A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

My Photo
Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fall Creeping In

Woke up this morning to cooler temperatures and WIND, a sure sign of fall in these parts. Each portion of the country has its own sure signs, and in the Sierras, while knowing that it might not rain for two more months yet, there are still specific indications that fall is just around the corner. The leaves on the black locust trees are the first to turn, and they are already drifting off the trees and being kicked around by gusts. The light has taken on a different quality, now that it is no longer directly overhead, but sliding towards the angle of Autumnal Equinox, less than a month away. The greenery that once graced the landscape has long ago browned and is turning to dust, and the air smells like ripe blackberries, all signaling the end of summer.

It is also noteworthy that the early morning temperatures are lower, sometimes begging for a sweater even. I pass along the North Yuba River for a good twelve miles of my morning commute each day, and looked longingly at the water, wondering if it was already too late. Each year, somewhere along mid-September, I am hit with the realization that there will be no more swimming that particular year. It always leads to an afternoon of depression, and the slight dread that comes with thinking you might never get a certain chance again. The light will be off the water in such a way to make me realize that, while the water temperature may not have dropped significantly yet, the air temperature most certainly has, and getting into and out of the water would be decidedly uncomfortable.

The wind always reminds me that fall is the time when we get the worst forest fires, and there was one in the Sierra Valley last week. A friend who moved to southern Oregon this spring was evacuated, along with family and critters, from the path of a forest fire up there over the weekend, and there are many throughout the west right now... it is a dry, brittle, somewhat risky time, in a whole different way than for those poor people trying to recover from the massive hurricane down South. We have had a few close calls in the past nineteen years, including the time five years ago when the smoke was so thick in our yard that cinders floated by as we hosed down the side of the house, but I am grateful to have been so lucky over the years.

Our region usually can look forward to a long autumn, with very warm daytime temperatures, so I will probably get a little swimming in yet. There will probably still be a few days for outdoor picnics and a road trip or two. However, I am not sure I will get through my summer knitting list before having the compulsion to start something warm and snuggly instead. Jacket patterns are beginning to catch my eye.... what are you planning to knit for fall?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Product Review: Crystal Palace Kid Merino


Yarn name: Crystal Palace Kid Merino
Weight: approx. fingering weight but can be used in wide range
Manufacture:Straw Into Gold, Richmond, CA
Size: 25 g. ball/240 yards
Fibers: 28% kid mohair, 28 % merino wool, 44% micro nylon
Ben Franklin price per ball: $5.49 per ball

This is a lovely little yarn that I found at my local Ben Franklin a few months ago. I wanted to use it as a substitute for Rowan Kid Silk Haze to make a scarf to sell at the crafts coop, since the price was so good. I like the feel of the mohair, and it is really a laceweight, so makes a very fine lightweight scarf and would work well for less complex lace patterns in shawls as well. Someone more patient than me would also find that using size one or two needles and making a denser fabric would allow you to use this yarn for a sweet little top.

Although the color is more bluish in this photo, it does show the texture of the yarn well.... a very fine, fuzzy yarn. Posted by Picasa

This is a better color representation, and shows how, even though fuzzy, this yarn would make nice stitch definition if you wanted to use it for a shawl or scarf. I am making a variation of the Airy Scarf pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I wanted it in stockinette instead of garter stitch, so I am keeping the two stitches at either end of the row in garter to help keep the edges from curling, and am spacing my eyelet rows 10 rows apart. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Long and Crazy Week

The week started with the trek to Chico, moving furniture for Nikki and Cody, my oldest son and my only daughter, who have decided to support each other and share an apartment as they both finish up their BA degrees over the next two years. My little truck looks pretty loaded down, and even being an old cowgirl didn't keep me from a lot of nervousness over the knots holding those mattresses in place. We arrived at the hottest part of the afternoon, and had to cart all that stuff up to a second story apartment where the air conditioning hadn't been turned on in days....

Apartment 128 is the new address!

I crowded a five-day workweek into four following a day of moving on Monday, and started my duties as the Director of the Good Years Childrens and Families Center. On top of it, my co-worker Robin's tiny daughter was very sick, and she had to be out for portions of the entire week. Laurie and I made out the best we could, and also cleaned, straightened, and went through files, trying to get me up to speed. I did most of the bookkeeping by calling my DD Nikki, who has served as Head Teacher and Office Manager for the past year, and asking for technical assistance with QuickBooks; my own private help desk! She is a gem, and I sure must have done something right raising her. She managed to remain calm through my moments of chaos and frustration, and has even promised to coach me through the first payroll next week.

Friday afternoon was spent getting ready for my DH's final event as "Grand Poobah" with his fraternal organization, the Clampers. Although much of their planning and event work is done by committee, and members have assigned functions to play, he has had to bear the brunt of making sure everything goes well at several major events throughout the year, and was happy to hand over the duties to the next guy at their annual meeting today.

Friday night brought a great group of friends together for the ECV chapter's annual Board dinner, honoring all the volunteers. Here are my two buddies, Debbie and Charlie. We have had a lot of fun together in the past few years, and the great ladies are how I manage when the obligations on my DH get in the way of family life.

Glenn listens to a well-deserved tribute delivered by our dinner host Friday night.

I also cranked out two quarts of blackberry ice cream Friday afternoon for the Native Daughters' 3rd Annual Ice Cream Social, on behalf of the Clamper ladies... we were the defending "champ-women" having gotten the most votes last year, and although I felt tired and uninspired, at least had ready access to fresh blackberries outside the door of our little school.

Here's the recipe:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon extract

Pour into the ice cream tub of your ice cream maker, and churn following manufacturer's directions, adding 1 cup of blackberries in the last 5-10 minutes of churning. This will keep the blackberries holding their shape, while still distributed evenly throughout.

Jaci, all dressed up in her Widder finery for our Saturday morning "tea", which preceded the ice cream social. This tradition has been going on for about 20 years, with Lady D taking the hostess duties over this year. There are usually about 50 ladies turning up to socialize and catch up on events over the past year. Then, the group marches into the main part of town, singing "Oh, When the Saints Come Marching In", in honor of the loving roles they all play in allowing their menfolk to make fools of themselves in a drinking fraternity each year!

I skipped the marching this year, and raced over to the Ice Cream Social to get our table set up in time.... each entry picks a theme and decorates in support of the unusual ice creams churned up.

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Here, Nancy dishes up a sample of our "Black Widow Blackberry". My pet tarantula sits on the table, adding to the ambiance.

Suzie's theme was Hawaiian, and she created two unusual ice creams, a very popular Spice, and a virtually untouched Chile.

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Ends up that Mary, on the right here, beat me out by a few votes... her table featured a very popular Butterscotch Banana and a well-loved Blueberry. Sharon, on the left, featured Plum and Mango Ginger. I am allergic to milk and declined tasting any of these offerings, but did learn that the Mango Ginger was a bit much for most people. We all had a great time, and raised quite a bit of money for our charity.

I can foresee that working long hours is going to seriously cut into my knitting time! I am continuing my involvement with the crafts co-op, even though that isn't where I am selling my knitting. At least each shift I work is a guaranteed knitting jag.... On the knitting front, I did get a quickie scarf made up for the co-op shop, out of Skacel Panda, a chenille (I am getting sick of that stuff though!), and a second one started out of Crystal Palace Kid Mohair, which will be the subject of tomorrow's Product Review of the week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two Memes for the Price of One

OK, Teyla tagged me to see what I have been listening to... and then got tagged with a second meme, which is more clever than most, so I am doing it first:

The 23rd post 5th sentence reads

1. Go into your archive.

2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).

3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

5. Tag five people to do the same.

5th sentence in my 23rd post:

"We were able to get the School Board to postpone the decision till January and
allow the Reconfiguration Committee to meet once more."

Teyla's was far more interesting; mine is just a line in a news story which has lost its context, however I find it ironic that this event unfolded to totally disrupt and reconstruct my work life. Since my 23rd post, I was cut to half-time as a teacher, took a new part-time job grant-writing for our local clinic, and then, less than two weeks ago, made the decision to resign from teaching at the high school in order to direct a preschool/childcare program - I will be working 50 hours a week the next several months as I help get two different non-profits on sounder footing. I have also expanded my knitting and joined our local crafts cooperative.

I will be intrigued to see what comes out of the archives of those people I tagged: Ruinwin, Stacie, Lynette, Kathy, Caroline, and Jenn.

I will have the other meme up by Friday...

My co-workers all loved the baby hat pictured in my last post about Schulana Supercotton, on my teddy. The father-to-be whose shower present it was, just couldn't believe I had made it... so simple to those of us in the know. I will have to make a few more! Steve is such a dear, one of our Physician Assistants, who just moved here in May with his wife and son from Wyoming and Atlanta (where he got trained). I hope we are all making them feel welcomed, and was pleased that they decided to enter their son's baby quilt in our fall show, made for him by a former co-worker.

If you have a chance to come to Downieville the first weekend in October, our guild's annual show is always beautiful, with delightful antique props, and the fall colors are usually coming on, with crisp mountain fall days and nights. And, I would get to meet knitting bloggers!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Product Review: Schulana Supercotton

As I promised, here is the first Monday product review!


Yarn name: Schulana Supercotton
Weight: Worsted
Manufacture:Schuler & Company, Italy (distributed in US by Skacel)
Size: 50 g. ball/90 meters/98 yards
Fibers: 70% cotton, 30% polyester-elastic
MSRP: $8.95 per ball

I found this yarn in a tank top kit at my LYS, Meadow Farm Yarn Studio this spring, and really loved working it up into a top. The fabric is dense and springy, and even though there are a multitude of individual strands, it DOES NOT split, something very important to me for ease of knitting. I liked it enough to grab a few other balls off of Meadow Farm's one-skein leftover sale table this summer. It has the right quality to use for a variety of items. I used some of my leftovers from the hot pink tank top to make a cute baby hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and will use it for more baby hats to put in the crafts shop, and for a non-itch hemmed inner band on beanies for winter (this is a pattern I found at Black Sheep Gathering, designed by Curraheen Farms, breeders of Icelandic sheep, but you could modify a favorite hat pattern: just start with the yarn you want to use for the inner band, knit two or three inches as desired, join using the hem technique, and then proceed with the yarn of choice for the hat - great for people with sensitive skin).

You can view the shades available at Yarndex, a really cool resource that gives info and shade charts for a huge number of yarns.

The downside: while as a fiber artist, I really like this yarn, I am aware that cotton in general takes a huge environmental toll, and the polyester probably isn't recycled. I suspect my love affair may be short-lived, if I can find a more earth-friendly yarn with the same qualities.

Here, my HH's antique Steiff teddy models the baby hat made from Supercotton. His teddy girlfriend is modern and pink, and over the years we have developed a ritual where the person who has to leave home for a few days will put the two teddies with the pillows on our bed, keeping each other company and helping the stay-at-home feel less lonely. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Smashing Success

Knitting News and a Successful Benefit

As you know, I have been pretty ill, and spent a lot of time when not working, lying around sleeping. Yesterday afternoon was my turn in the co-op shop, which was relatively low-stress and gave me a chance to almost complete the front portion of DD Nikki's pale pink tank top.. the diagonal eyelets that pink ribbon will end up threaded through. There is minimal armhole decreasing and a few rows of ribbing along the square neck left, and then small cap sleeves and assemblage... which I was too groggy to understand. I have discovered that one of the meds I am taking, Advil Allergy & Sinus, is making it extremely hard to focus, so will be trying to get by without it. I did make a start at a hot pink baby hat this afternoon. I felt quite a bit better late in the afternoon when this effect had finally worn off and headed to our children's center benefit dinner and pie auction.

This is the third year in a row, and brings lots of people in our community out. Our dear friend, family member and supporter, Feather, cooked fantastic and authentic Mexican food for everyone. For two years, Feather ran a taqueria in downtown Downieville, offering food from scratch, but was unable to secure a location this season. We are sure we had such a great attendance because people miss her food so much.

Gold Country Kook Sul Won Demonstrates

While I was serving plates up with tortillas and shredded pork as fast as I could, my cousin Ray appeared. Seems he is a member of the Gold Country Kook Sul Won, where the center has participated for the past two years in the preschool program. In fact, we are proud to say that our center won a special award as "Family of the Year" at the end of 2004 from the director, Tony. It turned out that Ray, at 73, was the oldest participating member in the demonstration. He has lived outside of Nevada City for about nine years now, and I was aware that he did martial arts, but had never connected him with the program where our students participate. It was great to get to visit over dinner, and watch him in motion.

Kook Sul offers much to very young children, helping to see a point in treating others with respect, taking turns, and standing still and quiet during some of the steps in the process. They also learn to channel their energy into appropriate and effective movements, and, despite some parents' concerns, we did not see a heightening in psuedo-violence after beginning the program, but, rather a greater respect for a person's capacity to do harm.

My cousin Ray is the tall, white-haired fellow in the rear, and one of our former students, Alexis is the girl in the front right corner with long, dark hair. Posted by Picasa

Here, two of our children, Kayla and Arroyo, join in the warm-up demonstration. They have been training with Tony for two years now. Posted by Picasa

My cousin Ray, on the right, demonstrates how an elder might employ a cane for self-defense, knocking Tony to the ground. Posted by Picasa

On Family

I feel really fortunate to have spent the past nineteen years in an area where there are such kind and open people. I have a lot of ties here and a lot of support, as I discovered this year, while much was changing in my life. We announced to the crowd that I was assuming the directorship of the Good Years Childrens Center, and Robin moving into Nikki's Head Teacher position at her departure. Robin has been under a lot of stress coping with the finances and politics, and these things don't ruffle me much. She is also a dynamic teacher, and will be able to do more. Nikki will finish her Bachelors degree in Child Development, and figure out along the way what is the best setting for her.

In this process of change and evaluation, the underlying theme that has surfaced for me was to make the decision that "did the most good". It is ironic that I come from a medium-sized Catholic family, where one would think this would be a high value. Somehow, as a child, I was inflamed by stories of missionaries, and then in my late teens, came to the realization that one didn't need to go very far to "do good"; there was still plenty of injustice right here at home to be addressed. I came of age about a decade after the Civil Rights Movement and establishment of the Peace Corps, and I know these social movements affected my subconscious as well. However, there was no family support for this type of thinking in my extended family; it was more about making money, reaching social status, having a nice car.

I spent my 20s and 30s feeling very ill-at-ease at family gatherings, realizing that the answers I had to provide weren't the ones that were going to make the relatives happy. I married and began a family in my early 20s, and the babies growing into children were a source of happiness for my relatives, but I hid behind my children. My work through that time moved from nursing (I received my LVN license at 21) to health education.

I was married to a psychologically damaged Vietnam vet who didn't assist in supporting our growing family, and it was difficult to have nothing positive to contribute about him either. When our last child was born, we moved to the Sierras, about 100 miles from where the rest of my family resided, and I retreated somewhat further. I still attended family functions, but always embarrassed to be showing up in a beat-up car. My children were polite and loving and clean. Nobody ever came to visit me, even though the road runs both ways. My dad, who would have made the drive, and would have loved the area where I now lived, developed Alzheimers within a year of my moving.

I became a single mom, and strengthened my ties to my friends and community. I developed a very strong sense of place, and the place where I lived helped me heal much of my low self-esteem. By the time I turned 40, I had become a strong, competent woman, and had remarried, to a much more gregarious, warm man. Many of my older relatives were gone now, and the ones from my generation equally busy in their own lives, raising children. It took several years, but I gradually became close to some of my husband's relatives. Each generation we live through adds new wisdom, and my forties allowed me to become a very courageous woman, and allowed my husband's parents to see that happiness in life was possibly a higher value than financial success alone. We have a lot of love and respect for each other.

I was especially touched to re-connect with my cousin Ray, who isn't a blood relative, but has been a part of my mother's family for as long as I remember... he married her youngest first cousin about the time of my birth. His wife Joanne slipped away in the night, dying in her early fifties, while their daughter Hollie was just finishing college. He has stayed close to all of my remaining living relatives, still attends church periodically (we both agreed that the ritual became deeply entrenched in us as toddlers and has huge meaning for the continuity in our lives), but has also made a pilgrimage to India this year to spend 5 days with his guru. He loved what I described about changing jobs with the idea of doing the most good. I am so grateful for even one deep connection amongst these people I have been a part of for 50 years. I want to be doing as well at 73.

A Final Note: Product Reviews Coming

Kitt, a fellow TalkKnitting group member, has requested that we all make an effort to share our fiber knowledge by doing product reviews. So, I will be posting my thoughts on a different yarn each Monday, starting with Schulana Supercotton this week. Tune in!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Temporarily Missing In Action

First of all, I have to whine and complain a little bit because I am sick... once a year type sick, coughing, lying around with a fever sick, the result of weak lungs from birth sick. This came on very suddenly over the course of the day yesterday, but I had a similar issue last year in early September. It appears that, because the air is dry and dusty, and the ozone levels rise as summer goes on here in the Sierra Foothills, I am susceptible to developing allergy symptoms that go unnoticed until I am hacking and short of breath. I decided to "play it smart" for once (maybe there are a few perks to turning 50) and call the doctor this morning for an appointment. Of course, this led to a trip to town to the pharmacy, even though the clinic I visit for my care always gives me samples if they have them.

Now, I won't whine without acknowledging how grateful I am to be living in the 21st century, where asthma is a controllable disease (God, I hate being attached to that word, like a ball and chain). After all, I have been something of a poster child for asthma sufferers over the years, living a very active life that includes hiking, swimming, kayaking, climbing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and traveling with my donkeys. I could have been suffering from asthma a hundred years ago, and surely wouldn't have seen 50. I could have been suffering from asthma 50 or so years ago, like the famous Che Guevara, and been severely incapacitated at times, since the drugs available were pretty primitive. Even 30 years ago, when I was going through nurses' training, an emergency attack required an adrenaline shot and sometimes led to death. In the past decade, new medicines have come on the scene that allow long term management and very infrequent attacks. I am grateful that my primary physician also has asthma and a very active interest in keeping abreast of the latest research. He is also a yogi, and has written two books on how yoga can help you overcome headaches and insomnia.

I should be getting better over the next few days but am pretty spaced out from all the rescue inhalant I have needed in the past 48 hours. Makes me depressed too...

Losing My Daughter

Or, maybe I am just depressed because my daughter Nikki, who turns 22 next weekend, is finally moving out. She is moving about 70 miles away, to Chico, as she wants to finish her BA in Child Development and has run out of classes here at our local community college. She is also ready for a fresh environment. Now, I am really happy to say that she and my oldest son, Cody, decided to share an apartment, and I know he will look out for her and help ease her transition. I am likely to feel more homesick than she will... I am hoping they find the good yarn stores for me.

We are planning to move the furniture on Monday with my truck, and had been expecting that they would move a bunch of other items on Sunday in her Pathfinder. However, while I was sitting at the table this morning, knitting on my Cotton Twist tank top and waiting for the clinic office to open, I got a telephone call that began with "First, I want you to know that I'm all right".... she had been driving in a line of cars being led through a highway construction zone (a fact of summer life here) and was rear-ended. I could tell that she was holding it together and had made the right calls, but began to cry once I was on the phone. I was able to meet her, the other driver and the CHP officer and lend some moral support on my way to the clinic. I suspect that everything will work out all right in the end, but of course we can't get the rear door to open - a new door will be in the future.

Can you see a problem here?

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Yup, me too .... there's not going to be enough cotton chenille bulky of unidentifiable origin to finish this baby blanket. I realized this over the weekend, and my only solace was that I was unavailable to attend the baby shower, which was today. If in good health, I would have been taking kids hiking. I was so distressed that I was ready to toss it, but then began looking around through my stash and my patterns to find a replacement gift. After all, the baby's not here yet, right? And any baby certainly deserves a hand-knit gift, however simple it might turn out to be. I decided today that I am going to make a cute little baby hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts in hot pink, since we already know a girl is coming. As for the organic cotton chenille leftover from the defunct Sedona Godmothers, I am not sure yet. Read further, about my ambitions to deal with clutter, and I might get your hopes up that it will appear as a giveaway contest here at some point.

Clutter Busters

Margene is one of my favorite bloggers, and we frequently exchange emails as well. Now, I want you to stop what you are doing right now, and check out this recent post from her blog, along with the comments, and let me know if it doesn't set your heart stirring as well. I am one of the worst clutter collectors, well except maybe for my husband and my parents while they were alive. I am sure you will find at least one useful idea in the 66 comments she got on this subject, the high volume of which leads me to believe that this is a universal problem resulting from living in our materialistic, disposable society. I read this Monday night, and even dreamed about what I would get rid of! Then, Tuesday while driving, I listened to a great NPR program about repairing or replacing... also addressing the theme of consumerism (couldn't find the transcript for you). This will be one of my focuses for fall....

Knitting News

Even though I am not well oriented, I have found that putting in a few inches of pure stockinette on the tank tops works out, between naps. I also popped in to the bookstore next door to the pharmacy and came home with the fall issue of Vogue Knitting. One article, discussing events in Britain mentions a national knitting week next month that includes knitting in public places and an "extreme knitting" contest, where past participants have knitted while skydiving!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Summer Afternoon

Summer afternoon.... the two most beautiful words in the English language.

Henry James

This quote came back to me as I was lying on the gravel beach next to our favorite swimming hole, looking up through the leaves. What a lucky life to have such a chance... I was feeling stressed out and like my life was too crowded, and asked for some time to enjoy my favorite things about summer, and got them all, within a few hours and a few miles' radius of our Forest City home.

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First, our friends Dave and Ginny showed up unexpectedly, having celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary in Nevada City, and we took them on a short hike to visit Rowland Falls, which doesn't have much water falling at this time of year. However, this tiny, cold pool at the top lasts all season. Posted by Picasa

Dave beat Ginny and I to the top and thought it would be funny to "seed" the pool with some gold... fool's gold, that is! Nice piece, all the same. Posted by Picasa

After our friends headed home to Artois, we decided to go swimming in Oregon Creek. Posted by Picasa

I took along some reading, including my new issue of Take Back the Knit, and read about vegan and organic yarns, and dozed a bit in the shade after a brief swim (the water never really warms up at this hole, but it is private and peaceful)

I was happy to see that there are still a few wildflowers about, including columbine, shown here, although my camera annoyingly decided to focus in the distinctive ferny leaves rather than the red blossom. Posted by Picasa

This is Indian Pink, a lovely little flower that blooms all summer long near the water. Posted by Picasa

You can see my afternoon resting place in the right foreground in this photo. I managed to get friends, water, flowers, greenery, shade, swimming, reading, and (pretend) napping all in this afternoon, just as if I were having a real summer vacation.... now, it's back to work tomorrow for a very hectic week. Blessings, all! Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 12, 2005

Highs and Lows

First, the high point of the week

It just made my week to come home late Wednesday night and find a package in my mailbox (our post office kindly has package lockers, so that those of us who like to shop for yarn online can get our purchases anytime, night or day, and not just when the P.O. is open, although I bet there are non-yarn buying customers who use this feature as well). I was so beat, and couldn't figure out what I had ordered recently, or who I knew in Roanoke, VA. I had to wrestle with the packing tape at home before I could discover that Sallee had finished my knitting bag and that was what was inside... I was so delighted!

My great new knitting tote/purse (it really does have room for everything) designed and made by the soon-to-be famous guru of knitting bags, Nana Sadie Rose (also known as Sallee, my sister from another mother). Don't you just love this print! I will be able to pretend it is summer all year round, carrying this. It feels compact but can hold a lot of knitting as well as keys, phone, wallet, whatever other essentials can't be left behind, and slings onto my shoulder perfectly. I am in heaven. Bet some of you wouldn't have guessed this is the print I chose after visiting four quilt fabric websites! Posted by Picasa

While Sallee was working on my bag and another, she was also surveying those of us on TalkKnitting about designing a larger model, the Mavis knitting bag, which she has built to knitters' specifications. People overwhelmingly voted for shoulder straps; I am sure that is so our hands stay free at yarn stores to gather up more purchases :) She also included special "pocklets" (isn't that the cutest word she made up to describe them) to hold tools such as scissors, and a large one to slide your pattern book in. However, I am short, and have chronic back and shoulder/neck issues, so I am perfectly happy to keep with the smaller model, called the Mera, after Sallee's daughter.

Peeking inside my tote, you will notice that there is a flashy zebra print lining, leopard print pockets lined in hot pink (plenty of them, and deep enough, too), and Nana Sadie Rose's label, as well as my half-finished Cotton Twist tank top... don't you just love the riot of color! Plenty of room for my metal gauge tool, the pattern folded up (it's on turquoise paper, adding to the color harmony), and a little note from Sallee. Posted by Picasa

I am heavily promoting Sallee here, because she is my friend thanks to knitting and the Internet, but more because I admire her genius and watched the process as she solicited fellow knitters' ideas and needs and built the dream knitting bag. What a Superwoman! So, go and buy one for yourself; her website links to a huge variety of fabric suppliers, so you can pick whatever you want and make a loud personal statement like me, or a more subtle one, as your heart desires.

Now, for the low point and a call for help

The low point of the week was learning that my blog has been spammed! I found the most convoluted, ridiculous comment yesterday, and had to go in to my Blogger profile and set the comment section not to allow anonymous comments... I am not sure if that will block some of you from being able to communicate back with me, but if it does, please, please let me know through my email, which is on my profile. I started out cussing dumb people with too much time on their hands, then went on to cuss dumb computers, before waking up and realizing that smart but rude and obnoxious people are using computers to latch onto poor, helpless chum like me (and probably you, too) and stuff our inboxes and now comment sections with their mindless advertising jibberish... sorry to be ranting here, but grateful for any help or suggestions.

Home knitting has been concentrating on finishing up a chenille baby blankie, left over from my period of knitting for Sedona Godmothers (now defunct). I have to finish this weekend, and put hot pink cotton trim around the border, as we are throwing a surprise baby shower at the clinic where I have been working this summer, for our Physician's Assistant, Steve, and his lovely wife, Michelle, expecting their second child (a girl, according to the modern wonders of ultrasound - although I still prefer the mystery of not knowing, and just loving) in October. I had short notice about this event, as one of my co-workers picked an innocuous event we all have to attend in order to concoct the surprise... lucky for me they aren't knitters or bloggers!

Happy Weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I'm a Published Author!

Yippee! I'm in print! My article for the latest issue of Take Back the Knit, about charity knitting, is the first knitting-related article I have submitted and gotten published (I have had lots of other articles in print, but never made any money at it, so that is why I work three jobs:) I was pretty proud to get my author's copy in the mail yesterday.

Look what Jae has done! Posted by Picasa

This issue continues with the theme that got her started on a knitting zine in the first place - how knitting builds community. Her's has certainly grown, as there are contributors from all over Canada (she publishes in Toronto) and U.S., and she discusses how the online community has grown and supported each of us as well. The feature articles include Hand-Knit Community, Before There Was Stitch and Bitch, Vegan Knitting, Hop On, yo:, Six Reasons Why, Organic Yarns, Knitting for Strangers (me) and Knitting and Breast Cancer.

There are also twelve unusual patterns (including a felted buttonhole tote bag, fingerless gloves, restraints, a bicycle saddle cover, flip-flop socks, and a knitted boob for "fashionable fibre floozies who have lost (a) breast(s) to cancer") and a color back cover illustrating the Kool Aid dying process that accompanies a tutorial on color, and another tutorial on using circulars instead of DPNs to knit in the round... well worth getting, and you can find out how to order here. I am working on something to submit for the winter issue, and you could too... it is great fun to see yourself in print, help build knitting community, and support independent publishers like Jae (not to mention she offers great recipes for free regularly on her blog!).

Monday, August 08, 2005

Hot August Nights

Living in the Sierras biases a person against wanting to attend large events in big cities. The beauty of the mountains, together with the peace and quiet, lack of traffic, and generally laid-back atmosphere all conspire to have a lulling effect, making things going on even twenty miles away, seem unimportant to the bliss at hand.

However, we made an exception this weekend, since our two nieces were going to be visiting Glenn's brother Dave at his newly-purchased home in Reno. Dave also wanted me to come over and see the place, and help him alter his acquired landscaping by digging up and hauling home the rose bushes. I am a sucker for roses, so we stopped and got five gallon pots, a spading fork and two cubic yards of potting soil at the nearby Home Depot, but the roses took a back seat to Hot August Nights. This event began in 1986 to help promote tourism to the Reno-Sparks area, and has gotten HUGE. It now lasts five days, with multiple venues for the hundreds of cars that officially register to "show and shine", and there are two main "cruises", open periods in the evening where a portion of the downtown in each of the adjoining cities is closed and the classic cars cruise around the block, to the delight of visitors... with up to 5000 car entries from 1972 or earlier, there is an amazing assortment to see.

There are now several major locations, with craft shows and live music and other entertainment at each, all day and into the night. There is also a grand parade on Sunday morning, although we skipped that part. We went to Victorian Square in Sparks, where Dave's company, PC Doctor, had a V.I.P. table reserved on the grounds of the Silver City casino, with the promise of free food and drink. Since we couldn't have dinner till 5:30 P.M., we wandered around checking out the cars and the crafts, and got caught in a summer thundershower. The Reno-Sparks area is high mountain desert, and of course, water only comes in buckets, so we had to find places to stay under cover for the hour or so of intermittant rain.

That didn't keep my DH Glenn and niece Jamie from having a good time....

Glenn and Jamie chasing each other through the fountain... we all got wet anyway from the afternoon thundershower. Posted by Picasa

I found this way cool necklace, featuring five (the exactly correct number) donkeys, at the crafts show. Posted by Picasa

After eating, it was time to watch the cruise... and we tried to find a place to stand where there weren't any large puddles left. Luckily, the rain stopped about an hour before the cruise started.

This is an example of the detailing featured on many of the customized classics attending Hot August Nights. Posted by Picasa

This one had a terrific paint job and a flame-shooting exhuast system... a real crowd pleaser. The folks standing below us were holding signs saying "Rev It Up"! Posted by Picasa

Very cute! Posted by Picasa

This was the most unique car we saw during the cruise... a shark head emerging from the engine compartment, custom palm tree upholstery on the inside, and, of course, aging surf bums in Hawaiian shirts riding inside with their antique boards on top. Being a California grrl, I just loved it! Posted by Picasa

We ended the night by celebrating Alison's 14th birthday. Posted by Picasa

I did get some knitting done, in fact about eight inches of the body of my Berrocco Cotton Twist tank top are now completed. Sallee is moving right along with her shawl. In fact, if I knew how to make and post a button, I would start a Cotton Twist KnitAlong... there are already two of us, so give me a shout if you want to join, or can help me solve the technical problems so I can make a Cotton Twist gallery of photos this week. Happy Knitting!