Friday, September 30, 2005

Got silk?

Yesterday I escaped work early to go to a sewing "show and tell" at Thai Silks and it sure beat working, although I did have to bring some work home to do later. Anyway, the "show and tell" was fun. It was the first time they put on this little party to invite people who've made items from their silk to show them off. All I can say is wow. There are some talented sewers, quilters, and crafters in this area. One older woman painted gorgeous flowers on silk. She blushed and denied it when they told her she was an artist. Another woman made period doll clothes that were exquisite. There were some costumers, including one who made a corset that was incredible. The lone guy in the crowd wasn't actually a sewer but he designed some cool looking silk shirts to wear when he performs with his harp.

After the "show and tell" they raffled off some prizes: yards of silk, samples of silk thread and ribbon, and some books. Unfortunately I didn't win but later on, when I was still browsing fabrics in their store, they came up to me and gave me one of the gift bags they gave to the people who showed off their items. In the bag was a silk tie, silk scarf, piece of wide black lace (also silk?), and a big bag of silk swatches. Cool.

They also had a one day only 25% off storewide sale, hence my prolonged browsing. Yes, I have an overflowing stash at home and no, I don't need anything, could I resist? I bought some white silk jacquard and four yards of this silk crepe georgette

I know it looks really wild in that swatch but trust me, it looks much better in real life. Although the swatch is more accurate to the way the pattern looks in the charmeuse, which is why I bought the georgette. I haven't decided exactly what to make with it but I'm thinking some sort of blouse or jacket that would keep the fabric more flowing and also in folds so that the overall pattern is not so visible. While I like the William Morris-like print, it's quite busy so I'd rather let the color combination come through more than the pattern itself.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Grownup toys

The camera, a Nikon D50 digital SLR, is a birthday gift from my husband. I thought my Nikon Coolpix 5700 was a great camera...and it is, but digital SLR rocks! No more lag when I take the shot. You can fire off shot after shot in rapid succession. I wish I'd had this camera at Le Mans! There would have been more pictures of cars and less of empty track (since the car was long out of the frame when I snapped the picture, even when I tried to time it). The SLR has a manual focus as well as automatic so I no longer have to wait for ever for the Coolpix to figure out what to focus on. This will help tremendously with close up shots because I had many times where the Coolpix just refused to focus at all.

The only problem is that I'm back to toting a camera bag containing multiple lenses! I enjoy point and shoot cameras for their portability but when you want quality pictures and control over your shots, then I guess you have to live with extra gear. At least I don't have to tote around rolls and rolls of film. And pay for the processing. (camera photo from by the way)

The truck replaces a 16 year-old F-250 diesel. My husband said the truck was old enough to get a learner's permit and drive itself. And no, I did not take that picture of the truck with my new camera. I found the photo on

I never liked driving the F-250 beast - not that I did drive it. I drove it once for a very short time when we were tugging a cargo trailer (empty at the time) on a cross country trip to retrieve stuff from my mom's basement. About 250 miles from my mom's house the transmission failed. Fortunately a friend lived nearby and came to rescue us. We left the truck and trailer at a gas station garage, rented a car, and continued to mom's house to work on cleaning out the basement while the truck was worked on. The mechanic thought he could "save" us money by replacing one part, despite our request and his agreement to rebuild it. Yeah, thanks buddy. The transmission still leaked but we made it to my mom's house where we then had to scramble to find a place to rebuild the transmission in short order as we were already running out of vacation time. The transmission held for the 3000 mile trip home but the spedometer and odometer didn't work and the passenger power window failed somewhere in Missouri. We had the transmission worked on two more times after we got home. In addition to the unreliable transmssion, the window seals leak, and the air conditioner doesn't work. Then someone broke in through the back sliding window and stole the radio (it was a fairly inexpensive one we installed, but still...).

So it was time for a new truck. We've been remodeling our house and do the work ourselves, so we do need a truck for all those Home Depot and dump runs. And I might actually enjoy driving it!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Knitting 101

Sometimes it's the basic things that catch me. Today's knitting question: Is every two rows the same as every other row?

And when the instructions say something like increase every 4 rows, is the 4th row the one you increase on or is the next one? I figure it would be the next one. Take for example a stockinette stitch with instructions to increase every 4 rows. I would begin the increase on the first row and count this as row 1.

row 1: knit ---- increase
row 2: purl
row 3: knit
row 4: purl
row 5 (1): knit ---- increase
row 6 (2): purl
row 7 (3): knit
row 8 (4): purl
row 9 (1): knit ---- increase

Am I right or am I wrong?

So for every two rows:

row 1: knit --- increase
row 2: purl
row 3 (1): knit --- increase
row 4 (2): purl
row 5 (1): knit --- increase

Hmmmm...that looks like every other row. So why didn't they just say that? So I think I'm ok and won't have to rip back the last two rows I knit last night!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Busy week

I've been busy but not busy at the sewing machine, I'm afraid. My birthday was last week and so was our anniversary but they were sort of overshadowed by a big meeting at work. This meeting caused me to stay late on Monday, bring work home on Tuesday (my birthday!), spend Wednesday evening at dinner with the out of town work visitors (at least I got to drink wine), and by Thursday evening (our anniversary) I was completely spent.

I had intentions of getting lots of things done over the weekend but also high on my list was just relaxing. I did manage to do a bit of that. I spent some time just sitting and working on this:

I bought the yarn (Rowan Cashcotton in Apple):

and the book:

in Mendocino. Actually, my husband found the book, liked the sweaters and thought I might too so he encouraged me to buy both the book and the yarn for this project. He's sweet. And apparently not (too) annoyed by the yarn and pattern books I already own and have not used.

I thought the name of the designer and the "viking knits" theme was familiar and when I checked my bookshelf I found Viking Patterns for Knitting, by Elsebeth Lavold. How about that?
The sweater is coming along slowly, despite the fact that I pick it up every time I sit down to watch TV. I watch a lot of TV but still haven't gotten very far on the back. This is perhaps why I have not knit many sweaters. Maybe I will post of photo of my progress, but maybe I will wait until I get to the more interesting cables in the design motif on the front. How exactly I'm going to do those cables, having never knitted cables before and being lefthanded, I don't know. There is a chart and I can follow charts and supposedly if you're a lefthanded knitter you don't run into left vs. right problems, but we'll see. However, I will definitely be sure to make a sample of the charted motif.

I'm still intending to get pictures of our Mendocino trip up on I have them posted on I don't know if this link will work for anyone to view them on that site but it's worth a try.

Jalie polo shirt #2 is in pieces on my dress form. I finished the front placket and sewed up the collar pieces. Although I love this fabric - a rayon knit - I am not happy that I chose this particular fabric for this pattern. The fabric is quite thin and can't really support the lump created in the front of the shirt where the two placket sides are sewn together. I had no idea this would happen and will have to consider it a learning experience because there's nothing that can be done about it now. But I will not let this shirt become a wadder so I'll continue to work on it. I adjusted the shoulder seam to try to eliminate some of the excess fabric under my arm. I think that will do the trick. Now I just need to adjust the sleeves to compensate for the smaller opening.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quilt Museum

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles opens in its new location this Saturday. I visited the museum in its previous locale and found it to be quite enjoyable. This new location is supposed to be larger and hopefully more permanent. The museum started in 1977 and has moved to about 8 locations since then. I'll have to make a point to visit it more often to check out the different exhbits.

And while I'm on the subject of local museums, I've been meaning to get to the Lace Museum in Sunnyvale. One of these days...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A lovely weekend...for us

I had a lovely, long weekend in Mendocino. I relaxed. I walked on the beach. I shopped. I knitted. I enjoyed delicious food. And I thought about the poor people who've lost loved ones, pets, homes, possessions, and jobs in the Gulf Coast. I couldn't not think about them. Our room did not include a television and I didn't read any newspapers, but that didn't matter because the images from last week were and are still firmly planted in my mind. I've done what I can - donated some money. I wish I could do more but I'm neither skilled in rescue or medicine, nor am I located near the disaster. Four years ago we were vacationing in Oregon and Washington when terrorism struck and rocked our nation. How does one enjoy a vacation when you know others are suffering? I did enjoy it, but feel guilty that I did. I guess I shouldn't feel guilty - our enjoyment of our vacation didn't add to the suffering and if we'd cancelled the trip, the B&B, stores and restaurants would not have benefited from our spending. But to the people of New Orleans, Biloxi, Gulfport and the surrounding communities...I'm sorry that you could not enjoy your Labor Day weekend. And I'm sorry for the tragedy that has befallen you.

I debated about using my blog for talking about the hurricane's devastation. Since many bloggers have, I really didn't have anything new to add. I will say that the crafting/blogging community has joined the effort to raise money through sales of handcrafted items or by making quilts for the now-homeless victims.

Also, if you don't have an emergency plan for yourself and your family, then you should. Living in earthquake country, I'm poised for "the big one" but sadly am not completely prepared. We have food and water set aside but I'm embarrassed to say that the other supplies are not amassed. Here's a checklist for suggested items to have in your emergency kit.

I was going to post more about what I did this weekend, the yarn I bought, and my new knitting project, but I'm not in the mood anymore. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Pears from our tree, now bathed in a sugary syrup, vacuum sealed, and waiting to be opened on a rainy wintry day (no snow here!).