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!