Friday, January 21, 2011


Plum Tomato

Oh lordy, I am in deep ambivalence about this one! It started out so good. I knew it should have been a tank though, such as the Trellis & Keyhole tank. I picked up the yarn at a clearance sale last summer, and of course when I got to the lower edge of the garment I was on the last ball and had to do the ribbing in another color. While at Knitting Bee, I ran into a friend from knit night, and thankfully she talked me out of the pumpkin orange I was going to use for the trim - the dark plum color definitely pops more.

Before I get to my grousing, let me supply the details.

Pattern: Tomato by Wendy Bernard, from No Sheep For You
Main color: Dale of Norway Svale, 10 balls, shrieking neon orange (ok, that's not the real color name, but it might as well be)
CC: Queensland Bebe Cotsoy, 1.5 balls, plum
Needles: Size 6 (body) Size 5 (trim)
Size: 3x

And now for my unrelentingly harsh critique:

- Fit isn't everything! I managed to make something that fits me well but I probably won't wear it out of the house, because I'm afraid of being laughed at. It should have been a solid color.

- I suck at picking up necklines. Granted, this still needs blocking, and while the blocking project has a magical way of washing away our sins, I don't think it's going to fix the ugly pickup line along the front neck.

- That mysterious stain visible in the second photo. I have no idea what it is. I took this project with me to California and back, so something must have spilled on it. Praying I can get it out when I soak-wash the garment.

My verdict: epic fail. I'm willing to forgive myself, it being my first try at an awesome, infinitely customizable design. I will knit this sweater again, and do a better job.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Celadon-ic haze

I'm back from Southern California, still feeling warm sun and hearing cool jazz. While visiting Abuelita's in South Pasadena, I became acquainted with Ulli. She's a talented knitter and lovely person originally from Austria, who not only could name a handful of yarn shops right here in Portland, but also knew all about the annual Seattle to Portland Yarn Train! It made me do a double take, because I figured I'd probably seem like a hayseed in uber-hip Cali. I know, I've gotta get out more! We are DIY Central though, and I'm proud of that.

Ulli also introduced me to some nice music - she was playing a Madeleine Peyroux CD in the shop, "Careless Love". At first I thought it was Billie Holliday singing, that's how good it is! Stitchjones into jazz, you say? Not to worry. I still have deep reverence for all things headbanger, but I am over 50 after all. Plus, the music goes with the climate down there.

The last thing we did before heading back to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank (so tickled to have been to/seen places named for celebrities! I was only ever through the Ted Williams Tunnel, formerly the Sumner Tunnel, in Boston) was visit the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. Really awesome place to visit if you're interested in Asia, which I have always been, ever since I was very young. Back then the door between the US and China was firmly closed. That's why the exhibit we saw, "China Modern", was so enriching. This exhibit coincided with the Shanghai Expo, so a whole part of the display was about young Shanghai ladies in product advertisements of the 1930's. Shanghai was a modern, progressive city of the era, and the images of young women smartly dressed and coiffed in ads for soap, fabric, etc. were striking. However, when I saw this cigarette pack in a glass case, I was absolutely blown away.

We also saw beautiful pieces of textile, pottery and art from China and Japan. I took special note of the bowls and dishes in celadon. As a lover of color, I have under-appreciated this shade of blue-green. In the authentic pieces, the color stays closer to one universal shade than I imagined. It's a bit tricky to create this shade with consistency in yarn dyeing; each type of fiber received the color differently. Here's the results of last week's color play:

Felting Wool Worsted (formerly Grand Design Worsted) in Lemongrass - yellowy chartreuse, more traditional yellow-green with celadon as an accent

Baby Alpaca DK

Glam Sock

There's a bit of gray showing on the Glam Sock. Not sure how I feel about it yet; it seems to make the blue-green appear dirty, which is counter-productive, if anything.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Happy New Year...now what?

Happy 2011, everyone! Please know that I wish good things for you all in the new year. I admit to having distanced myself somewhat from the news reports. I'm not trying to be an ostrich, or the queen of denial, I am just trying to keep as much negativity as I can out of my mind, heart and spirit. Although we are blessed with abundant food, a place to live and love for one another, it was a rather unhappy Christmas for reasons I described in previous posts. I've made a conscious decision to leave it all in the past. While one of my more glaring character defects is the tendency to hold a grudge, I do accept that I have no control over other people's behavior. It's a start.

I'm also trying to walk a more righteous path where my health is concerned. Since the holidays ended, my diet is much higher in salads and fresh vegetables. I haven't completely given up sugar, but I'm staying away from it as much as I can. Although my daughter, who has lost 70 lbs. cautioned me not to get on the scale, I had to know. I lost 4 lbs. It's a start.

Looking at the blog post title, maybe I answered my own question of "now what"? Not to get all hippie dippie 70's psychobabble about it, but someone a long time ago told me, "It's ok to just be." So I'm not going to take on the monster task of re-inventing myself, or pushing my tiny kitchen to produce mass quantities of hand dyed yarn and fiber with chemical dyes when I miss cooking a variety of good food. Self-care has to be priority one right now. It's a start.

I recently finished a pair of socks.

These are just plain vanilla's. The yarn is Deborah Norville Serenity, and I got 2 50-gram balls for $5.00 at Jo-Ann in Spokane. Talk about cheap azz crafts! It's a blend of superwash wool, bamboo & nylon. Very soft and comfy - I'm pleased.

That's all the knitting I have to share right now - I'm working feverishly on a big project, the Tomato sweater. Jason is going a convention in Pasadena on Thursday, and I get to go with him! I've never been there and I'm excited. Just to get away from the too-cold weather here for a few days will be a nice break. Anyway, I wanted to have the Tomato done before we left, but it won't be. I'll take it with me and work on it while we're there. I plan to visit Abuelita's while he is at the convention center.

The rest of this post is gonna be pictures of food. Michelle and I were craving the Sizzling Rice Soup that we enjoy at China Bay , so we tried to make it at home.

You're supposed to spread the cooked rice on a greased surface - I put foil on a cookie sheet and sprayed it with Pam - and bake it at 300 degrees F for 40 minutes. I had a mixture of chicken broth with a bit of soy sauce, sliced green onion, pea pod, carrot and sliced beef steaming and ready, and I couldn't wait for the rice to be done, so it didn't get crispy and sizzle when I added it to the broth. No matter - it was still pretty good!

Jason's family is from the South, and Southerners eat blackeye peas on New Year's Day for luck. We adopted the tradition.

I use the canned kind, add some brown sugar and simmer it until the liquid in the pan is thick.
For New Year's Day we also had a standing rib roast, and to go with it I fixed Yukon Gold potatoes roasted in olive oil with onion, garlic and fresh lemon thyme.


I am dialing back how much time, energy and money I will invest in Stitchjones this year. I still plan to do dyeing. The fiber events I will vend at this year are the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in mid-April, Black Sheep Gathering in June, and Oregon Flock & Fiber in September. There's going to be another Sock Summit here in Portland this summer. I was a vendor at the first one, and as much as I'd like to participate in the second one, I know it's out of my reach. Scaling down also means being less active in social networking, so I'm backing off the Facebook/Twitter thing too. Closing some doors, waiting for a window to open and trusting that it will.

It's a start.

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