Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saying Goodbye to 2008

2008 was a very good year for me. I had a number of life changes and as difficult as change can be, it is always good.

The biggest change in my life this year was being able to say goodbye to my IT career. It took me some months to adjust from my high stress, deadline driven career to a life of leisure. Now that I have adjusted to it, I wake up every single morning grateful for the freedom to do as I choose.

My oldest sister, Val, has been in town for the past few weeks. All of my other siblings live in the area so it is a real treat to have her visit so the family is all together. My parents would be proud to see how close their children are to one another. This time of year is always a bit bittersweet for me as my parents and my sister Deb are no longer earthbound and I miss being with them.

As the new year approaches, I want to leave you all with a photo of me and "my sibs", as I call them. They are near and dear to me. They are my best friends, a part of my wonderful support network. I have no doubt that they would drop everything for me if life dictated such a response. We all would, and have done so, for one another.

We laugh, we cry, we chat, chat, chat and we laugh some more. On Christmas Val said she had a headache from laughing so much.

Not a day goes by that I don't talk to at least one of my sisters.

Dear Ooka girls(this is what we call ourselves), I love you all so very much. You are the center of my heart around which everything else revolves. Life is so much more fun, so much more fulfilling because we are a family!

Greg, you are at the center of my heart, too. They have just been with me since the day I was born!

The day I was born my dad called home to tell my sisters whether I was a boy or a girl. When they found out I was a girl, they danced around the house singing "it's a girl, it's a girl." They were relieved. What would they do with a brother?

I have always felt loved, cared for and protected. Honestly I say I had 7 mothers. Six older sisters and one mother that birthed me!

On December 27, 2008 my Auntie Sumi celebrated her 80th birthday. She isn't a *true* aunt in the bloodline way. She was my mom's best friend. This photo was taken at her birthday party.

From Left to Right: Naomi, Cheryl, Val, Karen, Auntie Sumi, Kathy and Trish.

As I leave this post to go party with my sibs, I wish you all the best for 2009! Be safe tonight and I'll see you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When you didn't think you would use geometry again...

I originally wrote this post over a month ago(Nov 11). Someone help me slow time down!

I just attended another weekend of Nihon Vogue classes for year two.

I had a wonderful weekend. I spent it with 11 other students learning from Jean Wong. I love my Nihon Vogue weekends.

The newest project we have to tackle is a raglan. This isn't a top down raglan, this raglan is knit in pieces.

If you go out and research raglan designs, very few are designed so a pattern meets up and matches on the body over to the sleeves(yes it is easy to do if knitting it from the top down). This is a very challenging design to do. I recall Jean saying this is our most challenging design for year two.

The reason? It takes a lot of math. It takes very accurate measurements and calculations(isn't this what Nihon Vogue is all about? Exacting attention to detail!) I created an isosceles triangle on my design which will ensure my patterns line up. Of course there is more to it than just that but the basis for this technique is the isosceles triangle. Do you see it in the upper left corner portion of the photo?

Isoceles triangle? I thought I left that behind a long time ago!

Creating the template for the design is the easy part(yeah right-draw this, then at a right angle to this point, draw a line that is perpendicular to that, etc, etc!) but taking some stitch patterns and making them work on your body measurements....another story. This design is going to take some time. Some thinking. Some trial and error, I suspect. Dec 30, 2008: Now that I have completed that portion of the design, I can tell you that it did take me a bit of time to find a pattern that was interesting, yet simple.

Jean's guidance dictated that we find a repeating design that has few stitches, the lower the number of stitches in the repeat, the better. They are easier to match up from body to sleeve.

I chose a cable/bobble combination for the center front of my sweater and a herringbone pattern for the rest of the body and sleeve.

I found the herringbone stitch from a sock pattern. Some of my friends have knit Charade socks. I used the herringbone rib pattern that was used in this pattern.

The yarn? A wonderful discontinued yarn I have had in my stash for quite some time. Rowan Magpie in Coffee Bean. This yarn has a lot of loft and shows patterning beautifully. Magpie has 153 yards(140m) in 100g. (Note: I bought two stashes from a wonderful woman in the UK. Both lots had 10 skeins each. One in the color Float and one in Charcoal. Love this yarn!) Why don't they still make this?

My brain is full of information. It is so energizing to learn something that mathematically works, in creative pursuit. Nihon Vogue is a perfect pairing of analytical calculation and the creative aspects of knitting design.

What I learned in our December class is the calculations for doing the body and sleeve decreases. I am glad I have my exact calculations written down with copious notes. I have not done any homework since the last class due to Christmas project knitting! I missed the second day of class due to snow so I have a lot of catching up to do. Project 4 is an Aran. Now that is going to be fun!

Back to the raglan. The tricky part to knitting the decreases is that all pieces(front, back and both sleeves) the decreases MUST be done for all pieces on the same row. If you miss your decrease on one or more pieces, your pattern will NOT line up. There is no fudging here. Did you hear me on that? NO fudging?

So to help us, Jean suggested we use a very long circular needle and knit all the pieces at the same time. No, the pieces are not connected to one another but you can better keep the continuity of the decreases on all pieces if done in this manner.

Yikes. I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Yesterday afternoon there were a couple coyotes in our backyard. One was an adult and the other, a pup.

They are such beautiful creatures. I'm saddened that they have had to come into populated areas to survive.

There have been a few incidents in the past couple weeks that raised questions in my and Greg's minds. The first happened one afternoon while we were sitting in our living room and we heard animal fighting. It was very loud. We both looked at each other and quickly went out the back door to listen to what was going on. Some animal was obviously in distress. Then as quickly as it started, there was silence. The second incidence happened at 2am when we were awaken by loud crying or howling.

This latest sighting brings the puzzle pieces together.

Greg was able to capture a very artsy photo of the adult. I was in my office when Greg called to me. I looked out my office window and there they were. The adult and the pup just lazily trotting across the hillside. I love all animals and they were so pretty. I felt sadness at the same time. They are not in their element.

Everytime Chase and Beanie go outside to take care of their potty business, I am out there as well protecting my pack!

Monday, December 08, 2008

No Posts!

I realize it has been quite some time since I published a post. I am a bit sheepish to admit why there has been such a large gap.

I got my very cool Nikon Coolpix S60 in September. Well...I can.not.find(!) the cord that I hook into the USB to load the photos. We have every other kind of card reader to put a memory card in to load media and I thought I would just use one of those instead. They do not have a slot for the particular SD card the coolpix uses(it does have an SD card slot but this is a different kind of SD). The camera came with a cord I can put into the camera and then connect to my computer to load the photos. We have a million of those kinds of cords from our various toys. The Nikon one has to have an input that is just a little bit different than the ones we have so all the ones I have tried DO NOT FIT. Honestly. Greg has 3 types of Nikon digital SLR's. Don't you think we would have something that works?

That is the reason I have not been posting.

I hate to publish a post lacking photos so until I find the cord I won't be posting.

I hear some of you saying "Just go out and buy a cord!" I am too cheap(I realize I am a study in contradictions as I do love my Louis Vuitton bags and we all know those babies are NOT cheap) - I'd rather use that $$ on fiber or cool knitting tools. Yes, for you non-knitters out there, there ARE cool knitting and spinning tools!

I know the cord disappeared when Greg came home from a 3 week vacation to Palau. This is what happened: I had sort of camped out in Greg's office during the day while he was gone. He has a ginormous computer monitor which is great for watching on-demand Netflix. There was another benefit. Our house has a very open design so it can be hard to heat or have the house feel cozy warm. I'm too cheap to heat the whole house when I can camp out in one room and close the door and trap the heat in the one room. I'd close his office door, settle in with Chase and Beanie and it was perfect!

After I moved all my various spinning and knitting projects, laptop, camera stuff, etc.(yes there was stuff everywhere) from his office back upstairs to my office, that is when the cord suddenly disappeared. Yes, it is probably in some project bag. I could swear I have looked everywhere but that is just not possible is it? It has to be here, somewhere.

Now I am on the last week before our next Nihon class and I just don't have the time to look for the cord and do a blog post.

Next blog post: Next week. With photos. If I absolutely can't find the cord, I will go buy a new one as this is getting a bit ridiculous!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Valkyrie and my gnomiejo knits orifice hook!

When Ellen and I went down to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September I purchased some roving from Blue Moon Fiber Arts - 50% merino, 50% silk in the Valkyrie colorway.

This particular purchase was a definite impulse buy. Here comes the justification logic. I figure you can't purchase roving(except superwash merino) on-line. When you go to conventions and festivals they always have roving of different fibers. This is the time you *need* to stock up on BMFA roving! Plus! know Tina's take on can't resist!

I had gone back to their booth because I had loaned Tina Newton(owner and dyer extraordinaire of Blue Moon) a sweater I had made out of BMFA mediumweight Socks that Rock to display in their booth. I picked up my sweater and also picked up this roving. I recall trying to call Ellen on the cell to have her talk me out of it but she didn't hear her phone ring. I guess her not picking up the phone worked out well for me!

I finished spinning this up into 2-ply laceweight. It is very pretty and I enjoyed spinning this. I wasn't sure if I would like working with this blend and I found out that I really enjoy it(good thing because I bought a lot of merino/silk blends at OFFF). It is approximately 7 ounces. I'll have to check again but I think it is around 22 wpi.

I made a recent purchase at Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs. I know one of the owners of the shop, Shiori, as she is a fellow student in Nihon Vogue. I saw an orifice hook with a gnome on it in their shop. I emailed Shiori right away and asked if she could do some custom work on it. Her business partner, Stephanie, makes these works of art and she graciously agreed to make me a custom hook!

I wanted her to add 'gnomiejo knits' somewhere on the hook for me and she did!

Isn't it just wonderful?

I love the glass bead they added to the base which has a toadstool look to it. I appreciate the attention to detail that went into creating this work of art.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Nihon Vogue Year Two, so far

When I began year two I had the best intentions to blog in more detail what I am learning.

It is now the day before our second session and I have not given you more information on what we are learning.

I am thoroughly enjoying my journey in year two. It is amazing what NOT working does for a student taking on this level of certification.

Project one is a puffy/gathered sleeve garment. My inspiration came from the Skater's Top by Veronik Avery. I am knitting this garment out of a fiber exactly like Kidsilk Haze but made by another company.

Here is the body sewn up but without the neckline ribbing.

The concepts involved in creating a puffy sleeve is very intriguing. During class when Jean showed us how to make the design, all I could think was "how cool is that?". I feel fortunate that as we are learning this concept just as the puffy sleeve has come back into fashion. I am seeing them in many fashion magazines.

For this short sleeve tee, when creating the puffy sleeve, after you have drawn the sleeve cap curve, you take tracing paper and draw the cap only onto the paper. Cut it out. Then anchoring at the underarm point, pivot the cap at that point upward. Then you can draw the new sleeve cap.

With each garment we design, I learn more on how to determine if a certain pattern will work with the design or not. I learned, after knitting the front, that the stitch pattern I chose isn't going to work out as well as I thought it would.

The lace pattern I am using is a 9 stitch repeat and there is no center stitch, per se. It is not a balanced pattern, as you can see above.

I should have mirrored the lace stitch pattern on the left and right sides of the center front and center back, or use a different stitch pattern altogether. Luckily the fuzziness of this yarn will disguise this *problem* a teeny, tiny bit but *I* will know there is a problem. I wasn't willing to start all over and re-knit the front once I realized the issue but I will chalk it up experience.

Not only did I make the sleeve so it will be gathered at the top of the sleeve, but I also did short rows right after the provisional cast-on to create a little puffy shelf-y thing at the bottom of the sleeve right before the ribbing. In essence you are creating a collar shaped fabric on the sleeve.

To create this on your actual pattern you create an area of short rows.

To explain how this creates additional fabric, the photo below of my notes may help you to understand. The orange line is the provisional cast-on and you knit up from this line. The purple line indicates where the ribbing is done downward. You still knit down from the provisional cast-on but the drawing is trying to indicate and show the extra fabric that you will create.

Project Two. Dolman sleeve garment. More detail to come later(I would rather do some spinning today!). Originally I was going to do a very short sleeved pullover out of Euroflax for a cute summer top. That design went out the window the day of class where we learned the dolman sleeve concepts. I didn't want to do a short-sleeved garment as I felt I would be short changing my learning on the technicalities to create the dolman sleeve.

I landed on doing a dolman sleeved version of Kate Gilbert's A Cardigan for Arwen. The dolman area of the sleeve will be very small(no wing bats for me). I won't do a hooded version but I have yet to determine how I will finish the neckline.

Here is my progress on the front. The back is done up to this point but it is just stockinette so there is no point really showing you.

We also had to knit 4 guage samples out of 100% wool with about 110 meters(120yds) in 50g. Each swatch is 25 sts, 25 rows. One swatch for 3.25, 3.5, 3.75 and 4mm needle.

This will help us determine, in our own knitting, about how much each change in needle size will give us in our knitting.

To help me keep track of what needle size I used for each swatch, I put little knots in the cast-on yarn. Here is an example of my knots for my 3.25 swatch.

Have a great weekend! I know I will! Going to Nihon Vogue class is always exciting and fun, and little exhausting.

'Cuz you asked

I've had a number of inquiries about our home siding project. is still incomplete. I'm glad we had a fixed price bid, not time and materials bid because we would have gone way over budget.

The area in the photo above where the orange is the master bedroom deck. They came to lay some decking material and found additional rot(not sure why they didn't discover this before). We decided to put in a new sliding glass door there while we are at it before they put up the Hardie Board. Did you know it can take awhile to get the door delivered? No wonder these projects go on and on!

Here is the south side of the house comprised of the Hardie board. As you can see the boards were cut to our design of varying sizes. Of course this added time for installation.

This week the guys are doing finishing/detail work. This crew had never put up the sandstone/Nichiha product and now they are experts. Here is a closeup of that material.

Whew! The end is in sight and I'll be able to have my quiet once again!

I have had my fill of living in a fishbowl, so to speak. I've also had my fill of noise and feeling that my home really isn't my home from 8am to 5pm.

I'm retired now. I can sleep in if I want. I can take a nap if I want. NOT!

The upside is the men that are working are 1) nice and respectful 2) detail oriented, 3) competent. As much as I like them, I just wish I wouldn't see them everyday! I usually make some type of baked good/treat once a week for them because they are so nice!

The Hardie board still needs to be painted a dark charcoal grey(currently beige/tan in the photos). The doors and railings will be sundried tomato. Since our contract included painting of the Hardie board we have had a couple sub-contractors out to take a look so they can bid with the company we contracted with. Both said they wouldn't be available for at least a couple weeks and then...well we know Seattle weather in winter....will depend on weather conditions. I sure hope that it can get painted soon!

The frustrating thing is the Hardie board installation has been complete on the sides and back of the house for quite some time. The past month they have mainly been working on getting the sandstone up. We told the company many times over the past month(nag, nag, nag) to get someone out to paint now before the weather turns. The weather has turned.

The crew had never installed the Hardie board in this fashion with a rainscreen and a reveal before. They had never installed the sandstone Nichiha product so there was a learning curve on all fronts of this project. It is no wonder this project has taken over a month longer than the company estimated.

Now to the fiber portion of this post!

I found this wonderful pencil roving from FiberOptic. It is superwash combined with nylon! I was curious to try this combination in a roving because it would be perfect for socks!

What I love about this roving is it is split into two mini pencil rovings. I just separate the two lengthwise and spin away.

2-ply sock yarn made easy! No drafting really. Goes really quickly. I spun the singles in an afternoon and plied them the next day.

It is hard to capture the depth of the colors in the yarn but it is wonderful. This is a fun fiber to spin. I recommend it! In fact she is dying some up for me and should be ready this week. I think she will be updating her shop on Wednesday and she will be listing more of this fiber. I hate to tell you all because I want it all for myself but that would be too selfish!

One last thing. I looked out the window last week because it had rained and the sun was shining brightly across the lake. I was in awe of the autumn colors across the way and by the time I got my camera, the rainbow appeared.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nutso for Nutkin, Knitzi and Knitterly Things!

We all know how Ravelry can be a big black hole of time consumption!

I have no idea what circuitous path brought me to Nutkin but I'm glad I found it.

This sock pattern is almost as easy as stockinette for me, in terms of mindless knitting. I didn't do the short-row toe that was in the pattern. I did what the pattern said but when it came to binding off, it was a 3 needle bind off on top of the toe. It felt too bunchy for me so I frogged and did the regular toe decrease.

I have been experimenting with toe shaping and I think I have come up with a decrease that works for my Fred Flinstone shaped feet. I do the decreases every other row until I have about 1/3 of the original number of stitches(I think most patterns do this decrease until about 1/2 the original number of stitches). Then I do the decreases every row about 5-6 times and then I kitchener with about 16 stitches remaining.

Finding Nutkin brought me to the Knitzi. Love this dp sock holder(see in the photo above)! If you are dp sock knitter...these holders are functional and beautiful.

The yarn is Knitterly Things vesper sock yarn. Julia began a sock club awhile ago and I was invited to join. This one is from the September 2008 shipment, an exclusive colorway called Pumpkin Spice.

These socks are great and they are done!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Almost 2 weeks ago I decided to send my friend Ruth an email. We had not corresponded in some time but she is always on my mind.

I went on with my day and happily headed downtown to meet Michale and Melinda for lunch at my favorite Japanese restaurant, Fuji Sushi. What is better than sharing great food with great friends? The only time constraint for me was that I had to get home before 1pm as the oven repair person was coming to fix our oven between 1 and 4(The oven saga is worthy of its own blog post! I was without an oven for 3 months).

I arrived home to find a package at my doorstep. A package? I didn't recall ordering anything!

I knew the return address. Ebeltoft, Denmark. I knew it was from Ruth.

I thought how coincidental life events can be. I had been thinking about Ruth, I sent her an email in the morning and in the afternoon I had a package from Ruth on my doorstep. I find it interesting how connected we humans can be.

The package was squishy. I thought...Oh how nice, Ruth is sending me some yarn!

I opened the package and quickly realized it was NOT yarn.

I carefully took out this incredibly intricate, large shawl done in "my colors". The tears(happy, sentimental ones) began to flow. I could not believe my eyes. I just wanted to wrap myself in this shawl, never to take it off.

I appreciate the caring, time and love that went into producing something of this magnitude. In an email I received over the summer I recall that she mentioned that she thought about me everyday. I know why! Of course she was thinking of me! She was knitting this. Think of all the hours she spent creating it.

This photo shows how truly HUGE this is!

As a fellow knitter I UNDERSTAND the level of effort that this takes. Here I am wearing it to Nihon class. It looks great with the shawl pin that her husband makes out of animal horn.

The next photo shows the edging detail.

I think about how Ruth and I "met". It all started with her Kauni Cardigan. Remember how she was my Yarn Angel, described in this post, this post and this post. Through the internet we have created a life-long friendship. I am so grateful!

Ruth, thank you so much!

I love it and will cherish it for the rest of my life!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Clown Pants and Kimono

What do Clown Pants and Kimono have in common?

They are handspun!

The first is Clown Pants by Dragonfibers. I was drawn to the life of the colors. The roving just looked "cheery" to me. I had never spun targhee before. It is very easy to spin! The 2-ply yarn is very squishy and soft. This is about 12wpi.

I am always amazed at how different something can look all spun up as opposed to how it looks in the roving.

The second one was done from a batt created by Loop. This was my first purchase from Steph. I was reading on the Ravelry Loop group that some fans pefer to spin singles from her batts. Since I have never spun from a batt before, I tried it.

This batt according to Steph's description is "This time I'm using about 60% bamboo (50% china red and 10% hot pink), 25% amazingly shiny, soft yearling mohair in a rich purple, and 15% corriedale in an amazing deep eggplant. It's all topped off with a sprinkling of white glitz for a shimmery sheen". It shows off the different fibers well.

My next post will give you a preview of the first two project for year 2 of Nihon Vogue. We need to come to class tomorrow with 4 swatches. Two per project - one washed, one unwashed for a dolman sleeve and puffy sleeve project.

I also received an amazing gift from my friend Ruth yesterday. This came totally out of the blue. All I can say is that I cherish it and I cried(fondly and sentimentally) when I opened the package. Photos to come!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

OFFF was a blast! (picture heavy post!)

This was my first trip to OFFF(Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival) in Canby, Oregon.

I understand why a lot of folks say that this is their favorite. It is small, laid back and just very down to earth!

Ellen and I started our trek at 6am on Saturday. I picked her up at her house, had to get some gas, and then began our trip south.

We arrived at the festival somewhere around 10am. We checked the map and made our priority list. Priority 1 was Lisa Souza's booth. Here is Ellen at the booth, with Lisa in the background on the left.

I bought about a pound of 50%merino, 50% silk roving in Pur-Zurple(16 oz). My last attempt at spinning for a specific project ended in a yarn that was dk rather than worsted. I am hoping this will end up worsted for the Wool Peddler Shawl.

Then we had to go visit Dicentra Designs. Here is Ellen in the booth - I wanted to get a photo of the huge roving on top of the display!

I bought some yummy silk/merino, again! This is the Edoras colorway(7.9oz). It is practically alive! The colors are so saturated and beautiful.

They also had some bins of sale roving and these two were 75% off! I paid something like $9 for both. On the left is BFL in Twilight(5oz) and on the right is Superwash Merino in Longbottom Leaf(4.2oz).

Then we headed over to Blue Moon Fiber Arts. We were hoping to see Tina so we could show off our sweaters made out of BMFA Mediumweight Socks That Rock. She remembered me and said "Naomi!" and gave me a big hug. I let them borrow my sweater on Saturday for their displays. She has posted a photo of me and Ellen on the BMFA blog, here.

I continued to make more damage to the Bang finances by purchasing these at BMFA:

Pucks Mischief in 70%Merino/30%Mohair(7.75oz). I couldn't pass up this fiber combo and the colors...well we all know Tina KNOWS color!

This makes me drool. It is 7.5 oz in 50%merino/50%silk in Valkyrie.

We then went to Crown Mountain Farms and purchased this which Ellen and I will split. It is Born to Be Wild 8 Oz of Superwash Merino.

We went upstairs in the main hall to check out the judged fibers. I purchased a sheltand fleece in dark brown/silver gray/black. So pretty. It won a reserve champion prize. Since I don't know much about what to look for I felt comfortable going this route for my first raw fleece purchase.

We decided we needed to STOP shopping. There were so many folks sitting under the tree in front of the main hall knitting and spinning. We got our chairs/wheels out of the car and sat down to spin the afternoon away. It was so relaxing! It was perfect weather!

The funny thing is on the way down Ellen and I were talking about our stashes and how we need to decrease the stash or make plans on how to tackle it. We really, really came through the gates trying to do our best to stay *calm* and be easy on the pocketbook. I wasn't very successful, was I?

Sunday we got up at a reasonable time so we could make the parking lot sale. This is where people bring their fleeces and you go in and just buy a raw fleece if that is your thing.

Here is Ellen as we wait in line.

We each bought a white shetland fleece from this adorable couple. I have started scouring this fleece and I think Ellen is just about scouring hers already! It is going to make some beautiful yarn and a beautiful sweater.

We ran into Tina on Sunday as we were spinning in the shade under the tree. She had this mischevious look and guess what? She bought a bunny. She was so cute, full of giddy excitedness! We were cracking up because she said the Blue Moon ladies have said they want a Barn Boy(aka Pool Boy) and now she said they have one!

Here she is with her new baby, Henry.

I finally got a photo of me and Tina!

We talked about the Sock Summit and plans for that fun event August of 2009. Go sign up for more infomation HERE. We chatted briefly and I am planning on volunteering my time to help with what I can. Sounds like a really fun event! The teachers they are getting and some of the ideas she shared with me...clear out those dates. You won't be disappointed!

I could go on and on...but this was a really, really fun trip. So much fun that I didn't miss my boys(a first for me)!

I'll definitely be going again next year...but with a budget limit!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Getting Stuff Done!

You know what? I am finally getting a bit of the hang of this retirement thing. I really am in better spirits, sleeping so much better and just feeling a sense of well-being, overall.

(Note: I've been up since 3:30 am this morning! I couldn't sleep. You know what? I didn't workout yesterday and look what happens...insomnia! I really do need that workout, don't I?)

A big part of changing my attitude has been working out again.

About two weeks ago I hired my friend, Kathie, to help me achieve my fitness goals. She recently passed the tests that allow her to be a fitness trainer. I have watched her get fit and lose almost 100 pounds in the past year. She is truly an inspiration.

My sister Cheryl and I meet with Kathie once a week and then we do our own workouts in-between sessions. I have faithfully been doing at least 5 workouts a week. I must tell you how much better I feel. Mentally, physically, spiritually.

If you are curious, I lift weights 3x a week and do one hour of cardio about 5 times a week. My cardio has been on the treadmill - 4 miles per session. I just love cardio! Weights...not so much but that is why I have Kathie. She pushes me to do the thing I hate most and I know when I see her she will ask how my workouts for the week went and I'll have to be honest and tell her. I'd be embarassed if I didn't do what I was supposed to do!

How does this relate to knitting? I have felt much more energy and motivation to get things done.

In the past few days I finished the following:

Raglan Body Hugger from The Knitting Experience Book 2: The Purl Stitch.

I made mine out Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mediumweight Sock yarn in Mr. Green Jeans. I started this on September 5 and completed it on September 25. Done in just under three weeks! It fits great and I did use some Nihon Vogue finishing techniques! I used the invisible cast-on and the invisible cast-off. I suppose I am getting ready for Year Two which begins on October 4! Coming right up!

I really like this yarn-now I know it is not just for socks! I would definitely use this yarn again for a sweater - so warm and cozy.

Next up...My Noni Night Garden Felted Evening Bag. I purchased the yarn for this about a year ago when Amy, Ellen and I took a weekend trip to Cannon Beach. I knit the bag and handles while there but hadn't touched it since. Part of the reason was I was trying to find the light pink color in cascade 220. At least that is the excuse I used for why it has languished in a plastic bag for the past year.

Recently I was going through my half finished projects and this was one I thought "oh,it won't take me too long to finish". It took a lot longer than I anticipated.

While out at Bangrila I finished knitting all the pieces and felted it. I can't felt here at home because our front loader won't let me open it mid cycle. Once I got the pieces felted...I just had to finish because it was looking so darn cute. I had to find the beads and thread to put it all together. I'm grateful that my sister Cheryl is a big time quilter. I just *shop* at her house for thread. I use a bit and then return it. Nice! Thanks Cheryl!

Putting the beads on was a bit of a hassle but now it is done!

I also got sucked into knitting a scarf recently(not that I don't already have 3 UNfinished ones sitting make that 4(my so called scarf, Lascala by Hanne Falkenberg, Seaweed Scarf by Starmore and the Modern Quilt Wrap).

Sarah, Plucky Knitter, introduced me to this scarf. I wanted mindless knitting and this surely provided that. I made mine out of 3 colors of Mirasol Hacho that I purchased at Village Yarn and Tea.

I didn't have anyone around to either take my picture or to put the scarf on so I put it around one of our art pieces...doesn't it brighten him up a bit?

Coming up - Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Ellen and I are making the trek down to Canby this weekend. Should be lots of fun.

I have year 2 of Nihon Vogue starting up in just over a week! Our first two projects are: a puffy sleeve garment and a dolman sleeve garment. And yes, both are coming back into fashion.

I have been poring over old magazines, books, Ravelry, etc. If you have ANY ideas for these two projects please email me! I need help! I have some ideas for them but nothing I feel really excited about. Next week will be all about drafting and making swatches.