Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Knitting Updates!

I had a wonderful Christmas.

My day was family filled. First we went to the Bang festivities and then in the afternoon, the Ooka party. My nephew Connor got a Nintendo Wii and that was used all day long! For awhile the adults had taken over...imagine bowling in your own living room!

I haven't written much on knitting content lately. I haven't completed any projects, but I have worked on a number of things. Don't they say variety is the spice of life?

I have also accumulated some knitting related stuff! For loved ones of knitters, if you ever wonder what to get that special knitter in your life, see this post by the Yarn Harlot. She has some really good shopping tips! This not only applies to Christmas, but to Valentines(hint Greg!), birthday's, anniversaries, etc.!

Onto the fun stuff:

Here is a photo of Tabi sock 1 of Sandi Rosner's book Not Just More Socks. These are the socks on the cover of the book. I really love these. They are very comfortable. I'm beginning to think I may make this type of toe for all my socks. I love flip flops(I wear them a lot at home) and they are dual purpose. I can wear them with flip flops and I can wear them in shoes.

The tabi sock was done in a yarn called Twilight Bay by my friend Terry. Her Etsy shop is here.

About a week ago I started the Cap Shawl from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. This is a beautiful book. When it was sold out at my local yarn shop, I ordered it on-line. I would normally buy it locally or from Karen at Two Swans Yarns. When Karen brought it to Ferals I had already purchased it(I felt kind of bad but I didn't know she had stocked it).

Anyway, here is the beginning of the shawl. I am knitting it out of Misti Alpaca Lace. The pattern is really easy to memorize right now so I've been taking it with me in my purse so when I have some waiting time, out it comes. I even take it to Sonic's games! I really do!

Alice Starmore's Abalone. Finally at the neck decreases. I know the photos look pretty much the same to you as the ones I have posted before but I feel good about getting to the neck. YES!

(I know...the steeks should be opposite yarn each row - fair isle knitters will understand what I mean but you know...Oh well).

I joined Sundara's Petal's Collection sock club a couple months ago. I got my first installment on Saturday. She is an artist extraordinaire. You can read about the details of her inspiration for what yarn and pattern she creates. She is undecided about whether she will continue this club in 2007. I really, really, really hope she does. I'm going to beg her to continue!

Check out how she packages her creations. I feel like its a spa type setting/environment for her yarn and pattern!

Elise, evil temptress, got me ordering some sock yarn from Sunshine Yarns. The colors are wonderful. This grouping was inspired by the dragons in the 4th Harry Potter book, The Goblet of Fire. I love HP and I was laughing when the Yarn Harlot started referring to non-knitters as muggles. From left to right are: The Swedish Short Snout, the Welsh Green Dragon, the Hungarian Horntail and the Chinese Fireball. Each skein has 450 yards.

I have my whole family coming over for dinner tonight - that is 5 sisters, two husbands, and 6 nieces and nephews. I want to post this so I better get moving.

One last thing. I have a number of Martha's knitting bags. Martha is Martha Sacco of Green Mountain Knitting Bags. I love her knitting bags for a few reasons. I have done a fair amount of sewing in my lifetime. I am hesitant about buying handmade, sewn items from people I don't know. I'm very particular and want the items to be made well, with precision. Martha's handi-work is awesome. She hand sews that bag to the wood handles and like I said...she is very meticulous.

I love her bags because they are modern, yet traditional. I love the feeling of the wood handles. I also love supporting artisans. I don't know how I found her but she is reliable and very honest. This is my latest Oversize Carpet Bag made in an Italian Upholstery fabric. I love it. This was a Christmas gift. She only lists on Thursday nights, 8:30 eastern. It is a mad rush to get one of her bags. They sell out quickly and someone can take it from your cart until you pay. So you must be decisive and very quick.

This photo was taken from our master bathroom. I had to show my lovely bag with the best view in the house because this bag only deserves the very best! ;)

Isn't she lovely? Abalone is in her right now. It fits the sweater, yarn and pattern with room to spare. I love it.

Gotta run - family should be showing up in about 45 minutes and I have quite a few things yet to do. Eeee Yikes! Oh well. No stress! I'm on vacation!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Five years ago my sister, Deborah Takeko Ooka Yasuda, died of pancreatic cancer. I've been avoiding acknowledging it because it hurts so much.

She died December 15, 2001.

She bravely battled this very aggressive type of cancer for 8 months. She had a very high tolerance for pain - one tough cookie. I have many memories of our time together as she battled this horrible disease. I had Friday's off and I would try and spend most Friday's with her. As she became more ill I know she looked forward to us just hanging out at her house. She only got to see my new home once. We have a lot of stairs and by that time she was not getting out much. I tear up just reminiscing about our times we spent together.

She saved my life when I was about 19 or 20. I had just taken my finals and had come home to the dorms at the UW. I wasn't feeling well but just figured it was the flu. She called to see how my exams went and I told her I was a bit under the weather. I went to bed and she called a couple hours later to see how I was doing. I was feeling pretty terrible. She insisted I come and stay with her and her husband Kyle(a doctor). I tried to resist but if you knew Deb, you can't really resist her. She was one stubborn lady.

She came and picked me up. Later that night sometime around midnight Kyle came to check up on me. He knew something was wrong. They took me to the emergency room at Virginia Mason(where he worked) and I was admitted to emergency surgery. I have a condition called endometriosis. The endometriosis had taken over one of my ovaries and it had burst, spilling blood internally. They both saved my life that night. Her instincts told her to care for me and it saved my life.

When Debbie was admitted for the very last time to the hospital it was at the end of November 2001. I took a leave of absence from my job so I could be with her as much as possible. A couple of weeks later I was scheduled to meet Greg, who was attending a conference, in Las Vegas for a few days. I knew when I left that it would be the last time I saw her.

We all knew her time to go was very near. I wasn't going to leave her but she insisted. She wanted me to go. She told me I had to go. That was the toughest thing - seeing her on the way to the airport knowing I would never hold her hand again, never look into her eyes and say I love you.

I got the call two days later as I was having dinner at a restaurant at the Venetian.

I was sad, yet relieved. She had been in excrutiating pain and she was free from the pain.

As I sit here writing, I just can't believe 5 years has gone by. Life continued on without her. That doesn't mean continuing on was easy.

Debbie was like a mom to me as a child. My mom was so busy just trying to survive with 7 children, working full time. Debbie took care of me(as did all my 6 older sisters). I remember her making me do my daily chores like sweeping or vaccuuming. She would tell me stories when I would go to bed and they almost always began with "Once upon a time there was a little girl named Naomi...".

We lived in a 1500 square foot home - two parents and 7 children. When I got old enough to sleep in a "real" bed I shared a bed with her. I would kick at night, hog the bed and blankets, eat crackers in bed. She'd be like "Naomi....there are crumbs all over in this bed!". We'd get out and try to get all the crumbs out. Man, what she had to put up with.

During the time we spent on those Friday's she shared memories of growing up. She told me a story of when I was about 3 or 4. We were at the local drug store and of course she had me tagging along. I'm sure this would not have been her choice but she had to watch out for the little ones. This lady comes up to me and said "Honey, aren't you cute?". I said with attitude, "My name's not Honey, its NAOMI!". Deb said she was like "oh my goodness!". We(all my sibs) have that feisty-ness...definitely from our mom.

She even told me about the birds and the bees!

I grieve for her daughter, Mirei. Mirei is a wonderful girl and she lost her mom when she was only 6. Mirei is a lot like her mom - super outgoing, daring, very intelligent, opinionated, likes to joke and have fun.

Her mom was her world. Mirei was Deb's world. I know Deb is watching over Mirei but no child should lose their mom at such a young age. They did everything together. Deb loved that girl so very much and it tore her apart to know she would physically be apart from her, not be able to watch her grow up, not be there to give her advice about boys, life.

Deb was feisty. She believed in fighting for the less fortunate. She didn't do that at a global level but on a personal level. From emotionally supporting people at work, coaching them to stand up for themselves to gathering the community to help a woman get out of an abusive relationship by organizing people and collecting money so the woman could leave the relationship.

She even organized a Cultural Day during high school in the 70's to help educate people about other cultures. Remember this is Ellensburg, Washington in the 70's. People would yell at her to "get back on the boat and go home!". She didn't care. She had already developed the tough outer shell and she went on her way. She did what she believed in and no one was going to stop her.

Tonight I'm just taking time to grieve so my heart can be open to the wonderful-ness of this time of year. My heart has felt closed but I want it to feel open. Shedding tears helps to heal and open my heart again.

I love you, Deb. I miss you so darn much! Tell Mom and Dad Hi!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


As many of you may know(or not) the Seattle/Puget Sound area got hammered by a big storm a couple days ago.

We have been without power since Thurday night about 10pm. We got power a few hours ago(Saturday).

I am giddy happy that we have electricity! Imagine going into a room and turning on the light switch and the light actually goes on! How many times did I, while holding a flashlight in my hand, go into a dark room and just automatically try turning on a light? Yeah, um hello? Anyone home? I guess not! Maybe my brain was frozen so it wasn't working very quickly. Yeah, that's it!

Yesterday afternoon G and I spent most of the afternoon and evening at Northgate mall, or maybe I should call it the local human zoo. We wandered around and had dinner there since we had no power and our house was cold. We do have a fireplace that I sat next to all day but once darkness hit, my options of what to do became very limited. So off to the mall we went.

We came home about 9pm and got a fire going in the fireplace and eventually went off to bed. When we woke up this morning our house was about 48 degrees indoors. BBBrrrrrr.

So...we went off to Starbucks where they had power! We met these two very nice ladies and had a nice cup O' joe and conversation. Both knitters! How fortunate for me! They said they would check out my blog and if they do...please email me or post a comment so I can get in touch. Maybe we could get together at a coffee shop and knit!

I'm off to take a shower! Whooo Hooo!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sweet Sheep Installment 2

I had heard from Elise that she had already received her second installment. I was hoping mine would be in my mailbox when I came home from work.

It arrived today. I'm lovin' this colorway. Now these are more "my" colors.

There hasn't been much activity on the Sweet Sheep Sock Club blog but I hope the members will start posting more ideas on what they are going to do, or are doing, with their yarn!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lupine Lace Socks...Done!

The socks are done and just in the nick of time. Supposedly the Sweet Sheep Sock Club will be sending out the next installment this coming week. I can't wait to see what we get!

I was in an Oracle Data Management class last week and since this was major review for me I knit while the instructor was, well, instructing! I got most of the leg done during class. I love when I can multi-task like this.

Here they are...done!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Starmore Abalone, Oh NO!

Last night I was happily knitting away at Thursday night knitting class at Village Yarn and Tea. I knew I was knitting more tightly because my level of work stress. So I decided to check to see how much tighter I was knitting.

Actually I hate my job. Ok, I don't *hate* my job. I love what I do. I just don't like where I'm doing it. I have a yucky boss(that is a nice way to put it).

I hate that my work stress is affecting my knitting too!. See the difference? Yikes.

So I had to start something different. Yes I could have continued working any number of UFO's sitting around but no, I wanted to start something NEW! I wanted a mindless project! So it is this sweater

from this book

With this yarn.

I'm trying to keep my guage consistent. I must thank Karen of Two Swans Yarns who I just recently met in-person. She's a very kind person and I checkout her blog daily and on this recent entry, I learned more about making a guage swatch. I just hate doing guage but it is worth the time. You'd think I'd *know* this after knitting 15 years but I still hate doing it.

I squirm and try to justify not doing it. "Oh, it won't matter if its a bit big. You bought two extra skeins just in case" "The guage is right on without blocking..the instructions don't say anything about a blocked guage swatch", blah blah blah. There is just no getting around it!

I wrote Karen an e-mail asking a dumb question(are you sure I need to block the swatch?) and I knew the answer but I just didn't want to go to the trouble. Really...it is a lot less trouble to take the extra time now than to have a sweater that doesn't fit! I'm glad I did because I had to go down 2 needle sized to get the guage after blocking. My sweater would have been too big. Thanks Karen!