Thursday, December 28, 2006


My hands are now better so I finished the second jaywalker. This is such a wonderful pattern; easy to knit, the construction I like for socks, and a good fit. I really think that the chevron effect with the self-striping yarn works well. The yarn is Socks that Rock in Moss Agate and I also really like the wool, it's soft to work with.

My photographer was Adam who recieved a camera for his birthday and is thrilled to photograph my feet for me. I'm standing on an old sea chest I got for my 21st birthday from my then boyfriend. It's covered with a quilt made by Christina a couple of years ago.

I also want to link to another blog, this time of my friend Louise who has recently moved to Senegal. I have known Louise since high school, which is now a horrifying 28 years! Her blog is already full of interesting details about living in West Africa so I'm looking forward to reading more, and to seeing some photographs.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The secret knitting

I can now show some of the secret Christmas knitting. This is a sweater I knitted for Gill. The pattern is the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and it's knitted in Elann 100% alpaca. It was really nice to knit and the fabric is very soft.

Also for Gill are these cashmere socks. The yarn is from PoshYarns, the pattern my generic sock pattern.
There were also socks for Mammie and a cardigan for Christina. However, i seem not to have taken photos of these.
Next post...knitting that I received...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I'm dreaming...

of a sunny Christmas. Here in LG it is sunny at the moment, with rain forecast for later in the week. So it was a change to pass through this on our way back from Tahoe.

Its as close to a white Christmas as we are going to get here. Nigel is off on a bike ride, and I need to go and collect the bird shortly... we are getting ready. Wishing you all a Happy Christmas from all of us here at Ferretworld.

On skiing and being six

On Monday we headed up to the Sierras for a few days skiing at NorthStar. There was not a great deal of snow - but quite a lot of the resort was open and there was enough skiing for us for 3 days. Tuesday was Adam's sixth birthday - he celebrated with a long day skiing.

He is very confident now and we can pretty well ski all over the green and blue runs at Northstar. He skiied from the summit of mt Pluto to the village. We also had birthday presents and cake of course.

Finlay was less keen on the skiing. We did get him out for a few hours each day skiing on the end of our poles. He also skiied a lot of the green and blue runs but does not share Adam's confidence. What he really wants to do is play in the snow.
He discovered that a toboggan goes much faster when Mummy sits on the back! He also wanted to build a snowman, but in the village there was not enough snow so we made something smaller...
It's a snow-ferret - here with my own dear ferret.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Deck the halls with...

Well, actually we don't have any boughs of holly, but we do have this:

If you look closely you can see the angel and snowman chains that they boys made - heavily decorated with glitter glue. Somehow glitter glue just does not have the same appeal as those phials of glitter that we used to have - but probably a lot less messy (and the glitter glue was messy enough for me to begin with).

On Saturday Adam and I went with Emma to see The Nutcracker at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

This was Adam's first experience of ballet which he summed up after the first 10 minutes... "but it's all just dancing".

Having said that he was still and quiet for all of the 2-hour performance. It was a semi-amateur performance, with only the principals being professional. The part of Clara was danced by the daughter of a friend of Julie's so we got to go backstage and meet her afterwards. The standard of the production was high and they had a full orchestra so I really enjoyed the whole performance.

Afterwards we went to Marinelli's in Santa Cruz and had hot chocolate with 'smudge' (fudge) on the side - heavenly - but so filling I could not eat dinner!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Getting the tree

On Sunday we went to Castle Rock Tree Farm on Skyline Blvd to get our tree. It's become a Christmas tradition to go there and the boys love it because there is mud, dogs, and sharp instruments.

As always, we chose what we think is a small-ish tree, then can barely fit it into the living room.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Knitting....and not knitting

Here is my latest knitting effort...

These are for the boys' school teachers for Christmas gifts. This is a different pattern than those I knitted for Jules, this pattern came from my knitting group at the library.
However, this is the last of my knitting for the time being...I went to the doctor on Monday about a pain in my left hand and I am ordered not to knit for a week at least.
My doctor actually said "Knitting is a completely dispensible activity....I, for example, have never knitted" Anyway - until the brace is off I am just thinking about what I'm going to knit next...after the second jaywalker

I'm really impressed with this pattern, its so simple but it really looks good in a self-striping yarn. This is Socks That Rock. The fit of the sock is also really good - the chevron pattern is very elastic.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Christmas me-me

NAME: Ferretworld
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Egg Nog – but only from the hut in Ortesei with the dishy guy.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped of course, they appear magically on Christmas morning. This is a new tradition for us since it stops the boys opening any presents in advance - their own or mine!
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White on the outside - icicles on house, baubles in porch, 2 reindeer on lawn, and lights on tree (did I say classy?). On tree inisde I have moved to coloured lights.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? When I can get it.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Outside lights usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, inside decos around the 10th
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Bread sauce – Im the only one who likes it but I still make a pint all for myself.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Oh so many – the best is probably the sensation of waking on Christmas morning with the heaviness of my filled stocking on my feet.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Probably the time when my father tripped in the bedroom and loudly swore! (Actually I think I long knew by then…otherwise might have been terrified by the cursing Santa!).
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Recently Nigel and I started exchanging our presents on Christmas Eve so that Christmas morning we could concentrate on the children – even so it takes them all day to open their presents as they want to stop and play with each gift as they open it.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? With all the decorations in the lower branches….
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it – but it’s not exactly a feature of Christmas here.
12. Can you ice skate? Nope
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? It would be hard to single out any one thing – my family are really good at present chosing
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Sounds really cheesy but I like to spend the time chosing presents and sending cards to old friends. I also like to get those circular Christmas letters from friends that I don’t otherwise hear from.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I was going to say that there is only one – but then I remembered Trifle too.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Again – all of them. Doing Christmassy things with the boys is just so much fun. Probably my absolute favourite is opening our stockings all together in bed in the morning.
17. What tops your tree? Star that Nigel and I made out of twigs and copper wire our first Christmas in this house when we realized we didn’t have a tree-top decoration.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Definitely, giving (but receiving is nice too :-)
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Deck the Halls probably – don’t hear too many carols these days
20. Candy Canes... Yuck or Yum? Don’t think I’ve ever eaten one…might have to try this year.

A busy weekend

Saturday was the 50th Annual LG Children's Parade. We went downtown to watch the 2-hours of bands, floats, vehicles, and these people...

They are in the parade every year drilling with thier squashes...but I have no idea who they are - or why they are doing it.

The big event of the weekend was Finlay's birthday - he reached the ripe old age of 4 on Sunday.

For his birthday he received roller skates. He insisted on skating all the way into town for his birthday treat which was a carriage ride around town to see all the Christmas lights. It was a lovely clear crisp evening and we had a great driver who took us on an extra detour to see some particularly well decorated houses.

And of course I exploited my talents in cake decorating to make him a cake. (Its a banana cake).

You see why I usually buy the birthday cakes!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ali longstocking

I finished my long socks. These were my first attempt at 2 at once toe-up socks and it was with mixed success. I used Kristen's pattern, which worked really well, but the short-row heels just dont have the same fit as a heel flap. While I did like getting both finished together, and the convenience that I was making up the pattern as I went along, without having to take notes, I didnt much like knitting the pair simultaneously as my wool kept getting tangled.

So, here they are - knee socks. Knit in Lanna Grossa. I made several mistakes in my pattern - that is my extending them to be knee socks. I basically didnt increase enough stitches quickly enough for my calves. They fit OK - but the stitches are a little distorted, especially on the rib. Next pair I'm going back to my usual top-down pattern on dpns.

By the way - the artistic shot of the socks is deliberate - knee socks are not flattering on any but the most skinny-legged of us!

This photo of Finlay was taken on Friday when he decided to make some animal cards. He went to Adam's school and some of the boys had cards with animal photos and facts on them. Finlay had me write the animal names on the cards and then he drew the animals (lion, leopard, tiger, cat) to make his own cards. He then cut them to fit a mint tin so he could carry them around. Remind you of anyone? ("I could make that...")

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving mouse

We spent Thanksgiving at Disneyland this year. We had a great time with the Beamishes. The weather was great, crowds not too bad, and the boys really enjoyed the rides.

Here they are just about to board the paddle steamer.
Their favourite was the "Star Tours" ride, with Pirates coming second. We followed our day with Mickey, with a day at the beach at Ventura. No turkey was consumed at any time...we ate Thanksgiving dinner at Tony Roma's, and the following night ended up at a Greek restaurant complete with belly dancers. Finlay was sitting right on the dancefloor and was transfixed, although to be truthful he was more impressed by the guy dancing with a glass of wine on his head.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ayyrr Matey

The pirate hats are finished. These are for the boy's Christmas stockings so need to be modeled by the bears.

They are knitted from Knitpicks Swish which is the superwash worsted and the skull and crossbones are duplicate stitched.

This is the formal end of the Christmas am relaxing with some socks. I've never knitted socks from the toe up, nor have I done a pair simultaneously. So, here they are: 2 at once, toe up socks. I'm using Kristen's pattern so am experimenting.

I wanted to knit these toe up so I can make them as long as possible. I plan to knit until I run out of wool.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Finally - a completed knitted garment

I have finished the green cardigan. Not sure about the fit as the intended recipient is most likely in Nancy's bedroom, but love the colour and style.

It is of course for Barbie. The pattern is from Nicky Epstein's Barbie patterns book. The yarn some nameless wool I got at Stitches last year. It was fun to knit, but took a surprisingly long time to make. The finishing alone took an hour...!

Anyway - in other knitting news I have finished my secret expect more knitting content soon. Im currently working on a pair of pirate hats for the boys, but have had an interim request for sweater and trousers for Lamby. This presents a challenge as Lamby is a finger puppet. I might settle for miniature pirate hats for Lamby and Bunny.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sea life continued

Today was Veteran's day and Adam had the day off school. We took the bikes to Wilder Ranch State Park. It's a lovely park with some great trails - we took the Landing Cove trail, then the Ohlone Cove trail both of which skirt the coast.

There are loads of terrific sea vistas (some with precipitous cliff edges which made me nervous as Adam would race off ahead). We saw lots of seals, as well as pelicans by the dozen.

The actual bike trail requires you to cross this beach, after decending a steep cliff. On our return we stopped here for our picnic.
The boys were really excited by an "off road" trail, and indeed it was somewhat rougher than I am used to and my bottom is feeling it now! We soothed our aches in the spa when we got home.

Sea life

On Thursday I went with Adam's class to Monterey Bay Aquarium.
We had a glorious day - often the weather is better at the coast in the winter than it is in the summer - yesterday was no exception.

We had an hour in the Discovery Lab with a lecturer. The theme was "Habitats" and it was very informative. (I didn't previously know how starfish digest their food*).There were lots of hands-on exhibits; we got to feed a sea cucumber, stroke a sea urchin and a starfish, and pet hermit crabs. Here I am helping Adam and James Glenn with the crabs.

After the hour-long school program we had an hour to visit the other exhibts. We saw the sea otters being fed, then visited the great white shark . The shark was predictably the big attraction.

It was an early start as we arrived at school at 7am, so when we got home at 2:30 we were both exhausted.

* they extrude their stomach through their mouth and surround the food to digest it. The lecturer had a great stuffed model of a starfish to demonstrate.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Too much chivalry?

I took Jon to SFO this afternoon, leaving the boys in the tender care of thier father. When I came home they were in the final stages of thier jousting competition.

Apparently Finlay won!

By the way - I know that the knitting content is few and far between these days; there is knitting going on, but I can't talk about it yet. Finlay and I did make a trip to Communknity on Friday to get another ball of wool - this store seems to get nicer and nicer. I also think that their prices are the best around this area. I made the discovery on Wednesday that Knitting Arts stocks the lovely Malabrigo yarn, so I really doubt I'll be trecking up to Sunnyvale again for that

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween update

There were some fearsome pirates in our neighbourhood last night...

Captain Jack Parrow [sic]:

...and fierce pirate Scurvy Adam aka Will Turner.
They had a great time both hassling our neighbours
Sample conversation:
neighbour: "who are you dressed up as?"
Finlay: "Where's the candy?"

They came home overexcited and gorged on chocolate.

It was actually uncharacteristically quiet and we were left with loads of chocolate and plastic skeletons.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Friday fun

On Friday Finlay and I went to the beach. We started out at Lighthouse Beach in Santa Cruz where we ate our picnic while we waited for the tide to go out.

When it appeared that the tide was still coming in, we headed for Natural Bridges.


On Saturday Nigel turned 45. The day started out with much excitement and presents alround. After Nigel had cooked his breakfast bacon, and we extinguished the fire we went out to Emma's 5th birthday party. This was held at a small stables in the Santa Cruz mountains. We got there early so we fed the hens. We even got to pet the hens which was a first for me (surprisingly soft and fluffy).

The party activities included crafts and pony rides for everyone. Adam was very pleased with himself; here seen riding Apple. AS you can see the saddles were all 'western' saddles. The stable owner told Adam to hold onto the horn (which I had previously told him was called the pommel). He correctly pointed out that the pony didn't have horns. Finlay was not expecting to ride so was thrilled when he got the chance for a ride on Pony Boy. He had a grin from ear to ear.
The birthday party was probably the most mellow childrens party I have attended and the setting was lovely and peaceful. It was hard to believe we were only 20 mins away from home.

We came back to our second birthday cake of the day, this one made by the boys and I.

We rounded off the day with a nice steak which Nigel cooked for himself on the barbeque!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Here's what we have been doing this weekend:

The four of us carved pumpkins. Adam and Nigel carved the one on the left, Adam doing the design and most of the carving. Finlay and I did the one on the right - mostly me doing the carving with advice from Finlay.

Lets take a closer look at those scary faces...

Oh, you didn't mean the pumpkins?

Also, I paid a visit to the newest local yarn store purlescence yarns. It's a bit of a trek from here to Sunnyvale but they did have a few things not carried elsewhere at the local stores. They had a large selection of both Rowan and of sock yarns. Also, an excellent range of hand-painted yarns. I bought a skein of Socks that Rock yarn from Blue Moon Fibres which is not carried any where else. Also, a skein of Malabrigo which is hand-dyed peruvian wool similar to Manos, but much, much softer. Both of these are destined for me...once I have finished all my Christmas knitting.

I plan to make a hat from the Malabrigo which is a lovely shade of burnt orange, and... well... socks from the STR.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On this day in history

Im a day late, of course, but I just discovered this site: Its a project to create a UK-wide blog for the day of October 17th. I like the idea of this as I am very interested in the whole Mass Observation project - to which the organizers are likening this project.

I did my (very dull) entry but am actually very interested in the mundane, and less-mundane details of other people's entries...just like MO. You have until November 1st to write your own entry. The requirements are that you are UK resident or have come connection with the UK. You can write your entry in Welsh if you want.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pirates and cupcakes

Mostly I have been knitting cupcakes. Tea and cake anyone? These are actually lavender 'bags' and intended for my friend Julie for Christmas. Might knit some more though - they were lots of fun and also quick.

In other news the boys and I made a pirate to sit on our porch. He is a guy but obviously we are not going to burn him (bonfires are illegal in California - and also I'd like my clothes back!). We are considering him a Halloween decoration.

The cupcakes are from One Skein by Leigh Radford and are knitted from all my oddments of yarn. (I see yarn from Gill's mohair shawl, Nigels alpaca scarf, Alisons faux fur scarf, Ned's bunny...). Decorations are likewise left over from other projects; buttons, Gill's beaded hat...)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What we have been up to

On Wednesday Adam's school had a Fun Run to raise money for the school. Adam participated and completed 25 quarter mile laps of the running track. He was completely exhausted when he got home but still needed to show off his medal. Thanks to all who sponsored him.

Both boys have been practising their 'tricks'. Here is Finlay demonstrating scootering on one leg.

and Adam riding his bike down the steps from the deck into the garden.
Both of them are very pleased with these achievements.

On Saturday Nigel harvested the bananas. They are almost certainly inedible as they are small and hard. In this photo you can just see the splash as they hit the pool.
This was our crop.
So, a pretty quiet week all in all.

In knitting news I am mostly knitting secret projects which cannot be talked about here.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Flower Basket Shawl

I finished my flower basket shawl. The pattern is by Evelyn Clark. I used a cashmere/silk laceweight yarn from posh yarn.

Here is a close-up showing all the colours - orange, pink, purple; subtle it is not. The colour is called chorus line (is it a singlular sensation?).

Here is the shawl in its unblocked state.

Here it is during the blocking process - it was a nice day so I did it outside on one of the lounger cushions covered with a towel.

I think this is probably the most difficult thing I have knitted, and I was sure that there would be many visible mistakes - however I can't see any and I have looked really hard. Lace knitting requires me to concentrate so I can't really knit and watch TV for example. One exception is knitting during episodes of Columbo - for reasons of his own Nigel has recorded many Columbo episodes - and since I dont actually like it much I am happy to concentrate on something else while its on the TV.

I'm not sure how much use I really have for lace shawls, I plan to keep this one since it's my first. However, I think lace shawls are a good example of process knitting, and I'm sure I will make more now I've got the lace bug. The other good thing is that it takes a long time to knit - so for knitting time vs cost of yarn it's pretty economic...I've been knitting this for months off and on.