Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ruth Sorensen, THANK YOU!!

I received my Kauni yarn from Ruth today. It took one week and one day to get to me.

The yarn is so much fun! The colors in the photos are a bit brighter than they are in person. I don't feel like editing them to get them true to color as I am a bit pressed for time.

I opened the box and was surpised to find some other goodies in the box. A nice hand written note from Ruth, a sample of the Evilla yarn and these ADORABLE wristwarmers!

I'm blown away. I don't know if I'm hormonal or just sentimental, but Ruth's kindness brought tears to my eyes. Happy tears, that is.

Here is more detail on the wristwarmers. They are so *Naomi*. Tonight it was snowing when I got home. Ruth, it IS cold enough for wristwarmers here!

This is a wonderful way to end a very hectic day at work. Before I could even entertain the thought of playing with the yarn tonight, I had to do my workout(which I did do).

I've been pretty good about doing my workouts before I allow myself any play-time. It was really hard not to wind this yarn up and start a guage swatch!! Anyone that knows me knows I love to START projects(finishing them is an entirely different matter!).

I'm still not allowing myself to play because......I have some resume's I need to go through tonight for interviews tomorrow morning! Hhhhmmmmmnnn. I start work at 6am, that gives me 2 hours before the first interview. Maybe I could review them in the morning so I can wind the skeins tonight. No. I better not. Winding the skeins would lead to guage swatching, guage swatching would lead to casting on and that would lead to...staying up way too late and not reading those $&#* resume's!

Ruth, thank you so very, very much. You have made a knitter in America very, very happy!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Rockin' Sock Club 2007 - Mind Boggling

Sock knitters around the world know about Blue Moon Fiber Arts . In 2006 they started a sock knitting club - a club where, as a participant, you received sock yarn and a pattern every other month. It was a tremendous hit, to say the least.

So...because of its popularity and exclusivity, they opened up the registration and lots of people signed up.

Fast forward a month or so after registration, it was time to pay. So when participants went to pay all seemed ok. Suddenly out of nowhere I received an email from Blue Moon saying that the bank refunded the participants money because they thought "how could this be legitimate?". Sock knitting club? No way.

Can you believe it? They took money OUT of Blue Moon's accounts and refunded the money BACK TO US! Excuse me? According to Blue Moon's Rockin Sock Club KAL, they have 2,000 participants. Count that. TWO THOUSAND!

I just love that. I love there are tons of passionate knitters in the world and I love that WE HAVE POWER IN COMMERCE!

In fact the Yarn Harlot has a whole post about "muggles". Go here.

I'm excited that the first installment will be in the mail this week. I have been anticipating this ever since I tried getting into the club last year but I was too late. This is going to be so much fun! (Jamie get ready for me to bring my sock knitting to all of our meetings!)

For once, being out on the left coast, I'm actually close to the source. With luck, I'll be getting my package before those folks out on the right coast!

You'll be the first to see my unveiling as soon as the package arrives!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Work, Work, Work

I've been assigned to a new project at work. I have mixed feelings about it. Why?

I love my life outside of work. I did not enjoy working for the person I worked for and now for the next year I won't have to. That is a real bonus.

The downside? Implemenations are fraught with stress, hard work and challenges.

I've ridden this horse before. I've been involved in many implementations and upgrades.

I know what it takes. I'm just not sure I want to work that hard. Honestly I have not had a break in 10 years from being on either an upgrade or implementation cycle.

I need some rest.

I'll be part of a team implementing a new budget system. It is a high profile project with a lot of eyes watching us. While ramping up on this project I also have another department implementing the AR and Billing system in early April, which I currently support. Basically I have a lot on my plate right now.

The flip side is I get to work side-by-side with my friend Jamie. This woman is incredible. She's smart, innovative and works extremely hard. There is always a lot of challenge implementing a new product and this system utilizes some technology which is new to our employer, and us.

What that means is less time for my creative pursuits.

Like this: Some newly spun Blue Moon Fiber Arts Blue Faced Leicester. I like spinning this fiber a lot. I can't wait to get two bobbins full to ply.

Isn't it pretty?

I also got a note from Jean Wong saying she gave her schedule to Suzanne at Madrona Fiber Arts. I hope they schedule some regular, ongoing classes with Jean. Somehow I'll just have to fit all the things I want to do, in.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ruth, my Yarn Angel from Denmark!

Her name is Ruth Sorensen.

How do I get a yarn angel from Denmark?

Its a long story but read on as it is a lesson in kindness.

It all started with post on Melinda's blog. She mentioned a fair isle design that looked complicated but wasn't. The beauty of this design is it utilizes self striping yarn. The results are stunning.

The designer is Ruth Sorensen, my yarn angel.

You have got to see this design. It is awesome!

Go here.

Isn't that awesome?

The pattern is free and is translated to English. Go here for the pdf for the pattern. She used Kauni Effekt color EQ.

I started doing much research on-line trying to find Kauni Effekt. The shipping costs from the website Melinda mentioned in her post,, quoted me 17 euro ($22) for no tracking and insurance or 47 euro ($61) with tracking and insurance. The owner also told me it could take 6 days to 3 months for the yarn to arrive. (Note: I asked how much it would cost to send 1000g - I thought if I'm going to order I may as well order a lot to take advantage of shipping yarn only once).

I thanks. The shipping was outrageous.

I contacted another overseas company to try to get the yarn. Their shipping cost were also outrageous - something like $40. I said "no thanks".

I just did not understand why shipping would be so costly because I have ordered/received yarn from the UK and the shipping usually ran around $10. Whether it was Virtual Yarns(Alice Starmore) or Posh Yarn the shipping was always reasonable with arrival usually was within a week. Actually both Virtual Yarns and Posh do free shipping over a certain dollar order amount. I've never actually paid for shipping from either vendor.

The saga continues.

I wrote to Ruth. Thankfully she knows English. I told her how much I love this design but the challenge was getting the yarn. The yarn is very affordable but the shipping costs were outrageous. I told her a friend of mine had a good friend from Germany who I was going to ask her to help me get my hands on the yarn. It wasn't so much that I couldn't afford to pay the shipping costs but I was unwilling to pay those costs when I knew it couldn't possibly cost that much. How could one european country cost THAT much more than another?

In our correspondance Ruth pointed me to some more of her designs being sold in a kit. Look at this design called Anne Evilla. Isn't that cute? She also designed Claudia Evilla. I contacted this company and the shipping is reasonable. It would be about $12-13 and up to $22 if you are ordering yarn with weight of 1 kilo plus. So for a kit it would be about $12-13. Vivian also gave me instructions on ordering so the VAT will be deducted. So if you want to order a kit just contact me and I will send you her instructions. I would definitely order from this company.

Ruth wrote to me and told me she went to the post office to find out how much shipping would be for a package weighing about 500g to the US. It was reasonable - about $10. She also asked how long it would take to get to the US. They said it would take about 2 days to get to the US and the rest of the time was all in the hands of the USPS. So I figure a week at most.

You know what she proceeded to do?

She purchased the yarn for me and offerred to send it to me.

She made the purchase before she knew how I would get her the money. She wasn't worried how I would get her the money. She said I could send her some yarn if the Paypal route didn't work.

My heart is full to know someone across the world wanted me to get this yarn with delivery at a reasonable price. She mentioned in one of her emails how she can get watermelons from South America, grapes from South Africa but how difficult could it be to get yarn from Denmark to the US?

I am a very sentimental person. I feel the kindness across the miles.

Isn't Ruth a kind, thoughtful person?

It is heart warming for me to know that someone half way across the world is willing to go out of her way to do something nice for someone in the United States that she doesn't even personally know.

I just started writing her about a week ago. I come back after the weekend away and I have mail from Ruth saying she already bought the yarn. I sent her money via Paypal today and tomorrow she will ship my package.

How do I thank her across the miles?

Not only is she a great person, she is an innovative designer.

Thank you Ruth. You are my Yarn Angel, and more!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Weekend at Bangrila

Every year we spend at least one weekend with Greg's best friends at Bangrila.

This year we went out to celebrate Greg and his friends birthdays. Bruce, Tom and Greg all turned the magic 55 within about a month of each other. Greg has known Bruce for 45 years and Tom for about 40. Amazing isn't it?

The time always goes so very quickly. It seems like we get there and then it is time to turn back and come home.

Here are a few photos from the weekend:

To get to Bangrila we go over the Tacoma Narrows bridge. I'm amazed at how technology progresses to build the new bridge. If you haven't seen the bridge being built, you really should see it. It is amazing to watch its progress.

Here is Bruce and Cynthia

and Tom and Lynn. The next couple of photos depicts a bit of how we celebrated the birthdays. We are getting too old for partying like this!

On a knitting note, I made progress on the Nicky Epstein Floral Felted Bag (Jacobean). I did some spinning of the blue faced leicester dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The fiber looks really cool. I can't wait to see how it is going to spin up!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

My first hand spun yarn!

The past two weeks has been a whirlwind. I have had two classes with Sam Robbins. She has taught me to spin and ply on my Louet Victoria (I call her Lil' Vicki).

How do I describe Sam? She was the perfect instructor for me. She is passionate. She is patient and endlessly supportive. She has a warm, lovely spirit. I connected with her immediately. Thank you so very much Sam!

After my first class I was so excited. I didn't want to go to bed! After my second class I came home with my first skein of hand spun YARN! Yes. I made YARN!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Friday Harbor and Tabi Socks, Done!

Greg and I just spent the weekend at Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.

Originally we were going to take a Kenmore Air seaplane to Friday Harbor but decided to take a little road trip in Greg's new car via the ferry.

We were laughing Thursday night as we were watching Grey's Anatomy because the big disaster was a ferry mishap. We looked over at one another and laughed. Great. The next day we would be on a ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor!

We stayed at Friday Harbor House. We had the coveted room #36 (Thank you Renee'!) This room is a corner room on the 3rd floor looking out over the marina. It was fabulous! If you ever get to stay there, ask for room 36!

Here are my finished Tabi Socks enjoying our room with a view!

Friday afternoon we came back to the room, lit the fireplace, sat our butts down and just relaxed. Greg read and I knitted. I finished the Tabi Socks and made some good progress on my Swallowtail Shawl. We even took a nap! How about that? We had a nice romantic dinner that night and came back to our room to enjoy the view, watching the ferries.

Greg's brother Mike is married to my friend Renee'. Renee' introduced me to Greg. Mike and Renee' flew up on Saturday morning to join us forthis little getaway(officially birthday presents to the Bang boys).

A funny fact about the 4 Bang boys. All were born from the end of January to the beginning of March. Evie, the matriarch, did not want to be big and pregnant during the summer. So she planned, very accurately, each pregnancy. That is Evie. The planner and perfectionist!

Back to our weekend....We had a wonderful Saturday - visiting Roche Harbor and the Wescott Bay Sculpture Park. We were blessed with a sunny, beautiful day. We did a little hike from the Hotel de Haro to the McMillan mausoleum.

Of course I had to visit the yarn store, Island Wools, in Friday Harbor and ended up buying some yarn. I know. You are not surprised. Right now I'm too lazy to take photos and post them.

A side note: I've been busy spinning. I have homework for class on Wednesday and I am behind schedule! I have to have two full bobbins so that I can learn to ply them. I probably have a bobbin and a half. I'm pleased with how my yarn is developing.

I need to run off to bed. 4:45 am comes very quickly!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"If you don't have time to exercise, You don't have time to knit"

I've been a knittin' fool.

This past weekend was Greg's milestone 55th birthday! To celebrate on the actual birth date, we had brunch with his parents, Ron and Evie, at Palisade on Sunday.

Greg's parents are both turning 84/85? this year. They are in great physical and mental shape. In fact in 2007 they have 3 trips planned already. Arizona, a cruise from Singapore to Dubai, Colorado. They drive, they workout, they live a full life.

We got talking about working out. Ron has been working out everyday, lifting weights, feeling better than ever. Greg has been faithfully working out 5 days a week. Greg will ask if I want to join him at the gym. I say no. I'd rather knit!

Evie and I discussed how our hobbies are sedentary(knitting, scrapbooking, making christmas ornaments, soon to be spinning). She made a comment to me that really hit me.

It hit me in a very good way.

She said, "if you don't have time to exercise, you don't have time to knit!".

I thought about it. I continued to think about it.

Yes. I need to make exercise a priority before everything else. Without health, there is nothing else.

So my reward for working out? I get to knit.

What a concept. So far this week I'm two for two. I get to go knit now.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gilt(y) Pleasures

In a prior post I showed some yarn I purchased to knit a Louisa Harding design called Gilt. Here is my progress. The back is done, the front is over half done.

I was hoping to have it done by next weekend for our trip to Friday Harbor. This will not happen unless I kill myself getting it done. I am not willing to sacrifice my body for the sake of getting this done by next Thursday!

I have neck pain and...that means I'm knitting too much. I started this last Sunday - just a week ago. Tomorrow is Greg's birthday. I doubt I'll get much knitting done on this tomorrow.

I like how it is turning out. I must admit that the stockinette knitting does get a bit boring!