Posted by: L | June 9, 2010

Changes are a foot

After many years I’ve decided to bring my textile work, play and life together in one place.You can find me blogging at Urban Fiber.

Thank you all for reading these last years. I’ve decided to not import these posts, but will keep this blog live indefinatly.


Posted by: L | May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

For those that came before me
For those that I have lost
For those that are now
For those that will be tomorrow

I think of you and remember

Thank you.

Posted by: L | May 26, 2010

I don’t even know where to start…

I’m on an energy high after a small energy and illness crash. I’ll just jump in. Like that’s something new?

It’s still conference season. When I look at my calendar I have two or three weeks (depending on the conference) to go to. Yes, they’re back-to-back. Oh Joy. Not to mention life and other than work commitments. Life is a Zoo. A healthy happy one, but a Zoo.

Interspersed in this chaos has been some great learning moments that are relevant to knitting, sewing and needlework activities. I spent two days in Seattle (before I was sick) at a Catherine Lowe workshop. If you can’t tell, these last years I’ve been on a quest for a well designed and fit garment. Hopefully this quest also makes me a better tech editor and teacher. The juries out on that.

While at the workshop, we critiqued size, fit and length. I now have several lengths that I think work best on me.

Good length but needs work on shape and fit. To much fabric.

Our working ‘slopers’ on the wall. Notice the flat pattern pinned to the jersey garment? The garment was a Rowan pattern used to show how challenging the fit would be on the person. Not exact but enough to see issues.

These are my final working schematics from the class. It was more labor intensive than the Nihon Vogue schematics. However, they were immensely helpful in being able to adjust sizing for Year 2 around the neck, shoulder and armholes.

I’m on a roll with the last Year 1 projects. I completely went back to the drawing table with the two last sweaters. I have the swatches and will redraft the schematics for them this weekend.

Old swatch and schematic. New swatch.

Do you remember this project?

I have been working away on. I was half-way done when the canvas started ripping out from the collar. Not good. Solution?

A new start. I should say the seamstress fixed the old one. Unfortunately, the fix so distorted the collar line that it looked horrible. My local shop was fabulous and really fixed it with a new canvas. I’ve not yet cast on. I need to get it into a frame and then use my floor frame while I do the needlework. MAYBE Christmas. Don’t hold your breath.

If you don’t hear from me in the next couple of weeks… I’m on the road with work and a high-school graduation.

Other big news? I’ll be moving the blog in the next couple of months. I’ve really been thinking about this for a while. I love this blog, but feel that the new one will reflect all fiber loves, my course work in Nihon Vogue as well as my journey’s in life. More soon. I promise.

Posted by: L | May 2, 2010

Lazy Sunday

It’s a very lazy Sunday here in PDX. I’m just home from a productive week on the road and a couple of days in SF. I’m also very tired. I’m happy to report the new regimen of bioidentical hormones is helping immensely. The tired is from eight weeks of launch prep for ESC in San Jose this last week. If wasn’t on the new regimen I’d be even more tired. Next week starts my swing for the last two conferences of the summer.

My wanderings of San Francisco Friday and Saturday.

After dropping the car off at SFO and perfect timing on the BART and the 48 I landed at my BFF S’s apartment. We headed to S2’s house for a glass of wine and O & J time. So much fun. J’s walking – with furniture support! Once C arrived home we spent a great evening celebrating S2’s B-Day at a new Tapa’s place in Noe on Castro and 24th. Company great. Dinner not great and overpriced. Conversely if it had been great, we probably wouldn’t have felt it was overpriced.

Friday my mid-day client meeting canceled so S and I headed over the Sausalito to see a new yarn shop. Bluebird Yarn and Craft. A very cool place. I walked out with the yarn for my Dolmen project for Nihon Vogue 2.

Bluebird Yarn

Simply Shetland, Lambswool Cashmere. It has flecks of lime green, blue/purple and dark brown. The overall color is a bit more brown than the photo, but not much.

I picked up a skein of Berroco’s NaturLin in Brown for some swatching. I’m thinking this might work well for the skirt/poncho project for Nihon Vogue 2. I’m thinking skirt.

We capped our visit with a light lunch outside @ CIBO. We enjoyed the sun and clanging of the boat’s in the harbor across the street. It was lovely. Once sated, we headed back to Noe via the scenic route for a bit of knitting at Bernie’s on 24th until my 4:00 meeting.

Cypress trees and Pacific Ocean.

I’m always intrigued by the color and plants that City dweller’s place outside in the Spring and Summer. I never had a door, but a large patio out the back of my room I kept filled with roses, daisies, bamboo, bougainvillea and nasturtiums.

Wonderful flower ‘tree’ outside Firefly.

My favorite window in SF (OK – second, Macy’s is my first). Easter they had a Easter Bunny.

I believe a Darwin Rose. It’s a bit to pink in the picture. It’s actually a perfect shade of Violet purple. I had a huge one of these I bought in Sanoma, CA on my back patio. Unfortunately it was to big to ‘hide’ in my car when I moved to Oregon.

Just to pretty to pass up.

Have a great week!

Posted by: L | April 21, 2010

Mercury in Retrograde

A friend mentioned that Mercury’s in retrograde today. That squared up with my day, which was a BGP one. Then another friend sent me a pretty harried end of day recap email that ended with LOL. And since I have SOOO much extra time I started musing (thinking) and then laughing and wondered if she (or anyone over 40 really) knows what LOL means? Personally, I learned what it meant on an NPR interview that had me laughing so hard I almost had to pull the car over. The interviewee had been using it as a endearment ending during IMing from room to room with his son – evidently it was the only real conversation he (the son) would have with his Dad whereby he’d share his day with his Dad (can you say teenager). Dad learned from said son that it meant Laugh out Loud. He (Dad) thought it meant Lots of Love. They now have an ‘understanding’ (that only boys and men can have) that Dad says LOL and means Lots of Love and said son knows this and thinks it means Laugh out Loud, when it really means Lots of Love. Dad’s philosophy? What ever it takes for your kids to know ya love ’em. Use it. Which made me laugh out loud. Seriously.

In other earth shattering news (not). I took a break from working on three trade shows that happen in the next seven weeks and spent a great Saturday with a group of women in an Alabama Chanin workshop at the ACE Hotel (love that bar!). An editor friend of mine at STC Crafts turned me on to her first book about six months ago. Which I promptly fell in love with and read cover to cover. Second book? Same. Except in my case, second time was the charm. When I heard a lecture and workshop were to be had in Portland I just couldn’t pass them up. I’ve sewn and done hand needlework for as far back as I can remember. Those were the crafts my grandmother and mother taught me. Along with basic, classic garment construction. This knitting thing? I picked it up on my own. I chose the Corset in tonal browns. I’m hooked enough that I’m working on my budget to see if I can treat myself – for my Birthday – for the November retreat in Florence. This is the jacket (duster coat) that I’d love to do. Can you say covet? It could be a road trip. My traveling feet are getting a bit antsy.

On the upswing, T and I started ending our day with listing three things to be grateful for in that day. It’s a great way to end the day on a positive note. Not that they have to be earth shattering or anything. Sooo… at about 3:00 pm today I was struggling, really struggling. It’s sad, I know. Some days are not as easy as others. You try it. Then tell me other wise. Ok, enough whining. I mentioned it’s been a BGP day right? At about 3:15 I had em. They are,

  • That my spinal surgeon didn’t mess up any more than he did and that I can lift a two pound weight. So Sad. So True. Don’t laugh. Six months ago I could barely do bands. A year ago. Walk. Bands? Resistance? Nada. Two years ago. In a collar barely able to walk around the block.
  • That for all my fussing T has been there every step of the way. Other than my sister and brother-in-law, I’ve never had that type of devotion and ‘stick to’ in my life. Pretty wonderful guy huh?
  • Three? That’s a stretch today. You?

If anyone’s wondering what a BGP day is, it’s a saying we have were I come from (not the west coast) of put on your big girl panties. We use it when someone (or yourself) is whining, bitching, in general not wanting to talk to people etc. kind of a day.

Like my girlfriend mentioned. Mercury’s in Retrograde. Works for me.

Posted by: L | April 12, 2010

Five Down, Three to Go

I’m moving to completion of Level One, Nihon Vogue. I spent a great weekend up in Seattle with friends and speaking to prospective Level One students for next year. It looks to be a full house! All I can say is. It’s been worth every minute (and penny) and I’m looking forward to Level Two.

A key milestone was the completion (with Jean’s sign off!) of two more of the sweaters. The Round Neck and V Neck’s w/ set in sleeves. Can I just say, Thank G*d…

Presenting: Sea.

Yarn: Jamieson’s Soft Shetland.

Silhouette: Boxy, Weekend Casual

Colors: Highland Mist, Duck Egg, North Sea, Midnight.

Gauge: 20s @ 10cm, 25r @ 10cm in 4 x 1 rib.

Ribbing: Twisted stitch over 2s, 2x, p1.

Not very original, but there you go. The goal of this sweater was to sort out stripes on the body matching the stripes on the arms when you have your arms down. It will be a great knock around sweater for the weekend. The yarn is from a friend who passed suddenly about five years ago of a brain clot (her 50th in NYC). She owned the local shop in Edinburgh by the flat. I’ll think of her each time I wear it.

Presenting: Devil May Care.

Yarn: Rowan RTC 50 merino/50 silk.

Silhouette: Semi-fitted, Work.

Color: Discontinued.

Gauge: Sts: 22s @ 10cm, 30r @ 10cm. Cable: 24s @ 10cm, 32r @10cm.

Ribbing: 1 x 1.

This was the sweater from H@*&. Those sleeves where ripped back at the cap twice. After I had already set them in and taken them out. I won’t tell you how many times it took to set them back in with the crotchet method the next go round. DAY’s vs. hours. That V-neck? It’s done.

I’m almost done with the baby crotchet vest and one of the two cardigans. They’ll be ready for Jean’s eagle eye by May. I have to do some re-swatching for one of the Cardi’s. I really want to use a lace/cable pattern, but it’s just not working at the gauge I have it swatched at. I’m going to give it another go on smaller needles. If that doesn’t work, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Actually I do. It will be back to the drawing board. Sigh.

Onward, onward. I’ve been able to knit more and for longer periods of time the last month or two. That should help. 4.5 months to go to Level Two. I’m not the fastest knitter and seaming? I’m still waiting for those Elves to show up every time I finish one. That said, I should be good to go.

Other good news. I’m down to 130 lbs from 136. It’s been a 10-week journey to get to this point. I have another 5ish to go and I’ll be where I’d like to be. I’ve not gone on any special diet, but I am watching what I eat (sometimes that’s brownies!) and eating in much smaller portions at 1,200 calories a day. It’s more than enough food for me actually. If I blow it. I don’t kick myself. I’m at the gym or walking or doing yoga about 4-6 times a week. I can FINALLY do very light band work twice a week. This getting back into shape is still a long haul since my surgery. I’m making progress and it feels good.

Posted by: L | April 2, 2010

Exploring the world beyond knitting

Once upon a time (before the animal known as Nihon Vogue) I peppered my life with other hand crafts. Needlepoint, sewing, drawing and most recently quilting. I love reading and hearing about others and how they spend there down time. This recent Wall Street article:

Idle Pastime: In off Hours, Truckers Pick Up Stitching: With Less to Haul, Drivers Try New Hobbies: Quilting in the Cab

When it’s men (publicly) taking on these wonderful, fulfilling crafts it’s not only inspiring. It’s down right Cool.


Posted by: L | March 30, 2010

Finding Answers.

Heads up. Not a knitting or craft post.

Is it just me or are we all ready for consistent sunshine and a healthy dose of Vitamin D? These Grey days, after the tease of spring, are rough going. They seem to kick my fatigue up a notch. I manage to plow through it, but it’s tough. T’s been great. Let’s me sleep and helps around the house, etc. when it kicks in.

The good news? I have some answers!! Wahooo… I’ve been working with a western medicine doctor, endocrinologist and naturopathic doctor to sort out the fatigue that has come and gone since the surgery. The downside? Our health care system – well it’s a challenge. I can only say how grateful I am that Oregon has state insurance that I could buy so I can have insurance.

In short, after exhaustive questions, testing and back to the drawing board situations I can finally put a solution in place to beat this fatigue. Don’t get me wrong, I can put in a full work week, but some weeks I’m so tired by Saturday that it’s an indicator that my system’s a bit out of whack. Some weeks no symptoms.

Diagnosis? Vitamin D and zinc deficiencies and shot Adrenal glands. Totally compromised. Not surprising given my work ethic and the long surgical recovery. Getting to the bottom of this has been controversial and in itself exhausting. Be proactive is all I can say.

The solution? It depends on who you talk to. My ‘western’ doctor wouldn’t do the extra saliva tests because my blood tests came back ‘normal’ for thyroid. Rest and get back to life attitude. Which would probably be OK if I could take a year (or two) off. Um No.

My Naturopath did the saliva test to really test the Adrenal glands. Bingo.  However, no Vitamin tests. She believes in working to balance out the imbalance of the hormones with tea and other supplements. Kind of works, but not. Again, No.

Next step? Endocrinologist who I found after asking so many girlfriends it’s embarrassing. She did more tests and confirmed the Adrenal Fatigue, found the Vitamin deficiencies AND has been working with me to understand options to bring my hormones back into place. I’ve decided to go with a bio-identical program that, over time will bring it all back in balance. OK, that and an upped dosages of Vitamin D and Zinc for three months.

It’s been a controversial decision. Some of my girlfriends are all for it and have been using bio-identicals for severe perimenopause (which I am. Sigh.) and menopause and other girlfriends are dead set against them and believe in synthetics that derive from animals. I’ve chosen the alternative path for a very simple reason. Animal rights. I’m no activist(maybe a wee bit), but there you have it.

I start this new program in three weeks. We’ll go for a year and see how my system is at 3, 6 and 9 months. Finally. Answers!

I love em when I can get them.

Knitting. Slowly but surely. I’ve been doing a lot of needlework. It’s been nice to take a break. Even for a couple of weeks.

Posted by: L | March 22, 2010

Picking up the pieces.

Wooo doggy, it’s been, well, forever since I wrote a decent post. I’ve not had the stamina (or the heart) really. But oh do I have lists of things to make! Boy howdy do I.  At the top of the list? A Quilt. Yes, a quilt. OK, it’s just below the three sweaters I’m recording (as we speak) in my design notebook for April and Jean. Then it’s two more sweaters to go. Yes, I’m behind, but on track for July. Then at least eight weeks before the new session begins.

This quilt makes me a bit nervous and giddy. Kind of like when you look over the cliff to the next cliff and the only way to get there is over a rope bridge. Yep, that kind of giddy. Why? It could be because I’ve never done one before. I figure since I’ve sewn a good chunk of my life it can’t be to hard. It’s only lots of little strips, in 19 colors and straight lines. BTW, I do realize now that I’ve said those words, they will come back to haunt me! But seriously – How. Hard. Can. It. Be? I’ll keep you posted. Promise.

Here’s the quilt I settled on. Isn’t it pretty?

Mom and I spent a great afternoon in her local quilt shop picking these fabrics. 19 plus the back for a total of 20 colors. We had a great time. What’s not to love about fabric?  I just wish I’d taken one with her on the floor with those 19 bolts of fabric surrounding her. Priceless.

The big catch. I’ll have to make mine bigger. I want it to cover the bed. The woman in the shop was great with suggestions on sorting how to do this. The pattern drafter and grader geek in me can’t wait to have a Saturday afternoon with my scanner, the fabric and expanding the template. Mom took some great notes, which I expanded on on the trip home. It needs to be 12 x 11 strips. The original is 8×7.


Fabric color chart

Bolts and bolts

All lined up

I leave you with this parting photo. Mom and I had a good laugh at this one. We went to pick up Dad’s ashes on Thursday only to find the funeral home has an oil derrick out its back door, in the parking lot! ONLY in Texas.  I wonder how they claim it on there taxes?

Posted by: L | March 18, 2010

Oh so cool….The Making of Natural Gas

And I thought I had a lot of knitting to do!

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