Portland


Ahem.

It’s been a crazy couple of months, obviously – not bad crazy but just trying to get used to a new lifestyle.  CoffeeBoy is back home for good, which is wonderful, and we’re still trying to find a happy medium of living together again after living apart for a year & half.  Work in progress, 2 steps forward, 1 step back most weeks.

I don’t mean to ignore this blog – I love blogging but mainly I only have the energy to blog my crafty projects on my work blog and more personal stuff/photos goes on facebook. So sadly this gets neglected.

I have been knitting/crocheting a lot, of course – not as much as when I lived in MA though, which is funny considering my job.  That long train commute really gave me the knitting time! But here’s some photos of what I’ve done recently:

Stacey'sSasquatch

Rolf, the Sasquatch

Beer Mitts!
Beer Pint Mitts

my model
Berruti for CoffeeBoy

Mittens
Inuvik mittens – yep that’s crochet

Not shown – a heck of a lot of stuff, including my Greenfield Cardigan which I wear all the time but never seem to be able to get pictures of.

Other stuff going on the past couple of months:

Spent a lovely weekend in Seattle:
IMG_5704

Got all dressed up for our wonderful friends’ wedding:
wedding photo

And had a Twin Peaks Halloween:
twin peaks halloween
Yes, I was the Log Lady. Funny thing about that, we came up with the idea one week before Halloween – and CB hadn’t really seen it, while several of us are fanatical.  It was a great time and plans are in place for Twin Peaks version 2.0.

Not shown is the cooking I’ve been doing (not great pictures), which has been really nice to actually cook for someone other than me!  Also not shown (with good reason) is the fact that I’ve started an intense (for me) Boot Camp for the next 6 weeks.  I’ve been doing pretty good with my weight loss – since I first got weighed at the beginning of August, I’ve lost about 20lbs – and probably more since I actually started working out in June.  It’s a great feeling.  I have about 15 more pounds to my New Years Eve goal, then another 20 to be back to my weight 4 & half years ago when I was at my slimmest.  I have a lot of support from my friends, and I’m having a great time.

Now I’m off to work on Christmas gifts – probably not as many handmade ones as usual – my grandmother asked for a sweater so of course I’m going to do that.  But I honestly hate working on it, so I’ve been working on smaller projects that I can’t post here.  But I’m determined to finish the sweater at least.

So that’s my life in a nutshell.  I do read everyone’s blog, even though I don’t comment very often so I’m still around that way 🙂  Hope you all have been having a great fall!

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You know as a knitter, I consider myself so lucky to live in the PNW that would be the (Pacific Northwest for those not familiar with that term).  We have great yarnies & festivals here and the knitters/crocheters/spinners/weavers to support them.  We were playing around with Google Analytics the other day at work & the term knitting is searched by people in Portland more than anywhere else. (Seattle was number 2). Casey at Ravelry said something similar a few weeks ago on twitter as well.  It just makes me so happy.

Not only that, we have fantastic designers as well!  I realized both major projects I finished in the past week were by designers here in the Portland/Vancouver metro area (and, actually, now that I think about it, another project I started & finished in the past couple of weeks – Bunny Nuggets – is by Rebecca Danger, who lives up near Seattle.)

First, a purchase from Sock Summit that I finally finished.

Rita Prairie House Shawl

Started: February 6

Completed: April 11

Yarn: Lotus Yarns Chakra in Pinup colorway Rita

Pattern: Prairie House Shawl by Star Athena

Needles: size 4 Harmony

Notes: I actually started this with a different Lotus Yarn quite awhile ago but I didn’t like how it was looking.  Since I fell in love with this yarn while helping out Melanie at Sock Summit, it made sense to work it up in Star’s pattern that I got there.

This pattern was wonderful, though I had to fudge the last couple of inches because I ran short – in fact when I finished I had about yard left.  Whew!  Luckily, it’s not noticeable since I will pretty much wear as a scarf anyway.

And in my last post I said I was giving myself a goal of finishing a sweater in 2 weeks. Well, that didn’t really happen, but I did finish it in a little over 3 weeks & finished it just in time for our Knit Picks event (more on that in a later post)

My Vest

Started: March 13

Completed: April 4

Yarn: City Tweed DK in Lemon Curd

Pattern: Adagio Tunic Vest by Suzanne Frary

Needles: Size 4,5,6 Harmony

Notes: Who knew that I would love a yellow vest.

But I do.

It took me awhile to pick the color actually – I love City Tweed & really wanted to try the DK weight.  Finally I settled on Lemon Curd & I’m glad I did.

When Suzanne posted this on her blog, I was in love.  Cables!  In the round! So I decided to actually make my first vest.  I still don’t think vests are all that flattering on me, but oh well. It’s comfy & good for our crazy weather at the moment.

Another thing that’s new for me – a cowl neck.  I hate turtlenecks on me (plus I don’t like things tight on my neck) but a cowl…hmm, I figured I’d try it.  And yep, love it.

I’ll be wearing this a lot.

So I was going to write about the Knit Picks event that I coordinated but this is a bit long for a post already.  I have a post here on my other blog but I’ll put up a more detailed post here in a couple of days.

Oregon Flock & Fiber was last weekend, the 4th (and last I believe) of the fiber/knitting/yarn festivals I’ve been to this year.  I almost didn’t go. Saturday was an exhausting day for me – working 6am-3pm then heading to the outdoor Pearl Jam show. It was great show, but I got very cold & sick of the drunk & stoned assholes that seemed to be surrounding me where ever I went – I was stone cold sober, much to my annoyance, which made it worse.  I’ve loved Pearl Jam for a very long time – even before Ten came out – but after this show & the one in MA I saw last year, I’m realizing I hate their fan base.   Anyway, we didn’t get home until about 1am so it was a very long day.  But when I got up on Sunday, it was a gorgeous cool crisp fall day & something out there was calling to me.

Alpacas!  I love alpacas & I missed them at Black Sheep Gathering.

They are just so cute.  I want one!  But, uh, that’s not in the cards at the moment.

And there were Angora bunnies there too!  I actually hadn’t been to a fiber festival that had them so that was a treat.  I wanted to hold them, but felt bad because I wasn’t actually going to buy one.  Still, they were so cute.

And of course, I had to hit Blue Moon.  I’m realizing, especially with my current sock project (1 down!), I could knit socks only with STR & be perfectly happy. Of course, there are a few exceptions – Lotus Yarn most notably and of course the company I work for!   I behaved – I mean, I am very lucky to live close by a yarn store that sells it anyway and it’s not like I didn’t already buy a lot this year at BSG & Sock Summit.  But the sale & mill ends were too much to pass up.

The lighter one is a mediumweight mill end – I haven’t done any research on the colorway but it really called to me.  The other two are heavyweight in Jubilation – I think this is going to be scarf/shawl for me – I’m even thinking a Clapotis since I wear my other one so much.  But I will probably wait until after Christmas to start it

And believe it or not, that’s all I bought at OFF.  My allergies were kicking in so I didn’t stay very long (note: going to a fiber festival when you are already feeling crappy from allergies is not a good idea).  But it wasn’t the only yarn I got this week.  Check this out:

Yes, you are reading that tag correctly.  Mink & cashmere!  And yes, it is a soft as you would think it would be.  This is all very animal friendly – you can read about it on the Great Northern Yarns website – so I won’t be getting red paint thrown on me.  And the price was great – a member of the Ravelry group Yarnthropology – my fave group I always read but never post in – had listed it as her current favorite yarn & I figured it would be a similar price to say, quivet (ie expensive as hell).  But nope, this 100 gram DK weight skein was $19.90 – the same as most good sock yarns.  I had to try it out. And it’s going to be a lovely cowl for myself – I can’t wait to wrap it around my neck.

And you know what I’m most excited about?  It’s finally fall in the Northwest!  Time for baking & wearing wooly items.  Of course, I’ll be sick of it in a couple of months, I’m sure, but right now I’m so happy to not be sweating to death. 🙂

So it’s not my intention to turn this into a food blog – I’ll leave that to my pal nopogal (check out this post about the barbecue we had here) and to Mariannika – both of who were definite inspirations for a healthy and yummy eating lifestyle.  And food has become my current obsession so I thought I’d share a bit.

Food has always been an interest of mine – I love to cook (well, mostly bake) and I definitely love to eat.  Lately though, it has caught up to me in weight gain & just generally unhealthiness.  So I picked up Mark Bittman’s Food Matters and it really struck a chord with me.  It really just came at the right time – I also loved Michael Pollan books but I don’t think I was in the right mindset to dive into that eating lifestyle – strange I know.  It also helps that Bittman has some great recipes included in his book.  It’s really become my go to cookbook.

I’ve started his food suggestions this week – “almost vegan” before 6, then anything goes.  Really, it has been fairly easy for me at the moment.

For one thing, moving back to Portland at this time of year is a huge help.  This city is fresh/organic/local produce king -withing walking distance or a short drive of my home is a Trader Joe’s, a wonderful tiny family run market, a food co-op, and New Seasons – for those outside of Portland, it’s what Whole Foods really wants to be.  There is also a Whole Foods not far away, but I don’t really have any need to go there – everything else is closer, more local, and better prices.  But my favourite is the multiple Farmers Markets held all over the city on a daily basis.  I usually only go to the Hollywood District one every Saturday morning & it is such a delight to the senses.  Not only do they carry local produce, but also local meats, cheeses, breads and other fun things. It’s getting busier every week – today is a coolish grey day but it was packed – we PDXers love our food.  Check out an example of my haul today.

strawberries(my fave), garlic, green onions, green peppers, zuccini, tomatoes, and a cucumber. As well as my favourite market bag - funny enough, made in Lowell MA

So really – it’s easy for me to follow Bittman’s suggestions with such easy access to wonderful produce.  After the summer & fall, it may not be as easy (or more likely, more expensive.)

Also making it a bit easier now than before is living alone.  While I miss CoffeeBoy more than I can say (not to be all melodramatic, but really is like a physical pain being so separated), I can choose to cook & eat whatever I want without having to think about someone else.  I eat lots more fruit & veggies (again, easy access is helpful – while I was in Lowell I had to rely on CB for transportation for the most part) than I did before and I’m enjoying it.  I still eat meat but veggis play a a much bigger role. Check out my dinner last night.

pork, eggplant, bell peppers & asparagus. I actually only ate half of what is here - except for the asparagus - I love asparagus

I’ve also been branching out with beans & whole grains – while in MA, we discovered the delights of couscous & polentta, but I’ve also purchased bulgar, chickpeas (well I’ve always liked them but have never cooked them), and flax seed.  I’ve been making my own bread (using Bittman’s recipe) – this was my first time without a bread machine actually.  I’m pleased with it – most of the breads I’ve tried recently just wasn’t what I wanted – whole wheat with lots of seeds.  So while it’s ugly, it sure is yummy.

So week one of eating like Food Matters has been a success – since Monday morning (or rather, Monday afternoon, after dropping off CB at the airport that morning, I bought a fast food breakfast sandwich.  What can I say, I wasn’t in my right mind) I’ve had almost only food I’ve made myself – other than “whole foods”, the only other items I’ve had has followed the rule of knowing exactly what the ingredients are (and being able to pronounce them!) and avoiding HFCS & other additives.  I think the only things that have fallen into that category has been tortillas and sour cream actually.  I knew limiting meat would not be much of a problem – I normally only eat meat at dinner anyway – but I though dairy (especially cheese) would be a bigger issue.  Honestly, not really – I mean, it’s not like I completely cut cheese out, just limiting it during the day.  And I don’t really crave it at all – breakfast is usually coffee with a little soy milk and toast or Bittman’s recipe for Breakfast Couscous.  Lunch I’ve been making homemade chips (also from Bittman – told you it’s my go-to book) and eating those and carrots with hummus.  Usually I then have some berries – I could eat fresh strawberries, blueberries & raspberries all day long.  Dinner is something like the photo above and I’ve also made stuffed veggies and spicey turkey burritos this week.   Maybe for desert  more berries & cream and a small piece of dark chocolate.  So I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself at all.

Of course, the big thing about this is actually losing weight – which means both eating right and getting myself to the gym.  I’ve been slacking lately but still trying to stay active – working in they yard and going for long walks.  I just can’t get motivated for the gym though – I know when I go I feel so much better, it’s just getting there is the problem.   So that will be my next focus – exercise.

The first of many yarny events in Oregon this summer started this week – the Knit & Crochet Show Spring 2009 Show!  To be honest, it was the one I was least interested in – I’m way more excited for Black Sheep Gathering and, of course, Sock Summit.  But I thought, what the hell, it’s a yarny event & I really should go check it out, even if I wasn’t going to take any classes.  Bit of a mistake as it turned out, for my wallet at least.

No I didn’t buy the bag at the show – it’s from the Ravelry Store of course.  But I took it along to carry any purchases I may make, though I honestly thought I wouldn’t buy much.  I mean, I’m planning on some big sock yarn purchases at the other shows this summer!  

Everything I purchased fit right in the bag.  Good sign, right?

Um, no.  Those bags hold A LOT.  Sigh.  So my haul:

  • Comic book & Alex’s Eyes Pattern from Handknit Heroes.  An knitting comic book!  How fun is that?  Plus I had to buy the mask kit – I have a nephew with a birthay coming up who will love it.  The comic book, however, is for me.
  • (2) Alpaca toys (one for mom from (I think) Spinner’s Candy.  I’m really terrible for not getting a card  The sheep & alpaca toys were just so cute!
  • Shawl Pin from Pam Sanders Art, purchased at Imagine If Woodworks.  I really loved the buttons too, I could have happily spent all my money there.
  • Passport Pouch pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works, where I was recognized from my blog! Bit of a shock really, but I was thrilled, although I may not have come off that way. (Hi Donna!  Sorry I was so shy! I came back to talk to you again & purchase this pattern but you had left for the day).  Right below that in the picture is the yarn I purchased for it – I think it was the same as the one used in the sample at the show.

  • Silk Sport (100% silk!) in Midnight Rose from Lavendersheep.  This might go to my mom as well, but I really like it for myself…hmmm, decisions…

Oh and then there’s the Sock Yarn…I don’t need more sock yarn.  I don’t want more sock yarn – my sock yarn stash is out of control!  And yet, I purchase sock yarn.  Sigh.  I did limit it to semi solid in fibers other than just superwash wool, since I do have so much of it.

  • This was my first purchase…oh golly.  It’s Cashmara from flydesigns, and yes it has cashmere in it.  Merino, cashmere and nylon to be precise, DK weight and it is as divine as it sounds.  I wish I could capture the colour better – it’s Ruby and and a semi solid so there is some nice variations.  This is going to be a pair of cushy socks for me.

  • I decided if I was going to buy more sock yarn, I wanted more bamboo/merino blends – I always seem to grab those socks first & I really enjoy working with it.  And I wanted orange – apparently the whole I need yellow yarn mood I was in has carried over to orange – another color I own absolutely nothing of.  I looked at a couple of places & ended up going with this lovely Pagewood Farm sock yarn because it was more semi solid (yes it is orange, I know it looks more pink in this shot, but the color is pretty accurate in the picture up top.)  When talking to the nice gentleman at the Diva booth, I discovered that this yarn was 30% off, so the green Grasshopper one fell into my bag as well.

So, geez, if that was my haul from the first event, I shudder to think what’s going to jump in my hands at the others (especially Sock Summit…and don’t forget the Blue Moon Socks that Rock mill ends at BSG.).  I think I start feeling bad not buying from all these small businesses the longer I stay at an event – I want to support everyone!  But I’m going to have to curb that I think.

I didn’t take many photos at the show, but I’ll leave you with a few.  I’m going to go fondle my Cashmara some more.

FlyDesigns booth...I wanted it all!

 

spinning fiber, although Im not a spinner.

spinning fiber, although I'm not a spinner, it was just so pretty.

From the fashion show, modeling the Handknit Heroes knits from the comic book.

From the fashion show, modeling the Handknit Heroes knits from the comic book.

 

buds on our front yard treen
buds on our front yard tree

Yes, Mina and I made it just fine back to Portland!  I was a little worried about my poor 14 year old kitty on the plane but she was fantastic – I mean, she was scared but was quiet the entire 6 hour plane ride & seemed to be happy to be back in the house.  As was I – I love the house here and especially the yard.  It feels so empty though – not because the movers have all the boxes & furniture still but because I just miss CoffeeBoy so much.  I feel half my heart is still back in MA.  I know it’ll get easier at some point and this is the best in the long term, but it sucks right now.

But I’m happy to be back in Portland!  And I sure picked a great time to move back, at least in regards to yarn/knitting events.  First is the 2009 Spring Knit & Crochet Show in May, then Black Sheep Gathering in June, and, best of all, Sock Summit!  I’m so excited about the sock summit, not just because I’m a crazy sock knitter and there is a lot of awesome teachers there  – but because I’m going to get to meet a lot of people I’ve been wanting to meet for a long time.  I have one confirmed houseguest (and one of my favourite indie dyers to boot!) and a couple of possible guests & I couldn’t be more thrilled! I haven’t decided what classes to take – I’ve never taken a knitting class before, I’m a completely self taught knitter.  I’m thinking about the Argle Socks maybe – it’s something I’ve never made before.  But I’m just excited to go.

Speaking of socks…yes, I finished another pair.

 

so nice to take pictures in my backyard again
so nice to take pictures in my backyard again

The Moving Socks

Started: March 25

Finished: April 3

YarnKimiK BFL Superwash Sock Yarn

Pattern: Thuja, but with a short row heel

Needles: Size 1.5US circ

Notes:  I’m well on my way of my goal of 2 pairs of socks a month and knitting from the sock yarn stash.  These are the 6th pair completed this year and this lovely yarn has been in my stash for quite awhile.  

This was my first experience with Bluefaced Leicester – oo, is it soft & lovely.  I’m not sure how durable these will be – I probably should have added some nylon to them – but they are going to be lovely while they last.

nummy nummy softness

Not to much to add to the pattern – I’ve used this pattern several time, it’s one of my mindless knits.  I did a 7 inch cuff, short row heel  & just a regular toe – as simple as it gets.  Once again, it’s magic loop – I’m addicted!  I even broke down & placed an order with knitpicks to get more needles- always dangerous to order from KP.

I’m starting a couple of new projects which I’ll write about in a couple of days.  I’m currently at my mom’s – visiting with the family, shopping at thrift stores for house stuff (we got rid of a lot of furniture to keep moving costs down so I’m on the hunt for replacement), and playing a lot of Guitar Hero with my sister & BIL.  I nearly lost my voice last night because I was the GH singer, as my sis is obsessed with the drums & BIL only does guitar.  But it was lots of fun – though I butchered so many songs – my apologies to Debbie Harry, Michael Stipe, and Kurt Cobain.  I’ll be here until Monday, then it’s time to fix up the house!

 

 

 

Yep, home from Oregon. I had a wonderful time – I miss Portland so very much. I know we will be back there at some point but it’s hard sometimes – I love my house there, I miss my family & friends and just the general Oregon-ness. Not that I hate MA at all – I really love parts of it – but Portland is my true home. It took moving across the country to realize that I think. Unfortunatly the one down part of my trip was the fact I’m allergic to the state – I could not stop sneezing & I think it’s turned into a cold. Joy!

I should be doing some work from home, but I’m trying to catch up with emails and blog reading (you know, really important stuff). And I want to share all my vacation & yarny adventures with you all – sorry for the long post but you can scroll through to see the pretty pictures 🙂

First, I spent about half my vacation with my family about 2 hours south of Portland. It was very relaxing, even if the 4 kids and 6 dogs was a little much by the end of the visit. I love them so much though.

My family watching their fireworks. I think this was a particularly noisy one, which explains all the ear covering going on.

I got to visit Ben Franklin, which, while it might look like a regular craft store, has an amazing selection of yarns – Cascade, Noro, Debbie Bliss, all the big names. I only purchased some sock yarn I hadn’t tried yet (shocking I know) and Lion Brand to boot.

It’s their new sock yarn, Sock Ease in Rock Candy, and it does seem really nice. I haven’t been a fan of most Lion Brand yarns, but I did like their sock yarn. This was the first time I’ve seen it.

While I was visiting, my mom decided she does not like knitting socks. Which is fine, it’s not for everyone of course. The thing is, at Black Sheep Gathering last year, she bought 3 skeins of STR. Guess who was the lucky recipient of her yarn? 🙂

They are mill ends, The one the right I know is Pink Granite, but I’m unsure of the other name.

She had started one sock, which I will either finish for her or simply rip it out & start again for her. I don’t know the name of this colour either.

She just asked I make her more socks, which I will gladly do.

The rest of the trip was hanging out with friends – CoffeeBoy & I had a fun karaoke night and 4th of July BBQ with a couple of friends (Hi Carmel!), dinner at an amazing tapas restaurant (Toro Boro) with other friends (Hi Amanda!) and I got to see some of my knitting buddies – I had a fantastic dinner with Rebel, Kate (and lovely husband) and Kellie at Rock Bottom – which was the perfect place because before hand I got to visit my old store to talk to the like 5 people I still know who work there. I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures at dinner – I know I shouldn’t feel weird about taking pictures. We had a nice dinner & chat – it was great to see Rebel & Kate again and finally hang out with Kellie, who I only met really briefly last year.

The next day I went to lunch with the always wonderful Melissa. As an added bonus, she offered to give me a tour of her work place beforehand. How could I resist? Dudes, she works at the same company as Knit Picks!

Wall of KP yarns

Readers will know that I love Knit Picks – I do several orders a year and I almost always have at least one KP project on my KP needles. So getting to see all that yarn in person? Priceless.

New Imagination Yarns

I was already planning on placing an order soon for some of the new yarns and seeing the new colours & yarns in person – the Essential Kettle Dyed yarns are gorgeous! – I have to.

Melissa showing off the kettle dyed Essential

Thank you again Melissa, I had a great time!

After lunch, I headed back to the house but I decided I had to make one more stop before we left Portland.

My home.

I wanted to go when we were in Portland over the Winter holidays, but they were closed the exact time I was in town. I’ve missed it so much. While I do like the other Portland yarn shops well enough, Twisted is my true love. I could not ask for a better yarn shop – they have plenty to satisfy my sock yarn addiction and all my other favourite yarns. It just felt like “my” LYS.  I was even greeted by name – which was a nice surprise as it wasn’t like I spent all that much time in there and I’m not a big chatter (shy), not to mention it had been nearly a year!

So I did some major damage

Vacation Yarn Purchases

Yes, my STR from mom is in there too. I don’t want to make this post even longer, so I won’t post each skeins seperatly, but I’ll link to my Ravelry entry for all the close ups. What I bought: sock yarns: Ashabee Fiber Oasis in Junior Mints, Painted Skeins in Graphite (with bits of silver!) and STR in Lunasea. Non sock yarns: Alpaca with a Twist Highlander (to make another Panta) and Peaches & Creme in Dalmatian to make a little bag.

I think I need to learn to knit faster.

So I should actually get something done – unpack (more than just my yarn), catch up on work, clean up a little. It’s nice to be home, but I think my heart is still in Oregon.

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