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.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Yesterday I felt just completely drained so spent most of the afternoon sleeping, knitting, and listening to my favourite podcast knittyd and the city.

The whole podcast thing seems to have really taken off in the online knitting community. Because anyone can make a podcast with minimal hardware and investment, its rather like public access cable TV. In fact Christina and Wendy (Knittyd and the city) are rather like Wayne's World. This is a positive thing - its like listening to 2 garrulous friends talking about their knitting, wool, mistakes they have made - in fact so much so that I immediately had to call my garrulous friend and talk about knitting.

This is the state of the flower basket shawl so far - I just have the edging to do so should finish this weekend.

The colours look rather subdued in this picture - in reality it's much more lurid than this.