and my knitting. I do have plans to not watch the superbowl. Some movies.