Tomorrow is the annual PAL golf tournament - and my last one. Can I get a Whoo! And Hoo! I can't even remember how many years I've organized and worked the tourney. Seven? Eight? Eleventy-four? I've been off the hook for organizing since I retired, but I still help out with last-minute details - I worked almost 10 hours yesterday on those pesky little details - in addition to working registration on the big day. Getting up and to the golf course by 6 a.m. is not my idea of fun. But it's for a good cause and it's our biggest fundraiser of the year - we usually make over $25,000 in just one day. Yeah, hope I can remember that when the alarm goes off tomorrow.

So today we decided to take a short, easy trip for date day. We've been through Malibu several times lately - usually going to meet Bre at Pepperdine - but we've never checked out the little beach roads
off PCH. And there are some interesting seafood restaurants along that stretch - bonus!
We found several state parks we'd never heard of -
El Pescador Beach, El Matador Beach, La Piedra Beach - and explored a lot of short coastal access roads. We saw an amazing amount of new housing construction. This huge mansion (sorry for the crummy photo) sits across from one of the parks on its own little hilltop overlooking the ocean. Everywhere we went there were construction trucks and crews working on house after house. I couldn't believe the size of the lots most of these homes are on - often half- to full-acres and more. I'm used to beach houses in Ventura and Seacliffe, where one house sits immediately adjacent to its neighbor. These people have room - and money. Very nice houses. Very nice views.

We had lunch at Paradise Beach Cove Cafe. It's right on the ocean, with gorgeous views
and their own pier. Dick had never been here before, but years ago his dad loved to fish from that pier and on the fishing boats that were here. The restaurant has been there almost forever (Since the 30's? 40's? That is forever in L.A.) The walls are covered in historical black and white photos of the cafe and its environs. Lunch was almost overwhelming. The food was good and the portions were huge. I looked up just in time to see Dick snap this photo: Never trust a man with a camera. He posed for this one, just so I'd feel like I got revenge. See what I mean about the portions? We didn't put a dent in either plate and still walked away stuffed. Short stroll on the beach, short drive over Decker Canyon with the convertible's top down, and we were home in time for a nap. Ah, yes. I love retired life.


Amazing Crochet Lace

It's amazing what a good blocking will do. The shawl is much bigger (my rant from yesterday still holds though) and the drape is incredible. I didn't realize how 'bunchy' the wool fiber was while I was working with it. It feels so much lighter now and it's fun to wear. Love the colors too. (The color is more accurate in the photos above, but you can see the variegation better in this one.) Blue Curacao Shawl - aka the pineapple shawl - from Doris Chan's "Amazing Crochet Lace". 100% superwash wool with a "J" crochet hook. Fun, fast project, but not for beginners or those who need to follow a pattern step-by-step.


Another Shawl

As Guild VP for programs, I arranged a 2-day weaving with wire and metal workshop with Susan McGehee. You really should take a minute and look at her website; it doesn't begin to do justice to her amazing work. She uses anodized aluminum, copper, silver, and other wires and metals to make her wall hanging and sculptures. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. And she's a great teacher and a very nice, down-to-earth person. I really enjoyed listening to her the past two days.

Since I'm a very beginning weaver, I didn't participate in the workshop. But I did play around with the wire a little bit.
This necklace took about an hour. The process if pretty simple but the stiffness of the wire was hard on my hands and wrists. I enjoyed exploring, but I don't see a lot of wire crochet in my future.
So how did I spend my time during the workshop? Crocheting, of course. Jovita and I decided to each do the Blue Curacao Shawl - aka the Pineapple shawl -
from Doris Chan's book Amazing Crochet Lace. I had 560 yards of superwash wool from Village Spinning and Weaving in my stash. I fell in love with the blues and purples several months ago but didn't know what I was going to do with it. This was the perfect project. The shawl is still blocking, but I think I'm going to love it. (You can see more pictures from book here.)

I love this book but a couple of things about it bug me. This is the second project I've made, and in both cases the finished item doesn't match the dimensions suggested by the photographs. And yes, I was on gauge for both projects.
On this one, the shawl pictured looks oversized, almost to the point of being afghan-sized. In reality, the tips of the front points (before blocking) don't even reach my waist. And the sides fall well above my elbows; they definitely aren't full-arm length as picture. It was the same thing with the first poncho. I realize the models are smaller than us 'normal' people, but there is no way this is the same dimensions as the pattern in the book. I love the shawl but it bugs me that the photo and the pattern are so different.

And the second thing? I don't think the written version of this pattern is accurate. Several times I had to refer to the charts to make sense of what I needed to do. I'm not referring to all the "repeat from * to * 9 times, and from ** to * 4 times, and * to ** x times". I think this could probably have been
better written - easier to understand - but after the first repeat, I could see what she meant. But you'd think the tip of each pineapple, for example, would be done the same way. In the chart version, it is. In the written version, it's different. Confusing. And irritating.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, but not to a beginner. Am I going to make more things from the book? Probably. And am I going to complain when the size is again different from what I expect? Count on it.


My Baby Grew Up

Gary & JessicaSenior Prom
May 26, 2007


What A Mess

Note to self: When the nice lady at the yarn store offers to wind your skein into a nice, neat center-pull ball, let. her. do .it. Almost 700 yards of snarled, tangled, what-was-I-thinking mess.


Not Just Crochet

Why yes, I do still spin. Why do you ask? Just because it's been a few months since I showed any evidence of it. . . .

Tomorrow is spinning night at my LYS. All my bobbins were full of singles so if I was going to spin, I had to ply some yarn. Plying can be boring and monotonous but that's not why I've been avoiding it. My last couple of attempts haven't worked out all that well. I've been a little gun shy and hesitant to take another shot at it. But tonight I bit the bullet (sorry, I'll stop now), broke out the Lendrum's plying head, and got down to business.

This is 311 yards (that's the most yardage I've ever gotten!) of merino, alpaca, silk and angelina goodness from Kimberly's Pixie Batts. I love the colors and the bit of sparkle from the angelina.
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially given how long it's been since I've done any spinning. And it's balanced! Always a plus.The girls were not impressed. AJ tried to sit in my lap while I was spinning but got bored and curled up in her shoebox. She opened one eye and gave me 'the look' when I posed the yarn on her, but other than that, she ignored me. Doesn't she look nice in blue?


Weekend Highlights

Our weekend trip to Colorado was wonderful. The weather was great - high 70's - and we even had time for a quick trip to Estes Park.

John and Rachel have done a great job redecorating the house and getting it ready for Addy's baptism party. When Rachel and John got together, most (all?) of the walls in the house were painted white. Rachel has always had a great eye for color and now there is color everywhere. Addy's room is a very restful sage green and purple.
Addy and Auntie Rie-Rie

Rachel asked Dick to help her surprise John by putting up the mural they'd purchased some time ago but haven't had a chance to get on the wall. (Something about a five-month old taking up all their time?) This is their basement area - and yes, the walls really are orange. I told you Rach likes color. Once the mural was up, it made the color look richer and tied the whole room together. The punching bag will be moved back out of the way once the planned wood border/frame goes up around the mural.

I finished Addy's christening blanket about 9 Friday night.
It looks blue on my monitor, but it's actually a dusty lavender. The yarn is cotton and tencel; the tencel gives it a sheen that matches the silk in Addy's dress. I wanted something very simple - and fast, since I only decided to make this five days before the event - so I opted for a large granny square with a scalloped border. I was really pleased with the results. Saturday was devoted to Addy's christening and the party. Addy was a doll all day, even though her naps kept getting interrupted. She had a portrait session at 11 a.m. (you can see some of the photos here), the christening at 3, and her party at 5. Whenever she started to get fussy while we waited at the church, I just pointed a camera at her. The kid is such a ham - every time she sees a camera, she poses and smiles. She kept the entire audience entertained during the ceremony. Addy saw Gary with the video camera and really played to it - smiling, laughing, blowing raspberries. There was some (probably) inappropriate giggling from the adults at her antics.

Sunday we slept in, getting up just in time for a quick trip to Estes Park. I told Dick as we started out that I wanted to see a mountain goat or big horned sheep on this trip . . . . and this guy was happy to oblige.
He was standing at the very edge of the roadway in Big Thompson Canyon, protecting his harem of about eight ladies. Car after car would stop, take his picture, and drive off and he just patiently stood there. Very cool. We only had about an hour and a half in Estes - just long enough to buy cookies, silk yarn, and find a new artist that we really like. Can't wait to go back again!

Crochet Carnival

Be sure to check out the first edition of Crochet Carnival, (what's a carnival?) a monthly posting with links to interesting crochet how-to's, patterns and finished projects - one of which just happens to be mine! Whoo! and Hoo!

Heather is accepting submissions for the next carnival until June 1; it will be online June 15.


Beautiful Baby

Addison Grace
May 19, 2007


Blocking Magic

Addy's christening dress, cap and booties are done, done and done. The blanket is still a work in progress, but hey, I still have 36 hours to get it done. No worries!

It still amazes me what a difference blocking makes. The 'before' dress looks ok.
But in the 'after' photo, the stitches are all aligned, everything looks neater - and best of all, the dress "grew" 2 inches. Addy is 26" from the top of her head to her feet. The dress is 22" after blocking. I'm hoping her head and neck are 6-7" of her length, which would make this dress exactly the right size.

I used a larger hook for the cap, thinking I could keep the same stitch count and the bigger stitches would make it fit Addy's 6-month old noggin.
The largest pattern in the book was for a 3-6 month old. Since Addy is big for her age (90th percentile!) I wanted to make sure it would fit. And now, of course, I'm worried that it will be too big. (Sorry for the crummy picture. I took it with my cell phone so I could send it to Rachel. Forgot to take a good one before I unpinned it.)

The booties still need the silk trim on top, but I'll do that once we reach Colorado.
It's really hard to take a good photo of white silk, but if you look closely at the dress edge you can see the Trebizond silk I used for the trim. The pattern called for #8 perle cotton but I wanted something that better matched the silk in the dress. Vickie suggested Weavers Needle and Frame in Newbury Park, where I found Trebizond silk. I'd never heard it before, but man oh man, it is really nice stuff. Definitely going to use it for more projects.

I loved making this dress but I'm glad it's done.
Cross your fingers that it fits Miss Addison!


Graduation Time

Marie graduated from Ventura College today with High Honors (3.8+ GPA). She decided just two weeks ago that she wanted to 'walk', so her name wasn't in the program, but that didn't stop us from celebrating her accomplishment.
Graduation was held in the gym (excuse me, the "Event Center").
The acoustics were terrible - it was very hard to hear the speakers - but being indoors, out of the chilly "June gloom" was nice. I'm guessing that about 200 of the 950 graduates participated in the ceremony.
Marie said she didn't hear when her name was read; she was too busy trying not to trip going up and down the podium stairs. In addition to keeping up with her studies - you don't get that high a GPA without a lot of sleepless nights - Marie's worked from two to five jobs at a time for the past few years. High on her list of planned summer activities? "Sleep".

In the fall, Marie plans to attend Cal State University, Channel Islands, working toward her elementary school teaching credential. Congratulations, Marie!