Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baby Trinket

Another old picture I scanned from the negatives. It was Trinket's first week with us. He was about nine weeks old. We didn't sleep much that week, so I was about as blurry as it shows in the picture. But oh how we loved our little puppy! I hand fed him kibbles when he refused to eat, then we mixed table food with the kibbles when he still refused to eat. He wouldn't sleep in the crate, and weaseled his way into our bed, to this day he is still free range puppy. Good thing he was so cute.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Great American Aran Afghan

Pattern: Great American Aran Afghan, originally published in Knitters magazines. I'm using the compiled booklet
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool worsted weight. Recycled yarn from the coat, plus lots more in my stash.
Needles: US Size 8. The pattern requires different size needles, but I'm too lazy to keep swatching and changing needles. If the squares come out in different size I'll just have fix them in blocking and edging.
Size: I will knit all the squares in the booklet. If there is yarn left, or if I feel like making it bigger, I will add more squares accordingly. We have a supersized blanket that I knitted in Lion Brand Fisherman Wool, that measures at least six feet by seven feet (the idea was it had to be big enough for The Man), and we all fight over it. Blankets need to be big, Big, BIG.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baby Bucky

I just went through a major project of digitalizing about twenty years of film negatives.

We took lots of pictures in our early days together and when the pups and Henry were little. We keep the good ones in our album, but the "not so good" ones are scattered around in various boxes. Over the years, the good ones were taken out for reprint or scan, now I can't find some of them. It's a bear to go through a thousand negatives to find "the cute one" of Henry wearing my first knitted baby sweater.

Couple of weeks ago we happened to go to Fry's and I found this scanner that had an attachment and software that could scan negatives. If I take all the negatives out to the camera store they'd charge $0.75 per strip, so everything I stashed in the shoe box would add up to more than $200. The scanner was less than $200, and I don't have to count on some teenager with my precious life long memories. It was an easy decision.

But the scanning was so labor intensive! I can scan two strips at a time, takes about twenty minutes from prep to finish. The negatives have to go in the frame just so, or we'd get the edges and the pictures are no good. It took me a good part of two weeks, scanning every night, and whenever I had a few minutes on weekends.

It's finished, done. I'm happy.

Today I share with you a picture of Bucky's babyhood. He was about ten weeks old, about three or four pounds. He liked to play with the tennis ball, because it was Trinket's toy. His mouth was not big enough to pick up the ball, so he chewed it with those sharp milk teeth until he could grab hold of some thread. Trinket would try to play ball and Bucky would jump all over the place to fight him and grab the ball. Then Bucky would run and hide and play "poor little me". Amazing how he survived it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Off The Top Of My Head

The cabled band is a head band kit purchased in 2008 Penninsula to Pier shop hop at Yarn Paper Scissors in Burlingame. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca’s alpaca and silk blend (50/50). When I reached the length of the head band I kept knitting till the full skein of yarn was finished. Then I picked up on one edge with the variegated yarn – Ellen’s Half Pint Farm’s merino wool, left over from Gartered Stripes. I increased on both sides every other row for shaping. Edging is garter stitch in Noro Silk Garden, left over from De Colores. Neck line is crochet slip stitch in Noro Silk Garden.
So I didn't end up with a practical headband and can't claim that I made a project out of something I purchased in the shop hop. But I used up a full skein of yarn in a nice cable pattern, used up left over from two other projects. Now I have this garment that I will most likely never wear. I say it's an accomplishment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Not About Me

When I started this blog, I said I would blog for myself. The blog title, Bits and Pieces, would indicate a collection of memories and happenings around me, about me, that form the person that you would know as me. I went through a lot to be here today, and I wanted to tell the stories. Writing about oneself, as it turns out, is difficult. I tried to start with small pieces about my grandparents, as I posted here and here. It became too painful to continue. I am also a notoriously curious person. I am always on the look out for interesting stories around me, poking into other people's business, comparing Jones's with the Smiths and the Ngyuens. In the recent months and years our local publications are becoming as bad if not worse than reality TV shows. Newspapers are literally worthless. Our local magazine, San Jose, is a glossy brochure for the city government and top realtors. I need to quench my thirst. After months of pondering, I pulled my acts together and I hereby present you: Silicon Valley Life The first piece was published today -- How to Make $250K a Year, and Spend it. Click on the About tab to see more information on the magazine. I will need more contributors for content, and I'm still working on the layout so it's more user friendly and provides more information. I hope one day this magazine will be more than a borrowed piece of cyber real estate, and become part of people's lives. I will continue writing on this blog of course. You haven't heard enough about Bucky yet.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Trinket in his T Shirt, and Bucky in his Cowboy Sweater.

Trinket's has an intarsia T on the front. Bucky's has cowboy hat buttons.

On the back, Trinket's has an intarsia bone and paw prints. Bucky's has pockets with cowboy boots, and more boots on his butt, and couple of stars. Henry was doing funny things to them off camera. At some point during the photo shoot at least one of the dogs got a cookie, I forgot why. These are no starving artists, more like cookie mosters, just check my Petco card.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Stitches West 2009

I continue my tradition of taking one three-hour class so I can get into the market preview for students on Thursday night, and then proceed to spend an entire day shopping on Saturday. In the past I have taken classes from Lily Chin and Debbie New because I wanted to see them in person. Debbie New is an extraordinary designer, thinker, and less importantly, a knitter.

This year I took Challenging Stitches from Japanese Designs, taught by ex-US-expat-in-Japan Gayle Roehm. It's the first time this class is held at Stitches, and Gayle's first time to teach the class, so there was quite a bit of "let's see if this works". The class was great, and I would recommend anyone into texture knitting to take it.

Market was more about bargain shopping this year. Newton’s Yarn Country used to be the only booth that only sells discount yarns. There were the big playpens that sold 50% off yarn packs, but they sold regular price yarn too. This time there were multiple booths/vendors screaming out "only $8 per skein" or "50% off". My guess is the yarn market overall is getting a bit saturated, and vendors are betting on the poor economy driving consumers to seek low price items. Good time for bargain shoppers.

I’ve also noticed quite a few small vendors in shared booths. One of them was obviously there because of success on Ravelry. Her designs were hanging in the booth with stats of Ravelry Favs, projects and queues.

I wore my Chinese Red Vest on Thursday night, and brought the Irish Diamond Shawl, to show Cheryl Oberle. On Saturday I wore the Bust Enhancer, aka Heather, to show Joan McGowan-Michael. Both designers loved seeing their work implemented. One of the most fun thing about the market is seeing the garments on the attendees. I'm sure the woman walking around in a stunning Kauni sweater on Saturday inspired a few Kauni fans.

There were a few not so pleasant moments too. I was scolded for asking the same question twice about price on a skein of cashmere. I was scolded for not reading the fine print and mistook a "$5 donation required" raffle as a free raffle -- granted, the man presented me the ticket conveniently forgot to mention the donation. I'd purchased from both vendors, but I must be either extremely annoying or utterly forgettable, or both.

XRX was loud and clear this year about banning all photographing and video recording in the market, while a dozen or so "press" teams, presumably hired by XRX, wondered around the market interviewing twenty-something sweet faced young knitters, which were rarity mind you. It was not a big surprise when I was not allowed to take a picture of a sample sweater. I use my pictures as notes so I can add the pattern to my Ravelry fav or queue. Their loss.

The loot:

Shelridge Farm Cropped Aran Sweater kit in mulberry color. The kit comes with enough yarn for me to make a regular length sweater in a smaller size. This is my third kit from Shelridge, because I love their yarn and samples so much. Next year I better have something to show for.

Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm Falkland Wool in Teal Blue. Another sweater for me. Can't say enough good things about her yarn. I hoard them.

Brilliantly handdyed silks from RedFish, a small silk dyer in California. Huge color range and every color is to die for.