Baby Names

John has been teasing (I hope) Rachel that if they have a boy, his name should be Tiberious. As in "James T.(iberious) Kirk." Yep, John's a Trekkie. So I teasingly (she hopes) suggested that Rachel tell John if they have a girl, her name should be Tourmalina. Ruby and Pearl are popular again, so why not go with another gem? I thought I was being original. Then I found this -

The name Tourmalina is a girl's name.
The origin of the baby name Tourmalina is Sri Lankan with the meaning being 'the tourmaline gem'. Variations include Tourmalyn, Tourmaalyna, Tourmalyne, and Tourmaline.

I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.


Rip N Knit

I have a new hobby. Knittin'-n-rippin'. I may never finish another project; I'll just knit for awhile, then rip it out.

I'm determined that this sweater is going to fit. I think the top third is done.
I like the collar and the start of the raglan sleeves. I had another 10" or so knit - including the waist and hip increases - but it didn't fit right and I rrrrrrrrrrripped it all out again. On the plus side, I'm getting really good at moving live stitches on and off waste yarn. And I've learned several ways to do decreases - including this pretty little sl, k2tog, psso (slip stitch, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over) - and how to make increases lean to the left or right so they compliment each other.

What I'd really like to learn is how to wear a finished hand-knit sweater. Maybe in my lifetime.



Check this out - Knitting Daily developed a free waist shaping calculator for knitters AND crocheters. You put in your measurements and your gauge and it does the math for you. How cool is that?!?

Waist Shaping by Knitting Daily


Frogged It

Took the sweater to the yarn shop, got several opinions (2 said rip it, 1 said leave it) then rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrripped that sucker back to the sleeve holes and started over. Tonight was spinning night but I knit on my sweater instead. I've got about 3" done and I like it much better now.

Special thanks to Anne who put all the stitches back on the needles for me and who held my hand while I worried about picking up stitches for the sleeves. She's also the one who taught me to knit sweaters in the first place. And may I say she's looking mighty good for someone who's having a wee one any day (any minute?) now. (Anne - send pictures!!)


Rip It, Rip It

I kept knitting last night until I had the 20" from shoulder to hip that's called for in the pattern (yes, I'm compulsive.) I put the hem stitches on waste yarn so I could try the sweater on and . . . blech. Too boxy. I want something that shows a bit of shaping and doesn't look so much like a sack. After spending all this time - and all this $ - I want a garment I'm proud to wear and feel good in. (On the plus side, this yarn is incredibly soft; tossing it on the "never ever" pile is not an option.) I've been reading Sandi Wiseheart's excellent series of articles in Knitting Daily about sweater shaping. I think what I'm going to do - subject to input from the ladies at tomorrow's knit night - is rip this back to the arm holes (I'm cringing as I type that), do a gentle decrease to my waist, and then increase back up for the hips.

I don't want something that's form-fitting, but a little shaping would be nice. Anybody have other suggestions for this knitting novice?


Compulsive Again

I'm sure you're shocked that I'm being compulsive. But what may surprise you is what I'm being compulsive about. Knitting. Specifically, my newest knit project, the Weekend Pullover from Knitting Pure & Simple, that I started Saturday night - that's 3 days ago.

It's a top-down project made on size 17 needles with super-bulky yarn* - 2 stitches per inch. Needless to say, it's going fast, even for a novice knitter like me. I'm going for a length of 25.5" so I still have a little ways to go (that's slightly longer than called for in the pattern, but the same length as a favorite sweater)

I worked on it for 2 hours this afternoon and finished almost 4" around the body.
I want to wear it when we go to Yosemite on April 9, so I need to have it to the point that I can put the sleeves back on the needles when I go to spin night at my LYS this Thursday. I think I know how to do that, but I'll feel better having one of the experts watching and critiquing when I actually take the plunge.

*Yarn is Sirdar's Denim Ultra in #509-beige. It's squishy soft and made of 60% acrylic, 25% cotton and 15% wool. Should be a good year-round sweater.


State-ly Travel Bug

Several weeks ago I read a newspaper article about the fulfillment of the author's dream to visit all 50 states. It got me thinking about where Dick and I have been and where we'd like to go. We often talk about traveling throughout the U.S. but we didn't have a concrete idea how to accomplish it. Now, we have a plan.

Marie went to a local store for teachers and came home with this puzzle map.
I glued down every state that Dick and I have visited and put the remaining puzzle pieces in a bag. Whenever we get the travel bug for a weekend trip or just want to GO somewhere, we're going to pull a state from the bag and that's where we're heading.

The 'glue down rules' I used are:

  • we have to have visited the state together - my trip cross-country when my family moved from Georgia to California doesn't count; neither does his early childhood sojourn in Michigan.
  • we must have spent significant time there and seen more than just 'drive through' sites for the state to make the 'been there, done that' list.
We've done pretty well on states in the southwest U.S., the northeast - from our fall leaves tour last year, a few in the south, and Alaska (twice) and Hawaii (3 times.)

We'll knock at least two more states off this year. We have trips planned to Kansas - a two-week road trip in May so I can take a weaving workshop in Lawrence - and Oregon - another road trip in June to visit the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene.

And if we get more travel bugs? I'm getting out the state bag and we're going someplace we've never been before.


Perfect Project Bag

Rachel brought me this from Colorado. Isn't it pretty? Her friends Tanya and Tami are making these bags to sell on Etsy and at farmer's markets. It has quickly become my favorite project bag and not just because it's purple.
The bag holds a ton of stuff - I've got 2 works-in-progress, 2 completed shawls, all my crochet hooks and a book in this bag and it's not even half full - and is easy to clean - it's made of oilcloth, so dirt just wipes off. Plus, it's just so cheerful.

These were originally intended as an alternative to plastic grocery bags, but they make great diaper bags, beach bags, project bags and more. There are other styles and lots of color choices. They're green (in the environmental sense too!), they're well made, and they're reasonably priced. Plus you're supporting a mom and mom operation. You know you want one.

Green Bottom Bag Co. Tell Tanya I said "hi!" *

Addy's diaper bag.

*Nope, I don't get a cut of the proceeds. I just think they're great bags. Passing the word is my good deed for the day. Just think of me as your friendly neighborhood enabler. {grin}


Fred's Home!

The top-down knit sweater I started on 3/1 has progressed to this - I can actually try it on for fit. This Saturday is the last class; we'll start on the sleeves whether or not the body is done. I'm guessing "not", since I need 25" from shoulder to hem. Got a little ways to go . . .

Fred's home! You may remember that this is how Fred looked when we last saw him.
Rachel brought him to California with her this past weekend and this is how Fred looks now. Pretty impressive! I'm still amazed at what a difference kiln firing makes to ceramics.


Wedding Day

We celebrated Matt and Chris's wedding on Sunday. The weather was perfect and the setting, both inside and out, was gorgeous. Chris chose dark brown and pink for her wedding colors - everything was elegant simplicity, including the (exceptionally delicious) wedding cake with its 3" brown ribbon around each tier.

The bride and her attendants.
Flowergirl Nai'a
The groom's guys

I'm not sure the original plan was for Miles, the Ring Bearer, to ride his tricycle down the aisle, but it worked - he was the hit of the procession. He started doing his parade-wave to the crowd when he reached the first row of chairs. That boy knows how to work a crowd.

Chris's dress was beautiful. The color is 'cognac' and it fit her to perfection.
Did you notice Matt's shoes? The men all wore Converse sneakers with their names embroidered on them. Matt's said "just married".
The new family.

My gang - Rachel, Gary, Marie, Matt, me and Dick

My third daughter, (niece) Breanne, her boyfriend Garrett and the Gare Bear

William, 3, and Miles, 2, boogied the night away.


Beach Girl

Last up on 'must do' moments for Addy's trip to California was dipping her tootsies in the ocean for the first time. We had breakfast in Ventura before heading to the beach at Marina Park. Addy was excited, laughing and pointing to the water. Rachel had the video camera going and grandma was in charge of still photos. Addy thought the sand felt strange but fun on her feet. . . and laughed when the water rushed up on her toes the first time. We were all having fun and didn't notice that sneaky grandpa was standing much further up the beach, away from the water. Why you ask? Because the next wave kept coming and coming and coming . . . all the way up to my knees. John did a fast backtrack, keeping Addy high and dry; the rest of us were varying degrees of soaked. Dick just stood on his little hill and laughed.

Addy helped write her name in the sand -
but wasn't very interested in touching or playing with the handful Rachel offered her. She didn't seem to mind having it on her feet though. Don't you just love sandy baby toes?

Odds and Ends

I finally got the buttons sewn on Addy's dress.
Little mother-of-pearl starfish. Appropriate, yes?

Here's a preview of the weekend wedding.
I'll have more photos tomorrow. Between us, Breanne and I took almost 300 shots. It's going to take me a little while to sort, crop and upload them.


FO - By the Skin of My Teeth

I finished crocheting this at midnight on the night before Matt's wedding and had it on the blocking board by 1 a.m. I really didn't think I'd be able to finish it in time, but I did! I love the colors and the texture; it's heavy enough to drape, but very soft - and the sparkly gold is part of the yarn so it doesn't shed like glitter would. Marie was kind enough to model it for photos. I think this one is going to be a favorite.

*Tech specs: Pattern is Perfect Spring Shawl using about 275 yards (of a 550 yd skein) of Blue Heron Rayon Metallic yarn in "Chocolate" and an "H" crochet hook. I added a single crochet border along the top edge to stabilize it. This yarn is as wonderful to work with as it is to look at.