Happy Scary Day!

This Halloween was much better than the last one. Dick and I went to the Contemporary Crafts Market in Santa Monica this morning (250+ great artists and vendors; free tickets at the link above) before joining Matt and crew for trick-or-treating tonight. We were a little hesitant about driving to Ventura after last year's misadventure - although lightening never strikes twice in the same place, right? - so we stayed off the freeway and took the back roads to Matt's, just in case.

Miles was thrilled with his 'Cars' costume, although the helmet ended up hanging from the baby stroller most of the night - Miles got tired of its limited visibility real quick.
Naia was Hannah Montana, of course. Doesn't she look good in all that gold and bling? Addison did her treating in Colorado but Rachel sent this photo of Bunny Addy with the candy corn bag I made her. Wish we could have been in two places at once so we could have seen her in person. And Leia? Leia went as the world's cutest baby. She was awake and alert the entire time we were walking the neighborhood. Once we got back to the house, she practiced her push-ups (doctor wants her to spend more time on her stomach so she can 'exercise' and work off some of her baby chubs. Leia is much happier sitting up than she is on her tummy. About three minutes of this and she's done.) And then she and Grandpa practiced watching the inside of their eyelids together. Happy Scary Day everyone!

Great Wall of Camarillo

It's amazing what kids can do with a few blocks and some imagination. Naia and Miles spent over an hour constructing their Great Wall, starting in the family room, then out through the entry hall, across the living and dining rooms, into the kitchen around the stove and heading back where they started.

(hooray, the kitchen remodel has begun! The floor is out and Dick has started construction on the first set of cabinets)

This cooperative venture went great until the two of them decided the Wall needed some demo. Grandpa put a stop to that when blocks started bouncing off the walls and the noise level reached Indy 500 levels. What a spoilsport.


Healthy Baby

Leia had her 2-month check-up yesterday and everything looks good. She's up to 13 pounds, 12 ounces and is in the 90th percentile for weight and the 50th percentile for height. Poor little thing had to have four shots, but she took it like a trouper and didn't let it bother her.Isn't she adorable?


Pumpkin Daze

Today was pumpkin day with the grandkids. Matt and Chris went to see 'Wicked' (awesome show) so Dick and I were in charge of the great pumpkin search. Marie came along too; she may technically be an 'adult', but the girl still wants a pumpkin to carve for Halloween. The pumpkin patch rules were the same for the grands as they were for our kids - You have to be able to carry the pumpkin by yourself; and only one pumpkin per person. The patch was a little picked over, but Naia and Miles had plenty of options. Leia couldn't have cared less and slept through the entire adventure.
I thought Miles would pick out the biggest gourd he could find, but he surprised me. He picked up several, said 'too heavy', and tossed them back down before finding his football-sized prize. And once he found that pumpkin, he never looked at another one.

Naia, on the other hand, went through at least a dozen choices - big and orange; small and darker orange; white; warty; stem; no-stem - before settling on the very first pumpkin she and Miles had found (the small white one Miles is holding in the top photo).



I've wanted to do the Stone Path Hat (non-Ravelry link; scroll down) by Lisa Naskrant for a long time and after the disaster with the knit jacket, I decided now was the perfect time. I need something that will challenge me and that I can do successfully. This one's a challenge all right - and I'm loving it. The top part of the hat - the part in the photo - is tricky but not hard; I did it at the yarn shop between my crochet student at noon and teaching my class at 6:00. The next part, the sides, is going to require concentration. The instructions for each row are long and complex (at least on the first read-through). I can't wait to get going.

(And yes, Rachel, this one's for Addy too.)



Stupid, stupid, stupid. Apparently I can't count - or add. The lovely Anne figured out tonight that my Autumn Pi was going to be 14" too big around. FOURTEEN flippin'* inches. Stupid.

So Anne did the math - because it's very apparent that I can't - and I cast-on for the sixth flippin' time.
It's a good thing I love these colors or this jacket would be in a corner for the rest of it's natural life.

*And yes, I said several
much worse somethings before I gave in and restarted. Again.


I Couldn't Help It

I'm very seldom project-monogamous so working only on the Autumn Pi was making me a little crazy. I'm still 10 rows away from where I need to be for tomorrow night's class, but I took a break tonight and finished a quick crochet project.A pair of fingerless mitts for Addison. I started with this pattern but didn't like how they were working up, so went my own way. I'll get better photos tomorrow. I'm planning to write up the pattern and offer it for free, if anyone's interested.

I feel better now.



I'm a slow knitter but progress is being made on the ASJ. I need to have 58 rows done by Monday night's class. I knit most of the evening and I'm up to 36 rows. I just might make it if my arm and wrist hold up.I'm calling this my Autumn Pi Jacket. I chose the colors to remind me of falling leaves back east. And the number of rows in each color sequence is based on the first five numbers of Pi* - 3.1415. (I'm actually counting ridges; each ridge is 2 rows of garter stitch.) That gives me 3 ridges of orange; 4 of purple; 5 of red; 3 of green; then back to orange with 4, and a row of cream between each band. I'm loving the colors and stripe sequence. Just wish I was faster and had this d.o.n.e. already.

*Might as well get some use out of all the research I did for the Pi-R-Square block class I taught.



Lookie what I got - handwoven cotton dish towels*.

Silvia was selling these at the guild's open house Saturday, but I was so busy I forgot to go back and buy them. Turns out, Silvia loves spinning silk. And since I love handwoven towels, we struck a deal.
I got the towels and she got some gorgeous silk roving that I bought back in 2005 and never got around to spinning. Score!

*I've threatened Dick's life if I ever see these being used to mop the floor. And I mean it.


Baby Day - and Knitting!

Matt dropped Leia off at 8 this morning and we got to spoil her all day long. sigh. It was such a hardship. . . NOT.Leia's just over 10 weeks old now. Although she's still sleeping a lot during the day, she also spends more time awake and entertaining us now. Don't you just love her dimples? And guess who's holding her head up by herself already? (It seems early to me; I could just have grandma-syndrome though. You know - where my grandbaby is better, smarter, and more everything than yours. Not that I would ever do that.)Leia loves her grandpa bestest. Whenever he's holding her, Leia has a big smile on her face and a death grip on his thumb. I don't know what it is about his thumb but she definitely sees it as her property.

And just to prove that we didn't hold her the entire day -
we did put her down and let her sleep. Once. For a very little while.

Making progress:

This is the start of my Adult Surprise Jacket.
The first class was October 13 and the last one is October 27. By then, I'm supposed to be almost halfway done with this thing. Which I might have been IF I hadn't had to redo the cast-on five. flippin. times. The good news? I'm pretty darn good at long-tail cast-ons now.

And the Basketweave Tee is to the point where I need to cast on more stitches for the sleeves. The next class isn't until November 6, so I've put this aside while I work on the other jacket. Still lovin this yarn. Can't wait to wear this sweater.


Back to Normal

The guild open house and sale is done. And I survived. Actually, we all survived. The crowd wasn't as big as last year - too much competition with Ojai Days and Ventura's ArtWalk, I think - but the weather was great, we made a profit and everyone had a good time.

Dick is very glad to have the mess gone. I spent the two weeks prior to the sale bagging, tagging and pricing several hundred items. I was surrounded by boxes in my studio;
the floor of the pool table room was awash in bags and boxes; and the ping pong table was covered with cartons of fleece, coned yarns, and fiber of every description.

But it was worth it. I arrived to set up at 6:20 a.m. Saturday (I hate mornings) and made my first sale at 6:30. Things I thought would never sell were the first to go. Other items - like a new, still-in-the-box umbrella swift - that I thought would be snapped up in a heartbeat, never sold. Even Vickie got in on the action, albeit long-distance. I called her about 8, raving about the gently used Mirrex tapestry loom that had just arrived. (yep, she snapped it up)

I had some items from my stash up for sale - mostly fiber I'll never get around to spinning - and managed to make over $150. Whoo! And I'm still trying to work a trade of more of my unspun silk for some handwoven towels. So what did I buy with all that fibery temptation laying around? A $15 weaving book, $2 felted pincushion and a $5 sample-size niddynoddy. I just didn't see anything I had to have.

I don't know what will happen next year. The venue we've used for the past two years - SCIART - is being forced to relocate; they aren't sure where, or even if, they will find a new home. I don't want to see our open house and sale go back to a small, members-only event, so we'll be looking for somewhere to start afresh. Any ideas are welcome!


Betting The Ponies

I have to admit that when Dick suggested horse racing for date day I was lukewarm at best. Turns out he was right, as usual. Santa Anita is beautiful, with well-tended buildings, fountains, statues of horses and jockeys, and pathways that put us within touching distance of the horses. Our only other racing experience was at least 20 years ago when we went to a different racetrack; it was dirty and boozy (lots of drunk patrons and spilled beer) and not something we wanted to repeat. This time we paid a little extra to be in the Club House area and thoroughly enjoyed it. (We'll do the Turf Club next time; they have an enforced dress code - jacket for men and pantsuit/business attire for women - and I preferred to be comfortable in today's 92 degree heat) Of course, our enjoyment got a jump start when we won on our very first bet. By accident. Having no idea how to work the betting machines, I ended up choosing three horses - at $5 each - to 'place' rather than the one I'd intended to pick. And the last one chosen came in third, giving us a $7 win.

Our area was just past the finish line, in the shade of an overhang, with a sweeping view of the local mountains. Immediately to our left was where the horses entered the track before each race, giving us a good view of the thoroughbreds and their jockeys. Races were run on both the dirt and turf tracks and one race - the one where I selected my only winner in 8 races, for a grand prize of $8 on a $5 bet - ended in a photo-finish dead heat. The starting gate changed position before every race, depending on track type and course length, and was almost in front of us a couple of times. Even when it was on the far side of the track everything was broadcast on the in-field's giant screen so we were able to see all the details - like the horse that stumbled out of the gate and immediately took a left turn rather than following his fellows down the track. Need I say that that was the horse Dick had put his money on? Would I do this again? You bet! (Hee - a little track humor.) We wagered a grand total of $40 and won $15 back. Not bad for four hours of relaxing entertainment.


Grandma Flashbulb

We got to babysit Leia today while Matt & Chris went to a football game. (Patriots lost; Matt was sad.) And as usual, when I wasn't holding the baby, I was taking pix of her. I'm afraid the grandkids are going to rename me 'Grandma Flashbulb' since I have the camera in their faces so often.

Leia - who will be 2 months old tomorrow - entertained us by doing impressions of the 7 Dwarfs:

Bashful, Happy, Doc, (see the death grip on PopPop's finger? She's taking his blood pressure.) Sleepy, and Sneezy

No Dopey or Grumpy, though. And my personal favorite -
Sleeping Beauty.