Monday, December 31, 2007

White Christmas

We got a great surprise here in the Portland area on Christmas day: snow! It only lasted for about an hour, and disappeared about an hour after that, but it was beautiful.
The view from our deck:
And from my kitchen window:
The Count jumped around like a little kid. I think he was even more excited than our kids. It was a great Christmas present for me to see him react with such childlike joy.

All that snow covered Mount Fuji.
Oh wait--that was Girlie's school project: to build a volcano. Once again, the Count reacted with great enthusiasm.
I think most of the student's dads got more involved in the actual building of the volcano than the 4th graders themselves. They had great fun making it erupt with baking soda, vinegar, and red Kool Ade.
The boys are very excited for the time to come when it's their turn, now that they know that their dad's got some mad volcano building skillz.

On the knitting front, I cast on for the Lace Panel Twin Set by Connie Chang Chinchio (of Henley Perfected fame--another project I'd love to be able to knit this coming year). The pattern is from the new book Sensual Knits by Yahaira Ferreira, which is full of beautiful designs. After several attempts of trying the lace panel on the camisole and having it not come out right, I emailed Connie to ask her about the chart. I was thinking since it was New Year's Eve that it would probably be a couple days before I heard back from her. I sent the email, then got up to make myself a cup of tea. When I sat back down at the computer, her reply was already waiting for me. She answered my questions cheerfully and graciously. How wonderful is that? I got the information that I needed to continue on with the pattern. If you have the chance to knit one of her designs, I would highly recommend it.

And finally, just look at this sweet face:
This is Ameera, the newest member of our household. She's the sweetest 2-year-old kitty that we got from the animal shelter (The Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, Oregon) for Girlie's 10th birthday. She's such a precious girl and we're happy to have her (I'm talking about both Girlie and the cat). We couldn't be more pleased with girl-kitty. I would highly recommend a rescue kitty for anyone who is interested in getting a wonderful companion.
Ameera says Happy New Year to one and all, and I echo that sentiment. I hope 2008 is a great year for each and every one of you, my friends.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

From our house to yours. I hope everyone has a blessed holiday season filled with love and laughter.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

One Year Later

My brother David asked my mom a question not long before the accident that took his life a year ago today. He asked her, "Do you think my sisters are proud of me?" It makes me sad that he didn't know that the answer was an unqualified yes. But I know that he knows now.

Music speaks to people in different ways. To some, it's just a pretty tune and nothing more. To others, like my brother and myself, music and lyrics held (and still hold) a much deeper meaning. We shared a love of music and books that I continue to carry on. I can still hear David's voice singing the songs we loved whenever I listen to them.

And every once in a while a song comes along that describes exactly how you are feeling. I don't know how it happens, but it always amazes me. The following song tells you where my heart is today. Where I've been, and what I'm looking forward to when my time here is done.

I will meet you at the circle's end, David. This much I am sure about.

Now I have the same question for you, one year later:

Do I make you proud?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Silly Me

Every year our grade school holds an annual Walk and Bike to School event. We've done it with Girlie since she was in first grade. Kindergarteners don't participate, so I stayed home this year and put ZimDee on the bus while the Count and Girlie rode tandem.They set out for the meeting place, and when the Count returned, he said it was the weirdest thing. There were no other walkers or bikers this year, and when they arrived at the school, there wasn't the usual reception tables with water, bananas, and apples. Maybe they really scaled it down this year. Odd.

But when Girlie came home from school, it was all made clear. The Walk and Bike event was scheduled for THE NEXT DAY. I had written it in my calendar wrong. So Daddy and his girl got to ride their bike to school two days in a row.

I wish I could tell you that that was an isolated event, but sadly, I can't. I've always maintained that you lose a certain amount of brain cells with each child you have, and they never come back. Also, this phenomenon is multiplied by the number of children you have. So there is no hope for me now.

But you know what? I can still take sticks and string and make pretty things with them. Observe:These are some dress socks for the Count, which he will wear with pride to his niece's wedding reception later this month.

Pattern: Lava Flow Socks by Sockbug
Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock Silkie, in the now "retired" Chapman Springs colorway
Needles: Size 1 Addi Turbo circulars
Modifications: I chose to knit a traditional heel with flap and gusset as opposed to the short row heel that the pattern called for. (I find short row heels to be rather ill-fitting and fiddly to do).
Notes: The pattern was easy as pie. Stockinette all the way with some slipped stitches thrown in for interest. I thought the yarn colors were very fitting for the name of the pattern--they brought to mind lava erupting from a volcano in the middle of the luscious Hawaiian landscape.

The Count has pronounced them as perfect. He may just get more hand knits from me with that attitude.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Class of '57 Had its Dream

I had the honor and privilege of escorting my mom to her 50th high school reunion this fall. There she is in the picture above. Can't you find her? I know right where she is.

Imagine attending high school while Elvis was shaking his hips and singing about hound dogs. Wearing poodle skirts and those black and white saddle shoes. And riding around in those big Chevys. I think I was born too late.

I was happy to go with my mom to her reunion and happy not to attend my own 20th reunion. Why? Because the yahoos I graduated with knew nothing about school spirit, or how to throw a proper shindig. These teenagers in old people costumes know how to throw a party, let me tell you.

The first night was an icebreaker at Round Table Pizza. There were guess the then-and-now photos, and way too many desserts.

The next morning was a tour of the high school. Followed by a really fun fashion show and lunch. The formal dinner and picture was that night. You should have seen those people cuttin' a rug when the 50's songs started playing.

The last day was brunch at a vineyard. I won't say who, but some people got a little tipsy...

Here is my mom and her best good girlfriend JoAnn in front of the Old Main Building of Roseburg High:

If these halls could talk, imagine the stories they'd tell...

These two ladies sure aren't saying:

Brunch at the vineyard. We won't talk about how Andy (down in front with his thumb up in front of all the beautiful ladies) needed to be helped up off his creaky old knees once the cameras stopped flashing. No, we'll keep that one to ourselves.
I had a great time with this lady.
Thanks for inviting me, Mommy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Big Reason Why I Didn't Have Any Spare Time to Write on My Blog This Last Summer

Could it be these Norwegian Stockings now featured on the Knit Picks website? And you thought I was just kidding about all the commissioned projects. Now you know.
Pattern: Norwegian Stockings, from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential, in Pine green and Pumpkin; and Knit Picks Bare (natural)
Needles: Size 1 circular, using the magic loop
I have to admit that when I agreed to knit these socks, I had no idea that they were fair isle socks. "Yeah, next time maybe do a little research", as a caveman would say. Nevertheless, it was a great learning experience for me to learn two-color knitting. I still use the technique when weaving in ends as I go, but have reverted back to my ghetto throwing technique for everyday knitting. To me it just feels like I can control the tension a lot better. I know that continental knitting is a lot faster, but I knit to relax, people, not to win any sort of race.
Both my mom and Girlie have expressed interest in owning a pair of socks like this. Someday, Ladies, you will.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Newport coast pictures

My little family and I took a trip to the Oregon coast a few weeks ago. As you know, I was born and raised in Coos Bay, and I consider those beaches and cliffs to be the most beautiful in Oregon. But this trip wasn't about beaches--it was all about the fish. ZimDee is obsessed with fish and marine life, so we took a jaunt over to Newport, which is home to the Undersea Gardens and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. In other words, heaven for my little ZimDee.

Here is a picture of the Newport Bay bridge, taken by yours truly. I do fancy myself a bit of a photographer, don't you know. How did I get the birds to fly just right? It just happens to me.
Here's ZimDee in the motel room getting ready for his big day out.Please note the picture of the blowfish on his shirt and of course the binoculars. This boy is serious about his fish.

Here he is by the jellyfish:
And the crab:
I have about thirty other pictures of him with the same hand-on-his hip pose by all the many different kinds of sea creatures, but you get the idea.

Here's Girlie next to some other kind of crab. When did her hair get so long?
And all three of my babies in the jaws of a shark.
Here's Daddy and Sproutie getting to touch a starfish (sorry about the picture of your hair, honey):
And a close-up of Sproutie's big cheeks and little finger touching the starfish. By the way, as much as ZimDee loves fish, he wouldn't even think about touching the sea cucumber, or "sea Su-cumber" as he calls it. I think it offends his sensibilities, or something.
I just love the pictures with Sproutie's cheeks. Here's another one looking down at the sea lions on the waterfront.
Finally, brother and sister walking hand in hand back to the car at the end of a perfect day.
These are the days I'll always remember.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Oh My Gosh Oh My Gosh Oh My Gosh!

I received my September sock club package from one of my favorite indie dyers, Ruby Sapphire. They are a mother and daughter team, and they produce some of the most beautiful colors of yarns I've ever seen. Besides, they're so nice. If you want to see some fabulously colored yarns, go check out their etsy shop.

So why am I so thrilled about their September sock club package? First of all, we all know how much I love the color purple. Look at the name of the sock pattern--Purple Maze. And the adorable foldover needle case, in purples, of course.Then check out the variations of purple in this yarn:Here's a closer look. I love any and all shades of purple, and my favorite hand-painted yarns are those that have white running through them. It just looks so right to me.

The yarn is their new Panda line (60% Superwash Merino, 30% Bamboo, 10% Nylon). It's so shiny and soft. Perfection.But even that's not what got me all excited. Look at what they chose to name this colorway:Yes, KATRINA. When I wrote to them and told them how much I loved the yarn, they said they created it with me in mind. I'm touched and honored. What a lovely surprise.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dish Rag Tag Love

I received my prize in the mail from Emily for placing 2nd in Dish Rag Tag:Some pretty wooden knitting needles made in Russia, and a certificate that says in part:
"Certificate of Dish Rag Tag Glory
This Certifies That Katrina
Has achieved SECOND PLACE HONORS in Dish Rag Tag 2007
and earned all the rights and priveleges thereof
signed by Emily, Dish Rag Tag Commisioner"

The certificate made me giggle. I've been involved in a few knitting competitions, and I have to say that unlike some (Sock Wars, anyone?) this one was organized and run very well. A big thank you to Emily for making Dish Rag Tag such a fun contest to be involved in.

And if that wasn't enough, my fabulous teammate Lisa sent me a special thank you for being captain of Team XDR:A sweet card and the most beautiful skein of Dream in Color Smooshy yarn in the Wisterious colorway. *sigh* Thank you so much, Lisa, for such an unexpected and thoughtful gift. I can't wait to knit some socks with this gorgeous yarn.

My teammates have gotten together and decided to do a reverse dish rag tag swap, this time without the time constraints. We will be knitting a dish cloth for the person who sent the original box to us, and loading the package full of goodies for our teammate. How fun is that?

Dish Rag Tag 2? I am so there! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have some fun.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Catching Up

I mentioned in an earlier post that test knitting and blogging don't leave much room for one another. First of all, when I'm knitting commissioned work, there's always a deadline. Second, the work is almost always "secret", so I can't talk about it, even if I did have time to write on my blog. When the project is published I finally get to share it with all of you. And I'm sharing one of my favorite assignments so far today, Beaded Placemats for Knit Picks:And a close up of the beadwork:This was the project I wrote about here when I was talking about re-learning how to crochet, as the placemats called for a crocheted edge.

Pattern: Beaded Placemats from Home Knits by Suss Cousins
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Worsted (love this yarn!) in Terra Cotta
Needles: size 5 straights
Modifications: The pattern called for buying a length of pre-strung beads and sewing it to the edges of the four placemats. Considering my love of beading, this would not do. Instead, I went to the bead store and bought 4mm and 8mm poppy jasper to match the yarn, and copper, black, and gold seed beads to coordinate. I love how they turned out.

The placemats were featured on page 2 of the Summer 2007 Knit Picks catalog, or you can find them here on the Knit Picks website.

Since I'm catching up, I may as well "toot my own horn" as my Grandma would have said, and tell you that before mailing my Sockapalooza socks to my pal, I entered them into the Washington County fair. They were my only entry this year, so everything was riding on them. Here is how they did:See the orange socks just to left of my pink & yellow socks? When I first walked in, I thought those were my socks. I was ok with 3rd place, at least they got a ribbon, but then I realized that those weren't my socks--the ones with the blue ribbon on them were mine!
Hooray! (You're not really supposed to touch the exhibits, but I hoped they would make an exception for one surprised girl). I had been sick with bronchitis for several weeks, and making it out to the fair was one of my first well outings, and what a pick-me-up that was.

But even better: This was the first year that Girlie entered her very own freezer jam in the fair, both strawberry and raspberry. Do you see the blue ribbons on each side of her head? Those are hers!I couldn't be more proud.

Finally, a highlight to the end of the summer was Cat Bordhi coming to town for a book signing, hosted by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. She talked about her new book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. If you haven't read this book yet, you must! It will completely open your eyes and change the way you think about sock construction. In fact, Amanda, Donna, and I were so impressed with Ms. Bordhi and her book that we started a knitalong for the book. If you would like to join us, click on over to the blog, and if you're on Ravelry, find us here.

Here is a picture of me with the ethereal Cat Bordhi:Did you notice her necklace? It's made of baby socks!

Finally, I'll end with a picture taken of my sweet family at a cousin's wedding over the summer:Please don't be in such a hurry to grow up, my little ones.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hooray For Team XDR!!

A big congratulations to my fellow members of Team XDR (stands for eXpress Dish Rag. Get it?) (Thank you to Lisa for coming up with the name). We won 2nd place in Dish Rag Tag! It was my honor to be your team captain and to work alongside each one of you. What a great effort that was made by all.

Here is what the box looked like when it showed up in my mailbox:

To see what it looked like by the time it reached its final destination in Alabama, read Emily's post here.

This was the box of goodies I sent to Amy in Florida:

And a close-up of the seed stitch heart dish cloth I knit for Amy.

There was quite the stir and drama in my house when the box arrived. I haunted the mailbox, and when I saw the mailman drive up, I snatched it the package out of the mailbox and quickly knit the dish cloth, re-stuffed the box with goodies, and made a mad dash back to the post office. I may have used some salty language. I don't remember--it's all kind of an unreal blur to me now.

My fabulous teammates made the same kinds of effort, and it paid off with a silver medal finish. Thank you to Emily for putting on such a fun contest that took up much of my time with plotting and planning, charting and mapping. And a very special thank you and congratulations to my wonderful teammates Amanda, Donna, Lisa, Erika, Wendy, Val, Elizabeth, Lauren, and Amy. You girls rock!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

First Day of School

My darling dear Girlie's first day of 4th grade was yesterday. Will someone please tell me how she is growing up so fast? I asked her that once when she was two years old, and she said to me in all seriousness, "It just happens to me." Here is my precious with her adoring brothers:Here's the whole gang at the bus stop giving Girlie a big send-off. No, it wasn't raining, but ZimDee is very particular about his hats:
And here is my priceless family this morning, waiting for the bus on what was ZimDee's first day of kindergarten. I just love how he is clasping his hands, with an expectant face, ready for anything:
The bus came quickly, too quickly. If he didn't look so excited I would have jumped right on that bus and snatched him right off again.
I know it's a big growth opportunity for my little boy, but indulge me this whimsy:
The school bus driving away with the most precious cargo inside. I honestly don't know how I snapped such a clear picture with the tears welling up in my eyes.

As I was telling my dear friend Mamma, you all can use this picture for evidence in my commitment hearing. Go ahead, I won't mind. I could use the rest.

It's going to take me a while to get used to having two children in school. Little Sproutie and I hardly knew what to do with the quiet today. Give us time, I'm sure we can find all sorts of trouble.

But today. Today I stop and reflect on how much I love my children. And how that love grows so big, so fast. It just happens to me.