Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung and we've been doing some desperately needed Spring cleaning. While the boys were out back doing battle (backyard vs. mower - it was a close call), I was going through my knitting stuff.

Earlier today I took a look around and discovered that things have really spread throughout the house (finding knitting paraphernalia in the kitchen pantry was the last straw). So after a bit of organizing, the knit creep has been safely contained to just a few areas.

One of the things I did was go through my stash and - gasp! - got rid of a bit. This is stuff I will never use and no longer liked. (I used to be quite happy with acrylics. I know. I've matured a lot this past year.) I took a bag of yarn and donated it to a local yarn shop, to be used for people who need knitting supplies to teach kids to knit in schools. This way I clear out room for the things I really like and let the stuff I don't need gets put to a good use.

Doesn't it feel like the house gets lighter when you get rid of things from inside? It's strange, because personifying the house and thinking it just lost weight is a load of bunk, but... I do think that having too much stuff in your life just weighs a person down and takes your mind away from more important things.

So, now I challenge you to do a Spring cleaning of your own. Go through your stuff (and not necessarily just knitting stuff), pull out things you don't like, will not ever be using, haven't used in many years, and donate it to a charity of your choice. You'll get some free space in your home and your unwanted things will go to a place where they are needed.

Happy Spring to you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wine Tour

What a beautiful day! We went out to Amador County and did a mini-winery tour today. It was such a pretty day and everything is still very green that we wanted to get out of town and see something other than home or work. Here's some pictures.

Do you see the green everywhere? Here in Northern California most vegetation turns brown after May, so we really appreciate the greenery while it lasts. Everything is so pretty now - green grass with amazing Spring flowers.
This is a general picture of what the area is like this time of year, from the first winery we visited, Young's Vineyards on Shenandoah Road in Plymouth, CA. Not only were the vineyards immaculate, but the landscaping was absolutely stunning.
I've found that while vintners are usually pretty down-to-earth, they also have a quirky side. They tend to include lots of local art in their showcase. These are sculpture from a local artist (I didn't catch his name, but he is supposed to live over in Sutter Creek). I love how the sculpture fits in with the yard and building.

Even though we were in the foothills of California doesn't mean you can't park your boat! Yes, this is a real boat. The pond end about 4 feet left of the picture.

This is Zinfandel country, but they also have some fantastic Barbera and Sangiovese.
Our next stop was Bray Vineyards right next door. Yummy wines and knowledgeable sales staff. I picked up a bottle of Brayzin Hussy Red (a blend of Zinfandel and Sangiovese - I think) that was too much fun to pass up. I also got a bottle of the Sangiovese that is really, really good. (I was told that this is one of the four grape blend that makes up Chianti. Didn't know that...) This is the sign that caught our attention from the side of the road:

A couple of other places we visited had some sites to see, too. The rattlesnake sign is for real - remember that this is their territory and they will win. Just watch where you step and you'll be OK. Not sure what the architect was on when he/she designed this house.

For the record, I love chicken sculptures. They're just fun. And please don't throw gravel at the frogs.

I had a blast, and since I wasn't the designated driver I was able to sample all kinds of wines and knit in between stops. (Not too sure how well that knitting will turn out, but...)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

ADHD Knitting

I've been like an ADHD kid sugared up on candy with my knitting recently. No attention span whatsoever, hopping from one project to another while not getting much done. This is why I don't like to let my UFO pile get too big.

Unfinished projects sit heavily on my mind, like a nagging voice in the back of my head. I put down the object for a valid reason (or so it seemed at the time), and the additional work they represent (un-doing, figuring out what to do, fixing and re-doing) makes me want to run and hide under my bed. On top of it, I started a new project last night. No, not the EZ Green Sweater KAL - a new sweater for my daughter.

What was I thinking? I have three UFO's waiting for me, so I need another new project like I need another hole in my head. I wonder if there's a support group for this?

Friday, March 5, 2010

UFO Attack

I've been working from my UFO bag (UFO means "Un-Finished Object") and dug out some socks I had started for my husband about a year ago. These are on size 1 needles and with a dark yarn. It's kind of like trying to knit on toothpicks in the dark.

I messed up at the heels, noticing that the heels are on the wrong side of the fabric (I usually knit inside-out when knitting in the round. Don't know why - it just feels better that way. Maybe to get a surprise at the end of the project? I dunno...). Anyway, I managed to un-do the rows I reversed the work and started again. By now, my fingers and hands have cramped up into scary claw-like things and I've switched from my normal classical or jazz I like to knit with over to hard rock. That I save for doing tasks that I don't like doing but that need to be done, like housework. I know things are not going well when I start playing Beasty Boys.

Time to take a break.

Made myself a cup of decaf and figured a little typing would be just the thing to help relax the tension from my hands. It's working, too. Looking at those needles I think that I've pulled out bigger splinters. Some people love the tiny needles ("I never knit with anything larger than a 000." Show-off.) Not me - about the smallest I like is size 3, my favorite is a 7-8, and I really don't have a limit on the upper range.

How about you? Assuming anyone actually reads this blog, what size needles are you favorites and what range do you like best?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stitches West 2010

Stitches West - you know - Stitches!

For those who may not know about this event, this is an annual knitting/crocheting/spinning/fiber event that has classes and more vendors than you can imagine - and I got to go for the very first time this past weekend.

Stitches West is located in Silicon Valley. I'm a big techie so I got very excited when I drove past the Oracle building (so pretty!) and the Yahoo headquarters (oh, yeah, baby!). It sent tingles of excitement down my spine, I tell you.

But I was not there for the tech side. I had a job. I was temporary help for a yarn booth. My friend Stephanie got me a gig at Tess' Designer Yarns (web site: The first thing I can say about this place is: Oh, my! I got to play yarn shop girl in a booth with the most amazing yarns. And here's the kicker: I got paid in yarn!!!

My husband wasn't so impressed with this. After I told him about the deal he said "You're paid in yarn?"

"Yup. Isn't it great?"

"But it's yarn."

"Uh-huh! Yarn is good."


He just didn't get my enthusiasm. (I got paid in yarn!!! Hey, I'm easy.) What do husbands know?

Anyway, it was a lot of work - I certainly earned the yarn I received - but it was also a lot of fun. I enjoy talking to people and seeing what projects they wanted to make with the yarn they picked out.

There's a lot of creative people out there and I think I may have helped most of them in my time as a yarn shop girl. Now it's back to work, but I've got some gorgeous yarn waiting for me to make something with.