Monday, October 23, 2006

Girs' weekend in Ellensburg

My coworker Carol invited me to her vacation house outside of Ellensburg for a girls' weekend. Sadly, I had some worky stuff to do on Saturday, so I couldn't head out until Saturday night. It was still a blast. Saturday night we ate tacos, drank many beverages, and told funny stories. I managed to knit a substantial amount on my tea cozy despite the beverages. Sunday, we went for a walk to enjoy the view (that's Mt. Ranier off in the distance in the first shot).

We also stopped to say hi to her neighbor's donkeys. Aren't they cute? I kind of want some.

There was more sitting around and doing crafts (me, knitting, others, sewing and beading), a trip into Ellensburg to visit the Goodwill and Dick and Jane's Spot. I wonder if it's weird to always have people walking around your house gawking? (Sadly, I didn't take the camera with me for this outing, so you have to go look at the pictures on the internet.)

Carol had a burning desire to make soap, and had obtained several kinds of melt-and-pour soap base, various colorings and seasonings, and some molds. Here we see my two best efforts: chai massage bar (shea butter soap base, ground oatmeal, and a packet of Celestial Seasonings Gindgerbread Spice tea) and a peach scented flower bar.

Then I drove home and resumed grading.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The musical weekend was very satisfying. Michael Fracasso stayed with us, as he has on several trips to Seattle in the past. The best part about housing Michael is that he usually sits around and plays guitar for awhile in the morning. Trent was very, very happy.

Michael's show was great, but woefully underattended. The promoters, Four Sheep, are a completely charming West Seattle couple who have embarked on a non-profit mission to bring good shows to their 'hood. The shows are held at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, which is a lovingly converted school that now houses various arts organizations and provides live/work space for artists. The theater is a really nice concert venue with good acoustics. If you're reasonably local, and you like music, get thee to the Four Sheep website and check out their upcoming shows.

In other company news, my parents are coming to visit on Oct. 28. Hi, Mom! I'm very excited. I'm also suddenly aware of the clutter. Boxes that landed in the hallway two years ago when we moved in and ran out of unpacking energy are still there. Pens, magazines, and yarn bits cover practically every surface. Inertia is such a powerful force that I'm just not sure I have the energy to overcome those long established stacks of stuff.

Random bits
The knitting that's going on lately is mostly gift knitting, so no pictures to share.

It's the end of the academic term for me and that means grading. Yee-haw.

I can't freakin' believe that Jeffrey won Project Runway. Aside from my completely mixed feelings about him as a person, his collection was just ugly. The judges kept saying things like "cohesive", and Melissa (friend, sings with Trent, came over to watch finale) and I kept saying "cohesively HIDEOUS."

At least Melissa had Chloe to comfort her. My dog is a ho.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Musical goodness

It's going to be a very musical weekend. Tonight, Trent is going to see our friend Datri Bean play a house concert on Capitol Hill. I'm staying home because the rest of the weekend is going to be busy.

Saturday, we have tickets to see Habib Koite at Jazz Alley. Sunday, fabulous Austin-based singer-songwriter and all-around nice guy Michael Fracasso is playing at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle as part of the Four Sheep Acoustic Music Series. We met Michael several years ago when he was in Portland playing a show and we were there visiting our friends Eugenia and Sam. They were also housing Michael for the night he was in town, and he played for us after his gig and cooked us breakfast the next morning. He's stayed with us a few times when playing in Seattle, and I think he will this time as well.

That means I need to turn the wool room back into the guest room. Hmm, I guess I'll be doing that sometime this weekend, too.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Tea has landed

Tea Swap

Today I got my package from my Tea Swap pal, Tawana. She wrapped everything, so I had the pleasure of anticipation.

Here's everything:

That's 2 tins of tea from Alice's Tea Cup in New York: Inspiration, a peppermint rosehip tea, and Monk's Blend, a super yummy black tea that I've already tried. It's delicious (and my husband doesn't like it, so it's all mine!). There's also a box of Lipton decaf (Tawana's childhood drink, and my family's fave for iced tea), chocolate wafers, and chocolate mint wafers. The box of T-sac filters is going to be fabulous for travel and work. Then there are these totally cute stitch markers:

And yarn. I'm so in love with both of these. The fun pink and purple is hand-dyed superwash sock yarn from J. Knits, and the beautiful ocean colors are another hand paint that Tawana found on etsy. These make me want to drop everything and knit myself socks.

I have finally put together the package to send to my pal, and I hope to get it off in the mail tomorrow. I spun my pal yarn. I was seduced by the colors of the roving, but I didn't realize how that little streak of sparkly stuff was going to make the whole damn skein sparkly. I hope he doesn't hate it. I'm a wee bit obsessive about giving people gifts that they'll absolutely positively like, and I'm fretting about this.

In other news, we're adding a second car to our household. We resisted as long as we could, but it's just gotten too inconvenient. So, tonight we're going to officially acquire a 1990 Honda Civic for Trent to drive. He's already referring to it as the ratmobile, despite the fact that it's really been well-maintained and is clean and kinda cute, in an early 90's Honda kind of a way. He's on dog park duty tomorrow, so it's going to be covered in dog hair soon enough.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The lure of Vashon

Vashon Island Adventure

On Saturday, Trent and I headed to Vashon for a social event for his work. The hostess has a cabin at the end of one of those impossibly twisty roads that fades into gravel, and folks were gathering there for potluck and general chilling out. Because I am a Bad Blogger, I failed to take the camera, so you'll just have to imagine a big deck, a sunny fall day, and staggering views across the Sound. A bald eagle cruised by while we were sitting out there.

I've always loved Vashon, and Trent is also starting to feel the pull. We stopped at the wee little farmer's market on our way to the social event, and we bought a ridiculous quantity of soap (we're suckers for yummy smelling soap). Some of it may find its way into Christmas gifts, if we don't keep it for ourselves. When we returned to the ferry, we stopped at Reliable Wines, where we enjoyed a leisurely tasting of Rhone varietals that are grown here in our neck of the woods. We ended up buying a Syrah (I'm too lazy to go downstairs, look at the bottle, and figure out what vineyard it is) and a couple of non-tasting wines, and we had a lovely chat with the nice guy staffing the wine store (a PhD student in forestry management at the UW) and the equally nice lady working in the adjoining Macrina Bakery.

We wandered across the intersection to the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie and were disapointed that they were closed. The guy working (the owner?) saw us, though, and came out to ask if there was anything he could do for us. The espresso was off for the day, but he made us tea to go. They have a fabulous tea selection. We're definitely going back sometime when they're really open.

Trent and I had another in our ongoing discussions of what we're doing with our lives. We like our house here in Lake City. We like our jobs. But sometimes, like Saturday, living somewhere slower and more rural seems very appealing. Given our current schedules, living on Vashon would mean that we'd spend huge chunks of our lives waiting for ferries. It's still tempting. I could have alpaca and a garden (which would immediately be eaten by deer, I suspect, since I saw at least 5 of them in yards on Vashon chowing down).


I finished the sideways garter stitch jacket for Dulaan. This one took about 8 balls of yarn. I haven't bought buttons yet. The pattern is invented.

Stella, asking, "Why do I have to put up with this?"

I'm trying to diligently finish up WIPs and Christmas presents. I really want to make more Dulaan sweaters, though - they go so fast!

Speaking of Dulaan, Ryan has launched "Dulaan 10,000 or Bust!" (Scroll down in her post for the info.) Basically, she wants 2007 people to commit to knitting or making at least 5 items for Dulaan and sending them by the June 15, 2007. As of Friday, she still needs 1,828 people to sign up. So, if you think maybe you could provide 5 things to cold Mongolian kids by next June, get thee over to Ryan's blog and sign up. (Note to the non-knitters who read my blog [yes, you]: they want and need fleece blankets, and there's a no-sew, no-knit pattern here. All you need is fleece, scissors, and a little time.)

Oh, Rachel in San Jose (blogless) wrote to tell me that two strands of worsted weight yarn will also work, gauge-wise, for Avalanche sweaters. Thanks, Rachel!

For Mom, and anyone else who was wondering: Feral Knitters is a pun on Fair Isle knitters. It's a subgroup of the Seattle Knitting Guild, and they meet two times a month at Third Place Books up in Lake Forest Park. The group was started to create a forum for people interested in traditional knitting like Fair Isle and Norwegian patterns.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

All the news that's remotely interesting

The cloud of bitchiness that was afflicting my workplace last week seems to have wafted north to hover over Rabbitch. Sorry 'bout that. I'm sure it will come back here by Friday, when I have an all-day faculty development meeting.

Last night was a Feral Knitters meeting. Lots of people were there, and I even took pictures. Look at this hive of knitting and spinning activity! (That's TMK behind the bag of red roving.)

I spent the evening sitting next to June, designer of the very cool tea cozy. She had wonderful stories, and generously shared stitch markers when I needed them. I've reached armhole decreases, and hence the fancy patterning, on Black Roses. I'd show you another picture, but it's too smushed up on the needles for the latest knitting to show.

I've also been working on Christmas presents. Here's sock #1 for my niece (who, I'm told, isn't likely to see the blog). Sock #2 is in the home stretch of the foot.

I'm spinning for my tea swap pal. This is bobbin #2 - I've already got the first ply spun.

Last night, after Ferals, I finished knitting the sleeves for the garter stitch avalanche jacket. Pictures will follow once it's assembled. Currently, the sleeves are serving as a Stella pillow.

What else has been going on? I found myself going out to be social every single night this weekend, which was fun but exhausting. Friday night was a going-away party for our former neighbor Michael, who is moving to San Antonio. Saturday evening found us in Fremont to hear the Opossum Wranglers, who were great fun. Then, Sunday we had dinner with our friends Paul and Melissa. 'Tis the social season, apparently.