Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Wednesday to you, Happy Wednesday to you...

Hi, Everyone.

Well, today was windy and cool, with rain coming later. 
(Ask my knees how they know.)   Winding down with a nice warm cup of Earl Grey tea and my lace knitting is is my idea of a fun evening.  

I know, lace doesn't look like anything until it's blocked.  But maybe you can get an idea of where we are going.  This is the bridal shawl about 1/2 of the way through the center section.  Then comes the edging and beading, so maybe 1/3 done in total. Yes, those are nupps, the glory and bane of lace knitters.   Just you wait until this baby is all blocked out...

We stopped in South Park, as it is handy to my Doctor's appt and the tax lady.   Dan read newspapers and ate very nice fresh scones with freshly made strawberry sauce at Rebecca's ( while I went across the street to the Grove, to fondle yarn and knit a bit.  Susan has some wonderful yarns and books.  There is some lace weight alpaca and silk she is going to be getting in soon that is to die for.  HMMMMM...  How am I going to wait???  Also Susan has some samples up in the shop that show beads dangling from the points of the lace.  And I thought I was the only one doing that!!!  The bridal shawl is planned to have plum beads at the points, as per the bride's request.  We'll see how it works out.  I may ask Heather, aka mother of the groom, to assist in stitching on the beading, as she is better at it than I am.  (Neatness counts, Julie)

Susan also has some to-die-for shawl pins.  After this bridal shawl is done, I may have to pay her another visit..  For the shawl pin, mind you. No, NOT the alpaca/silk lace weight.  Say this three times out loud, I already have too many started projects, 
I already have too many started projects,  I already have too many started projects.  Big sigh, we'll see when the day comes...  I can already imagine the lace weight in a nice reversible garter lace scarf, for example.

Susan also has some very interesting jewelry and fabric projects... I was very good and only bought a pretty little clasp that just jumped into my hand.

Dan eating scones and reading papers at Rebecca's

Don Lee was playing guitar at Rebecca's.  I think he knows everything ever written since, say 1940.  Amazing musician.  He played his unique version of "Nights in White Satin" for me.  His "Riders on the Sage" took me 'way back.  Check him out if you get a chance.  He puts a very original spin on everything he plays.  One guitar and a drum machine, but he makes it sound like a full room.

I did my taxes this afternoon, so we had dinner in a little inexpensive Chinese place whose sole virtue is that it is right by my tax lady.  Well, in addition to being really cheap.  So, I'd rather  talk about LAST night.

This was last night.   Amber asked me if we were doing anything special for passover.  I said, "Ummmm, we were thinking of going out for Chinese. "

said, "Yeah, right, Mom.  Be sure to set aside a plate of moo sho pork for Elijah."  Smartypants daughter, LOL. 

So we went to the Dumpling Inn,   They offer a regional Chinese cuisine from the north west part of China.  Wheat farmers up there, so lots of noodles and dumplings.   
First we had the best pickled jellyfish in San Diego, IMHO.  Then steamed dumplings with meat and soup filling and shredded ginger on top.   When you bite into them, your mouth is filled with a burst of savory soup flavor.  Youza, good!

Next hand made noodles with lamb.  Ask for the home made noodles or they give you store-bought.   The noodles were wonderful, eggy and fresh, cut rustic and raggy.    Now I like the gamey  taste of lamb and they had gone to a lot of trouble to have it turn out non-gamey.   So mixed results for lamb-lover me.   Many years ago when I first started coming to this place, the lamb was more like mutton, rich and gamey tasting.  So I loved it and most other Americans did not.  Too bad they changed the style, sigh.

Followed by shrimp, garlic slivers, snow peas and broccoli.   Now I love snow peas, so I wish there had been more peas and less broccoli.   After we ordered we noticed asparagus and shrimp on the specials board.  Next time I will try that.

Dan has to have at least one shrimp dish, or it is not Chinese for him.  If he were marooned on a desert island and had to pick the one food to be airlifted in, it would be shrimp.  Sounds like the beginning to a reality TV show.   His mother is the same way, serious shrimp-a-holic.  A few years ago, his parents got back form a vacation trip to Mexico.  Dan's father made a very sad face and told us he had some really terrible news to share with us. 

"What, What", we said.

"It's terrible.  But I must tell you.  There are no more shrimp in Mexico."

"What do you mean - no more shrimp in Mexico?"

"Your mother ate them all." 

Lilo and I wish you a lovely night,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Day in the Country

Hello, everyone,

Today was one of those spring days so beautiful you almost can't stand it.  Monday never had it so good.   I went far out in the back country to see a friend, Dan drove.   Yes, I'm spoiled.   Lilacs at every turn, colorful wildflowers, fresh breezes float an herbal perfume with floral notes softly over the mountain side, trees budding out, hawks flying free and in the valley beautiful green farmland with real live cows and horses.   Can you tell I'm a city girl?  Wow, it was really beautiful. 

Then I stopped by to see another friend in a nursing home out in that neighborhood.   She had taken a turn for the worse and it nearly took my breath away.   I had not expected to see her so bad.   Kind of shocking.   I need to chant for her before I go to sleep to regain my equilibrium.   Somehow, it made me feel very grateful that I married Dan.  Yes, like all men, he has his quirks, and sometimes they drive me crazy,  but he takes very good care of me whenever I am sick.  That includes driving me when my knees are too tight to move quick enough for traffic safety.  Thoughtful nursing care in a husband is a wonderful thing. I'm confident if anything drastic happened to me he would see that I got he best care.   It's not like I don't have any quirks, too, LOL.  I'm the queen of quirky.  Today my friend tried to tactfully tell me that I looked like a circus clown....  I think it was the bright red and yellow plaid pants with the lime green watermelon print shirt that did it.  Or the dark green crochet hat and rhinestone sunglasses?   Ha!  Sometimes I amaze myself.

On the way home we stopped to have dinner at Sycuan,  Now you see just how far out in the country we were, if Sycuan is on the way back, LOL.   We had the $10 buffet.   I was surprised at how good it was.   It has improved since the last time we were there. 

Dan ready to dig into a nice bit of rare prime rib.  The carving station guy was putting the slabs of rare meat on the grill for those folks who like, say, medium/well.  He asked me how I like it and I said, "just so it doesn't moo".  He smiled and nodded.  The man knows beef.  

The salads were good and so were the deserts.  The green beans were fresh, not frozen.   ( I put the cheese sauce from the garlic Alfredo pasta on them, tee-hee.)  Of course, it did not hurt that we poured the rum sauce intended for the bread pudding all over the desserts.   The bread pudding was eggy and good, too, not just the rum sauce.   As Tony Bourdain sez, "I'm such an egg slut."   Applies to me, too.  Egg slut, that's me.  Can't wait for some deviled eggs this weekend.

Some kind of yummy layered bars...

And the staff was very nice and friendly and helpful.   Altogether a great experience.   The only downside is that it is a little loud in there for intelligent dinner conversation.   My friend, Larry, called me and said, " What's the matter with your cell phone?  I can hardly hear you."  LOL.   I told him my phone was fine,  I was just enjoying a great buffet dinner in a very loud Indian casino and he laughed.  

More yummy sweet bits... Off the diet tonight.   I'm no gambler so it only cost me $10....  Can't seem to get the hang of the gamble thing.  I just lose and what's the fun in that?  They say your worst night gambling is the first one where you win...

I finished a dark green crochet hat last night, but now I am not so sure it is totally finished.  I think I want to add a second layer in pink or rose to make it reversible.  So, I'll let you see it after it is really done.  I have to take some breaks from the bridal lace in order to not go completely crazy.  I'm on the 4th repeat of the "5
nupps on a branch" pattern.  The blog spell checker doesn't speak Estonian, LOL.  It always flags "nupps".  12,904 stitches so far and I'm just getting started.

Lilo wanted to cuddle earlier and I didn't so she was offended and went outside to be a cat of deep mystery for a while.  She'll be baaaack.  Whoops.  Here she comes back in her favorite cat window.  She must be psychic.  I mentioned her name and here she comes a-runnin' for a pet.

Lilo sez, "Goodnight", too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More on the red shawl, Phat's Pho

Hello everyone,

It's a beautiful spring Sunday in San Diego, sunny, clear, warm, and breezy.  Birds chirping, flowers blooming, trees budding out in fresh spring green, tiny pink roses on my porch.    I got a good night's rest and I feel great.

I've been getting emails asking for more details on the pretty red shawl I gave my sister.  Gay Fakkema made the "shades of red" sock yarn I used.  Not so much difference as to show,  just enough to provide depth of color.  Gay is so happy at how it turned out, she asked me if she could use my sister's pic in the shawl.    Evva Gay (number 1 sister) said, sure, use the pic, she'd love to be famous, LOL.   Gay can be reached at  Lamzie Divy Woolens on Etsy, on a web site and on a blog of the same name.    Just Google it and you'll find all three.    This is the sock yarn she sells, Jacob sheep and a little nylon, I think.  Firm twist.  Yes, it was 1 skein and a little more than half of the next.  I'm guessing 1 2/3.   Gay puts up a nice big skein, almost 400 yards, if I remember right.  For details on the yarn, you'd better ask Gay.  I gladly 100% recommend her sock yarn.  Nice on the hands to work with, too.

Before I blocked the shawl, it was small and woolly and cuddly and warm.    An entirely different animal.    When I washed the shawl in shampoo in prep for blocking it,  I used a whole mini-"hotel bottle" of hair conditioner in the rinse water (Sheraton mint and lavender, LOL) which I did NOT rinse out.    This makes the yarn slip easily on itself and the blocking comes out so much evener and bigger and drapier and prettier.   Otherwise the yarn grabs itself and impedes the blocking.  If there is a bit too much conditioner in the yarn, no problem, it rinses out at the next washing.  Also, I think the moths do not like the herbal conditioner so much, so....  that helps with them, too.  BTW, the red color did not bleed much in the wash, so my compliments to Gay's dying skills.  Now is is big and floaty and drapes elegantly.  The pattern really pops.  You can actually see all those nupps in detail that I worked so hard on.

The pattern is Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail.  Free on her web site,  Size 9 needle for sock yarn opens it right up.  Thank you, Evelyn.

Right now I am busy with a beautiful snow white shawl in very fine merino yarn (smaller than sewing thread) in Estonian Lily of the Valley pattern for my nephew's bride this fall. It's coming along nicely.  I think I will use the edging from Swallowtail or one from the Estonian knitting book on the bridal shawl.  They want to marry 10-10-10, so I'm in speed knitting mode.   When I finish the bridal shawl, I want to make another one in Gay's sock yarn.  Maybe deep regal purple or Greek Islands blue.  She has very intense colors.  Assuming the bridal shawl has not made me blind, LOL.  Well, at least it's white and easy to see that way, even if the sheer number of tiny stitches on the barely-there yarn is crazy-making.

Today Dare took me to lunch at Phat Restaurant in Kearny Mesa, 4633 Convoy.  Wow!   It was great!!!  
And handy to the SGI Community Center.  We had the pho buffet.  If you love pho like I do, this place is amazing.  I can't wait to bring my grandson, Nathan, who is pho-crazy.  There is one long table of appetizers: roll ups, dumplings, Chinese red roasted Cha-sha pork, lettuce cups with spicy chicken, different kinds of chicken wings, shrimpies, Hue dumplings, etc.  Many, many appetizer dishes, more than you can try all in one visit.

Then you help yourself at the pho bar.  You put whatever you want (very thinly sliced raw meat, cooked and sliced tendon, noodles, sprouts, herbs, etc) into your bowl and then choose the boiling hot broth to ladle over.  The hot soup instantly cooks the meat and turns the whole thing totally yummy.  There are 4 kinds of soup to choose from: rich beef, spicy beef, rich chicken and another beef identified with a label in Vietnamese, so I do not know the difference on that one.  I had half spicy beef and half rich beef.  To-die-for good, and not expensive.

Speaking of food, my husband has started a foodie blog, so check him out. 

My favorite track on this dance CD, Nine levels of consciousness, is "You are perfect, just the way your are".  I'm dancing in my seat.

Lilo is sleeping beside me.  She loves to help me blog. 

Have a great afternoon,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Claire's, a Point Protector Keeper and garlic

Hello, Folks,
What a beautiful warm spring day we had today!  It's Friday evening and Dan is busy at the KMCC, so I actually get the computer without having to ask him to give me a turn. Yeah!

He and I just about came to "words" today.  He saw a new version of Palm software on the Palm website and wanted to upgrade my phone.  I explained that he needed to wait until Verizon released their version or it would just mess up my phone.  I went  to bed.  Male with itchy upgrade finger could not resist the siren call of technology and tried the upgrade anyway, which bombed and wiped out my database.   Heh, you no touch-a my phone again or I break-a you fin-ger.   He spent several hours on the phone with Verizon and Palm and finally got it all put back together, including an intact database, back on the original version.  He now understands that we will have to wait until Verizon is ready for the upgrade.  Uh-Huh.  But could not believe his wife.  Uh-huh.  Oh, well, I guess I'm over it as he manfully strove all day long and finally was successful at restoring my data.

We had lunch in Solana Beach with Anita and Heather (number 2 sister)  today.  On the drive up the freeway embankments were so beautiful.   The deep purple lupine flowers were so beautiful, and the red and pink freeway portulacca, too.  Some call it Moss Rose.  We ate at Claire's,

Great food!  Everything very fresh.  Duck salad was awesome.  Other Salads great, too.  I enjoyed a yummy omelet.  My roasted potatoes were too greasy though.  I shuda had the sweet potato fries that Dan had with onions and cheddar cheese on top.  Those were crazy good.  Great bakery, too.  The lemon bars are heavenly.  Nice service.   Over lunch I gave Anita a pretty necklace I made at the beading class.  I blogged about it earlier.  Then she gave me one, too, LOL.  Great minds think alike. I left Heather and Anita planning colors for a reversible hat Heather is making.

Today I invented something.  When I work on delicate lace knitting, I like to use a point protector, so the the sharp points of the lace needles do not snag the lace when it is riding along in my bag.  But... there is a fly in the ointment.  I take off the point protectors and then have to find a place to put them where I will not lose them, drop them in the car, under the table where they roll into that back corner that is hard to reach, etc.  As you can imagine, I tend to lose them.  That must be why they sell them 4 at a time, instead of 2.  I thought of piercing the tips with a needle, installing a jump link  and attaching a chain.  The the chain could be clipped into one of  the many stitch markers I use for lace (25 stitch markers in this piece).  But, this sounds like some considerable work.  Then my mother-in-law suggested making a tiny bag to attach to my knitting instead.  Probably much easier, and it involved knitting something.  So, Ta-DA, here I give you a free pattern for a:

Point Protector Keeper.

Worsted weight scrap yarn, I used bright purple so it would be easy to find against the white lace.
size 8 knitting needles and crochet hook to match

Cast on 16. Knit 10 rows. Slip 8 sts onto the spare needle.  Fold the work in the middle. Russian join from the middle to the edges.  Pull the live tail through the last loop.  Crochet the edges together with slip stitch.  SC around the top to strengthen, chain a few and end off.  Put your point protectors inside and pin to work across the  top, or use the end chain to attach.  That way the lil' buggers can't jump out and escape.  You could sew a button on, of course.  But wouldn't that be kind of, well, conventional?
Thanks to Heather Walkabout Knitter for the Russian join instruction.   

I use that method all the time now, as it is less bulky than a 3-needle bind off.  You just have to think a bit.  It goes in the opposite direction - from the middle toward the live yarn tail, as opposed to the 3-needle bind off, which begins with the live yarn and goes to the middle. 

Here's what we had for dinner tonight.  I noticed that the braided string of  Garlic I have hanging on the kitchen wall knows that it is spring, too, and it is starting to sprout.  So I decided to use as much garlic as possible for the next few days and use it up.  Look out , World!  Here comes garlic breath.  But you know I love it.

Julie's Easy 40 clove garlic Chicken recipe.

Into a slow cooker put:
10 chicken thighs
40 cloves of garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp red pepper (the kind from the pizza place)
black pepper to taste
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
toast triangles

Notice that no liquid is added.  This gives more of a roasted effect, rather than boiled.  The original French version is baked in a sealed casserole, but I like the ease of use of a slow cooker.

Leave it on low for 5+ hours.  The smell is unbelievable.  If you love garlic, you'll love this.  The garlic is as soft as butter, so serve with toast .  Spread the soft garlic on the toast and dunk it in the rich pan sauce.  Enjoy!  Just make sure your spouse has some, too!

Lilo sez, Yuck, stinky garlic smell all over the house!  I'm loving it, of course.  Hmmm, maybe there is a reason I have the house to myself tonight...

Julie, aka garlic breath

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First peek at the bridal shawl, tableside at Aladdin's

Hello, Everyone,

It's a lovely spring Thursday night after a warm spring day with flowers blooming and birds singing. I feel great after a wonderful nap.

Heather and I went swimming this morning.  We had gotten out of the habit to do it every Thursday at 11 like we used to, so now we're trying to get the habit going again.  It's really good for my joints.  The water in the pool at the Boys and Girls Club where we go is kept at 85 degrees F so that they can teach babies to swim, so it is heavenly warm.  All this swimming probably has something to do with the wonderful nap...

After e swimming we went to lunch at Alladin Restaurant,  We split the Meza,
#7 ALADDIN  MEZA PLATTER:  Hummus, Tabouleh, Baba Ghanouj, Chicken & Lamb Shawerma, Dolma, Falafels, Aladdin's Hot Sauce, Garlic Sauce, Pickles, Served with  Pita Bread.
with a side addition of extra Kebeh.  This is one of our favorite places.  Our waiter, Haithem, is a really funny guy and so nice.  He looked at me funny at first and seemed not to know me with the new red hair, but then he got it and laughed and asked if we wanted the usual Meza Platter, LOL.

Heather with a full tummy of Alladin goodness.  After lunch I was working on the bridal shawl.

Now I know that lace just looks like a mess until it is blocked out, but just you wait, this is going to be absolutely  gorgeous when I get it blocked with the rich plum beads on the edging, and the plum Swarovski crystals on the points.  Very bridal in its Lily of the Valley-ness. 
Estonian nupps galore!   The pretty inlaid box is sold at Alladin's, they have lots of that kind of stuff.

Thanks for the request for the curried chicken recipe, Dee.  Dan tells me that curried chicken is the most commonly cooked dish in the UK.  Here's my version.  We had it tonight for supper.  Yummy and the house smells heavenly of curry.

Curried Chicken
in the Crockpot for the busy Woman

In a crock pot put:

4 chicken thighs,
2 diced potatoes
4 chopped ribs of celery
1 large sliced carrot (or 2 medium)
1 10-ounce package sliced mushrooms
1 C tomato juice (Low salt)
3 C water
1/3 C minced dried onion (huge time saver)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 C flaked coconut
1T Wocestershire
1T curry powder ( I use Delish)
freshly ground black pepper
1t salt (omit if using salty tomato juice)

Let 'er roll on low all day while you are out and about.  When you get home the house will be smelling like heaven and dinner is ready.

Lilo is curled up napping, dreaming of big fat, juicy mice, probably.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baa-Baa Little Lamb


Well I'm back form Mountain View and I finished the Little Toy Lamb, Ramsey.  I started him on the train on the way down the coast from Santa Barbara.  He's eight inches tall and a real honey.  I'll post a pattern on Ravelry when I get a chance.  It's a coolish Tuesday night after a warm spring day and I'm feeling good, if a but tired.

He's sitting on the vibrant orange silk scarf that number 2 sister, Heather, bought me in the Chinese silk shop in Los Altos to go with my new hair.

Across the street is a LYS, Uncommon Threads,  Really nice shop.  Lots of yummy yarn.  I got some tip protectors to help me work on the bridal shawl.  The lace is so ephemeral that even putting it away in my knitting bag can cause the sharp Addi Lace circ tips to snag the lace.  So, it goes better with big, green, silicon needle tips. 

Evva decided since I gave her the big red Swallowtail shawl as an early Christmas present, she'd give me mine early, too.  So, she bought me a newly released book on Estonian shawl knitting, "The Haapsalu Shawl, a Knitted Lace Tradition from Estonia" by Siiri Reiman and Aime Edasi.  Since I'm crazy about these shawl patterns with nupps, this is the ultimate reference.  It has every Estonian lace pattern you'll ever need, plus.  I'm now thinking about changing the bridal shawl to include more patterns so that I can try some of them out.    Page 53 has a Lily of the Valley pattern with an attached leaf that is a real humdinger.  We'll see.  I'm sure I'll talk about this shawl until you're all real tired of it.  The wedding is 10-10-10 so I'd better get going a little faster with the shawl.

Just in case you want to make yourself a niffty little Ramsey like mine, the pattern is available at Ravelry now.  Check it out at

I was surprised how much instruction it required to describe what I did to make Ramsey.  When I did it, I just doodled with the yarn and made him.

Lilo caught a mouse in the living room today.  Go, Lilo!  The mouse was so fat, he looked like a cartoon mouse.  He must have been eating her cat food for a while!  She is so pleased with herself.

So, I guess I'd better go to bed and let you all start your Ramsey Lambsies.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Shawls, shawls, shawls

It's a cool Monday night.  There is rain coming and my knees and hands are talking to me about it. 

Here's some more on the Mountain View trip:
Sunday we went to see the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum.

The iris in front of the black wall had absorbed some reflected heat and were ahead of season, in full bloom.  The flowers in Mountain View were lovely, tulips and daffodils and plum trees and lilac and redbud.  But most iris were just budding out., not these.

While we waited for our turn to see the Tut exhibit, we took a quick look at the New Guinea section.  Heather lined up Brynna in front of this headdress so it would look like she was wearing it.

Heather and I sporting the new hats we made on the train up.  Heather wins the wildest-ever foo-foo yarn award.

Tut himself was great.  I used a chair as so much walking was beyond me.  Evva wins the bestest sister ever award for pushing me around in it.

We decided to act like crazy high school girls on a sleep over instead of dignified grandmothers and colored our hair.  Heather looks great.  I tried out the new red, "Hot Tamale".  Here I am a few days later waiting for the train in Santa Barbara, just so you can see the new color.

Some hot tamale grandma!  Like the new rhinestone shades?

For lunch the next day we went to Cafe Mazeh, .   Awesome place with a wood fired oven and the freshest flat bread ever.   Evva ordered a cold dip made of eggplant and many other things - Kashneh Bamedjan - easy for you to say.   It was so great.  I will have to search online and find a recipe for it.  Yum, yum.

I finished the shawl I was making for Evva and we blocked it out on her huge patio table.  I wish I had a blocking table like that.  The breeze and fresh air dried it in no time.

Here's Evva trying it on.

And from the back to show the length:

This is her Christmas for 2010 but I let her have it now.  I would have had to resort to crazy tactics to get it off her.  Can you tell that I am just a wee tad pleased by how it turned out?  Blocking makes such a difference with lace shawls.

Goodnight from Lilo and Julie

Mountain View

It's a warm spring Sunday night and I'm feeling good.  Dan and I  had pho with Dare for dinner and it was good. 

Here is some more on my trip to Mountain View.    When we first got there I gave Evva (number 1 sister) her birthday present, a nice beaded necklace that I blogged previously.  She gave me some very fine snow white lace weight yarn, 1700 yards in a skein.  Number 2 sister, Heather's son is getting married 10-10-10, so I began to think about a lace bridal shawl for Shannon, his bride. 

The first morning we had breakfast at Hobee's.  Its a great little omelet place.  They make a great home-made coffee cake.  Full of fruit and fluffy light.  It's great. 

You may notice I am still a blond. Wait until we get to that part......

After that we went to the Lace Museum.  It was really great, definitely worth a stop if you are in Sunnyvale,  Right now they are showing wonderful lace undergarments from the 19th century and older, very nice lace indeed.  I researched in their collection of great books and decided which Lace pattern to use.   So I decided on a Baltic pattern stitch, rows and rows of Lily of the Vally, oodles of nupps, for Shannon's bridal shawl.  Her colors are violet and plum, so I was thinking of some beads in those colors for the edge.

I love the lace Museum.  I bought some great buttons from their button drawer.  I also had an amazing discussion about nupps with another lace knitter.  What a place!

Then we went up the way to Purlescence, a great LYS in the same mall as the Lace Museum.  Awesome place.  I got some size 4 Addi lace needles, a circ actually, still thinking of bridal lace.  Great place and great needles with long, slim, sharp tips, perfect for lace and pointy enough to feature prominently in a murder mystery. 

My fingers were itching, so I cast on 251 stitches and started in.  Plunge into the nupp pool.  Later when It gets a bit further along I'll post a pic. Right now it is only a few inches in.  Lots of tiny stitches.   Lots of tiny  Plum beads for the edging.   More on this later.

Notice Evva has her birthday necklace on and I am wearing the hat I knit in the northward train, deep furry cuff and beads in the top lace. 

Lilo sez, goodnight.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm Back!


It's a beautiful sunny, spring Sunday morning, the birds are chirping and Lilo wants to be held.  I'm well rested and feeling great after a good night's rest in my own bed.  No matter how great it is to travel, it's great to be home again, too.  I'm back in San Diego from my trip along the coast to the Bay Area.  My "local" sister, Heather, and I do this every year.  We take the Amtrack Surfliner to LA and then the Starlight train along the coast northward, a really beautiful train ride, and visit my sister, Evva, in Mountain View, in the south peninsula part of the San Francisco Bay area.  One week, three sisters, no husbands.   It's a lot of fun and we usually talk and laugh a lot and drink tea and craft to our heart's content.  So, that's just what we did this year, too. 

The train ride was just lovely. We left early on the 12th from Solana Beach Train ststion after a quick breakfast at VG's Bakery.  They're v
oted Best Donut in San Diego, San Diego Magazine. Best doughnuts in the world. Here's the train station.  The architecture is interesting.

It was sunny and bright on the way up there and the views were just great all day.  The attendant took good care of us.  Because I have difficulty walking, they seated us downstairs and our nice attendant, Andre, brought us our meals from the dining car.  
The food was surprisingly good.  The train food I remember form the past was not so good, but times have apparently changed. We had a big spinach salad for lunch and a roasted chicken for dinner that were both good.

The views were to die for along the coast, especially the beaches around Carpinteria and the dunes and beaches at Vandenberg Air Force base, also the farm country around Paso Robles.  The wild flowers are in bloom right now all along the way,dark violet-blue lupins and bright orange California poppies, purple lilacs and fields of little bright yellow field flowers, I forget their names.

Actually many green open country places with cows and horses were just beautiful and other urban, industrial areas were gritty but interesting.

After sundown it rained hard.  The cars on the adjacent freeway were sliding through deep puddles, but the train did not seem to mind. 

On the way up I was knitting on a red shawl, mostly Evelyn Clarke's Swallowtail pattern, with a few mods to suit me. The yarn is from Lamzie Divy Wollens,  It's special sock yarn, 1 ply 80 percent Jacob sheep wool, 20 percent nylon. Very springy and with great depth of color because the base Jacob sheep yarn has various colors carded together before it is dyed.  Jacob sheep are spotted.  Size 9 needles. 

I'll post pics of the finished shawl later.

We got to San Jose and were met by my sister, Evva, at the train station.  There is a way to transfer to the light rail and head on up to Mountain View that way, but we have not gotten it all figured out yet.  Next year. 

Lilo is very glad to see me back and is constantly wanting to be held.

See you later with more from the trip,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daffodil booties

Hello everyone,
It's a lovely, cold (51) clear Wednesday night in San Diego. I'm feeling great, my back is better now.

Daffodil Baby Booties

My friend, Barbara, just had a baby girl, so I made some booties for her that look like little daffodils on her feet. I think they're kinda cute, myself. I made up the pattern by "doodling" with the yarn.  I'm posting the pattern to Ravelry as soon as possible, so I hope you make some too.
Saturday we had lunch with Amber in San Clemente.  We ate at the Blue Danube.  It is a wonderful place.

Dan just had to have a picture of the old-fashioned light ball over the dance floor. 

Mt favorite little boy.

The food was good and the owner very charming.  He came out and played a few classical pieces for us on the piano.  A little Beethoven with lunch....  I'd go again in a heart beat.  

Lilo is feisty tonight. She doesn't like cold weather.  Goodnight, Lilo.