New LYS alert! Pix to follow. Here’s the backstory: I spent the past week at my mom’s after the passing of my dad. The funeral was on Monday (a little too fresh to talk about…). I had a few complex knitting projects with me, including Mystery Stole 3, which was wonderful, but only for the last thing before going to bed. I also had my Top Down Raglan and my Sahara in Tilli Tomas Ruby Wine, but what I REALLY needed was a straight stockinette project for awaiting arriving guests at the airport, short car rides, and conversing with people at the house. So I cast on for a new Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf in the Prisoner of Azkaban stripes (thick and thin). Unfortunately, I only had my Knit Picks Options and the shortest cable is too long. I really wanted double pointed needles. By Sunday I was absolutely Jones-ing for new DPNs, so I escaped with my dh to downtown San Jose, directions from the web in hand, for a new-to-me LYS called “Commuknity.” Picture the letters “knit” in a different color from the rest, and all in a lovely script and that’s the logo. Go here for the website, including a virtual tour (Windows Media Player only).


As soon as my dh and I drove into the neighborhood, we felt at home. Strollers and dogs everywhere, lovely old buildings next to a lot where a Farmers’ Market had set up, complete with bounce house and guitar and mandolin duo. I bought a spray of huge, happy sunflowers for my mom. The LYS was across the street from a Peet’s Coffee, best coffee in the universe. Where we used to live in the Berkeley-North Oakland area, we had 3 Peet’s within a 2-mile radius and we could call to see what each was brewing at the moment so we could pick. Fortunately there’s one in Newport Beach reasonably near us so we can get at least a weekly fix.


Commuknity is in an old building with wonderful, high ceilings that had been a furniture store, grocery and various other businesses in its long life. As soon as stepped into the “foyer,” I relaxed. There is a beautiful, antique-looking, dark wood, stand-alone swift in the window, lovely felted bags and scarves on display, lots of greenery and a fountain. Just the sound of the trickling water lowered my blood pressure. And as I gazed into the high-ceilinged, faux-finished room filled with natural light, I could feel my shoulders and neck relax and my eyes widen.


You can see from the pix on the website how open and inviting the yarn displays are. The book section is next to a comfy couch and some chairs beside a fireplace. The entire top quarter of one wall is frosted windows where you can see the silhouettes of ivy creeping along the frames. Beyond the main sales floor is the Gallery, where the current display is lace knitting. I will put up some of my cell phone pix as soon as I figure out how to transfer them. The shop participates in a monthly Art Gallery Walk. Yay for placing these handcrafted works in the proper context!


I came away with some amazing Noro Iro (wool and silk) on sale! I also got the needles I came for plus some AddiTurbo Lace circulars. One sales person (Jo?) told me she only had 32″ Addis because that’s what they sold in Germany when she lived there — no need for any other sizes, large enough for shawls, easy enough to pull the excess along for smaller projects, and they just used DPNs for other circular projects. Very frugal.


Anyway, thanks, Gail, for creating a wonderful, nurturing, creative space. I shall return!



Bandwagon Jumping

I’m one of ’em — the 2000-ish late joiners to Mystery Stole 3 just under the wire on Thursday night, July 5, who read the Yarn Harlot blog. Apparently we broke Yahoo temporarily trying to log in at the same time Friday morning to download Clue 2. Knitter power!

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I had rejected the idea of joining when I first learned about MS3 in mid-June, but I couldn’t bear the idea of not playing with all these other knitters this summer. So … I found some pale, pale yellow laceweight Ornaghi Filaturi in my stash, swatched away (I chose #4’s), and jumped in.

The picture is up to row 100, I think. I’m now around 112. I ordered blocking wires and a blocking board after all my trouble pinning just this beginning segment of the stole. I’m out of town right now, so I hope they were delivered all right.

If you have been reading my blog, you know I lost my dad early this week. There is nothing like the comfort of family (especially the most adorable one year-old boy in the current universe) and knitting…. I needed a straight stockinette project to alternate with this complex lace project, so I cast on a a new Gryffindor Harry Potter scarf in the Prisoner of Azkaban style (thick and thin stripes).

OK, back to work….
anxious to get back home

My Dad 1925-2007

Sad stuff ahead. OK to surf elsewhere….
At about 4 a.m. this morning despite the paramedics’ heroic efforts, my dad, the most amazing man in my world, passed away at home. He was with my mom, my nurse sister and her husband and year-old baby boy, and my brother. My sister and I flew home immediately and within 6 hours we were, and have been, all together. I am unbearably sad and grateful at the same time that he passed without pain and that my family is seeing this transition through together.
The pictures below are from my wedding day and of my parents at a fancy event about 10 years ago. We celebrated his 80th birthday two summers ago with a huge bash that included some of his siblings from the Philippines and friends and admirers from all segments of his life. In lieu of gifts we collected donations to his favorite charity, a medical mission to the Philippines that he led for many years. He will be missed….
taking comfort in family and the distraction of Mystery Stole 3

Cluelessness Loves Company

Ok, how weird is this? As you go here about Episode 61, imagine you’re me and that you suddenly find Yourself confronted with Yourself taking a picture of Yourself. For a moment I thought I was in the Twilight Zone (insert tinkly music here). FYI, I submitted a knitting “nightmare” including happy ending photo for CraftLit’s contest and won myself a great little book called When Bad Things Happen to Good Knitters. My nightmare, such as it was, was about Blaze.

BTW, I’m not the only one! sknitty admitted in her June 11 post that she inadvertently finished a sweater INSIDE OUT! And she decided it was FINE because she liked that side better. I’ve done that! Only I was totally humiliated at my own cluelessness. Here is the essay about it that I submitted to CraftLit.


The pattern is Blaze — a wonderful short-sleeved sweater by Jenna Adorno that appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of Knitty. I wanted to make one out of a sexy soft alpaca and I chose Knit Picks Andean Treasure.

Never mind that 100% alpaca is hecka hot for a summer sweater (I learned that AFTER wearing this sweater).
Never mind that I’d never done aran knitting before (Aran? What’s aran? Those people Hitler liked?).
Never mind that I wasn’t a “piquant” knitter at the time (according to the Knitty guidelines, I was more like “tangy-minus”).
Never mind that it was my first project ever in the round (what’s not to love about the concept of minimal seaming?).
After all, I’m a bright girl with multiple advanced degrees and nimble fingers. How hard could it be to figure out? I was to learn my dismay it was quite hard indeed.

My troubles began, predictably, with twisting my first row of stitches in the round while attempting to join a circle of 186 cast on stitches. I’m recalling about three, or maybe four, tries before getting that right. I had no trouble with the ribbing, except that I hadn’t knit a gauge swatch and figured I could just measure what I produced in the round. I have since learned that um… NO. Gauge swatches are meant to be 4″ wide knit back and forth or there are no guarantees of accuracy. Fortunately, I got lucky with this pattern. I just did the smallest size. But I am now a rabidly religious swatcher.

The aran pattern involves a 16-row zigzagging repeat. I learned about the value of stitch markers with this project, too, but only AFTER frogging back countless times. I stopped counting at a dozen. Too depressing.

At this point you’re probably thinking, “Dude! Couldn’t you just ask someone for help?” Nice idea, but this was in my pre-knitting group days. In fact, I had just located a local StitchNBitch group, and I recall clearly attending only my second meeting with these wonderful ladies (and two gentlemen) whom I wanted to LIKE me, so I didn’t own up to my cluelessness. Here’s what’s so nightmarish. I was actually sitting amid a group of friendly and helpful and experienced knitters and I was too ashamed to ask for help. I just sat and chatted and listened while I surreptitiously TINKED the entire evening. I wonder if anyone in the group noticed how my knitting got way smaller instead of larger that night. I shake my head now at the enormous waste of time.

Finally, I learned about lifelines, got into a groove, and proceeded happily to join the sleeves. At some point I got cocky and slid the photo page of the pattern my page protector, in between the pages of written directions, selected what I “thought” was the prettier, right-side of the sweater, and seamed up the underarms. I wove in my ends, got my husband to take a picture of it for the Knitty calendar, all without realizing it was completely INSIDE OUT. Yup, the cable was on the inside. What can I say? I guess just really liked the waves of the wrong side.

I even compounded my humiliation by showing it proudly to a very kind knitting friend who gently pointed out that it really looked good “on the inside” too, but nodded and smiled and accepted my design decision. Now we laugh together at the memory of that meeting, but I wished she’d just slapped me upside the head and said, “Girlfriend! It’s inside out! Look at the photo!” It wasn’t until I did so at some random moment, and I remember my stomach literally sinking as I’d realized I’d been wearing it inside out for months.

I am a sadder but wiser girl and so INFINITELY sympathetic to newbies. I always ask THEM if they want help, remembering the times when I was too shy to ask or simply didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Whew…. It felt good to get that off my chest. The Roman Catholics got it right — there’s something redemptive and cathartic about public confession. Maybe it’s the the appeal of receiving absolution from some higher power in the universe after laying bare one’s grievous deeds. Maybe it’s the hope of finding perspective, the tiny glimmer of possibility that someone else in the world did something this dumb and lived to tell about it.


Birthday Meme

Ok, Labrat, I’ll play! KL tagged me to provide three events, two births and one holiday associated with the date (not necessarily year) of my birth — October 4. This is easily accomplished by going to Wikipedia and entering the date in question.

1537 – The first complete English-language Bible (the Matthew Bible) is printed, with translations by William Tyndale and Miles Coverdalevery kewl, considering I’m Roman Catholic
1957 – Launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth — my dad teases that I was almost named Sputnika because of this
1957 – The CBS television show Leave it to Beaver debuts, starring Jerry Mathers as Beaver — given my relatively dull but comfortingly stable suburbanite intact family background, this is appropriate

1880Damon Runyon, American writer (d. 1946) — I love his writing (also Anne Rice’s)
1946 – Susan Sarandon, American actress — she is a goddess of an actress and activist

(Interestingly, “writer” Jackie Collins is listed as being born in either 1937 or 1941.)

Sweden celebrates National Cinnamon bun Day (since 1999) — a holiday after my own heart….

OK, I’m tagging Twisted Knitster, LoriZ, and MamaOKnits. I hope you play — I’m very curious….


A Dubious Honor

Online Dating

The above from this site has been floating around some knitting blogs. I GUESS it’s a good thing…. I don’t have a lot of profanity or violence in my regular life and I deliberately stay away from it in my blog as well as in the blogs I read. Apparently, something as innocuous as complaining that frogging can be a “pain in the ass” can up one’s rating, but I don’t even do that….

Life has been really icky lately. I just returned from a stressful 6 days with my ailing parents. My sister is tag-teaming me and I will return later in the month. Mostly my job was triage — get the mortgage and insurance bills paid and the refrigerator stocked as well as my dad home from the hospital and in a comfortable routine. It’s exhausting. I found uncashed checks from 2005 and a notice from an escrow company asking why they hadn’t yet cashed a $20,000 check from early 2007. I found it in a drawer, expired, so I will have to call to have it reissued.

I’m happy to be home EXCEPT the airline lost my luggage (from San Jose to Orange County, go figure). It’s been over 24 hours and it’s finally in the right airport, awaiting pickup to be delivered to my house. Good thing, because it contains my Sahara (minus the sleeves) in Ruby Wine Tilli Tomas, some Malabrigo, some Manos del Uruguay, some wonderful Lobster Pot dyed yarn, and a teeny skein of bamboo. Oh, yeah, and some medication and clothes as well as my favorite red shoes.

I HAD to surf the net to get caught up on the iPhone hype. Engadget and Gizmodo have the best stuff I’ve found so far. Too pooped for any knitting or knitting content for the blog. I’m going out of town again for a few days for Parent Orientation and dd’s new university.

Have a safe and restful Fourth of July!