Friday, November 30, 2007

Best Bzz so far!

I've been a BzzAgent for about a year and a half, and I've test-driven everything from candy bars to tequila, steam bags to tooth whiteners. But I tell ya, the latest campaign is the best one so far. They actually sent me the Sonicare toothbrush sanitizer! Since I'm a total and complete germaphobe, this was like Christmas. Now, I realize that you can't really know if it's working or not, but it can't make it any more germy, right?

The use of UV light as a sanitizer isn't very common here in the US, but I remember it being used in Japan when I visited about 10 years ago. My mom and I were at a temple in Kyoto, and there was some famous waterfall or something there. I think it was believed to have healing properties or something, because everyone waited in line to use a long-handled cup to scoop up some of the water to drink. I remember feeling grossed out about using a public drinking vessel, but my mom told me that the cups are santized with a UV light. I thought she was full of crap, just dishing out some crazy Japanese story so that I'd move a little faster through the line. Damn it, I guess she was right again.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Elfin' away

I've been busy crankin' out the Christmas ornaments, and I think I've reached my limit for now. Here's what I've done so far. If I were a smarter picture-taker, I would have thrown in something like a quarter to aid in the visual gauge. The stockings measure about 6" from top to toe. Go from there.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed making the stockings. I was overjoyed to find the pattern written flat (vs in the round, which most sock patterns are), since I despise double pointed needles. Once I started, I couldn't stop making them! I literally went one after another and every few hours I would hold up another one for my husband and dogs to admire. I think they stopped being impressed, and I ran out of designs for the top, so I'm taking a break from them to concentrate on other things.

I started working on Oblique from knitty, because I'm in desperate need of warm sweaters to wear around the house. It isn't even December yet and they're thinking it might snow on Friday! I'm seriously pissed about this. I knew Oregon was rainy, but I was told it was a rare occasion that it snowed in the metro area. It has snowed every winter since I've lived here, and it's been getting colder earlier in the season as the years go on too. WTF?!!!! Is this some sick punishment for all us Californians moving in or what? Anyhow, this is the time of year that the complaint meter shoots into overdrive. My husband is aware of this, so he puts up with my endless rants and general sour demeanor during the November-March months. And he better, too, because he's the one who told me all of these lies ('when I was a kid, it only snowed every other year, and it usually melted before it hit the ground...'). Uh huh. Sure. LIES!!!
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Thursday, November 08, 2007


Originally uploaded by mccun934
One of the wonderful things about having a husband that works from home, is that once in a while (like, twice a year) I can convince him to play hooky and take me out to lunch. I had been wanting to try the restaurant at the cooking school in Portland, because I totally support anyone who wants to learn how to make good food, and it doesn't hurt that it's hella cheap!

I totally forgot to take pics of our first 3 courses, but here's what I had:

*Herb ricotta gnocchi with chanterelle mushrooms and brown butter
*Frisee salad with pears, red onions, hazelnuts, and blue cheese
*Braised pork cheeks with braised greens and root vegetable puree
*Lemon meringue tart

The meal exceeded my expectations, and I'm still jonesin' for the gnocchi, which was really fantastic. They change the menu every 10 weeks, and we're already planning on our next visit!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Scrunch (the scarf, not the monkey)

If you are a fan of the Ratchet and Clank video game series, then you will know what I mean by monkey. If not, no biggee. Let's move on to the knitting, shall we?

Over the weekend, I was poking around my yarn stash. I do this every so often because I find that I always uncover something that I had long forgotten about. When this happens, it's like I suddenly got new yarn and if I'm lucky, it'll be something that inspires me to make something out of it. This scenario is exactly what transpired on Sunday.

In a plastic bag, which was inside a plastic box, which was under a bunch of packing boxes, I found a pre-wound skein of Merino Bulky from I've had this yarn in my stash for over 2 years now, and it suddenly called to me. I'd forgotten how freakin' soft it is! Once I squeezed it, and felt how, well, "scrunchie" it is, I knew I wanted to make a scarf out of it.

So, on to Ravelry I went, searching for the perfect pattern that would really marry well with the cushiness of the yarn. Lo and behold, I found the Scrunchable Scarf pattern. It's amazing how a simple 3-stitch pattern can result in such a neat looking (and feeling) fabric!

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I used US 10 needles, slipped the first stitch (extra selvedge) of each row, and voila! A 3"x60" super-soft scarf!

And if you're wondering why I'm not busy with all those Christmas ornaments I said I'd make... well, I decided not to make them out of the STR. I just couldn't! The yarn is so pretty and I just couldn't convince myself that the colors were Christmasy enough. I really feel that it would be better as a scarf or shawl. No, not socks. I hate knitting socks. We don't need to go over that again. BUT, I have another idea cookin' and I'm just waiting for the yarn to show up and we'll be on our way toward holiday cheer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween from Gibson and Fergie!

Fergie as Princess Leia, hair buns and all... and Gibson as Darth Vader (he refused to have the mask come all the way down his face).

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Goodbyes and good bread

Since I haven't blogged in forever, I figured I'd start off with a pretty picture. This is in Utah, where we went a few weeks ago to say goodbye to my husband's grandfather, who passed away. As you can see, it was a gorgeous fall day in Salt Lake, and this is the spot where grandpa's ashes will be spread.

It's fascinating how you learn so much about someone after they're gone. It made me think about what a private person I am, and all the things that people will find out about me later on. Though, if my husband and I go at the same, I don't think my eulogy will be very accurate because no one knows me as well as he does!

Speaking of Mike, and to segue to another topic, he is taking a stab at learning how to bake bread. A few months ago, we met up with Brian Spangler of Apizza Scholls, who gave us a very informative demonstration on the basics of making pizza dough (and dough in general). I was very good and took notes, and immediately went home and bought the two books he recommended - Crust and Crumb, and The Bread Baker's Apprentice, both by Peter Reinhart. After flipping through them, I realized that this type of thing is more up Mike's alley than mine - I really don't get math and chemistry all that much. Yeah, yeah, I know... I'm Asian and I'm supposed to be like some genius and all, but I'm really more life-smart than book-smart.

So I handed the books over to Mikey, who was immediately drawn to the process. He was actually reading the books while we were watching TV! Now, if you know us, you know that we LOVES our TV shows. Not only that, but he doesn't even really know how to cook. He couldn't wait to make his first bread (or baked food item, for that matter)! It was a 2-day process, but he managed to turn out 3 small loaves. They were supposed to be ciabatta, but it wasn't holey enough. Still, an admirable attempt and totally edible bread!

And in knitting news, I was so delighted to see the Christmas ball ornaments in the Holiday 2007 issue of Vogue Knitting. I immediately fell in love with the stripey one made with Blue Moon's Socks that Rock in Jingle Bell Rock. Since we now have a very curious puppy in our household, I've been wondering what we'll do at Christmas. I usually hang about 100 glass ball ornaments on our tree, but I don't think they'll go up this year. Knitted ornaments seem more puppy-friendly than glass.

I went to Farmhouse Knit shop to get the yarn, but they didn't have that colorway, so after debating about it, I ended up getting a skein of Carbon instead. I know it's not very Christmas-y, but it might look festive enough. I was going to whip up a few and see how it goes. If I think I can do more without getting sick of it, then I might order the yarn online. You think I can knit up 100 Christmas ornaments? Yeah, I don't think so either...
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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Swallow this!

I'm totally amazed at how fast I was able to finish this one. It's the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits. Only took me a little over a week to do, not counting the blocking. I'm so glad I was able to make something productive out of the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn I originally bought to make the Boteh Scarf. I really thought I could like crochet, but it just looks so yucky to me. So, I went back to knitting and had to find something besides socks to knit with this yarn (since I HATE knitting socks). Yeah, I know, there are all you sock freaks out there and it's great that you love it. But it is the only thing in knitdom that I don't enjoy. I could go into detail as to all the reasons why, but it's not that exciting.

Back to the project, I say! Here it is, on my new IKEA table no less!

If anyone is interested, this is colorway #107, Red Rover. And yes, nupps are evil but I did the 5-stitch nupps called for in the pattern. Thankfully, I knit Continental so I was able to hold the YOs and Knit stitches in place using my right index finger, keeping them nice and loose for the dreaded Purl-5tog on the WS. And I used a size US #5 needle.

So part of the reason I had all this time to knit is because our little girl got spayed last week, so I've been hanging out with her and watching the first week of tennis at the US Open. To keep the dog from licking their wound, they sent us home with this E-collar. We were glad it wasn't the hard plastic kind because it's so irritating for the dog (and therefore, us). But the soft E-collar has it's disadvantages. For one thing, it gets destroyed very easily! I wouldn't even say that Fergie is a fussy dog, but man, her E-collar was ripped up and coming apart at the seams by the end of the second day. So what do her parents do? Yeah, that's right - the good ol' American fix to many household problems... duct tape.

I just had to share the dichotomy between her cute fluffiness and the horrible, ugly duct tape patches all over her giant lampshade/sombrero/lizard hood.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm busy...

...and lazy! I've been slackin' on the blogging lately, but I have some good excuses, really! We went to Boise for my sister-in-law's wedding. It was up on the mountains above Boise at Bogus Basin. The color of the sky at night was incredible.

We stayed in downtown Boise, though, so we had to make the 45-50 minute trek up the hill on the very zigzaggy road every day. It was quite nauseating... literally. But the view was worth it, and I also liked staying in town. Wouldn't you know it, there was a cute yarn store right next to our hotel! I picked up a couple balls of Jaeger Silk yarn after seeing the store display of the Shetland Triangle shawl from Wrap Style. Gorgeous!

The weekend before, we met up with Brian of Apizza Scholls in Portland. He generously invited us to come into his kitchen and watch him make dough. Like a total food nerd, I took notes. I've been dying to take another stab at the homemade pizza, but we've been so busy lately that I haven't had the chance. Brian's advice was so helpful and informative, and he even gave us a lovely (and tasty) parting gift! Thanks again, Brian. :)

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Notty knitting

Notting hill closeup
Originally uploaded by knitterj
Here's a taste of the Notting Hill vest I'm currently working on. It's done in Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran, in the color Thorny. It looks very brown in this pic, but really it is a dark mossy green-brown.

I decided to do a cable project (after my short moment of lace-obsession), because I haven't done it in a while. Unless you consider the pattern in Cherry a cable, of course.

Not much else is new besides this. Tonight we're heading out for dinner to celebrate my husband's cousin's birthday, then tomorrow morning we're going to get a first-hand look at how pizza dough is made at Apizza Scholls. I can't wait!

Then next weekend we're off to Boise to see my husband's sister get married. I'm already planning on restarting the Boteh Scarf that failed miserably during my Europe trip. I didn't know about the errata then, so after 3 repeats I realized that something was really wrong but didn't know what (it couldn't be me!). It went back into the Ziploc for the rest of the trip and I worked exclusively on Cherry. Good thing all the airports allowed knitting needles onboard! Well, "allow" might be a strong word... they just didn't do anything about it. If anyone is curious about this, I carried on bamboo needles through Portland, Chicago, Manchester UK, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, Nice, and London Heathrow. Damn, that was a lot of airports!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Backyard Leaves

Backyard Leaves
Originally uploaded by knitterj
It's not exactly scarf weather here right now, but I've been in a lace-pattern mood lately. After finishing the Branching Out scarf, I was left wanting more!

So I started Backyard Leaves, which I've tried to knit like a gajillion times over the last 2 years. I've been picky about the way I wanted the fabric to look and feel like. All the wools I tried just didn't do it for me. I specifically picked out this Classic Elite Classic Silk yarn at the Lint GOOB sale for this project, hoping that a cotton blend would produce the desired effect.

I knew after the first pattern repeat that it was exactly what I had waited for! The silk gives it a lot of drape, while the cotton keeps it all sturdy and stitch-defined. Of course, it will need a lot of blocking - this pic shows the bottom part of the scarf pressed down with my slightly sweaty palms. Yeah, as gross as that sounds, it's the truth. It's like 92 degrees today, which in Oregon temps is like 192.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Huckleberries are here!

huckleberry 001
Originally uploaded by knitterj
I've been keeping my eyes peeled for these every week, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the huckleberry. These little buggers are so easy to miss, because it's almost like some secret that no one really wants to talk about. I guess it's a good thing, though, because they are apparently hard to come by - they only grow wild and are hard to harvest.

We just happened to be at City Market today, passing by to grab a sandwich for lunch, when I saw what I thought was the prized huckleberry. Since I only have last summer's memory of them to go by, I wasn't sure if they were indeed them. There was no sign to tell me, just a few pint-boxes of shiny dark berries in the produce isle. We had to ask the guy working there if they were indeed huckleberries, and when he said 'yes' I darted right over to grab one as if they were going to sell out instantly after it became known. Not a bad price either, $3.99/pint. I think last year at the Portland Farmer's Market we paid $8.00 for a bag, which I think was a pint.

If you've never had huckleberries, the closest description I can give is that they're like a cross between a blueberry and a cranberry, though some of them can taste raisin-y. We get a lot of berries here in the NW, and I just love following them through the season. It's random stuff like the huckleberry that make a crazed foodie like me happy to live where I do.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's a sad day

...when a yarn store closes. This morning I went to say goodbye to one of my favorite yarn stores, lint. Today was the first day of their closing sale, so I headed over there bright and early (10am). ;-)

I got there just after opening, and it was already full to capacity, so I had to wait outside until someone left. Shortly after I arrived, a line started forming behind me. After about 10 minutes, I was let in. Everything in the store was 30% off. I wanted to buy it all, but I had to refrain myself. My husband gave me a ride over there and was going to come help me carry yarn. And also keep me from overspending. I'm glad he came, because they ran out of baskets so he helped a lot by acting as shopping cart. My hands were then free to fondle and squish as much yarn as I could.

Here's what I ended up getting:

6 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Dark Khaki Green, 4 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino in Harvest (dark yellow), 3 balls of Classic Elite Classic Silk in Moss green, 1 ball of Rowan Felted Tweed in Carbon, and 1 ball of Rowan Felted Tweed in Midnight.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


branching out2
Originally uploaded by knitterj
and it feels so good! I really missed knitting with wool. I haven't worked with it since the Eli projects, and even then it was Wool/Cotton. I know, the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece has some wool in it, too. But it really behaves like a cotton so it doesn't count.

I'm currently working on the Branching Out scarf, using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I've been dying to use this yarn ever since I got it at the Knitting Bee Super Bowl Sunday sale. I used to go over to it and just squeeze it.

Now I've got it on the needles, and I love this yarn! I'm a big fan of tweedy yarns, and although this isn't a true tweed, it does have that kind of effect with all the silk nubbins. Note to self: get more Silky Wool!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by knitterj
Do you ever have one of those days when nothing you knit works out? Here's my collection of failed projects.

I tried knitting the Flower Basket Shawl with Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, but I didn't like the way it was looking. I know, it will look different after it's blocked, but I dunno... it was just too holey and it didn't have enough stitch definition for me.

Next up was the Backyard Leaves scarf. Years ago, I bought some Laines du Nord Dolly Maxi for this project. At the time, I thought the yarn was just not performing well for this pattern. The yarn was becoming untwisted and splitty, and the whole thing was puffy and springy. I don't know why, but I thought it was like wine - getting better with age. It didn't.

I also tried it using some Debbie Bliss Merino DK (the other green, sloppy pile in the picture). This was better in terms of the yarn performance, but I just wasn't happy with the stitch definition. I want to see those darn leaves! I'm thinking that this scarf, for me, is begging for a lighter colored yarn so that the pattern really shows.

Then for some totally asinine reason, I dug up some Koigu I had in my stash and started the Wavy Pattern scarf from Vogue Knitting. What was I thinking?! First of all, I really don't like knitting with dark yarn. Brown's about as dark as I'll go, and this stuff is almost black. Second, I'm just not a fan of this yarn. I know everyone and their mother loves this stuff, but I find it too elastic and I don't like the bumpy texture.

So, back to square one. I'm currently working on the Branching Out scarf from Knitty, the DK version, using some Silky Wool I had in my stash. So far, I can't find anything to complain about, so I think this one might be a winner. I'll work a few more inches before posting a pic and an update.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pizza update

As promised, yesterday we went for Round 2 of the quest for perfect homemade pizza. We used the remaining 3 balls of dough that had now been sitting in the fridge for 3 days. Aside from that, the only other modification we made on this batch was that we let the dough rest for about 15-20 minutes after shaping, before putting it on the grill for the par-bake. Oh, and I also kept it covered under plastic wrap during that time.

I don't think either of those factors made much of a difference. Here's the second pizza (the first was eaten before I could get a pic):

As you can see, we decided to put meat on this one. It's the bulk Basil Chicken sausage from New Seasons, accompanied by some goat cheese and arugula from the Beaverton Farmer's Market.

In case anyone is interested, this is what the pizza dough looks like after it's been par-baked. This is the point where you'd put your toppings on. Quick! The poor thing's all naked and vulnerable...

The final pizza we made took advantage of the remaining sausage. There was quite a bit left, so I loving called this one "The Meatzza". We both agreed that these were much tastier than the first batch of pies, but then again, these had meat on them!

And since I'm such a carb-o-holic, I also made Earl Grey Biscotti. It doesn't taste as strong as I'd like, but that won't stop me from eating them!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pizza anyone?

It's a great time for food in Oregon right now. Since it rains so damn much here, there's a lot of agriculture - which means awesome farmer's markets. Which means it's also an excellent time to cash in our anniversary present from my in-laws.

They are friends with a chef, so they are having him cook us up a gourmet meal at my in-laws house. Yeah, it's a little delayed (our anniversary was in March), but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait. On Friday, we all met up to discuss the menu. We started off talking about 4 courses, but things kept getting added and I think we ended up with more like 7 and possibly 8 courses on the menu! I can't wait for next Saturday!

But let's get back to more recent endeavors. On Friday (prior to the meet-up with Chef Karl), I made a batch of pizza dough using the SAF yeast, and letting it do a slow fermentation in the fridge overnight. Then on Saturday, we went for it and fired up the grill with the pizza stone on it for about 45 minutes.

Chef Karl suggested that we par-bake the crust for a minute or two, then add the toppings. This allowed us to easily slide the raw pizza dough onto the stone, without the weight of all the toppings to hinder a good swift action. This turned out to be an excellent tip, but still our first pizza ended up burned on the bottom.

I think we left it on too long during the par-bake, and also the stone was super hot! It's like pancakes or crepes - you always throw out the first one, right?

So, on to pizza #2. Oh, and btw, these are not big pizzas, about 9" round. Pizza #2 I had a good feeling about. I laid the crust out thinner and more evenly, and Mike par-baked it just until it would hold its shape. This guy got the addition of mozzarella slices. Here it is on the stone, in the grill:

Ahh, yummy pizza...

And the crust held up to the weight of the toppings!
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Although this pizza performed well, it was still missing that certain je ne sais quoi. Though sturdy, it wasn't exactly cracker-like, but it also wasn't soft and pillowy. It could have been a bit more tender and chewy, but then wouldn't it just flop over like a wet noodle? Hmmm, we have Round 2 coming up on Monday, so we'll see if perhaps resting the dough after shaping it will yield better results.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Baker's secret

saf instant yeast
Originally uploaded by knitterj
We love pizza - who doesn't? Ever since we discovered the pure joy of indulging in a pie from Apizza Scholls in Portland, we realized how bad all the previous pizzas we'd ever had really were.

Unfortunately, making the trek to Apizza Scholls isn't very convenient. Or perhaps I should say it is fortunate - since we'd be eating there way too often! We're determined, as an alternative, to try our hand at making our own pizzas from scratch.

This had been an ongoing experiment for years, but we never took it seriously until now. There have been days when we're jonesin' for pizza and we know that everything near our house is crap and all we want is Apizza Scholls. But the distance between us, coupled with the very long wait times if you don't show up early (and the threat that they could run out of dough!), keeps us from indulging in their pies.

So we said to ourselves, why can't we make our own perfect pizza? Yeah, easier said than done. After researching this online, it was instantly clear that we had no idea what we were getting into. Apparently, the key ingredient in most "real" bread baking is a special brand of yeast - SAF Instant.

We called around the 2 Whole Foods, the gourmet food purveyor in the Pearl, etc. No one carried this. I read in a local food forum that Cash & Carry, a place I'd never even heard of, had it. But they were in Portland so I'd have to wait until the weekend when we had more time.

Then, by pure happen-stance, I found the magical ingredient at WinCo of all places. This is another grocery store I'd never been to, but I was there looking for something else (which they didn't have), and in my search I happened to pass by the spices section and out of the corner of my eye I saw the red-labeled 1-lb. bag I'd been coveting. I did a double-take, stopped in my tracks, backed up into my husband who was walking behind me, and said 'oh my god!'. He noticed it too and said the same thing.

After commenting on how funny it was that this budget-conscious store carried such a prized possession, we immediately headed over to the kitchen supply store to get a food scale, yet another item for serious bakers. I of course insisted on the pink one.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Another day in the wine country

Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK
Originally uploaded by knitterj
It was such a beautiful day on Saturday that we decided to head out to the wine country. Of course, I suggested a stop by Woodland Woolworks in Carlton. They were giving an extra 10% off all their clearance yarn, so why not have a look-see?

I started out with a lot more yarn in my bag, but after 45 minutes (yes, I have a very patient husband) I decided that I just really wanted more Yorkshire Tweed DK. I wanted to make another Electra vest, since I love my first one, only this time in a brown version. This will be a fall project, though, because it is going to hit the 90s soon. Yay!

As usual, we had lunch at Dundee Bistro. We actually tried to eat at our other favorite place, Red Hills Provincial Dining, but they weren't open for lunch. I had a very unusual interpretation of Coq au Vin that was really yummy, and we both had a glass of the 2005 Lange Reserve Pinot Noir - really, really yummy.

When I got home, I received an email from the folks over at Lint, one of my favorite yarn stores, located in the Pearl. Apparently, it is up for sale. I sooo wish I had the money to buy a yarn store, particularly one that I already like! But alas, I must remain a simple consumer.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sneak Peek Sundress

Striped Sundress
Originally uploaded by knitterj
Now that I've completed the Short sleeve eyelet lace cardigan, I'm thinking about what to work on next. My fingers have been yearning for wool, since my last 2 projects have been with cotton. But I feel obligated to knit with cotton since it's summer, in spite of the fact that it's still raining here in Oregon. Yeah.

Until I figure out what my next "real" project will be, I had to work on something because Wimbledon started this week, and I need to keep my fingers busy during the 9 hours/day of coverage. I tried to resist the cotton, but I had these balls of Knit Picks Shine in my stash that really cheered me up and made me make-believe that it was a sunny summer day (somewhere, at least). So my between-projects project is the Sundress from Adorable Knits for Tots.

Oh, and in my search for a new project I discovered that Phildar is having a sale on some of their yarns and magazines. I was able to get 2 magazines for just over 15 euros - that's with shipping! I originally had some yarn in my order, but the shipping was so obscene I couldn't justify the cost. I'm hoping that with the English versions of the patterns, I'll be able to better translate the 3 French Phildar mags I got in Paris.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Stockinette slump

Originally uploaded by knitterj
Ever since I saw Action Hero's version of the short sleeve lacy cardigan from Vogue Knitting spring/summer 2007, I knew I wanted to make one myself. I breezed through the lace portions, but the stockinette on the back is so mind-numbing that I have spent weeks trying to complete it.

I'm about 2/3 of the way done with the back, but I just can't seem to get past the hurdle and I'm thinking of starting something else, just to give me a break from the monotony. However, as is typical with me, there is a good chance I'll never get back to finishing it. So, for now I'm just trudging along and finishing the darn thing.

On the brighter side, I've just been granted access to Ravelry and I am so stoked! It was a great excuse to upgrade my flickr account, so that I can upload and organize all my photos which are scattered all over the place. It's going to take me a long time to get everything set up the way I want, so my account is very much a work in progress. But a fun work, because I've been wanting to organize my stuff for so long but never had a tool that could do it all. Thanks Ravelry!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Help Wanted: Finishing Fairy

cherry 001
Originally uploaded by knitterj
I'm amazed that I actually completed something, since I have been so busy keeping my eye on that little stinker that keeps chewing on anything and everything, including electrical cords!

This is the Cherry sweater that I worked on while I was in Europe. Nothing like Rowan Calmer gliding through your fingers to keep you (as the name says) calm during long-haul flights! I don't know why, but I absolutely hate sewing on buttons. As you can see, I am declaring this an FO in spite of the fact that it doesn't yet have its buttons on. I'm hoping the finishing fairy will stop by, but I know that won't happen. There is no excuse either, because I even have the buttons that will go on there! I just hate sewing buttons. End of story.

Oh, and I could also use a dressform, because I don't think sweaters look all that great laying flat. Yeah, I could model it for everyone, but I can't stand self-portraits and my husband takes the most unflattering photos...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Last Friday, we picked up our new baby, Ripley Fergie. She is a 13-week old sable Sheltie from Wintercreek Shelties.

She is quite the bundle of energy! Even though we are totally exhausted, we are having so much fun seeing her learn, grow, and play. She has picked up on so much in just a few days - it's incredible!

I gotta give props to our very patient 9-year old hound, Gibson, for showing her the ropes and letting her bark and nip at him. Sorry, Gibs - it'll get better (I hope!).
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Wow, it is really hard to sum up 2 weeks of vacation in one blog post, but I'll try to stick to the highlights. The weather was gorgeous the entire trip... not a single drop of rain, not even in the UK! Paris is so pretty that I couldn't choose a single photo that would do it justice, so like everyone else, I settled on this pic of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. The light show was very twinkly and bordering on seizure-inducing. Fun!

Since we decided to boycott museums in favor of shopping, eating, and living like a local, I have lots of great memories of the stores and all the shopkeepers we spoke with (sort of). The only "out of the way" place I wanted to visit was the Phildar store. Since I wanted to check out their clothing line, we went to the store located on Rue Monge in the 5th, the closest to our apartment. It turned out to be a very small store, but I still managed to buy a sweater and a top, as well as a pack of yarn and 3 magazines.

At checkout, I noticed a book behind the counter and quickly translated it in my head. I grabbed the camera to capture the moment, in spite of the confused look from the shopkeeper. I'm not sure she really understood why we thought this was so funny:

Here's what the Phildar store's yarn section looked like. Very claustrophobic, but luckily I was the only person shopping there. I was worried when I saw that they only had a few balls of each color of yarn out on the floor, but the nice lady came over and said if I like a color, she would look in the "derriere" to see if they had more. I thought that was funny.

I can't tell you how much I loved Paris! I was so glad I could put my 3 years of high school French to good use, because it really came in handy. Here's what the main boulevard near our apartment looked like. I'm nostalgic already!

Our next stop was Monaco. I was stunned at how gorgeous it is there. I mean, really, check out the view from our hotel room:

We were only there 2 nights, to watch the final tennis match of the Monte Carlo Open. I was so stoked that Federer and Nadal ended up playing. I actually think I wet myself a little. Shhh, don't tell anyone...

After a very interesting flight from Nice to London, where I sat next to a very loud British woman who reeked of gin (and ordered 2 more on the plane), our luck continued as we ended up with the most insane taxi driver in all of London. Of course, we didn't know this at the time, but looking back on all the rides we took over the 3 days, he definitely wins the award.

One of the places we visited was the Churchill Museum/Cabinet War Rooms. Yeah, sounds like a real party huh? Well, I figured I owed my husband one for going with me to the Phildar store in Paris. But, in a surprise twist, this trip actually involved yarn - Churchill and his men used the various colored yarns to draw lines on their maps. Crafty!

Speaking of crafty, I will now show off all the knit- and craft- related items I brought home with me! As mentioned, I went to one of the many Phildar stores in Paris, and I also hit the craft section at Le Bon Marche, which was right around the corner from our apartment I might add.

I also went to La Droguerie, located near Les Halles, which was a feast for the eyes! I was intimidated at first, because you have to ask the shopworkers to help you with what you want. They have their buttons and various adornments on display up on the wall, and you have to show them what you want and how many, etc. Again, high school French saved me! I was able to stumble my way through their language to get what I wanted, and the ladies there met me halfway with a few words of English.

Lastly, I hit the "Sewing and Haberdashery" section of House of Fraser in Manchester. They were having a spring sale, and everything was 20% off, including all the Rowan yarn. Since this was the final day of our 2-week trip, I didn't have a single bit of space left in my luggage - I had already used the expander! So, I had to pass it all up and instead I bought a bunch of buttons (lower left corner of the pic). I was actually quite pleased with this, because all I have near my house is JoAnn, and I think their buttons are boring.

And for the record, I was able to get through security and take both my crochet hook and my knitting needles onboard all my flights. I flew from Portland, Oregon (PDX) to Chicago (ORD) to Manchester, UK (MAN) to Paris, France (CDG); Paris Orly (ORY) to Nice, France (NCE); Nice (NCE) to London Heathrow (LHR); Manchester, UK back through Chicago to Portland. The needles were US #7 bamboo circs, and I worked on Cherry by Anna Bell using Rowan Calmer.

I had the needles in a ziploc bag in my carry-on, placed near the top (in case they wanted to take it out), and along the side of the bag so it blended in more with the structure of the bag. My bag was actually pulled aside and opened up by security in Nice, France. The woman rifled through all my stuff, and didn't think twice about the knitting. She asked me in French if I had face cream. I guess they are more concerned with the whole 'liquids and gels' thing. In England, they either didn't see the needles, or didn't care. My bag went through security just fine, both times, with no further inspection.

Whew! I think that's all (for now)! I have so many wonderful memories of this trip. We both felt it was the best trip either of us had been on. It was worth waiting 5 years for - I can't wait to see what we do for our 10-year anniversary!