Thursday, May 31, 2007


I am changing the url of my blog, so very shortly old links won't work. My title will remain the same, so you can always search for that, but the url will be slightly different :o)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day weekend

I love 3 day weekends. Especially 3 day weekends that come when I absolutely need them the most. Up until this weekend, I was approaching my breaking point. Work was incredibly stressful, and I more than needed time to get away and not have to think about how it was just around the corner waiting for me to come back. Funny, how one extra day can give you that feeling of relief. Usually, at about 5pm on Sundays, Mr Kiwi and I realize "the weekend is over!!!", however yesterday at 5pm our celebrations were just starting. Really. We were at that moment on our way to a BBQ at a friends house, where later we got to spend some time under the stars in a hot tub, looking out from a hillside over the entire Silicon Valley. It was awesome.

I also managed to get a heck of a lot of knitting done, and made some progress on Mr Kiwi's monkey foot sized socks. They are coming along very well, and I am knitting the ribbing along the leg. I expect that before too long these socks will also be finished, and I will be on my way to another project.
I hope everyone in the US had as great a holiday weekend as I did, and a Happy Birthday weekend to a certain someone - hope you had a very excellent weekend ;o)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jazz Shoes

I bought my first ever pair of jazz shoes in highschool. I was in theatre at that time, and my extracurriculars were consumed with rehearsals for one show or another. Since you can't (at least the ladies in the show) wear sneakers or regular shoes for dancing in the musicals, we were required to buy one pair of jazz shoes and one pair of character shoes (fancy heels that were specific for dancing). Black of course so that no matter what we were wearing the shoes would automatically match. Since I had never taken a dance class before, when I bought those shoes I had no idea what I was doing. I walked into the dance shop, looked around for something with the label "jazz shoes", tried on some random black pair and walked out with my new shoes. They were the kind with split soles and laces.
I have been wearing those same shoes since highschool for all of my dance related activities. I have been wearing them to my current dance classes, and continued to wear them even after one of the damn cats chewed half of one of the laces off.. which made tying them tricky. They were broken in, comfy, and finally molded to the sizes and shapes of my feet. Last week in the middle of my dance movements class, I looked down and noticed this nice slice right above my big toe on my right foot. Damn. I realized that I was wearing out my first pair of jazz shoes. Time to get new ones. The problem is that I am not 100% symmetrical. It usually doesn't bother me, but my right foot is 1/2 size bigger than my left. In normal sneakers or sandals this isn't a problem, but in shoes that are supposed to be nice and snug around the shape of the foot, it causes quite a bit of discomfort. So before class yesterday I bought new split sole slip ons (no laces to chew, cats!!) and wore my mismatching sized shoes to class. They are quite comfy this way, and it works out well.

And yet, I can't quite bear to take my worn out shoes out of the passenger seat of my car.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finished Items!

After some persistent knitting, I managed to finish not just one but two items before the weekend began. Friday evening I finished the socks I was working on and got them blocking. Here they are right before I took them off the blockers.

Needing to start something new, I decided to get a start on the baby items I needed to knit. I started on the Vine Lace Baby Hat from Interweave's Knitting Daily. It went surprisingly fast, despite my working them on DPNs (I have learned through this that I am not a DPN gal, and will stick to my circs). By Saturday morning I was trying to figure out how in the heck I was going to block it, seeing as how I didn't have anything resembling a baby head near by. I stuffed two wash cloths in a plastic bag and vigorously molded it into as round and head shaped as I could, as stretched the little hat on top.

Knitting things for babies rock! They go so fast and look great also. And this hat took slightly less than half a ball. I can make another one! :o)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

SP10 Contest: Flash Your Stash!

This week's SP10 contest is to flash our stash. I am sure a number of people I knit with are interested to see how I keep my yarn and how much I actually have. I believe I do have a decent sized stash, but it is organized and tightly packed into its "home" that from the outside it may look like I have nothing at all.

Here is the unit where I keep all of my yarn. Anything that does not fit into the drawers is either piled ontop of or in front of said unit.

Here are the yarns that are piled in front. There is some Sidar, Cashsoft, Cashmerino, and the blue is a kit for the Milinda Pullover from White Lies Designs.

The drawers in the unit are somewhat organized, by what exactly, I haven't yet figured out. But they are organized! The pictures are starting from the bottom drawer and working up to the top drawer. The bottom drawer is filled with all the crap that will fit in it that I have no idea what to do with. I have some Sugar n Cream cotton that was for hacky sacks and dishcloths. There are some samples and freebies that I have obtained from Stitches West last year and never got around to dealing with, along with the miscelaneous yarn ends left over from past projects. The purple in the lower corner is some yummy yummy hand spun that I bought when I first started knitting that I have no idea what to do with. It'll come to me.. sometime. Same goes for the ornage in the lower right and the curly purple right above it. There is also a large skein of blue hand spun 100% baby alpaca waiting to be knit up.

Second drawer from the bottom has light sweater/top yarns along with a skein of blue bamboo and hand spun green cotton.

All of the yarn in the middle dreawer is destined to be sweaters or tops, all which have the patterns already picked out. It's just jumping in and doing them that is holding it up. The exception to this is the orange alpaca that will be made for Mr Kiwi. Not sure what I am making with it, but it's for him (if you have met him, you know why this is more logical that me keeping it).

Second drawer from the top has yarn that will be made into sweaters and tops, and the yellow and blue yarns will be made into blankets (too many people having babies!)

And here is the top drawer! It has mostly sock yarns and lace weights for making shawls. It also has the famed Karabella Breeze that won me the last SP10 contest.

Finally, there is the top of the unit. There is some Cascade220 that is left over from the Frog Purse I knit my mom last year, as well as some Misti Alpaca (one of which was a winning.. thank you Robin!!). Here you will also find my one and only WIP, although not by choice. I ran out of yarn at the very end of those fingerless mitts and was waiting for the recipient to send me more yarn so I could finish them. I just obtained the yarn (see the gray yarn in the first picture) and very soon it will be off the needles and off the unit.

Whew! There it is; my very first Flash Your Stash post. Now... what project to start working on next...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Knitting Meme!

This is a knitting survey that has been going around lately. I figured I see where I land in this. Feel free to take it upon yourself to do it too!

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit (Can I just say how sexist this question is and how much I dislike it? Just because someone is male doesn't mean they are automatically knitting challenged!!)
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Knitting Weekend!

This weekend was accidentally filled with yarn and knitting. Without meaning to, both Saturday and Sunday Mr Kiwi and I visited a few yarn stores we had never been to. Saturday we had made our way to Western Railway Museum in Solano County. It was very much in the middle of nowhere, and it was quite windy. It was really neat, and I got to knit on one of the trolly cars as it ran on the tracks. On the way, however, we stopped in Benicia at the Benicia Knitting Circle. The store was pretty small, but it was stacked to the ceiling with yarns. Giovanna was the woman who was there at the time we showed up, and was very helpful with a few questions I had. I ended up grabbing a few skeins of yarn that I am going to be using to make some baby hats for a coworker's future baby. The ultrasounds said girl, so let's hope so! One skein is Baby Star merino wool, and the other two are Plymouth Yarns Dream Baby DK.

Today we drove in to San Francisco and went to two knitting shops that I have been dying to see. The first one was ImagiKnit. It was so overwealming! I have never seen a place so big and so full of yarn! Interestingly enough, before I even got past the door and the sock yarns, I heard some one call Mr Kiwi's name and say hello to us. It was Romy who had hosted the WWKIP get together next to the Berkeley Rose Garden last year. I can't believe it had been a year since we saw her and of all places, we run into each other at a yarn store that I almost didn't go to. This shop had two very large rooms filled with yarns. They had a huge variety of just about everything; lots of silks, novelties, sock yarns, and wools. It was an incredible store, and when I asked one of the staff some questions, they were quick to help. I was impressed, but didn't buy anything since I was waiting to see what the next yarn shop had to offer.

Very near by was Noe Knit. While it was not nearly as large a shop, it was very nice. After touching almost every since skein in the place, I ended up buying a few. Four were Debbie Bliss Rialto (two in admiral blue and two in blue) and one skein of Regal Silk by Art Yarns in color 123 (descriptive, huh?)

The Debbie Bliss is so soft! I bought two skeins for myself, and thought a certain pal of mine would appreciate the other two. I am keeping the "blue" ones, and they have a future as a pair of fingerless mitts. Also, although I can't keep from touching silk, it is also going to go to my pal. I hope she doesn't see this before it gets to her. It's some awesome stuff, and I hope she can knit a cool scarf with it. I'll have to touch it a few more times before sending it off.

And since it is picture time, I started these socks last Sunday.

These are craptastic pictures, which is odd since I used the same camera settings as the other pictures and they were taken moments appart. The yarn is Tofutsies, and it is the warm colors. I think the oranges and pinks are making the pictures look kinda bright. These socks are going to be a gift for another friend. Who doesn't know it yet. Ha ha. It's also hard to tell, but at this point, I am in the middle of making the heel gussett, so they are near half way finished. I'm really enjoying this pair, and I can see progress after I knit for an hour!! ..Unlike the lace that became huge and it was hard to see how much I done in one sitting. Speaking of which, those pictures will be up before too long. The shawl needs some blocking before pictures can be taken.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A break from crafts to preach some pet health

Usually I am not very verbal about endorsing products. Maybe I am to friends, but only if it is already brought into a conversation. However I can't help but talk about my cats and their food. Before the whole food contamination thing, I was feeding them the generic pet food. Purina indoor formula or something. Because it sounded "healthy". Then I decided to try feeding them "organic" cat food, or what I thought was organic. Again, because I thought it was "healthy" for them. Then there was the cat food contamination. There was no food that was safe, and it even reached the Nutro food that I thought was safe. It got so bad and so many brands were getting hit that I went as far as researching what cats need in their diet and how hard it would be to feed them a diet of people food and supplements to makes ure they had everything they needed. It's not as easy a feat as I thought, adn I knew going into it it would be though.

One of the problems with the cat food and the ingredients being imported from China is that the labeling laws are different between ouir countries, and not just in pet foods; in human foods too. If there is less than a certain percentage of an ingredient, they are not required to put it on the label. That and they cut corners and don;t see anything ethically wrong because it saves them a buck. For instance, cats needs a certain amount of protein in their diet, and if you look on the package, you will see their breakdown of how much protein, iron, fat, etc is in the food by percentage. The food companies purposefully added the melamine to the wheat and rice gluten to give the illusion of higher protein concentrations in the food. When run through tests, the chemical looks similar to protein, so they add that instead of the full amount of protein in order to save a little bit of money and seem to have no problem with the fact that it is killing pets.

Because I cannot sit back and accept that I will have to feed my cats food that can potentially kill them, nor can I dedicate the time and research I need to figure out what "people food" in what percentages is safe and most healthy for the cats, I decided to change the food I feed them. I found out from a friend that she feeds her pets human-grade food. Basically, there is nothing in these bags of animal food that would not be the same grade that would be safe for human consumption. If it's not good enough for people, it's not good enough for pets.
These are three of the pet foods I know that have human quality ingredients:
Wellness Pet Food
Flint River Pet Food
Innova Pet Food

My cats have been eating Flint River food for senior cats (even though they are not old kitties) because it has a lower fat content that is suitable for indoor cats who do not get quite enough excersize running aorund in a yard. And here comes the "sales pitch"... I can't believe how their behavior has changed since I started feeding them this food. Previously, they were lethargic, didn't play as much as I wanted, and were chubby and lazy. Since I have been feeing them this food for about a month, they are still a little chubby (hopefully that'll change) but the energy they suddenly have! They chase each other around the house, they play with everything, and they actually wear themselves out from being so active instead of simply being lazy and laying aorund all the time. Think about the engery difference we would have if we ate veggies, fruits, and hummus for a week versus a snickers bar for every meal for a week. Can we say lethargic much?

Never will I go back to the other crap food. And I really urge everyone to consider what you are giving your pets and if you would yourselves put in your own bodies what you are feeing the animals that don't have a choice other than to eat what you put on the floor for them.

Done preaching!! :o) Just wanted to share.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Jury + knitting

I had jury duty today. I had a feeling that it would take forever for anything to happen, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring my knitting with me to feel rpductive while I waited to fulfill my civic duty. I show up to the courthouse, place my bag through the scanner that looks remarkably like the ones you'd find in airport security, and begin to walk through the metal detector. The woman looking at the bags looks at me and asks "Do you have knitting needles in your bag" My heart sinks. I say yes. "You're going to need to put those back in your car. Dammit. So I go back out, put them in the car, and come back to a sudden long line whith some rather moody people (trying to stick their paper lunch bag in the Xray machine and being angry when the security woman kept trying to hand it back and give her proper instructions...). I do get through and then have to wait in the juror room along with the others as they file in.

8:45am and we finally get our questionairres to fill out and turn in. I get mine done, stare at the floor, stare at the ceiling, stare at my shoes, the people near me, the people on the other side of the room, and the pictures of past and present judges on the wall. And thought about my knitting. We finally get "orientation" as in "don't lie on your surveys, and by the way if you are employed by the state/county/etc you won't get your $15/day juror pay (wtf?!?! I make MORE than that in an hour!)" before watchng a video on how cool it really is to be a juror, and how you can learn so much, and hey! these jurors kept in touch after the trail! Be a juror; meet new friends! I smell a new dating service in the making. The moment the viedo started playing I wanted to burst out laughing. However, even at 9am I was smart enough to NOT start making fun of the video, seeing as how I was in the courthouse and all. Thank you, you wonderfully strong 2 cups of coffee that I drank at 6am, for making me think before ending up on the other side of the juror's bench. I laughed very hard on the inside.

After the quite amusing video we got a "20 minute break". I bought a muffin (after being informed that we could be there as late as 5pm; thanks for letting us know BEFORE HAND...I could have packed my own paper bag lunch and tried to force it through the Xray machine) and ate it back in the juror waiting room thing. 20 minutes turned into 30. 30 turned into 50. After that, I kinda lost count. At about minute 18 I was thinking "you know... I could be KNITTING right now. I could be zoning out while my fingers ran circles around needles and yarn, but Nooooooo. Knitting needles are too much of a weapon." So I did the staring at everyone, my shoes, the ceiling/floor/pictures thing again. Until I found a tennis magazine. I was 2 pages away from the end when I hear a shreik "ALL RISE!!!" At that point the judge came in and told us that all the trials set for today had reached "deals" (or agreements or whatever it was he used) and that we would not be needed. And I didn't get any knitting done.

The bright side of this whole thing? I am exempt from being called to a jury again for at least 12 months. Sweet! And I had a half day of work. And I still expect my $15 if only to pay for the damn #@%$T expensive ass gas that it took to get there and NOT knit. ;o)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Knit Quick?

As I sit here at the very beginning of what looks like miles and miles of picot edging that I must complete in order for my ShoalWater Shawl to be officially complete and bound off, I realize that it may take an entire day to get this darned thing bound off. I so desperately want to start something new, because I am anxious and eager, and dammit! I have finally become bored of this and need a quick easy project that doesn't take .. 5 weeks? How long have I been working on this? And then I look at a number of other knitters and the speed at which they finish their items. I know some people who claim to be "the world's slowest knitter" or a "quicki knitter" or what have you. But I honestly have no idea where I fit in to this. At knit night, the ladies come in with the same project, something different, always changing. I can't keep track of what's done and what's not, especially since there are a number of UFO's floating around places. Then I look at some blogs where there is post after post of "look what I just started" then BAM! "look what I just finished!" Sweaters, blankets, tops, whatever pumped out in no time. Are we living in different speeds of time? I didn't consider myself to be a slow knitter... I actually have no idea how I compare. I knit an awful lot while I am home... I hate to admit but I spend more time knitting than I do practicing my dance. So why does it take me so long to finish things, while it seems to take so much less time for others? Maybe I need to drop the size 5 needles and below for a minute and make a sweater than takes a good size 8!

And back to those picots I go. Maybe this will teach me that there are some things in knitting that no; just because it is there it doesn't mean I have to know or do it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kiwi Creations

I have never been good with secrets and surprises. I am the one who buys a Christmas gift for someone in October and am squirming until December 25 because I can hardly keep it quiet. Thus, it should surprise no one that I so quickly announce what I have been wokring on with my stitch markers. In addition to my Etsy shop, I now also have Kiwi Creates, a blog dedicated to all of my hand made items. As quickly as I can get pictures taken of the markers, they will be updated and put up on the site. :o)

Shawl Progress

I guess it has been long enough since I have last posted. My working life has become busy, my knitting has been powering on, and so has my stitch marker making. New changes are to come with the stitch markers, but I will wait to reveal that until it gets closer to the time when the changes will occur. The shawl has been powering along. I am 50 rows away from being finished! I estimate that it won't be too much longer before I am wearing a new FO and beginning a new project. These pictures were taken about a week and a half ago, I believe. And of course I left out anything that could remotely resemble something to use for size comparison, unless you squint to see the itty bitty stitch marker action happening at the top. Oh well.

More updates more frequently; I promise!!