Archive for 2006

From Burbank

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Just a quick note to prove that I am indeed alive and well. I flew down this morning, to LA’s cutest little airport. In fact, I could walk to it, as it sits just across the street from my hotel and can be viewed from my window.

I got most of my knitting done for the show while enjoying Thanksgiving at the in-laws up in Eugene, OR. However, selfish new car owner that I am, I sacrificed quality knitting time by driving there and back myself, while Mr. Man enjoyed the dog on his lap.

The “hero” bag was felted at work on Monday. I don’t love it… it’s bigger than the last one. But that’s just the magical/random nature of felting. I’d rather be knitting than fussing with hot water in the washing machine. My little sister will love it nonetheless.

Sonya, my wonderful producer, rehearsed me all afternoon. I’m feeling confident about the shoot. Call is 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. Now I just have to finish 40+ rows of a mini-version of the bag. Woo woo. Call that another Xmas gift.

Mr. Yarn Ball Boogie is shooting his show after mine, so I got to meet him today. Now that we’ve had face-time, I’ll have to stop lurking and drop him some comment love. He even shipped in his own entourage from Chicago, an inspiration and someone I’ve longed to meet since I started a-knittin’. His comment on my last post told me he’s reading, which makes me want to write more often, more cleverly and more betterly. I’ll see if he allows me to capture him on the otherside of the lens.

Too bad we have this TV show to do… I’d rather hang out and chat with them and Sonya all day!

GWM ISO Male Knitter

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

I’ll admit it. There’s no way in heck that I’ll finish my novel by the end of the month. A third year, a third loss. But I did get further than before. There’s always next year… and maybe I can still get this one past 10,000 words?

I fully blame Knitty Gritty. In fact, I happily blame them. It’s a great opportunity and I don’t want the writing to get in the way. I’m excited about being on the show and have been knitting like a madman, swatching like a champ, and improving on the original design of the messenger bag.

That said, do you want to be on the show with me?

The “Knitster” wrangler and producer have asked me to ask YOU to be on the show! They desparately need one more guy for the taping. You’ll get the materials to make your own messenger bag, too! If you’ve got both X and Y chromosomes and can get Los Angeles (well, Burbank, actually) for early morning on 11/30, leave a comment and I’ll put you in touch with the good people behind the show.

It would be great to have the company!

Shouldn’t I be novelling?

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Since I’m not giving you words to read, here’s a picture to look at. Me and Miss Janie Sparkles. Feel free to explore DeadSlow’s other photographs.

I’m way behind on wordcount, and it’s questionable whether or not I’ll make it. Knitty Gritty has asked me to shoot an episode about my felted messenger bag (originally published by, and updated construction inspired by Stephanie’s design from Knitty).

So, a wonderful opportunity; but a sad reality check for NaNoWriMo. I don’t know if I can knit samples of my bag in various stages of completion AND pound out the 2K+ words per day required to catch up.

But I’m going to try. Thanks for the encouragement, Rachael (local knitter, blogger superstar, and writerly inspiration who I look forward to meeting one day).

Taking a breather

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

I said I wouldn’t post here unless I had reached my daily goals. While I’m behind in the big picture, I did write above and beyond today’s goal. There’a s little graph that I’ll keep up in my sidebar for the month of November. So far, so good. I made up for a very slow start and feel pretty good. If only I got 700 words done tonight, I’d feel better. Almost 1500 behind. Alas.

In knitting news, Mom finished her second sock. I cast-on while talking to her this morning for a second one myself. It must be genetic. Can’t wait for the photo, Mom. Keep on knitting!

I am dead to you

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

My Sock Wars death has arrived. Actually, I traveled to Portland this past weekend and met my killer, Grandcarriage. Thanks, Bob!

This here blog may be quiet for the next 30 days. I’m going to try my hand (for a third time) at NaNoWriMo. I’m not going to allow myself to knit or to babble here until I get my daily word count. My only extra curricular activities will be swimming, Janie walks and maybe a little work, say, 45-55 hours a week.

Wish me luck. Send me your ideas for characters, plots or motivation. I hope to survive with minimal RSI.

Like mother, like son

Thursday, October 26th, 2006
Mom's first sock on (knit by her)

Watch out world! One of my most favorite knitters in the whole wide world has not only figured out how to post comments here, but she’s completed her first sock!!!

That’s right, my mom decided to return to knitting after a 35+ year hiatus (during which she raised three amazing children). With experience ingrained in her muscle memory and the help of a lady from church, she made the jump from dishrag to knitting a sock on two circulars! I wouldn’t have recommended knitting something so small and fine for a first circular project, but never underestimate my mother. Or your own mother.

Please join me in congratulating her and wish her well on the second one!

And, thanks for the kind words about Grady’s hat. E, for the liner, I picked up stitches along the cast-on edge and knit a simple stockingnette for about 3 inches. I cast off and carefully sewed the flap into the hat, ever 2 or 3 stitches. It’s basically a sewn-in headband that’s about as tall as the basketweave brim.

Full disclosure: the yarn and needles were her birthday present from me. Her birthday was back in January, however, it took me almost 9 months to FINALLY send it to her. She has the patience of a saint. And, she’s a speedy knitter!

Grady’s Great Toque

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Here’s a hat that’s a year overdue. Last Fall, my work sent me to Poland to work on a Habitat for Humanity project in Gdansk. While there, I churned out some simple head coverings for two of the women working for the local affiliate, a manly birthday cap and one for a special Cana(r)dian friend.

Grady, a coworker and my roommate there, wanted a hat of his own. I didn’t want to just make any old thing for him, but I didn’t know what I did want. While browsing through Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Patterns for Knitting in search of cables for the Durrow-inspired hoodie I’m making Betsy, I saw something I wanted to try on. The charts in the book are amazing, while the overall patterns themselves aren’t necessarily things I’d want to make.

Combine the S-cable discovery with the locally-produced yarn procured from the Hoe’s Down Festival a few weeks back, and I was off and running.

The result, a mishmash (as opposed to an original design) of basketweave brim (heck, I had never knit that stitch heretofore!) with the cables in the frost-covered-soil hues of the corriedale aran yarn. There was an ever-so-slight prickliness to the wool, so I added a liner of cashermere/merino Halfdome leftovers.

I’m not sure if it’s the handsome impact of the natural-colored yarn, the complex cables and textured brim, or the cozy liner on the inside, but I’m sad to let this hat go. That said, I couldn’t imagine a better guy to give it to. I guess he deserves one of my favorite items ever knit.

A few more photos on my page

Farewell, Girlmobile!

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006
Farewell, Girlmobile!

A sad sight from Friday the 13th. My first-ever car being towed away. I sold it for scrap to an auto parts dealer for a measly $600. A casualty of a hit-and-run driver while innocently parked at 14th and South Van Ness in the Mission.

Although I’m not a car person, I will miss it/her. In fact, I used to pride myself on not owning a car and being a bike and public transport kind of guy. That little vehicle was bought in 1999 after I made a blind move down to LA for a promotion. Nine months later, I returned back to SF and that was the only (s)car from the experience.

Without it, I would have never been the athlete I became, driving to triathlons, trail runs and early morning workouts. It was my chariot to my job in Berkeley, a shuttle for countless visitors to SFO or OAK, and many surprise rides home for my boyfriend and his bike from the pool.

I survived for four weeks vehicle-less. The first week entirely on BART and my bike. The following three weeks were a combination of a co-workerer’s kind carpool (allowing Janie Sparkles to come to the office), inline skates or my bike to BART.

Honestly, it wasn’t too difficult. Not being able to drive the dog to a park was the only downside. I enjoy riding the train to work. I like the time I get to knit and listen to music or books (any suggestions for my next download?). It’s been a means to get to know JH better and I’ll always welcome another dog-owning friend! It felt nice to reconnect to the City. Instead of orbiting freeways in my aluminum pod, I was part of the urban fabric.

Last Friday, the day of the sorry photo above, I picked up my new car. (No, I won’t post photos. That’s just silly.) I drove to work every day this past week, although I did carpool with JH and drive multiple co-workers home. It’s not a return to the gas-guzzling status quo. I’ll use it judiciously. So far, Janie Sparkles has enjoyed a park visit, a beach romp and many days at the office. I relish the freedom of being able to come and go as I please.

However, yesterday was such a lovely day, I decided to walk my ass all over town, through the Castro, to ImagiKnit, into a (new to me) hip, lil’, custom graphic apparel shop (My Trick Pony), and I had a surprise run-in with a friend’s girlfriend as I walked back home.

That’s something I hadn’t done for months. Note to self: take more walks, not just with the dog. It felt great to reclaim this town and the distances between my home and favorite neighborhoods as my own.

Dearest Assassin,

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

I’m sorry I never called to arrange a meeting last weekend when you were in town. Were I not horribly sick, I would have gladly met you and my demise at your handiwork and the Socks of Doom. Instead, I await my death via post.

Last week was gastrointestinally challenging and culminated in a cold that hit me like a truck. I was down for the count on Saturday, so much so that I didn’t swim at a fundraiser where my team was performing. Putting on a brave face and holding my tummy, I stoically pressed play and stop at the appropriate times on the iPod. Afterwards, a nap and a gradual return to eating. God bless miso soup and plain spaghetti with a bit of butter and salt! It’s so rare that I don’t want to eat.

I still don’t know what caused my upset gut. I feel lucky, having never experienced bloating and pain like that up to now. (Sorry for the graphic details, but to read me is to know me.) Was it the spicy shrimp curry at Vik’s (stick with the veggie dishes!) on Wednesday? Or the shock to my system from the raw kale and friends at the vegan Cafe Gratitude (I am gaseous)? Or was it the atypical two beers with dinner on Friday?

After my intestines returned to their normail size, there was the congestion, sore throat and general run-down-ness of a cold to contend with. I must have finally caught what C was suffering through all week. Nothing a few days of herbal teas and a lot of rest couldn’t fix. Sunday was the worst, but I was feeling it through Wednesday of this week.

Now, I’m back in fine form. I’ve returned to knitting, though not socks, as I still haven’t received my target’s target’s target’s work. This week I made what I consider to be my best hat to-date from the farm wool. Betsy’s hoodie calls. M still hasn’t told me what color she wants for her special FU mittens. The socks begun on the way to the farm need a heel flap. And, I’m fielding phone calls from my mom as she begins her first pair of socks after a 35+ year hiatus from knitting.

If you haven’t already sent them, I’ll be in Portland (well, Beaverton) from Thursday night until Sunday morning. You could kill me on your own home turf, but I guess that loses some of the stalker-fun quotient of you being in my town. Oh well. I’m just looking forward to a dandy new pair of foot coverings.

Your Target

A day on the farm

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Some PigOn Saturday, after swim practice, I headed out to an event I’d been meaning to go to for the past 5 years. The Hoe’s Down Festival at Full Belly Farm. It was the 19th annual harvest celebration of sustainable agriculture and rural living in the nearby Capay Valley. The organic veggie box we get delvered to the office comes from River Dog Farm, another Yolo County farm just 6 miles down the road.

Newborn fainting goatAfter an hour and a half drive from Berkeley, a horse-drawn wagon shuttled us in from the parking area. Gastronomically, I enjoyed some polenta cakes with grilled veggies and a tasty hummus wrap. But, there was more to see and do than farm tours, great food and a day in the country. There was the new straw bale house is a stunning example of green building techniques—complete with a beautiful indoor/outdoor shower with some beautiful tilework. There were sheep, pigs (including the one-half ton Cinquo), a milking cow and a bunch of goats, including a little guy who was just one day old.Milking Cow

I only went up for the afternoon and evening, but festivities went into the night, with overnight camping and more workshops on Sunday. Music, dancing and activities for kids of all ages, from crafts and pumpkin carving to wine tasting and organic beer. Lover of wool that I am, my favorite area was the spinning and weaving area, and I didn’t walk away empty-handed. Not that I needed any more yarn… Thank you, Yolo Wool Mill.Hoe's Down Haul

Yes, there was sheep-shearing, however I missed it. For the record, I don’t spin. While I have used a drop spindle, I’m resisting the urge to spin my own yarn, despite how many of the cool kids do it. I’ve got plenty of yarn and things to knit as is. No need to add something else to eat my non-existent spare time.

Lastly, doesn’t that guy on the label look like a friend of Franklin’s pal Dolores?