Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Postcards from Home

I often manage to buy postcards with the intention of sending them and then end up posting them from home having not managed to buy stamps or recognise a post box. This post is the virtual equivalent of that; I wrote it on Wednesday last week and then couldn't get the photos to upload. I thought I'd post it now as it is more interesting than the sixty billion loads of washing I've done since I got back. That and staring at my Mum's cardigan wondering whether it will be done by Christmas. All other Christmas knitting has been abandoned or delayed, but I think there is still hope for the cardi!

Anyway here's San Fran:------
I made it around most of town before the work part of this trip kicked in. Come rain or shine or fogI have toured.

Two knitting shops have been visited - Imagiknit was fabulous, lovely range and George the Yarn Dog (not the staying still for a photo type of dog sadly) made the experience complete. Very little yarn was purchased! One skein of Malabrigo and a little Koigu KPPPM. I saved the spend for some classic books - two of the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries and her Knitting from the Top book; much better value in the US than the UK.

I was going to let Chris off with just the one shop but following an accidental (genuinely!) detour we ended up a couple of blocks from Greenwich Stitchworks. I think I was spoilt by the experience of Imagiknit as I actually left without buying anything here. If you are rationed for yarn shopping opportunities by accompanying persons without an obsessional love of yarn I would go for Imagiknit every time.

I'm seeing a different face of the city this week; staying downtown for the business part of my trip in a somewhat more glam hotel. It's all much more luxurious here but life feels more complicated and hectic. I guess work does that to you. Lots of Christmas shoppers in Union Square. The contrasts of the wealth and poverty of this city are more evident and challenging here too. North Beach I miss you.Just a few days left now and this homebody is looking forward to getting back but still I know I will leave some of my heart in San Francisco.


And I have though it is indeed lovely to be home.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

San Francisco Postcards

A sock started to grow on the flight over – the biggest achievement was winding the ball from a very unruly skein. Not something I meant to leave for the plane and I certainly will be 100% prepared for the journey back. I know that knitting isn’t more important than human bodily functions but I would have loved it if my neighbours had managed to keep their legs crossed till I made it to the end of the winding. Still untangling made for a welcome distraction from the movie No Reservations which I can’t imagine I would have bothered watching to the end under more natural circumstances. I did envy Catherine Zeta Jones’ character her gorgeous apartment though. I think they spent a lot more time on the set design than the script for this film.

Today we’re hanging out waiting for heavy rain to pass over as we have a mission to The Mission planned – lots of lovely things to look at in that neighbourhood including Imagiknit :o)
The hotel is as charming in real life as I had hoped. It feels like a dolls house to me – dinky rooms, pretty old fashioned furnishings. Shared bathrooms but they are fabulous – the claw foot tub makes for a wonderful wallow.

We’re situated for this week in an area called North Beach, right by the start of the cable car line to the centre. We took our first ride yesterday and I am addicted – just wish they covered more of the city. The sedate pace uphill is just right for sight seeing and the whoosh downhill adds a certain frisson of excitement – as does the stopping policy - right on the centre of the intersections.

So despite crazy jetlag I am feeling 150% better than for the last few weeks. I am in love with this city – planning which of the mansions I might buy: Eating, eating and more eating:
Just taking it all in and relaxing. Deep breathing.

Friday, November 30, 2007

And the winner is...

...ME! No I didn't gift my prizes back to myself but I did win the most wonderful set of comments. Thank you all so much - reading them was a like a virtual hug; so glad you enjoy reading here as much as I enjoy reading your blogs. So glad we have this unique community.

Now the actual winner of the draw is the lovely Rose Red , Rose - I hope that you like your prizes as much as I liked choosing them :o)

I had meant to do a drawing like Suzie's - just the prettiest prize draw I ever saw but life has overtaken me this week as has been typical for the last couple of months.

Still relief in the form of this cute hotel is just a few more hours away:

A weeks holiday here, lots of great yarn shops to visit - I can tell it's going to be a great December!

Before I run off to pack I must say a VERY BIG THANK YOU to the fantabulous Piglottie for my wonderful PIF gift - not just a gifted knitter the Piglotster is a great seamstress and card maker extradordinaire. Thank you wonderful Piglottie. I shall be tucking a sock project for my Dad's Christmas present in the lovely bag to take on my travels. Beautiful and practical - can't ask for more than that!

My own PIFers, Von and Little Lou - I haven't forgotten you - I have chosen the projects and will be straight on to them after Christmas. Also I still have one space available if anyone fancies being PIFed :o)

Happy December to you all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Momentous Day

Tomorrow is a momentous day in the life of this little blog - 1 whole year old. While I have been a bit low on blogging/life energy for the last couple of weeks (see below for the latest in the series of "How Sarah Feels as Demonstrated by Her Cats") I have felt lifted by your get well wishes and have as ever been enjoying reading your blogs.I don't need to tell you all what a magic place the blogosphere is and I have very much enjoyed participating for the last year; I love this unique medium of communication and have come to value my blogging friends very dearly. I have been a very lucky blogger during the past year, not just in the lovely, funny and helpful comments people leave but also in winning many prizes and now it is time to offer up a blogiversary prize draw to say thank you.I've gathered a few things made by independents as the blogworld has introduced me to many wonderful small suppliers and home crafters. I loved spending time on Ebay and Etsy finding these little bits and hope that there are some things here that will appeal to you my crafting friends. If you would like to enter then please leave me a comment on this post by Wednesday November 28th and I plan to draw a winner the following day. Happy Blogging Everyone.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ground to a Halt

After Monday things really stopped altogether here - not even any knitting going on, just lots of this:and not in a good "book finishing indulgent" kind of a way. Ugh. I think I must be on the mend though as I've managed a few rows on the cardi this afternoon. The knitting thermometer reading is looking better. Here's to a more fun filled fantabulous week next week.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Slow starts

I'm having a slow start to this Monday, a day off work and I'm making the most of it, here in my PJs at 10.30am, cat on lap about to head back to bed with a cup of tea to finish this book. Bliss.

Headed back to see Chris' family this weekend and apply all hands to the pump on another slow starter. Chris' sister runs a holiday play scheme for physically disabled children. As one of the fund raising efforts last year we (the three ladies of the photo) made Christmas tags from recycled Christmas cards. We started in January and worked a weekend a month on it pretty much throughout the year generating masses of tags to sell and lots of lovely, fun crafting time. This year? We've talked it through, made some efforts towards it but until yesterday we hadn't managed a good session of actual creating. I think we just about made up for our slow start through a major effort, including some much appreciated help from the boys. Plenty of laughs along the way, though I think we all got a bit camera shy here!
The cabled jacket has also made a slow start despite my intentions on Friday - the pattern is much scribbled on as I think there is a mistake in it. For the medium I cast on 38 stitches as instructed and then on round two found myself with instructions for how to work 58 stitches. From the picture and the overall sizing of the garment I think an extra section of 20 stitches has been accidentally dropped in to the pattern. I waited to check out my theory with Chris' Mum, a wise and wonderful knitter (Hi Lurker!) on Saturday before I dared to get going but I'm hoping good progress will be made now as it's a chunky weight.
As for the socks - proceeding nicely though of course the heel is looming!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Let the Games Commence

Here is where the Christmas knitting gets serious.

I've been dithering about whether to knit Mum a Christmas jumper. I have a couple of scarves planned for her and with everything else I want to make I was thinking I might use the time well elsewhere. I have had the yarn for the project an age but hadn't found an inspiring enough pattern to get me past my misgivings. Till last night. A procrastinating knitter with Ravelry at her fingertips is bound to find just the right pattern to add that edge of hysteria to the gift knitting proceedings.
This is a free pattern from Straw.com/Crystal Palace Yarns but I'm subbing in Rowan Plaid.

Ssshhh don't disturb it, but this looks like a certain sock making some progress again:
Do you feel a sense of déjà vu? Is this the 400th picture of this toe? Still with your never flagging encouragement I'm convinced we can get this sock knit! Though would you believe I went wrong again last night? Well of course you would! Shall we have a sweepstake on how many more times I can muppet-ise this straightforward pattern? As Judy says - these are definitely becoming LoveMeNots ;o)

In a fit of pique at having ripped back I grabbed some 2mm dpns instead of 2.5mm ones and knit a few rounds. No excuse for such uselessness when I have such a lovely DPN organiser, I got this a little while back but forgot to show y'all. From this lovely Etsy shop. I couldn't face ripping it again so I just eased in the 2.5s gradually and thankfully I think it is fine.

Did I also mention that I want these accursed monsters finished by next Saturday as the intended recipient is coming to visit and I want to have her Christmas bounty ready to take away with her. So really you'd think I'd be knitting rather than blogging right?

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Not two rounds per row then?

The saga of the LMKs continues, I clearly spoke too soon last night when I claimed the worst was past and will spend tonight trying to get the toe back on to needles and get back to where I was last night when I actually read the pattern.

I'm going to put this baby on some dpns this time; I hereby pronounce magic loop as too fiddly for me. Crossing that off the list of things to try.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Socktober Summary

What fun Socktober has been.
I've had the pleasure of reaching my goal of finishing Esther and making a start on the LoveMeKnot Socks this month. It's been touch and go with the LMKs, and thank you all so much for the tips and the encouragement. I knuckled down to the unpicking last night and I think I am past the worse on the first of them now!

Socktober gave me the required push to finish up the Esthers which were starting to languish, to take the plunge on the toe ups and I got a pair of Christmas gift socks done as well. It's also been lovely to see so many knitted socks out there in the world. I am a confirmed sock knitting addict (eleven pairs since last November). I love that they allow me try to try out new techniques and real complexity but on a manageable scale.Seeing this little row drying on the radiator reminds me of how far I've come with socks; my first pair (far left) are well loved and I thought they were great at the time but when I put on my course socks or the Esthers I can see the leaps my knitting has made. The first pair are completely different sizes in the foot as I misread the pattern and decreased violently on the second one, the cuff is quite tight from the anxiety of casting on to to DPNs and the kitchenered toes were oversewn with a messy hand to hide the gaps. Post sock course I really feel my socks are quietly fabulous; there's room for improvement still and there are always a million and one new things to try but I feel my finished items are definitely something to be proud of, something more than just a mother would love!

Happy Halloween to everyone, if you come trick or treating here I've made you some buns:PS Thank you all for the get well thoughts, I'm in the last few skirmishes of the war against the cold and soon I may have a voice less like Marge Simpson's :o)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Reluctant Model

My beloved was a little camera shy when I asked him to model his lovely new hat; I guess you can't blame him as it was before 7am and he was on his way to the gym. I can guarantee there will never be a photo of me taken under those circumstances appearing here!

I had to get some photos in while it was light though and he does get the hat remember.

Though actually come to think of it he was supposed to get the hat as a reward for coming to a lovely yarn shop with me :o) thus this is the Salzburg Souvenir Hat.

This now means I have used (well made projects with - the ends don't count) all my tourist yarn from my last trip and can definitely buy more on my next trip - yey for San Francisco in December!

Pattern: Skye Rib Hat by Dreamcatcher
Yarn: Lana Grossa Dasolo Stripes (87% wool, 13% Polyamide) 1.25 skeins
Needles: 4mm long metal DPNS and short bamboo dpns

Started: 27 October 2007
Finished: 29 October 2007
Notes: This is officially my perfect Beanie pattern - makes a great fitting, deep (ie ear warming) beanie. I will be making more. According to Ravelry this yarn has been discontinued but I would get more if I had the chance - it's a really interesting construction, it's not a solid strand as I thought but a very finely knit tube which makes for a very springy, smooshy feel. Knit on 4mm needles it made a very firm fabric and the hat is somewhat too warm for our autumn weather. I'm sure it will be getting use as soon as there is a cold snap though as I think someone else likes it too.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Simple things...

...entertain a girl with a cold! Who knew it could be so much fun to see your blog title spelt out in pictures of letters :o)
A L L F Here I goes N G E R S A N Vintage LEGO Letter D t H m B_McElman_070710_0537 S_McElman_070716_2513
Make your own entertainment with Spell with Flickr.

I think Lixie mentioned this on her recent podcast but it was when I saw it in action on Terrie's blog that I got how cool it is.

As my brain is slightly addled by this evil infection I am capable of knitting only straightforward things this weekend. Dreamcatcher's lovely hat pattern is just the ticket:Thanks again Dreamcatcher for sharing this pattern, it's racing along and the other half is anticipating a warm bonce soon :o)

I've managed to finish up my second Christmas gift too:
Pattern: My So Called Scarf
Yarn: Rowan Plaid - Moonwave, 2 skeins
Needles: 8mm Wooden Straights

Started: 14 October 2007
Finished: 27 October 2007
Notes: Is this the single most knit scarf after plain garter stitch? There are currently 757 of these logged as projects on Ravelry with a further 921 queued. That many knitters can't be wrong! I love it and will surely make more. This yarn is great too - super warm mix of merino, alpaca and acrylic - why oh why was it discontinued? I suppose I should be grateful as I've gathered up some bargain lots because it has been.

Now someone is showing me how I should be getting in some more sofa time,
powerless to argue I'm off.Hope the knitting has been good for you this weekend, lots of love
S A R A H/H&C Coffee
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