Monday, September 22, 2008

Shop Hop, Day Four

Dateline: Emerald Hills, 9/22/08

Yesterday I completed the shop hop by joining Jocelyn and her group (her daughter Kelsey, Cris, Sylvia, and Carol) to visit my three remaining stores. The rest of the group was going on to three more stores, but Jim and I were going to a barbecue with his SLAC colleagues to celebrate the end of the Babar project in the afternoon, so I went with the group only to the three northernmost stores.

I had a lot of fun doing the shop hop, but I have to admit that I'm glad it's over. I'm really happy to be back to my quiet routine. I've done very little knitting and no beading in several days, and I want to get back to them. After all, if I don't use at least some of the the yarn and beads I've been buying, how can I justify buying more?

9:45 -- leave home

10:00 -- Edgewood park and ride at 280 and Edgewood

Jocelyn picked me up and we headed to Burlingame.

10:30 -- Burlingame

I'd like to take a class at Yarn Paper Scissors sometime, because they have nice, brightly furnished classrooms with a lot of light. I fell in love with a scarf from Ocean Breezes, a book that I already have. Jocelyn gave me a coupon that she had forgotten to use on her own purchases; in exchange, I bought her coffee at Peet's.

Bought: 3 skeins of Laines du Nord Mulberry Silk.

11:15 -- San Mateo

All of us liked Nine Rubies' one-skein project, a beaded purse in both knit and crochet. The pattern came with a 10% discount at The Beading Frenzy.

Bought: 3 skeins of Filatura di Crosa Dolce Amore.

12:00 -- Belmont

At Creative Hands, I received my last stamp and turned in my passport. I hope I win a prize, but since I have lousy prize-winning luck, I doubt that I will. We ate lunch at a good Mexican restaurant a block away.

Bought: One skein of Kraemer Sterling silk and silver (the sparkles are actual silver)

1:15 -- back to Edgewood

Jocelyn dropped me off. I was surprised to see a Tesla parked next to my car. Was it George Clooney's car?

1:30 -- back home. 19 down, 0 to go.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shop Hop, Day Three

Dateline: Emerald Hills, 9/20/08

This shop hopping is exhausting! After yesterday I wasn't sure I ever wanted to see another yarn store. I'm glad I didn't fall asleep during the concert (which was very good). Still, I carried on today. I've set my goal and I plan to reach it. My rate of buying is going down, though, which is a good thing.

9:20 -- leave home

9:40 -- Menlo Park

Cafe Borrone for our usual Saturday breakfast. We take separate cars so that I can start hopping from there.

11:30 -- Los Gatos

A short visit to Natural Expressions, a bead/quilting store that I had never been in before. Then to Yarndogs, which has its own quiz/scavenger hunt for a prize drawing. I spent some time looking for edible yarns and for sock yarns that contain no wool.

12:45 -- Campbell

At Green Planet, I saw a swirl sweater for which they're having a crochet-along, and decided I wanted to participate, even though I have to miss the first 2 sessions. They assured me that I could catch up.

Bought: 2 skeins Mirasol Hacho, 2 Big Eye Beading Needles (I had been looking for these all along and Green Planet was the first shop that had them).

1:25 -- San Jose

This was only my second time in the Knitting Room. The people were nice and helpful. I really liked CommuKnity's one-skein project, a beaded scarf in Frog Tree Alpaca.

Bought: 1 skein Lamb's Pride variegated worsted, 2 small clear plastic project bags (I have so many wip's I don't know where to put them all), 1 skein Frog Tree Alpaca, 3 tubes of size 6 beads, 1 pattern.

3:00 -- Redwood City

I stopped Art on the Square, where a friend from the bead guild was selling her jewelry. I've never seen so much activity in Redwood City! Salsa tasting, dancing in the square, lots of people.

4:10 -- back home, time for a nap! 16 down, 3 to go.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shop Hop, Day Two

Dateline: Emerald Hills, 9/19/08

Today was a more relaxing day; fewer stores, shorter distances. It's a short shopping day for me, because tonight Jim and I are going to San Francisco for dinner and a San Francisco Symphony concert. They're playing music by Leonard Bernstein to commemorate what would have been his 90th birthday.

10:00 -- leave home

10:20 -- Los Altos

It's good to have two stores within walking distance of each other, Full Thread Ahead and Uncommon Threads. I already knew I wanted to do Full Thread's shawl project because I got a preview of it on Ravelry. In fact, I went for both of their projects, the shawl and the market bag.

Bought: One skein Marinella sea cell/silk for shawl; one skein Louet Euroflax for bag. Two books (Nashua Vacation and Rowan Colourscapes Chunky Collection). Birthday present for Jim; will not be revealed here but it's NOT YARN.

12:00 -- Mountain View

Stop for lunch at Erik's Deli and to buy some cat food.

1:00 -- Sunnyvale

At Purlescence, saw one of Alison's shawls on display and was hoping it was the one-skein project, but it's from her second book, in progress, so the pattern is not yet available. I did buy a skein of the yarn that was used for it.

Bought: One skein Casbah, Dandelion colorway; set of plastic kumihimo disks (I've been using the styrofoam ones but these look much better).

1:45 -- Santa Clara

The Yarn Place's new location is very nice. After visiting there I was already tired, but Bobbin's Nest was only .7 miles away (according to my gps) so how could I not go there?

Bought: One cone Kraemer Yarns Little Lehigh Pebbles in bright pink at 50% off; 2 patterns; one ball of Cable Due cotton (for bead crochet or kumihimo).

3:00 -- back home. 12 down, 7 to go.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Peninsula to Pier LYS Shop Hop, Day One

Dateline: Emerald Hills, 9/18/08

The second annual Peninsula to Pier LYS (local yarn store) Shop Hop started today and runs until Sunday. 19 shops are participating. Each shop has a one-skein project (some have both knit and crochet projects), pattern free with purchase of yarn. As you visit each shop you get your passport stamped. There are prize drawings at the end for people who have at least 12 passport stamps.

I missed last year's shop hop and I'm determined to go to all 19 stores this year. Will I end up with 38 skeins of yarn and 38 new projects? I'd better not! So why am I doing this? Certainly I don't need any more yarn or projects. I've been to most of these stores many times. The chances of my winning a prize are slim. And I have some other events planned for this weekend in addition to the shop hop. I guess I'm doing it because it's an accomplishment of sorts, and a break from my normal routine. I'm also determined to blog about each day's adventures. And I'm determined NOT to buy something in every shop.

This is definitely a multi-day endeavor. The geographic spread is from Burlingame, 15 miles north of us, to Carmel, 95 miles south. Today was my long day for shop hopping, because I didn't have anything else scheduled, so I decided to start with the shops farthest away. I thought about staying overnight somewhere, but decided against it because I didn't feel like being away from home again so soon after the Portland trip. Since the shops were all open until 8 tonight, I decided to stay out as late as I could and visit as many shops as I could.

This would be a perfect application for Twitter; I could have Twittered my location and purchases all day. Since I didn't, I'll go through the day's events here.

9:15 -- leave home

10:06 -- Morgan Hill

Perfect timing; arrive at Continental Stitch right after opening. This is the only one of the 19 I've never been to. Morgan Hill is always on the way to somewhere but never a destination. Last year's grand prize winner arrived there ahead of me. The store's crochet project had not yet arrived.

Bought: One skein of Schaeffer Anne, rainbow colors, 30% off.

In front of the store, I run into a friend who didn't know about the Shop Hop; was just passing by in her car and happened to see me. She recommends that I stop at Madonna Needlework, which is not on the hop. Since she's the second person to recommend this store, I decide to go there. There is some knitting yarn, but mostly needlepoint threads, beautifully arranged by color.

Bought: Small hanks of 4 different needlepoint threads to try with the bead crochet project that's giving me so much trouble.

12:25 -- Pacific Grove

Too bad I have so little time in one of my favorite towns in California. Grand Prize Winner is at Monarch Knits, having already been to Carmel and back. I become worried that I'm behind schedule and won't get to all the Santa Cruz shops today.

Bought: 2 skeins of Knitcol self-striping sock yarn (I probably won't do their fingerless glove project, but I liked the yarn); 1 skein of Tango tape yarn (because the Monarch people showed me how to crochet one of those nice ruffled scarves; I never did get the hang of knitting with this type of yarn).

Lunch at Red House Cafe, which has a wonderful warm tomato and mozzarella sandwich. French roast coffee from the drip bar at Juice and Java, for the road. Drove out of town on Oceanview Blvd.

2:40 -- Carmel

Quick stop at Knitting by the Sea, just to get my passport stamped. Fruitless search for a bead store. Carmel has no street addresses, so all I knew was the intersection. I wandered around for a while, then asked in another store and found out bead store was out of business. Referred to a different store, which turned out to have jewelry but no beads.

Bought: One pound of Carmel Foglifter French roast coffee beans, at Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Co.

4:45 -- Capitola

Another quick stop for passport stamp at The Yarn Place. Then off into the Santa Cruz rush hour. Luckily my car radio can now get KPIG, a station I like which is available only in the Monterey/Santa Cruz area.

5:30 -- Santa Cruz

Had a little trouble finding the Golden Fleece's new location. New store looks smaller to me than old one.

Bought: One skein of Kauni (I can't resist the stuff!) in yellow/orange/red.

Coffee/dessert at Java Junction, a Reese's peanut butter cup mocha. Then on to the Swift Stitch.

Bought: 3 skeins of Plymouth Fantasy Naturale from the "2 buck bucket"; one skein Chasing Rainbows mohair/wool (although I won't do the beret project); one pattern.

6:50 -- Felton

Luminous Threads is my last stop for the day. (I considered also going to Purlescence, which was open until 9, but will save it for another day.) Their project is a knitted bracelet with cables, which I might not do, but I bought the yarn and got the pattern anyway. I reminisced with Amber, the owner, about that terrible stormy day in January when she helped all of us who were trying to get to the Quaker Center for our retreat. Hoping for better weather next January.

Bought: One skein Cascade Greenland; 4 glass buttons.

8:20 -- back home. 7 down, 12 to go.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back to Portland

Dateline: Portland, OR, 9/14/08

After many years without visiting Portland, I am here for the second time this year. This time I'm attending the Knit and Crochet Show, an event held jointly by the national knitting and crochet guilds. I flew this time, not being up for another 1500-mile round-trip drive. The weather is a lot better than when I was here in March. No snow this time; in fact, it's warmer here than it is at home.

I'm practicing traveling light for my trip to Italy next month, when I'll be taking several train trips. I did pretty well on clothing, but of course I brought more yarn and more projects than I could possibly work on in 4 days. Still, I had no problem taking the light rail from the airport to a stop just a half block from the hotel. I continue to be impressed with Portland's public transportation.

Knit and Crochet is a much smaller conference than Stitches. This has good and bad points. The market is a lot less crowded, but there are a lot fewer vendors. There are fewer classes to choose from, but still a good variety, and a lot more crochet classes than at Stitches. This time I took exclusively crochet classes. I don't crochet as much as I knit, but I really enjoy crochet, and I'd like to learn more about it. (The market included a booth for the Crochet Liberation Front, a group that defends crochet against the too-common bias against it among knitters.)

Both of my Friday classes were with Darla Fanton. I've taken classes with Darla before; she's an excellent teacher, and she teaches unusual techniques like Tunisian crochet. These two classes were in bead crochet. I had a really hard time with the first class, which was crocheting a bracelet with very fine thread and a tiny hook. After several bad starts, I gave up and decided I should try it with heavier thread first. I did a lot better in the afternoon class, where we crocheted a necklace with wire (pictured at the top).

Yesterday I took a shawl crochet class with Melissa Leapman, a New Yorker who is the author of several knit and crochet books. We made 3 miniature shawls in class, and I really enjoyed the two triangular samples. The one on top has a picot edge and the other a ruffled edge. Since most of my crochet work so far has been limited to scarves, I was happy to learn how to do increases.

This morning's class was in broomstick lace with Jennifer Hansen, the owner of Stitch Diva Studios, who also specializes in unusual techniques. I couldn't imagine what kind of technique would use a huge knitting needle (size US 19) along with a small crochet hook, but I soon found out. You make big loops and put them on the knitting needle, then crochet into groupings of the loops. The class project, which I haven't yet finished, was a small Victorian drawstring pouch. Jennifer managed to include all sorts of techniques in the project: increases, decreases, short rows, and working in the round. I think this technique would make a beautiful scarf.

Of course I was tired for my Sunday afternoon class, but I still enjoyed Going Around in Circles with Marty Miller. We crocheted several sample circles, learning how to increase (if starting from the inside) or decrease (from the outside), add a ruffle, etc. The sample at the upper left is the beginning of a short row circle.

I was pretty restrained at the market, buying only a little bit of yarn, a book and a few patterns. I think I've finally caught on to the fact that I have an excessive stash, and spending a lot of time beading has decreased my desire to buy yarn. I'm also saving up some yarn buying "credits" for next week's Peninsula LYS Shop Hop.

I didn't have much time to be a tourist in Portland, but I did go to the Saturday Market yesterday. This Portland institution goes back almost 35 years. My first trip here was in 1975, when Jim and I came here to visit his brother Tom and sister-in-law Suzy, who lived here then. On Saturday morning they chopped a bunch of ingredients and came to the Saturday Market, where they operated a taco stand. (This was in addition to their day jobs.) Now the food stands seem a lot more commercialized, and the market is a lot bigger than I remembered.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Who is this Woman?

Dateline: Emerald Hills, 9/9/08

I don't mean to turn this into a political blog, but I need to talk about someone who's been on my mind a lot for the last week and a half: the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Who is this woman to whom I've reacted with such strong and contradictory emotions? I dislike her even more than I do the current president and vice president. But I'm also fascinated by her and reluctantly admire her. I read everything I can find about her. I mentally recite the odd names of her 5 children. She is the Princess Diana of American politics, and I was fascinated by Diana too.

How can her story have caused me to think like a sexist? I question whether a mother of 5, including an infant with Down's syndrome, should want a job like the vice presidency. I know better than to ask questions like that. I imagine the conversations in which she persuaded her 17-year-old daughter to keep her baby, and the daughter's boyfriend to agree to be married and to travel to St. Paul. She's a "family values" person, but is she exploiting her family for her own political ambition?

How can an acceptance speech charm me and anger me at the same time? Charmed because of her obvious intelligence (even though someone else wrote the speech) and performing ability. Angered by her sarcasm about community organizing, and by the venom in her voice when she said "San Francisco". Contemptuous of the way she pronounces "Eye-raq".

When her selection was announced, I was overjoyed. He chose an unknown governor from a faraway state? He thinks he can attract Hillary's supporters just by choosing a woman? This will cost him the election! And I can't wait to watch her debate Joe Biden. But now the selection looks like a brilliant move. It looks as if they can win, and I'm terrified. In 4 years she could be president of the United States. She could complete this country's transition to theocracy.

Who is this woman? Let's hope that we don't have to find out more than we already know. Let's hope that after November 4 she goes back to just being the governor of a faraway state, even though she'll no longer be so unknown.