July 29, 2015

Knitalong and a Coupon

The incomparable Miss Kalendar of the Brass Needles podcast is hosting a year-long KAL (knitalong) in 2015 with a different theme each month.

Knowing that many folks need smaller (read: not as big, heavy, hot, and sweaty in your hands or on your lap) projects in the summer heat, for August, the theme is cowls.

Wanna knit a cowl?

From now through the end of the day, August 31st, use the code BRASS, and you'll get $1.00 off my latest cowl pattern, Bijou Bijoux.  It's great for that one skein of special yarn you just HAD to buy  at at Stitches, Rhinebeck, etc. 

Yak yarn not your thing?  Try one of these:

 Bertha's Mad, Mysterious Mobius
Bertha's Mad, Mysterious Mobius

On a tight budget?  Each of these can be knit for about $10 in yarn (or less if you're using leftover bibs and bobs of sock yarn for the multi-colored one):

Knit on!

July 25, 2015

R.I.P. Jenna

R.I.P. Jenna

Just realized that the one place I haven't mentioned this was here, but our summer got pretty much hijacked by the loss of our dog Jenna.  On June 4th, she was diagnosed with an aggressive, fast-growing cancer in her mouth.  The next six or so weeks were largely focused on keeping her comfortable and watching her closely for signs that it was "time".  By the time we got back from camping, it was obvious that she was miserable, having trouble breathing, plus other, ickier symptoms.  On July 14th, our hearts broke as she passed peacefully with great care from Colma Pet Hospital.

So, SO grateful that Andrew insisted we get this picture on Father's Day before she started looking really bad.  Mille grazie to MarkyMark for taking the photo.


Camping was great; I think I'm really getting the hang of this, LOL.  T2's friends had a great time, Andrew and I totally relaxed, and T1 had a ball at home with Clairese.

SO much relaxation happened, that I took almost no pictures.  Here are a few mine, plus a few of T2's, plus a glimpse of T1's time at home.

005   012 029 034 045 They Had Fun

July 7, 2015

CAMPING (and a Coupon)!

A portion of the family will be going off the grid in a couple of hours for our annual Gualala camping trip.  I'm definitely the most excited that I've ever been for the trip; I must be getting the hang of this or something.

Since I'm so excited, here:

From now through Sunday, if you use the coupon code CAMPING, you'll get $1.00 off my new pattern, Bijou Bijoux.


  • 1 skein Bijou Spun by Bijou Basin Ranch Lhasa Wilderness
  • US size 8/5mm circular needle
  • US size 7/4.5mm circular needle
  • Two versions, Studded (shown in Siegfried and Brown) and Filigree (shown in Amethyst) 
$6.00 US, but $5.00 with through July 12, 2015 with coupon code CAMPING.  

July 6, 2015

NEW PATTERN - Bijou Bijoux

c. Charlie Kaine Photography
c. Charlie Kaine Photography
A single "gem" of a skein is plenty to jazz up your outfit.  Just a single skein of Bijou Spun by Bijou Basin Ranch Lhasa Wilderness is enough to knit either the simple Studded or lacy Filigree version.  Like twins, they each have their own personalities and will brighten your day in different ways.
Bijou Bijoux, $6.00 on Ravelry

1,000 thanks to Angelica and Quantrice for modelling and to Charlie for the terrific photos!

June 23, 2015

Dye, Part Deux

(most of) What I dyed last week in dye class:

I keep forgetting to steam-set this, but see - I *knew* this sock blank
would look better once I striped it with other colors.
This will make some nice, muddy, masculine socks.

Indigo never disappoints.

Logwood on silk and rayon

Madder never disappoints, either.

These look ever so much better after a trip through to the indigo pot.
The one on the bottom right just got stamped with wax and will
hit the indigo pot next week (no class this week).
Just a simple cotton scarf, tied, then painted with
some (rather old) MX dyes.

I did dye that t-shirt that I had drawn on with resist, but I'm quite discouraged by the results.  Apparently, either the resist was too old, too thinned out, or I didn't put it on heavily enough because the dye soaked right through.  I ended up with just a shirt that looks dip-dyed without any design on it.  Next class, I'll check to see how my classmate Linda's wax-painted shirt fared in the indigo pot, then decide whether I just want to overdye the shirt or paint on it with wax, then overdye it.  Feh.  Pictures coming once I consider it "finished".

June 12, 2015

A Good Day to Dye

Getting my indigo on!

Yupp, yesterday I went back to dye class.  I decided that summer was the perfect time to go back so that the kids and I could get a break from each other every week, and it would get me out of the house.

The ladies welcomed me back with open arms, which made me feel great.  As we were talking about my hiatus, one of them referred to the class as "[her] therapy", and I think that's a pretty good way for me to think about it.

  • A whole semester of four-hour classes costs less than the average price of a therapy session.
  • Buying extra supplies (plus the $25 supply fee) doesn't equal the cost of a second therapy session.
  • It gets me out of the house.
  • I make friends.
  • It lets me play with another way to be creative and gives me something new to learn.
  • I end up with many Christmas/birthday gifts for folks by the end of the session.
Indeed, it's worth every penny invested.

My "parfait dyeing" results
OK, per the Knitmores' "Three Bites Rule", I have now reached a verdict:  I really don't like the results of parfait dyeing.  The next time the teacher says we're going to do it, I will politely bow out.  The only one of these I'm even sort of pleased with is the red one.

As you can see, the indigo pot was kinder to me than the parfait bucket was.

These two smaller skeins will probably be part of a gift
for my friend's daughter, who recently took up knitting.

I attempted a white-grey-black gradient that ended up more dark black-slightly lighter black.  The purple skeins were dyed in longwood.

I also dyed a sock blank in the longwood, but was displeased with the resulting color, so I plopped it in a citric acid bath, which gave a weird, muddy brown with a couple of spots of purple.  No worries, though; next week, I'll put some stripes/splotches of another color or two, and I'll show it to you when it's "done".

June 2, 2015

Scattered Thoughts

Current favorite song:  "Honey, I'm Good" by Andy Grammer.  Why?  It's peppy, happy, and I just love that it's all about celebrating fidelity in a relationship.  You don't get too many songs like that these days!  If the music video doesn't make you smile, you've got a hard heart, LOL.

Knitting:  I'm chugging away on a couple of different designs (one is thiiiiiiiis close to being released).  Since I can't show you those, I'll show you some recent baby hats instead.  The two matching ones were gifts for a family member having twins;  the other two are for a charity donation.

Choir:  I tell ya, my kids are SO much more talented than I am.  Thing Two got to be in the church choir for our annual big service at Shoreline Amphitheatre (service and entertainment followed by picnicking, bounce houses, face painting, etc.).  Being on the petite side, she got to be in the front row (being shortie like her mom has its privileges!).  Watching the video, she's on the far left with her hair in braids.


Busy Summer:  If you've been following me for a while, you know that our summers tend to consist of a whole lot of lying around doing nothing, punctuated by small bursts of activity.  Not so this year.  Thing One has summer school Monday through Thursday 8:15 to 1:00 and Monday and Wednesday 6:30pm to 9:45pm.  Thing Two will be volunteering at the local library.  Both kids will be going to church camp (though T1 will have to miss the first day b/c of summer school).  Since this will be the only year that the girls will be at camp at the same time, Hubby's taking a couple of days off so we can enjoy a kid-free "staycation" while they're gone.  Thing Two chose to sign up for an intensive study program through church that will involve at least three meetings a week in addition to church on Sunday and the teen devotionals on Saturdays.  We will be going on our usual camping trip in July, bringing two of Thing Two's pals along with us.  Since Thing One won't be able to miss summer school for it, her "big sister" Clairese (a twentysomething friend of ours from church) will come stay with her and Jenna for the week.  T1 is looking forward to being immersed in Clairese's wedding plans during that time.  (And I think she has the crazy idea that Clairese will give her a lift to school every morning.  A kid can dream.) With my editorial gig, I expect to have flurries of intense activity followed by stretches of waiting for other people to do stuff (In light of this, I found the theme of last Sunday's service, "Rewrite" amusing.  Hubby asked if I was going to "rewrite", and I answered, "Of course I am; I'm an editor!").  Oh, and I'm heading back to dye class starting this Thursday.  Whew!

Miscellaneous:  Also, we recently got a new (vs. new-to-us) chest freezer for the garage.  Hubby is looking forward to filling it with all manner of meats for him to cook (and meats he's already cooked).  His most recent acquisition was two giant beef briskets. One is frozen now, and the other is broken into three pieces:  one smoked last night; one cooking in the sous vide as I type;  one brining for corned beef.  With his renewed love of cooking, our menu during camping is going to be ever so much more than just hot dogs and sandwiches, LOL.  In true Whovian style, it's bigger on the inside:

Jenna:  Long story, but keep our "puppy" in your thoughts/prayers.  She has to be put under on Thursday to get some issues checked out, and there are concerns.  We're very sad about some of the possibilities.

May 29, 2015


As of yesterday afternoon, our family now has TWO high-schoolers.  HOW did that happen?!

OOPS!  They lost her certificate!

With Nicole and Sam

With her favorite teachers, Mr. Vina and Miss Wong

Dinner at Elephant Bar to celebrate

May 25, 2015