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.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Selling My Husband

My husband, Greg Bang, is an avid underwater photographer.

Personally I think his photos are great, wonderful, fantastic!

For the past month and a half, some of his photos have been on display at the main Starbucks at University Village.

His photos will be on display until the end of September. So if you are in the area stop by and take a look!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I have never reclaimed a yarn from a previously knit item.

According to the Websters Dictionary, 'reclaimed' is:

To rescue from an undesirable state

Here is a poncho I made years ago - it was cute and served its purpose at the time. (This bad photo was taken with my iPhone in low light)

This yarn, seen below, screamed to be reclaimed. Isn't it pretty? It is Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky 50%wool/50%alpaca in Blossom. I loved this pink color and I loved the yarn. I kept looking at it, listening to it beg to be made into something that could show off all of her good attributes.

What to do with this yarn? I'm thinking Fantine by French Girl Knits.

The photo of the reclaimed yarn shows the yarn pretty darn close to how it looks in person. It was taken with:

My new Nikon CoolPix S60. If you recall I conducted a poll to determine which Coolpix color I should choose. My personal first choice was Crimson Red and that was also top choice in the poll. As luck would have it, MY color was just released! None of the other colors are available yet. I have been playing with this camera and as I suspected, I really love the touch screen operability. So intuitive to use.

I have take *some* photos and I do like the quality of the pictures.

This baby came just in time for OFFF...hopefully I'll remember to actually take some photos rather than get caught up in all the fibery goodness!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Non Knitting Content!

As you know our house is in the process of being re-sided.

Things are going slower than we anticipated(isn't that how home projects always go?).

As you may recall, this is what our old siding looked like and still looks like on one small part of the house where they have not torn it down, yet.

A bit closer detail of the old, yucky stuff!

The new stuff, James Hardie board is almost all done on the north side of the house.

The orange parts of the picture above will be done in a faux sandstone material made by Nichiha which like the James Hardie products are a fiber cement material.

I love the details. We have a rain screen behind the panels and nice metal details in between the boards. The panels are screwed in rather than nailed in to enhance the look and was purposefully done as a design element. I am sure this has added additional time as the installers have to make sure all the screws line up correctly. I am sure the they just love us! I think it looks fantastic.

The south side of the house only has the battons up. Siding has yet to go up there.

The back of our house, or the west side, is what they have been working on last week and this week. This is where the design of the panels was very important to us. We had something specific in mind for the center part of the house. The center part is where it will be painted blood red(sundried tomato) and the panels are also cut in squares...different from the rest of the house. It is a bit hard to see the difference in the photos below.

The two decks require work and that has yet to be completed.

The whole project was to be completed by next Friday. Given that they still have work on the two decks to do before they can install the Nichiha and the south side and east side to get siding up on, as well painting the whole house, I don't believe they can finish by September 26!

By the way...Any of you going to OFFF (Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival)? Drop me a line at if you are going and want to meet up at some point. Ellen and I will be there!

Monday, September 15, 2008


There has been a lot of activity here!

The siding project is going slow. We were supposed to have full crews the past week and we've only had 3 guys here. This kind of siding is time consuming and the men putting it up must be detail oriented. So, things are going slower than we had hoped. All I can say is it is going to beautiful! I'm too lazy to take photos right now so I'll post photos soon.

Now to the fiber portion of this post.

I knit a scarf for Michale's birthday in Plucky Knitter 50%merino/50% silk in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The scarf is Alhambra by Anne Hanson. Unfortunately I was in such a hurry to get this project completed in time for her birthday that I did not get photos of the post blocked scarf. Hopefully Michale will send me some photos!

Here is a pre-blocking photo.

A warning on this pattern. As with all of Anne's patterns, it is well written and easy to follow. The downside with this particular pattern...there are pattern rows on the purl side. Usually you get the non-thinking brain section on the purl rows but this have to keep the brain engaged on all rows!

While out at Churchmouse with Plucky, Ellen and I looked at this sweater knit out of Socks that Rock Mediumweight. She noticed it first. She mentioned something to me about it and I didn't want to listen(only because I could hear that sucking sound - you know the one - the one right before you get sucked into doing a project). Then I kept going back to the sweater, looking at it. Then I said to Ellen in a stern voice "Ellen, I need to talk to you!". She asked me "Am I in trouble?". I said "we have to do this". So we succumbed and are doing the sweater in the book The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville on page 92 - called the Raglan Body Hugger. I haven't looked at that book in quite some time but it has a lot of really good, simple projects in it. If you have the book it might be worth looking through again!

I went out of my color comfort zone and am doing mine out of Mr. Green Jeans. At first I started calling it my Seahawks Sweater because the colors are very Seahawk-y but now that I see a larger portion of it knit up, it doesn't look so much like Seahawk colors.

I made a boo-boo while out at Churchmouse. The shop sample said it required 4 skeins. I didn't bother looking at the pattern in book at the shop to find out that for my size I only needed 3 skeins. I have an extra skein...for matching socks! I have finished the front and am working on the back. Honestly, by now, Ellen is probably finished with her sweater!

I finished knitting and feling a cute little Noni bag. I just got the beads and need to sew them on and put the bag together. When that is complete I will post photos.

I also started a brainless-to-knit scarf. Thanks to Plucky I became obsessed with finding yarn for this project. I could not find a nice dk weight yarn for this while Sarah was here. I even went through my stash - believe it or not I do not have much dk weight yarn and definitely not any yarn that was fitting for this project. Then I went on Ravelry looking for dk weight yarn and found Mirasol Hacho. I knew they carried it at Village Yarn and Tea so I got my three skeins there this past Thursday. I am on the third color and close to being finished.

I've also been spinning. Look what I started last Thursday night at Village. This is 100% wool dyed by Julia Vesper. This was one of the first rovings I purchased when I started spinning. It is about 3 oz, and 11wpi.

This next photo is of some lovely handspun that Ellen gave me for my birthday. It is Crown Mountain corriedale. It is 17-20 wpi depending on where you measure and her tag says it is 15.75 oz. When I weighed it measured 8.5 ounces. I am not sure what happened to the fiber in-between 15.75 and 8.5 oz?? Regardless, this will be a wonderful shawl! Thank you Ellen!

Now to the enabling part of the post. Are you a spinner? Are you looking for small, lightweight, portable spinning wheel?

I was introduced to the Pocket Wheel about 6 months ago and have been thinking about it since. See in the url, it is It is a sign!

In early August I contacted Doug Dodd, the maker of the wheel. He lives in Bellingham. I inquired about going up to visit him so I could try the wheel out. We scheduled a day/time for me and Ellen to drive up and try this baby out. The night before our adventure he called to say he was ill and it would be better if we cancelled our appointment. I knew Village Yarn and Tea was going to have him up for the September Spinning Night and I could try the wheel out at that time.

Well I couldn't wait. I sent my deposit in the next day to get on the waiting list. At that time I knew the wait for the wheel was 3 months out and I just had a sense that this was going to be a good, no great, wheel. The folks that had raved about it were long-time spinners so I trusted what I had heard.

Now the wait is 6 months out. He is working with a furniture maker to make some of the parts and it is at that part in the process that things are getting delayed.

When I got to spin on it Thursday night I was blissing out. Being short it can be hard for me to find a chair to comfortably spin in. The peddles on this baby are higher and slanted a tiny bit. I felt so comfortable spinning on this. Plus the wheel is very smooth. I know I'm going to love it.

I can only imagine just being able to put it in a little bag and be on my way to meet friends to spin. It really CAN just go in a tote bag. I'm hoping to have my wheel by Madrona in February 2009!

I call it my Gnome Wheel! Very fitting!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Plucky Came to Visit

A week and a half ago, Plucky Knitter aka Sarah came to visit!

I was so excited that she would come to visit and play at Bangrila with me and my friends! I can't remember if it was Amy or Ellen that said I should invite Sarah to Bangrila and see if she would come back to visit us! Lo and behold, she said yes!

Note: What is Bangrila? It is a heavenly get-a-way named using the Bang family name coined off of Shangrila. It is the family "cabin" on a lake in Mason County. And yes, it is called Bangrila. There are even signs on the property marking it "Bangrila".

Wednesday September 3, Sarah arrived at 11:30 am and the three of us picked her up at the airport and promptly headed over to Churchmouse Yarn and Teas where we perused for quite some time. You do know that Churchmouse carries Plucky Knitter yarn, don't you?

We also had to stop off at Mora for ice cream.

We had a whirlwind couple days taking Sarah shopping(shoes, yarn and Trophy cupcake) before we headed out to Bangrila for the weekend where Joni, Melinda, Michale and Bob(Sarah's hubby) joined us.

Sarah got THE cutest pair of red shoes at Market Street Shoes(see Sarah's blog for a photo of them). I spotted them as soon as I walked into the store and they are beautiful! I might have to go back and get me a pair!

Side note: did you know what Crocs makes a line of shoes called You by Crocs? They are adorable, sexy AND comfortable. I tried on a to-die-for, cute pair of 3 1/2 inch high pumps that were amazingly comfortable! I might have to go back for those...for those events I sometimes attend that require something more dressy than Crocs or Dansko's!

Friday we headed out to Bangrila. We mostly sat around and knit(chatted and snacked, too) out on the patio. Oh! Sarah introduced me to a very yummy drink that is low Squirt and Stoli Peach Vodka. A new gnomiejo favorite!

Saturday we headed out to see the couple yarn stores in the area, the Allyn Knit Shop and Fancy Image Yarn

We returned to the patio in the afternoon. Amy started spinning on Ellen's Majacraft Rose. Once Amy got the real hang of things...well it was all over. Believe it or not she already owns a wheel now and is spinning up a storm! Another one has come over to the dark side!

Bob, Sarah's husband, arrived Saturday night just in time for our scrumptious risotto and salmon dinner.

Sunday we hung out for a bit and then Sarah and Bob left to do lots of sight-seeing in the area. Some of us watched the terrible Seahawk game and some folks headed for home. By mid afternoon all my guests had left and I had one more night to myself out at the lake.

I spent a few hours cleaning(this always takes me longer than I think it will - vacuuming, mopping, cleaning all the bathrooms, etc.). Then I had the whole house to myself. Now that I am free from work-life I may just go out there more often. I can't tell you how peaceful and quiet it is out there.

We had so much fun(at least I did) and I look forward to hosting friends at Bangrila again.

I hooked up with Sarah and Bob one last time this past Thursday at Village Yarn and Tea before they were to head home

I don't know how 5 days went by and I did not take any photos of our fun! Check out Joni's blog entry for more detail and photos.

I hope that Sarah and Bob(and Shelby) will come back to Seattle and visit us again!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby Chase!

14 years ago today, my baby Chase was born.

As I reflect about the past 14 years I can't believe the time has passed so quickly.

He has seen me through love breakups and the death of my mom and my sister and countless other life challenges(like breaking Greg in as husband! HA!).

Just about 2 years ago I almost lost him to pancreatitis.

I have some photos, of photos, from my scrapbooks I would like to share. Chase is a purebred Yorkshire Terrier and his official AKC name is Gnome's Magnanimous Chaser. He was born September 11, 1994.

He was the easiest dog to raise. I got him when he was 8 weeks old. He was raised by a very loving human mother that had 3 human boy children that picked him up, played with him and socialized him well to come and live with me. When I took Chase home, his first human mama was crying as she gave him over to me. Yes, he has been well loved since he was born.

Back in 1994 I had purchased my first home and was excited that I could finally get a dog. I had done a ton of research to determine what kind of dog I wanted. I knew I wanted a non-shedding small dog. A breed with lots of personality. I decided on a Yorkshire Terrier.

Remember way back 14 years ago. You couldn't just go on the internet to see photos of potential family members!

I found this home breeder in the Seattle Times classifieds and something about the ad called to me. I called my sister Cheryl to find out if she would go with me "just to look" at these Yorkies. At the last minute I put my checkbook in my purse and drove over to my sister's house. Next thing I knew I was coming home with a new family member!

I had read that puppies can go to their new homes and cry at night so I was prepared for a sleepless night. Chase slept through the whole night-no crying or whining. He was easy to housetrain as well. Within 2 weeks he had the hang of it and was very reliable. He even figured how to scratch at the door to let me know he had to go out to do his business.

Here we are 14 years ago on the day I brought him home. He was 2.5 pounds.

Here is Chase's baby photo. I love this photo of him. His coloring has changed a lot!

Here is Chase with his Yorkie parents.

He was not too cooperative in letting me take his photo today as he was hunting around for food in the kitchen. Here is my sweetheart who turned 98 years old in dog years today. Each year that passes and we can celebrate his birthday is a real milestone.

Seriously I can't imagine my life without this little guy. He has definitely enhanced my life in ways I never could have imagined.

Happy Birthday Chase!