Monday, April 27, 2009

Whirlwind visit...

Went down to Portland for the weekend - just a short visit.

Primarily, the trip was for the Tigard Knitting Guild Shop Hop, which I had started in 2005. This time, it was Westside shops - Molehill Farm in Lake Oswego, Dublin Bay Knitting in downtown, Knit Purl in downtown, Northwest Wools in Multnomah Village and All About Yarn in Tigard. I was surprised and sad to see that Knitting Bee did not participate as it is one of my favorite shops.

We received 20% off everything all day - yarn, needles, patterns, accessories and books, and it being oregon - no tax (woohoo!). I did buy yarn, but found I was more conservative than normal. In several shops, I was done my shopping before the 1/2 time bell was rung. With just 60 mins in each shop, I actually found that I was a very efficient shopper. I guess subconsciously I know I have enough yarn.

Friday, I had my hair cut - it was time. It was getting scraggly. Went to Trader Joe's and picked up some dried hibiscus flower (which they had! - last time I found these at the end of summer and only found one bag), dried chili mango, and I brought back a couple of 1 pound chocolate bars for work folks.

Friday night and Saturday night, I met with friends for dinner at Peem Kaew, my favorite Thai restaurant in the Park blocks. Friday night, I picked Pumpkin Curry with Salmon which was very yummy and had a bit of a nip. Saturday night, I went back for more - split Pad Thai with Crab with Linda, and Kashmera picked a vegetarian dish with tofu which was good too.

PDX Friends

I had worn this fuchsia pink top and all day, guild friends were commenting on how my yarn matched my top. "Pink again", they would lament. In Multnomah Village, I went to Village Beads to take a peek, and picked up some nice blue triangle beads. Yes, they were blue-surprised a few people.

I was able to find some treats for my rav swap partner in the malabrigo swap, and sent along also the cool lantern moon bag we received in the swap. It was orange, not my color at all, and too bulky to bring home. Also in the bag, I received a Knit Picks needle gauge with magnifier, sample skeins from yarn pirate, and crystal palace, a ball of 1824 wool, and eucalan and soak samples. Also, some foofy black yarn which I donated back to the guild. On the bus, they did raffles again (as per the tradition I started), and I received a skein of yellow yarn from peace fleece and a set of russian-american straight needles. The yarn went in the bag to my swap partner who will be thoroughly spoiled. I hope she loves it.

Unfortunately, missed going to Border's books (favorite book store), and also to the Japanese Garden (not on summer hours yet). I did make it to the Gap for pants though.

All in all, a good visit. Stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lake Oswego, which was right next to where the shop hop started. The beds are supremely comfy, and it's kind of a kick to sit in a Herman Miller chair since they cost about $1000 bucks.

Breakfast was $9.95 for a full buffet with yummy pineapple and melon, cereal, yogurt, eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage; coffee and juice. The car I booked through priceline at $17/day for an economy car. win-win.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Belated Gifts...

I received a belated gift on Friday - a gift certificate from Beehive which I used to purchase "Sock Innovation" by Cookie A. I love the book - the patterns look very interesting and she has some information about designing socks, and adjusting existing patterns, which is interesting to me.

Yesterday was a terrible horrible no good very bad day...or at least, it seemed like it at the time. I went to Beer Knit late as I was working late, and ordered a Cobb salad - what came did not resemble any salad I've seen...a small head of iceberg, chopped in quarters, 2 slices of bacon, a soft-boiled egg, chopped in half, and a small cherry tomato chopped in half. Then, drizzled over with the blue cheese dressing. Yay. It has all the components listed on the menu. Was it a salad ? Maybe from the perspective of the kitchen staff who wanted to get back to the playoffs...
I had brought my second sock to knit and ended up unknitting, reknitting, and unknitting again. This morning, I fixed the setup row, but last night, I was tired, and cranky so knitting didn't work so well.

On the way home, I pulled myself out of the hole by treating myself to a helium balloon, and a cute fun pink weight. It was $5.05.

Cheery Balloon

Cheerful Balloon

Pink Weight
A good price to pay for a little lift, and it's supposed to last 2 weeks. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finished 1 sock...

It's amazing that it took the better part of a month to knit one my friend Deb said, "It's more like 2 socks...2 of 4 socks". So, there. I've knit 2 of 4 socks. She says this because it took 1 skein of Yarn Pirate Merino-Tencel 400yds to make one heavily cabled sock. The colorway is icicle - a light blue, white, and a slate blue-gray combo that beautifully shows off the celtic cable on the upper leg. I made a few mods from the pattern. Rhiannon, a Cookie A sock. I knit regular cables on the turn-down cuff, made the body of the sock about 2" shorter than the intended pattern, knit a partridge eye heel (rather than a plain stockinette), and skipped the purl row at the toe. It's turned out wonderfully, and it feels good on my foot...and, I finished with just 8.5 yds leftover.

Onto the 2nd skein. The yarn is so slippery, I wound it on my yarnball winder, and I'm knitting from the outside because the inside pull-ball already came out in a clump, and I stuffed it back in. Just started on the rib of the cuff. I'm excited to start sock 3 of 4. I can say that, can't I ? since it's the 2nd skein.

Pics to follow.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

weekend birthday fun

Saturday I went with my mom for dim sum at Golden City. I hadn't been there for a long time and I was surprised at how many Chinese people were there and how many people spoke Chinese. The portions were large and affordable (between $3.50 and $5.00 per container). Ate many favorites and took some home too. Re-found a dessert I hadn't seen since Portland - which was called Crystal Balls, which are rice wrapping on the outside (similar to the shrimp dumpling) but with a egg yolk, almost custard on the inside. Yummy. They stopped serving lunch at 2pm, so though we wanted one more the crystal balls dessert, we didn't get another. So, that's for next time.

Afterwards, went across the street to Beehive to see if they had the Cookie A book "Sock Innovation". No such luck. The young woman did not even know about it being published. Went to Chapters and it was "unavailable for new ordering", and looked in the Bay Centre a little bit. Discovered a cute store for stationery called The Papery on Fort, far side of the Bay Centre - note to self, to remember this place has lots of stationery, card, and wrap options, journals, and affordable Small organza bags ($1-$3).

On Monday, I took the day off. I had planned to sleep in, and did, sort of except for the 7AM raise the garage door to put the garbage out wake-up call. After that, I went back to bed, and got up about 10am or so. Ate some dim sum leftovers, and went to Silk Road for my 3 hour Spa appointment - pedicure, foot massage, and body massage. It was very relaxing. It also turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.

In the late evening, went onto Rav, and saw some posts about my birthday. I stayed away from the computer for most of the day. Heike, my birthday swap partner received and opened my swap package and loved it - it's always fun to put together a swap package and have the recipient enjoy what I put together.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Happy Birthday to me..

Last night I went to The Reef for a great and fun early birthday dinner with my friends - there were 8 of us all together, which is a very auspicious number :) especially given saturday's calendar date.

I had a yummy appetizer of scallops and prawns in curry, followed by the margot poisson, a lovely baked mahi mahi with roasted vegies. A few of us shared a lovely pitcher of pink rum cocktail which disappeared very quickly, and left us all quite happy.

Especially fun for me was that I was surprised by fabulous birthday gifts and treats - snacks, knitting, and reading.
Here it is together:-

Birthday Stuff

and the details...

Wendy gave me "Knit Two" by Kate Jacobs. I'd read the first book "Friday Night Knitting Club" in soft cover, but haven't read this one yet. Haribo gummi bears and Tangfastics (my favs), and a huge jar of Pure Shea butter which I love using for my hands. She mined my Ravelry message posts to find my idea.

Wendy's Present

Marilyn gave me this fun bright bag and almost fluorescent umbrella so that I "don't get run over" on my way to coffee break. This is a private joke (ahem, now public) because we almost got run over in the mcdonald's parking lot near work one day when a guy stepped on the gas as we were crossing in front of his car. There would have been a lot of witnesses and the bonus would have been a flying lesson on Hillside avenue (which is a very busy road). The bag is big and roomy with pink handles (yes, still my favorite colour!), and has a smaller pocket inside.

Don't run me over Bag from Marilyn

Marjorie treated me to "Cashmere & Silk" for my birthday.
Here it is...
Marjorie's Cashmere and Silk
hiding in lotion form. :)
Also, she made these pretty handmade stitch markers with inspiring words (in English and Chinese). Here's a close-up:

Inspire Stitch Markers and the card she gave me looks like a cute yarn guy - it's at the bottom left corner of the first pic.

and more - the latest Interweave Magazine Spring 2009 (hadn't bought this yet), a bottle of soak wash for my knit wear (yes, i'm excited about getting soap! - my knitwear is pretty excited about it too, come to think of it.), and a lovely and soft hand knit alpaca cord for a bronzit stone pendant (8-sided with a hole in the middle). Very pretty.

Marjorie's Present

Deb found my queued wishlist and treated me to the Transition Gloves pattern and surprised me with a Namaste Cozy* in a pretty red-pink colour. *It's for straight needles.

Deb's Present

Jen gave me a pink tape measure (handy and pink - I like that!) and handmade her gift - handmade pink stitch markers made with swarovski crystals, pearls, and sterling silver. She also handmade the box and the card -very crafty :)

Jen's Present

Here's a close-up of the stitch markers - almost hooked Marilyn who was the only non-knitter/crocheter in our group. I could probably also use it as a pendant - yes, then, i'll always have one handy (lol).

Jen's Handmade Stitch Markers
Jen's Stitch Markers

From Sam, a handmade crafty envelope (she is crafty after all), and wonderful smelling tea from Nanaimo - Pink Pearl of Shanghai, and Lost Emperor's Treasures
Present from Sam

Syl treated me to 5 packages of Argentinian Yerba Mate from Special Teas downtown - Regular, and flavoured - cranberry, mango, almond, and vanilla. I hadn't seen any of them other than the regular one. They all smell good and I've packed a couple of packages to bring into work on Tuesday.

Present from Syl

For dessert, the restaurant gave me a fried banana smile with rum and honey sauce and 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream for eyes, with a cookie head, and lit a candle in the centre of the smile. I blew out the candle too fast; so I did a re-take and wished again, while my friends sang. Having only remembered my camera with the candle, I didn't get all of my friends in the pic.

Birthday Pic

Syl, Me and Sam

Thanks gals - I had a great birthday party, and I've been royally spoiled this birthday. Warm fuzzy memories for years to come.

black friday

I've updated the sale page with some key sales for Black Friday. I'm not doing a lot of yarn buying these days, so these are the on...