Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blogging Etiquette

I've been wondering about a few things on blogging, and have seen different practices. Since this is sort of new to many of us, I'll just throw out the question and be sure to chime in if you have an opinion (and I know you do). I get a few comments on each blog, some of them are questions, some of them are very nice compliments that I intend to thank you for. I don't want to ignore any of them, but is it right for me to reply in the comments section in my own blog? If I do that, people will have to come back later to see my "Thank You" message. Easier if it's a question, since people would be more inclined to revisit the blog to look for the answer later. I know sometimes I'd blog surf and see something nice and leave a comment. Chances are I won't be able to find that blog again even if I want to. Sometimes people reply to the comment through email which means you have to have the commenter's email address. Most blogs are not set up to include an email address, and most of us are not comfortable posting our email addresses in the body of the comment. Most of the time email works well for me with my friends; then since I'm an email junkie with multiple email addresses, if your reply went to my "group" email address, it takes me days or weeks to find it. Another option is to start a new posting to answer all the questions. I don't think it's very efficient, since everyone will have to wade through other people's questions and comments to find what interests you. And again people will have to come back to see the Thank-you's. This seems to be the way columnists work, five people would ask the same question and the writer answers them in one sitting. There is yet the last option that I rather prefer. When you receive a comment you go visit the commenter's blog and say a few nice words. That seems to make everyone happy. After all, we are all in this blogging community and we all contribute to it. What do you think?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

CIC Sweaters and Vests

We picked up a new batch of finished charity knitting from my mom. For CIC (Children in Common) there are eight sweaters and two vests. Henry helped me photograph them and picked the stuffed animals going into the pockets for each garment. The beanie babies are from a Freecycler.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

have you any ..... eyes??

Felted sheep, Ms. Blackie, was from a kit I received in the gift exchange from a recent retreat. Fiber Trend pattern, A Felt Flock, Lite Lopi yarns. She's my first felted stuffed animal, and now my guys demand some white sheep so we have a flock.

But I'm having a great deal of trouble finding eyes for Ms. Blackie. Michael's only has the stick on kind, and I think she needs something can be sewn on, to be more secure, like buttons.

Shall we say, buttons for muttons?

Kirsten's Sweater Done

Last time the sweater didn't look too cool on Ken. Now it's finally done, modeled here by Samantha. The yarn is some self patterning sock yarn, probably Regia; my own pattern. The body is worked in the round to arm holes, then devided for the arm hole and neck decreases. Sleeves are picked up from the arm holes and knitted down while decreasing. The jeans are made by a local quilter, bought at the De Anza Flea Market. Samantha was a Valentine's Day gift from my husband a few years ago, and I finally got around to knit the first doll sweater.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Five Things about me

I've been tagged by Andrew (To Love, Honor and Dismay) to write five things people don't know about me. Let me give it a try:

1. I'm Chinese, as in, I was born, raised and educated in China. I'm fluent in Mandarin, can understand Cantonese, Hakanese and some other smaller dialects. As a student I enjoyed Chinese classics more than any other subject, in turn my Chinese language is beyond grad school level while my formal Chinese education ended at high school. Since I learned most things in Chinese, sometimes I have to mentally translate them into English, such as the name of the planets, medication and math concepts. Occasionally English words get messed up in my head. Last night I asked for pumpkin mousse (chocolate mousse or pumpkin pie?); and this morning I asked Henry how many slides of cheese he wanted on his sandwich.

2. I met my husband through a dating service. This was mentioned on my blog before, but it's so much fun to talk about it here again. Bill's version has much more details. The joke in our family is everyone came with a contract except for Henry who came with no dollar amount or return policy. Bill and our former rescue dog Macie (a West Highland While Terrier, a lovely girl we had for three years) are, shall we say, the cheapest, at $25 a piece. I remain the priciest acquisition, at $500.

3. I have amblyopia (commonly known as lazy eye) and strabismus in my right eye, and only have color with almost no vision. I need to be about three feet in front of the big eye chart to see the biggest letter on top. Unbeknownst to most people, lazy eye is not an eye disease, but a neurological disease. My eyes send two imagines to the brain and the brain only accepts one. Gradually the brain elliminates the second image. In my eyes, the world IS flat. On the other hand my eyes are not in perfect shape either. I'm very far sighted in both eyes, so I started needing reading glasses at twenty seven. At the time I was the youngest in a forty five people group, and one of the only ones toting a pair of reading glasses around on my neck.

4. I studied Shakespeare's sonnets in college, on my own, and also enjoyed Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese. Chinese literature is 90% poetry which is all about rhythm and rhyme. Novels and essays only exist in recent history (that's about 500 years in China). Sonnet is closest form of English literature to Chinese poetry. I learned to write poems in second grade, in Chinese of course; and never wrote poems in English -- never wrote much else in English for that matter, other than emails and now blog. Most of my writings were lost when I moved to the US.

5. I don't know how to swim, despite many hours of lessons in my childhood.

There are quite a few more in my list, but this is supposed to be five things, so I'll stop.

I'll tag Lesley, Sarah, Jocelyn, Cris and Larissa.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Finished Fish Story

First draft of Fish was butchered by Blogger, here is a new version. Leave a comment on my blog and tell us what you think. I'd like to see an illustration of the last chapter from a talented artist.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Never under estimate a girl's head

even on a doll ... Kirsten's sweater is partially done, front and back, and a lovely V neck. It doesn't go over Kirsten's full head of lush blonde hair. Looks a bit large on Ken, though it does go over his cute little head.

rip it, rip it, rip it ...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Coat Knit Along, Bucky

I posted my desire to knit Uptown Coat to Knittalk, and now there are two other knitters want to join me for a knit along (one of them using a different pattern). We started a knit along blog, Coat Knit Along (what else), but no one has started yet. Working on the black sheep and Kirsten's sweater, pictures later. Bucky is moping in the corner cause Larissa called him a c*t. We should make a video at the next Feb99 gathering so you can hear our voices. Bucky was up half the night, sometimes shaking, did manage to go out and potty but seemed strained. Then he refused to eat this morning, not a good sign for a pug. He had a liver treat that we got from the Halloween party, maybe he's having trouble digesting it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Q & A about Uptown Coat

Thank you for all who had looked at the Uptown Coat. Now to answer your questions: Lesley said… Can 1 woman have too much yarn? Vivian: No. Monica said… I think they would make a GORGEOUS coat...when will you start?! (The pattern you pictured is really nice.) Vivian: between me and the coat, there is a black sheep (half way up the body), another hat I want to try out the pattern, and the sweater for Kirsten. And most importantly, I need to finish (really really finish!) the De Colores Jacket. Then I can start thinking about swatching for the coat. Cindy said… Not that I know one thing about fashion of any sense - but I think the coat would be pretty with the colors you have. However, that's a pretty long one in the picture. I don't think you should go too much below the knee (that's not flattering for anyone). Vivian: Now that's an idea. I don't need a coat that long anyway. I should look at the measurement on the pattern and see where it falls, and maybe shorten it a bit. Ahrisha said… Very nice coat. Like you said long and sleek. . .and I love the Tam too, but then I love hats. Isn't it wonderful to finally decide and just get on with it? Vivian: Well, if I shorten the coat there will be plenty of yarn left over for a tam. A fair isle tam pattern shouldn't be hard to find. Tam and beret are my favorite hat shapes. Thanks for the brainstorming!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Uptown Coat

I've been staring at this stash of Paton's Classic Wool for a long time. They are my accumulated purchases from Michael's when Classic Wool was on sale. They cuddle in this little shelf by my bed side; they are the first things I see in the morning when I get up, and last things I see at night before lights out. There are eleven balls of blue, three balls each of purple (behind the wires if you can see the color) and blue/red/purple variegated; and one ball each of cardinal red and blue turquoise. Some days they want to be a warm coat, with the blue as main color, purple and variegated as contrast, red and turquoise as small highlights. This coat is from Knitters Fall 99, called Southwest Goes Uptown, by Lily Chin. I like the feminine shape, most other coat are more like square sacks.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

De Colores, Finished Hat, Gartered Stripes

A minor discovery about the De Colores jacket -- it's simply too wide and too square for my taste. If I hold the front like this, making it a double breasted jacket, the back fits a lot better. I lose one panel on the front, that will have to be OK. The back view, no more tilting. Now I need to pull my acts together and finish the crochet cuffs and weave in the ends. Finding the buttons will be fun. Hat pattern from Pattern-A-Day calendar. Knitted in one piece side ways; cabled braid on the band and the body is short rowed wedges. Three needle bind off to fuse the last row and cast on edge together. The yarn is an 100% wool from Lion Brand. Bucky thinks it looks pretty cool too. Stripe up the Band, by Candace Eisner Strick, yarn is Ellen's 1/2 Pint one strand hand painted variegated wool and one strand custom dyed lavender/purple wool. Incredibly lovely yarn as always, so far all garter stitch pattern. I only work on this a row or two at a time, to enjoy the yummy yarn, and keep from getting bored with the repetitive motion.

Happy Birthday Bucky!

My baby turns eleven today and we celebrate with a cheesecake from Wholefoods

Koolaid Dyeing with Henry

Start with a nice ball of wool. Henry wound it into a skein using Knitty Knotty. If you are a regular muggle and don't have a Knitty Knotty, back of the chair or a volunteer's arms will do. Here is a nice skein of yarn. Henry chose the lemon flovor. Dye bath is made. I mixed the powder in hot water since the heat will help set the color. Throw in the victim, make sure the yarn is complete submerged. More heat. More stirring. After a good rinse, a skein of wool in the shade of lemonade is drying on the counter.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Moby Dick, Harry Potter, New Knitting, Potluck

I'm chugging along on my next book club read, Moby Dick, actually not read in my case. I have the audio book version from the library, 20 CDs, and this morning just started CD # 9. Think I'll finish before the meeting next Monday? It's a little hard to concentrate listening to a book like this while driving, so my Moby Dick goes along for a ride in the carpool lane, with an occasional stop at Michael's, Trader Joe's, stop for lights (pick up knitting), break for some idiots trying to jump in front, grab badge for the parking lot entrance. My commute has since become wavy and salty, combination of cool California morning fog and freezing New England ocean. How many commuters have a white shark for company?

With my influence (or so I'd like to think), Henry picked up his version on Moby Dick this morning and plan to read it when he hangs out at a sitter's house. We read that one together last year, it's an abridged version for kids, a good one for the story line, characters and language.

Henry's book club is also meeting next week to discuss Happy Potter Book Three, The Prisoner of Azkaban. I've been reading it with Henry every night, mostly for me since the bug has finished it twice already on his own. By any luck I'll be at his book club meeting, or maybe I should invite him to mine too.

On the knitting front, De Colores was blocked again but back in time-out basket, waiting for the final crochet band on the sleeves, and weave in those thousands of ends. I'm much less enthusiastic about the finishing work, for one thing, all of my knit-along friends are not finishing theirs, how can I be motivated. In the mean time, a hat was done the night before, picture to come.

A sweater for Kirsten (American Girl doll) is on the needles, my own free hand knitting, design as it goes. A felted black sheep was cast on last night. Got the kit from the last retreat, hopefully to become my first felted animal. The second toe up sock was started at some point over the weekend, now on the toes.

Last but not least, what's your favorite potluck food? We are invited to a holiday potluck, someone will cook a turkey, and I want to bring some sort of non-dessert platter. Something fresh and tasty, either I can cook or order. Ideas please!