Friday, March 29, 2013

Horses Are Worse Than Bears

Wednesday was an adventure. I was able to cross off another photo shoot for The Book, but Mum, Alina, and I worked for it. I was able to get permission to take pictures in a field of horses. Last time I was in the field, it took five minutes to find the dozen and half horses. This time.... well, we found some other things before we found the horses, including a wood rat nest.

A half hour later Alina spotted them in the field we had passed previously. Apparently we all moved at about the same rate around the trees. It was a relief to find them. I thought they would continue grazing, but three of them decided to be a welcoming committee. Mum called them worse than bears because they had to taste EVERYTHING. I now have horse spit on my camera bag.
Photo courtesy of Mum

They didn't let up in their curiosity, so I parked the golf cart in front of all our stuff. Once we took the good stuff away, they decided to leave.

Photo courtesy of Mum

It took us over two hours of just picture taking, but I was able to get every picture that I had envisioned taking. All in all it was a great success.
Photo courtesy of Mum

I took some fun pictures too. 

I can't wait to have this book done so I can show you all the final photos. Only three more shoots to go!

Monday, March 25, 2013


I finished my Arbutus a few days ago and decided that even though I love the yarn, the colors don't look as good on me. So I have given it to Mum. She didn't want to model it. 

I don't like modeling either. But I wanted it modeled...

It was a relaxing knit. I did read that other people had trouble with holes by their short rows. I usually am fine, but encountered the same issue on half of my wrap and turns. I fixed it by picking up and twisting two extra stitches by the offending wrap and turn and then doing a k2tog twice. It worked perfectly.

Scooter was particularly energetic today. I moment I sat on the bench, he launched himself onto me. He got his usual two walks and an additional run. Running him involves two of us holding treats at opposite ends of the yard. We call him and he runs from person to person until there are no more treats. He usually tears around the yard a bit more before going inside for water and a nap. It worked like a charm.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Belated Beach Yarn

After an embarrassing number of months, I managed to finish spinning Melissa's birthday skein. It was so late that I wrote on the card "Happy Belated (almost your next) Birthday." I tried to make up for the lateness with yardage.

It is meant to be a beach theme; going from the sandy edge of the water, through the breakers, and out to deep water.

The skein was spun up from several Faerie Mountain Fibers Crazy Batts. I practiced my long draw while spinning this yarn. The long draw requires only one hand and I've been told that it is sometimes called the beer draw, which I find to be accurate. I did have a beer in my other hand while spinning. I thought (correctly) that Melissa would approve. In the end, the skein was very close to 400 yards of fingering/sport weight. I suggested a center-out triangular or semicircle shawl to best show off this yarn.

After getting the yarn and fondling it, Melissa immediately cast on a Shaelyn shawl. I think she knit it faster than I spun it. I'd never spun a gradated yarn and I am excited that it came out so well. Let us all gaze on how glorious the Shaelyn looks.
Photo courtesy of Melissa

 And now I think I need to spin myself an ocean-themed yarn.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Island Party

My Grace cardigan has been on time out for a month. I know it looks pretty good. I got the sleeves in. But as I put the first sleeve in, I saw that my gauge had changed a little. No matter, blocking would fix everything.

Blocking did not fix everything. I know that the gauge difference looks slight. But as a point of reference, I only blocked the sleeves.

I have to face the facts: these sleeves have negative ease. And while I don't have a problem with negative ease, I don't like that the sleeves push my shirt sleeves up. Realistically, I won't wear a cardigan I can only wear with a tank top, so these sleeves have to be ripped. I just haven't had it in me to do it because not only is the yarn fingering weight, but I also blended two skeins along each sleeve. That means I'll be untwisting 2 skeins from each other as I rip. The other problem was that I had given myself a deadline of finishing the cardi by February 15th, otherwise I'd have to put it aside to finish knitting for The Book. When I have some time, the new plan of attack is to go up two needle sizes AND add two extra stitches in the underarm. Am I overcompensating? Maybe. But I gotta get me some ease.

This left me with no "relaxing knitting". I had recently cleaned out my stash and found this skein of handspun that I had made a few years ago. It's one of my favorites and I finally found a project to match it with. It is becoming an Arbutus

Both patterns are from Jane Richmond's ISLAND book. So I'm having a bit of an ISLAND party.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Snowy Sneak Peek

I live in a part of the country where, if you really wanted to, you could surf and ski in the same day. I sometimes even see car commercials showing some young daredevils doing both activities in one day. I don't identify with them. I've skied once in my life and I'm terrified of being in the ocean above my knees. Anyways, on Wednesday, Mum and I drove three hours to get to the snow, took pictures for two and a half hours, and drove back home another three hours.

Why would we do that? The guy at Starbucks couldn't fathom that we would travel that far to take pictures for a book. But we did. And the pictures are awesome. Even the outtakes. The image above was captured after I threw some snow in the air to make the picture look more magical. I thought that if you throw snowballs into the air, they might break up and come back down looking like a snow flurry. What I actually learned is that when you throw snowballs into the air, that is how they come back down.
The picture was taken with my camera set to rapid shoot. So in the future, when the book is out, I think I'll have to make a full gif of what lead to this shot. Until then, this is just another sneak peek.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thimblerigging Scooter

Mum read somewhere that in order to keep polar bears from getting too bored, zookeepers will hide their food or make them work for it in some way. Scooter is an inquisitive dog. We've had to develop ways to direct his curious energy.  The newest Scooter game is Thimblerig! Also known as the shell game. First we set up the cups.

He gets to see where the treat is hidden. At this point he gets pretty excited. Because he's charged the cups one too many times, he is now required to lay down in order to play.

I make a few quick cup movements.

Then the best part. Choose your cup Scooter!


Scooter's been doing pretty good at choosing a cup with his paw. But sometimes he cheats and sniffs each cup before selecting one. Smart dog.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Belated Birthday

Nearly a month ago it was my birthday. Every year, on my birthday, I get sick. I'm not one to break tradition, so this year I had a fever. It was a bit of a bummer because it was also suppose to be my last day at work. Who calls in on their last day of work and is actually sick? Me. That's who. It meant that I missed out on a birthday surprise from a coworker. I visited yesterday and was surprised to be presented with a skein of Three Irish Girls' Glenhaven Cashmerino in the Liam colorway. Thanks Michele!

I did have a surprise package show up on the day of my birthday. Even in my fever induced haze, I still called my Dad over to "see what I got." Kiwipurler sent two skeins of Knitsch fingering weight merino wool in the colorway Tennant. Any Whovians out there? You'll know why I was waving the skeins about. She also sent some of her lovely stitch markers. It was a true treat. (I don't know how she knew I was on the hunt for a pair of sock's worth of fingering weight TARDIS colored yarn, but there you have it.)

My aunt sent me a cute basket. Inside I found.... three skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in the Plena colorway. I'm sensing a theme this year....

I had actually ordered myself to two birthday presents the month before so they would show up in time. This is a project bag by ModularModular. I actually talked to her through ravelry to get the bag, but she will have her shop stocked soon. It is fully lined, has pockets inside, and will house the southern companion to Celestarium. I'm impressed with the craftmanship in this piece. 

I also preordered a James Bond themed mystery skein from Canon Hand Dyes in the Lewis base. It is a self striping yarn. The main skein is suppose to be like a three piece suit and the red heel/toe skein is suppose to be the red rose. I love that it came with a martini and olive themed stitch markers.

So all in all, my birthday was pretty good. I slept through most of it, but I'm fine with that. Scooter sat with me most of the day and kept guard. By the evening, my fever broke and I was able to eat my birthday dinner. It's probably good birthdays only come around once a year because it is going to take me that long to knit up all my new wooly friends.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bear Ears Den

It's been on the to-do list for awhile, but there is now a Bear Ears ravelry group called the Bear Ears Den. So if anyone has pattern questions or just wants to chat, this is where I'll be hanging out. At the moment, we are working on a project that has to do with taking pictures of Celestarium shawls with celebrities that have space themed jobs. Hope to see all you ravelers over there.

In other news, I spent a week purging my room of all sorts of stuff. Turns out I was really into hoarding pens. The good news is that now that everything (and I do mean everything) has been filed/sorted/cleaned/given away, I am finally getting back to The Book and other commitments. I plan to work on the next photo how-to post in the next week or so.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

California Coast Road Trip Pt.2

Morning broke at Fort Bragg. After breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and hurried down to Glass Beach. Glass Beach used to be the dump at Fort Bragg. It was cleaned up, but the glass was left. Over time the waves smoothed each sharp piece into a pebble.

It's prohibited to take glass from the beach. We tried to see how many shades of glass we could find, although once we were done we left it behind for the next person to enjoy.

On our way out of Fort Bragg I saw glass jellyfish in the window of a building. A quick U-turn took us to the Glass Fire gallery. The owners were in their studio making another beautiful jellyfish. We watched nearly the whole process. Buster and Trish are amazing artists. They kindly explained different parts of their process. If you ever have a chance to visit, it is worth the time.

After watching a jellyfish being born, it was hard not to leave without one. Dad got a Moon Jelly. I got myself one of the abalone pottery pieces. One day, if my budget ever allows it, I'd love to get one of the jellyfish lamps. They let us know that they ship worldwide. I'd better start saving.

The rest of our drive down Highway 1 was pretty uneventful. Although we did reach the Marin headlands at the perfect time. The sun was setting as I got this image.

Despite living fairly close to the Golden Gate my entire life, I've never gotten a jumping picture... until now. It took a few tries to get a good shot. I had initially forgotten to tuck in my shirt. It was less than flattering.

Darkness crept in as we crossed. I got the shot I had always wanted to, but never had the right lens for. It doesn't look like it, but we were nearly under the tower when I took this. And it doesn't matter how many times you cross it; the bridge is always impressive.

We picked up Scooter that night from our friend's house. He was a good house guest. Thank goodness.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

California Coast Road Trip Pt.1

Before Stitches, my family and I went North for my Opa's funeral. The weather had closed in around our usual route home, so we opted for a two day trip down the coast instead. It seemed appropriate since my Opa was the one who would take the family on road trips. It was the Opa Memorial Road Trip.
On the first day, we saw a wide range of sights. I live in a bit of California that doesn't see much snow, if any, so this sight is quite unfamiliar to me. The weather had warmed up just enough that the trees were dumping their cold burden.

Everywhere we looked for a good hour or two, there was mist and crashing snow. This picture is probably the best one I've ever gotten while the car is moving.

As we edged out of the snow zone, we stopped to visit the Darlingtonias around Gasquet. It isn't often I am in that area, so I insist on stopping whenever we pass by. Dad had never seen these plants in the wild, so we did the short walk to have a look. I've never seen snow in this area before. I didn't even know these plants could survive such cold, but they seemed to be doing just fine.

Hours later we decided to stop to have a look at Fern Canyon. Roosevelt Elk like to hang out in the area, although we weren't sure we'd see any. Guess we were wrong. Mum calls this my "postcard shot." This guy must be used to cars slowing down, because as we did, he looked up and gave us his most photogenic look. His herd of ladies were down the road with their calves.
 Nice rack!

Fern Canyon is usually much greener and the path isn't usually so littered with dead trees. Although Dad was less than enthusiastic, Mum and I insisted on scrambling up the canyon to the hiking path. It was pretty tricky getting around everything. Dad was a little indignant that I didn't get my shoes wet. At some point he gave up on dry shoes and ran across the stream like one of those Jesus Lizards. Dad verified that he is unable to walk on water.
 This is close to the area where a part of The Lost World: Jurassic Park was filmed

Although it isn't an easy drive or an easy hike, Fern Canyon is one of my favorite places to visit. There is a recommendation for 4-wheel drive because you have to ford some streams. We don't have that. Mum almost got the car stuck in a stream and all Dad could think about was that he was going to have to get his feet wet again.

As night closed in, we moved off of Highway 101 and onto 1. We wound through the trees and mist. When the forest finally broke away, the Moon glowed above, illuminating the clouds and surf. With the heater on full blast, I opened the window and breathed in the salty air. It was quite late by the time we made it to Fort Bragg.

To be continued...
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